Record Review: Zs’ New Slaves Part II: Essence Implosion!

Zs: New Slaves Part II: Essence Implosion!Zs: New Slaves Part II: Essence Implosion! (The Social Registry, 1/25/11)

Zs: “AcresRMX” (Gabe Andruzzi Remix)

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It would be just like the beaten-to-death art of the remix to take on new life in scorched earth.

Nothing about New York avant-garde group Zs has a hook to give people a happy thrill of recognition when it pops up combined with something unexpected. Not only do sax player Sam Hillmer and his bandmates create sounds that no sane instrument maker could have intended, they do so systematically, in drawn-out patterns of percussive fury.

It certainly has elements of noise and free jazz to it, but even that doesn’t do credit to Zs’ disciplined pursuit of alien, enveloping sound mass. Processing its music can be so demanding — the band has a stated goal of “challeng[ing] the physical and mental limitations of both performer and listener” — that making sense of it might as well be a constructive act of hands-on interpretation.

Refreshingly, the remixers on New Slaves Part II: Essence Implosion! use the opportunity to explore the sounds that Zs pried from extended technique and beyond-maddening feats of repetition on the first New Slaves. Three tracks — “New Slaves,” “Concert Black,” and “Acres Of Skin” — get two remixes here. Neither pair immediately seems to come from the same source, and that’s a great sign.

Kronos Quartet to play encore of JG Thirlwell’s Eremikophobia in NYC

Featured in the upcoming ALARM 38: Invisible, Australian experimental composer JG Thirlwell recently commissioned his second piece for the prolific chamber ensemble Kronos Quartet.

Kronos Quartet debuted the 18-minute multi-movement piece, named Eremikophobia (a fear of sand or deserts), at Carnegie Hall in March as part of its Perspectives Series. Now, the group will perform it again on October 8 and 9 2010 at New York’s Le Poisson Rouge.

They will also be playing pieces by Michael Gordon, Clint Mansell and Dan Visconti.