Fake Four Music, 2017
Review by Kent Manthie
Chicago-based electronica producer, Zavala has just come out with his latest work of his own: Fantasmas. It is a real coup de grace for Zavala.
The music takes me back a little way, back in the good ol’ days of the 1990s (say what you will about the 90s: but throughout that decade the US economy BOOMED. It was the 1920s all over again: instead of just richies or institutional investors, regular Joes and their wives were buying stock and, up until the bubble burst in 2000, buying internet/tech stocks was a sure thing. Look at all the millionaires that sprang up overnight!
Anyway, listening to Fantasmas reminds me of back in the 90s, when I was enjoying life, working during the week, and then, letting it all hang out, basically, between Thursday and Saturday night, taking Sunday to recuperate before starting the whole thing over again (i.e., it’s Monday morning again and the whole thing starts again (and it will forever)). It has quite a danceable groove to it. Even if you’re sitting at home and pop this CD on, you’ll still be shaking your head back and forth, bobbing up and down and so on.
That isn’t to say, though, that Fantasmas sounds like a dated work, something that, for today’s world, is just a little anachronistic. No, Zavala, being a seasoned music producer, has taken his talents for getting the most of the studio as well as the back-up singers, session musicians, etc.
On one track, Zavala gets some help in the form of Sara Z. singing vocals on “Chrysalis” and believe it: this is a groovy track. That and then “The IFS” is another really swinging cut. You can’t help yourself. You just gotta dance! It’s all good, but, to pick a couple good starters, check out the opener, “Mirrors”, or the dreamy “Floats Like Empty” or the ethereal, synthesizer opus, “ARPDreamth” (can’t say 100%, because they’re kind of outdated. Those ARP synthesizers, like Pink Floyd used on The Dark Side of the Moon, I haven’t seen or heard today’s musical prodigies using. That isn’t surprising, given the leaps and bounds taken as far as technology in general has come since 1973. Listening to it with, say, good headphones and turned up really loudly, you can really meld with the music! I’m telling you: if you want to be relaxed, turn the lights down low and lie in bed or on a comfortable sofa, then hit “play” with this CD ready and then close your eyes and I bet when the album finishes, you’ll feel at least somewhat relaxed. ENJOY! -KM.