Started in Year
Tzu – group formed in 1999 as a side project, combining members of the groups Curse ov Dialect and Pan. The name TZU is taken from the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu. The band name was thought of and Gifted to TZU by Lee Hartney from The Smith Street Band.
with its Chinese philosophical base and use of rock music and agitprop rhetoric, as well as the various musicians that make up the Melbourne-based hip hop/break beat Symbiotic collective to which TZU belong. – Toby Mitchell
In 2004 TZU released their debut album Position Correction on to an unsuspecting Australian public. It announced the arrival of an eccentric hip-hop crew with classic songs like ‘Summer Days’ and ‘Wild Style’ and immediately identified them as leaders on the forefront of the burgeoning local hip-hop scene.
In 2006 TZU released their follow up album Smiling at Strangers to critical acclaim. The album was nominated for the inaugural Australian Music Prize and featured the songs ‘She Gets Up’, ‘Coming Round’ and ‘In Front of Me’. With its broadened palette of live instruments and a passing nod to 60’s psychedelic pop music, Smiling at Strangers proved to their growing audience that here was a group willing to take chances and experiment with their sound. In 2008 TZU once again smash the pre-conceptions of what hip-hop can sound like with their third album ‘Computer Love’.
Within the 14 songs on Computer Love TZU tackle serious subject matter such as domestic violence, work place psychosis, first time love and the relationship between linguistics and reality as well as serving up a solid dose of their trademark good time party raps referencing such things as man boobs, Ned Kelly and space travel. As rappers, Joelistics and Count Bounce manage to pack the freshest of flows with social conscience and a sense of humor. The production is tighter than ever and draws influences from such diverse sources as old Stax records and Motown to the future rhythms of the late great J Dilla. They have also explored the dirtier sound of 80’s electro infusing their beats with crunchy old analog synths and giant 808 bass drums.
Meanwhile, they enlisted the help of Tony Espie (The Avalanches /Cut Copy) to mix the album to get the tunes right in the bass bottom end for dance floors and collaborated with a number of female singers, most notably the great Renee Geyer, who adds a touch of class and soul to the new record.
TZU are well respected for their high energy shows that fuse live instruments with the classic turntables and sampler set up. The have played most of Australia’s biggest music festivals including Splendor In The Grass, Falls, BDO, Pyramid Rock, Woodford, Apollo Bay and they have shared stages with De La Soul, Mos Def, The Pharcyde, Michael Franti’s Spearhead, Blackalicious and a who’s who of local Australian music greats. Now in the year 2008 with the help of the good bits of the 80’s and a time traveling De Lorean TZU have created an album that truly travels back to the future with an updated live show to match.