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ZS

RIO/Avant-Prog • United States


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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$25.08
$9.99 (used)
Score: The Complete Sextet Works 2002-2007Score: The Complete Sextet Works 2002-2007
Box set
Northern Spy 2012
Audio CD$16.61
$16.60 (used)
XeXe
Northern Spy 2015
Audio CD$8.99
$9.01 (used)
GrainGrain
Northern Spy 2013
Audio CD$9.67
$2.90 (used)
ZsZs
EP · Limited Edition
Troubleman Unlimited 2003
Audio CD$10.95
$7.29 (used)
3333
Single
Northern-Spy Records 2011
Vinyl$29.95
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Billy Swan I Can Help Ways Of A Woman In Love Monument Records 45 ZS8 8621 1974 USD $2.99 Buy It Now 58m 52s
SMALL FACES--TIN SOLDIER /I FEEL MUCH METTER on IMMEDIATE ZS7-5003 USD $1.99 [1 bids]
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Isley Brothers Take Me To The Next Phase Part 1 7" T-Neck ZS82272 EX 1978 US pre USD $8.68 Buy It Now 2h 59m
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GATLINS 45 RPM Come On In - Monument ZS7-8568 (1973) USD $10.75 Buy It Now 18h 9m
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Score: The Complete Sextet Wor ks 2002-2007 (4xCD) Zs Audio CD USD $34.25 Buy It Now 1 day
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THE O'JAYS 45 GIRL, DON'T LET IT GET YOU DOWN TSOP RECORDS ZS9 4790 USD $8.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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James Brown-How Do You Stop / House Of Rock-1986- Scotti Bros. Records-ZS4 06568 USD $9.99 [0 bids]
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ELO - Shine A Little Light/Jungle JET ZS8 50057 USA PRESSING 7" USD $1.32 [0 bids]
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Country Fever - Mountain Music Jamboree - Rediffusion ZS 50 (UK) USD $3.61 [0 bids]
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Kana Kapiolani and his Hawaiians - Songs of the Islands LP (1970) R.I.M.ZS45 USD $1.32 [0 bids]
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LAMONT JOHNSON Masta Luva TABU ZS9 5525 near mint vinyl USD $7.99 [0 bids]
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Colleen Hewett Dreaming My Dreams With You 7" Wizard ZS319 EX 1970s Australian p USD $8.68 Buy It Now 2 days
Billy Lee Riley, I Got A Thing About You Baby, Entrance Promo ZS7-7508 USD $5.00 Buy It Now 2 days
THE HILL SYLVIE ZS75016 EP ww0066 USD $7.99 [0 bids]
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Toni Wine, Long Distance Kissin', Entrance Promo 45rpm ZS7-7510 USD $8.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Survivor 45 Burning Heart Scotti Brothers Records 1985 PROMO COPY #ZS405663 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 2 days
KINGFISH hard to love somebody 7" Mint- JET ZS8 5053 Vinyl 1978 Record USD $12.00 Buy It Now 2 days
45 ELLIOT RANDALL Samantha 1977 Promo KIRSHNER ZS8 4271 ex-STEELY DAN Tokens USD $6.95 Buy It Now 2 days
DAVIS, Paul (Darlin' // Ride 'em Cowboy) Bang ZS8 5201 = REISSUE copy USD $3.80 Buy It Now 2 days
BURRITO BROTHERS Closer To You / Coast To Coast 45 Curb Records ZS5 02835 (1982) USD $5.99 Buy It Now 2 days
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vinyl LP FREDDIE RANDALL & HIS FAMOUS JAZZ BAND zs84 stereo USD $10.03 Buy It Now 2 days
Zs - New Slaves CD USD $1.32 [0 bids]
2 days
Xe, Zs, 0703610875401 USD $16.05 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
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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
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LP CHICAGO and ALL THAT JAZZ, Sid Phillips and his Band, rediffusion zs27 USD $6.68 Buy It Now 2 days
45 RPM Vinyl Roy Head Puff of Smoke TMI Records ZS7 9000 45ame11 USD $16.98 Buy It Now 2 days
Quiet Riot 45 Run For Cover/Cum On Feel The Noise Pasha Records 1983 #ZS404005 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 2 days
SID PHILLIPS - Clarinet Marmalade - Excellent Con LP Record Rediffusion ZS 142 USD $10.68 Buy It Now 2 days
St Mary's Choir : An Album Of Christmas Music : Vinyl Album :R.I.M. ZS20 USD $10.41 Buy It Now 2 days
MARI GRIFFITHS - WELSH FOLK = REDIFFUSION STEREO ZS 131 USD $9.36 Buy It Now 2 days
PI ZS8 3587 THE O'JAYS LIVIN' FOR THE WEEKEND PROMO STEREO / MONO SOUL USD $8.99 Buy It Now 2 days
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THE ISLEY BROTHERS-WHO LOVE YOU BETTER-45-PROMO-ZS82260 USD $2.99 Buy It Now 2 days
ALEXANDER O'NEAL MY GIFT TO YOU TABU RECORDS PROMO DEMO ZS4-08501 STEREO 1988 USD $1.99 Buy It Now 3 days
PAUL DAVIS DO RIGHT BANG RECORDS PROMO ZS9 48008 STEREO 1980 EX USD $1.99 Buy It Now 3 days
HARRY CHAPIN I DON'T WANT TO BE PRESIDENT DUNHILL PROMO ZS 45 1 1988 NRMT USD $1.99 Buy It Now 3 days
MFSB-Picnic In The Park-Philadelphia International ZS8 3626-1976 Funk R USD $3.99 [0 bids]
USD $9.99 Buy It Now
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PETER NOONE You Got Me Anyway Mono/Stereo WLP Promo! Johnston '82 #ZS5 02838 USD $5.00 Buy It Now 3 days
SURVIVOR FEELS LIKE LOVE ZS405663 EP wv9410 USD $4.99 [0 bids]
3 days
JERRY BUTLER nothing says i love you like i love you 7" Mint- 45 Promo ZS8 3673 USD $12.00 Buy It Now 3 days
Derringer 45 Sleepless/Lawyers, Guns and Money Bluesky Records 1978 #ZS8 2770 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Survivor The Search Is Over / High On You 7" 45 rpm Scotti Bros ZS8 06443 1986 USD $4.45 Buy It Now 3 days
KANSAS "Play the game tonight/Play On"45 rpm Kirshner ZS5-02903 1982 USD $4.45 Buy It Now 3 days
People's Chice" Movin in all directions/A Mellow mood" 45 rpmTOP ZS8 4782 USD $4.45 Buy It Now 3 days
Doug Kershaw: Hello Woman, Demonstration/Promo Scotti Brothers Label ZS6 02137 USD $6.39 Buy It Now 3 days
1976 WLP LYNCH & LAWSON (YOU'RE A) BABY DOLL MONO/STEREO 45 MONUMENT ZS8 8687 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 3 days
1972 WLP JERRY FISHER I NEVER HAD IT SO GOOD MONO/STEREO 45 NEW DESIGN ZS7 1007 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 3 days
1984 WLP THE MICHAEL ZAGER BAND SHOT IN THE DARK 45 CBS RECORDS ZS4 04546 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 3 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
3.56 | 7 ratings
Arms
2007
3.48 | 9 ratings
New Slaves
2010
4.00 | 1 ratings
Grain
2013
4.17 | 16 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.

 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
4.17 | 16 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
3.56 | 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!

 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

Thanks to avestin for the artist addition.

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