[14 June 2009]
The Stumbling Block is a a murky, hardcore meld of krautrock, dub, trippy grooves and (what may loosely be called) avant-jazz. Zukanican is based in Liverpool and this, their second album, features trumpets, bass, percussion and synths, but effects are kept to a minimum and I imagine that the live show would approximate this album. A nuanced percussive throb anchors the music as instrumental flourishes bring different images to mind. A lonely horn suggests modern neon atmospheres and squiggling synths depict decay and growth. The quickening wobbles, space and braying textures of “Penny Dance Test” resemble an edgier Echo Base Soundsystem, although the latter are more obviously dub-influenced. “Inca Hoots” has a punned title and a noodling intensity similar to 1970s English jazz-rock groups such as Hatfield & the North. Final track “Tell It to the Kif” refers to the Kif studios where this all was recorded. Pickled Egg Records is a reliable label and it’s heartening that they put out such challenging, abstract records as this one.