Zs – 33 (Northern Spy Records)
DBL 7″ / DL
Available now

The most recent EP from New York experimentalists Zs comes in the form of 33, a double 7” release. That in itself is something a bit unusual, I can’t recall the last time I saw someone release a double 7”.

These four tracks are definitely something special, something strange, something interesting.

From the outset, they transport you to another place. I’m not quite aware of exactly what’s going on, the air of mystery surrounding the music really adds an extra layer of density to it. Listening to it, I feel like I’m either underwater or in outer space. It has that strange, detached feeling that’s quite hard to understand.

Penned as an Avant Guard group, I think they manage to clear themselves of all genre classifications but, if I had to describe this to someone using only one word, it would probably be ”˜different’. Maybe that’s why I feel so drawn to it.

The journey through the four, fairly short tracks is a one without any defined outcome. It never builds up to a climax and doesn’t even give you the impression that it wants to. Without any preamble to what you’re about to witness, Zs let you enjoy the music as it is, without any preconceptions.

It’s a delicate, often industrial sounding landscape, full of rich textures and obscure sounds. In my head, I can’t seem to picture ”˜musicians’ playing this. It just seems to have appeared, out of nowhere, with no background and no future. The obscure sounds feel otherworldly and, because of that, also feels completely immersive.

If it wasn’t for the fact you have to flip the vinyl over or the fact that iTunes meticulously times every second of the music, you could lose yourself in it, the music feels like it could go on forever with no real reason to end.

I suppose something that might be beneficial of the double 7” format is the potential to change the recording. Listen to it in a different order, restructure it, create a brand new soundscape. Frankly, that’s one of the downfalls of the ”˜digital age’.

The thing that really appeals to me, after years of listening to what would be described as ”˜traditional’ forms of music, the more experimental side of the spectrum feels so much more engaging, so much more engrossing.

It’s not based on structures or rules. It’s completely freeform, devoid of regulation and therefore lacks any sort of predictability, always keeping you engaged and, sometimes, surprising you.

I must say its brilliant release, with my only negative comment being that it clocks in at a meagre 14 minutes. There’s plenty of opportunity to extend and develop this sound over a longer timeframe.

All words by Craig Johnson. You can read more from Craig on LTW here, on his blog or follow him on Twitter.

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I\'m a 23 year old music enthusiast who has a penchant for vinyl. I\'m also partial to cassettes. I\'ve got a fairly broad taste in music, but I find that I\'m usually fairly pretentious about it. I only started writing reviews as something to fill my spare time, but now I\'m growing quite fond of it. Everything else is fairly standard, I work in a job that I hate, haven\'t used my degree since graduating and spend my spare time scouring the Internet for the weird and wonderful. I just wish I could search the deep realms of music as a full time profession. Only in dreams.

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