US - Kentucky - Full Moon 75 - 11/20/02
Crawling Chaos/SHiT Tapes
The man behind Bodycocktail is American Zan Hoffman, also the mastermind behind the Zidsick
cassette label, probably the world's most productive one-man underground label. Zidsick has
released about 750 albums during the last 18 years! Most titles feature Zan's own musical projects,
like Zanstones (early exploratory sound-on sound), Zanoisect (his most extreme recordings),
Masters of the Ungentlemanly Art (collaborations with other home tapers), Creamy Porn Stars
(loop music) and Bodycocktail. All in all this probably also makes Zan one of the world's most
The gentlemen behind the Norwegian until recently mainly cassette label SHiT Tapes have been
in touch with Zan The Man for zeveral years. After asking him to make a collection of his music,
he totally re-recorded the 18 songs chosen for this particular CD compilation! They're picked
from the 56 Bodycocktail tapes released between 1993 and 1999. People like Peter Gabriel,
members of Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones might have something to learn here. The clue is
quantity... The Bodycocktail music is described as "whimsy, good-time, often autobiographical
songs, to be served as a good stiff drink for the ears, mind & soul". Not bad! Zan's instrumental
means are mainly keyboards and rhythm machines that give memories back to the 80s, but also the
odd guitar or wind instrument. The arrangements are minimalistic, the sound quality doesn't
remind of the advanced and professional sound studios, thanks a lot! That's beyond the point of
this kind of music. As the man says himself: "Perfection
is boring and obvious and completely beside the point of being interesting".
Sometimes Zan gets a bit too indulgent for my personal taste, I'm not sure where he's heading.
Maybe that's the point? At his most whimsically and melodically - and best if you ask me - Zan's
songs remind of Syd Barrett's solo stuff, and even the naïveté of Jonathan Richman.
Even his voice approaches Syd's - or maybe Peter Perrett's of The Only Ones (anyone who remembers
them?) when it's not directed through some distortion device. Just listen to the opening track
"People Say He's Insane" (playful psychedelia!), "Time To Say Goodbye" (a bit of melancholia with
a twinkle in the eye) and "Cumbing Back Up". The long and mainly instrumental "Free Range Women
(American Version For Paco)" takes me back to 1990 and the minimalistic soundtracks of early
films by Hal Hartley. Well worth checking out, both of them!
You can order this particular disc from Norwegian Crawling Chaos, or get a deeper
insight into the universe of Zan Hoffman by visiting his own home page,
including thorough liner-notes for Aeromatic
Copyright © 2002 JP