Immense: Evil Ones and Zeros

The ones and zeros of the title are the binary digits which are all that computers can understand. The title may therefore bespeak some kind of scepticism about the desirability of making music electronically. Whatever, this is a fine album of guitar-bass-and-drums rock music, its eleven instrumental pieces fizzing with inventive ideas and sparkling musicianship.

Most of the tracks are mid-paced. Typically, a relaxed bass line is bolstered by busy, intricate percussion and confident electric or acoustic guitar. “Don’t You Know How To Use Flippers?” (Immense have a winning way with titles; how about “Neil Young In Sportswear”?) adds smoky saxophone to the mix, while “Antro-Lateral Approach” features insistent, quietly ominous piano. But the other tracks don’t suffer from the absence of such enhancements, so varied and striking are the guitar sounds employed.

Occasional snatches of voices taken from the radio attest to the intelligence at work. The opening “Football Chant” has blasts of hard-hitting rock guitar broken up by a voice describing the use of antidepressants. On the impressive “Really Optimistic”, advocates of conservation are gradually overtaken by vigorous drumming and some fairly spectacular lead guitar.

The strengths of the album are its diversity and concision. None of the tracks outstay their welcome; they are sharp, focused and structured; they make a strong impression, then retreat. “Really Optimistic” is followed by a melodic interlude of delicate acoustic picking and strumming, then by the excellent “Spontaneous Combustion”‚ wherein guitar, bass and drums build to a powerful climax. At the end, the heavy and urgent “E Flat Sonic Boom” melts into the closing “Valley Of The Mummies”, in which serene piano and organ curl around sinuous percussion before ebbing sadly away.

(Originally published in The Sound Projector 7, April 2000)

2 thoughts on “Immense: Evil Ones and Zeros

  1. I just wanted to say that the review for this album is spot on. Evil Ones & Zeros came into my college station in 1999 or 2000 and was completely overlooked. I held on to it and it’s truly fantastic. Thanks for the review!

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