Face Tat

Studio Album by released in 2010
Face Tat's tracklist:
Memo to the Man
The Primitives Talk
The Sacto Smile
Green Bricks
House of Hits
Burner in the Video
Dizzy from the Twins
Gross Sales
Total Recall
Face Tat
Second Life

Face Tat review

Zach Hill, an artist in the word’s full meaning

A musician written with a capital letter, Zach Hill can boast a very impressive record of service. The most well-known bands among those he played with are Hella, Wavves, Holy Smokes, Nervous Cop, The Ladies, and he still keeps looking for new projects which would help him realize his new ideas. Hill’s playing is always built on non-standard and complicated rhythms, which makes his works memorable and recognizable. Unlike most of other musicians he really feels the rhythm instead of counting. Add to this the unbelievable power of his drumming which once led to breaking his hand, as well as the painting skills and creating cover-arts for more than one album, and you will understand that Zach Hill is a person out of the ordinary and an artist in the word’s full meaning. Hill released his debut solo album Astrological Straits in 2008 and it has imprinted some of his best finds as a drummer, but on the whole was overloaded and heavy-laden. This year Zach is correcting his mistake on the new creation Face Tat, a great collection offering a vast variety of cocktails made of the trademark unrestrained drums, samples and vocal parts.

The record Face Tat can by no means be called monotonous

Despite that Face Tat is officially Zach Hill’s solo work each track is recorded with the participation of this or that musician or vocalist most of them being members of the bands the drummer played in different times. Such vocalists as Devendra Banhart, Guillermo Scott Herren from the band Prefuse 73 and musicians from Hella, Deerhoof and other collectives have helped Hill demonstrate his talent on thirteen eclectic tracks. The record can by no means be called monotonous – each composition is colored with special shades alternating with no concrete principal. Two tracks featuring Dean Spunt and Randy Randall of No Age, The Sacto Smile and Total Recall, are certainly among the album’s most comfortable and listenable moments, having the successful melody, instrumental harmonies, a distinct and clear rhythm. Their complete opposite are Ex-Ravers and the short Jackers, the most chaotic, insane, vigorous numbers on the album, assembled out of sounds of an unknown origin layered in an unpredictable sequence. Those fond of softer pop music will appreciate the opening track Memo To The Man and especially The Primitives Talk following it with the most vivid and catchiest tune on the album. One can hear Hill’s distorted vocals performing some simple lyrics on this track, as well as on the desperately joyful Green Bricks, and the title composition is without any words, it is built on electro guitars and a most powerful percussion flow. The final psychedelic number Second Life does not lower the tense but gradually takes the listener back to the real and ordered world.

The apogee of the drummer’s creative work

Zach Hill started playing drums at fifteen and learned to masterfully make sounds not only with his hands but with the feet as well. His legendary right foot double strokes on the bass drum are known to all of his fans. Hill’s trademark drum sound is characterized with cracking, gritting, power and loudness. Zach is also known as being passionate for cymbals that can be practically considered as some useless trash. The musician who is completely self-taught has developed this sound little by little at the time when he could not yet afford to buy expensive instruments and is since used to work with ‘trash’. He was evolving and polishing his skills on each of his projects, and the album Face Tat is probably the apogee of his creative work. This collection gives the fullest picture of all the hooks Zach Hil has ever developed and offers something new, too. Which is why it is better to start from listening Face Tat if you are not yet acquainted with his works, while the old fans will surely never pass by such a splendid collection.

Alexandra Zachernovskaya (13.01.2011)
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