ZWERG, Played Wits (Waspy Mic Mac Records) [REVERB Magazine October, 2000]
By Lezlie Lowe

Itís been two years since Iíve heard a new disc from Monctonite Jason Betts, AKA Zwerg (though Iím pretty sure I missed a full-length in the interim). Back then, Betts handed the world Sepsis, a seven song collection of classical piano and chilling, severe voice. It was a highly enjoyable disc, intricate and interesting, and though its sounds were so mixed and messed and combined, it was an easy listen. As complex as it was, Sepsis required no striving to digest. And ditto for Bettsí latest Zwerg project, Played Wits. The difference is this: I suspect Betts has undergone some major physical transformation since Sepsis. I think heís become a robot. At least it suits him.

Played Wits is synth to the core. Where the Zwerg musical equation once included bass, guitar and percussion, now there are keyboards, vocals and programming Ė all from Betts himself. And again, I insist, itís suitable.

Played Witsí songs run from straight up ballads (OK, OK, Zwerg-esque ballads with plenty of noise), like ďAt ThingvellirĒ to the Space-Invaders rock of ďFrom Nome to NainĒ to the full-on pop of ďRed-Feathered Sunshine.Ē Itís a sweet mix of music, like nothing Iíve ever heard before. And thatís not so much because Betts submits himself relentlessly to the Ď80s sound, but because he submits himself so relentlessly to whatever sounds heís making at a given time.

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