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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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XeXe
Northern Spy Records 2015
Vinyl$12.99
$59.00 (used)
New SlavesNew Slaves
THE SOCIAL REGISTRY 2010
Audio CD$37.92
$21.00 (used)
Score: The Complete Sextet Works 2002-2007Score: The Complete Sextet Works 2002-2007
Box set
Northern Spy 2012
Audio CD$16.53
$11.11 (used)
GrainGrain
Northern Spy 2013
Audio CD$5.26
$2.90 (used)
The Hard EPThe Hard EP
EP
Three-One-G 2008
Audio CD$2.75
$2.71 (used)
ZsZs
EP · Limited Edition
Troubleman Unlimited 2003
Audio CD$10.93
$8.98 (used)
Xe by Zs (2015-08-03)Xe by Zs (2015-08-03)
Northern Spy
Audio CD$232.32
The Hard EP by Zs (2008-08-05)The Hard EP by Zs (2008-08-05)
Three-One-G
Audio CD$39.54
New Slaves by Zs (2010-05-11)New Slaves by Zs (2010-05-11)
The Social Registry
Audio CD$81.32
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
SOUL 45 RPM RECORD- CAROLYN CRAWFORD - PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL ZS8 3553 USD $30.00 Buy It Now 3h 4m
BILL McGUFFIE LP- GENTLE SOUNDS RIM ZS 36 USD $8.71 [0 bids]
3h 55m
45 RPM 7" Record Cellarful Of Noise Samantha 1988 CBS Records Promo ZS4 07731 USD $6.99 Buy It Now 4h 7m
45 RPM 7" Record The Fabulous Thunderbirds How Do You Spell Love Promo ZS4 07602 USD $7.99 Buy It Now 4h 31m
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Scott McKenzie"San Francisco&What's The Difference"Rare Pop Rock 45 Ode ZS7-103 USD $8.00 [0 bids]
USD $10.50 Buy It Now
7h 47m
ZS 111 SCHONHERR/VNOO waltzes from vienna uk rediffusion LP PS EX/EX USD $13.69 Buy It Now 9h 3m
SID PHILIPS AND HIS GREAT JAZZ BAND clarinet marmalade ZS 142 uk LP PS EX/EX USD $13.69 Buy It Now 9h 5m
Ronnie Hawkins, Bo Diddley, Monument Records, ZS7 8573, DJ PROMO, Stereo USD $6.00 Buy It Now 9h 57m
DERRINGER-LAWYERS, GUNS & MONEY 1978 BLUE SKY RECORDS 7" PROMO 45 ZS8 2770 VG++ USD $4.99 Buy It Now 10h 24m
JOAN JETT I Hate Myself For Loving You ZS4 07919 45rpm Vinyl USD $5.99 Buy It Now 10h 58m
Small Faces Itchy cop Park / I'm Only Dreaming Immediate ZS7 501 VG 45 USD $2.00 Buy It Now 11h 33m
The Beatles "Sgt. Pepper's Special" Rare Japan Only CD #ZS-9105 W/OBI. USD $32.39 Buy It Now 14h 11m
IK * ZS (3)/FLUTE SOLOS/MOVEMENT SOUNDS USED - VERY GOOD CD USD $4.71 Buy It Now 14h 22m
IK * ZS (3)/FLUTE SOLOS/MOVEMENT SOUNDS NEW CD USD $8.16 Buy It Now 14h 58m
The Stan Greig Trio(Vinyl LP)Boogie Woogie-Rediffusion-ZS 116-UK-1972-VG+/VG+ USD $24.65 Buy It Now 18h 45m
The Lou Whiteson Orchestra : Masterpieces : Vinyl Album : RIM Records : RIM ZS9 USD $8.46 Buy It Now 20h 9m
Unmistakably LP 1st ZS.55 (Billy Ternent & His Orchestra - 1111) (ID:14767) USD $18.65 Buy It Now 20h 13m
Chicago and all that jazz zs 27 (sid phillips band - 1970) (ID:14767) USD $12.00 Buy It Now 20h 13m
Bill McGuffie An Alto And Some Brass vinyl LP album record UK ZS48 REDIFFUSION USD $14.89 Buy It Now 20h 40m
Dan Hartman Instant Replay 7" vinyl single record USA ZS82772 BLUE SKY 1978 USD $13.64 Buy It Now 21h 35m
SOUNDS LIKE HITS No. 11 Rediffusion RIM ZS 46 1970 Music for Pleasure USD $4.98 [0 bids]
21h 53m
Cherrelle Affair 7" Tabu ZS468568 EX 1988 US pressing, demo, Affair/Affair USD $8.08 Buy It Now 22h
Dave Shepherd Mr. Shepherd Plays Mr. Goodman UK vinyl LP album record ZS30 USD $26.10 Buy It Now 22h 16m
KEITH LAMB WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE / 9 TO 5ER ZS-183 SINGLE 7" 1977 USD $18.67 Buy It Now 23h 12m
LES GOCK EVERYWHERE I GO / FALLING IN LOVE AGAIN ZS-182 SINGLE 7" 1977 USD $18.67 Buy It Now 23h 14m
Bunny Sigler on PIR demo ZS8 3608 in VG + condition Somebody loves you /Same USD $3.99 Buy It Now 23h 19m
The Crickets - Vocal by Sonny Curtis, True Love Ways, Barnaby DJ PROMO ZS7 2061 USD $9.00 Buy It Now 1 day
1976 100 PROOF AGED IN SOUL MY PIECE OF THE ROCK WLP PROMO 45 HOT WAX ZS8 9254 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
1977 ELLIOTT RANDALL SAMANTHA PROMO 45 KIRSHNER ZS8 4271 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
1976 THE SANDS OF TIME TRIBUTE TO THE BEACH BOYS '76 PROMO 45 KIRSHNER ZS8 4263 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
1976 KANSAS WHAT'S ON MY MIND PROMO 45 KIRSHNER ZS8 4270 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
1975 KANSAS IT TAKES A WOMAN'S LOVE (TO MAKE A MAN) PROMO 45 KIRSHNER ZS8 4259 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
1976 THE KIDS FROM C.A.P.E.R WHEN IT HIT ME PROMO 45 KIRSHNER ZS8 4266 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
1976 TOM DAMPHIER MISTER RADIO MAN PROMO 45 KIRSHNER ZS8 4264 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
1974 KANSAS LONELY WIND / BRINGING IT BACK PROMO 45 KIRSHNER ZS8 4256 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
1977 ELLIOTT RANDALL HIGH ON LOVE PROMO 45 KIRSHNER ZS8 4269 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
1975 KANSAS SONG FOR AMERICA PROMO 45 KIRSHNER ZS8 4258 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
1978 KANSAS LONELY WIND PROMO 45 KIRSHNER ZS8 4280 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Brick All The Way 7" 45 Bang ZS9 4810 1980 Vinyl USD $4.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Kana Kapiolani - The Magic of Hawaii - vinyl LP - Rediffusion ZS 104 N/Mint USD $9.95 Buy It Now 1 day
Teddy Pendergrass - It's You I Love 7" 45 Vinyl VG+ Stereo 1979 Funk ZS9 3742 USD $10.00 Buy It Now 1 day
BLOODSTONE Go On And Cry + instrumental 45 VG++ US 1982 TNeck ZS5 03049 USD $12.98 Buy It Now 1 day
Beau Coup Still In My Heart 7" 45 Rock'N'Roll ZS4 04632 1984 Vinyl USD $6.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Widow New Romance 7" 45 CBS ZS4 05661 1985 Vinyl USD $4.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Teddy Pendergrass I Can't Live Without Your Love 7" 45 PhiladeLPhia ZS5 02462 USD $4.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Stoneground - Family Album, Warner Bros. 2ZS 1956, 1971 Stereo LP USD $25.00 Buy It Now 1 day
AUM Aum + Little Brown Hen 45 US 1970 Fillmore ZS7 7001 USD $13.98 Buy It Now 1 day
GIANT SUNFLOWER What's So Good About Good 45 US Ode ZS7-104 USD $8.98 Buy It Now 1 day
ROAD APPLES Let's Live Together + instrumental 45 EX US 1975 Mums ZS8 6039 USD $12.98 Buy It Now 1 day
MICHAEL RABON Love Is Just A Song 45 EX US 1976 Zodiac ZS-1012 USD $14.98 Buy It Now 1 day
EBONYS It's Forever - dj m/s 45 EX US 1932 dj Phila International ZS7 3529 USD $14.98 Buy It Now 1 day
EBONYS Life In The Country - dj 45 US 1973 dj Phila International ZS7 3548 USD $13.98 Buy It Now 1 day
Rosanella Love's Country LP RIM ZS42 (Rosanella - 1970) (ID:14775) USD $8.08 Buy It Now 1 day
New Slaves Part Ii: Essence Implosion! - Zs (Vinyl Used Very Good) USD $6.99 Buy It Now 1 day
John Cafferty (Where The Action Is) C-I-T-Y (Scotti Bros ZS4-05452)7" 45 EX 1985 USD $7.00 Buy It Now 1 day
ZS8-2261 COLUMBIA 45rpm record ISLEY BROTHERS Harvest For The World 1976 USD $7.58 Buy It Now 1 day
ZS8 9505 VIRGIN 45rpm Record MIKE OLDFIELD On Horseback/Theme From Ommadawn 1975 USD $7.58 Buy It Now 1 day
ZS7 4253 COLUMBIA 45rpm record KANSAS Can I Tell You + The Pilgrimage 1974 USD $7.58 Buy It Now 1 day
45rpm~BABYFACE,The~Tender Lover ?Vinyl 7" Record ?1989 ?ZS4-74003 Solar ?EXC USD $2.00 Buy It Now 1 day
EDDIE CONDON - Dixieland Jazz Party - Excellent Con LP Record Rediffusion ZS 162 USD $11.20 Buy It Now 1 day
SAMMY JONES AND THE RUM RUNNERS "Reggae on my Mind " 1970 UK LP RIM ZS47 USD $11.20 Buy It Now 1 day
silhouettes of success howard blaikley orchestra LP 1968 rediffusion RIM ZS3 USD $6.22 Buy It Now 1 day
SPIRIT 1984 / Sweet Stella Baby 7" 45 rpm ODE ZS7-128 USD $2.48 Buy It Now 1 day
Rosanella Love's Country LP RIM ZS42 (Rosanella - 1970) (ID:14775) USD $12.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Flamenco Virtuoso LP ZS 127 (Philip John Lee - 1972) (ID:14791) USD $22.02 Buy It Now 1 day
Stomp, Rags And Blues LP ZS 110 (Sid Phillips Band - 1972) (ID:14793) USD $12.00 Buy It Now 1 day
ZS 75 Binge Saxophone Concerto etc. / Voss / Binge USD $4.97 Buy It Now 1 day
steppenwolf 7" straight shootin woman/justice don't.. zs8 6031 vg+/m- USD $4.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Crest Of Zs-Toushin No Monshou - Jam Project (Used Very Good) USD $4.97 Buy It Now 2 days
NORTHERN SOUL 45 RPM RECORD - BROCKINGTON SINGERS - TSOP ZS8 4763 USD $30.00 Buy It Now 2 days
CYMARRON 45 RINGS B/W LIKE CHILDREN VG+ ENTRANCE ZS7 7500 USD $2.00 [0 bids]
USD $4.00 Buy It Now
2 days
45rpm~SWAN,Billy~I'm Her Fool/I'd Like To Work For You?ZS8-8641?Vinyl Record??VG USD $2.50 Buy It Now 2 days
Zs - Xe NEW CD USD $13.23 Buy It Now 2 days
45 Record Lou Rawls Let's Fall in Love All Over Again ZS8 3592 You'll Never Find USD $7.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Dave Shepherd Sextet. More Goodman Favourites LP. Rediffusion ZS 54. 1970. VG+. USD $1.87 [0 bids]
2 days
SUSAN LYNCH OFFICE LOVE 45 Rpm Vinyl~RARE Canada Pressing~EPIC ZS5-02864 USD $18.94 Buy It Now 2 days
Grain - Zs (2013, Vinyl New) USD $23.69 Buy It Now 2 days
EXTRA LIFE Secular Works LP NEW SS 180g I And Ear Zs Charlie Looker math rock USD $12.99 Buy It Now 2 days
John Schneider Picture Sleeve EP 7" 45 Them Good Ol Boys are Bad/Still ZS5 02489 USD $4.99 Buy It Now 2 days
PHYLLIS NELSON-I LIKE YOU (SPECIAL MIX) /REACHIN'-CARRERE ZS4 05719 NM 45 USD $3.98 Buy It Now 2 days
Boogie Woogie Stan Greig UK vinyl LP album record ZS116 REDIFFUSION 1972 USD $17.38 Buy It Now 2 days
BILL MCGUFFIE BIG BAND S/T LP VINYL UK Rediffusion 1972 12 Track (Zs130) USD $8.46 Buy It Now 2 days
ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA Shine A Little b/w Jungle 45 rpm 7" VG+ ZS8 5057 ELO USD $8.99 Buy It Now 2 days
O JAYS I Love Music Pt 1 b/w I Love Music Pt 2 45 rpm 7" 1975 ZS8 3577 Jukebox USD $7.49 Buy It Now 2 days
ISLEY BROTHERS That Lady Part 1 b/w Part 2 45 rpm 7" 1973 TNeck ZS7 2251 Jukebox USD $5.99 Buy It Now 2 days
O JAYS Back Stabbers b/w 992 Arguments 45 rpm 7" 1972 ZS8 3753 Jukebox USD $7.49 Buy It Now 2 days
O'JAYS Use Ta Be My Girl b/w This Time Baby 45 rpm 7" 1978 ZS8 3642 Jukebox USD $7.99 Buy It Now 2 days
MFSB TSOP b/w Something For Nothing 45 rpm 7" 1973 ZS7 3540 Jukebox USD $4.99 Buy It Now 2 days
ISLEY BROTHERS That Lady Part 1 b/w Part 2 45 rpm 7" 1973 TNeck ZS7 2251 Jukebox USD $6.99 Buy It Now 2 days
O JAYS Love Train b/w Time To Get Down 45 rpm 7" 1972 ZS7 3754 Jukebox USD $7.49 Buy It Now 2 days
RICK DERRINGER Hang On Sloopy b/w Skyscraper Blues 45 rpm 7" VG+ 1975 ZS8 2755 USD $5.99 Buy It Now 2 days
QUIET RIOT Cum Feel The Noize b/w Run For Cover 45 rpm 7" ZS4 04005 Jukebox USD $5.99 Buy It Now 2 days
QUIET RIOT Mama Weer All Crazee Now b/w Bad Boy 45 rpm 7" ZS4 04505 Jukebox USD $5.99 Buy It Now 2 days
QUIET RIOT Bang Your Head b/w Bang Your Head Live 45 rpm 7" ZS4 04267 Jukebox USD $5.99 Buy It Now 2 days
ZS 146 LOIBNER/VIENNA STATE OPERA great opera choruses volume 2 uk LP PS EX-/EX USD $13.69 Buy It Now 2 days
Single Bullet Theory - Keep It Tight Mint- 7" Vinyl 45 Promo Nemperor ZS4 03300 USD $10.00 Buy It Now 2 days
FABULOUS THUNDERBIRDS, THE (Tuff Enuff) CBS Associated ZS4-05838 = P/S ONLY!!! USD $3.00 Buy It Now 2 days
RARE PROMO The Day Zs CD single Certainly MARY JANE GIRLS Morris Day THE TIME ! USD $7.00 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)

3.00 | 3 ratings
Zs
2003
3.45 | 8 ratings
Arms
2007
3.48 | 9 ratings
New Slaves
2010
3.09 | 2 ratings
Grain
2013
4.00 | 20 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
3.09 | 2 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
3.45 | 8 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
3.48 | 9 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
4.00 | 20 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
3.48 | 9 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
3.00 | 3 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
3.45 | 8 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
3.45 | 8 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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