A mainstay of the Berlin club scene, Ziúr makes music defined by its unmistakable sense of flux. Her 2017 debut U Feel Anything? offers elegant (if bruising) experimental club music, while 2019 follow-up ATØ feels like a deliberate step toward softer pastures, featuring guest artists and Ziúr’s own avant-pop vocals. The producer’s third album, Antifate, doesn’t so much refine her sound as it deepens and complicates it: whirring synthesizers and destabilizing percussion remain but she pushes these elements into newly strange, impressionistic territory.
It all feels fitting for a record which references the mythical land of Cockaigne, a medieval “utopia where wine flows freely and houses are made of cake.” Antifate isn’t a traditional take on this seemingly idyllic paradise, but rather a darkly futuristic interpretation, an uncanny wilderness rendered as intricate sound. On “The Carry,” a sweet pastoral flute is undercut by metallic rattles and digital stabs that resemble squawking, mechanized birds; compositions swell and contract almost as if they’re living organisms, eschewing familiar dancefloor dynamics and straightforward songcraft for structures resembling mutant jazz. On opener “Alive, Unless?,” Ziúr’s drums have never sounded looser, liberated from the snap-lock grids synonymous with most contemporary electronic music. What we’re left with is a notably freeform electronic release, which, like the producer, never sits still, reveling in a state of constant transformation. It’s a glory to behold.