Beyond a name that is tricky to spell, Zenxienz (pronounced Zen-Science) captures attention immediately with a wash of complex synth-sounds and beats. His brand of electronica is experimental in the way retro-psychedelic vibes blend with futuristic techno sounds, and his latest album Cosmosis — his third LP this year — is a journey into the mind, but also an interrogation of the world around us.
“Flutter” gets the ball rolling with high pitched attention-stealing blips while washes of sound sparkle in the background. It’s all the sound of a city alive: I think of walking down a Tokyo street lined with clubs and catching bits of the music within. It’s also the first single and you can listen to it above. “Fusion Dissolution” is much more delicate. The drums are organic and there is soft vocalization from Swinky — who provides vocals again on the more mystical and pop-sensed track, “Dao”. “Fusion Dissolution” evokes floating in water in the depths of a tropical rainforest, then grows to paint a scene of running through the wild, perhaps swinging from a tree into the tropical waters.
If I haven’t made it clear enough, the tracks on Cosmosis have a way of creating images from sound, but they also have a sense of commentary on the way hectic energy is pervasive in modern life. “Aya For An Eye” introduces a strong sense of melody while the background ambiance takes on a breath-like pattern, then grows increasingly frantic. “Sapiens” begins with 8-bit concreteness, then blends and adds sounds until life is expressed in a complex grey-area of emotions.
Zenxienz was born in Hong Kong and grew up on the island of Kaua‘i in Hawai’i, and you can hear both of these places as influences in his music. There is the lushness of the tropical world brought to life through sound, but there is also careful attention and inclusion of instruments most often heard in the music of Asia, such as the delicate flute that takes centre-stage on the danceable “Elysium” — which you can listen to here.
There is a world contained in Zenxienz’s Cosmosis, but as the name suggests, this album reaches even further outside of our world.