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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 Records 2015
$44.89 (used)
Northern Spy 2013
$19.64 (used)
Score: The Complete Sextet Works 2002-2007Score: The Complete Sextet Works 2002-2007
Box set
Northern Spy 2012
$15.26 (used)
New SlavesNew Slaves
$21.00 (used)
New Slaves by Zs (2010-05-11)New Slaves by Zs (2010-05-11)
Zs by ZsZs by Zs
Troubleman Unlimited
Xe by Zs (2015-08-03)Xe by Zs (2015-08-03)
Northern Spy
The Hard EP by Zs (2008-08-05)The Hard EP by Zs (2008-08-05)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
ZS8 3577 The O'Jays ?- I Love Music VG/VG 7" 45 USD $0.99 Buy It Now
ZS8 3587 The O'Jays ?- Livin' For The Weekend / Stairway To Heaven VG+/VG 7" EP USD $0.99 Buy It Now
ZS8 3642 The O'Jays ?- Use Ta Be My Girl / This Time Baby G/VG 7" EP USD $0.99 Buy It Now
SOLE AGENTS Hollywood Dream-Suicide Zonka ZS001 RARE 1988 Excellent USD $8.07 Buy It Now 1h 42m
The Hard EP [EP] [LP] by ZS (Vinyl, Aug-2008, Three One G) USD $17.84 Buy It Now 1h 54m
THE LOU WHITESON ORCHESTRA Masterpieces Vinyl LP RIM ZS9 USD $13.46 Buy It Now 2h 47m
Psych STONEGROUND Family Album WARNER BROS 2ZS-1956 2xLPS NM/NM- Promo! USD $35.00 [0 bids]
4h 15m
GREEN, Lloyd (I Can See Clearly Now) Monument ZS7-8562 USD $4.20 Buy It Now 5h 55m
45 RPM 7" Record Henry Lee Summer Hands On The Radio & Just Another Day ZS407986 USD $7.99 Buy It Now 8h 45m
PEGGY LIPTON - 45 rpm - LU/Let Me Pass By - Ode Rec. #ZS7-124 USD $9.50 Buy It Now 11h 43m
Isley Brothers Live It Up Part 1 7" Columbia ZS82254 EX 1974 Canadian pressing, USD $8.74 Buy It Now 12h 32m
Isley Brothers Take Me To The Next Phase Part 1 7" T-Neck ZS82272 EX 1978 US pre USD $8.74 Buy It Now 12h 32m
The Intruders- Ill Always Love My Mama- Gamble ZS7 2506- EX+ USD $5.19 Buy It Now 13h 4m
JULIE ANTHONY China Blue 7" VINYL Aussie Wizard 1981 B/W Lovers (Zs576) Pic USD $14.81 Buy It Now 14h 9m
L.A.EXPRESS Midnite Flite 7" VINYL US Caribou 1976 B/W Shrug (Zs89014) In USD $5.65 Buy It Now 14h 9m
KANSAS Lonely Wind 7" VINYL US Kirshner 1978 B/W Song For America (Zs84280) In USD $5.65 Buy It Now 14h 9m
KANSAS Portrait 7" VINYL US Kirshner 1978 B/w Lightning's Hand (zs84276) USD $6.72 Buy It Now 14h 9m
KANSAS Right Away 7" VINYL US Kirshner 1982 B/W Windows (Zs503084) Pic Sleeve USD $6.72 Buy It Now 14h 9m
ELO Shine A Little Love 7" VINYL US Jet 1979 B/W Jungle (Zs85057) USD $5.65 Buy It Now 14h 9m
SUPERCHARGE After The Show 7" VINYL US Virgin 1976 B/W Bad Time (Zs89513) Promo USD $4.23 Buy It Now 14h 9m
NEW WORLD Tom-Tom Turnaround 7" VINYL US Rak 1971 B/W Lay Me Down (Zs74505) In USD $5.65 Buy It Now 14h 9m
MARI GRIFFITH Welsh Folk LP VINYL UK Rediffusion 1973 20 Track (Zs131) USD $9.15 Buy It Now 14h 10m
BITE THE BULLET Finished With Love 7" VINYL US Jet 1989 2 Track Demo (Zs468675) USD $5.66 Buy It Now 14h 10m
BANJOS ARE BACK S/T LP VINYL UK Rediffusion 1971 12 Track (Zs91) USD $6.72 Buy It Now 14h 12m
ISLEY BROTHERS I Wanna Be With You 7" VINYL US Tneck 1979 B/W Part Ii (Zs82279) USD $6.72 Buy It Now 14h 12m
PEOPLE'S CHOICE Here We Go Again 7" VINYL US Tsop 1976 B/w Mickey D's (zs84781) USD $6.72 Buy It Now 14h 12m
REDDINGS Class 7" VINYL US Believe In A Dream 1981 B/W Main Nerve (Zs502437) USD $4.23 Buy It Now 14h 13m
GOOD OLD JANGLE DAYS S/T LP VINYL UK Rediffusion 1973 13 Track (Zs138) Sleeve USD $11.98 Buy It Now 14h 14m
PAMELA MILLER Home In New Orleans 7" VINYL US Monument 1975 B/W Love (Zs88649) USD $6.72 Buy It Now 14h 14m
CYMARRON Rings 7" VINYL US Entrance B/W Like Children (Zs77500) USD $4.23 Buy It Now 14h 14m
JUICY Bad Boy 7" VINYL US Private I 1985 Demo Plays Same Both Sides (Zs405422) USD $5.65 Buy It Now 14h 14m
BILL MCGUFFIE BIG BAND S/T LP VINYL UK Rediffusion 1972 12 Track (Zs130) USD $6.72 Buy It Now 14h 15m
DAN HARTMAN Instant Replay 7" VINYL US Blue Sky 1978 B/W Replayed (Zs8 2772) USD $4.23 Buy It Now 14h 15m
ELVIN BISHOP GROUP So Fine 7" VINYL US Fillmore Promo Mono B/W Stereo (Zs77002) USD $4.23 Buy It Now 14h 15m
ROMANTICS Talking In Your Sleep 7" VINYL US Nemperor 1983 B/w I'm Hip (zs404135) USD $4.23 Buy It Now 14h 15m
BABYFACE It's No Crime 7" VINYL US Solar 1989 B/W Instrumental (Zs468966) USD $4.23 Buy It Now 14h 15m
ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA (Confusion) Jet ZS9 5064 USD $3.80 Buy It Now 15h
Robey ZS4 04774 "Bored & Beautiful" & "One Night In Bangkok* 1984 Silver Blue ^ USD $1.99 [0 bids]
15h 5m
The Everly Brothers - Problems / Bye Bye Love 7" VG+ ZS7611 Vinyl 45 1958 USD $7.00 Buy It Now 15h 6m
GENERAL CAINE - GIRLS / BASEBALL TABU RECORDS ZS5-02947 7" 45rpm EX USD $8.49 Buy It Now 15h 8m
John Schneider ZS6 02105 "Stay" & "It's Now Or Never" 1981 CBS Records ^ USD $1.99 [0 bids]
15h 9m
SLADE - MY OH MY / HIGH AND DRY (1983 CBS ZS4 04528) orig. 7" NM cond. USD $0.01 [0 bids]
15h 17m
SLADE - RUN RUNAWAY / DON'T TAME A HURRICANE (1984 CBS ZS4 04398) orig. 7" NM USD $0.01 [0 bids]
15h 19m
Small Faces | Rock RARE! 45 | Itchycoo Park | Immediate ZS7 501 | Promo USD $20.00 Buy It Now 15h 38m
Pete Moore Orchestra ?- Exciting Sounds Of Tomorrow LP - RIM ZS 35 - Ex USD $17.50 Buy It Now 20h 41m
Ronald Binge & His Orchestra ?Summer Rain Vinyl LP Rediffusion ?- ZS81 UK USD $12.11 Buy It Now 22h 13m
1 day
BALáZS FECó 60: CSAK AZ ,VEK MúLTAK EL... * NEW CD USD $31.45 Buy It Now 1 day
Boogie Woogie 12" Lp The Stan Greig Trio Rediffusion-ZS 116 Stereo UK 1972 USD $6.72 Buy It Now 1 day
Bobby Charles / Clean Water ( ZS 42) CD Album USD $53.75 Buy It Now 1 day
"I Can Help/Ways of a Woman in Love" by Billy Swan 7" 45 RPM (ZS8-8621) - 1974 USD $2.99 Buy It Now 1 day
45 RPM 7" Record The Isley Brothers Go For Your Guns & Livin In The Life ZS82267 USD $6.99 Buy It Now 1 day
The Isley Brothers Who Loves You Better 7" Vinyl Single T-Neck ?ZS8 2260 USD $10.09 Buy It Now 1 day
THE DAYS ZS Self rare promo Electronic, Hip Hop LP USD $19.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Small Face im Only dreaming Immediate ZS7 501 7"/45rpm 021518DB45 USD $11.24 Buy It Now 1 day
BABYFACE (Tender Lover) Solar ZS4 74003 USD $3.80 Buy It Now 1 day
45 RPM 7" Record Billy Swan Ways Of A Woman In Love & I Can Help 1974 ZS8 8621 USD $6.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Stoneground Family Album dbl LP NM- 2ZS1956 1971 1B/1B/1A/1B USD $24.99 Buy It Now 1 day
45 RPM 7" Record The Isley Brothers Inside You I & II Tneck Records ZS5 02531 USD $6.99 Buy It Now 1 day
45 RPM 7" Record The Everly Brothers Like Strangers A Brand New Heartache ZS7605 USD $6.99 Buy It Now 1 day
FREDDY FENDER "YOURS/Rock Down In My Shoe" STARFLITE ZS8-4900 (1979) 45rpm SNGL USD $3.00 Buy It Now 1 day
FREDDY FENDER "SQUEEZE BOX/Turn Around" STARFLITE ZS9-4904 (1979) 45rpm SINGLE USD $3.00 Buy It Now 1 day
C.C.S. "WHOLE LOTTA LOVE/Boom Boom" RAK ZS7-4501 (1971) 45rpm SINGLE USD $4.00 Buy It Now 1 day
THE LOU WHITESON ORCHESTRA Masterpieces LP 1968 Rediffusion UK RIM-ZS9 VG/VG USD $6.18 Buy It Now 1 day
DAN HARTMAN "INSTANT REPLAY/Instant (Replayed)" BLUE SKY ZS8-2772 (1978) 45rpm USD $4.00 Buy It Now 1 day
DAN HARTMAN "THIS IS IT/Countdown" BLUE SKY ZS8-2775 (1979) 45rpm SINGLE USD $4.00 Buy It Now 1 day
O'Jays Put Your Hands Together / You Got Your Hooks In Me 45 NM ZS73535 1973 USD $8.95 Buy It Now 1 day
45 RPM 7" Record Felony The Girl Aint Straight & The Fanatic ZS4 03497 VG+ USD $6.99 Buy It Now 1 day
JOHN CAFFERTY TOUGH ALL OVER / STRANGERS IN 45 NM Scotti Bros ZS4-04891 1985 USD $7.95 Buy It Now 1 day
JOHN CAFFERTY SMALL TOWN GIRL / MORE THAN JUST 45 NM Scotti Bros ZS4-05668 1985 USD $7.95 Buy It Now 1 day
The O'Jays - Love Train / Who Am I VG+ 7" Vinyl 45 USA 1972 ZS7 3524 USD $10.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Harold Melvin And Bluenotes - Where Are All My Friends 7" VG+ ZS83552 Vinyl 45 USD $8.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Dee Dee Sharp - Happy Bout The Whole Thing 7" VG+ ZS8 4776 Vinyl 45 TSOP Promo USD $7.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Patti Austin - Body Language / People In Love VG+ 7" Vinyl 45 CTI ZS9 9600 USD $8.00 Buy It Now 1 day
John Cafferty & Beaver Brown Band 7" Mint- Vinyl 45 Scotti ZS4 04594 USA 1983 USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1 day
John Schneider - It's Now Or Never / Stay 7" Mint- Vinyl 45 Scotti ZS6 02105 USD $7.00 Buy It Now 1 day
John Cafferty & Beaver Brown Band 7" Mint- Promo Vinyl 45 Scotti ZS4 04891 USA USD $8.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Rick Derringer - Rock And Roll, Hoochie Koo 7" Vinyl 45 Blue Sky ZS7 2751 USA USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Survivor - I Can't Hold Back / I See You In Everyone 7" Mint- Vinyl 45 ZS4 04603 USD $7.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Isley Jasper Isley - Caravan Of Love 7" Mint- Vinyl 45 CBS ZS4 05611 USD $15.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Dan Hartman - This Is It Mint- 7" Vinyl 45 1978 ZS8 2775 Blue Sky USA Promo USD $10.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Survivor ZS502912 "Eye Of The Tiger/Take You On A Saturday" 1981 CBS Records USD $1.99 [0 bids]
1 day
Gloria Gaynor ZS4-04294-4 "More Than Enough/I Am What I Am" 1983 Silver Blue USD $1.99 [0 bids]
1 day
Albert Hammond - 99 Miles From LA 7" Mint- ZS86037 Vinyl 45 Mums 1975 USD $8.00 Buy It Now 1 day
Stoneground S/T & Family Album / Warner Bros. WS 1895 & 2ZS1856, 2 X LP Lot USD $16.95 Buy It Now 1 day
The Ojays - Put Your Hands Together 7" VG+ - ZS7 3535 Vinyl 45 1973 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Various ?- Banjos Are Back Jolson Style Vinyl LP 1973 Rediffusion ?- ZS164 USD $5.39 Buy It Now 1 day
ELLIOT HOFFMAN Another World/mono and stereo TS??P ZS8 4754 ear mint 7" 45 rpm USD $12.88 Buy It Now 1 day
Scotti Brothers ZS4-05774 John Cafferty - Heart's On Fire/Small Town Girl 1986 USD $12.97 Buy It Now 1 day
Scotti Brothers ZS4-04871 Survivor - The Searh Is Over/It's The Singer Not The USD $15.97 Buy It Now 1 day
Scotti Brothers ZS4-05663 Survivor - Burning Heart/Feels Like Love 1985 7" 45 USD $15.97 Buy It Now 1 day
LOU RAWLS There Will Be Love / Unforgettable - Philadelphia ZS8 3653 USD $9.42 Buy It Now 1 day
Pat Boone's Moon River LP. Rediffusion ZS165. 1973. VG+. USD $2.02 [0 bids]
1 day
The Zip MFSB 7" vinyl single record USA ZS83578 PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL USD $13.39 Buy It Now 1 day
Dexter Wansel Life On Mars USA 7" vinyl single record ZS8-3599 USD $37.66 Buy It Now 1 day
THE ANDREWS SISTERS Self Titled Vinyl LP REDIFFUSION ZS153 Stereo USD $12.11 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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