Local Motion: Zira - All Wrong Hubbard Telescope and I, Robeast

All Wrong Hubbard Telescope
(Spy-Fi Records)

For all we know, or at least, what we are told, Zira could be an ape, a dog or the toiling of a young man late at night, in the darkness of his bedroom with the aid of musical instruments and a computer. Regardless of which, Spy-Fi man and long-time fixture on the indie scene of South Florida, Ed Artigas might have an answer or two.

Or maybe he won't because there is something inherently secretive and self-releasing about Zira's work. It's the shoegaze without the shoe, it's the computer without a decent internet connection, it's a lover who does dishes and tucks you in warm when they leave in the morning, their name relegated to dust.

That's okay. The poetics of the ordeal will work themselves out in a regulatory manner and you'll be left with the bliss of these five tracks of digital joy. Who is involved in this acidic trip through binary landscapes is anyone's guess but know the following: "I Hear Ya" opens it up with poppy abrasive industrial paints that are lush and conflictive and in no way, shape or form akin to the bad shit you associate with industrial sounds.

If you're left wandering, "Kiss Me Goodbye" brings a pop-sensibility to the fray that is almost danceable in the awkward way a good-bye kiss should be. "Not A Supermodel (Too Pretty)" cements a little Floridiana into the mix with what we all know to be the truth of South Florida's shammy glam veneer. "Once" gets tinny with the digital high-hat and provides the allegorical moment of breathy discord before closing out on the space-appropriate "Til" that kinda brings the EP title and band moniker full circle.

I, Robeast
(Spy-Fi Records)

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Spymaster general and Spy-Fi mogul at-large Ed Artigas again comes into question with another Zira release, this time under the auspices of the RPM Challenge and a ten track EP of Voltron-inspired musicks. We're almost stepping on the toes of Kenneth Anger's weirdness here. Never one to subscribe to Japanese-American cartoon co-ops, I'm a little bit at a loss as to what this homage to feline-like robotic beasts has to do with anything but I have it in good faith that Artigas subjected himself to the rigorous guidelines the challenge demands.

Again we have delicious digital shoegaze, post-pop nuances of anarchic punk rock intonation. There's something playful and betraying of the cover image of Lego brand figures, Artigas is certainly playing with that inner child that generally propels imagination and creativity. You can't help but feel like he's having fun!

From tackling the actual Voltron theme to some inspired numbers bemoaning the canon, Zira takes you through a musical trip of metal crashing on metal that is tingly and dangly and sort-of danceable on some of the better Goth dance floors with nice high ends that never sacrifice the dexterity of the low ends.

"Sven Must Be Free" begs the nascent question as to who exactly is this Sven and why should he be free? But there's a watery, entirely Japanese quality to the track that again betrays the inherent fan-boy-ness of Artigas behind the controls. Quoted from the insert: "...I had a chance to watch all the Voltron episodes (Go Lion version) online. As a teen I had never seen them all or sequentially. It was fun."

And lord knows, whatever freaking lion is going or not, we can see the fun here. There's enough dark New Wave and synth-pop to satisfy all potential musical palates. Keep 'em coming! In the meantime, check out some tracks here.

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