Sebastian Zimmer

“Lilly” – One in a Googolplex

Full of clattery and glittery and rubbery electronics, “Lilly” also bursts with such infectious melodic energy that I for one don’t really care what odd sounds Sebastian Zimmer wants to throw into the mix.

Not that you necessarily see the brilliance coming. From the intro through the opening verse, “Lilly” bounces modestly along as a two-chord shuffle with a vaguely island-like feel. Close listeners might enjoy the crafty dissonances one of the synthesizers insists upon carving in the soundscape, but more casual ears may remain unengaged until 0:46, when the electronic equivalent of a car crash launches us into the bubbly chorus, full of vocal leaps and dives that sound spliced together rather than sung through. But damned if the cut-and-pasted melody line isn’t its own kind of oddball hook—there’s an energy unleashed by the mashed-up-sound, accentuated by Zimmer’s feathery tenor, that transcends its electronic trappings. And then, as a sort of counter-balance to all the artifice employed to create the song’s core, we get at 2:04 an instrumental bridge featuring what sounds for all the world like honest-to-goodness stringed instruments (but are probably still synthesizers).

“Lilly” is the a-side of a digital single released this month on Alchemist Records. Zimmer has been recording as One In A Googolplex from the German state of Saarland since 2009. The name comes from the third Back to the Future movie. In his own words, Zimmer is “constantly trying to compose his songs as universally as possible in order to be able to enjoy the music even in some thousand years from now or on a different planet, where there is no money, no television, and no heartache anymore.” I want to go to there.