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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 2015
Audio CD$5.68
$11.09 (used)
Score: The Complete Sextet Works 2002-2007Score: The Complete Sextet Works 2002-2007
Box set
Northern Spy 2012
Audio CD$16.99
$21.09 (used)
New SlavesNew Slaves
THE SOCIAL REGISTRY 2010
Audio CD$3.99
$2.97 (used)
GrainGrain
Northern Spy 2013
Audio CD$4.95
$4.90 (used)
New Slaves by Zs (2010-05-11)New Slaves by Zs (2010-05-11)
THE SOCIAL REGISTRY
Audio CD$36.88
Zs by ZsZs by Zs
Troubleman Unlimited
Audio CD$39.28
Xe by Zs (2015-08-03)Xe by Zs (2015-08-03)
Northern Spy
Audio CD$39.61
The Hard EP by Zs (2008-08-05)The Hard EP by Zs (2008-08-05)
Three-One-G
Audio CD$31.05
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Larry Gatlin - Delta Dirt / Those Are Love 7" Mint- ZS8-8622 Vinyl 45 1974 Promo USD $10.00 Buy It Now
Cymarron - Valerie / Across The Kansas Sky 7" Mint- ZS77502 Vinyl 45 Promo USD $15.00 Buy It Now
45rpm CAFFERTY John C-I-T-Y City Where The Action Is ZS4-05452 Vinyl Record EXC USD $2.75 Buy It Now
Michael Hamilton - Believe 7" Mint- ZS4 04308 White Promo 1983 Vinyl 45 USD $5.25 Buy It Now 20m 39s
ROCK 45 RPM RECORD - QUIET RIOT - PASHA ZS4 04505 - PROMO USD $10.00 Buy It Now 30m 37s
ROCK 45 RPM RECORD - ROXANNE - SCOTTI BROTHERS ZS4 07724 - PROMO USD $10.00 Buy It Now 39m 40s
MFSB - The Zip / My Mood 7" VG+ ZS83578 Vinyl 45 Philadelphia International USD $6.40 Buy It Now 56m 42s
Philadelphia International Stars - Clean Up The Ghetto 7" VG+ ZS83627 Vinyl 45 USD $6.40 Buy It Now 57m 12s
ALMETA LATIMER La La DE-VEL ZS7 6754 Sweet Soul Mono/Stereo 45 USD $19.95 Buy It Now 1h 15m
Original Hits - Golden Instrumentals - Vinyl LP 1973 Stereo ZS160 - Ex cond USD $5.27 [0 bids]
3h
ELO don't bring me down 7" VINYL RECORD ZS9 5060 USA USD $1.32 Buy It Now 4h
BANJOS ARE BACK S/T LP VINYL UK Rediffusion 1971 12 Track (Zs91) USD $6.57 Buy It Now 4h 36m
ALEXANDER O'NEAL FEATURING CHERRELLE 7'' vinyl SINGLE, 1985, TABU, ZS4 07646 USD $2.99 Buy It Now 4h 44m
LOU RAWLS ONE LIFE TO LIVE/YOU'LL NEVER FIND ANOTHER LOVE LIKE MINE ZS8 3770 7" USD $3.97 Buy It Now 5h 36m
Bal zs Szokolay - Romantic Piano Music 3 [New CD] USD $9.57 Buy It Now 5h 41m
BILL MCGUFFIE BIG BAND S/T LP VINYL UK Rediffusion 1972 12 Track (Zs130) USD $6.57 Buy It Now 5h 47m
MARI GRIFFITH Welsh Folk LP VINYL UK Rediffusion 1973 20 Track (Zs131) USD $13.09 Buy It Now 5h 51m
REDDINGS Class 7" VINYL US Believe In A Dream 1981 B/W Main Nerve (Zs502437) USD $4.13 Buy It Now 5h 59m
CBS ZS8 3550 The Three Degrees Year Of Decision & When Will I See You Again? USD $4.50 Buy It Now 6h 49m
Lou Rawls - See You When I Git There / Spring Again 7" VG+ ZS8 3623 Vinyl 45 USA USD $6.40 Buy It Now 7h 32m
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SURVIVOR Summer Nights 45 VG+ Take You on A Saturday Scotti Brothers ZS5-02700 USD $13.16 Buy It Now 10h 38m
ANTHONY WHITE Hey Baby PHILLY INTL. ZS83566 Orig 1975 Modern Soul PROMO!!! NM! USD $10.50 [2 bids]
12h 26m
WLP 1978 ARC I FEEL BEAUTIFUL MONO STEREO 45 LIFESONG CBS RECORDS ZS8 1778 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 13h 19m
JUICY Bad Boy 7" VINYL US Private I 1985 Demo Plays Same Both Sides (Zs405422) USD $5.52 Buy It Now 16h 40m
PAMELA MILLER Home In New Orleans 7" VINYL US Monument 1975 B/W Love (Zs88649) USD $6.57 Buy It Now 16h 41m
DAN HARTMAN Instant Replay 7" VINYL US Blue Sky 1978 B/W Replayed (Zs8 2772) USD $4.13 Buy It Now 16h 41m
CYMARRON Rings 7" VINYL US Entrance B/W Like Children (Zs77500) USD $4.13 Buy It Now 16h 41m
BABYFACE It's No Crime 7" VINYL US Solar 1989 B/W Instrumental (Zs468966) USD $4.13 Buy It Now 16h 42m
ISLEY BROTHERS Midnight Sky 7" VINYL US Tneck 1974 Part 1 B/W Part 2 (Zs82255) USD $4.13 Buy It Now 16h 42m
ELVIN BISHOP GROUP So Fine 7" VINYL US Fillmore Promo Mono B/W Stereo (Zs77002) USD $4.13 Buy It Now 17h 2m
ROMANTICS Talking In Your Sleep 7" VINYL US Nemperor 1983 B/w I'm Hip (zs404135) USD $4.13 Buy It Now 17h 2m
BITE THE BULLET Finished With Love 7" VINYL US Jet 1989 2 Track Demo (Zs468675) USD $5.53 Buy It Now 17h 2m
PEOPLE'S CHOICE Here We Go Again 7" VINYL US Tsop 1976 B/w Mickey D's (zs84781) USD $6.57 Buy It Now 17h 2m
ISLEY BROTHERS I Wanna Be With You 7" VINYL US Tneck 1979 B/W Part Ii (Zs82279) USD $6.57 Buy It Now 17h 3m
ISLEY BROTHERS Live It Up 7" VINYL US Tneck 1974 Part 1 B/W Part 2 (Zs82254) USD $5.52 Buy It Now 17h 3m
Horst Jankowski Return To The Black Forest Rediffusion ZS 80 UK Vinyl LP Album USD $18.42 Buy It Now 17h 6m
JOHN CAFFERTY & THE BEAVER BROWN BAND Tender Years 1983 PS 45 rpm 7" ZS4 04682 USD $2.98 Buy It Now 19h 34m
45 RPM Vinyl Like an Old Time Movie Voice of Scott McKenzie ODE ZS7-105 45ame8 USD $19.99 Buy It Now 19h 46m
45 RPM Vinyl Spirit She Smiles I Got a Line on You ODE ZS7115 45ame8 USD $19.99 Buy It Now 19h 46m
JOHN CAFFERTY & THE BEAVER BROWN BAND Small Town Girl PS 45 rpm 7" ZS4 05668 USD $3.98 Buy It Now 19h 51m
Hush Glad All Over / Get What? ZS-136 Australian Press 1975 VG BSide VG- Scratch USD $6.58 Buy It Now 20h 33m
45 RPM Vinyl Spirit I Got a Line on You ODE ZS7115 USD $4.84 Buy It Now 22h 28m
45 RPM 7" Record Kansas Hold On & Dont Open Your Eyes 1980 Kirshner ZS9 4291 VG+ USD $6.99 Buy It Now 22h 38m
45 RPM 7" Record Barry White Shes Everything To Me & Love Makin Music ZS9 1418 USD $6.99 Buy It Now 22h 55m
1975 SMITH & SON HAVE A GOOD DAY / GUITAR BOUNCE PROMO 45 WLP MONUMENT ZS8 8640 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 23h 5m
PATTI LABELLE If Only You Knew / I'll Never, Never Give Up 45rpm VG+ ZS4 04248 USD $2.99 Buy It Now 23h 36m
Zs - Grain (2013) Vinyl LP NEW/SEALED SPEEDYPOST USD $8.52 Buy It Now 1 day
BILL McGUFFIE LP- GENTLE SOUNDS RIM ZS 36 USD $9.20 [0 bids]
1 day
THE O'JAYS * 7" VINYL* THIS TIME BABY * 1978 *ZS8 3642 USD $1.30 [0 bids]
1 day
SLADE: RUN RUNAWAY b/w DON'T TAME A HURRICANE 7" 45rpm CBS VG+ 1984 ZS4-04398 USD $3.00 Buy It Now 1 day
CITY:(w/Carole King)Snow Queen 3:39-Same-U.S. 7" 1968 Ode Records INC. ZS7113 DJ USD $48.98 Buy It Now 1 day
Paul Davis Do Right / He Sang Our Love Songs 7" 45 rpm 1980 Bang ZS9 4808 N USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Bunny Sigler Jingle Bells 45 M- 1975 Soul Funk X-Mas Christmas DJ PIR ZS8-3583 USD $6.99 Buy It Now 1 day
BILLY TERNENT unmistakably ZS 55 uk rediffusion LP PS EX/VG+ USD $11.84 Buy It Now 1 day
DION Brooklyn Dodger /same WLP WHITE PROMO 7" 45 Lifesong ZS8 1785-3 (1978) USD $4.79 Buy It Now 1 day
GATLINS, THE (Come On In) Monument ZS7 8568 = PROMOTIONAL record USD $4.40 Buy It Now 1 day
Zs Music Of The Modern White 2009 LP Vinyl S/S New & Factory Sealed USD $12.99 Buy It Now 1 day
LAMONT JOHNSON Masta Luva TABU ZS9 5525 near mint vinyl USD $9.95 [0 bids]
1 day
Dan Hartman - Blue Sky ZS8 2772 - instant replay (replayed) USD $1.00 Buy It Now 1 day
The O'Jays - Message In Our Music / She's Only A Woman 7" Mint- ZS8 3601 Vinyl USD $9.60 Buy It Now 1 day
Cymarron - Rings / Like Children 7" Vinyl 45 MINT- 1971 Entrance ZS7 7500 USD $12.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Ozzy Osborne Shot in the Dark used 7" vinyl with Picture Sleeve ZS4-05810 USD $9.99 [0 bids]
1 day
FABULOUS THUNDERBIRDS Tuff Enuff 7" Ps, B/W Look At That Look At That, Zs4-0583 USD $6.57 Buy It Now 1 day
JAMES BROWN I'M Real 7" Usa Issue Vinyl Single, Ps, B/W Tribute, Zs4-07783 USD $6.57 Buy It Now 1 day
45 RPM Vinyl WLP Boots Randolph Amazing Grace Monument Records ZS7-8500 45ame10 USD $19.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Spirit I Got A Line On You 45 RPM Original Release 1968 ZS7 115 VG++ USD $4.75 Buy It Now 1 day
The OJAYS 45 rpm This Time Baby & Use Ta Be My Girl 1978 CBS records ZS8 3642 USD $9.95 Buy It Now 1 day
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O'Jays, Use To Be My Baby - This Time Baby, Philadelphia Int. Records ZS8-3642 USD $4.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Isley Brothers, Fight The Power Part 1 - Part 2, T-Neck Records ZS8 2256 USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Isley Brothers, Take Me To The Next Phase Part 1-Part 2, T-Neck Records ZS8 2272 USD $4.00 Buy It Now 1 day
The Three Degrees/When Will I See You Again/Philadelphia International ZS8 3550 USD $8.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Billy Paul, Let 'em In-We All Got A Mission, Philadelphia International ZS8-3621 USD $8.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Billy Paul, I Wish It Were Yesterday - Be Truthful, Philadelphia Int. ZS8-3551 USD $8.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Billy Paul, Thanks For Saving My Life - I Was Married, Philadelphia Int ZS8-3551 USD $8.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Billy Paul, How Good Is Your Game - I Think I'll Stay, Philadelphia Int ZS8-3613 USD $6.00 Buy It Now 1 day
O'Jays, Time To Get Down - Shiftless Shady Jealous, Philadelphia Int ZS7-3531 USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1 day
O'Jays, 992 Arguments - Listen To Clock on the Wall, Philadelphia Int ZS7-3522 USD $4.00 Buy It Now 1 day
MFSB, Hot Summer Nights-Summertime I'm Feelin' Mellow, Philadelphia Int ZS7-3600 USD $4.00 Buy It Now 1 day
MOZART Piano Concerto 18 Concerto 10 for 2 Pianos SALZMANN PNINA Pop ZS-10064 LP USD $27.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Stoneground - Family Album on Warner Bros. 2ZS 1956 Gatefold 2LP Stereo USD $39.99 Buy It Now 1 day
OZZY OSBOURNE Bark At The Moon US promo 7" CBS ZS4 04318 1983 Mint USD $12.23 Buy It Now 1 day
ALEXANDER O'NEAL featuring Cherrelle : NEVER KNEW LOVE LIKE THIS : TABU : ZS4 07 USD $3.67 Buy It Now 1 day
Hey Paula... LP. Rediffusion ZS 143. 1973 compilation. Exc Vinyl. USD $1.98 [0 bids]
1 day
The Rolling Stones - Through The Lonely Night JAPAN Limited Edition CD ZS-9119 USD $24.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Alton McClain - It Turns Me Inside Out 7" VG+/- ZS5 03193 Vinyl 45 1982 USD $20.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Lloyd Green - Sleep Walk 7" VG+ ZS7 8592 Vinyl 45 1973 USD $11.25 Buy It Now 2 days
Noel Rawsthorne ?The Great Organ Of Liverpool Cathedral Vinyl LP ZS67 UK 27/37 USD $11.84 Buy It Now 2 days
Xixa E Seu Conjunto - Brasilian Fiesta, Um Cavaquinho De Brasil (1972 LP. ZS117) USD $10.52 Buy It Now 2 days
SLADE "MY OH MY/High And Dry" CBS ASSOCIATED ZS4 04528 (1983) 45rpm SINGLE USD $3.00 Buy It Now 2 days
JOHN HUNTER Valentine NM PROMO ZS4-04878 USD $8.99 Buy It Now 2 days
RICHIE S. African Dance NM PROMO ZS4-05443 USD $8.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Dave Shepherd Sextet. More Goodman Favourites LP. Rediffusion ZS 54. 1970. VG+. USD $1.98 [0 bids]
2 days
THE ANDREWS SISTERS Self Titled Vinyl LP REDIFFUSION ZS153 Stereo 8/83 USD $11.84 Buy It Now 2 days
MARI GRIFFITH WELSH FOLK 1973 REDDIFFUSION STEREO ZS131 NEAR MINT POSS UNPLAYED USD $15.79 Buy It Now 2 days
BILLY SWAN WAYS OF A WOMAN IN LOVE & I CAN HELP VINTAGE 45 RPM RECORD ZS8 8621 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 2 days
ZS 131 Mari Griffith's - Welsh Folk - UK 1973 Rediffusion LP USD $26.34 Buy It Now 2 days
MATTHEW WILDER Break My Stride (Vocal) b/w (Inst.) ZS4 04113 7" 45rpm Vinyl VG+ USD $6.29 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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