Zamilska – Uncovered
Zamilska's new album is unsettling and far from pleasant, but Uncovered clings to you like little else released this year
Following on from 2014's Untune and 2016's Undone, Zamilska’s third record marks the closing of a trilogy, charting her personal development and her move from a burgeoning talent to an established artist. That being said, Uncovered is no 'haven’t I done good' victory lap; if anything it’s more tense and more haunting than her previous works.
It’s a genuinely bracing record for a lot of its runtime, full of muffled sounds and cramped spaces. Built around an ECG machine-like synthetic bounce, Hospital is wrought with a spectral tension, its kick mutating from a dulled mechanical thud to a more cacophonous slap as the whole soundscape gets thicker and more claustrophobic. Front manages to combine the album's heaviest drums and some truly ghostly vocals. Even lead singe Hollow, probably the album’s least dissonant moment, is writ through with a pulsing murk, and her lyrics, which appear on a couple of tracks, are full of a skeletal hushed menace.
Interspersed within the more familiar techno tunes are shorter and largely beatless vignettes, pieces that ratchet tension in a more subdued manner. Particularly effective at this are Still and Gape; the former a dense fog of snapped apart vocal samples and piercing drone, the latter a flurry of oaky strings and swooping wails. However, they never feel like filler as these shorter pieces so often can; they all contribute to the album's weighty, malevolent atmosphere.
This is not to call Uncovered one note. Towards the album's end, the track Back is genuinely momentous, its muddied synth pulses coalescing into a buzzing sharp synth line atop chattering hi-hats. In a record so tactile, it acts as a kind of respite; a period of momentary weightlessness.
Uncovered is far from a pleasant listen, and actively unsettling for the most part, but it clings to you like little else this year. A true soundtrack for these paranoid times.
Listen to: Hollow, Back, Still