After 10 years of gleefully dismantling genres and challenging audiences to submit to its avant-prog-jazz-drone-noise-whatever hypnosis, the New York City band Zs promptly dismantled itself last summer. Only founding member and saxophonist Sam Hillmer remains, joined now by guitarist Patrick Higgins and drummer Greg Fox (Guardian Alien, ex-Liturgy). So it's only fitting that Grain, the first taste of new Zs material, features unreleased leftovers of previous line-ups completely dismantled. For the B-side, Fox reconstitutes the recordings into a sputtering and stuttering meditation, and filmed and edited the kaleidoscopic music video on this page. Let's just go full-screen with this one, all right?
Fox shot the source material during a bullet-train ride from Tokyo to Osaka while on tour with Zs and playing solo. The "Grain Part Two" video mirrors a landscape, breaks it apart and then resolves it — much like the track itself, especially beyond this six-minute excerpt. Zs is no stranger to remix projects, its jagged precision perfectly attuned to glitchy and rhythm-based re-creations. But with Fox, the material is far more psychedelic and blurred, with deceptive right angles that curve. It signals new avenues for Zs.
"In Zs right now, we write all the new music together," Greg Fox writes over email. "I was never asked or expected to learn anything that anyone else had written for me to play or anything like that, nor any of the band's previous work. Being told this would be the case definitely drew me in when Sam [Hillmer] asked me to join. I was intrigued by the idea of being invited to join this band that I had been so aware of for so long — that my good friend Ben [Greenberg] had been in for a while — and yet to be expected only to bring myself into the situation and nothing else; just my ideas and my abilities."