Rhythm & Views

Dragons of Zynth

Musicians long have attempted to create music that sounds, looks and feels like it's by and for aliens. Consider rock stars from David Bowie to Marilyn Manson, jazz genius Sun Ra and his Arkestra, funkateer George Clinton and his various ensembles and, lest we forget, the cantina band in Star Wars.

Finally, though, here's a group that makes grooves that could derive from some fascinating culture well beyond our Earth.

Dragons of Zynth's name even sounds as if it grew out of some extraterrestrial mythology, although the group actually comes from Cleveland by way of New York City. Its amazing full-length debut was produced with the assistance of David Andrew Sitek of the somewhat like-minded TV on the Radio. (Also available is an underwhelming single, "Xerathyn," with B-side "Harlot Blues," that doesn't match the brilliance of this album.)

Elements of dub, electronica and funk are swirled into the cacophony of the King Crimson-like "War Lover" and the brawling Bad Brains-influenced reggae-punk fusion of "Who Rize Above." The fuzz-laden mixture sounds slyly indirect, as if the music were floating through the night air from a transistor radio halfway down the block.

Fevered daydreams of synthesized hard-rock and sci-fi soul build in intensity, flirting with cathartic noise, until the 8 1/2-minute finale, "Closer," in which flutes and saxophones, kalimbas and congas, strings and organs orbit your brainstem like spheres in space.

When Coronation Thieves ends, you'll want to play it again, just to be sure you heard it right. I think Dragons of Zynth come in peace, but that doesn't mean they don't want to blow your mind.

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