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Zombi: Surface to Air

Zombi: Surface to Air

Release Date:2006

By Jess Harvell | Posted 5/10/2006

At this point, can everyone just admit that metal is the only rock genre continually doing interesting stuff these days? Enjoy your throwback bowl cuts and spiky English guitars. Weíll be hanging with the guys scratching the Hellhammer logo in the tabletop at the back of the cafeteria. Twenty-first-century metallers are omnivorous as ever, sucking up avant-garde drones, glitch electronics, folk, and whatever else tickles them. How else does a band like Zombi end up signed to Relapse?

Surface to Air, Zombiís sophomore release, features no guitars. The duo play bass and drum patterns that roil endlessly forward, and then they crank up their . . . analog synthesizers. Like the synthesized scores the band Goblin made for the movies of Italian horror director Dario Argento (the two Zombis are confirmed fans), Zombiís keyboards are relentless, claustrophobic, cod-orchestral, and vaguely kitschy. At only five tracks but 40 minutes, hypnosis and repetition are key to Surface to Airís success, and the album is best appreciated lying down, preferably in a beanbag chairóbetter yet, at a laser show.

Zombiís closest peers are actually Delia and Gavin, the New York conceptual art duo-turned-noughties-Tangerine Dream. Except Delia and Gavin wear wizardís caps and are signed to the ultrahip DFA and Zombi shares rack space with guys who drink Bud and flip the lazy bird in their promo photos. In a perfect world these situations would be reversed, or at least commingledópeople in wizardís caps drinking Bud and banging on synthesizers sure sounds like utopia to us. (JH)

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