Zombi: Surface to Air

It’s difficult to imagine a two-piece sounding “epic.” But Zombi, comprised of bassist/synthist Steve Moore and drummer/synthist A.E. Paterra, are capable of producing harmonies on par with small symphonies with relative ease.

To qualify: All this might seem a little easy now, with computers doing the grunt work. But Zombi perform this material live with a minimum of loops. There’s a lot to be said for that and the live experience is something the band excels at.

They’ve refined and solidified the style they first exposed on Cosmos two years ago, an atmosphere often compared to Rush sans lead guitar lines and vocals. It’s a fair comparison, but it doesn’t give the duo enough credit. Rush would have a hell of a time trying to keep songs interesting without lead guitar.

While Rush may have managed, Zombi excel. Throughout the record, overarching synth lines crest over waves of intricate keyboard loops and bass lines—but never to the point of tedium. The overwhelming repetition gives room for the endless variation to breathe. For example, the brief respite from main theme repetition on “Legacy” allows for seamless and inspired melodic bass experimentation, whereas the title track’s menacing theme goes through a funky bridge of tonal change that alters the song’s feel from child-like to threatening in an instant.

The extended “Night Rhythms” is by far the best cut, not only because it’s the longest, but it exemplifies Zombi’s maturation in tackling dense, passive themes with equal flair for tonal taste and variety. It’s really something to hear, especially for musicians, prog-rock/instrumental fans and geeks.

In A Word: Accomplished