Joel Zigman – Down (2022)

Over the past two years, Joel Zigman has been meticulously working on the four tracks that make up his EP Down. While his music is generally packed with more feeling than a set story, each track of the EP delves into a different tale. From the story of Zigman meeting his wife to the tale of a cat, the EP has moments that we can all connect with.

As he tells these stories, Zigman packs in his signature catchy melodies that will get stuck in your head, whether you want them there or not. Drawing on his background of contemporary classical composing and arranging, he adds a splash of electronics to liven things up. Regardless of the subject matter of his music, his melodies are sure to slide into your veins and get you feeling something, whether that is the urge to dance or to laugh uncontrollably.

The title track ‘Down’ opens the EP with an almost ambient feeling that softly vibrates in your ears. As the beats make their way into the melody, they get your body bopping to their movement. Weaving their way through the ambient tones are the vocals that tell the tale of Zigman and his wife. There is an affectionate feeling to his performance as he lays out his feelings and the commitment he is ready to make. It is a very gentle track that moves between affection and joyful wonder at the relationship. You can’t help the little smile that tugs at the corners of your mouth as you listen. There is an electronic touch that enters the track on the chorus that brings great texture to the song. In the last moments of the track, the overlapping vocals add an extra burst of beauty.

‘Walls Are Too Thin’ is a track that we can all relate to as it picks up the feeling many of us faced during the pandemic. The electronic twang that opens the melody perfectly captures the feeling of being locked in, while the lower tones vibrate with a strange lethargy. The stop-start of the melody when the vocals come in adds to the feeling of the walls closing in. The vocal delivery is so different to the last track and really shows the versatility of Zigman. As you move down the single, you are treated to the almost paranoid feeling of being closed in, only for a lighter tone to soothe some of the jittery emotions.

The softness of ‘TDOR’ lets you breathe easily after the jittering feelings of the last track. While soft, there is an undulation to the ambient tones that prevents you floating away on the winds of the melody. The vocals have a conversational delivery like Zigman is talking directly to you about being at a rally for Trans Day of Remembrance. This is a sad song as it honours the memory of a friend who is no longer with us. Zigman’s vocals reach into your chest and tug at your emotions, filling you with the sadness of loss. This is tempered with the anger of being denied certain rights. It is a very powerful song that carries a heavy punch in its softness.

The EP comes to an end with ‘Max!’ which is an interesting track that could be about a cute boy or a cat. While the single is based on Zigman’s friend’s cat Max, the ambiguity of the lyrics blurs the lines. There is a touch of smooth soulful tones in the melody that merge with an almost funky bounce. As you sway through the soundscape, the lyrics reach out for the character Max in a hopeful way, while never quite knowing where you stand with him. It is a wonderful way to end the EP and highlights the amazing power of ambiguous lyrics.

Joel Zigman tells a range of stories through his EP Down, while showcasing his versatility and musicality. Each track has a different feeling, while bringing a wash of emotions, from panic to affection and sadness. Packed with diverse styles and sonic devices, the EP is well worth a good listen or three.

Find out more about Joel Zigman on his website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify.

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