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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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New SlavesNew Slaves
THE SOCIAL REGISTRY 2010
Audio CD$27.58
$21.00 (used)
Score: The Complete Sextet Works 2002-2007Score: The Complete Sextet Works 2002-2007
Box set
Northern Spy 2012
Audio CD$16.63
$100.00 (used)
XeXe
Northern Spy 2015
Audio CD$6.98
$6.28 (used)
GrainGrain
Northern Spy 2013
Audio CD$8.69
$2.70 (used)
ZsZs
EP · Limited Edition
Troubleman Unlimited 2003
Audio CD$9.67
$9.22 (used)
The Hard EPThe Hard EP
EP
Three-One-G 2008
Audio CD$2.90
$1.99 (used)
3333
Single
Northern-Spy Records 2011
Vinyl$29.95
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Xe - Zs (CD Used Very Good) USD $10.76 Buy It Now 48m 14s
Zs - Xe [CD New] USD $12.76 Buy It Now 1h 13m
Jam Project - Crest Of Zs-Toushin No Monshou [CD Maxi Single New USD $22.49 Buy It Now 1h 56m
Derek And Cyndi - Daddy Had To Go - 7" 1975 Soul Thunder ZS8 5252-3 Promo VG++ USD $3.49 Buy It Now 2h 9m
Survivor - The Search Is Over *PROMO* 45 RPM Vinyl Record ZS4-04871 Scotti Bros USD $5.94 Buy It Now 2h 38m
ORMANDY, EUGENE tchaikovsky; swan lake VG/VG JAPAN ZS-50 15-1201-006 USD $15.99 Buy It Now 3h 5m
THE MOTORS * TODAY - ZS8 9521 VINTAGE VINYL 7" 45RPM NM USD $4.99 [0 bids]
3h 56m
MR SPOCK PRESENTS MUSIC FROM OUTER SPACE LEONARD NIMOY STAR TREK VINYL LP ZS 156 USD $43.47 Buy It Now 8h 12m
ZS 125 - GREAT OPERA CHORUSES Vol 1 Vienna National Opera Orch - Ex LP Record USD $8.68 Buy It Now 9h 45m
ZS 125 - GREAT OPERA CHORUSES Vol 1 Vienna National Opera Orch - Ex LP Record USD $8.70 Buy It Now 9h 45m
ZS 146 - GREAT OPERA CHORUSES Vol 2 Vienna National Opera Orch - Ex LP Record USD $11.58 Buy It Now 9h 45m
ZS 146 - GREAT OPERA CHORUSES Vol 2 Vienna National Opera Orch - Ex LP Record USD $8.70 Buy It Now 9h 46m
Kansas"Hold On"1980 Kirshner/CBS zs94291 7" 45rpm USD $1.50 [0 bids]
USD $3.00 Buy It Now
13h 18m
ROMANTIC PIANO FAVOURITES VOL 5 / BAL?ZS SZOKOLAY - USED - LIKE NEW CD USD $12.20 Buy It Now 14h 24m
Paul Scott - The Magic Of Two Pianos Ex/Ex Redifusion ZS65 USD $11.58 Buy It Now 14h 28m
SEVEN AGES OF MAN S/t LP 8 Track (zs115) UK Rediffusion 1972 USD $73.77 Buy It Now 15h 26m
FREEDOM ROAD S/t LP 12 Track But Has Writing On Rear And Some Marks To Vinyl (zs USD $7.23 Buy It Now 15h 29m
RONALD BINGE AND HIS ORCHESTRA Summer Rain LP 12 Track (zs81) UK Rediffusion 197 USD $7.23 Buy It Now 15h 29m
COUNTRY FEVER Mountain Music Jamboree LP 12 Track Stereo (zs50) UK Rediffusion USD $9.84 Buy It Now 15h 29m
Gail Davies #ZS8-1784 Someone is looking for someone like you / Soft spoken man USD $2.00 Buy It Now 15h 32m
Beach Boys #ZS8-9026 Baby Blue / Here comes the night USD $1.00 Buy It Now 15h 38m
1983 ELO, Rock 'N' Roll Is King, Jet #ZS4-03964, VG+ USD $1.30 Buy It Now 15h 42m
*RARE* DJ PROMO PEGGY LIPTON - STONEY END 45 RPM RECORD ODE ZS7-114 POP USD $9.99 Buy It Now 15h 43m
JOHNNY HOWARD ORCHESTRA Something Special LP 12 Track Stereo (zs71) UK Rediffusi USD $7.23 Buy It Now 15h 59m
ANDREWS SISTERS S/t LP 12 Track Sleeve Has Light Staining Near Spine (zs153) UK USD $7.23 Buy It Now 15h 59m
Red Hill [Digipak] by Balázs Pándi/Jamie Saft/Joe Morris (Guitar)/Wadada Leo... USD $11.76 Buy It Now 16h 34m
ZS - XE - Vinyl (LP + MP3 download) USD $29.50 Buy It Now 16h 37m
O'Jays 992 Arguments / Back Stabbers 45 NM Philadelphia Intl ZS8-3753 USD $8.95 Buy It Now 16h 52m
O'Jays This Time Baby / Use Ta Be My Girl 45 NM Philadelphia Intl ZS8-3642 1978 USD $8.95 Buy It Now 16h 52m
The Sands Of Time Tribute To The Beach Boys '76 45 NM *PROMO* Kirshner ZS8-4263 USD $7.95 Buy It Now 17h 2m
Ray Stevens Everything is Beautiful & A Brighter Day Records ZS7 2011 45 RPM USD $4.95 Buy It Now 17h 3m
ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA * 7" VINYL* HOLD ON TIGHT * 1981 * ZS5 02408 USD $1.44 [0 bids]
17h 15m
Survivor Buring Heart / Feels Like Love 45 RPM 7" 1985 Scotti Bros. #ZS405663 PS USD $3.99 Buy It Now 18h 3m
45rpm~JACKSON,La Toya~Without You/Heart Don't Lie?ZS4-04439?Vinyl 7" Record???VG USD $7.01 Buy It Now 18h 34m
Ozzy Osbourne Crazy Train 45 Record CBS Promo Copy ZS4-07186 Misprint RARE! USD $20.00 Buy It Now 18h 43m
SURVIVOR (70'S ROCK GROUP) I Can't Hold Back 7" B/w See You In Everyone (zs40460 USD $7.23 Buy It Now 18h 55m
PEOPLE'S CHOICE If You Gonna Do It 7" Part 1 B/w Part 2 (zs84786) US Columbia 19 USD $7.23 Buy It Now 18h 56m
THREE DEGREES Free Ride 7" B/w Loving Cup (zs83585) Sticker Mark On Label US Phi USD $6.07 Buy It Now 18h 56m
THREE DEGREES Free Ride 7" Mono Version Demo B/w Stereo Version (zs83585) US Phi USD $7.23 Buy It Now 18h 56m
HENRY GROSS Only The Beautiful 7" Mono / Stereo Promo (zs81761) US Lifesong 1978 USD $6.07 Buy It Now 18h 56m
THE O'JAYS let me make love to you / survival 7" VG+ ZS8 3573 Soul 1975 USA 45 USD $12.00 Buy It Now 19h 14m
DAN HARTMAN Instant Replay 7" B/w Replayed (zs8 2772) US Blue Sky 1978 USD $4.55 Buy It Now 19h 28m
MFSB Philadelphia Freedom 7" B/w South Philly (zs8 3589) US Philadelphia Interna USD $4.55 Buy It Now 19h 28m
BABYFACE It's No Crime 7" B/w Instrumental (zs468966) US Solar 1989 USD $4.55 Buy It Now 19h 28m
STAPLE SINGERS Nobody Can Make It On Their Own 7" Demo Plays Same Both Sides (zs USD $3.04 Buy It Now 19h 28m
GENERAL CAINE Bomb Body 7" Demo Plays Same Both Sides (zs404062) US Tabu 1983 USD $7.23 Buy It Now 19h 28m
ELVIN BISHOP GROUP So Fine 7" Promo Mono B/w Stereo (zs77002) US Fillmore USD $4.55 Buy It Now 19h 28m
CATHY O'SHEA Thanks I Needed That 7" Promo Mono B/w Stereo (zs78609) Writing On USD $7.23 Buy It Now 19h 28m
ISLEY BROTHERS Midnight Sky 7" Part 1 B/w Part 2 (zs82255) US Tneck 1974 USD $4.55 Buy It Now 19h 28m
GRANDPA JONES Valley Of The Never Do No Good 7" B/w A Dollar Short (zs78528) US USD $4.55 Buy It Now 19h 28m
YVONNE GAGE Save Your Love 7" B/w Love's Gonna Pay You Back (zs404116) US Chycag USD $4.55 Buy It Now 19h 28m
PEOPLES CHOICE Love Shop 7" Promo Mono B/w Stereo (zs74751) US Sound Of Phil USD $4.55 Buy It Now 19h 28m
ROMANTICS Talking In Your Sleep 7" B/w I'm Hip (zs404135) US Nemperor 1983 USD $4.55 Buy It Now 19h 28m
BIG RIC Take Away 7" Demo Stamped Label B/w Or What (zs404084) US Scotti Brother USD $4.55 Buy It Now 19h 28m
DAVID JOHANSEN Funky But Chic 7" B/w The Rope (zs82771) US Blue Sky 1978 USD $4.55 Buy It Now 19h 29m
TEX WILLIAMS House 7" Promo B/w Glamour Of The Night Life (zs78538) US Monument USD $4.55 Buy It Now 19h 29m
CORBIN & HAMMER - BROKEN MAN ZS8 1173 - 45 USD $7.99 Buy It Now 19h 40m
45 RPM Record-TNeck-1975-ZS8-2256-The Isley Brothers-Fight the Power Part 1 USD $2.99 Buy It Now 19h 47m
BILLY PAUL I Trust You 7" B/w Love Won't Come Easy (zs83630) US Philadelphia Int USD $4.55 Buy It Now 20h 8m
ROBERT KNIGHT Outsider 7" Promo Long Version B/w Short Version (zs88629) Stamp O USD $4.55 Buy It Now 20h 8m
BILLY PAUL I Trust You 7" Demo Mono B/w Stereo (zs83630) US Philadelphia Interna USD $4.55 Buy It Now 20h 8m
FRANTIQUE Strut Your Funky Stuff 7" Demo Plays Same Both Sides (zs93703) US Phil USD $4.55 Buy It Now 20h 8m
JUICY Bad Boy 7" Demo Plays Same Both Sides (zs405422) US Private I 1985 USD $6.07 Buy It Now 20h 8m
THREE DEGREES Dirty Ol Man 7" B/w Can't You See What You're Doing To Me (zs73534 USD $4.55 Buy It Now 20h 8m
STEPPENWOLF Straight Shootin' Woman 7" B/w Justice Don't Be Slow (zs86031) CANAD USD $3.03 Buy It Now 20h 8m
CLOCKWORK (US GROUP) I'm You Candy Girl 7" Demo B/w Instrumental (zs404375) US P USD $6.07 Buy It Now 20h 8m
LA TOYA JACKSON Hot Potato 7" Demo Plays Same Both Sides (zs404572) US Private I USD $4.55 Buy It Now 20h 8m
SOS BAND Even When You Sleep 7" Demo Plays Same Both Sides (zs406333) US Tabu 19 USD $7.23 Buy It Now 20h 8m
PAMELA MILLER Home In New Orleans 7" B/w Love (zs88649) Promo Stamp On Label US USD $7.23 Buy It Now 20h 8m
STAPLE SINGERS This Is Our Night 7" Demo Mono B/w Stereo (zs404711) US Private I USD $7.23 Buy It Now 20h 8m
CYMARRON Right Can Be So Wrong 7" B/w What's A Little Dirt (zs77506) Promo Stick USD $4.55 Buy It Now 20h 8m
BITE THE BULLET Finished With Love 7" 2 Track Demo (zs468675) US Jet 1989 USD $6.09 Buy It Now 20h 8m
PEOPLES CHOICE Love Shop 7" Promo Mono B/w Stereo (zs74751) US Sound Of Philadel USD $3.04 Buy It Now 20h 8m
CYMARRON Rings 7" B/w Like Children (zs77500) US Entrance USD $4.55 Buy It Now 20h 9m
BILLY PAUL Be Truthful To Me 7" B/w I Wish It Were Yesterday (zs83551) US Philad USD $3.04 Buy It Now 20h 9m
WARREN STORM He's Got Nothing On Me But You 7" Double A Sided Stereo Promo (zs94 USD $4.55 Buy It Now 20h 9m
ISLEY BROTHERS Who Loves You Better 7" Part 1 B/w Part 2 (zs82260) US Tneck 1976 USD $7.23 Buy It Now 20h 9m
SURVIVOR (AOR GROUP) American Heartbeat 7" B/w Silver Girl (zs403213) US Scotti USD $3.04 Buy It Now 20h 9m
BILLY PAUL Jesus Boy 7" Promo With Same Track On Both Sides (zs93737) US Philade USD $4.55 Buy It Now 20h 10m
INTRUDERS (70'S GROUP) I'll Always Love My Mama 7" Part 1 B/w Part 2 (zs72506) U USD $4.55 Buy It Now 20h 10m
PAUL DAVIS Do Right 7" Demo Stamp On Label B/w He Sang Our Love Songs (zs94808) USD $4.55 Buy It Now 20h 10m
ISLEY BROTHERS I Wanna Be With You 7" B/w Part Ii (zs82279) US Tneck 1979 USD $7.23 Buy It Now 20h 11m
RONNIE JAMES Wonder Girl 7" Demo Plays Same Both Sides (zs93720) US Philadelphia USD $7.23 Buy It Now 20h 11m
ISLEY BROTHERS Take Me To The Next Phase 7" B/w Take Me To The Next Phase (zs822 USD $7.23 Buy It Now 20h 11m
PEOPLE'S CHOICE Here We Go Again 7" B/w Mickey D's (zs84781) Writing On Label US USD $7.23 Buy It Now 20h 11m
TEX WILLIAMS Walkin' On The Wind 7" B/w Cynthia Ann (zs78551) Promo Sticker On L USD $3.04 Buy It Now 20h 12m
MFSB Manhattan Skyline 7" Demo Stamped Label B/w Metamorphosis (zs64797) US Soun USD $6.07 Buy It Now 20h 12m
JONES GIRLS Get As Much Love As You Can 7" B/w Asap (zs502899) US Philadelphia 1 USD $4.55 Buy It Now 20h 12m
CYMARRON Valerie 7" B/w Across The Kansas Sky (zs77502) US Entrance USD $4.55 Buy It Now 20h 12m
REDDINGS Class 7" B/w Main Nerve (zs502437) US Believe In A Dream 1981 USD $4.55 Buy It Now 20h 12m
PEOPLE'S CHOICE Nursery Rhymes 7" Part 1 B/w Part 2 (zs84773) US Sound Of Philad USD $7.23 Buy It Now 20h 12m
JAMES BROWN I'm Real 7" (zs407783) B/w Tribute Pic Sleeve US Scotti Brothers 198 USD $4.55 Buy It Now 20h 12m
PATTI LABELLE If You Don't Know Me By Now 7" Demo Part 1 B/w Part 2 (zs405755) U USD $7.23 Buy It Now 20h 12m
REDDINGS Erotic Groove 7" B/w Hand Dance (zs404067) Sticker On B-side Label US B USD $7.23 Buy It Now 20h 12m
DEXTER WANSEL All Night Long 7" B/w What Is The World Coming To (zs83640) US Phi USD $7.23 Buy It Now 20h 12m
ISLEY BROTHERS Live It Up 7" Part 1 B/w Part 2 (zs82254) US Tneck 1974 USD $6.07 Buy It Now 20h 12m
O'JAYS Message In Our Music 7" B/w She's Only A Woman (zs83601) US Philadelphia USD $7.23 Buy It Now 20h 12m
LOU RAWLS What's The Matter With The World 7" B/w Tomorrow (zs93715) US Philadel USD $7.23 Buy It Now 20h 12m
STEPPENWOLF Get Into The Wind 7" Mono/stereo Promo But Has Writing On Label (zs8 USD $4.55 Buy It Now 20h 12m
O'JAYS Let Me Show You 7" Demo Plays Same Both Sides (zs404535) US Philadelphia USD $7.23 Buy It Now 20h 12m


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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
3.56 | 7 ratings
Arms
2007
3.48 | 9 ratings
New Slaves
2010
4.00 | 1 ratings
Grain
2013
4.21 | 15 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
 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.

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 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.

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 Xe by ZS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.21 | 15 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.

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 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*

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 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+*...

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 Arms by ZS album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.56 | 7 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!

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 Arms by ZS album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.56 | 7 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

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