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zakè 'Dolere' [CD]

zakè 'Dolere' [CD]

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Glass-mastered, silkscreen printed CD housed in a 6-panel, 300g satin cardstock Digipak. Clear cd tray. Shrinkwrapped.



The works of zakè always take their time unfolding into rich worlds of detailed, harmonic drone, and on Dolere – his latest for Germany’s Affin – he offers two of his most patient and affecting compositions to date, over a span of 70 minutes. For this study of the ways in which time itself seems to stretch and slow during phases of sorrow and pain, the artist describes an inspiration from the feeling of being “suspended in the weight of emotions we cannot change.”

First movement, “Dolera” (from the Latin dolor, describing anguish), drifts on gorgeous, melancholy waves that encourage total focus and slow, sympathetic breath. It is ensconced in a trademark analog hiss, adorned in the stereo field by sonic streaks of light and the contemplative sound of decayed tape samples, mimicking a mind unceasingly turning over its preoccupations. Nearly album-length in its own right, “Dolera” may act – like many zakè pieces – as a sonic Rorschach Test, equally capable of serving as emotional commiseration, or as the backdrop for the essential inner work of meditation.

The artist states: “This year, my life came to a halt, as if the Spring froze in its tracks; amidst the heaviness I longed for reprieve, and to escape the relentless march forward. These tracks serve as a refuge for those burdened by distraction or sorrow, offering a brief respite from the inexorable passage of time.”

Fittingly the title piece, “Dolere”, is named for the present-tense, infinitive form of dolor. This small but significant linguistic difference echoes the shift in mood from the album’s first half, as a more darkly-tinged drone underscores barely perceptible field recordings of birdsong, and the subtle drama of a glow peeking through somber fog. “Dolere” progresses at a deliberate pace, shifting its hues in the way tree shadows move across a forest floor; the background white-noise hiss builds in tandem as fixation intensifies. The only time entropy wins is when the final notes fade, and we’re returned to the ticking of the clock on the wall.

zakè’s catalog is rich with modern ambient highlights, and Dolere feels destined to become a touchstone of the genre in league with those by artists like Thomas Köner and Andrew Chalk, perfect for those in need of a breath during an era defined by breathlessness.

The partnership in this release is a natural fit, as zakè’s own renowned label Past Inside the Present has worked with Affin’s founder Joachim Spieth closely over the years, and both share the same noble goal of building uncommon sonic spaces outside the mainstream. Dolere is graced with artwork by legendary polymath Markus Guentner, whose own releases for Affin – alongside those of bvdub, Tori Fuko, and Simone Giudice – have helped define the label’s graceful aesthetic.

Written, recorded, and produced by zakè
Mixed at Kaleidoscope Tone Studio by zakè
Mastered at Ambient Mountain House by James Bernard
Layout and design by Markus Guentner

© 2024 Affin - Cat. No.: Affin CD05 [CD]
© 2024 Affin - Cat. No.: LP07LTD [LP]

Design |
Mastering |
Affin |
zakè |

◾️◾️◾️ REVIEWS

"Dolere may easily fall into the “drone” category, but this is ambient at its finest because of how it moves, unfolds, and progresses through the rich tapestry of sounds layered at distinct velocities and timbres. And in these passages of time, one finds their own slow-burning story. “For this study of the ways in which time itself seems to stretch and slow during phases of sorrow and pain, the artist describes an inspiration from the feeling of being ‘suspended in the weight of emotions we cannot change.’” And suddenly, for me, this piece is very short – its half an hour passing, like half a year passing, and like a lifetime passing, in just a blink, a breath, and something else we find in between."

-Headphone Commute


"As expected from this drone master, both tracks set a comfortable atmosphere, the ‘trademark analog hiss’ locking out unwanted outside noises, and the tracks long enough to help you forget about time."

-Peter Van Cooten,


“Over the past decade under the zakè moniker, Indianapolis experimentalist, Zach Frizzell, has been responsible for some of the most delicately produced ambient compositions.

[…] Frizzell is someone that quietly goes about his business with little fanfare. Staunch on collaboration and community focus, this ethos has seen him work alongside the likes fellow underground pioneers, Benoit Pioulard, bvdub, Joachim Spieth and Markus Guenter.

Two compositions both exceeding the 30-minute mark, in what is zakè’s lengthiest voyage of 2024 so far, Dolere is like a rolling miasma that shields and masquerades you from life’s ills. An addendum to zakè’s mission statement, which is to guide his listeners through the kind of labyrinth where a muted daze ensues.

[…] zakè’s cascading textures and drones move freely to and from mediation dreamscapes to grainy, cinematic swells, while splicing together crestfallen, white tunnel moodscape drone with the mediative aspects of deep listening. Again, it’s down the production, which rivals some of the best ambient composition out there today.

[…] Frizzell carves out his own version of civic vitality. One that feeds into vast space and the abandonment it commands, and as the world continues to move at frightening speeds, it’s vital that artists like zakè continue to produce the art that they do in a bid to slow it down.”

-Simon Kirk, Sun 13


“It was not until the early 20th century that ambient returned to its sources and in many cases became extremely sparing background music. An example of this is the work of an American producer known as a zakè.

“Dolere” contains two over half an hour compositions. "Dolera" is calmly or even majestically flowing waves of oneiric sound, only discreetly lined with analog noise and ambient sounds. Contrary to the title, the composition brings solace, resulting from a mild sound, as well as from hypnotic repetition, giving a sense of going beyond time.

“Dolere" comes out completely differently. This time the ethereal electronics is lined with a dark drone, which gains more and more power from minute to minute, bringing with it anxiety or even a sense of powerlessness in the face of the imminent disaster.

Turn on "Dolere" and start breathing calmly to the rhythm of the composition from the album. zakè’s music reveals hidden beauty in front of us. This is how ambient works, made according to Brian Eno's concept - but recorded half a century later.”

-Paweł Gzyl, NM (
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