He doesn't know it, but I have decided Michael Zucker and I are friends. Don't worry Mr. Zucker, this has happened to other artists I've reviewed. I'm sure there's a support group if you need one. Given that sort of introduction, one could guess that I LOVE Zucker's latest album Itchy Trigger Finger which is a great title that describes my FPS video gaming tactics perfectly. Speaking of video games, I am delighted that this is one of the rare occasions where I am familiar with an artist's prior work. Zucker has worked with a band called This Place Is Haunted, a band dedicated to video game music that I have enjoyed many times. As a video game player and developer, I loved their work but I think my game fixation is what drew me into Itchy Trigger Finger as well. This album is a deep dive into modern rock and all the electronic compliments packed with it.
Zucker's musicianship is one that is more assemblage that composing, and this is what makes him stand out so much. Every track is a mixed media construct of distinctive textures. There is a heavy electronic influence but this album is not cold and definitely not rigid. It can be jazzy, ambient, hard rock n’ roll and even a little psychedelic. Some tracks do full transformations from dark and terrifying storms to clear skies and easy minds. There are sections that I felt were engineered specifically for video game nerds like myself. While listening I saw everything from old school side-scrollers to today's high end graphic hit games in my head.
The guitar acts as the vocals for these instrumental tracks and it's a voice that he has mastered in his own way. Zucker experimented with over 30 different guitar pedals during the creation of this album. My foot is tired just thinking about it, but his dedication to playing with this voice paid off. His voice is ranged and versed in what feels like many different languages and it is possible this voice is trans-dimensional. His guitar went through several mutations in the album but Zucker maintained a professional level of cohesion and familiarity.
Production for this album could not have been an easy feat. There is no such thing as one size fits all for the kind of work being produced here. Luckily I get the sense that Zucker is patient and unrelenting in his pursuit of the sound he wants. This album was not created with any sort of demographic in mind. It sounds like raw thought tracks are being pulled out of his brain and made available for everyone and anyone to study. Obviously game nerds should give this album a listen, but I also recommend that those into industrial and dark psych give it a go as well. There are so many unforeseen plot twists and epic boss battles in here. Listening to the album in its entirety is a wild ride, and one that I won't forget any time soon.
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