The latest and last recording featuring Joey Hopkins w/Zweiss

Posted: August 19, 2012 in New Indie Music
Artist: Zweizz & Joey Hopkins
Title: Zweizz & Joey Hopkins
Release year: 2011
Record label: Jester Records
Distributor: Neuropa Records

Zweizz and Joey Hopkins is already over. It used to be the cooperation project of two musicians on different sides of the Atlantic, and their eponymous debut album is also their final release.

Joseph Daniel Hopkins was an immensely talented and hard working musician whom many expected to have a great career in music when he died in 2008, only 26 years old. He had made a solid name for himself in the underground through his project Joey Hopkins’ Midget Factory as well as numerous others

Zweizz is the current pseudonym of Svein Egil Hatlevik. His musical career spans two decades and began with the experimental black metal band Fleurety. He has since then been the synthesizer player of another black metal band known for their unorthodox mode of expression – DHG (Dødheimsgard) – as well as being the vocalist of the black metal band Umoral and for making sinister soundscapes through constellations like Pronounced “SEX” and Aphrodisiac…..

Zweizz & Joey Hopkins began working together in 2007. They met through the Internet short after Hopkins had heard Zweizz’ debut solo album The Yawn of the New Age. This was a release combining quirky electonica, harsh noise and black metal in a way that is verifiable as interesting, seeing it was met with everything from panegyric praise to outright threats. Pitchfork metal columnist Brandon Stosuy summarized the album – and Zweizz – in the following way: “…one of the most compelling musicians (and minds) in this realm today … check it out.” Other reviewers felt the urge to take a shower after hearing the album to “cleanse myself of the filth”, or thought that experimental music had been taken to a whole new level “where no intelligence or backbone is displayed”

The end result of the cooperation is released more than two years after Hopkins’ death. Zweizz has tried to complete the album in the spirit of his deceased partner. In a statement from May 2010, Zweizz wrote: “I only spoke with [Joey] on the telephone once, and we were discussing meeting IRL, but somehow we didn’t feel like there was any hurry. Then suddenly he was gone. I have tried to make an album that both his mother and the rest of his family can remember him by – as well as being a statement that lives up to my somewhat idiosyncratic artistic standards. And of course, I can just assume that Joey would have approved of the songs in their respective final states. It can be difficult to kill the darlings of a friend who has already went onwards.”

The album is first released in vinyl format, and a CD version will follow later in 2011. The CD contains two remixes not featured on the vinyl as well as one song that was only available to Zweizz as an mp3 sketch from Hopkins’ computer, and which was not possible to retrieve in high resolution format. Both versions include extensive liner notes, describing the process that led to the finished album. From these liner notes we quote the following: “[The music] had a lot more of a palpable rhythm that most of Zweizz’s solo stuff, and even something like melody, but mostly it had a real sense of velocity on top of the sense of mass always present in Zweizz’s work. It was as if Joey Hopkins had taken something vague and ominous and huge and made into a projectile. Or maybe it was the other way around.”

According to the statement from Zweizz quoted earlier, the music on the album may be described as “electronic, hectic like a can of worms, some pop surfaces, distorted, melodic most of the time, some black metal influences, some IDM influences.  “IT’S LIKE A GOLEM.” But it’s more than that, some songs, like the opener “Eternal Puberty” is hypnotic and melancholic. Others, like “No Clue”, range from sadness to sarcasm. But most of all, this is music that demands an attached – not detached – listener. It is cerebral and witty, and it works best as music for the attentive listener rather than the partying hipster

The album includes a number of guest appearances, including vocal work by Carl-Michael Eide (Virus, Aura Noir), Kristoffer Rygg (Ulver, Aethenor), Torgny Knutson Amdam (ex-Amulet) and Ingrid Aarvik Berge (Norma Sass). Guitars by Filip Roshauw (The Switch), Tremoro Tarantura and Kim Sølve (Delirium Bound, K100, Swarms)…..

Cover artwork is provided by Trine + Kim Design Studio, known for their work for among others Mayhem, Ulver, Darkthrone, Ihsahn and Arcturus…..

Zweizz toured with Norwegian post black metal band Ulver in March and April 2011.
This CD will fit in perfectly with those who like to expand their minds and aren’t afraid of something new, something that is totally beyond the sorry, commercialized slobs whose only care about being in a band is making money and banging chicks. Hope you listen to the music and enjoy it’s chaotic dissonance. -KM

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