Z-Star | Masochists & Martyrs

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Masochists & Martyrs

by Z-Star

A modern day masterpiece evocative of the great albums of the 70s – profound, passionate and raw. Each song an instant classic, delivered with depth, pathos, humour and honesty, with an overall stunning sound that is unmistakably that of Z-Star.
Genre: Rock: Adult Contemporary
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Tree of Life
5:17 $0.99
2. Shiver
4:15 $0.99
3. Tension
4:59 $0.99
4. Trouble Woman
3:43 $0.99
5. Venus Blues
4:19 $0.99
6. No Love Lost
3:12 $0.99
7. Sci-Ko Bitch
1:10 $0.99
8. God Is Love
6:16 $0.99
9. Evergreen
8:31 $0.99
10. Tree of Life Reprise
2:15 $0.99
11. U Gonna Miss Me
4:34 $0.99
12. Whats Wrong With Me
6:50 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
“My songs are part semi-autobiographical, part observational, part dream-state. The music conspiring with it, is a sonic pelau, because I feel like that dangerous lover in the blues, the profound zenwarrior in jazz, the revolutionary rock soul sistah, the high priestess of voodoo funk, acoustic at my core and and roots in my blood”.

Over the past ten years Zee has written and produced five albums. Two records as one half of the electro soul duo SlowTrainSoul and three solo albums. Across the two musical incarnations her live energy, influences and genre-blur style remain true to her unique self. The difference comes in the production sound which manifests as live studio recordings or experimental electronica. The genre of soul might sum it up as the music tends to include blues, funk, rock, reggae, latin, jazz and roots.

However, in truth Zee’s music is much more than this ticked box. The intensity of some performances combined with the cathartic avant garde realms she sometimes inhabits onstage and on record might push the comfort zones of traditional soul jazz lovers. As Bill Buckley from SoulandJazzandFunk.com recently offered in a review of Z-Star’s new release. “For those who like their music challenging, quirky and outside normal comfort zones…for those with adventurous ears.”

Muthastar 2011

MASOCHISTS & MARTYRS (written and self-produced) is “a modern day masterpiece evocative of the great albums of the 70’s – profound, passionate & raw” – Michael Timothy, MD Massive Attack. The album was recorded in Telecine Studios in Rome, and mixed in collaboration with Ben Mitchell from Mr Bongo/Can Can Studios in Brighton (Beverly Knight, Terry Callier, The Lo Fidelity All-Stars…).

Zee recorded with Italian band members; Vezio Bacci, Fabrizio Fratepietro and Elisabetta Serio, as well as British talents; Mark Edwards (Keys), Patrick Murdoch (electric guitar), Kevin Robinson (horns), Quentin Collins (trumpet) and Tasit D’Amour (BVs). With additional percussion by Fred Portelli and Roberto Rossi, Simon James (electric guitar), Settimo Savioli (trumpet ad-llbs) and Fabrizio Casione (bass).

The record opens with the hauntingly beautiful and profound “Tree Of Life”. The music reflecting its lyrical metaphor beginning with the seed, Zee’s voice and acoustic guitar blossoming into a fulfilling chorus and then out through to an ethereal flow of poetry and sound. “I wanted the first song to invite the listener into the deep intention of the record, the experience of losing someone you love and knowing that their love still lives within you, shaping the person that you are, its sad but optimistic at the same time.”

“Shiver” follows with songwriting reminiscent of early Armatrading, it’s smouldering soul groove and bluesy guitars build into an explosive chorus that highlights the dynamic element of the record. The third track keeps that bluesy guitar vibe with a driving head nodding Motown groove, punchy & catchy,“Tension” has that radio sound, classy pop. “The best Fleetwood Mac song they never wrote” a fan commented. “This is my feel good after break up song, my mother used to tell me that ‘lovers come and lovers go’ and I believe we must go through life progressing, hopefully the law of attraction does it’s homework and love makes good in the end.”

In 2008, a Russian Blues musician discovered Z-Star’s rehearsal video of “Trouble Woman” online and invited her to perform on the mainland. Since then the song has developed its own following with the live version channeling more of a Howling Wolf vibe. The album version manifested itself in a sort of Neo Soul meets Hendrix meets Minnie Ripperton style, and is a classic Z-Star genre-blur track. “Venus Blues” pulls on Zee's Caribbean roots with its sexy reggae-funk groove, country blues guitars and 60′s hammond sound, surprising the listener with a mash-up soca-sunra outro.

The sixth track on the record “No Love Lost” is an afro gypsy jazz rollercoaster – the music reflecting the lyrical plot of two lovers at war. Then comes the first interlude “Sci Ko Bitch”, “Its like the halo and the hurricane, with two of my greatest influences Miles Davis & Hendrix feeling the heat of the SKB, its really about freedom of expression and my love for these artists who encompassed it”.

On track eight the music dives into the deep, dark, bluesy rock rainforests of Zee’s mind with the sonic roadtrip “God Is Love”. The Doors, Velvet Underground, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Nina Simone spring to mind as influences shaping this track. A powerful modern-day spiritual, about shamanic visualisation. A mindfield of psychedelic indie-blues guitars laced with other wordly hammond riffs.

“This is the delta song on the record, it's a pin-hole view into my deep self. Every album I have a track which is like my mantra, it came at a point when I was at an absolute low, I had lost my mother, my lover, my band, then my house burnt down. My spirit was in chaos, I felt like I was under water with a clock ticking then I would rise up to the surface gasping for breath. I channeled this into the music”

This the only track which features a drum solo that builds into an afrocelticfunk finale, then reprises with an aftermath of tape delay sonics and voices. “I started mixing G.I.L and felt like something was missing. It was a Sunday night and I’d been adding sounds to it all day, tweaking and editing. It was a mammoth labour of love. At some point I fell asleep, but I knew I had to finish the song as I was already running late with the mix. I lit a candle and prayed for some extra help, when I opened my eyes it all came together – I found an old video of my mum, a conversation we had before she died, which I then sampled and used in the outro in her memory.”

The dreamstate outro of God Is Love creates a silence on the record that “Evergreen” seems to rise from. The most poignant and profound song on MASOCHISTS & MARTYRS and a testament to Zee’s songwriting and innovative style. It is an acoustic blues anthem that unfolds into a sweeping swampy spiritual transporting the listener into another dimension.

“This was my mother’s favourite song. It’s about that eternal bond between a parent and child, when she died however the lyrics evolved as I began to channel my grief into it. Every time I sing this song I get to say those words that made her smile – a kind of redemption”.

Track ten fades us back into reality with the reggae bossa interlude “Tree of Life Reprise”, Then comes the funkier side of Zee with “U Gonna Miss Me”. A devilish mix of delta blues and dance, phat acoustic guitars, a hammond that sounds like an estranged lover and a kick ass rhythm section. The last track on the record “What’s Wrong With Me” is a live favourite. Pulling on that swaggering saloon blues style, catchy and funny, Zee is in her element turning a song into a cinematic soundscape.

“Most of the songs on Masochists & Martyrs were birthed from streams of consciousness, others evolved and took on new meaning. As soon as I performed them live, they began to talk and walk, sometimes escaping me. Music has that symbiotic pull on the soul, it can liberate you or break you down.” The optimism of MASOCHISTS & MARTYRS shines through it's heavy content. Ultimately, it's songs are about the darker side of love and how we express ourselves in it, but more than that, it’s about how we choose to evolve because of it.



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