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King of the Mountains is the solo interest of Phil Kay, of Working For A Nuclear Free City fame. Zoetrope is an album of many genres - a jack of all trades, and even almost a master at a couple of them.

The album starts rather suddenly, with 'Undone' seeming like it's halfway through when you first hit play. It's all hustle and bustle, with edgy beats, drone effects and partly-indecipherable lyrics. It brings to mind Amnesiac-era Radiohead, mixed with the more experimental side of Orbital. And, somehow, as the track builds it defies that terrible description and actually works.

'Surrounded' moves us into more ambient territory, though there are ideas seeping through cracks in the song that prevent the tedium which can sometimes overwhelm that genre. The two-minute 'Shinkansen' then twitches through the speakers like that mad bint in the movie 'The Ring', leaving you feeling similarly unsettled, yet impressed.

A common fear when listening to the debut solo work of a band member is that they will throw every crackpot idea they've not been allowed to use with their bandmates at it, and it'll turn out a dog's breakfast, messy and unstructured. On Zoetrope, Kay does indeed depart from his band's normal template to veer around the genres, and the second half of the album does eventually start to lose focus, and your interest. But even in weaker efforts such as 'Animal Attractions' it's hard not to commend Kay's production skills, and easy to do so for the album's trance-like title track.

A zoetrope is "a device that produces the illusion of motion from a rapid succession of static pictures", according to Wikipedia, which describes what's happening here pretty well. Not unlike Working For A Nuclear Free City, the King Of The Mountains project succeeds where imitators fail quite horribly, suggesting in Phil Kay we have a pretty hefty talent. The best place to file Zoetrope would probably be on the shelf marked 'albums worth a punt if you have a few bob spare'.

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