ZOVIET*FRANCE

Zoviet France – transcribed also as :$OVIET:FRANCE:, Soviet France, :zoviet-france: i zoviet*france: – is an idiosyncratic collective of anonymous postindustrialists, dronologists, and pseudo-ethnomusicologists. Their investigations have taken them into fictional cultures where nothing is easily located and reality often slips into the hypnagogic. Having secluded themselves in Newcastle, England since their inception in 1980, Zoviet France have developed a radical relationship with the cheap technologies of old-fashioned tape recorders, homemade acoustic instruments, primitive looping and sampling devices, and basic dub trickery. From these machines, the collective has crafted a distinctly unique vocabulary of postindustrial sonic hypnosis. Just as Zoviet France's sound was alchemic reconfigurations of inexpensive technologies, their vinyl packaging literally covered their sounds with aluminum, roofing shingles and porcelain. Adding to their mystery, linear notes are precious few and hard to find, to the point of 6-point typeface printed on the spine of Rorschach-like fold-out illustrations. In fact, during the pre-CD era their vinyl packaging usually evoked as much mystery and fascination as the music itself. In their 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". 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. Although affiliated other UK bands/contemporaries, such as Throbbing Gristle, This Heat and Cabaret Voltaire, they sound little like any of them.

Originally mutating out of punk/post-punk/new wave/industrial background, the band took an original punk ethos of endless possibilities and run with it, as it became  a creation of its own. They combined sampling, treated live instrumentation and tape loops and much of the music was born out of improvisation & subsequent painstaking editing. What resulted was not songs in any traditional sense, but sonic mazes and labyrinths, some of which were amazing complex, to the point where the band simply couldn’t reproduce them on stage. Their live shows always featured improvised material due to those same reasons.