2008/2018 Album review by Ross Muir



“If you manage to capture elements of Celtic, blues rock, folk, world and even classical (the latter in terms of compositional arrangement) in your guitar-led instrumental work you’ve clearly got compositional skills but also, probably, a very small piece of the musical pie, given that the wider and popular music audiences tend to want their music accessible, suitably labelled, genre specific or to come with a “sounds like…” guarantee.

ZZM (aka guitarist – composer – producer ZiZi Martins) spent a number of musically productive years in Ireland; his time in the Emerald Isle included the release of his Celtic influenced and Irish award winning (Best Composer/ Soundtrack) Mad Hatter EP in 2012.
The following year’s mini-album 333 was both an extension of the EP (it was released under the name Mad Hatter) and a release that ticked more of those Rock Guitar meets World Music boxes.

Working as both a chronological best of and an excellent introduction to the instrumental stylings of ZiZi Martins comes 2008-2019, a a concise compilation of nine tracks running to just over thirty minutes total time
(and hot favourite for simplest/ sparsest album cover of 2019).

The intentional less is more approach, however, allows each track to stand on its own instrumental feet.

The Mad Hatter tracks featured, the Iberian flavoured ‘Eagle Fly’ (the Benfica football team’s “Eagle Flight” anthem and Golden Lion award winner at the Cannes Film Festival) and Irish / Celtic themed ‘Evolet,’ are both under two-and-a-half minutes; the four tracks lifted from 333 (the folk-jazz styled title track, the funkier ‘Eriu,’ the eerie Christmas tidings of ‘Nollaig’ and quirky, folk-jaunt nod to mythical Irish hero ‘Cu Chulainn’) average out at four minutes apiece.

Newer numbers, the harder edged rock instrumental ‘ZiZi’s Wolf’ and ‘Love’s Soft Voice’ (a Native American rhythmic narrative featuring the voice of Georgia Paris) also feature, as does recent single ‘The Loup-Garou.’
The latter, which opens and closes with a discernible howl either side of the darker Celtic rhythm that sits behind the guitar melody (all of which fit the title if you know the connotation and / or myth-belief favoured by many a French Canadian or Louisiana Cajun) makes for a fine finish.

Part experimentalist (ZiZi Martins loves (and continues to learn from) music theory but clearly also loves to push those theoretical boundaries), part composer (a Graduate of Music Composition) and part guitar instrumentalist (and a very good one), ZiZi Martins may be destined never to have a larger slice of that musical pie (he has however played around the world and made many a live TV appearance).
But he’s certainly got one of the more satisfying pieces.”

Ross Muir

Listen to and purchase the album here: zzmartins.bandcamp.com/album/2008-2018

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