This record is deeply dedicated to the Ex. Such an announcement immediately sets you off in the right direction, especially when it’s released by Red Note, which is partly owned by a member from the Ex. Zu is an Italian band that is indeed influenced by bands like the Ex, mixing ferocious punk with free jazz and avant-garde. Besides that band, names like Nomeansno or Aaly also come to mind, but Zu manages to stay ahead of copying, and delivers a great record. Igneo is a wild, loud, and demanding piece of work. It’s recorded by Steve Albini, has established avant/improv guests musicians – like Ken Vandermark on saxophone, Jep Bishop on trombone, and Fred Lomberg-Holm on cello – playing on it, but, above all, it’s a team effort by the band itself. Which is, in fact, a power trio consisting of drums, saxophone, and bass, but they’ve also a live sound engineer in their regular lineup, so it’s a quartet. Never knowing whether to choose free jazz or avant-punk, Zu decides to put both in the blender to create an inseparable emulsion of the two ingredients. This all makes an album not to be missed by anyone who has just the slightest affinity for punk with a twist and freeform jazz. The music is intense, it has a superb live sound, the energy is incredible, the players are all equally inspired. Great band, fantastic album.
Bas Ickenroth, Kindamuzik