International Zombies of Love (IZOL) is the evolving musical project of Mike Farrell.
Well, Mike Farrell and a grab bag of various friends and musicians.
Mike started the project behind his piano, sleeping on the couch, pining for a love that waited across the sea.
Things have since morphed to include a core unit made up of Sean Beresford (co-producer with mike, guitars, bass, vox, echoplex, acetone, sandwiches) and Art Woods (el badgerista, drums and percussion of every conceivable type)..
The music focuses on Mike’s diverse tastes and talents and involves an often minimalist approach to instrumentation that is heavy on melody, arrangement and performance.
In the self-titled debut album, released just over a year ago on We Are Busy Bodies Records, piano and voice are central to the music but synthesized treatments, interesting mixing by his production mate and often bandmate, Sean Beresford, and a variety of additional instrumentation (a french horn here, a super-distorted electric guitar there) make for what critics have called “an interesting and intimate experience” and “something new”.
In the follow up album, “You Heard This Wish”, (to be released May 27, also on We Are Busy Records) Mike has continued to morph the sound with an increasing emphasis on a rhythm section and electronic keys. This is focused particularly, though not exclusively, on his “instrument of destruction” – a beat up and discontinued portable Yamaha keyboard with some killer patches from the old days.
Other musical miscreants on this provocative and diverse new release include a vintage beat box, an equally ancient tape delay machine, horns, a Moog, a gong and loads and loads of tremolo.
Together this forms what Mike is fond of calling his “modern mongrel music” – a diverse and satisfying reflection of his entire musical experience with eyes that look both forward and backward; from his late father’s campfire classics through to formative AM and FM chart toppers, the beats and synths of high school and then his street rock days opening for the likes of The Ramones, and back to the future again. “It’s like Katamari, but with music”, he says.
Enigmatically, Mike likes both minimalism and baggage - a tension not at all dissimilar from what our culture is currently experiencing now and, incidentally, a tension that is a key conceptual concern of this entire album.
What wishes do you hear?