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ZS

RIO/Avant-Prog • United States


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Zs picture
Zs biography
To categorise these guys is about as difficult as the music they play. ZS's music could be considered as a combination between Avant-Garde/Free Jazz and Math Rock, only with a clearly tidy and structured vibe to it. In addition, their music is also extremely dynamic but also repetetive and requires patience as the music can get frustratingly intense at times, but it's all very energetic and fun to listen to. Their songs are loaded with odd meters and time-signatures and several "start-stop-start" sections are present and plays a significant role in their overall sound, something that could compare them to several bands labeled as Math-Rock. The melodies are often odd, dissonant and unpredictable with heavy minimalistic elements while also being tightly arranged. Stylistically they are looseley akin to Keith Tippett projects, such as Ovary Lodge and Centipede (minus the piano) and the sax playing at times has the stylistics of Elton Dean (from Soft Machine). The minimalistic tendencies are obviously reminiscent of Ennio Morricone and Philip Glass, but often with the more rock-orientated form of minimalism played by Third-era Soft Machine. The band currently consists of Charlie Looker (synthesizer/guitar), Ben Greenberg (guitar), Sam Hillmer (saxophone), and Ian Antonio (drums) although the group have gone through several line-up changes since their formation in 2000. This band is absolutely recommended if you like wacky and both technical and challenging music. Especially for fans of bands like Orthrelm, Ruins and Hella. They are not easy listening by any means but they are absolutely worth checking out if you are into stuff like this, although it may take some time to digest their releases properly.


===Written by Bj-1===

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Buy ZS Music


Score: The Complete Sextet Works 2002-2007Score: The Complete Sextet Works 2002-2007
Box set
Northern Spy 2012
$19.82
$15.26 (used)
XeXe
Northern Spy Records 2015
$15.98
$56.87 (used)
New SlavesNew Slaves
THE SOCIAL REGISTRY 2010
$18.36
$21.00 (used)
GrainGrain
Northern Spy 2013
$13.97
$19.64 (used)
New Slaves by Zs (2010-05-11)New Slaves by Zs (2010-05-11)
THE SOCIAL REGISTRY
$45.61
Zs by ZsZs by Zs
Troubleman Unlimited
$36.64
Xe by Zs (2015-08-03)Xe by Zs (2015-08-03)
Northern Spy
$26.43
The Hard EP by Zs (2008-08-05)The Hard EP by Zs (2008-08-05)
Three-One-G
$14.07
$15.22 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
BILL MCGUFFIE BIG BAND S/T LP VINYL UK Rediffusion 1972 12 Track (Zs130) USD $6.59 Buy It Now
BELL, Archhie & DRELLS (Let's Groove ) TSOP ZS8 4775 = PROMOTIONAL USD $4.40 Buy It Now
BANJOS ARE BACK S/T LP VINYL UK Rediffusion 1971 12 Track (Zs91) USD $6.59 Buy It Now
GOOD OLD JANGLE DAYS S/T LP VINYL UK Rediffusion 1973 13 Track (Zs138) Sleeve USD $10.35 Buy It Now
PAMELA MILLER Home In New Orleans 7" VINYL USA Monument 1975 B/W Love (Zs88649) USD $6.59 Buy It Now
JUICY Bad Boy 7" VINYL USA Private I 1985 Demo Plays Same Both Sides (Zs405422) USD $5.53 Buy It Now
CYMARRON Rings 7" VINYL USA Entrance B/W Like Children (Zs77500) USD $4.15 Buy It Now
DAN HARTMAN Instant Replay 7" VINYL USA Blue Sky 1978 B/W Replayed (Zs8 2772) USD $4.15 Buy It Now
BABYFACE It's No Crime 7" VINYL USA Solar 1989 B/W Instrumental (Zs468966) USD $4.15 Buy It Now
ELVIN BISHOP GROUP So Fine 7" VINYL USA Fillmore Promo Mono B/W Stereo (Zs77002) USD $4.15 Buy It Now
ELO Shine A Little Love 7" VINYL USA Jet 1979 B/W Jungle (Zs85057) USD $5.53 Buy It Now
NEW WORLD Tom-Tom Turnaround 7" VINYL USA Rak 1971 B/W Lay Me Down (Zs74505) In USD $5.53 Buy It Now
L.A.EXPRESS Midnite Flite 7" VINYL USA Caribou 1976 B/W Shrug (Zs89014) In USD $5.53 Buy It Now
KANSAS Portrait 7" VINYL USA Kirshner 1978 B/w Lightning's Hand (zs84276) USD $6.59 Buy It Now
KANSAS Right Away 7" VINYL USA Kirshner 1982 B/W Windows (Zs503084) Pic Sleeve USD $6.59 Buy It Now
MARI GRIFFITH Welsh Folk LP VINYL UK Rediffusion 1973 20 Track (Zs131) USD $8.96 Buy It Now
KANSAS Lonely Wind 7" VINYL USA Kirshner 1978 B/W Song For America (Zs84280) In USD $5.53 Buy It Now
SUPERCHARGE After The Show 7" VINYL USA Virgin 1976 B/W Bad Time (Zs89513) USD $4.15 Buy It Now
JULIE ANTHONY China Blue 7" VINYL Australia Wizard 1981 B/W Lovers (Zs576) Pic USD $13.12 Buy It Now
O'JAYS Family Reunion 7" VINYL USA Philadelphia 1975 B/W Unity (Zs83596) In USD $5.53 Buy It Now
The Three Degrees/When Will I See You Again/Philadelphia International ZS8 3550 USD $8.00 Buy It Now
ISLEY BROTHERS I Wanna Be With You 7" VINYL USA Tneck 1979 B/W Part Ii (Zs82279) USD $6.59 Buy It Now
REDDINGS Class 7" VINYL USA Believe In A Dream 1981 B/W Main Nerve (Zs502437) USD $4.15 Buy It Now
BITE THE BULLET Finished With Love 7" VINYL USA Jet 1989 2 Track Demo (Zs468675) USD $5.54 Buy It Now
Stoneground - Family Album on Warner Bros. 2ZS 1956 Gatefold 2LP Stereo USD $39.99 Buy It Now
Slade - My Oh My - 1984 US Demo Vinyl 7" Single - CBS ZS4 04528 USD $6.59 Buy It Now
Gideon Smith 45 Arkansaw Wife '71 Country Rock Promo PHILADELPHIA INT ZS7 3501 USD $14.99 Buy It Now 2h
Freddy Staf ?- Freddy Staff, His Trumpet And Orchestra Vinyl LP ZS94 USD $13.19 Buy It Now 2h 26m
SPIRIT-ODE ZS7=122 PROMO PSYCH ROCK 45RPM DARK EYED WOMAN/NEW DOPE IN TOWN M- USD $12.95 Buy It Now 3h 7m
CELLARFUL OF NOISE I'd Walk The Line 7" 45 rpm White Label Promo PS ZS4 05432 USD $2.48 Buy It Now 5h 12m
Alton McClain - It Turns Me Inside Out 7" VG+/- ZS5 03193 Vinyl 45 1982 USD $25.00 Buy It Now 5h 14m
STEVE BENBOW & DENNY WRIGHT FRIENDLY FOLK 1972 REDIFFUSION ZS 102 EXCELLENT COND USD $10.68 Buy It Now 5h 15m
Lloyd Green - Sleep Walk 7" VG+ ZS7 8592 Vinyl 45 1973 USD $15.00 Buy It Now 5h 17m
The Charles Young Chorale - The Sweet & Swinging Sound of LP - ZS 68 - VG+ USD $9.23 Buy It Now 5h 41m
Xixa E Seu Conjunto - Brasilian Fiesta, Um Cavaquinho De Brasil (1972 LP. ZS117) USD $10.55 Buy It Now 5h 46m
ELEM,R BALáZS/B,LA SZAKCSI LAKATOS/JóZSEF BARCZA HORVáTH/CHRISTOPHE MONNIOT - AL USD $14.29 Buy It Now 6h 21m
1973 VG+ RARE Melvin Davis (2) You Made Me Over / I'm Worried ZS7 1259 45 USD $2.99 [0 bids]
7h 22m
1973 VG+ RARE Kris Kristofferson Why Me / Help Me ZS7 8571 45 USD $2.99 [0 bids]
7h 33m
Teddy Pendergrass, Turn Off The Lights - If You Know Like I Know, ZS8-3696 USD $4.80 Buy It Now 7h 33m
BILLY PAUL **Am I Black Enough For You** Funk Soul 45 on TSOP ZS7 3526 USD $10.00 Buy It Now 7h 40m
Pat & The Blenders ~ Hard Working Man ~ 1974 TSOP ZS8 4757 Excellent condition USD $7.99 [0 bids]
USD $10.45 Buy It Now
7h 53m
THREE DEGREES 45 WHEN WILL I SEE YOU AGAIN B/W YEAR OF DECISION VG+ PIR ZS8 3550 USD $4.00 Buy It Now 8h 32m
BILLY SWAN WAYS OF A WOMAN IN LOVE & I CAN HELP VINTAGE 45 RPM RECORD ZS8 8621 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 8h 48m
ELEM,R BALáZS/B,LA SZAKCSI LAKATOS/JóZSEF BARCZA HORVáTH/CHRISTOPHE MONNIOT - AL USD $15.52 Buy It Now 8h 52m
ZS 131 Mari Griffith's - Welsh Folk - UK 1973 Rediffusion LP USD $26.40 Buy It Now 9h 5m
80-45rpm, Pavillion Record ZS403963, Art In America by Art In America (band)NICE USD $5.00 [0 bids]
10h 8m
1972 VG-RARE Boots Randolph Lookin' / Alligator Annie ZS7-8534 45 USD $2.59 [0 bids]
11h 6m
Scottish Country Dancing LP. Rediffusion ZS 147. 1973. VG+ Vinyl. USD $1.98 [0 bids]
11h 54m
FULL MOON - RARE ROCK POP 45 PROMO - TO KNOW - DOUGLAS 7 ZS7 6506 USD $11.99 Buy It Now 12h 12m
Sharon Paige & Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes - Be For Real VG+ 7" ZS8 3569 USD $20.00 Buy It Now 12h 13m
Brick - Push Push / All The Way VG+ 7" Vinyl 45 Record USA 1980 Bang ZS9 4813 USD $12.00 Buy It Now 12h 29m
Xe - Zs CD-JEWEL CASE Free Shipping! USD $24.14 Buy It Now 13h 58m
ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA 7" VINYL DON'T BRING ME DOWN JET U.S. ZS9 5060 ELO " USD $9.17 Buy It Now 19h 3m
TEDDY PENDERGRASS YOU'RE MY LATEST 45 RPM KEEP ON LOVIN' ME ZS5 02619 USD $3.49 Buy It Now 1 day
ALBERT HAMMOND Down By The River b/w It Never Rains ZS86251 7" 45rpm Vinyl VG++ USD $4.99 Buy It Now 1 day
SUSAN LYNCH<>OFFICE LOVE<>45 Rpm,7" Vinyl ~USA Pressing~EPIC ZS5-02864 USD $12.15 Buy It Now 1 day
Children's Favourites (6430) 12" LP 1973 Rediffusion ZS 167 USD $11.35 Buy It Now 1 day
Marcus Lewis The Club / I Can Tell You 7" 45 rpm 1988 Aegis ZS4 08517 NM Vinyl USD $8.00 Buy It Now 1 day
THE DAYS ZS Self rare promo Electronic, Hip Hop LP USD $19.99 Buy It Now 1 day
KANSAS Fight Fire w/ Fire b/w Incident On A Bridge ZS404057 7" 45rpm Vinyl VG++ USD $3.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Survivor Eye Of The Tiger (16252) 7" Single 1982 Scotti Bros. ZS5 02912 USD $5.27 Buy It Now 1 day
ALEXANDER O'NEAL featuring Cherrelle : NEVER KNEW LOVE LIKE THIS : TABU : ZS4 07 USD $2.63 Buy It Now 1 day
BARBUSTERS (JOAN JETT) LIGHT OF DAY / ROADRUNNER 45 NM Blackheart ZS4-06692 1987 USD $7.95 Buy It Now 1 day
O'JAYS EXTRAORDINARY GIRL 7" DEMO PHILIDELPHIA ZS4 04437 USD $8.57 Buy It Now 1 day
O'JAYS MESSAGE IN OUR MUSIC 7" PHILIDELPHIA ZS8 3601 USD $8.57 Buy It Now 1 day
O'JAYS BRANDY 7" DEMO PHILIDELPHIA ZS8 3652 USD $8.57 Buy It Now 1 day
O'JAYS HURRY UP & COME BACK 7" DEMO PHILIDELPHIA ZS9 3101 USD $8.57 Buy It Now 1 day
SOUL 45 RPM RECORD- CAROLYN CRAWFORD - PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL ZS8 3553 USD $30.00 Buy It Now 1 day
MICKEY GILLEY -The Power Of Positive Drinkin Promo 45 (1978) ZS8 5826 VINYL 7 in USD $7.50 Buy It Now 1 day
45 RPM 7" Record Cellarful Of Noise Samantha 1988 CBS Records Promo ZS4 07731 USD $6.99 Buy It Now 1 day
SMALL FACES ITCHYCOO PARK/I'M ONLY DREAMING ZS7 501 1967 7" 45 SINGLE MOD PSYCH USD $4.18 Buy It Now 1 day
45 RPM 7" Record The Fabulous Thunderbirds How Do You Spell Love Promo ZS4 07602 USD $7.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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RICK DERRINGER Hang On Sloopy b/w Skyscraper Blues ZS8 2755 7" 45rpm Vinyl VG+ USD $4.99 Buy It Now 1 day
EDDIE CONDON 'Dixieland Dance Party' - ZS162 - Vinyl LP - UK 1973 Jazz - VG+/EX USD $11.81 Buy It Now 1 day
THE MILLS BROTHERS 'Opus One' - ZS 157 - Vinyl LP Album - UK 1973 Jazz - VG+/EX USD $13.13 Buy It Now 1 day
THE O'JAYS What Am I Waiting For 45 RPM Record G PI 1975 ZS8 3565 w/Sleeve USD $10.49 Buy It Now 1 day
Boomer Castleman - Judy Mae / Judy Mae 7" VG+ ZS8 6038 Vinyl 45 Promo USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1 day
The Road Apples - Let's Live Together 7" VG+ ZS8 6039 Vinyl 45 Promo USD $6.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Roxanne - Play That Funky Music / Over You 7" VG+ ZS4 07724 Vinyl 45 Promo USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1 day
KRISTOFFERSON, Kris (Jesse Younger) Monument zs7 8564 = PROMOTIONAL record USD $4.40 Buy It Now 1 day
KRISTOFFERSON, Kris (Loving Her Was Easier ) Monument ZS7 8525 USD $4.20 Buy It Now 1 day
KRISTOFFERSON, Kris; & Rita Coolidge (Rain) Monument ZS7 8630 = PROMO record USD $4.40 Buy It Now 1 day
ZS 111 SCHONHERR/VNOO waltzes from vienna uk rediffusion LP PS EX/EX USD $13.19 Buy It Now 1 day
Higgins - Zs (CD, Digipak, 2008, Serious Business Records) USD $6.49 Buy It Now 1 day
Ronnie Hawkins, Bo Diddley, Monument Records, ZS7 8573, DJ PROMO, Stereo USD $6.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Billy Lee Riley, I Got A Thing About You Baby, Entrance Promo ZS7-7508 USD $4.00 Buy It Now 1 day
JOAN JETT I Hate Myself For Loving You ZS4 07919 45rpm Vinyl USD $5.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Toni Wine, Long Distance Kissin', Entrance Promo 45rpm ZS7-7510 USD $6.40 Buy It Now 1 day
Brick, Dancin' Man - We'll Love, Bang Records ZS8-4804 USD $3.20 Buy It Now 1 day
Isley Brothers, Live It Up Part 1 and Part 2, T-Neck Records ZS8-2254 USD $4.00 Buy It Now 1 day
EX+ SURVIVOR EYE OF THE TIGER USA SCOTTI BROS GOLDEN SERIES 7 INCH ZS8 06446 EAR USD $6.60 Buy It Now 1 day
SCOTT McKENZIE San Francisco / What's The Difference '67 ZS7-103 ODE 45 VG+ USD $2.50 [0 bids]
1 day
Pete Moore Orchestra ?- Exciting Sounds Of Tomorrow LP - RIM ZS 35 - Ex USD $17.15 Buy It Now 1 day
Cherrelle Affair 7" Tabu ZS468568 EX 1988 US pressing, demo, Affair/Affair USD $8.57 Buy It Now 2 days
EX+ Soul 45 : Jackey Beavers ~ Lover Come Back ~ Sound Stage 7 ZS7 1502 USD $50.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Play The Game Tonight by Kansas ZS5 02903 Kirshner Records 45 rpm PROMO USD $13.19 Buy It Now 2 days
1973 MARI GRIFFITH'S WELSH FOLK REDIFFUSION ZS 131 Made in ENGLAND VG+ USD $4.95 Buy It Now 2 days
BILLY SWAN-c-(45)-I CAN HELP / WAYS OF A WOMAN IN LOVE - MONUMENT-ZS8-8621 -1974 USD $8.99 Buy It Now 2 days
(6) 45 RPM Lot L-3213 ZS95522 1187 F-937 RA-2026 RA-2028 All VG+ To Nr Mint USD $2.95 Buy It Now 2 days

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ZS discography


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

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

2.85 | 4 ratings
Zs
2003
3.41 | 9 ratings
Arms
2007
3.39 | 10 ratings
New Slaves
2010
2.92 | 3 ratings
Grain
2013
3.93 | 21 ratings
Xe
2015

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

4.50 | 2 ratings
Buck
2007

ZS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

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

4.00 | 1 ratings
Karate Bump
2005
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Hard
2008
3.09 | 2 ratings
Music of the Modern White
2009

ZS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Grain by ZS album cover Studio Album, 2013
2.92 | 3 ratings

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Grain
Zs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Lewa

3 stars ZS's most electronic album yet, even more abstract that previous efforts.

Grain features only two long tracks of about 20 minutes and has tons of distortion, drones, harsh electronics, sound manipulation and loops.

What drums and bells there are, are low in the mix buried under all the electronics. There seems to be a bit of saxophone, but it is distorted and almost indiscernible from the electronics.

The repetition typical for ZS releases is still present but both tracks seem more improvised, less structured and even less accessible than tracks on previous albums. This could almost be a remix album of previous ZS efforts. An appreciation for electronic sound manipulation is required to like it.

Overall this is recommended to fans of the band. First time listeners of ZS would probably have an easier time starting with Xe (or Arms or New Slaves).

 Arms by ZS album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.41 | 9 ratings

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Arms
Zs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Lewa

3 stars Sounds like a mix of Satie and math rock done with saxophone as the leading instrument.

There are drums, sax, guitar, keyboards/effects and vocals on this album.

Saxophone, drums and vocals are mostly played or sung in bursts. There is very little conventional drumming. The drums mostly follow the saxophone and accompany its most prominent notes by a drum burst. Other than that there's no rhythm. The guitar and keyboards are mainly used to produce noise.

The music is grounded in repetitive blasts and minimalist music seems to have been an inspiration. Phrases and musical fragments start, get repeated, stop and are maybe revisited later and probably repeated again. There is no gradual change or gradual building of anything. The whole album is a start-stop affair of bursts and phrases that are repeated a (seemingly) random number of times.

Regarding compositional style, the most similar piece I can think of is "Cinema: entr'acte symphonique de Relache" by Eric Satie. In rock music terms it does sound like math rock without drumming, where the saxophone replaces the guitar as the lead instrument.

This is especially recommended to listeners who really like Eric Satie (outside of the piano pieces) and can stand some heavyness and noise rock.

 New Slaves by ZS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.39 | 10 ratings

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New Slaves
Zs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Lewa

3 stars Three main ingredients of previous albums are present here to about the same degree: Noise, improvisation and repetition of phrases (where phrases are discernible).

New is the heavy use of distorted guitar, that often drone out everything else, and more electronic effects. Due to this, "New Slaves" seems (to me) sonically more like other noise releases and a bit less unique than the preceding EP.

Parts of the album seem free and others highly structured. This, as well as the heavy use of repetition, makes for an interesting release in the end.

New slaves is recommended to listeners who like free jazz, noise rock and minimalism and want to listen to it at the time.

 Music of the Modern White by ZS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2009
3.09 | 2 ratings

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Music of the Modern White
Zs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Lewa

3 stars For noise rock and free jazz enthusiasts. Includes organic instrumentation and everyday sound imitations.

This album is more noisy, free and disjointed and seems a lot more improvised than previous Zs releases. It is essentially a mix of free jazz and noise soundscape.

I'm not an expert on the noise genre but I believe this might stand out from some other releases because of the instrumentation. Other noise releases (that I know of) seem to rely more heavily on electronics than this album. (This impression might be due to my limited genre knowledge, though.)

The main instruments here are drums, guitar and saxophone.

Other than that, I am unsure to what degree synthesizers/electronics are involved. Sound effects might be played on guitar.

Imitating various everyday noises seems to be a bit of a theme.

I believe I noticed the guitar (probably) try bees, (probably) honking car and (probably) motorcycle while the drums (probably) did machine gun and (probably) heavy rainfall.

The saxophone is the most versatile and tries to (probably) simulate a windy day and (probably) play a car that does not start, (probably) sound like a chainsaw and (probably) imitate a seagull and (probably) sound like various insects.

The rest is, well, noise.

 Xe by ZS album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.93 | 21 ratings

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Xe
Zs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by LearsFool
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

5 stars Somewhere between the recent post-punk revival and modern avant-prog lies Zs. These modern day pronks mix a very sparse guitar sound that mixes with use of horns that are unmistakably RIO-derived. The guitar lines go on and on and on, with the horns variously attacking like Peter Brotzmann's kind of free jazz, or playing along or in the background like a sickly corruption of smooth, urban feeling jazz, easily in part by way of Henry Cow. The minimalism only helps this album sound ever stranger, which is exactly where it needs to be. The artfulness of the result is best shown by the long, jaw-dropping "Corps" and title track, and how. Easily a front-runner not just for avant-prog album of the year, but for album of the year in general.
 New Slaves by ZS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.39 | 10 ratings

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New Slaves
Zs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by progadicto

4 stars I really enjoy ZS albums and I'm expecting to get in my hands their latest release as soon as possible. At least for me they make a very singular kind of avant garde mixing a lot of known elements and influences to make some really interesting tracks full of surprising moments perhaps this one is an album a little different from their previous releases (because the constant presence of distorted instruments) I got to say that this one is a very weird but nice piece of experimental music. So meanwhile I wait for their new album I consider necessary to give another listen to "New Slaves", one of their most experimental releases.

"New Slaves" starts with "Concert Black" a kind of clock-rhythmical intro (at least for avant garde standards) layed by a mysterious atmosphere which matches with the complex work of distorted guitars and weird effects into an almost minimalist composition.

Next comes "Acres of Skin", a song based on tribal percussions as base for intricated distored instrumental sections. Dark atmospheres repeats here but with a strong emphasys on hard rhythmical sections and distorted and screamig sax.

Third is "Gentleman Amateur" in which distorted sounds takes definetively the lead even constructing a loud wall of minimal harmonics that repeats on "Don't Touch Me" in which ZS reaches a strong paronoid atmosphere full of distorted effects and metalic percussions playing repetitive but changing schizoid sections.

"Masonry" is the first song of the álbum which has some relation with the previous ZS releases. Is a quiet but dark song base don a slow rhythmical base and some atmospherical effects.

Then we have "New Slaves" and we ge tinto the most deep ocean of musical and atmospherical textures that ZS can give us. Some guitars "a la Frohmader" filling any quiet space and possible silences, repetitive rhythmical sections, slow but constant movements between some hard and raw sax solos? All of this elements turns this 20 minutes song into a real dark deep journey crossed by one of the most dense musical expressions that I've heard lately, reminding me some Henry Cow and Ne Zhdali best moments.

"Black Crown Ceremony" (Parts I and II) are the epilog for this album. Here ZS mixes quiet but still dark atmospheres with distorted sax and guitars building different sound layers that explodes in some really chilling moments.

At least for me it's the kind of avant garde that I really enjoy. Maybe not for all ears but surely a piece which deserves a place into any RIO discography? 4*

 Zs by ZS album cover Studio Album, 2003
2.85 | 4 ratings

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Zs
Zs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by progadicto

3 stars Zs first album it just a nice preview of what these guys do since 2003.

Like many first attempts, "Zs" has some lack of originalty perhaps is a good avant garde album. Reminiscences of the more experimental bands of the genre could be found easily in every song of this album but Zs has his stuff. Between scales and harmonies that looks like 5uu's or Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic outtakes, you can find some dark and addictive style related to build complex and progressive melodies in order to create oppresive atmospheres. "Mimesis" is the climax of this attempts; a quiet but thrilling track in which we can find the genesis of the singular Zs sound that we discover in their late production.

Not the best of this band but a kind of necessary prologue of the complex wotk of these guys. And of course, "Mimesis" is a worth to listen piece, really amazing and captivating... 3+*...

 Arms by ZS album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.41 | 9 ratings

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Arms
Zs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Chris H
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The maxi-minimalists?

Zs is a band that was formed in 2000 in New York, in the heart of the brutal chamber scene. However, one would challenge themselves day and night trying to name a genre that fits the style these guys play. One listen to this album and you will say they play one style, then listen to it again and you will say a different one. There is just no way to peg one single genre onto this album. It's too ugly and raw for jazz music, too complicated for minimalist music however too simple to be called avant-garde.

Arms is the first full-length studio album from this band, following up on two successful EP's and predating a live release, both recorded last year in 2007. If you are reading this review because you are looking for something that resembles music, I warn you to turn back now. Zs is not a band that plays music, Zs is a band that records art. Vocals are used sparingly, but they create a deep impact on the album, especially the chanting in Except When You Don't Because You Wont. Combined with the beating percussions, this piece could almost put you in a trance-like state. Also the vocals on I Can't Concentrate really sky-rocket the song itself and the album to a whole new level.

From the opening saxophone explosion of B Is For Burning, to the last shake of the tambourine on Z Is For The Zone, there is no let up on this album. Although sometimes the music may quiet down or shift itself, the thrills keep coming back. One mistake I do think that Zs might have made in their debut is the length of the album. They do a great job playing their repetitive, trance inducing music throughout the duration of the album, but towards the end the listener will tend to settle back into their seat rather than still be on the edge. Music like this needs to be full-out for a certain length and then stop without rest.

All in all, a very strong debut and one of the best in 2007. Work on those endings and the next Zs studio album will most likely be a winner!

 Arms by ZS album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.41 | 9 ratings

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Arms
Zs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by chamberry
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Calling this cerebral is an understatement.

Earlier this year, around summer, when I was discovering highly convoluted and elaborate music, I stumbled upon a band that was simply named "Zs". I remember reading an article about a little musical movement called "brutal prog" where bands like Upsilon Acrux, The Flying Luttenbachers and even Orthrelm are part of, or so the author of the article claims. Zs was the band labeled as "brutal chamber" and being a fan of this kind of music I didn't hesitated to check them out. The music does remind me of the previously mentioned bands so this is recommended for fans of this kind of music, especially fans of Orthrelm's Ov.

Zs' music takes parts of minimalism, chamber music, rock, jazz and mesh it to sound as ugly and dissonant as possible! This leaves no room for emotions so I hope that that isn't a problem. The music is repetitive and angular with disjointed and awkward sounding melodies wrapped with start / stop dynamics in every single moment of the album. Vocals aren't present on this album but in one song, "Nobody Wants To Be Had" which is one of the album's peak moments particularly because of its odd singing and even odder topic. This song in particular is the one that attracted me the most from them since it's the most easily rewarding song on the album as well as being a good representation of their sound. The only song that can top this one is "I Can't Concentrate" with its math rock-like song structure and long running time. Balk is an interesting song, it isn't as engaging as the ones before and after it, but the main melody is almost exactly the same as Faust's song called "So Far". This hasn't been affirmed by the members of Zs and it's only a little observation of mine so ignore it at will.

Zs' music is inaccessible and hard to grasp. Newcomers should keep away from this band, but Veterans should check Zs' as soon as possible. Arms is an elaborate and intriguing album that Avant-garde music fans will highly enjoy. The only problem here is "Z is for Zone" which isn't up to par with the rest of the material on the album and overstays its welcome, but this is still an enjoyable album.

3.5 out of 5

Thanks to avestin for the artist addition.

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