In the run-up, Lazarus has asked 13 Crosstown Rebels cohorts to provide specially-recorded tracks influenced by the imminent apocalypse. A fair few of the artists have taken this to mean "give me something with tribal rhythms, chanting voices, rainforest noises and preferably some flutes." They're all pretty obvious signifiers for music inspired by the legends of an ancient people from subtropical Central America, and are present right from the off in Pier Bucci's ominous "Mayas" and the portentous atmospheres of Quenum's "The Prophecy." They're not always overplayed though: Metrika's "Jeel K'eex" starts off a bit Pan Pipe Moods but the insistently tapping percussion, muttering voices and shrieking wildlife build into something genuinely sinister. Acid Pauli and Nu's "12" is an eerie and elegiac close to proceedings.
Elsewhere, though, other producers have interpreted the brief more loosely—although not as laxly as Jay Haze who has seemingly delivered a remix of his handily-titled "2012" track from 2010's Enter The Darkness EP. Francesca Lombardo invokes the idea of a new consciousness as she intones "awaken" over the morphing melodies of "Cosmic Dancer," while Fur Coat's "Greed, Insanity" has a robotic voiceover explaining that "everything is about to change"—even if the crunchy 4/4 beat suggests they've hardly been through a miraculous musical transformation themselves.
One thing the dark tone of much of these tracks fails suggest however is that 21st December could be a date to celebrate rather than dread. Even the most energetic dance floor moment—Matthew Jonson’s excellent "In Search of a New Planet with Oxygen"—sounds like lightning splitting the skies rather than a bright new dawn. The one exception is Mike Shannon’s blissful "Sunrise" with its tinges of Galaxy 2 Galaxy, although that still feels like the world going out with a whimper rather than a bang. Like the majority of music here, it's a solid if not spectacular track. Given the weight of its line-up and the supposed magnitude of the event it's meant to mark, Day Zero feels like a bit of an anti-climax.