Zs: Arms

Apparently, kids have been growing up exclusively on John Zorn and Warner Bros. cartoons. At least five of them, anyway. The quintet of Zs makes that, and a few other things, abundantly clear on Arms, not the least of which is that the baritone guitar isn’t dead. Just on hiatus.

This mostly experimental post-modern fivesome, produced by Colin Marston (of Behold… The Arctopus, Dysrhythmia, et al. fame), take a measured, constructivist approach, with some hints of serialism. Mostly instrumental, the songs that do have some singing (shouting, whatever) are usually done in breaks, “Nobody Wants To Be Had,” for example.

Still, it’s not an easy listen for even the most dedicated of experimental-leaning music lovers. The appropriately titled “I Can’t Concentrate” is an almost humorous look at a be-bop style jazz line that never really makes it to fruition, constantly stopping and restarting, for six minutes, before finally hitting a wall of sound supporting it. Then it degenerates into madness.

Or maybe the 10 minute “Z Is For Zone,” which is mostly wind-chimes in an additive rhythm over Christmas door-jam sleigh bells, featuring a murmured drone of the title sung unchanging, almost throughout. It’d be some heavy shit, if it weren’t so weird.

In A Word: Zorny