â€œZs are a compositional juggernaut, bending their rhythmically rigorous, note-stuffed pieces into thrilling and emotional shapes. They embody the most effective elements of both New Complexity and punk rock.â€ â€“ The Stranger
For the next step forward in an already-busy year,we are proud to present Music Of The Modern White form Zs, set for a vinyl and digital only release June 23rd on The Social Registry. This is our first release by New York based Zs (a veteran trio that mixes just about every genre imaginable into an altermodern pastiche of the most epic, beautiful and aggressive proportions you’re likely to hear in 2009). We’re talking no wave, prog rock, free jazz, noise, academic drone, funk, minimal, industrial and ambient with the studio trickery of a Brian Wilson that adds both narcotics and New York street life to his rap sheet. Featuring Sam Hillmer (tenor sax), Ben Greenberg (electric guitar) and Ian Antonio (drum set), we’re truly honored to release this 12” and remain certain that Zs have found a perfect home for their unique, utterly physical excursions on TSR.
Zs were founded in 2000 and have existed as a trio, sextet, and quartet before solidifying in to their current three-piece line-up. While their music has been categorized as no wave, brutal-prog, and post-minimalist, they are primarily concerned with challenging the physical and mental limitations of both performer and listener. Manipulating extended technique, unique instrumental synthesis, and near telepathic communication, Zs aims to create works that envelop the listener and unfold sonically over time, evoking unspoken past, present, and future rites and ritual. The band have released records on a number of labels including Troubleman Unlimited, 31G and Planaria and have played shows with bands such as Animal Collective, Gang Gang Dance, Battles, Orthrelm, Dirty Projectors, Dan Deacon, Marnie Stern, Aa and Han Bennick.
Let’s plunge in a little further in to Music Of The Modern White, shall we? The A Side (or MMW I) opens with a series of metallic drum pangs reminiscent of the creepy Chinese opening ceremony in last summer’s Olympics. You can see from the get-go that there’s more studio emphasis than usual on this piece. It’s a true sonic experience. Tenor saxophone figures rapidly flutter, squeal and moan across the sonic field like a more abrasive version of The Lounge Lizards. Slowly, a guitar drifts in with a sharp, razorblade drone that sounds somewhere between a car motor and the sound of Detroit going bankrupt. The musical equivalent of a Robert Rauschenberg, this side continually erases itself, peeling away the sonic layers and replacing them with open atmospheric dissonance to the point of a fractured, physical bliss.
The B Side (or MMW II) changes trajectory by opening with sporadic polyrhythmic trills and drum figures. Greenberg’s guitar throbs in the distance like a Theremin feeding back over an air-raid horn. Once again, deconstruction comes into the scene as the palette is wiped clean and replaced with a series of handclaps and harmonics in odd time. Finally, perhaps taking a cue from The Boredoms’ playbook, the track is immediately compressed into a stew of fractal notes and manipulated in the studio from all directions. From this, all three members are completely free to communicate without expectation or precedent â€“ a perfect, near-tranquil conclusion to our schizophrenic journey.
With art by John Dwyer and experimental intentions oozing out of its auditory pores, Music Of Modern White is something new and worthy of your attention. It refuses to play into the dead retro tropes that seem stuck on some sort of feedback loop throughout the music world. This is no Fleet Foxes. This is the sound spewing from the bullhorn before they blast the top off the mountain where the foxes live.