Armistead Burwell Smith IV
Zach began his decade plus career in independent music with San Diego's legendary Three Mile Pilot, who were signed to Cargo Records and, eventually, esteemed major label Geffen Records. Three Mile Pilot were known for repeatedly jettisoning traditional song structures and choosing instead to experiment with unconventional intermingling of instruments, sudden key changes, and unpredictable improvisation. Their sound was at once progressive, experimental, emotional, and melodic, always possessing a minimalist grandeur that achieved unexpected beauty and discomfort, sometimes in the space of a single song. The band's aesthetic spring board or focal point was often the deep, dark and dense bass work of ABSI4 (aka Zach) which undoubtedly provided a solid skeleton and framework for the band?s unique songwriting.
Then, in the first few days of 1998 when Three Mile Pilot was in a hiatus following a record deal gone sour with Geffen, Zach formed a part-time recording project under the name Pinback along with Robert Crow (of Thingy and Heavy Vegetable). Stepping away from the overproduction of large studios (a recording method that both helped and haunted Three Mile Pilot) the duo recorded and mastered their whole record at home on Smith's computer. They then released 14 songs of delicate, canonic pop on Ace Fu Records as their eponymous debut in early 1999. With their long histories in West Coast indie circles and the marriage of the players' diverse musical backgrounds, Pinback scored immediate critical success. Once again, Zach?s bass work acted as blueprints for the songs. He also started to explore his ability as a singer, introducing the listener to his gentle and distinct warble throughout the album.
Zach has been one of the most relevant and creative collaborative songwriters of the past decade. He's had tremendous success with both 3 Mile Pilot and Pinback. Now, assuming the name Systems Officer, Zach is showcasing his songwriting and singing skills on his fist new solo EP, linking him to the likes of TARWATER, CONSONANT, and BRIAN ENO. Playing all of the instruments and arranging all of the songs, Zach creates breathtakingly moving music, both beautiful and sad, that has the unique ability to engulf you in the torrents of an emotional earthquake. His haunting trademark bass tones are once again the foundation for the melodies and the songs. Zach's unmistakable voice is soft and inflicting as it streams over the driving rhythm and gentle melodies created by his multi-instrumental brilliance. Unlike in his collaborations with Pinback and Three Mile Pilot, Zach is able to follow through completely his own ideas and concepts on the new EP, allowing him to explore the workings of his inner mind and letting his ingeniousness flourish in every aspect. The contrast and fluidity that are apparent throughout all of the five tracks on Zach's debut will leave listeners in a state of thoughtful contemplation, craving more of his unique brand of powerful, intellectual music.
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Systems Officer is not currently touring. Check the Tours Section for previous Systems Officer tours.
Ace Fu Records
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