A lot of people dislike ZBS productions. I am not one of them. I’ve always loved their sound and their productions.
Where most American audio drama is content to tread the the well-trod earth, ZBS have been pursuing an eccentric path since 1970. Originally started as a kind of media commune, the ZBS Foundation have been dismissed for being too New Agey, etc. but I think that’s a remarkably limited statement. While there is certainly a kind of techno-mysticism in some of their work like The Fourth Tower of Inverness, they’ve also done extremely funny genre parodies like Two Minute Film Noir and extraordinary binaural experiments in horror like their version of Stephen King’s The Mist and their ingenious series for NPR, The Cabinet of Dr. Fritz.
They’ve done the world a big favor by reissuing all 65 episodes of their classic cyberpunk audio drama, Ruby: The Adventures of a Galactic Gumshoe, for free. Ruby is a truly sui generis masterpiece, and for this version composer Tim Clark has completed re-creating the wonderful music score with the help of his trusty computer synths. It is not, as he says, a change so much as an enhancement of the original 1981 soundtrack which was at the time one of the most exquisite audio drama backdrops ever released.
This is as good an introduction to the ZBS aesthetic as there ever was, and free is the right price. The deal is limited to this week, though, so don’t sleep on it. Check it out here.
If you do, the folks at Boing Boing will have written their effusive article in vain. And that would leave a bunch of sad pandas.