Escape Velocity

Written by: PP on 31/05/2011 21:46:40

Instrumental duo Zombi have long been considered as one of the front-runners in the genre. Their intricately layered songs are extensive displays of utter sonic beauty, a mixture of aural elements arranged in a way such that they form beautiful landscapes and moods in a way that few others manage. Their previous effort, "Spirit Animal", was brilliant not just because of the duo's mastery of combining synths, sound effects and textured drumming, but more precisely because of its accurate and overwhelmingly detailed depiction of the endless savannas in Africa, all just by a clever and carefully planned usage of ambience and other musical quirks.

In many ways the new album "Escape Velocity" can be seen as a successor to "Spirit Animal" because of the similarities and the signature Zombi sound that it contains. But then again its offering stands in direct contrast of the savanna themes of the first album. If the title track that opens the record serves as a logical connector between the two sounds, then already at track two, the surprisingly short (just under three minutes) "Slow Oscillations" sets "Escape Velocity" apart from its predecessor in terms of mood and the differing mental landscapes it creates. Here we are on a psychedelic, or perhaps hallucinogenic is the right word to use, induced space trip to an out-of-body experience much like the artwork of the album depicts. The soundscapes feel grander and like they have more space to breathe - endless space in fact. "Shrunken Heads" confirms this idea with its echoing keyboard effects and an overall colossal soundscape, though without sacrificing the trippy signature sound that is quintessentially Zombi.

Through the cinematic feel and the occasionally rave atmospheres, Zombi have once again created something special. However, because of the vastness of empty space that, err, space represents, it's difficult to paint as detailed and immediate pictures in your mind, at least when compared to "Spirit Animal", which I described as producing a "distorted sensory perceptions and feelings or altered states of awareness". Instead, "Escape Velocity" has more in common with the tight and well-defined synth delivery of Maserati this time around. Some will inevitably enjoy it better, but for the undersigned, I long for those long evenings of good headphones and letting "Spirit Animal" guide my mind to travel freely into places it normally doesn't.


Download: Slow Oscillations, Shrunken Heads
For the fans of: Maserati, Steve Moore, Pink Floyd
Listen: Myspace

Release date 10.05.2011

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