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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$37.40
$21.00 (used)
XeXe
Northern Spy Records 2015
Vinyl$12.99
$59.00 (used)
Score: The Complete Sextet Works 2002-2007Score: The Complete Sextet Works 2002-2007
Box set
Northern Spy 2012
Audio CD$16.53
$40.38 (used)
GrainGrain
Northern Spy 2013
Audio CD$5.26
$2.90 (used)
The Hard EPThe Hard EP
EP
Three-One-G 2008
Audio CD$2.75
$2.47 (used)
ZsZs
EP · Limited Edition
Troubleman Unlimited 2003
Audio CD$10.93
$8.47 (used)
New Slaves by Zs (2010-05-11)New Slaves by Zs (2010-05-11)
THE SOCIAL REGISTRY
Audio CD$90.20
Xe by Zs (2015-08-03)Xe by Zs (2015-08-03)
Northern Spy
Audio CD$51.84
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
WEIRD AL YANKOVIC living with a hernia 7" Mint- Promo ZS4 06400 USA 45 1986 USD $15.00 Buy It Now 2h 28m
JAY FALLEN Heart Of The Country VINYL LP STEREO Rediffusion 1971 UK ZS99 @Vg-Ex USD $9.85 Buy It Now 2h 53m
Quiet Riot ?- Cum On Feel The Noize (EX) RARE White Label Promo ZS4 04005 Roc USD $0.99 [1 bids]
3h 55m
Old 45 RPM Record - Monument ZS8-8688 - Jimmy Nall - I Guess I'll Have to Sing A USD $16.00 Buy It Now 4h 50m
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LP Various "Grecian Summer" REDIFFUSION STEREO R.I.M. ZS 100 Pote Tha Nichtossi USD $16.09 Buy It Now 13h 14m
Romantics Mystified / Make It Last 7" 45RPM PS 1985 Nemperor Records ZS4 0568 USD $3.00 Buy It Now 16h 41m
EBONYS You're The Reason Why + Sexy Ways 45 US 1971 orig Phila Int ZS7 3503 USD $7.98 Buy It Now 16h 51m
NEW Crest of Zs-Toushin No Monshou (Audio CD) USD $32.39 Buy It Now 18h 17m
BARRY WHITE, LOVE AIN'T EASY, UNLIMITED GOLD, ZS9 1411, DEMO USD $9.50 Buy It Now 19h 8m
Northern Soul 45 : Pat & The Blenders ~ Hard Working Man ~ TSOP ZS8 4757 USD $20.00 Buy It Now 19h 35m
S.O.S. Band Just The Way You Like It 7" 45 Tabu ZS4 04523 1984 Vinyl USD $4.99 Buy It Now 20h 51m
45 DEMO, ELO ELECTRIC LIGHT/CBS/SO SERIOUS ZS405892, SHINE A LITTLE LOVE ZS85057 USD $7.50 Buy It Now 21h 38m
ROSS McMANUS - THE LEAVING OF LIVERPOOL - UK 1st LP REDIFFUSION ZS 122 /1972 EX! USD $11.14 Buy It Now 21h 57m
GLORIA LORNING & CARL ANDERSON 7'' SINGLE, 1986, CARRERE USA, ZS4 06122 USD $2.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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Vtg Kris Kristofferson Why Me / Help Me Monument ZS7 8571 Vinyl, 7", 45 Record USD $4.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Tyrone Brunson Hot Line 7" 45 Believe In A Dream Zs4 03937 1983 Vinyl USD $4.99 Buy It Now 1 day
STEPPENWOLF -- GET INTO THE WIND (MONO / STEREO WHITE LABEL PROMO) MUMS ZS8 6034 USD $3.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Grin - We All Sung Together / See What a Love Can Do 45 PROMO NM Thunder zs74000 USD $12.99 Buy It Now 1 day
ZS 75 Binge Saxophone Concerto etc. / Voss / Binge USD $4.94 Buy It Now 1 day
Zs - Grain [Vinyl New] USD $19.47 Buy It Now 1 day
The Chi-Lites - Stop What You're Doin' MINT- 7" Private I Promo ZS4 04365 USD $15.00 Buy It Now 1 day
ISLEY BROTHERS (Live It Up) Tneck ZS8 2254 = PROMOTIONAL record USD $4.50 Buy It Now 1 day
Jimmy Castor Bunch - Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy 45 Kinetic ZS7 6002 Promo USD $0.99 [0 bids]
1 day
Survivor (Eye Of The Tiger) Take You (Scotti Bros ZS5 02912) 1981 Rock 7" 45 rpm USD $9.00 Buy It Now 1 day
ANKA, Paul (Why Are You Leaning On Me Sir) Barnaby ZS7 2027 = PROMO USD $4.00 Buy It Now 1 day
EDDIE CONDON/DIXIELAND DANCE PARTY UK ZS162 USD $18.00 Buy It Now 1 day
ZS 125 - GREAT OPERA CHORUSES Vol 1 Vienna National Opera Orch - Ex LP Record USD $11.14 Buy It Now 1 day
Old 45 RPM Record - Philadelphia ZS8 3680 - The Jones Girls - Who Can I Run To.. USD $1.49 Buy It Now 1 day
Old 45 RPM Record - Starflite ZS9 4908 - Freddy Fender - Please Talk To My Heart USD $2.50 Buy It Now 1 day
Old 45 RPM Record - Barnaby ZS7 2011 - Ray Stevens - Everything is Beautiful / A USD $1.49 Buy It Now 1 day
Old 45 RPM Record - Monument ZS7-8900 - Roy Orbison - Running Scared / Love Hurt USD $1.49 Buy It Now 1 day
Old 45 RPM Record - Philadelphia International ZS9 3114 - Lou Rawls - I Go Crazy USD $2.50 Buy It Now 1 day
Old 45 RPM Record - Philadelphia International ZS8 3684 - Lou Rawls - Lover's Ho USD $1.49 Buy It Now 1 day
Old 45 RPM Record - Philadelphia ZS9 3707 - The O'Jays - One in a Million / Sing USD $1.49 Buy It Now 1 day
Sid Phillips vinyl LP album record Chicago And All That Jazz UK ZS27 USD $14.80 Buy It Now 1 day
Cooper-Wright Quintet LP - Tribute To The Hot Club. Rediffusion R.I.M. ZS26B. USD $8.05 Buy It Now 1 day
Hey Paula... LP. Rediffusion ZS 143. 1973 compilation. Exc Vinyl. USD $1.86 [0 bids]
1 day
John Cafferty On The Dark Side 7" Scotti Bros ZS4/04107 EX 1980s US pressing, On USD $8.04 Buy It Now 1 day
KRIS KRISTOFFERSON 45rpm "Help Me" & "Why Me" 1972 Monument RECORDS ZS7 8571 USD $39.95 Buy It Now 1 day
O Jays - Love Train / Time To Get Down - Philadelphia Int ZS8 3754 - Northern So USD $9.91 Buy It Now 1 day
DON ROBERTSON 45rpm "She Comes Home to Me" 1976 Monument Records ZS8 8694 USD $39.95 Buy It Now 1 day
BARBUSTERS JOAN JETT, LIGHT OF DAY - WHITE LABEL PROMO 7" ZS4-06692 SPRINGSTEEN USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1 day
JAMES BROWN, STATIC - WHITE LABEL PROMO 7" ZS4 07975 USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1 day
FUNK 45 RPM RECORD - CAROLYN CRAWFORD - PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL ZS8 3553 USD $20.00 Buy It Now 1 day
The Songs of Robert Burns; William McAlpine; Rediffusion ZS 126 USD $0.99 Buy It Now 1 day
THE ISLEY BROTHERS, SAY YOU WILL (PART 1), TNECK, ZS9 2292, DEMO USD $7.50 Buy It Now 1 day
Grain - Zs (Vinyl Used Very Good) USD $17.47 Buy It Now 1 day
S. OHASHI & HIS HONEY ISLANDERS STEREO HAWAIIAN HIGHLIGHTS ZS1005 10" fp4053 USD $2.99 [0 bids]
1 day
Brenton Wood Sticky Boom Boom Too Cold Pt1 45 PROMO Soul Funk Prophesy ZS7 3002 USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Brenton Wood Another Saturday Night 45 PROMO Soul Funk Prophesy ZS7 3002 USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1 day
JIMMY NALL CONCRETE JUNGLE 45 RPM RECORD VINTAGE ORIGINAL 1974 RECORD ZS8 8626 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 2 days
ELO don't bring me down 7" VINYL RECORD ZS9 5060 USA USD $0.74 [0 bids]
2 days
Tyrone Brunson - The Smurf Mint- 7" Vinyl 45 Believe In A Dream Promo ZS4 03163 USD $50.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Sheila Runner 7" 45 Carrere ZS5-02757 1981 Vinyl USD $9.99 Buy It Now 2 days
S.o.s. Band Good & Plenty 7" 45 Tabu ZS4 03248 1982 Vinyl USD $9.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Stoneground - Family Album Green Label Vinyl 2 LP 1971 2ZS 1956 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Fabulous Thunderbirds Stand Back 7" CBS ZS4 97230 EX/EX 1987 picture sleeve, US USD $8.04 Buy It Now 2 days
THREE DEGREES - PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL ZS8 3550 "WHEN WILL I SEE YOU AGAIN" USD $7.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Emmerich Kalman - Grafin Mariza LP RARE OPERA ORPHEE ZS 10143 Lotte Rysanek USD $49.99 Buy It Now 2 days
BOBBY GOLDSBORO - THE ROUND-UP SALOON PROMO 45 - CURB - USA - ZS502583 USD $1.51 Buy It Now 2 days
MILLS BORTHERS OPUS ONE UK LP REDIFFUSION STEREO ZS 157 1973 VOCAL HARMONY USD $4.94 Buy It Now 2 days
45 RPM 7" Record Dan Hartman This Is It & Countdown 1978 Blue Sky ZS8 2775 VG+ USD $6.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Vn Sons - B. Bartok (1995, CD New) Nissen/Zs USD $14.39 Buy It Now 2 days
45rpm~CAFFERTY,John~C-I-T-Y City/Where The Action Is?ZS4-05452?Vinyl Record ?EXC USD $4.12 Buy It Now 2 days
Scott McKenzie San Francisco, What's The Difference 1967 ODE ZS7-103 EX! USD $14.90 Buy It Now 2 days
Billy Swan 45 I Can Help 1974 NOS Billboard #1 Canada Monument ZS8 8621 USD $12.50 Buy It Now 2 days
LOU RAWLS YOU'LL NEVER FIND ANOTHER LOVE LIKE MINE 45 VINYL 7 INCH ZS8 3592 USD $2.75 Buy It Now 2 days
THE S.O.S. BAND - "TAKE YOUR TIME (DO IT RIGHT) PART 1 & 2" 45 - ZS9-5522 USD $4.25 [0 bids]
2 days
O'Jays - I Love Music PT 1 - I Love Music PT2 - ZS8-3577 - N/M USD $4.25 [0 bids]
2 days
ALEXANDER O'NEAL FEATURING CHERRELLE 7'' vinyl SINGLE, 1985, TABU, ZS4 07646 USD $2.99 Buy It Now 2 days
45 Record Lou Rawls Let's Fall in Love All Over Again ZS8 3592 You'll Never Find USD $7.00 Buy It Now 3 days
O'JAYS back stabbers / sunshine ZS7 3517 PIS 45 USD $1.89 Buy It Now 3 days
Grain [Analog] Zs LP Record USD $29.91 Buy It Now 3 days
CBS ZS8 3550 The Three Degrees Year Of Decision & When Will I See You Again? USD $4.88 Buy It Now 3 days
SEVEN AGES OF MAN S/T LP VINYL UK Rediffusion 1972 8 Track (Zs115) USD $44.82 Buy It Now 3 days
JO STAFFORD Do I Hear A Waltz? LP VINYL UK Rediffusion 12 Track Stereo (Zs155) USD $11.01 Buy It Now 3 days
BANJOS ARE BACK S/T LP VINYL UK Rediffusion 1971 12 Track (Zs91) USD $11.01 Buy It Now 3 days
EDDIE PEABODY Great Banjo Man LP VINYL UK Rediffusion 1973 12 Track (Zs161) USD $6.18 Buy It Now 3 days
BILL MCGUFFIE BIG BAND S/T LP VINYL UK Rediffusion 1972 12 Track (Zs130) USD $8.41 Buy It Now 3 days
REDDINGS Class 7" VINYL US Believe In A Dream 1981 B/W Main Nerve (Zs502437) USD $3.89 Buy It Now 3 days
45 RPM 7" Record Billy Swan Ways Of A Woman In Love & I Can Help 1974 ZS8 8621 USD $6.00 Buy It Now 3 days
THE ISLEY BRROTHERS -(45)- FIGHT THE POWER PART 1 / PART 2 - TNECK-ZS8 2256-1975 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 3 days
WLP 1978 ARC I FEEL BEAUTIFUL MONO STEREO 45 LIFESONG CBS RECORDS ZS8 1778 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 3 days
PAMELA MILLER Home In New Orleans 7" VINYL US Monument 1975 B/W Love (Zs88649) USD $6.18 Buy It Now 3 days
JUICY Bad Boy 7" VINYL US Private I 1985 Demo Plays Same Both Sides (Zs405422) USD $5.19 Buy It Now 3 days
ISLEY BROTHERS Midnight Sky 7" VINYL US Tneck 1974 Part 1 B/W Part 2 (Zs82255) USD $3.89 Buy It Now 3 days
CYMARRON Rings 7" VINYL US Entrance B/W Like Children (Zs77500) USD $3.89 Buy It Now 3 days
ROMANTICS Talking In Your Sleep 7" VINYL US Nemperor 1983 B/w I'm Hip (zs404135) USD $3.89 Buy It Now 3 days
BITE THE BULLET Finished With Love 7" VINYL US Jet 1989 2 Track Demo (Zs468675) USD $5.20 Buy It Now 3 days
ISLEY BROTHERS I Wanna Be With You 7" VINYL US Tneck 1979 B/W Part Ii (Zs82279) USD $6.18 Buy It Now 3 days
PEOPLE'S CHOICE Here We Go Again 7" VINYL US Tsop 1976 B/w Mickey D's (zs84781) USD $6.18 Buy It Now 3 days
ISLEY BROTHERS Live It Up 7" VINYL US Tneck 1974 Part 1 B/W Part 2 (Zs82254) USD $5.19 Buy It Now 3 days
KANSAS Hold On 7" VINYL US Kirshner 1980 Demo Plays Same Both Sides (Zs94291) USD $5.19 Buy It Now 3 days
Pat Boone - Moon River & Other Movie Themes (Vinyl, Ex.Cond., 1973, ZS165) USD $12.32 Buy It Now 3 days
The Bill McGuffie Big Band Bill McGuffie UK vinyl LP album record ZS130 USD $14.80 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
3.45 | 8 ratings
Arms
2007
3.48 | 9 ratings
New Slaves
2010
3.09 | 2 ratings
Grain
2013
4.00 | 20 ratings
Xe
2015

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

4.50 | 2 ratings
Buck
2007

ZS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ZS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ZS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Karate Bump
2005
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Hard
2008
3.09 | 2 ratings
Music of the Modern White
2009

ZS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Grain by ZS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.09 | 2 ratings

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Grain
Zs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Lewa

3 stars ZS's most electronic album yet, even more abstract that previous efforts.

Grain features only two long tracks of about 20 minutes and has tons of distortion, drones, harsh electronics, sound manipulation and loops.

What drums and bells there are, are low in the mix buried under all the electronics. There seems to be a bit of saxophone, but it is distorted and almost indiscernible from the electronics.

The repetition typical for ZS releases is still present but both tracks seem more improvised, less structured and even less accessible than tracks on previous albums. This could almost be a remix album of previous ZS efforts. An appreciation for electronic sound manipulation is required to like it.

Overall this is recommended to fans of the band. First time listeners of ZS would probably have an easier time starting with Xe (or Arms or New Slaves).

 Arms by ZS album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.45 | 8 ratings

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Arms
Zs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Lewa

3 stars Sounds like a mix of Satie and math rock done with saxophone as the leading instrument.

There are drums, sax, guitar, keyboards/effects and vocals on this album.

Saxophone, drums and vocals are mostly played or sung in bursts. There is very little conventional drumming. The drums mostly follow the saxophone and accompany its most prominent notes by a drum burst. Other than that there's no rhythm. The guitar and keyboards are mainly used to produce noise.

The music is grounded in repetitive blasts and minimalist music seems to have been an inspiration. Phrases and musical fragments start, get repeated, stop and are maybe revisited later and probably repeated again. There is no gradual change or gradual building of anything. The whole album is a start-stop affair of bursts and phrases that are repeated a (seemingly) random number of times.

Regarding compositional style, the most similar piece I can think of is "Cinema: entr'acte symphonique de Relache" by Eric Satie. In rock music terms it does sound like math rock without drumming, where the saxophone replaces the guitar as the lead instrument.

This is especially recommended to listeners who really like Eric Satie (outside of the piano pieces) and can stand some heavyness and noise rock.

 New Slaves by ZS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.48 | 9 ratings

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New Slaves
Zs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Lewa

3 stars Three main ingredients of previous albums are present here to about the same degree: Noise, improvisation and repetition of phrases (where phrases are discernible).

New is the heavy use of distorted guitar, that often drone out everything else, and more electronic effects. Due to this, "New Slaves" seems (to me) sonically more like other noise releases and a bit less unique than the preceding EP.

Parts of the album seem free and others highly structured. This, as well as the heavy use of repetition, makes for an interesting release in the end.

New slaves is recommended to listeners who like free jazz, noise rock and minimalism and want to listen to it at the time.

 Music of the Modern White by ZS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2009
3.09 | 2 ratings

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Music of the Modern White
Zs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Lewa

3 stars For noise rock and free jazz enthusiasts. Includes organic instrumentation and everyday sound imitations.

This album is more noisy, free and disjointed and seems a lot more improvised than previous Zs releases. It is essentially a mix of free jazz and noise soundscape.

I'm not an expert on the noise genre but I believe this might stand out from some other releases because of the instrumentation. Other noise releases (that I know of) seem to rely more heavily on electronics than this album. (This impression might be due to my limited genre knowledge, though.)

The main instruments here are drums, guitar and saxophone.

Other than that, I am unsure to what degree synthesizers/electronics are involved. Sound effects might be played on guitar.

Imitating various everyday noises seems to be a bit of a theme.

I believe I noticed the guitar (probably) try bees, (probably) honking car and (probably) motorcycle while the drums (probably) did machine gun and (probably) heavy rainfall.

The saxophone is the most versatile and tries to (probably) simulate a windy day and (probably) play a car that does not start, (probably) sound like a chainsaw and (probably) imitate a seagull and (probably) sound like various insects.

The rest is, well, noise.

 Xe by ZS album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.00 | 20 ratings

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Xe
Zs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by LearsFool
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

5 stars Somewhere between the recent post-punk revival and modern avant-prog lies Zs. These modern day pronks mix a very sparse guitar sound that mixes with use of horns that are unmistakably RIO-derived. The guitar lines go on and on and on, with the horns variously attacking like Peter Brotzmann's kind of free jazz, or playing along or in the background like a sickly corruption of smooth, urban feeling jazz, easily in part by way of Henry Cow. The minimalism only helps this album sound ever stranger, which is exactly where it needs to be. The artfulness of the result is best shown by the long, jaw-dropping "Corps" and title track, and how. Easily a front-runner not just for avant-prog album of the year, but for album of the year in general.
 New Slaves by ZS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.48 | 9 ratings

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New Slaves
Zs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by progadicto

4 stars I really enjoy ZS albums and I'm expecting to get in my hands their latest release as soon as possible. At least for me they make a very singular kind of avant garde mixing a lot of known elements and influences to make some really interesting tracks full of surprising moments perhaps this one is an album a little different from their previous releases (because the constant presence of distorted instruments) I got to say that this one is a very weird but nice piece of experimental music. So meanwhile I wait for their new album I consider necessary to give another listen to "New Slaves", one of their most experimental releases.

"New Slaves" starts with "Concert Black" a kind of clock-rhythmical intro (at least for avant garde standards) layed by a mysterious atmosphere which matches with the complex work of distorted guitars and weird effects into an almost minimalist composition.

Next comes "Acres of Skin", a song based on tribal percussions as base for intricated distored instrumental sections. Dark atmospheres repeats here but with a strong emphasys on hard rhythmical sections and distorted and screamig sax.

Third is "Gentleman Amateur" in which distorted sounds takes definetively the lead even constructing a loud wall of minimal harmonics that repeats on "Don't Touch Me" in which ZS reaches a strong paronoid atmosphere full of distorted effects and metalic percussions playing repetitive but changing schizoid sections.

"Masonry" is the first song of the álbum which has some relation with the previous ZS releases. Is a quiet but dark song base don a slow rhythmical base and some atmospherical effects.

Then we have "New Slaves" and we ge tinto the most deep ocean of musical and atmospherical textures that ZS can give us. Some guitars "a la Frohmader" filling any quiet space and possible silences, repetitive rhythmical sections, slow but constant movements between some hard and raw sax solos? All of this elements turns this 20 minutes song into a real dark deep journey crossed by one of the most dense musical expressions that I've heard lately, reminding me some Henry Cow and Ne Zhdali best moments.

"Black Crown Ceremony" (Parts I and II) are the epilog for this album. Here ZS mixes quiet but still dark atmospheres with distorted sax and guitars building different sound layers that explodes in some really chilling moments.

At least for me it's the kind of avant garde that I really enjoy. Maybe not for all ears but surely a piece which deserves a place into any RIO discography? 4*

 Zs by ZS album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.00 | 3 ratings

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Zs
Zs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by progadicto

3 stars Zs first album it just a nice preview of what these guys do since 2003.

Like many first attempts, "Zs" has some lack of originalty perhaps is a good avant garde album. Reminiscences of the more experimental bands of the genre could be found easily in every song of this album but Zs has his stuff. Between scales and harmonies that looks like 5uu's or Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic outtakes, you can find some dark and addictive style related to build complex and progressive melodies in order to create oppresive atmospheres. "Mimesis" is the climax of this attempts; a quiet but thrilling track in which we can find the genesis of the singular Zs sound that we discover in their late production.

Not the best of this band but a kind of necessary prologue of the complex wotk of these guys. And of course, "Mimesis" is a worth to listen piece, really amazing and captivating... 3+*...

 Arms by ZS album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.45 | 8 ratings

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Arms
Zs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Chris H
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The maxi-minimalists?

Zs is a band that was formed in 2000 in New York, in the heart of the brutal chamber scene. However, one would challenge themselves day and night trying to name a genre that fits the style these guys play. One listen to this album and you will say they play one style, then listen to it again and you will say a different one. There is just no way to peg one single genre onto this album. It's too ugly and raw for jazz music, too complicated for minimalist music however too simple to be called avant-garde.

Arms is the first full-length studio album from this band, following up on two successful EP's and predating a live release, both recorded last year in 2007. If you are reading this review because you are looking for something that resembles music, I warn you to turn back now. Zs is not a band that plays music, Zs is a band that records art. Vocals are used sparingly, but they create a deep impact on the album, especially the chanting in Except When You Don't Because You Wont. Combined with the beating percussions, this piece could almost put you in a trance-like state. Also the vocals on I Can't Concentrate really sky-rocket the song itself and the album to a whole new level.

From the opening saxophone explosion of B Is For Burning, to the last shake of the tambourine on Z Is For The Zone, there is no let up on this album. Although sometimes the music may quiet down or shift itself, the thrills keep coming back. One mistake I do think that Zs might have made in their debut is the length of the album. They do a great job playing their repetitive, trance inducing music throughout the duration of the album, but towards the end the listener will tend to settle back into their seat rather than still be on the edge. Music like this needs to be full-out for a certain length and then stop without rest.

All in all, a very strong debut and one of the best in 2007. Work on those endings and the next Zs studio album will most likely be a winner!

 Arms by ZS album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.45 | 8 ratings

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Arms
Zs RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by chamberry
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Calling this cerebral is an understatement.

Earlier this year, around summer, when I was discovering highly convoluted and elaborate music, I stumbled upon a band that was simply named "Zs". I remember reading an article about a little musical movement called "brutal prog" where bands like Upsilon Acrux, The Flying Luttenbachers and even Orthrelm are part of, or so the author of the article claims. Zs was the band labeled as "brutal chamber" and being a fan of this kind of music I didn't hesitated to check them out. The music does remind me of the previously mentioned bands so this is recommended for fans of this kind of music, especially fans of Orthrelm's Ov.

Zs' music takes parts of minimalism, chamber music, rock, jazz and mesh it to sound as ugly and dissonant as possible! This leaves no room for emotions so I hope that that isn't a problem. The music is repetitive and angular with disjointed and awkward sounding melodies wrapped with start / stop dynamics in every single moment of the album. Vocals aren't present on this album but in one song, "Nobody Wants To Be Had" which is one of the album's peak moments particularly because of its odd singing and even odder topic. This song in particular is the one that attracted me the most from them since it's the most easily rewarding song on the album as well as being a good representation of their sound. The only song that can top this one is "I Can't Concentrate" with its math rock-like song structure and long running time. Balk is an interesting song, it isn't as engaging as the ones before and after it, but the main melody is almost exactly the same as Faust's song called "So Far". This hasn't been affirmed by the members of Zs and it's only a little observation of mine so ignore it at will.

Zs' music is inaccessible and hard to grasp. Newcomers should keep away from this band, but Veterans should check Zs' as soon as possible. Arms is an elaborate and intriguing album that Avant-garde music fans will highly enjoy. The only problem here is "Z is for Zone" which isn't up to par with the rest of the material on the album and overstays its welcome, but this is still an enjoyable album.

3.5 out of 5

Thanks to avestin for the artist addition.

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