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Album #226: J. Zunz – Hibiscus

  • Released: 2020
  • Origin: Ensanada, Mexico
  • Label: Rocket Recordings
  • Best Track: White Labels

There are some albums you can listen to fairly passively and get an idea of whether you like them or not. Hibiscus, the second solo album from Lorelle Meets the Obsolete’s Lorena Quintanilla (aka J. Zunz), is not one of them.

Released last Friday, on first listen I thought it sounded like it came on and sputtered out without really doing much in between. I’ve finally had the time to sit down and listen to it properly, and have realised what an intense and hypnotic record it is.

More of a soundscape than something to listen to track by track, there are nonetheless sections of the album that are particularly grabbing. On ‘Júpiter’, Quintanilla’s vocals turn into a persistent, spiky mewing as the track builds into a crescedo before coming to a sudden, curious stop. Perhaps even more intense and unsettling is ‘White Labels’, carried by a four-note beat that pulses and repeats in a sinister countdown, increasing in volume as abrasive screeches and disorienting effects kick in.

The album turns political as it nears its end, with ‘America Is a Continent’ a pertinent title from an artist Trump deems to be on the wrong side of his infantile hypothetical wall, and closer ‘Ouve – Me’ shuffles and shimmers with its mesmeric synth hooks.

Not one to take lightly, this. It’s a heavy record, albeit one that’s abstract and open to interpretation.

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