Music Of The Modern White

“Zs’ pastiche of influences quotes the experimental lexicon in ways well-versed and passionate, yet to call them derivative would be shortsighted. Listening to Music Of The Modern White, you begin to understand that the scowls on their faces and beads of sweat on their brows have been welcomely replaced by a self-aware wink. And while this album sees their sound becoming rounder, harsher, and less exact, it’s all the more human for it.” – Tiny Mix Tapes

“Zs plunge head first into the murky, amorphous waters where rock, experimental, free jazz, noise, and ambient music meet. You’d be hard pressed to find another group that sounds just like this. The depth of style achieved here is remarkable.” – Alarm Magazine

“The two extended tracks that comprise Music Of The Modern White for a vivid, jarring simulation of a journey through the heart of the modern cityscape; sounds clatter in and out of earshot, objects approach and then recede in to the distance and the division between foreground and background becomes indistinct. Zs seem to suggest that urban life is by its very nature psychedlic, a brutalizing, transformative assault on the senses.” – The Wire

Music Of The Modern White is our first release by Zs, a veteran trio that mixes just about every genre imaginable into an altermodern pastiche of the most epic, beautiful and aggressive proportions. 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.

Let’s plunge in a little further, 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 – 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 The 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.

Catalog Number: TSR071
Release Date: July 7th, 2009
Format: LP / Digital


1. MMW I (PART 1)
2. MMW I (PART 2)
3. MMW I (PART 3)
4. MMW II (PART 1)
5. MMW II (PART 2)
6. MMW II (PART 3)



All Tracks Listed In Blue Are Linked To A Downloadable MP3