Spirit Animal

Written by: PP on 09/02/2009 00:38:57

Now here's yet another release from 2009 that I consider incredible in every aspect, an album that you should fight for until your last breath if someone is hindering you from getting a copy of it. Well okay, that might be overstating it a little, but Zombi's "Spirit Animal" is a certain contender for a position in the best albums list of 2009. That's a bold statement for sure, but give me a moment and I'll convince you exactly why - or if you're too lazy to read my opinion, just get yourself a pair of great headphones and use five minutes of your time on the Myspace player below, the music speaks for itself.

Now that I've got all the hype hype hype out of the way, let's get down to the specifics. Stripped down to the bare facts, Zombi can be nicely pigeonholed into the all-instrumental genre together with bands like Don Caballero and Pelican, and before you roll your eyes and stop reading hear me out: These guys sound nothing like those bands, this is the very first time that I've been convinced that having a vocalist actually hinders an album rather than facilitates it. Placing any imaginable style of vocals above these cinematic, astonishingly beautiful soundscapes wouldn't allow the listener to properly delve into the music. Ambiance is of key importance here, as the band travels through synth-based rhythmic pulsations of rock music the kind of which you haven't heard since Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side Of The Moon". There's no easy way to say this, but "Spirit Animal" honestly produces distorted sensory perceptions and feelings or altered states of awareness or sometimes states resembling psychosis, which are all listed as symptoms of someone under the influence of psychedelic drugs of some kind. At the same time, the album's title couldn't have been more fitting, as I've never before heard a sound that's the aural equivalent of the word 'spiritual'. It's always hard conveying these type of abstract ideas in text, so you're best off scrolling straight down to the Myspace player to see what I mean...or you could go to a Tool live show, look at their psychedelic video clippings on the screens and imagine what that'd sound like in music.

Okay, so the band sounds trippy-as-hell and cinematic, and they use synth as the key ingredient in their sound. That's been done before, and shouldn't be enough to justify the bold statements of the opening paragraph, right? Genesis anyone? Perhaps, but never in as convincing manner as here. Never as originally as here. Never before with soundscapes as thoroughly explored in detail as here. "Spirit Animal" takes you on a rich, atmospheric journey of imagination through the most desolate savannas of Africa (that type of scenery constantly pops into my mind while listening to the record, and the manner in which the band handles your journey with ease is nothing short of brilliant. The mammoth-length songs range from around 7 minutes to 17 and a half minutes, but there aren't any moments where you'd feel inclined to move on. Each song grabs your consciousness and moves it into another reality, and before you know it, you snap out of the wonderful world of "Spirit Animal", take a look at your watch, and notice that an hour has passed by in the process. That, if something, is a sign of an utterly rewarding and magnificent album. It may not be for everyone, but those who have a vivid imagination will find this album immense...even if you normally hate instrumental-only albums like myself.


Download: Spirit Animal, Spirit Warrior
For the fans of: Genesis, Pink Floyd, Pelican, Jesu, Tool
Listen: Myspace

Release date 09.02.2009

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