Zs – 33

33 is the deepest thing I’ve heard on headphones lately – I can see the room where it was recorded; I can feel the space and the concrete. Sounds in every corner seem to echo for the entire EP – yet it’s minimalism that makes these four recordings. More sparse and, for dire lack of a better phrase, conventional avant garde-y than 2010’s New Slaves – an LP of fever pitches and tuned-in complexities – 33 sees a band shutting the door on the outside world and soundtracking the abyss. There is no point of reference. There is only Zs – though track two, “33/,” might show some remnants of Vincent Gallo. Percussion, tenor sax and guitar meet in a primal, wordless, subterranean summit to dig, ping, and repeat against nothing soft, nothing glistening, just darkness and hard surface.

The press release from Northern Spy sort of calls this a dance record, which might read false at first listen. But trust me; I’ve danced to these tracks, completely without intention. It’s weird. I’m into it. Less than 15 minutes long though covering four sides of vinyl, 33 will likely be just a silkscreened blip on Zs’ discography, but it’s a blip with its own ecosystem, food chain, life threatening diseases and strange, unforgettable rituals. Northern Spy did some great things in 2011, and releasing this record in this format was one of them. (Northern Spy, northern-spy.com) Kristel Jax

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