Jason Zumpano’s latest as the Cyrillic Typewriter is a meditative and minimalist exchange with pedal steel player Paul Rigby.
Jason Zumpano speaks a lot of musical languages. And he’s fluent in all of them. Buzz, his most recent conversation as the Cyrillic Typewriter, is a casual dialogue with pedal steel player Paul Rigby (Neko Case). It’s the kind of exchange you might have sitting next to an iced tea-sipping stranger on a park bench on a balmy summer’s day or lying next to your lover late at night in bed while lingering on the edge of sleep.
As the Cyrillic Typewriter, Zumpano has never been a stranger to minimal arrangements, but an unfamiliar and refreshing lightness to his latest collection sets Buzz apart. His synths and rhodes twinkle light twilight on “Jumping Off a Wall” for two minutes before Rigby slides in, bringing observable yet still indiscriminate shapes. Zumpano describes the atmosphere as “Western frontier envisioned by [Chilean-French filmmaker and artist Alejandro Jodorowsky] on quaaludes, finally at peace with the strange beasts of the subconscious.” “Saloon Corner” checks that box right off the top; Rigby’s pedal steel sets the tone with vivid splashes of colour and contrast to Zumpano’s pulsing background. “Tell All the Poets” explores the darker corners of Buzz’s backcountry but is no less evocative or inviting.
Like any wordless conversation, Zumpano and Rigby leave it to the listener to interpret what their respective instruments are saying to each other. Still, the context is clear: Buzz is a profoundly meditative exchange. Like a lingering dream or the first flush of second sight, the Cyrillic Typewriter’s unique musical language is only impenetrable to those unwilling to succumb to its influence. Let go and get your buzz on.
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