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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

Northern Spy 2015
Audio CD$7.00
$11.84 (used)
Score: The Complete Sextet Works 2002-2007Score: The Complete Sextet Works 2002-2007
Box set
Northern Spy 2012
Audio CD$16.99
$15.26 (used)
New SlavesNew Slaves
Audio CD$20.72
$21.00 (used)
Northern Spy 2013
Audio CD$3.50
$4.90 (used)
New Slaves by Zs (2010-05-11)New Slaves by Zs (2010-05-11)
Audio CD$52.47
Zs by ZsZs by Zs
Troubleman Unlimited
Audio CD$41.59
Xe by Zs (2015-08-03)Xe by Zs (2015-08-03)
Northern Spy
Audio CD$36.71
The Hard EP by Zs (2008-08-05)The Hard EP by Zs (2008-08-05)
Audio CD$16.41
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Sex Pistols ?Pretty Vacant Rare ZS-184 Australia 1977 NM vinyl record single 45 USD $77.45 [0 bids]
3h 57m
45 Record Lou Rawls Let's Fall in Love All Over Again ZS8 3592 You'll Never Find USD $7.00 Buy It Now 8h 36m
45 RPM 7" Record Bertie Higgins Key Largo & White Line Fever Kat Family ZS502524 USD $6.99 Buy It Now 10h 28m
45 RPM 7" Record John Cafferty On The Dark Side & Wild Summer Nights ZS4 04594 USD $6.99 Buy It Now 10h 28m
45 RPM 7" Record Babyface It's No Crime 1989 SOLAR Records ZS4 68966 Excellent! USD $6.99 Buy It Now 12h 26m
45 RPM 7" Record Joan Jett & The Blackhearts Little Liar Blackheart ZS4 08095 USD $6.99 Buy It Now 12h 51m
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St Mary's Choir : An Album Of Christmas Music : Vinyl Album :R.I.M. ZS20 USD $10.88 Buy It Now 13h 43m
LOU RAWLS on {Philadelphia Int. Promo ZS9 3750} You're My Blessing/Same USD $4.99 [0 bids]
14h 7m
PHILIPPE WYNNE on {Uncle Jam ZS9 9900}Never Gonna Tell It (Part 1)/Part 2 USD $4.99 [0 bids]
14h 11m
Peoples Choice - Do It Any Way You Wanna - TSOP ZS8 4769 USD $3.99 [0 bids]
14h 19m
Carl Perkins - Blue Suede Shoes - Jet ZS8 5054 White label promo USD $3.99 [0 bids]
14h 32m
Lou Rawls - You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine 7" Mint- ZS8-3591 Vinyl 45 USD $10.00 Buy It Now 15h 35m
SURVIVOR High On You / It's The Singer Not The Song 7" Record 45 ZS4-04685 USD $5.27 Buy It Now 15h 35m
MFSB-TSOP/Three Degrees (The Sound Of Philadelphia)-US 7"-TSOP Records ZS7 3540 USD $3.49 Buy It Now 15h 44m
FABULOUS THUNDERBIRDS, THE (Stand Back) CBS Associated ZS4 7230 + Picture Slv USD $4.60 Buy It Now 17h 29m
The Isley Brothers - Fight the Power Part 1 - (Promo) - ZS8-2256 Extremely Rare! USD $5.00 Buy It Now 17h 58m
Steve Forbert Romeo's Tune / Make It All So Real 7" 45 rpm Nemperor ZS9 7525 NM USD $6.00 Buy It Now 18h 9m
JIMMY RODGERS - Honeycomb LP - Rediffusion ZS 159 Ex/Ex USD $5.57 [0 bids]
18h 14m
LLOYD GREEN - I Can See Clearly Now 7" 45rpm w/ Sleeve ZS7-8562 (1972) EX! USD $3.74 Buy It Now 18h 46m
Albert Hammond:45rpm "Air Disaster" Sterio/Mono Mums Promo 1974 ZS7 6030 VG++Ex USD $14.22 Buy It Now 19h 49m
Jam Project - Crest of Zs-Toushin No Monshou [New CD] Japan - Import USD $7.18 Buy It Now 20h 9m
Archie Bell & The Drells - Let's Groove Part 1 & 2 7" VG+ ZS8 4775 Vinyl 1975 USD $6.00 Buy It Now 20h 26m
FABULOUS THUNDERBIRDS, THE (Why Get Up) CBS Associated ZS4 6396 + Picture Slv USD $3.60 Buy It Now 21h 15m
Johnny Williams - Slow Motion 7" VG+ ZS7 3518 Vinyl 45 1972 USA USD $8.00 Buy It Now 21h 26m
ROCK 45: CHRIS FARLOWE Paint It Black/You're So Good for Me IMMEDIATE ZS7 5002 V USD $3.99 Buy It Now 22h 34m
Jam Project - Crest of Zs-Toushin No Monshou [New CD] Japan - Import USD $6.92 Buy It Now 1 day
Slade - My Oh My PROMO 45 rpm 7" vinyl ZS4 04528 EX USD $2.25 Buy It Now 1 day
I Got It New York Port Authority USA 7" vinyl single record ZS81279 INVICTUS USD $13.89 Buy It Now 1 day
Suvivor ~ High On You ~ Scotti Brothers ~ ZS4 05685 ~ 45RPM Record USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
K Gamble ~ When Will I See You Again ~ Philadelphia ~ ZS8 3769 ~ 45RPM Record USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Joan Jett 7" vinyl single record Light Of Day USA promo ZS4-06692 CBS 1987 USD $25.08 Buy It Now 1 day
45rpm TERRI LANE Gonna Be Alright Now/Daisy May ZS7-8565 Vinyl 7" Record ??VG USD $1.96 Buy It Now 1 day
BILLY PAUL **Am I Black Enough For You** Funk Soul 45 on TSOP ZS7 3526 USD $15.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Colortone Look Inside Ourselves 7" Pasha ZS407732 EX 1988 US pressing, demo, Loo USD $9.07 Buy It Now 1 day
Colortone Nothing's Gonna Be All Right 7" Pasha ZS407749 EX 1988 US pressing, de USD $9.07 Buy It Now 1 day
ZS 125 - GREAT OPERA CHORUSES Vol 1 Vienna National Opera Orch - Ex LP Record USD $8.37 Buy It Now 1 day
ZS 125 - GREAT OPERA CHORUSES Vol 1 Vienna National Opera Orch - Ex LP Record USD $8.38 Buy It Now 1 day
ZS 146 - GREAT OPERA CHORUSES Vol 2 Vienna National Opera Orch - Ex LP Record USD $11.16 Buy It Now 1 day
ZS 146 - GREAT OPERA CHORUSES Vol 2 Vienna National Opera Orch - Ex LP Record USD $8.38 Buy It Now 1 day
The Charles Young Chorale - The Sweet & Swinging Sound of LP - ZS 68 - VG+ USD $9.77 Buy It Now 1 day
JOHN CAFFERTY AND THE BEAVER BROWN BAND Tough All Over 45 RPM VG+ ZS4 04891 USD $8.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Northern Soul 45 : Pat & The Blenders ~ Hard Working Man ~ TSOP ZS8 4757 USD $20.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Billy Swan (Zs8 8706) You're the one / Ms. Misery 1976 Demo / Promo USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Billy Swan (Zs8 8697) Number One / Vanessa 1976 - Demo / Promo USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Billy Swan (Zs8 8661) Everything's the same / Overnite thing 1975 USD $2.00 Buy It Now 1 day
45 RPM 7" Record Bite The Bullet Finished With Love 1989 Jet Demo ZS4 68675 EXC USD $6.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Zs - Grain Ep [CD New] USD $13.10 Buy It Now 1 day
The Sands Of Time Tribute To The Beach Boys '76 45 NM *PROMO* Kirshner ZS8-4263 USD $7.95 Buy It Now 1 day
Original Hits - Golden Instrumentals - Vinyl LP 1973 Stereo ZS160 - Ex cond USD $5.59 [0 bids]
1 day
KALEIDOSCOPE-We're Not Getting Any Younger-RARER NORTHERN SOUL 45-TSOP #ZS8 4765 USD $40.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Cherrelle - You Look Good To Me 7" Mint-ZS8-06436 Vinyl 45 USA 1985 Tabu USD $10.00 Buy It Now 1 day
The Crystals / The Ronettes - Rudolph The Red-Nose Reindeer 7" Mint- ZS8-0333 USD $25.00 Buy It Now 1 day
1 day
Matthew Wilder - The Kid's American 7" Mint- ZS4-04363 Vinyl 45 Canada 1983 Epic USD $15.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Chris Jasper - One Time Love / One Time Love 7" VG+ ZS4-07733 Vinyl 45 Promo USD $6.00 Buy It Now 1 day
James Brown - How Do You Stop / House Of Rock 7" VG+ ZS4-06568 Vinyl 45 Promo USD $8.00 Buy It Now 1 day
45rpm~JACKSON,La Toya~Without You/Heart Don't Lie?ZS4-04439?Vinyl 7" Record???VG USD $3.74 Buy It Now 1 day
For The Love Of Money by O'Jays 7" single 45rpm (1974 Phila Intl ZS73544) USD $8.00 Buy It Now 1 day
CORBIN & HAMMER - BROKEN MAN ZS8 1173 - 45 USD $4.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Sir William Walton-Music From Shakespearean Films-Angel ZS 36198 7.5 IPS Reel USD $20.00 Buy It Now 1 day
ANDERSON, Carl; & Gloria Loring (Friends And Lovers) USA Carrere ZS4 06122 +PS USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Ronald Binge Concerto For Saxophone Saturday Symphony Vinyl LP Rediffusion ?ZS75 USD $13.96 Buy It Now 1 day
Scott McKenzie Like An Old Time Movie 7" Single ZS7-105 USD $10.00 Buy It Now 1 day
PEOPLE'S CHOICE Here We Go Again 7" VINYL US Tsop 1976 B/w Mickey D's (zs84781) USD $6.97 Buy It Now 1 day
ISLEY BROTHERS I Wanna Be With You 7" VINYL US Tneck 1979 B/W Part Ii (Zs82279) USD $6.97 Buy It Now 1 day
Grain Ep - Zs (CD New) USD $13.82 Buy It Now 1 day
BANJOS ARE BACK S/T LP VINYL UK Rediffusion 1971 12 Track (Zs91) USD $6.97 Buy It Now 1 day
ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA "CONFUSION/Poker" JET ZS9-5064 (1979) 45rpm SINGLE USD $3.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes - Wake Up Everybody 7" VG+ ZS8 3579 Vinyl 45 USD $7.00 Buy It Now 1 day
The Isley Brothers - Can't You See What You Do To Me 7" VG+ Zs6 2293 Vinyl 45 USD $8.00 Buy It Now 1 day
The Intruders - I'll Always Love My Mama 7" VG ZS7 2506 Vinyl 45 Gamble USD $7.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Big Ric Take Away 7" Scotti Bros ZS404084 EX 1983 US pressing, demo, Take Away/T USD $9.07 Buy It Now 1 day
REDDINGS Class 7" VINYL US Believe In A Dream 1981 B/W Main Nerve (Zs502437) USD $4.39 Buy It Now 1 day
BILL MCGUFFIE BIG BAND S/T LP VINYL UK Rediffusion 1972 12 Track (Zs130) USD $6.97 Buy It Now 1 day
PAMELA MILLER Home In New Orleans 7" VINYL US Monument 1975 B/W Love (Zs88649) USD $6.97 Buy It Now 1 day
MARI GRIFFITH Welsh Folk LP VINYL UK Rediffusion 1973 20 Track (Zs131) USD $10.95 Buy It Now 1 day
ELO Don't Bring Me Down 7" VINYL US Jet 1979 B/W Dreaming Of 4000 (Zs95060) USD $5.85 Buy It Now 1 day
JUICY Bad Boy 7" VINYL US Private I 1985 Demo Plays Same Both Sides (Zs405422) USD $5.85 Buy It Now 1 day
DAN HARTMAN Instant Replay 7" VINYL US Blue Sky 1978 B/W Replayed (Zs8 2772) USD $4.39 Buy It Now 1 day
CYMARRON Rings 7" VINYL US Entrance B/W Like Children (Zs77500) USD $4.39 Buy It Now 1 day
ROMANTICS Talking In Your Sleep 7" VINYL US Nemperor 1983 B/w I'm Hip (zs404135) USD $4.39 Buy It Now 1 day
ELVIN BISHOP GROUP So Fine 7" VINYL US Fillmore Promo Mono B/W Stereo (Zs77002) USD $4.39 Buy It Now 1 day
BABYFACE It's No Crime 7" VINYL US Solar 1989 B/W Instrumental (Zs468966) USD $4.39 Buy It Now 1 day
KANSAS Right Away 7" VINYL US Kirshner 1982 B/W Windows (Zs503084) Pic Sleeve USD $6.97 Buy It Now 1 day
L.A.EXPRESS Midnite Flite 7" VINYL US Caribou 1976 B/W Shrug (Zs89014) In USD $5.85 Buy It Now 1 day
ELO Shine A Little Love 7" VINYL US Jet 1979 B/W Jungle (Zs85057) USD $5.85 Buy It Now 1 day
NEW WORLD Tom-Tom Turnaround 7" VINYL US Rak 1971 B/W Lay Me Down (Zs74505) In USD $5.85 Buy It Now 1 day
KANSAS Lonely Wind 7" VINYL US Kirshner 1978 B/W Song For America (Zs84280) In USD $5.85 Buy It Now 1 day
KANSAS Portrait 7" VINYL US Kirshner 1978 B/w Lightning's Hand (zs84276) USD $6.97 Buy It Now 1 day
BITE THE BULLET Finished With Love 7" VINYL US Jet 1989 2 Track Demo (Zs468675) USD $5.87 Buy It Now 1 day
DAVIS, Paul (Do Right) Bang ZS9 4808 USD $4.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Sheila - Runner / Stranded Mint- 7" Vinyl USA 45 Record 1981 Carrere ZS5 02757 USD $15.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Fred Knoblock - I Had It All / Love, Love, Love Mint- 7" Vinyl Scotti ZS5 02752 USD $18.00 Buy It Now 1 day
SMALL FACES Park / same WHITE LABEL DJ PROMO 1967 7" 45 Immediate ZS7 501 WLP USD $10.00 [0 bids]
1 day
Kansas Lonely Wind - 2nd USA 7" vinyl single record ZS84280 KIRSHNER 1978 USD $13.89 Buy It Now 2 days
Play The Game Tonight Kansas 7" vinyl single record USA ZS502903 KIRSHNER 1982 USD $15.30 Buy It Now 2 days

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ZS discography

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

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

2.85 | 4 ratings
3.41 | 9 ratings
3.39 | 10 ratings
New Slaves
2.92 | 3 ratings
3.93 | 21 ratings

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

4.50 | 2 ratings

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
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Hard
3.09 | 2 ratings
Music of the Modern White

ZS Reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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