Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway
I use the word “song” quite loosely to be honest, for the audible makeup of ZERESH is something entirely beyond a mere song. ZERESH, the means of creative expression from the project’s founder, multi-instrumentalist Tamar Singer, is nearly impossible to quantify as one genre or another. Yes, there are legitimate outliers such as atmospheric psychedelia, experimental folk, and gothic doom, but overall, ZERESH is quite the stand-alone entity.
On September 1st, the Israel-based ZERESH released the début full-length album ‘Farewell‘ via home label 999 Cuts and, in doing so, struck a truly unique chord. It is one that will resonate across the infinite, making a mark upon the souls encountering this truly out-of-this-world opus. For those that are, hopefully, they are doing so while recognizing the magnitude of the sonic synthesis underway here.
Within the deepest recesses of this artistic display, one that Tamar reveals as “a sequel and a direct continuation to my EP” [the aforementioned ‘Sigh For Sigh‘], there is continual juxtaposition. It is happening right there in real-time as we hear it, a record of greeting that is titled ‘Farewell‘, and the opposing comparatives do not cease there. Tamar has shared public insight to this somewhat conceptual creation that, according to her, contains contents “written throughout many years and includes some of my oldest, plus some of my newest, songs.“… the juxtapose remains intact.
Moreover, it is revealed, reset, reestablished, and reinforced, with bleakness beginning things by means of “Past Existence“. These rolling, ominous waves, with mandolin aloft upon them, would seemingly steal all hope if it were possible. Awash in this sorrowful sea briefly, inorganic seagulls and sheep are noising off amid slowly subsiding static as “The Harvest Moon” rises.
Ethereal and sedate, with almost lucid tranquility tempered within it as benign vocals waft about. These elements will make themselves known again in “The Ways Of Death” but they will gradually relent somewhat, as a subtle increase in intensity builds. Throughout the composition, beautiful inserts of violins played by Sara Krasemann (Darkwood) yield an incredibly emotional texture to things.
The texture is something of a constant throughout the aural planes crafted within each moving dispelling at the hands and voice of Tamar. Each has a perceptible, tactile feel to it, be it the striking “The Lake Isle Of Innisfree” or the sensation-serving “All Perished“. The latter happens to feature another of the album’s guest collaborators with the additional vocals of Ayelet Rose Gottlieb.
The expressions of outersound audio styling permeate various portions of the ‘Farewell‘ album, particularly the otherworldly “Virtues“. For a four-and-a-half-minute period, we are transported through a winding alternate plane of being where ghostly, disassociated voices, and tinges of the Middle East meld. Otherworldliness is something this release is cocooned within, enveloped and all-encompassing, yet rendered in varying degrees throughout.
One of the finest examples of this is the ambitious “A Farewell“, the lengthiest spell cast here at a little over eight minutes. There is a most ominous reverberation right from the beginning, slight and simple at first, yet no less stark. Acoustic guitar and Tamar’s voice together seem more than enough to give one pause, yet embellished here with broad-ranging degrees of white sound. The outcome is extraordinary.
Speaking of extraordinary, there are a pair of constructs here that I personally enjoy most immensely. “Whitening Shade” is a diaphanous rendering of those same outersound identifiers, created here by Kadaver’s Michael Zolotov, Tamar’s partner in the duo Necromishka, as well as matrimony. Utterly incorporeal in the overall vibe, this piece sets a mood to be certain, along with serving as an intro to that which looms near.
“Invictus” is the pinnacle of ‘Farewell‘ for me personally, a height that is again made magnificent with mostly minuscule tools, i.e., acoustic guitar and Tamar’s voice. In their etherealized state here, a pairing quite emotionally affecting and resulting from collaboration with another guest, co-composer Vlad Shusterman. Vlad is no stranger either, with he and Tamar having worked together in such musical endeavors at times as Ghost Bike and Cruel Wonders.
Overall, ‘Farewell‘ as a whole is akin to the ingredient that is the meaning of “Invictus“, which is Latin for “unconquered”. In the totality of this album we find the creative spirit active, productive, and ultimately victorious, yet perhaps not in expected conventional ways. In the bigger picture, that is neither here nor there, much like the juxtaposing points of being here or there, or ‘Farewell‘, a term used in leave-taking, providing a fine full-length introduction to ZERESH.