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 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

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 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

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 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

perfect bath music.

makes me appreciate popul vuhl more too...

mike (ro)bott, Wednesday, 25 September 2002 01:34 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

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

hstencil, Wednesday, 25 September 2002 01:47 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

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 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

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 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

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 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

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 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

What I've heard is classic.

sundar subramanian, Wednesday, 25 September 2002 14:56 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

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

bob zemko (bob), Wednesday, 25 September 2002 15:16 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

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 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

classic all the way.

MOHNOMISHE, JUST AN ILLUSION, VIENNA, WHAT IS NOT TRUE? and THE DECRIMINALISATION OF COUNTRY MUSIC all blow my mind on a regular basis.

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 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

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 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

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 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

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

Frühlingsj4n (Wintermute), Tuesday, 6 April 2004 08:25 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

In the original packaging!!!

Frühlingsj4n (Wintermute), Tuesday, 6 April 2004 08:25 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

:o

Frühlingsj4n (Wintermute), Tuesday, 6 April 2004 08:25 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

>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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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

http://www.discogs.com/artist/Zoviet+France

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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

Ô¿Ô (eman), Thursday, 21 July 2005 02:07 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

two months pass...
six months pass...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Torao9tv1g

fez, Friday, 5 May 2006 10:28 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

decriminalisation of country music - c/d?

am0n, Wednesday, 9 April 2008 23:54 (eleven years ago) Permalink

C

sleeve, Thursday, 10 April 2008 01:10 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Decriminalisation of country music is fantastic!

Dan S, Thursday, 10 April 2008 01:54 (eleven years ago) Permalink

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 (eleven years ago) Permalink

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 (eleven years ago) Permalink

DoCM is classic classic classic

Elvis Telecom, Thursday, 10 April 2008 20:44 (eleven years ago) Permalink

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 (eleven years ago) Permalink

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 (eleven years ago) Permalink

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 (seven years ago) Permalink

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 (seven years ago) Permalink

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 (six years ago) Permalink

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 (six years ago) Permalink

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 (six years ago) Permalink

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 (six years ago) Permalink

only heard DoCM but a great album.

Poliopolice, Wednesday, 20 March 2013 20:56 (six years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

How the fuck did I miss that Zoviet France has been podcasting. For awhile too!
http://zovietfrance.podbean.com

Elvis Telecom, Monday, 7 July 2014 21:26 (four years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

tremendous show in SF on Saturday. maybe just rationalizing, but sorta glad that I'm not familiar with their recorded output, had no expectations going in. i was surprised by the hi-def sound palette (think I heard a peaceful forest at one point), less surprised by the droning overlay of dooooom.

ugh (lukas), Monday, 15 September 2014 16:16 (four years ago) Permalink

their record output (the stuff i know anyway) covers a pretty broad sound palette tbf

Daphnis Celesta, Monday, 15 September 2014 16:48 (four years ago) Permalink

I was at that show and "tremendous" was not the adjective I would use to describe my experience

sarahell, Monday, 15 September 2014 16:56 (four years ago) Permalink

shouting @ the ground

evangelos (am0n), Monday, 15 September 2014 16:58 (four years ago) Permalink

what'd you think of it sarahell?

i missed the openers btw, just caught last hour of ZF's set.

ugh (lukas), Monday, 15 September 2014 17:17 (four years ago) Permalink

I am a pretty big fan, and I thought the set was outstanding. They could put it out without an edit. Doesn't sound like the 80's, but still has that aesthetic of muddying the line between acoustic sounds you can't quite identify and electronics.

Two nord racks, effects, field recording playback, and a table of tiny flutes / harps / noisemakers next to a microphone. Obviously totally improvised, but fantastic pacing with great builds & shifts & turning of corners. Great to get to see which sounds were being mixed, and which generated live, after years of listening to records where you often did not have a clue what was going on.

Milton Parker, Monday, 15 September 2014 17:58 (four years ago) Permalink

who's in the z.f. lineup this month

evangelos (am0n), Monday, 15 September 2014 18:02 (four years ago) Permalink

Discogs lists Ponton and a Mr. Mark Warren as the current memebrs

sleeve, Monday, 15 September 2014 18:23 (four years ago) Permalink

I wish I could have seen this

sleeve, Monday, 15 September 2014 18:23 (four years ago) Permalink

Genuinely upset that I missed this.

Elvis Telecom, Monday, 15 September 2014 20:41 (four years ago) Permalink

If it makes you feel any better ... a friend of mine had a ticket and completely missed the show because he figured "oh, doors at 8, headliners won't go on until 10 at the earliest ... " nope.

ugh (lukas), Monday, 15 September 2014 20:54 (four years ago) Permalink

Discogs lists Ponton and a Mr. Mark Warren as the current memebrs

in that case not really zoviet france imo

☝ (am0n), Monday, 15 September 2014 21:23 (four years ago) Permalink

u think that w/o Robin Storey it isn't ZF? this band has basically been Ponton & accomplices since the mid-90's.

sleeve, Monday, 15 September 2014 22:02 (four years ago) Permalink

Guys in 85 or 86 I had a ZF cassette release that came in a kind of rectangular porcelain jug and included a dirty seagull feather. I can't remember what it was called, anyone know?

Rand McNulty (Jon Lewis), Monday, 15 September 2014 22:05 (four years ago) Permalink

ew

mattresslessness, Monday, 15 September 2014 22:07 (four years ago) Permalink

dammit xp

http://www.discogs.com/zoviet-france-Popular-Soviet-Songs-And-Youth-Music/release/100568

"Feathers collected from the shores of the Irish Sea, the most radioactive area of seawater on Earth."

sleeve, Monday, 15 September 2014 22:08 (four years ago) Permalink

i think that wd be it, i've never owned a proper copy, fucken great record tho

Daphnis Celesta, Monday, 15 September 2014 22:08 (four years ago) Permalink

it really is, I have a 3CD reissue on Staalplaat

sleeve, Monday, 15 September 2014 22:09 (four years ago) Permalink

Yeah that's it. I chose to be skeptical abt the feather's provenance at the time

Things I wish I still owned chapter 9064

Rand McNulty (Jon Lewis), Monday, 15 September 2014 22:53 (four years ago) Permalink

the reissue has a great package, brown felt with a soviet-era pin. It looks like it's still available from staalplaat

Dan S, Tuesday, 16 September 2014 05:26 (four years ago) Permalink

u think that w/o Robin Storey it isn't ZF? this band has basically been Ponton & accomplices since the mid-90's.

feel like the sound changed at that point from classic zf to ponton solo project. decriminalization of country music was good but can't bother with the rest of it

☝ (am0n), Tuesday, 16 September 2014 16:04 (four years ago) Permalink

Mort Aux Vaches and especially Digilogue are favorites of mine, but I see yr point

these days all they put out is like 50-copy 8" lathe cut editions

sleeve, Tuesday, 16 September 2014 16:20 (four years ago) Permalink

feel like the sound changed at that point from classic zf to ponton solo project. decriminalization of country music was good but can't bother with the rest of it

I do hear what you're saying about the mid-90's run, it wasn't bad but zf went from full spectrum anything-can-happen-next music to solid ambient, precisely at the moment in history where there was so much ambient music coming out that you just needed a break. I thought it was interesting that after they had their first strong well-received post-classic-lineup album decriminalization, instead of flooring it they mostly stopped releasing CDs. Ben said they've been busy the last 10-15 years doing scores for dance performance, and choosing not to put those out. in any case this duo has been stable / playing for almost 20 years and I didn't think that concert embarrassed anyone by being called a zf show.

must admit though, last few days, loaded up my phone with gris / mohnomishe / garista. even on my phone, that music shouldn't exist

Milton Parker, Tuesday, 16 September 2014 18:13 (four years ago) Permalink

what's a good place to start with these guys?

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Tuesday, 16 September 2014 19:02 (four years ago) Permalink

shouting @ the ground

― evangelos (am0n), Monday, September 15, 2014 12:58 PM

💻 👀 (am0n), Tuesday, 16 September 2014 19:08 (four years ago) Permalink

ripe for a Vinyl on Demand box set of the 80s run

brimstead, Tuesday, 16 September 2014 19:11 (four years ago) Permalink

i don't think it will happen. former members don't want it. i tried to reissue mohnomishe and that was the reason i was given why it wasn't possible.

stirmonster, Wednesday, 17 September 2014 03:21 (four years ago) Permalink

bummer! some of the most sui generis psychedelic music i've ever heard.

brimstead, Wednesday, 17 September 2014 03:26 (four years ago) Permalink

xp: yeah Ponton and Storey are not really on speaking terms or so I've heard

goth colouring book (anagram), Wednesday, 17 September 2014 07:49 (four years ago) Permalink

four years pass...

really wish these folks could come to terms on some reissues, it's such a shame that all of the old stuff is $100 or more for like a single CD.

Emperor Tonetta Ketchup (sleeve), Tuesday, 12 March 2019 21:19 (two months ago) Permalink

also, has anyone heard this new-ish release?

https://www.discogs.com/zovietfrance-The-Tables-Are-Turning/master/625120

Emperor Tonetta Ketchup (sleeve), Tuesday, 12 March 2019 22:17 (two months ago) Permalink

I haven't heard it, but I like the description on the Soleilmoon website: "Somewhere in the rainy, misty forests of the Pacific Northwest of America, three ladies have the unlikely task of sewing together the packaging for a new album by :zoviet*france:"

Dan S, Tuesday, 12 March 2019 23:32 (two months ago) Permalink


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