The Upshot: Cinematic guitar/percussion improv from a Blind Idiot God-ster’s fevered brain, as translated by the ever-diligent sonic maestro Bill Laswell.
BY FRED MILLS
Clearly not to be confused with the Azonic bicycle parts corporation, Azonic is fretmaster Andy Hawkins (guitarist for the monstrous Blind Idiot God) and percussionist Tim Wyskida (Khanate), who together make a monolithic improv noise that can be both malevolent of intent, and joyful in execution. Sharp eyed punters will recognize the Azonic name from the earlier Bill Laswell-produced album, Halo (Strata Records), a Hawkins side project in the mid ‘90s during Blind Idiot God’s extended hiatus.
The ’94 Hawkins offering was more free-form than the current Azonic incarnation; back then, the band delivered an effects-laden, heavy-drone affair spread across four 11-minute-ish tracks and featuring BIG’s Gabriel Katz pitching in on bass and effects. Circa 2017, Hawkins and Wyskida locate themselves firmly in cinematic territory — no less improvisational, but with a clearer sense of structure that carries the listener, suitelike, across a pair of 18 minute tracks. (That would be side 1 and side 2 for all you fellow vinyl fans who have been anticipating this slab of hot wax.) And as overseen —okay, via the “mix translation” — of longtime associate/studio auteur Laswell, Prospect of the Deep Volume One is, at some points, a grand, lumbering beast, and, at others, the sonic equivalent of being thrust across an interstellar wormhole, with all the psychic and physical disorientation that (admittedly ad hoc) description implies. The record, though, is certainly not uneasy listening. It suggests, to these ears at least, a cross between classic Krautrock extrapolations, but minus the signature motorik repetition (instead, expect thooming timpani flourishes), and vintage ambient explorations of inner space, with guitars subbing for synths and samplers.
And as suggested earlier, it’s filmic as hell. Cue up your favorite surreal or sci-fi movie (I suggest Kubrick’s 2001), turn its sound off, and turn the sound of this record up. You’ll see (hear) what I mean. (Have a taste at the Azonic Bandcamp page.)
DOWNLOAD: Pretty much the whole thing—it’s more like a film soundtrack than a rock album.