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GROUND ZERO

RIO/Avant-Prog • Japan


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Ground Zero biography
Fronted by Freeform turntablist, guitarist Otomo Yoshihide, Ground Zero was yet another project for one of Japans most prolific musical geniuses of the modern era. Originally formed in 1990 as a changeable line up, the band has seen numerous line-ups; which are near impossible to keep check on as each year passes by. Not to mention the flood of live shows. Now defunct, Ground Zero went on to release more than a hand full of albums of the highest standard from 1993 - 1999. Though relatively short lived the band never cessed to stun and batter our minds with some of the most spectacular and captivating avant-rock/noise/free Jazz to ever escape the Japanese shores. Throughout their career the band was solidified around three set line-ups, along with the continuos influx of guest musicians.
Their early period: Otomo, Hirose, Chino, Kimoto, Uemura and Sasaki. Mid period: Otomo, Uchihashi, Nasuno, Uemura, Yoshigaki and Sachiko M
Late period (now an 8 piece set up): Otomo, Uchihashi, Nasuno, Uemura, Yoshigaki, Sachiko M, Kikuchi and Tanaka. One of the most important factors residing in Ground Zero's music is the usages and formation of samples. Most of their albums focus around a selection of specific scores of music, moulded into Otomo's noisy and stylistic interpretations. The samples come from far and wide, ranging from the Revolutionary Pekinese Opera of China to the Free Jazz of Kaoura Abe.

By 1995 Ground Zero started to bring their acclaim to a more worldwide audience with their second album 'Null and Void'; released on John Zorn's own label Tzadik. This album set the benchmark of the traditional Ground style and formula, acting as a stepping-stone to more fully developed compositions in the future.
With the dawn of 1997 came 'Plays Standards'. We find Otomo interpreting in a more personalised fashion, formulating a more song-orientated album, while still lending a health does of noise doused insanity. Also released in the same year, was 'Consume Red'. Sited as the bands greatest moment, it was to be one of the last full releases before the band broke up. With this release we are grace with the fullest realisation of Otomo's unique sampling techniques. Based around samples of a Korean Hojok player (instrument sounding like extreme bagpipes), we are engulfed with 60mins of non-stop looped drone, which drags us further and further into dense and terrifying realms as the piece comes into full realisation. Ground Zero was to play their l...
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GROUND ZERO discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

GROUND ZERO top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.60 | 5 ratings
Ground Zero
1993
3.40 | 5 ratings
Null & Void
1995
3.71 | 7 ratings
Revolutionary Pekinese Opera, Version 1.28
1996
0.00 | 0 ratings
Revolutionary Pekinese Opera Ver.1.50
1996
4.42 | 12 ratings
Plays Standards
1997
4.04 | 7 ratings
Consume Red
1997
0.00 | 0 ratings
Conflagration
1997
0.00 | 0 ratings
Consummation
1998
0.00 | 0 ratings
Last Concert
1999

GROUND ZERO Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Live 1992 +
2007

GROUND ZERO Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

GROUND ZERO Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

GROUND ZERO Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

GROUND ZERO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Consume Red by GROUND ZERO album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.04 | 7 ratings

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Consume Red
Ground Zero RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Smegcake!

5 stars Well, I don't personally know what I think about this. It's progressive music on brave, uncharted ground (at least, it was uncharted in the 1990s comparatively). Noise, perhaps the most vilified of genres in music, still holds some level of respectability in the development of music in the post-modernist age. If we didn't have Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music, we wouldn't have the noise genre, at least not to the truly huge extent we do now. Say what you will about its artistic credability - that it inspired nearly an entire genre through its dissonant guitar feedback riddled 64 minute double vinyl (packaged as a live album which was expensive at the time, heh), speaks for itself. If Metal Machine Music was the inspiration, then Consume Red is noise taken to its logical extreme. It is another single song album, like MMM, except rather then seemingly 'random' chunks of feedback riddling its length, instead we have a single, piercing sample, looped over and over for the length of the piece. Now, if I said that this single sample barely changed over the course of the albums length, that would, for a large majority of you - signal that this is probably not going to be your cup of tea. True, noise music contains some of the most abrasive sound one could expect, just wade through Merzbow's discography and take a pick. But what makes Consume Red such an experience, despite its daunting length, inability to simply skip through the parts - is that it represents a slow, ever so slow build upon this almost unchanging sample - there are subtle manipulations to begin with. In the first five minutes we begin to get feedback, some squeals and groans against the still pure and almost hypnotising sample of a sacred Korean instrument known as a hojok. They copped some controversy for the blatant sampling, but it has since passed. Moving forward, the first 15 minutes appear uneventful. The feedback, despite being abrupt and sudden, is still consciously building up. There is motion and with it, a forceful burst of life. Drums begin to emerge. Saxophone, and various other instruments begin to peak from among the sample. They merge and interweave, break away and disappear, then reappear completely different. Just to be aware - this is not the impression you will likely get on first listen. Suddenly, the building noise reaches a climax at the twenty fifth minute, where the true 'noise' aspect of the piece finally shows up. The drums burst erratically, the saxophone churns out an almost indiscernable tune, the bass noodles beneath and rises with the drum beats - there is a lot going on. And still, underneath this now imposing wall of sound, the sample plays on. There feels like there is no limit to the places that you can seek out in this world of noise. At times I felt like there were even voices and nature sounds spread amongst this piece. The drum beat settles from the thirty minute mark to a far more polished and almost top tappy segment for the next fifteen minutes, where the sample, drums, bass, guitar and all the other instruments however slight they contribute - push forward the piece to its final ten minutes. Here, the piece finally starts to wear down, the noise cascades and crumbles in the same breath, the hojok sample plays on, but grows at times indiscernable behind the cacophony. Suddenly, with four minutes left, everything seems to stop, except the feedback, which rises and falls, as if the hojok still accompanies it, then fades to silence.

This probably doesn't do justice to the piece. But as is expected, it's either a love it or hate it work. If the description above puts you off, I say, give it a listen regardless. It is an experience. And even if it is not one that you enjoy, I believe that music should exercise all the emotional responses you have - and throughout this singular, evolving and involving work, you can expect it to exercise a lot of them.

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 Consume Red by GROUND ZERO album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.04 | 7 ratings

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Consume Red
Ground Zero RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Renkls

4 stars Having trawled this site for a few years now, I can safely say that I believe that prog has well and truly shown the ability to argument itself with just about any genre, style and concept piece. Ground Zero's Consume Red illustrates one such extreme of genre mixing, being avant prog with noise music. Ultimately, what makes this piece so seminal to noise affectionados, I can only assume, is the consistent building soundscape and atomsphere, driven on by a continuous Korean hojok, which ultimately never changes throughout the epic, 57 minute piece, more develops as the sounds around it take hold, until the ultimate result is that the hojok becomes indistingushable amidst the onslaught of saxophone, guitars, feedback and drums. I will admit, I am not yet a noise fan, but this album has grown on me in ways I hadn't expected. I mean, it's been a good year and a half since I discovered this - and I outright despised it, couldn't get past the length, repetitions of the hojok, and feedback elements.

Now, my opinion couldn't have changed more. I think prog music has opened the door to new and more complex/challenging musical experiences. And Consume Red most definitely fits the bill in both respects. Recommended for fans of noise and all adventurous participants in prog music. Quite possibly not the easiest album to listen to, or the best introduction to the genre, but it has made a deep impression on me, and inspires me to look further into an often ignored, but legitimate genre of music.

For now, it's a four star effort. May rise or fall, but most likely the former, seeing as it's a grower.

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 Consume Red by GROUND ZERO album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.04 | 7 ratings

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Consume Red
Ground Zero RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Asphalt

5 stars Consume Red is without a doubt one of the most rewarding experiences I have encountered. It may also be one of the most polarizing albums around, given the fact that people who like this, consider it a work of genius, and people who dislike it hate it passionately. As this review will show, I have become part of the first bunch, as this album grew on me like few have before it.

This is one of those one-track albums, and you might be tempted to believe it's a sprawling epic. Only it's not. It's pretty hard to explain what it actually is. According to some, unbearable noise. According to myself, an exercise in the exploration of sonic boundaries (although the two are not really self-exclusive, some may note). To put it in a descriptive manner, this track consists basically of a sample of an instrument called hojok from a traditional Korean opera (a very distinctive sound that you may grow to love) that is played over and over again, serving as a basis for building of the music. As the song progresses, scratches, percussion, guitars are slowly added in a seemingly erratic manner, until the whole thing finally explodes. The best thing is - it keeps on exploding for about twenty minutes afterwords. Saxophone, guitars, bass, and drums all tumbling in a menacing swirl until it finally crashes. For about ten minutes or so.

Breaking it down, it doesn't really give you the full picture of what it sounds like. You'd have to (try to) listen it yourselves. But I would say it is culturally significant for a number of reasons, ranging from its particular and extensive use of a sample (and the interesting scandal that followed, leading to a free culture debate) to the construction/deconstruction exercise of a musical piece while also encompassing the amazing use of soundscapes and textures. I find that this album cannot simply be anything else but a masterpiece of progressive music, where that is understood as music that is meant to take a step forward and challenge you, intellectually and emotionally. And while I am sure Consume Red may not appeal to those of you who are looking foremost for melody and harmony in music, it is without a doubt the one example you should have in your collection of music that challenges you constantly and of which you will never get bored very soon.

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 Consume Red by GROUND ZERO album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.04 | 7 ratings

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Consume Red
Ground Zero RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars My interest in checking out this band came from Mitsuru Nasuno's involvement. He also plays bass for KOREKYOJIN a band I like a lot. I didn't realise though that GROUND ZERO are a band that create soundscpaes through samples, experimental sounds, turntables and the traditional bass, drums,sax and guitars.To say this was different is a big understatement. There are those who feel this is a masterpiece, and who am I to argue not knowing this kind of music very well at all. To be clear to everyone, this isn't about melody but about soundscapes. I knew something was up when for 25 minutes all I heard was what sounded like dual sax blasts that were off set slightly, and after those two blasts would be some experimental noises each time. For 25 minutes ! Yes I thought of Finnforest but decided not to fire the cd out the window. After 25 minutes the sound inbetween became constant, with the sax blasts still coming and going the same way.

My favourite section came when the drums arrived heavily 30 minutes in and continued for 14 minutes. I like that part a lot. When the drums stopped a wall of sound came in with the sax blasts still coming but relegated to the background thankfully. At this point I quit clenching my teeth and squinting my eyes. The sax finally stops 53 minutes in with only 4 minutes left in the song. The last 4 minutes is made up of electronic noise and dissonance. At this point i'm asking "Where did the sax go ?"

Ok it wasn't as bad as I make out, in fact it was quite good. Not my cup of java though.

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