Zombi – Escape Velocity

Essentially a two man collaboration, Zombi is an underground musical outfit geared towards making minimalist, atmospheric ‘space’ music. Much in the vein of psychedelic rockers like Ozric Tentacles or electronic composers like Klaus Schulze, Zombi’s music is deeply rooted in ambiance, creating a soundscape and drawn out compositions for the listener to get lost in. 2011′s ‘Escape Velocity’ is no exception to this style that Zombi has adopted for themselves, and for all intents and purposes, it is a successful chapter in the band’s story. Soaked with layers of spacey effects and electronic trance sounds, Zombi may not have created something here that will shake the psychedelic or electronic scenes much, but for what it is, ‘Escape Velocity’ is an enjoyable and well-composed venture.

Each of the songs here revolves around one, maybe two ideas, and these ideas are drawn out over the course of a composition, very subtly taking on new additions in layering to the sound. Although this can possibly build on monotony for some listeners, the way that Zombi very carefully develops their compositions is very effective, giving a jolt of excitement every time a new spacey effect, or keyboard idea is introduced. The sound on ‘Escape Velocity’ is generally unchanging throughout, making use of vintage electronic sounds that are justified in their comparison to such legends as Klaus Schulze or Hawkwind. Although Moore and Paterra never tend to use particularly original textures for their music, the way they arrange them is very pleasant to hear, especially when making use of good speakers.

While most of the sound here is synthesized through computers and keyboards, there is also live drum work, and this is where ‘Escape Velocity’ could have used the most work. While the electronic minimalism that defines Zombi’s work does not leave much room for subtle nuance in the performance, the drums could have been where the band really threw in a human element, and there is very little of that to speak of here. Instead, the percussion is kept incredibly basic, as if Zombi thought they may be chastised if they just threw in a little bit of dynamic or flourish that rested outside the rigid buildup of their compositions. While the drums here are fairly disappointing and could have been greatly improved however, the electronic component of ‘Escape Velocity’ is done very well.

Zombi’s fourth album seems to me like the perfect example of an album that is good, but non-essential. While it is enjoyable and intelligent worth the first few listens, there simply is not enough going on with the album to warrant many more than a couple in-depth experiences with the record. Expect this album not to grasp the imagination for long; ‘Escape Velocity’ makes for a relaxing, albeit fleeting experience.

Tracklist:

1. Escape Velocity
2. Slow Oscillations
3. Shrunken Heads
4. DE3
5. Time of Troubles

Line-up:

* Steve Moore & A.E. Paterra – electronics & all instruments

Links:

http://www.zombi.us/xii/home.html

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