ZS – Grain

The new lineup of ZS has arrived with their first new recording since playing together in July 2012, and for the first time in any of Sam Hilmer’s projects, including the latest meditative material from Diamond Terrifier, the result transcends the tired-sounding labels of “experimental” and “free jazz” and “avant-punk-whatever”.  With the new EP, Grain, you hear not a band improvising, nor conventions of the unconventional.  You hear a collective formed as one pulsating brain pumping a unified stream of euphoric consciousness in what seems like effortless cerebral bliss.  Active is word that comes to mind.  There are all kinds of actions and responses and reflexes bumping and colliding and bouncing off of one another, but the production–the superficial image of this brain–does not allow  us to consider these actions.  We do not picture the tireless artists manned at their battered instruments.  We do not picture their faces, we do not think of their names.  We are made to think that records like Grain are in the air, before and after us, a non-anthropomorphic god nestled between the skin and the veins of everything.

There are changes in the activity of the EP, but not like there are changes from verses to choruses, not like how one reaches an end from a beginning.  The changes are seamless courses of nature that we accept even when surprised by them.  I am reminded of the character Stanley from P. T. Anderson’s Magnolia, in which he responds to a sky raining frogs with simply, “This happens.  This is something that happens.”

This record proves that ZS is only growing and getting better with time and getting harder to be better than.

-E. Adam


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