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ZS

RIO/Avant-Prog • United States


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Zs picture
Zs biography
To categorise these guys is about as difficult as the music they play. ZS's music could be considered as a combination between Avant-Garde/Free Jazz and Math Rock, only with a clearly tidy and structured vibe to it. In addition, their music is also extremely dynamic but also repetetive and requires patience as the music can get frustratingly intense at times, but it's all very energetic and fun to listen to. Their songs are loaded with odd meters and time-signatures and several "start-stop-start" sections are present and plays a significant role in their overall sound, something that could compare them to several bands labeled as Math-Rock. The melodies are often odd, dissonant and unpredictable with heavy minimalistic elements while also being tightly arranged. Stylistically they are looseley akin to Keith Tippett projects, such as Ovary Lodge and Centipede (minus the piano) and the sax playing at times has the stylistics of Elton Dean (from Soft Machine). The minimalistic tendencies are obviously reminiscent of Ennio Morricone and Philip Glass, but often with the more rock-orientated form of minimalism played by Third-era Soft Machine. The band currently consists of Charlie Looker (synthesizer/guitar), Ben Greenberg (guitar), Sam Hillmer (saxophone), and Ian Antonio (drums) although the group have gone through several line-up changes since their formation in 2000. This band is absolutely recommended if you like wacky and both technical and challenging music. Especially for fans of bands like Orthrelm, Ruins and Hella. They are not easy listening by any means but they are absolutely worth checking out if you are into stuff like this, although it may take some time to digest their releases properly.


===Written by Bj-1===

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XeXe
Northern Spy 2015
Audio CD$7.00
$4.19 (used)
Score: The Complete Sextet Works 2002-2007Score: The Complete Sextet Works 2002-2007
Box set
Northern Spy 2012
Audio CD$16.53
$17.85 (used)
New SlavesNew Slaves
THE SOCIAL REGISTRY 2010
Audio CD$36.06
$21.00 (used)
GrainGrain
Northern Spy 2013
Audio CD$6.18
$2.99 (used)
The Hard EPThe Hard EP
EP
Three-One-G 2008
Audio CD$2.75
$2.72 (used)
ZsZs
EP · Limited Edition
Troubleman Unlimited 2003
Audio CD$10.93
$4.81 (used)
Xe by Zs (2015-08-03)Xe by Zs (2015-08-03)
Northern Spy
Audio CD$232.32
The Hard EP by Zs (2008-08-05)The Hard EP by Zs (2008-08-05)
Three-One-G
Audio CD$39.54
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Norman Harris I Wish PROMO 1980 Philadelphia Int'l Records ZS9 3104 USD $14.90 Buy It Now 1h 40m
FREDDY FENDER "YOURS/Rock Down In My Shoe" STARFLITE ZS8-4900 (1979) 45rpm SNGL USD $3.00 Buy It Now 1h 41m
FREDDY FENDER "SQUEEZE BOX/Turn Around" STARFLITE ZS9-4904 (1979) 45rpm SINGLE USD $3.00 Buy It Now 1h 41m
The Thunderbirds-45 PS-CBS ZS4-06270-Wrap It Up/True Love-1986 USD $9.99 Buy It Now 2h 9m
Boogie Woogie 12" Lp The Stan Greig Trio Rediffusion-ZS 116 Stereo UK 1972 USD $6.41 Buy It Now 2h 11m
GREEN, Lloyd (I Can See Clearly Now) Monument ZS7-8562 USD $4.20 Buy It Now 2h 40m
STAMPEDERS THEN CAME THE WHITE MAN MON MORN UNPLAYED? 7 in 45rpm VED 105 ZS fsz USD $9.99 Buy It Now 2h 54m
RICK SAUCEDO JAILHOUSE ROCK UNPLAYED? 7 in 45rpm INTL SHIP VEB 142 ZS FSZ USD $9.99 Buy It Now 2h 54m
TIMOTHY SCHMIT PLAYIN IT COOL NM 7in 45rpm INTL SHIP VEI 90 ZS FSZ USD $9.99 Buy It Now 2h 54m
SANFORD TOWNSEND DOES IT HAVE TO BE YOU NM 7in 45rpm VEK 180 ZS FSZ USD $8.99 Buy It Now 2h 55m
SILVER PLATINUM GOLD JUST FRIENDS WHY DON'T WE MAKE LOVE NM VED 133 ZS FSZ USD $9.99 Buy It Now 2h 58m
STEPHEN STILLS STRANGER NM 7in 45rpm INTL SHIP VEI 94 ZS FSZ USD $14.99 Buy It Now 2h 59m
WILLIAM SHAKESPEAR GOODBYE TOMORROW NM UNPLAYED? 7 in 45rpm VEG 194 ZS FSZ USD $14.99 Buy It Now 2h 59m
SIR DOUGLAS QUINTET RAINS CAME BACON FAT 7 in 45rpm INTL SHIP VEL 39 ZS FSZ USD $14.99 Buy It Now 3h
SILVERADO STARRY-EYED WOMAN DON'T KNOW WHAT GOT 7 in 45rpm VEE 167 ZS FSZ USD $99.99 Buy It Now 3h 10m
SQUIRES ON PROBATION DEAR JAN 7 in 45rpm INTL SHIP VEA 95 ZS FSZ USD $99.99 Buy It Now 3h 11m
DERRINGER "Lawyers, Guns And Money" Blue Sky ZS8 2770 Promo! USD $0.99 [0 bids]
3h 25m
DERRINGER "Midnight Road" Blue Sky ZS8 2774 Promo! USD $0.99 [0 bids]
3h 28m
THE OJAYS FOREVER MINE & GET ON OUT AND PARTY CBS RECORDS ZS9 3727 USD $7.19 Buy It Now 3h 53m
Romantics Mystified / Make It Last 7" 45RPM PS 1985 Nemperor Records ZS4 0568 USD $2.00 Buy It Now 4h 9m
Bunny Sigler on PIR demo ZS8 3608 in VG + condition Somebody loves you /Same USD $5.14 Buy It Now 4h 21m
The Day Zs : The Day Zs CD (1990) USD $4.00 Buy It Now 4h 31m
~45 RPM Promo Record~Slade~CBS Label~#ZS4-04865, Little Sheila USD $9.99 [0 bids]
5h 6m
Small Faces - "Itchycoo Park" (U.S) 7" (1967) ZS7 501 (Immediate) Pink Labels USD $5.13 [0 bids]
5h 17m
45 RPM 7" Record Henry Lee Summer Hands On The Radio & Just Another Day ZS407986 USD $7.99 Buy It Now 5h 30m
THE JONES GIRLS I Just Love The Man on Philadelphia International ZS6 3121 VG++ USD $7.50 Buy It Now 6h 25m
ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA "Calling America / Caught In A Trap" 45 RPM ZS4-05766 USD $11.99 Buy It Now 7h 26m
O'Jay's~45RPM Record Vinyl Album~"Who Am I" & "Love Train"~1972~CBS~ZS7 3524 USD $6.99 Buy It Now 7h 53m
Northern Soul 45 : Pat & The Blenders ~ Hard Working Man ~ TSOP ZS8 4757 USD $20.00 Buy It Now 8h 11m
ELO - Hold On Tight Mint- 7" Vinyl 45 1981 ZS5 02408 Jet Records USA Promo USD $7.00 Buy It Now 9h 3m
Isley Brothers Live It Up Part 1 7" Columbia ZS82254 EX 1974 Canadian pressing, USD $8.34 Buy It Now 9h 17m
Isley Brothers Take Me To The Next Phase Part 1 7" T-Neck ZS82272 EX 1978 US pre USD $8.34 Buy It Now 9h 17m
Stomp, Rags And Blues LP Vinyl (Sid Phillips Band - 1972) ZS 110 (ID:14906) USD $12.00 Buy It Now 10h 6m
Stomp, Rags And Blues LP Vinyl (Sid Phillips Band - 1972) ZS 110 (ID:14906) USD $10.27 Buy It Now 10h 8m
REDDINGS Class 7" VINYL US Believe In A Dream 1981 B/W Main Nerve (Zs502437) USD $4.04 Buy It Now 10h 32m
PAMELA MILLER Home In New Orleans 7" VINYL US Monument 1975 B/W Love (Zs88649) USD $6.41 Buy It Now 10h 33m
JUICY Bad Boy 7" VINYL US Private I 1985 Demo Plays Same Both Sides (Zs405422) USD $5.39 Buy It Now 11h
ISLEY BROTHERS Midnight Sky 7" VINYL US Tneck 1974 Part 1 B/W Part 2 (Zs82255) USD $4.04 Buy It Now 11h
ROMANTICS Talking In Your Sleep 7" VINYL US Nemperor 1983 B/w I'm Hip (zs404135) USD $4.04 Buy It Now 11h 2m
CYMARRON Rings 7" VINYL US Entrance B/W Like Children (Zs77500) USD $4.04 Buy It Now 11h 2m
DAN HARTMAN Instant Replay 7" VINYL US Blue Sky 1978 B/W Replayed (Zs8 2772) USD $4.04 Buy It Now 11h 2m
BABYFACE It's No Crime 7" VINYL US Solar 1989 B/W Instrumental (Zs468966) USD $4.04 Buy It Now 11h 2m
ELVIN BISHOP GROUP So Fine 7" VINYL US Fillmore Promo Mono B/W Stereo (Zs77002) USD $4.04 Buy It Now 11h 2m
ISLEY BROTHERS I Wanna Be With You 7" VINYL US Tneck 1979 B/W Part Ii (Zs82279) USD $6.41 Buy It Now 11h 51m
BITE THE BULLET Finished With Love 7" VINYL US Jet 1989 2 Track Demo (Zs468675) USD $5.40 Buy It Now 11h 51m
ISLEY BROTHERS Live It Up 7" VINYL US Tneck 1974 Part 1 B/W Part 2 (Zs82254) USD $5.39 Buy It Now 11h 51m
PEOPLE'S CHOICE Here We Go Again 7" VINYL US Tsop 1976 B/w Mickey D's (zs84781) USD $6.41 Buy It Now 11h 52m
Small Faces | Rock RARE! 45 | Itchycoo Park | Immediate ZS7 501 | Promo USD $20.00 Buy It Now 12h 23m
CYMARRON Rings / Like Children [45 Record] Entrance ZS7-7500 USD $2.85 Buy It Now 12h 42m
TEDDY PENDERGRASS Come Go With Me [45 Record] Phili Intl ZS9 3717 PROMO USD $3.00 Buy It Now 12h 43m
SUPREMES COME SEE ABOUT ME 45rpm VEM 47 ZS FSZ USD $9.99 Buy It Now 13h 5m
Joan Jett Light Of Day USA 7" vinyl single record promo ZS4-06692 CBS 1987 USD $23.08 Buy It Now 13h 28m
Zs Higgins CD USD $34.29 Buy It Now 13h 40m
45 ELLIOT RANDALL Samantha 1977 Promo KIRSHNER ZS8 4271 ex-STEELY DAN Tokens USD $6.95 Buy It Now 13h 48m
EYE OF THE TIGER by SURVIVOR SCOTTI BROTHERS ZS5 02912 RECORD SINGLE 45 USD $3.25 Buy It Now 14h 25m
O'Jays, Use To Be My Baby - This Time Baby, Philadelphia Int. Records ZS8-3642 USD $4.00 Buy It Now 15h 32m
Isley Brothers, Fight The Power Part 1 - Part 2, T-Neck Records ZS8 2256 USD $5.00 Buy It Now 15h 40m
Isley Brothers, Take Me To The Next Phase Part 1-Part 2, T-Neck Records ZS8 2272 USD $4.00 Buy It Now 16h
Billy Paul, Let 'em In-We All Got A Mission, Philadelphia International ZS8-3621 USD $8.00 Buy It Now 16h 54m
Billy Paul, I Wish It Were Yesterday - Be Truthful, Philadelphia Int. ZS8-3551 USD $8.00 Buy It Now 16h 56m
Billy Paul, Thanks For Saving My Life - I Was Married, Philadelphia Int ZS8-3551 USD $8.00 Buy It Now 17h
Billy Paul, How Good Is Your Game - I Think I'll Stay, Philadelphia Int ZS8-3613 USD $6.00 Buy It Now 17h 2m
O'Jays, Time To Get Down - Shiftless Shady Jealous, Philadelphia Int ZS7-3531 USD $5.00 Buy It Now 17h 6m
O'Jays, People Keep Tellin' Me-For The Love of Money, Philadelphia Int ZS7-3544 USD $5.00 Buy It Now 17h 8m
O'Jays, 992 Arguments - Listen To Clock on the Wall, Philadelphia Int ZS7-3522 USD $4.00 Buy It Now 17h 11m
MFSB, Hot Summer Nights-Summertime I'm Feelin' Mellow, Philadelphia Int ZS7-3600 USD $4.00 Buy It Now 17h 14m
STONEBOLT LOVE STRUCK DON'T YA HIDE IT NM UNPLAYED? 7 in 45rpm VEN 25 ZS USD $6.99 Buy It Now 17h 15m
SANTANA ALL WANTED LIGHTNING SKY NM 7 in 45rpm INTL SHIP VEN 16 ZS USD $6.99 Buy It Now 17h 15m
SUGAR BEARS YOU ARE the ONE SOMEONE LIKE YOU NM 7 in 45rpm INTL SHIP ven 28 zs USD $5.00 Buy It Now 17h 16m
BILLY SWAN WOMAN HANDLED COME BY UNPLAYED? 7 in 45rpm INTL SHIP VEN 65 ZS USD $5.00 Buy It Now 17h 16m
SISTER SLEDGE GOT 2 LOVE SOMEBODY GOOD GIRL NOW NM 7 in 45rpm INTLSHIP VEN 30 ZS USD $5.00 Buy It Now 17h 17m
SAM SHAM TAKE WHAT OH THAT'S GOOD BAD NM 7 in 45rpm INTL SHIP VEN 123 ZS USD $5.00 Buy It Now 17h 17m
THE ANDREWS SISTERS - The andrews sisters - 1973 UK 12" Vinyl LP EX/EX - ZS 153 USD $5.09 Buy It Now 18h 6m
CYMARRON 45 ZS7 7500 RARE SINGLE 7" INDIA INDIAN 45 rpm VG+ USD $299.25 Buy It Now 18h 18m
Dave Shepherd Sextet. More Goodman Favourites LP. Rediffusion ZS 54. 1970. VG+. USD $1.93 [0 bids]
18h 50m
"THE SAPPERS" BAND OF THE CORPS OF ROYAL ENGINEERS. 1972 UK LP ZS 107 USD $11.56 Buy It Now 19h 30m
Old 45 RPM Record - Bang ZS8 4804 - Brick - Dancin' Man (both sides) USD $1.49 Buy It Now 19h 59m
ZS 75 Binge Saxophone Concerto etc. / Voss / Binge USD $5.13 Buy It Now 21h 4m
SOUL 45-BUNNY SIGLER- EVERYBODY NEEDS GOOD LOVIN Pt 1/ Pt. 2~ Promo Zs7 3505 USD $0.99 [0 bids]
22h 16m
Small Faces Itchy cop Park / I'm Only Dreaming Immediate ZS7 501 VG 45 USD $1.50 Buy It Now 1 day
THE O'JAYS " YOUR BODY'S HERE WITH ME " 7" SINGLE 1982 ZS5 03009 DEMO USD $3.20 Buy It Now 1 day
The Day Zs by Day ZS (CD, Oct-1990, Reprise) USD $15.00 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
SEXY NUDE COVER CHEESECAKE ! THE HIT KIT ISLANDERS / Koi To Wine To Yoru ZS-1045 USD $139.99 Buy It Now 1 day
BILL McGUFFIE LP- GENTLE SOUNDS RIM ZS 36 USD $8.99 [0 bids]
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
Demo Record Kirshner Records 1976 Lisa Hartman Pickin up the Pieces ZS8-4260 USD $3.50 Buy It Now 1 day
Demo Record on Philadelphia by Anthony with Never Repay Your Love ZS8 3574 USD $3.50 Buy It Now 1 day
Demo Record on Monument by Dennis Linde with Under the Eye ZS8-8681 USD $3.50 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 Isley Brothers Harvest For The World Tneck Records ZS8 2261 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
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
Boots Randolph Sanford & Son Theme PROMO 1974 Monument NM! Mono/Stereo ZS8 8634 USD $19.90 Buy It Now 1 day
Lou Rawls ?- You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine - 45RPM - ZS8 3592 USD $5.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Lou Rawls Lets Fall In Love All Single 45Record ZS8 3592 Philadelphia Co Sleeve USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1 day
7" Vinyl Record, The S.O.S Band, Open Letter / S.O.S, zs95526 USD $2.04 Buy It Now 1 day
Stoneground Family Album dbl LP NM- 2ZS1956 1971 1B/1B/1A/1B USD $34.99 Buy It Now 1 day

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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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