Zukanican is a free jazz band that employs, alongside the usual saxophone, trumpet, bass, and drums, a hydrophone. This instrument provides them with a drone, a wail, a bubbling shriek. It sounds sometimes like a theremin and sometimes like a hive of humming bees and sometimes like an animal squealing underwater. Sometimes it becomes barely audible and an attenuate moan throbs continuously at the edge of your hearing. Horse Republic is not the album to play if you’re feeling hungover. The saxophone twiddles and skips, and the bass contributes to the background thrum already established by the hydrophone. The effect is of something dense and liquid with quick stabs penetrating the surface, a warped beatnik vibe. Zukanican will divide people. Some will be excited by the band’s confident innovations; others will find the background drone unbearable.
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