“The Zero Map set their dune buggy down a smoother, less hectic, route. The modestly titled ‘Z’ is a meditation. Pale blue tones float out my cheap-o hi-fi clearly. They arrange themselves in regular symmetrical patterns that turn in on themselves, forever folding and unfolding across a hidden axis to reveal a thousand-leaved Chrysanthemum glowing with an inner light. The sound warms up to a pinky-red hue and the slight ‘tap, tok, tap’ of a recurring theme (the decaying ring of a bell with all the attack digitally snipped off perhaps?) rubs my shoulders as I settle deeper into the Chesterfield. My eyelids droop and I find my 14 year old self perched in front of the TV trying to keep up with Horizon or something. I’m scrunching my brow over some really complex but beautifully original maths, the slight chemical tang of lemon squash leaving a bright yellow smile on my lips. The almost spiritual neatness of a Venn diagram, intersecting arcs creating enclosed spaces calms my teenage self into a Zen stillness that rockets through the years anointing my old-guy bristles with Nag Champa.”
– Joe Posset @ Radio Free Midwich
“The Zero Map is Chloe Wallace and Karl MV Waugh. Their Psychic Glass Dome is hybrid electronica that is both thought provoking and mind expanding. “Whale Song for the Electronic Generation” is Tangerine Dream at cross purposes with an ornery string section. “Shift” is a game of cosmic shuffleboard played backward, its hollow skittering rising and arcing round a, well, psychic glass dome. “Halley´s 8 Foot Iron Mural Quadrant” – named after an eighteenth-century instrument used to determine the position of heavenly bodies in sidereal time – is a stately cathedral drone open wide to the great, big world outside. The key element to each of these three tracks is a juxtapositional tension that digs its fingers in and massages both halves of the brain.”
“There are no easy way outs and no quick conclusions with Cerebrum Pate, the neatly packed (and very limited) CD-R from the duo of Chloe Wallace and Karl M. V. Waugh whose Zero Map project is a take both on heavy drone music and the glitch aesthetic. The artwork, designed by Tor Press label head Jake Blanchard (I had the honor of reviewing his Archaic Practices cassette back in February ‘13) strikes with somewhat mythological, symbolic imagery that invites many different interpretations and encourages to read between the lines. Same with music here – most of the time it’s almost suffocatingly dark and dense, but offers a glimpse into the lighter, better world.
The album consists of only two tracks with each clocking in over 15 minutes. The opening “Neutrino Detector” will put your subwoofer/headphones to a test with its relentless bass rumble that just flows beneath the echoing, creaking sounds like an underground river – something that gradually becomes the background ambient sound but always marks its presence. Small snippets of lost melody is weaved in between the sinister, dark sounds – one can even occasionally catch a mangled piece of spoken word in there – or maybe it’s just a sonic hallucination? And then the chaotic, purely machine-like glitches set in, cascading in random, chaotic notes all over the hellish soundscape, further fueling the fear and the paranoia.
If one thinks the following track “A Python” might cast some light on the permeating darkness of the first half of Cerebrum Pate, they’re dead wrong. Instead of the rumbling, almost subliminal bass there are wordless, moaning vocals, like a ghost choir, a gallery of voices without a body that sing haunting, droning notes in dissonance and without much order, just to keep the original drone going on. If until now one didn’t want to admit that it’s a rather creepy album to listen in the dark, now it’s the time. The non-melodic, treated vocal samples is something otherworldly (or rather: underworldly) that gets even more so when it transforms into an all-consuming, bassy wall of sound toward the end. It’s dark ambient in the vein of the masters of the genre, even counting Lustmord.
If spooky, atmosphere-heavy (and I mean: VERY heavy) and heady electronic music is into your alley, The Zero Map is very well worth checking out. Just make sure you’re not reading any horror stories/creepypastas/playing survivor horror games while listening to this, and you’ll be fine. Combined, it would a little too much.” – Weed Temple
“Comprising of Chloe Wallace and Karl M.V. Waugh, ZERO MAP are a Brighton-based offshoot of the A Band; a long established Nottinghamshire collective of indeterminate number. Their debut album on Siltbreeze was a sprawling exercise in acoustic/electric freedom splurge, and, is still, to this very day, a major treasure in my vinyl collection. However, the duo’s “”Cerebrum Pate” c.d. eschews the inspired multidirectionalism of their mothership and instead veers towards a darkly shaded ambient/industrial style, nearly overripe with heavily processed reverb and chilly, off-kilter atmospherics of a particularly English bent. The opener “Neutrino Detector”; one of two l-o-o-n-n-g cuts, is a melange of aquatic, ultra bass dronings, buried organ lines and chirruping electronics and comes as a seemingly ear-friendly (but certainly no that cuddly and doe-eyed) precursor to the quasi-pagan lurchings of “A Python”. Not to take anything away from the “…Detector”, but the latter seems to be a more powerful and striking statement of intent…simple as that. Picture a group of black-garbed choristers (on loan from Hermann Nitsch), riffing on the varying timbres of car alarms that’s then mixed into a dense audio-soup with fragments of gauzy, blunted electronics (a la Kluster), occasionally floating to the surface. Not quite as velvet-wrapped and expansive as The Haxan Cloak or the U.S.A.’s Sussuria…but Zero Map are certainly riding on the same set of murky waves. ”
“Today we’ll be looking at four releases on Tor Press, the Todmorden-based record label, zine publisher and gig promoter, run by illustrator Jake Blanchard. The first of these is Cerebrum Paté (cover above) a thirty-two minute, two track CD-r by The Zero Map, the Brighton based duo of Chloe Wallace and Karl M V Waugh.
I consider this band to be underrated – meaning that Uncle Mark of Idwal Fisher doesn’t like ‘em as much as I’d like ‘im to like ‘em – but not, of course, here at RFM HQ where they are firm favourites. On several enjoyable occasions I have pretzelled myself attempting to classify the meditative anarchy of their vibe. On the surface there is nothing gonzo or discordant apparent. An augmented drone, or electronic collage, carries you along like a pooh stick on a slow moving stream, flowing over and around some interesting obstacles. However, the closer you look the more peculiar it gets. One of those obstructions might be, say, the arm of a shop window mannequin sticking up out of the current, or perhaps some unknown hand has rearranged the pebbles of the stream bed into a mosaic depicting the face of Philip K. Dick, or maybe some biological agent in the water has turned the orchids in that tree stump blue (aside: Upstream Colour – best film of 2013) and so on…
Suffice to say that the first track, ‘Neutrino Detector’, begins with some nicely intestinal bass and that the second track, ‘A Python’, ends with a visceral crescendo that makes me want to drink blood from the skulls of my vanquished enemies. In-between times you’ll find plenty of whatthefuckery to flavour your reverie. Recommended.”
“Up, up and away! When Zero Map orbits your head, one can be sure of an entrancing trip. The third eye zoners that comprise their discography exist in many forms: charged ritualistic hymns; electronic transmissions that hover ominously; noise glitch conflagrations; inner gazing quests with heavy psych drone as the conduit; intimate vocal drone and sustained strings. Personally, I love the manner in which their music is unpredictable. It travels on a luminous, variegated continuum through space. Head warriors will dig this!
Zero Map is the project of Chloe Wallace and Karl M V Waugh, who are both members of the A Band. Cerebrum Paté, on Tor Press, harvests one’s psychoactive particles to fuel Zero Map’s sonic dream machine, which rumbles, resonates and reverberates in the cavernous recesses of the head. Much like the numerous neutrinos that emanate from the sun, ‘Neutrino Detector’ moves through the listener unimpeded, the disquiet palpable. Heavy, rumbling currents smolder in the vastness while cavernous explosions are audible in the distance. A mellifluous wave emerges, yet is cloaked in the consuming rumble and echo; stuttering glitches and vacillating signals periodically abound. Cascading electronics give way to voluminous, torpid loops and slight rumble. Toward the end, minimal drone and glitch billow from the speakers. Awesome track! The following track, ‘A Python’, exhibits a different side of this project, consisting of otherworldly, resonant drone, which spills forth from the speakers – engrossing! Shortly, an electronic maelstrom ensues among conspicuous rumble. Near the end, the noise peaks, moving into a territory unlike anything on the cd. Encompassing blasts of noise buttress the listener, before being released into the open expanse of space.
From the top shelf to your head, these heady crystal-covered zoners come enclosed in a lino print card sleeve, which features the artwork of label proprietor, not to mention incredible artist, Jake Blanchard. Cerebrum Paté may be purchased directly from Tor Press.
peace and love, friends :)”
@ Honesty Bag
“Finally we have Distant Storms by The Zero Map. I notice that Uncle Mark over at radiofreemidwich’s sister blog Idwal Fisher was grumpily dismissive of this tape a few posts ago. I can only assume that his faithful manservant had allowed Mark’s glass of Manzanilla to warm to room temperature and the resulting fury led to this lashing out. ‘Rudderless’ indeed, I ask you! Alas, it falls to me to set the record straight. I am a fan of Chloe and Karl’s work and I remain so after hearing this because the fact of the matter is: it is good.
The side long ‘Champagne Awakening’ opens magisterial – all raspberry dawns over the Nile as drug-addled dignitaries take river cruises in opulent barges. The atmosphere of decadent possibility is tainted when the Pharaoh takes one drink too many and has a vision of the mechanised future. The air remains full of spices and aromatics but the scene is now, in her head, overwhelmed with searing noise and engine rhythms. Out of this a tropical guitar emerges and ties it all up with a foot-on-the-monitor feedback conclusion. Rock!
Side B features four tracks that slide into one another so I’ll treat them as a whole containing different movements. We begin with some agitated, swirling, popping electronics accompanied with some plucked acoustic guitar and non-verbal vocalisations. The plucking becomes more purposeful and is augmented with some filtered… what? The other instrumentation is hard to place: horns, keys, violin? I can’t tell, it’s hypnotic. This builds into an improv raga fury over a spiralling, descending roar until we get to a passage of totally balls-out (sorry Chloe – you know what I mean) psychedelic noise. A low-end engine rumble revs up into a fuzz whine over skittering electronics, sometimes spacey, sometimes subterranean. There is a calm eye within the maelstrom which we see glimpses of occasionally as the storm tears holes in the clouds. I imagine Chloe and Karl (and Peter Herring who features on two tracks) sitting there, cross legged, facing each other but with eyes closed, just willing all this into existence. Cool, eh?”
“I’m not sure many in the no-audience underground set out with the intention of creating something ‘charming’. As a description it doesn’t feel very cool or hip or punk or challenging does it? Despite that, I consider it to be a much underrated quality that takes some skill to achieve. To be charming a piece must be sufficiently subtle, gentle and engaging without being overly fey, whimsical or insubstantial. It has to convey its intention with just the right level of self-awareness: too much is arch and mannered, too little is childish and naive. The knack is in maintaining the balance. It is not easy.
Even before I heard the music, The Zero Map, a duo of Chloe Wallace and Karl M V Waugh (two middle initials, eh? Class), had got it right. Karl sent me a polite email reminding me that I had liked a previous release of theirs (I had, very much) and wondered if I might consider a new thing of theirs for review. I said sure, of course, and a few days later the 3” CD-r above arrived at Midwich Towers. I was charmed by its handmade cover (pictured) and handwritten ‘press release’ (for want of a better term). C&K are model correspondents.
The 21 and a half minutes contained on this CD-r document a performance recorded in their hometown of Brighton in September of last year. It begins with a section in which (what may be) thumb pianos and the like slowly overlay one another, via ladles of delay, into a crescendo of picking and plinking. Imagine a cabinet of Victorian toys – tin soldiers, china-headed dolls, music box ballerinas – being possessed by the spirit of Sun Ra. There then follows a slightly uneasy middle section where a cool feedback tone threatens to smother the detail but this is a transitional moment and forgivable in a live setting. Finally, the feedback becomes a drone which gently granulates into noise with added keyboards and feline ululations. This last section has a pleasantly mysterious feel. I mentioned The Cats of Ulthar in my previous review of The Zero Map – is this a muezzin call to fetch them back from the moon?
I like this: it is considered without being overly polished, fun without being daft and engaging enough to encourage repeat listens. It is charming. Details of how to get hold of this – £4 plus postage – can be found here.”
“It must be all the salad in Brighton that does it. That or the profusion of coffee shops selling five pound cups of artisan civet shit encrusted mocha. The last time I was there the arrival of some late, late Autumnal sunshine lifted the spirits somewhat but the set meal on offer at the Colour Out of Space fest, the reason of said visit, rarely rose above the ordinary.
If I was The Zero Map I’d be tugging on Colour Out of Space organisers shirt sleeves and asking for a spot on this years bill. A night of melancholy drone, drifting tones and plucked strings would do me nicely. Which is where The Zero Map come in. Inhabiting that dreamy droney world where [judging from this twenty minute slice of live action at least] they flit like birds trapped in a church, from multi-struck zither like instruments to ethereal sounding organ keys that emit sounds reminiscent of a 1930’s radio orchestra coming at you through decades of static. As this piece progresses sounds emerge of a disguised nature that had me wondering if they’d duct-taped someones mouth in order to make their breathing more difficult, bead filled maracas beat insect like whilst wailing ghosts make their presence felt. Swannee whistles sit cheek by arse with tingly bells and ever so slight Theremin-y things emit small but wondrous ear tickling noises. An absolute charmer.
A delightfully melancholic trip from Messrs. Chloe Wallace and Karl M V Waugh, who I’m led to believe are sometime A Band dabblers. Next time in Brighton let me buy you a drink, not a five pound cup of coffee of course.”
“A Brighton duo with roots in A Band, The Zero Map make something quite a bit less clattery than all that. The basic thrust is created (it would seem) by long feedback guitar tones, which are interlaced with cosmic whooshery and echoey machine sounds. Sounds totally crummy, but in a great way.”
“And something special for dessert. You may have noticed that several of IE’s releases induced a narrative reverie in me and that I’ve been tempted to call on various wierd tales in order to explain the effect. Well, now it is time to reference the master…
Immediately prior to listening to this disc for the first time I had been enjoying a reading of At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft. The fit with ‘Sentience’, the first track, could not be more snug. This feels like a field recording of the relentless Arctic wind whistling and groaning as it whips around the non-euclidean angles of a long-abandoned alien city. Or is it deserted? There are strange vibrations emanating from far beneath the snow…
The second track, ‘Giving Birth’, is a cool drone piece suggesting the experience is far more placid and meditative than I had been led to believe.
The third and final track, ‘The Voices In My Head’, is a remarkable 20 minutes of layered, shifting textures that is as beguiling and unnerving as, well, having voices in your head.
Last night I woke from a nightmare and found myself trapped in that panic-inducing moment between sleep and consciousness. The universe was inexplicable and malevolent. Reduced, in fact, to Lovecraftian cosmic horror. As this is a regular occurence, I keep my mp3 player handy in order that I may distract myself back to sleep by listening to some music. Last night this track happened to be cued up and I found it strangely soothing. Not because it is at all soporific, it isn’t, but because it acknowledged the truth of my fears. Yes, it said to me, we get it…
What the music has to do with the title of the release, or the sweet snapshots of cats on the cover, is beyond me – perhaps they are The Cats of Ulthar? – but who cares? This is one of the best releases I’ve heard this year so far – the equal of the Jazzfinger disc reviewed in part one.”
“Stepping back into the caverns of drone, The Zero Map have an almost ritualistic feel to their sound, with “Sentience”, the first track on their “Felis Cattus Domesticus” album, really hitting the spot, its deep bass foundation and Arctic wind drones opening up huge spaces and then filling them with sound. Adding a hint of slow melody, “Giving Birth” has more than a hint of early German electronics, the piece containing a slow-burning beauty that is hard to ignore, whilst “The Voices in my Head” the final track, comes on like early Pink Floyd lost in an underground cavern, the rolling drone balanced beautifully with the background noise, levitating your mind with ease.”
Sonic Oyster release a new CD into the wilderness by The Zero Map. We had a CD in a week or 2 ago by these guys but I think it slipped through the cracks (it does happen sometimes as we get mountains arriving through these doors!) The Process Of Sanitation is 7 tracks of experimental soundscapes and humming. Well there’s not the sounds of people humming everywhere but there’s plenty of that industrial humming noise which sounds like mountains being crushed inwards. The track ‘Too Much Room’ has a delicate tonal noise throughout it which is punctuated by the odd cymbal crash. That one reminds me a bit of ‘How To Destroy Angels’ by Coil! The album varies from chunky slabs of droney feedback to some tasteful noodling with maybe a dash of field recordings and a general feel of healthy experimentation. I reckon this is gonna be the soundtrack in my head when I hit 70….”
“If one word can be used regarding Zero Map’s music it would be ‘de-constructed’. It brings the music more justice than the word ‘recycle’, as recycle means ‘use again’ and ‘deconstructed’ means, to me at least, use old stuff to create something new. This is what we hear on Zero Maps 30 plus minute long album ‘Found on The Streets’. Stuff from nowhere and everywhere gathered together and out comes five interesting pieces of collage music. Instruments, sound effects, voices – all from the source of the duo Chloe Wallace and Karl Waugh, the experimental nuclei of Zero Map. The centre piece of the album, the second track ‘Bee’s Queen’ occupies half of the album’s length. If the shorter pieces are more strict and concentrated around some sounds or ideas, this one is a complete melting pot showing how insanity and sanity are two sides of the same thing with sounds surrounding every inch of the atmosphere of the room, It’s noise and musique concrete, it’s a lovely nightmare soundtrack that not even Tim Burton would dare to use.”
“The Zero Map!! [supeshi] playing [bukubuku] and strange sound as for the contents which keep making the acoustic guitar repeat like [shinse] and collision sound with echo, the style which is completed kind of very quite makes Vluba think!! One true intense intense you recommend is!!”
@Art Into Life (translated from Japanese by babel fish)
“Set up in front of the stage we had The Zero Map, Chloe and Karl from the A Band making moody psychedelic stuff. That gets harder to describe every time I listen to it.”
“…never less than engaging, and often very lovely”