Jim's Music Pages: :zoviet*france:

In their 17 years of musical output, :zoviet*france: have become one of the most influential  bands of the (post)-Industrial movement.  Despite this, though, they have remained largely anonymous, playing very few live dates and generally avoiding over-exposure.  Their music has been described as "a series of infernal soundworlds that wanders between organic, non-linear, lo-fi explorations and fake ethnicity, creating a world where nothing is locatable and everything is suggestion, awaiting responsive imaginations" (Phil England, The Wire).  More recently, they have moved towards a more electronic  sound, although  still devoid of obvious reference points and still operating via the more subconcious channels of communication.

The :zoviet*france: homepage

Untitled (1982)
Charrm CD2

• Ritual
• Mudbast Boys
• Sem Boys
• Bring Hessa
• Mounw
• Ji Boys

Original LP came in a hessian sack.

Garista (1982)
Charrm CD1

• Scrama Mdags
• Mosbas
• Mama Piss
• Nruknesh
• Caarcuraz
• M1 M1 M1
• Rangmabasm

"Primal" would probably be the single most appropriate word to describe :z*f:'s first recordings.  Tribal, ethnic rhythms and vocalises are distorted by the rough DIY production - a home-made battering ram of sound.

The original cassette came with a noxious cloth insert which smelled of a petroleum product of some sort.

Norsch (1983)
Charrm CD3

• Norsch Tauss
• Norsch Baelmaen
• Norsch Virang
• Norsch Imirsch
• Norsch Vorvah

Original LP was wrapped in aluminium foil.

Mohnomishe (1983)
Charrm CD4

Eight tracks - no track listing

Original LP came sandwiched between two pieces of board tied together with twine.

Eostre (1984)
Charrm CD5

• Shout The Storm
• Cirice
• Hymen
• Gustr
• Kirke
• Pearroc
• Regn
• Bell
• Cad Goddeu
• Wajis
• Angelus
• Neptune

The original double LP of Eostre came in hand-printed PVC and tissue paper sleeves.

Popular Soviet Songs And Youth Music (1985)
Staalplaat STCD024

• Tier Of Veils
• Ram
• Duir
• Zone
• Straif (La Mιre du Bois) Z Estrif
• White Track Fire Frost
• Veil
• Pesach
• Decoy
• Yezidi

• Signal
• Sidi
• Birch Brake
• Sein
• Spin Hellisein
• Tan-Tal
• Ma-Ja
• Whip
• Veil
• Fearn
• Burning Bush
• Sidhe Riuben
• Marsh
• Swine
• Marsh
• Signal Circe
• Migration

• Burning Bush
• Sheol
• Veil Sloe Semen
• Signal
• Chirm Ela
• Chirm Geis
• Charm Aliso
• Shewel
• Yezidi Say

With its wonderfully misleading title, exquisite packaging and nearly three hours of music from the hinterlands of dream-worlds, Popular Soviet Songs And Youth Music is :z*f:'s 1980s Magnum Opus.  Less frantic and confrontational than the early releases, it nevertheless maintained the lo-fi approach while laying the foundations for the 1986/7 Charm, Ceremony, Chance, Prophecy series.

Gris  (1985)
No Man's Land 33NML8505

• Moresca

• Luft
• Shekinah
• Gris

Original 10" LP wrapped in roofing shingle.

Misfits, Looney Tunes and Squalid Criminals  (1986)
Charrm CD8

• Host/Blowing The Instrument
• Flote
• Gesture, Signal, Threat
• Semasen
• Rattle Stick Cruss
• They're Eating The Passengers

The original LP came in a gauze bag with a folded cardboard inset.

The first part of the
Charm, Ceremony, Chance, Prophecy series sees the introduction of taped samples, murky electronics and atmospheric echoes.  The final track, They're Eating The Passengers, is a chilling, soundscaped nightmare - one of the true highlights of :z*f:'s output.

Gesture Signal Threat (1986)
Charrm CD9

• Gote
• Blow
• Dhimmi
• Bran
• Glisten
• Host
• Signal
• Threat

Part two of Charm, Ceremony, Chance, Prophecy.   The original cassette came in a cardboard box.

A Flock Of Rotations (1987)
Charrm CD10

• Io!
• Drive
• Skritha
• Slide
• Drifan
• Mandrel
• Skratte
• Irken
• Ions Collis
• Luh
• Luh Windan
• Dream Hole

Part three of Charm, Ceremony, Chance, Prophecy.   The original LP was wrapped in cardboard and tissue paper.

The wild rhythms and distorted samples of
A Flock Of Rotations are suggestive of earlier :z*f: releases, but this time the whole release seems broadly thematic.  The sporadic reappearance of leitmotifs is a prelude to a hypnotic main theme (Luh) which is repeated through an electronic smog before the final, trance-like descent into the Dream Hole.

Assault And Mirage (1987)
Charrm CD11

• Siege
• Frost Smoke
• Fire Sticks
• Mosland
• Shimmer In The Shiel
• Mana
• Tocasenh
• Beat Up Cut Branches
• Scree Shift
• Fountains Fell
• Siege Retreat

Assault And Mirage is the final part of the Charm, Ceremony, Chance, Prophecy series.   The original LP was wrapped in a cardboard box.

The final part of the
CCCP series and a masterpiece of lo-fi electronica.  From the opening Siege to the final reprise via the wailing foghorns and bobbing boats' bells suggested by Frost Smoke, this is a partial glimpse of a landscape of strange, dark beauty.

Loh Land (1988)
Staaltape STCD018

• East Taunts West
• Scacen
• Notochord
• Har Hou
• Notochord
• Shamble
• Gygr Carlin
• Al'Ud
• Dust Deofol

• Nostalgie de la Boue
• Trom Eldr
• Vlaag
• Reson Deaw Gwalch
• Lang Mark
• Film - Perversion of Magnitudes
• Film - Fliorian
• Vlaag Morgen
• Gathering Nostoe

The music on Loh Land is very similar to that on Popular Soviet Songs And Youth Music, which is unsurprising as it was recorded at roughly the same time, although not released until 1988.

Shouting At The Ground (1988)
Charrm CD12

• Smocking Erde
• Palace of Ignitions
• Come To The Edge
• Revenue Of Fire
• Dybbuk
• Camino Real
• Stocc Blawers
• Fickle Whistle, Hand Over Your E
• Carole The Breedbate
• Marrch Dynamic
• Wind Thief
• Shamany Enfluence
• The Death Of Trees

Shouting At The Ground takes the ethnic rhythmic elements of Loh Land but generally in a more gentle, soporific fashion.

Look Into Me (1990)
Charrm CD14

• Cair Camouflet
• LevenSwitch
• At The Moment
• Fidgety Foot
• Low Creeper
• Second Sight
• Deekintaemae

• Kess Saffer Plaint
• Melangell
• Look Into Me
• Scatter
• Kinto-Me
• Amadan
• Surge

Vienna 1990 (1990)
Charrm CD15

One continuous track

Recordings taken from two performances at Szene, Vienna on November 9th and 10th 1990.  These performances were part of the Ohrenschrauben Festival.

The first full development of :z*f:'s electronic sound, which was to continue into the 1990s.  A wonderful, atmospheric creation.

Just An Illusion (1990)
Charrm CD15

• Lief Lulla
• Nachtmaal
• Wood Shock
• Nature But Not
• Obscurity On The Line
• Ascend A Fall
• Caught In The Square

• Rays Parallel
• Swelled Out Downwards
• Signing Papal Briefs
• Is It?
• Mute Moon
• Suspicious Stare
• Lief Kirn

Original CD came in a hinged wooden box.

Just An Illusion represents a continuation of the "electronic" style of the late 80s / early 90s.  Together, Acend A Fall and Caught In The Square comprise a hypnotic materpiece.

Shadow, Thief Of The Sun (1991)
Charrm DOVeCD66

• The Silver Gate
• In My Secrecy I Was Real
• Feel The Warmth
• This Moment Obscure
• A Democratic Amirk
• Come Infinite
• Thin Air
• Cahl-Yn-Yan
• Static Fields
• Ciels Tιnιbreuse

Deleted and difficult to track down.

Collusion (1992)
The Grey Area Sion1

• Ram
• Sprey
• Le Mur Mϋr Nu
• First Vigil
• White Dusk
• Something This Beautiful
• Fugitive

A compilation of tracks from compilation albums.  From 1983, through the proto-electronic landscape of First Vigil and the imprisoned Beethoven of Something This Beautiful, to the locked orchestral groove of Fugitive - a panoply of styles.

What Is Not True (1993)
Charrm CD17

• Public Service Announcement
• Not Just What To Say
• Cyclonic Sub Alien

Recorded live at The Old Vic, Nottingham and The Leadmill, Sheffield (29-30 March 1993).

:z*f:'s live masterpiece, combining samples and atmospheric electronics into a work of what Phil England described as "unreserved beauty" (
The Wire July 95).  The extended, awe-inspiring Cyclonic Sub Alien, which accounts for two-thirds of the total duration of the CD ends the disc as it began - with a distant Shipping Forecast - over an endless, shifting drone: a truly transcendental experience!

In.Version  (1996)
Charrm CD24

No track listing - one continuous track

Recorded live at The Urban Aboriginals Festival, Ballhaus, Berlin (26 March 1996).

Back to back live recordings (interleaved by a vinyl release of
Digilogue) with a three year gap between,  In.Version does not carry the emotional power or beauty of What Is Not True.  Nonetheless, it begins to show a new development of live :z*f:, characterised by a seamless sequence of repetitive movements and a warmer, more analogue sound.  Becomes more rewarding with successive listenings.

Mort Aux Vaches: Feedback (1997)
Staalplaat No Number

• Exform
• Irsta
• Ammor
• Rydia
• Degen
• Ularhan
• Kofca
• Latst
• Farasin

Live studio recording by VPRO Radio in Amsterdam (August 1996).

Third live release in a row.  An extension of the territories mapped out in
In.Version, but with the introduction of more uncomfortable sounds in places.  The dark landscapes of :z*f:'s earlier work can also be found and the whole experience ends, like Vienna 1990 (Fugitive from the Collusion CD) with a locked, distorted orchestra.

Digilogue (1998)
Soleilmoon SOL62CD

• Alchemagenta
• Haze Polder
• Soft Helion
• Another Soft Helion
• Angel's Pin Number
• Carbon
• Amber
• Init

Digilogue was originally released as a limited edition (801 copies) clear vinyl LP featuring Alchemagenta, Angel's Pin Number, Haze Polder, Carbon and a remixed version of Amber.

The pulsing rhythms underpinning many of these tracks add a new dimension to the :z*f: sound.  Much of this music was recorded in 1995, representing a gap of four years since the previous studio release,
Shadow, Thief Of The Sun.

Sky Feathers & Horse Eggs (1990)

I Felt The Breath Of My Assassin

International Objekt 4 (1990)
Ladd Frith LF67CD

Voice Print Identification

Mind The Gap 3 (1993)
Staalplaat STCD083


Table Of The Elements II - Earth (1993)
DOR Infinity ADOR193

With Us Today
Sucking The Instrument

Ambient 4 - Isolationism (1994)
Virgin AMBT4

Daisy Gun

Unentitled (1994)
These 11CD

Eleven Drops

Out There - A Thread Through Time (1994)
Pi CD001


Dissolve (1996)
Fused Coil

Soft And Close By Me

Slumbermusic (1996)
Universal Egg WWCD019

As Falls Snoqualmie, So Falls Snoqualmie Falls
On The Treetop

In Memoriam Gilles Deleuze (1996)
Mille Plateaux MPCD22

On The Edge Of A Grain Of Sand

Return To The Main Index