Boyd Rice spread the word on Dec. 17th, 2017; the mighty Z’EV is gone.
66 years is perhaps not the shortest lifespan and no one get’s out alive but it left me speechless for quite some time. The shock waves are increasing.
If one person was the anti-figurehead of Industrial culture it was him. Nice and handsome in person, incredible consequent and forward in his works. I’ve only met him once, approaching him after a performance in 2005 slightly embarrassed to out me as a ‘fan’ but I could not resist to let him know how much his attitude and concepts meant to me.
After studies at CalArts he moved to the bay area where he adopted the artist name Z’EV in late 1979 and developed his unique percussive style with found and used objectsformed from industrial materials such as stainless steel, titanium, and PVC plastics f.e..
“The foundation of my work, regardless of genre, is Process combining the Dadaist / Duchampian notion of Found / Finding, the Cut Up of Brion Gysin, and Cagian indeterminacy” says Z’EV in his own words.
In late 1980 he opened up for BAUHAUS on their british / european dates. His influence on Test Dept., Einstürzende Neubauten and others can only be guessed today.
Z’EV lived more than 10 years in Amsterdam, and guested there as Teacher at the Theater School for New Dance Development besides pursuing his projects. While performing was his main way of reaching people he released plenty of audio works, solo and quite a lot collaborative efforts (with Chris Watson, KK Null, Merzbow, Genesis P. Orridge, Larsen, Hati and Organum to name only a few) and published several writings.
Most famous is ‘Rhythmajik‘ on Rhythm and Magic obviously, first published by Temple Press in 1992 as book, later distributed freely as PDF via his site. Examples of his audio visual works sculptures, videos etc. can be found also. Some more music was self-published or reissued via bandcamp.
Back to the original fb posting, I feel there’s not too much one can add to these words:
“I would say that Z’EV was to the avant garde what Iggy Pop was to rock and roll: total intensity, energy and raw power and he often left the stage in the early eighties cut up and bleeding from the injuries he received from his own instruments. ………… a man I thought was one of the most under appreciated figures in modern music. A linguist, an ethnomusicologist, a scholar, a mystic; but a man who could distill all this into a performance so intense that it could captivate an audience in a punk rock venue. That was his unique gift. He was one of the most talented people I have ever met. And there has never been any performer akin to him.”
[Boyd Rice / NON]