June 10, 2008
Z's - "Arms" lp
A bit outdated,but VERY overlooked,and most certainly RELEVANT,so it's all good,very good.So here ya go..
My first hint was introduced simply by the way they set up(help from youtube vids,etc.). All facing each other in a square with sheet music in front of them.This is no ordinary "Avant-jazz" (or whatever tag you conjure up,for your own musical-comfort) band.. There's more to this than just explosive noise,there is precise,undeniable talent.
Zs takes post-minimalism to a new level.They explore an immense range of musical approaches.
Each approach speaks for itself in saying,“We know how to play, and play well.”Ranging from rock,to jazz composition,noise and back to rock again,Zs has a unique way of grasping the listener by the neck.Where to some,their post-minimalist approach may come off as noise/calamity/shit, it tends to balance itself in an amazing manner.While listening, it is almost amazing to consider that they are holding themselves together. The songs range from well constructed, to random outbursts barely holding melody. Yet still, it creates a compound of immense musicianship. Explosions of energy are tangled within every song, yet their sound ranges from epic journeys to almost chaotic doomsday messages, particularly in “No Body Wants to be Had.” This unique sound allows them to communicate in a wide range of environments. It is not hard to imagine Zs in an orchestra hall,while at the same time seeing them in a basement or loft; mainly because their song verity is so wide.They can be soft-spoken for one composition,and totally ear damaging on the next.Allwith good taste,whatever that is..you maight just hate this..?
Their sound is bassless, adding another significant challenge.Many bands have approached the no bass task,but the Zs takes it into a new level. Bass is no longer necessary for this,but is generally known to be a vital piece of jazz music.At least some believe this notion..
As you might have guessed, Zs may not be for everyone, but it is most certainly meant for any musician to hear,respectively. Arms is an incredible display of musicianship,study,focus,
communication, art/music schooling, and an incredible taste of the direction music is getting its mucky hands into. Where once power chords were the main focus of good music, now the technically is more than just showing off. It's an art yet to be explored by the masses.
Arms is one of the most unique and under appreciated albums of the year(2007).If you are blessed with the chance to see them live or pick up their album, do it. It will be an experience of a lifetime, and one to never be forgotten.Keep an ear on this band.Charlie Looker(keys,gtr,vox)has
left them to front EXTRA LIFE (see review,awesome video below), full time.Zs,are now a trio and have an ep entitled "Hard" out on ThreeOneG this summer.
Click the header for link to the ZS site. (mp3,tour,projects)
(Also see: M.o.t.h.,seductive sprigs,nat baldwin band,dirty projectors,yukon,period,hunter-gatherer,arhaeopteryx,Charlie Looker)