Zoviet France: Classic or Dud?

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I found numerous mentions of ZF in the archives but surprisingly no one's done a thread. I love everything I've heard so far (Garista, Loh Land, Just An Illusion, Digilogue). What's worth searching out? Can you still even get most of their stuff?

James Annett, Wednesday, 25 September 2002 00:16 (eighteen years ago) link

I love Shadow, Thief of the Sun an awful lot, but I'm not sure it's possible to even get it any more, because the copy I have was out on DOVe, long since departed.

Sean Carruthers (SeanC), Wednesday, 25 September 2002 00:30 (eighteen years ago) link

i like garista overall, and mohnomishe is fun. the more recent stuff i've heard by them (_digilogue_ is the only title i can recall) didn't impress me as much, but had nice moments.

your null fame (yournullfame), Wednesday, 25 September 2002 00:42 (eighteen years ago) link

perfect bath music.

makes me appreciate popul vuhl more too...

mike (ro)bott, Wednesday, 25 September 2002 01:34 (eighteen years ago) link

haven't heard anything besides Shouting at the Ground, but I like it a lot.

hstencil, Wednesday, 25 September 2002 01:47 (eighteen years ago) link

What little I have I love, but I'm a sucker for zone and drift (which is why I'm currently enjoying this great Gate record here...).

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 25 September 2002 02:02 (eighteen years ago) link

it was determined at the NYC FAP that "everyone loves Zoviet France"!! is this true?! i've heard maybe 2 songs and i like them both, for what it's worth

Tracer Hand (tracerhand), Wednesday, 25 September 2002 04:35 (eighteen years ago) link

i love "what is not true" (or whatever it's actually called). lovely drifting stuff, i also have one called something like "live in austria" but i don't think i've ever played it.

toby (tsg20), Wednesday, 25 September 2002 11:53 (eighteen years ago) link

Their new album, Decriminalization of Country Music, is very cool. I'm listening to it right now, and there's a sound like a bathtub draining. Not sure what the title's about.

Curt (cgould), Wednesday, 25 September 2002 14:46 (eighteen years ago) link

What I've heard is classic.

sundar subramanian, Wednesday, 25 September 2002 14:56 (eighteen years ago) link

the solo stuff seems quite lame. robin something, rapoon?

bob zemko (bob), Wednesday, 25 September 2002 15:16 (eighteen years ago) link

Shadow, Thief Of The Sun is fuckin' awesome, one of my fave ambient/noise albums evah!
Shouting At The Ground and Just An Illusion also brilliant

Paul (scifisoul), Wednesday, 25 September 2002 15:50 (eighteen years ago) link

classic all the way.


the first 3 rapoon cds are great too although i feel they lost their way a little after that

stirmonster, Wednesday, 25 September 2002 18:07 (eighteen years ago) link

I've always placed them in a different category than most drone/ambient/whateveryouhave. They have this "placeless" quality about them. The music sounds like the accompaniment to some ancient ritual, but at the same time it's sounds disjoint from any tradition. It's as if they're able to disguise any recognizable points of origin but still have it sound familiar. I'm not sure if this even makes any sense...

As for solo stuff, I like some of Mark Spybey's stuff (although I don't know if he really counts as a member...). The Propeller CD (the one with the scrap metal sleeve) and Dead Voices On Air's Shap are great.

James Annett, Wednesday, 25 September 2002 19:07 (eighteen years ago) link

Shadow, Thief Of The Sun, Shouting At The Ground and Just An Illusion are my favorites. Zoviet Frace also had great packaging. I remember records in sleeves of Tinfoil, Burlap and Sand Paper

brg30 (brg30), Wednesday, 25 September 2002 20:47 (eighteen years ago) link

one year passes...
Popular Soviet Songs and Youth Music has been re-released!

Frühlingsj4n (Wintermute), Tuesday, 6 April 2004 08:25 (sixteen years ago) link

In the original packaging!!!

Frühlingsj4n (Wintermute), Tuesday, 6 April 2004 08:25 (sixteen years ago) link


Frühlingsj4n (Wintermute), Tuesday, 6 April 2004 08:25 (sixteen years ago) link

I have originals of "Mohnomishe", "Eostre" and the one that came encased in sackcloth - a mini LP. Probably worth a bit of money I would imagine. Used to like them a lot, haven't played them in years.

Dadaismus (Dada), Tuesday, 6 April 2004 08:55 (sixteen years ago) link

one year passes...
Shadow, Thief Of The Sun, Shouting At The Ground and Just An Illusion are my favorites

where can these be found? all i have is mp3s

Ô¿Ô (eman), Wednesday, 20 July 2005 02:26 (fifteen years ago) link

the vinyl of "satg" is outta print. dunno if the cd still is but i remember it being pretty available.

hstencil (hstencil), Wednesday, 20 July 2005 02:29 (fifteen years ago) link

>where can these be found? all i have is mp3s

Wow, all of these were in print just a few years ago but it seems the CHARRM label that was rereleasing them has disappeared. So I guess its just used for now.

mjfan, Wednesday, 20 July 2005 15:35 (fifteen years ago) link

vinyls of satg and loh land (or was it look into me? i keep confusing them) were available last year at my dads default classical cd online store, of all places. pretty cheap too. i could kick my ass for not picking them up, i would have made millions on ebay. the cds arent available either, all you can get right now (at least in europe) are the first album, collusion, and popular soviet songs

fe zaffe (fezaffe), Wednesday, 20 July 2005 15:44 (fifteen years ago) link

and i should point out that rapoons stuff is far from lame. avoid the breakbeat stuff, the rest is brilliant, albeit not really innovative

fe zaffe (fezaffe), Wednesday, 20 July 2005 15:46 (fifteen years ago) link

fe zaffe, to answer a question you asked me a while ago in another context, I thought Shadow, Thief of the Sun was okay, okay enough that I wouldn't mind hearing more Zoviet France, but not really something I'm likely to be in the mood for very often.

Rockist_Scientist (RSLaRue), Wednesday, 20 July 2005 21:39 (fifteen years ago) link

i'm not really keen on (kenan?) vinyl these days as i no longer have a tabturnle. the two zf cds i found easily were digilogue and loh land, both of which were just okay. most of the mp3s i have are from shadow, thief and i love them, they almost trump SAWII in weird ambience. and i have 'ram' from collusion, which is classic, and the brilliantly titled "they're eating the passengers." and some of gesture, signal, threat. i've heard that shouting at the ground is their best.

Ô¿Ô (eman), Wednesday, 20 July 2005 22:11 (fifteen years ago) link

what record is "they're eating the passengers" from?

oh and there's a stomping track called "cad goddeu" literally stomping - the rhythm is like sped-up godzilla steps. i don't know what it's from. "eostre"? i don't trust these tags.

Ô¿Ô (eman), Wednesday, 20 July 2005 22:14 (fifteen years ago) link

"They're eating.." is from Misfits, Loony Tunes And Squalid Criminals. The discogs entry is fairly complete:


I think Collusion is their best album, even though its not a real album. All the tracks are strong, and it covers styles from their whole career. And its still in print.

mjfan, Thursday, 21 July 2005 00:52 (fifteen years ago) link

This band fucking rules. As far as favorites, I'd have to side with either Gris (does anybody see how this recording could have had a huge influence on Black Dice, or is it just me?) or The Decriminalization Of Country Music.

- (smile), Thursday, 21 July 2005 00:56 (fifteen years ago) link

I haven't listened to them in so long, but it's good to be reminded of them again. My favourite used to be "Eostre" ("Cad Goddeu" is from that album, Ô¿Ô), but I'm not sure what it would be now. I never did hear "Shouting at the Ground" or anything after that, but I'd like to. I should just get my turntable or cassette deck together. I've never seen a copy of "Gris", but I think I've got all of the other ones up to "Assault and Mirage".

Pangolino 2, Thursday, 21 July 2005 01:40 (fifteen years ago) link

What would be really interesting to me now is that when I used to listen to the albums quite a lot, I had absolutely no idea how they were made. I didn't make any music or sound at all at that time, and had no reference for the sources or transformations of the sounds. I know it won't be the same when I hear them again, but what?

Pangolino 2, Thursday, 21 July 2005 01:49 (fifteen years ago) link

amazon has collusion at $30-40 used/new !! wtf

Ô¿Ô (eman), Thursday, 21 July 2005 02:07 (fifteen years ago) link

i think eostre, norsch, mohnomische are my favourites -there's that great feedbacking drum machine / tabla stomp with the asiatic vocal accompaniment and the big long flute raga accompanied by splashes of buses & lorries driving through puddles on one or two of these - & that massive relentless industrial crunch with the (what sounds like) tibetan shawms over the top - fantastic - mythical without being new-agey (until perhaps some of their later stuff i think they kinda lost it somewhere) and gruesomely ritualistic / industrial without being embarrassingly pvc& noserings about the whole thing. fantastic!

bob snoom, Thursday, 21 July 2005 10:45 (fifteen years ago) link

two months pass...
[deleted by mod by request; may have been causing a browser bug, and the image link was broken anyway]

Rockist_Scientist (RSLaRue), Saturday, 8 October 2005 21:29 (fifteen years ago) link

six months pass...

fez, Friday, 5 May 2006 10:28 (fourteen years ago) link

one year passes...

decriminalisation of country music - c/d?

am0n, Wednesday, 9 April 2008 23:54 (twelve years ago) link


sleeve, Thursday, 10 April 2008 01:10 (twelve years ago) link

Decriminalisation of country music is fantastic!

Dan S, Thursday, 10 April 2008 01:54 (twelve years ago) link

I dunno, it's soooo front loaded - nothing approaches the awesome peak of Something Spooked the Horses. It's the only track which really takes on the country music conceit, and I wish they'd carried it forward more. I do like the other tracks but after that dominating slide guitar they all seem kind of hollow.

ledge, Thursday, 10 April 2008 07:53 (twelve years ago) link

Decriminalisation of Country Music is pretty damned classic, but I'd agree that it's a bit front-loaded.

Album reminds me of when I lived in Chicago and would walk around in the winter down by the lake.

novaheat, Thursday, 10 April 2008 20:36 (twelve years ago) link

DoCM is classic classic classic

Elvis Telecom, Thursday, 10 April 2008 20:44 (twelve years ago) link

There is another thread somewhere where I debate a bit with Mark Spybey concerning the merits of post-Storey Zoviet France. I could swear I read some interview ages ago where there was a reference to the band members having made some sort of lifetime pact to never break up or do solo stuff, which obviously didn't last and might be my imagination. I think later ZF work like Digilogue and DoCM and (ESPECIALLY) Mort Aux Vaches are really high quality, if a bit different in focus than the earlier classics. Less "ethnic music made by aliens" type stuff and more drone-bliss is just fine with me.

sleeve, Thursday, 10 April 2008 23:34 (twelve years ago) link

decriminalisation of country music - c/d?

this was commissioned for the opening of a big arts space in glasgow called the tramway. they then performed an interpretation of it at the opening. it was wonderful.

stirmonster, Friday, 11 April 2008 02:19 (twelve years ago) link

three years pass...

They will do a live performance again, opening for Lustmord http://incubate.org/2011/artist/72/Zoviet+France

nonobody, Friday, 10 June 2011 09:12 (nine years ago) link

Live performances these days are rare but not unheard of, they played in London earlier this year. I say "they" but aside from Ben I have no idea who is in the line-up these days or even if it's more or less his solo project.

ban this sick stunt (anagram), Friday, 10 June 2011 09:21 (nine years ago) link

one year passes...

The string of albums from 1987 (A flock of Roations, Loh Land, Assault and Mirage) is one hell of a run. I cannot get enough of that stuff.

windjamm voyager (blank), Tuesday, 21 August 2012 05:37 (eight years ago) link

don't forget Gesture Signal Threat! Misfits/Loony Tunes always seemed a little less amazing to me though.

sleeve, Wednesday, 22 August 2012 00:09 (eight years ago) link

six months pass...

going through youtubes of the early albums I hadn't heard (I'd heard Garista, Gris, Oestre) and... this band sure was good

Milton Parker, Wednesday, 20 March 2013 19:39 (seven years ago) link

pretty much everything they did after the Hessian/burlap record is essential imo. sucks that all of it is OOP and insanely expensive.

sleeve, Wednesday, 20 March 2013 19:46 (seven years ago) link

only heard DoCM but a great album.

Poliopolice, Wednesday, 20 March 2013 20:56 (seven years ago) link

kicking myself for not investing in this box & rooting for second edition

Milton Parker, Thursday, 18 July 2019 00:15 (one year ago) link

US distribution through Forced Exposure, Swill Radio, and one other that I forget at the moment

sleeve, Thursday, 18 July 2019 00:51 (one year ago) link

oh, Soleilmoon

sleeve, Thursday, 18 July 2019 00:55 (one year ago) link

i put ZF on in Glasgow a few weeks ago and was asking how the reissue had come about when there had been no consensus to do it previosuly and it seems that VOD had offered the former members an maount of £s that made it irresisitible

Frank's FB page is quite illuminating, he doesn't talk about the €€€ for this box but he's been fairly open in the past about how much he offered people like Coil and Neubauten to do boxes for them, both of which offers were refused. With 600 copies of the :z*f: sold out on presale I estimate the gross at about €150,000 which should be enough to give the members a tidy sum and more than cover his costs on top.

van dyke parks generator (anagram), Thursday, 18 July 2019 05:47 (one year ago) link

Managed to acquire mohnomishe and it’s remarkable.

I am using your worlds, Friday, 19 July 2019 21:06 (one year ago) link

yeah that's my favorite of the early ones

Skip Spence None the Richer (sleeve), Friday, 19 July 2019 21:16 (one year ago) link

do any of you maniacs have this release in any digitized audio format? YSI?


Skip Spence None the Richer (sleeve), Saturday, 20 July 2019 01:13 (one year ago) link

I didn't realize Robin Storey left before What Is Not True was recorded! It makes sense in retrospect, listening now. To continue my debate with amon (miss u) above, I think that one's a total classic for sure.

Skip Spence None the Richer (sleeve), Saturday, 20 July 2019 01:15 (one year ago) link

Managed to acquire mohnomishe and it’s remarkable.

i used to play chunks of it in the middle of dj sets at club nights during the rave era when 90% of the audience were extremely high. i'm not sure many people in the audience were digging it but i was getting the biggest kick from hearing it through giant pa systems. it sounded incredible.

stirmonster, Saturday, 20 July 2019 04:06 (one year ago) link

i treated myself to the box which is by far and away the most i have ever spent on any release and which has subsequently caused me to endure massive post purchase dissonance.

it arrived and is a beautiful thing. the dissonance is abating slightly. i keep reminding myself it is tax deductible.

there are some incredible photos of the assembly of some of the early covers. i'm going to dive in now.....

stirmonster, Monday, 22 July 2019 23:17 (one year ago) link

gah, can't wait

Skip Spence None the Richer (sleeve), Monday, 22 July 2019 23:36 (one year ago) link

has anyone heard the more recent (since 2005) Reformed Faction CDs, particularly "Vota" with the Storey/Spybey/Eardly lineup? I'm intrigued.

Skip Spence None the Richer (sleeve), Tuesday, 23 July 2019 16:08 (one year ago) link

pmed you sleeve re Livingroom. 128, unfortunately

Brakhage, Wednesday, 24 July 2019 02:23 (one year ago) link


Skip Spence None the Richer (sleeve), Wednesday, 24 July 2019 17:06 (one year ago) link

wow that extra material on the Gris LP really hits the spot, a very very deep alternate version of the title track and what seems like an extended coda of the original.

amazing box of course, the deeply alien "band photos" are the icing on the cake.

sleeve, Wednesday, 7 August 2019 00:59 (one year ago) link

upon further review, I have two more observations:

1. the remastering here is spectacular, I hear new details in tracks that I've been listening to for over 30 years.

2. following from #1, Norsch is in fact awesome, a worthy precursor to the huge leap forward that occurred with Mohnomishe.

sleeve, Thursday, 8 August 2019 01:25 (one year ago) link



I am using your worlds, Tuesday, 20 August 2019 17:36 (one year ago) link



sleeve, Tuesday, 20 August 2019 17:37 (one year ago) link

I’ve messed up that link but there’s other titles too

I am using your worlds, Tuesday, 20 August 2019 17:37 (one year ago) link

helpful note from Discogs:

Rest assured also that both tracks titled "Burning Bush" from Popular Soviet Songs And Youth Music are included, although only the second one is labeled in the track listing. The first one--the nine minute one that was the first track on side C of the cassette and track 2-12 of the cd--is here as the last track on side 4 of PSSAYM (i.e., side LP2-R), after "Fearn", right where it ought to be.

sleeve, Tuesday, 20 August 2019 22:34 (one year ago) link


brimstead, Tuesday, 20 August 2019 23:08 (one year ago) link

three months pass...

2nd box.


VOD 163: ZOVIET FRANCE 'Châsse Vol.2' - Recordings 1984-1996 16Lp Wooden Box (ltd. 400 plus 99 artists-editions in colored Vinyl plus 8 x Stand Alone Releases (ltd. 200 each)

Lp1/2: Shouting at the Ground 2Lp (1988)
Lp3/4: Just an Illusion 2Lp (1990)
Lp5/6: Look Into Me 2lp (1990)
Lp7: Vienna 1990 1Lp (1980)
Lp8/9: Shadow, Thief of the Sun (1991)
Lp10/11: What is Not True 1Lp (1993)
Lp12/13: Collusion Vol.1 2Lp (1984-1991)
Lp14/15: Collusion Vol.2 2Lp (1992-1996)
Lp16: Music for a Spaghetti Western (1986)

stirmonster, Thursday, 19 December 2019 11:24 (eleven months ago) link

i hope this is an error that "Vienna 1990" and "What is Not True" are only going to be single LPs as that will mean they have been drastically edited if so.

stirmonster, Thursday, 19 December 2019 13:59 (eleven months ago) link

Nah they have double numbers, 16 LPs total. Gonna pass on the full box, but might upgrade my Shouting At The Ground and maybe go for Collusion 2. I'm happy with my OG CDs/LPs of the rest (and really dislike split tracks on vinyl).

sleeve, Friday, 20 December 2019 00:21 (eleven months ago) link

"Vienna" only has one number assigned to it - the very end of that CD is my favourite part so i hope they don't ditch that.

"Cyclonic Sub Alien" on "What Is Not True" is in my ZF top 10 but at 54 minutes long will have to be broken up across 3 sides. Still, I'm super happy to be able to contemplate having Vienna, What Is Not True & Collusion on vinyl for the first time.

"I was Jim Jones' attorney..."


stirmonster, Friday, 20 December 2019 00:37 (eleven months ago) link

Vienna... is only 64:23, I have VOD album sides longer than 32 minutes that have zero issues, the mastering is always impeccable. So my guess is that it will be full-length - sorry, thought you meant Shadow there in yr initial post.

sleeve, Friday, 20 December 2019 01:48 (eleven months ago) link

i don't believe that 32 minutes is possible per side with zero issues. Especially with a recording as dynamic as this. I guess we shall see......

stirmonster, Friday, 20 December 2019 09:55 (eleven months ago) link

eight months pass...

2nd box is now sold out, standalone LPs still available


sleeve, Tuesday, 15 September 2020 21:02 (two months ago) link

dang I am so psyched for the two unreleased albums and More Collusion, and absolutely thrilled that the long track from Bad Alchemy #10 ("Spike") is on there.

sleeve, Friday, 18 September 2020 15:47 (two months ago) link

OMG thank you sleeve. just ordered JAi and STOTS. xmas comes early!

Paul, Saturday, 19 September 2020 06:24 (two months ago) link

happy to help!

sleeve, Saturday, 19 September 2020 15:23 (two months ago) link

wow, lotta stuff here for download as well as listening


sleeve, Thursday, 24 September 2020 21:44 (two months ago) link

A most useful tip! Pity I missed them in SF by a year...

Ned Raggett, Friday, 25 September 2020 00:58 (two months ago) link

Wowowow, last week I came closer than ever to shelling out a fortune for Shadow, Thief so I'm so glad I saw this.

ed.b, Friday, 25 September 2020 02:15 (two months ago) link

awesome, yeah get in here ILM lurkers and fans, these are gonna sell out soon

sleeve, Friday, 25 September 2020 03:08 (two months ago) link

FYI the 1st "unreleased" album (The End Of Nothing, The Beginning Of Everything) is actually the previously-grey-area "Music For A Spaghetti Western" but it has been retitled and has actual track names now, and more tracks than the original 4.

sleeve, Friday, 25 September 2020 15:09 (two months ago) link

That is great to hear. Any insights into "Russian Heterodoxical Songs"?

stirmonster, Friday, 25 September 2020 16:50 (two months ago) link

not yet... hoping that isgenuinely unreleased. and to clarify above, what I mean is that the long track (Scene 2) appears to have been broken up into a bunch of individual tracks, there is no extra material but there are more tracks and they have new names.

sleeve, Friday, 25 September 2020 16:56 (two months ago) link

one month passes...

Are you sure about the above, sleeve? Having now listened to The End... I don't think it's the same as Music from a Spaghetti Western.

joni mitchell jarre (anagram), Thursday, 5 November 2020 12:37 (four weeks ago) link

not 100%, but there's a sample in the latter that has the title of the former? my box won't be here for a while yet I assume

howls of non-specificity (sleeve), Thursday, 5 November 2020 14:57 (four weeks ago) link

got my copy of Shadow, Thief of the Sun



I don't understand why it's a 3LP with two blank sides, rather than the 2LP it claimed to be ...

lukas, Wednesday, 18 November 2020 18:18 (two weeks ago) link

Mine is 2LP FWIW.

Freeze Instr., Wednesday, 18 November 2020 18:36 (two weeks ago) link

That's strange that you got a 3LP version. mine is 2LP too.

stirmonster, Wednesday, 18 November 2020 19:13 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah it's a 2LP with three sides of music and one blank side.

joni mitchell jarre (anagram), Wednesday, 18 November 2020 19:55 (two weeks ago) link

hoping this shows up on the West Coast in the next week or so

howls of non-specificity (sleeve), Thursday, 19 November 2020 01:57 (two weeks ago) link

I thought maybe the two single-sided discs would be identical, but no. I'll post pictures of the label art later.

lukas, Thursday, 19 November 2020 03:27 (two weeks ago) link

Did you order multiple records? I got two 2LPs but the 4 overall discs were split into 2 packages, one with 1 disc the other with 3. I panicked because I thought I was missing a disc and emailed VOD but figured out they just moving the v records around to cut down the shipping cost.

ed.b, Thursday, 19 November 2020 12:17 (two weeks ago) link

ohhhh that could be it, yeah

lukas, Thursday, 19 November 2020 17:49 (two weeks ago) link

Are you sure about the above, sleeve? Having now listened to The End... I don't think it's the same as Music from a Spaghetti Western.

― joni mitchell jarre (anagram), Thursday, November 5, 2020 4:37 AM (two weeks ago) bookmarkflaglink

not 100%, but there's a sample in the latter that has the title of the former? my box won't be here for a while yet I assume

― howls of non-specificity (sleeve), Thursday, November 5, 2020 6:57 AM (two weeks ago) bookmarkflaglink

I was wrong, and it isn't. totally riveted right now on my first listen.

howls of non-specificity (sleeve), Thursday, 26 November 2020 04:58 (one week ago) link

Russian Heterodoxical Songs is astonishing, a worthy addition to the canon right in between JAI and LIM

howls of non-specificity (sleeve), Thursday, 26 November 2020 22:40 (one week ago) link

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