Ace and Zaz bring stellar full-length

Ace and Zaz

Ace and Zaz

Kathleen Quinlan

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Ace and Zaz

4/5 Bear Claws

Augusta natives Robert Payne and Chase Kleist are part of the indie/alternative/hip-hop group Ace and Zaz. Chase is Ace and Robert is Zaz. After being part of several musical groups in high school, including Smells Like New and Non-Shalant (Acoustic), Kleist and Payne created this project that just features them.
The best part of Ace and Zaz is that they are not what you expect when you hear “rap group.” Payne is studying to be a biomedical engineer at the University of Georgia and Kleist is a professional webmaster. They are also rappers who don’t listen to rap.

“The radio is pitiful and we decided to do something about it,” said Payne, also known as Zazu Times Two. “The other groups were a learning experience and our current music project encompasses them all.”

The pair has a following of 10,000 fans on their various social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace). They have performed live web shows, small Augusta and Athens venues and house parties. Ace and Zaz has also received multiple cash prizes for talent showcase contests and interest from minor record labels.

The new album Fancy Dress recently dropped and has earned over 400 downloads from their website, available for free to all site visitors. According to Payne, the time to make the album took “three months worth of man hours, but with procrastination more than double that.”
Fancy Dress has 11 tracks and is 29 minutes long. It is self-created and produced.

Fancy Dress begins with an introduction to the group and website promotion as well as some thank yous. It’s pretty clear that this project is more serious than their past endeavors. The tracks have danceable beats, clever lyrics and an impressive DIY quality. There is a certain aspect to the album that makes it seem like an impulsive recording, as if the pair was just messing around in their room and decided to record something. It’s very informal and fun despite the album’s name.

The best track is probably “Cage the Elegance”, with its different and welcomed instrumental introduction and sound quality. Also, the lyrics are just really great.
The album closes with the same style as it opens. Payne introduces himself and tells you to enjoy yourself before moving into his song which breaks throughout with dialogue. The sound quality and background music is also top notch on this track. This song is very similar to the style of the Childish Gambino (Community’s Donald Glover).

You can check out the duo at www.aceandzaz.com, where they upload songs, videos and their to-do list.

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