March 2015 National Music Reviews

Review: Zs – Xe

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Zs 
Xe 
Northern Spy
Street: 01.27
Zs = Sun Ra + Gelbart + Nisennenmondai / Patrick Higgins x Jar Moff 

Rarely do I hear an album that challenges my perception of how music should be made, but Brooklyn trio Zs has done just that for me. Inside their slaughterhouse of noise, guitar strings are plucked to sound like video game bleeps and grinded on to emulate traffic noise. At some point, the distinction between synthesizers and organic instruments is unclear, but the overwhelming sense of meditated chaos is consistent. On “Corps,” the various sounds of beating hand drums, wind instruments and strings take form in my mind as inanimate objects like streetlights and mailboxes coming to life in a parade. There are so many things around us that don’t appear to produce sound, but Xe’s deranged compositions give voice to every unheard object. When you consider the definition of insanity, it becomes clear just how sane the uncharted musical path of Zs is. –Justin Gallegos

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