Nick Zoulek recently released a new music video, called “Silhouette of a Storm Bent Tree,” featuring dancer Nicole Spence. The song is from Zoulek’s album, Rushing Past Willow, a collection of neo-classical experimental tunes performed on the saxophone.
Hailing from Wisconsin, Zoulek is a contemporary saxophonist and artist who blends classical, neo-classical, avant-garde and raw ambient elements into gorgeous, novel harmonies replete with starkly resonant sonic signatures. His competence on the saxophone is nonpareil, extracting notes and timbres seemingly impossible.
“Silhouette of a Storm Bent Tree” (SSBT) starts out with an emergent dark tone like the singing of whales, and then expands into a deep eeriness rife with glacial essence and heavily sighing polar winds, along with ozone smelling mists. The cavernous emanations reflect visible disturbances, cultural dislocation and reckless dynamism, like an abyss opening in the bowels of the earth or a yawn of Jovian potency. Tiny hooks of bottomless moans exude a deepening ennui, throwing a mandala of chilly, withering tones across a bleak landscape; yet at the same time, Zoulek’s sax imparts biological life into the waves of sound, as if some vast pale beast is making spectral gestures.
The production of such esoteric and exotic sounds on a saxophone belies credibility, until you hear it. It’s fabulous music that simultaneously petrifies and pulverizes abiding musical concepts.
The video is as surreal as the music. It opens with Spence performing dance movements on a bed, then transitions to a dance studio where she is joined by other female dancers. As Zoulek’s sax growls with revelatory stochastic resonance, she finds herself dancing among bare trees set in a gloomy, harsh landscape, where Spence and the other dancers perform the orgiastic ballet of wood nymphs. Transported to an austere marshland, Spence performs her final Spartan movements silhouetted against the setting sun.
Nick Zoulek has it going on! “SSBT” reshuffles our expectations of sound, projecting trancelike cultural memories up a psychic periscope rising into imaginal realms. It’s wickedly contagious, bizarrely beautiful and extraterrestrial all at the same time. In short, it’s magnificent. Don’t miss either “Silhouette of a Storm Bent Tree” or Rushing Past Willow.
Download Rushing Past Willow here.