Zoviet France emerged from Newcastle in 1980, intentionally standing apart from their supposed contemporaries Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire by choosing a more cloaked, reclusive existence. Omitting any names of personnel on the records in an attempt to avoid what they describe as the ‘fundamental means of control used in the music industry’: the cult of personality. Their most “noisy” of beginnings avoided the post-punk industrial fall-out by existing in this relative obscurity, allowing them to develop their music into something more intangible over the course of their 30+ year existence. Their unsettling sonic collages often abandon percussion altogether, favouring home-built instruments and electronic manipulation of acoustic sounds to create series of one-off performances and recordings that are either reprocessed or become momentary experiences.
The packaging of their releases is often carefully considered, casting aside mass produced materials like cardboard and plastic in favour of nontraditional and found material that has included nuclear fragments, bird feathers and roof felt.
JD Twitch from Optimo selects some personally significant objects and moments from the Zoviet France back catalogue.
Nothing sounds like Zoviet France. This one makes me think of the music stone age (wo)man might have made if (s)he had access to some effects pedals.
Something Spooked The Horses
Site specific recording made for the reopening of Glasgow Tramway in 2000. Heavenly steel guitar misuse.
Cyclonic Sub Alien
54+ minutes of mesmerising live performance by the Zoviets. The last few minutes feature the best ever use of the shipping forecast.
The audio equivalent of the Rothko Chapel.
Jim Jones related creepiness, later sampled for crap rave hit “Injected With A Poison”.
Zoviet France – Ram (Jim Jones) by Porphyre
Nature But Not
1000% hypno. i generally loathe cds but when they are packaged like this they become a bit more loveable; CD in a plain white paper sleeve, packed in a screen printed hinged & clasped wooden box, with a 1mm wood veneer insert and a block of glued wood veneer cardboard layers.
Mohnomishe pt 4
One of thee greatest albums i have ever heard and my introduction to Zoviet France, circa 1984. Packaged in silkscreened on a thick, heavy craftboard bound with a red cord. i tried to reissue this but feuds amongst former members made that impossible.
:zoviet*france: are playing at The Art School on Saturday 15th February.