Fish Bowl Living is a welcome surprise from Mark Van Zyl (M V Z); 5 ‘dance’ tracks exploring a relationship between Trip Hop delight and ambient beats. The EP shines with a liquid bouquet of bass and sparkly tones all swirling together. With ecstatic sampling and subliminal presence, the EP subverts the sonic foreground and crafts a glass cage of merging sounds.
M V Z’s sound is best described as a menagerie of calming but profound noise-scapes that drift between low, bassy punches and uplifting beats. Crafted with samples that range from aerobics instructions to scattered voicemail messages, growing breakbeats quickly emerge to bring it all together. Having released two previous albums this year, this most recent EP is a tight conceptual piece that reflects on an insular mode of living and thinking, with a bubbling and frothing need to break out.
Showcasing a wide variety of percussive powers, these 5 tracks highlight MVZ’s production prowess and interest in downtempo dance music. With a diverse focus, the tracklist ranges from sample-driven sounds on Aerobics Instructions to the more typically dance-seeming Under Me Sensi and ultimately otherworldly echoing on Birds. Moving past his earlier “band” formula found on his first release of 2020, Dead Beat Stroke, and cementing his solo style in Trip Hop and ambient, Fish Bowl Living sucks you into Van Zyl’s extra-dimensional portal to another world.
“I wanted to approach writing music in a way that felt like I was exploring another galaxy. Big synth sounds with reverb on everything giving things infinite space.”Mark Van Zyl (MVZ)
The approach delivers just that an immense sense of space and exploration – all contained within a shimmering globe, carefully curated floating objects abound. Highly likely to send the listener to a strange state between relaxed and engaged, Van Zyl attributes his sound to an early discovery of ‘Trip Hop’, with an ethereal interest in escapism.
From start to finish, this project’s journey remains true to that escapist vision, avoiding too fast a label and leaving behind a bright effervescence.
Stream Fish Bowl Living by MVZ:
Listen to our playlist including MVZ here.