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Zombi - Surface to Air CD (album) cover

SURFACE TO AIR

Zombi

 

Progressive Electronic

3.87 | 29 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 'Surface To Air' - Zombi (6/10)

For me, the music of Zombi has been both an enjoyable experience, as well as an underwhelming one. While the electronic music duo has always shown great signs of promise, their albums never seem to reach that expectation I have for them, although each album does seem to improve upon the former. 'Surface To Air' is Zombi's second album, and it is quite clear that they have learned a thing or two since the release of their somewhat lackluster debut 'Cosmos', most notably in the songwriting department. Although there are still large spaces I think could have been greatly improved upon, Zombi's second album is a step in the right direction for their brand of atmospheric music.

Much like 'Cosmos', there are shorter tracks here amidst longer ones. While the long pieces here are still drawn out and feel somewhat aimless at times, Zombi has really tightened up their more concise songwriting, with the first two tracks 'Challenger' and 'Digitalis' both being under five minutes, and both being fairly successful tracks. When it comes to the actual sounds that Zombi chooses to represent their compositions with, almost nothing has changed from the debut. Their sound heavily relies on synthesizer textures, and numerous spacial effects. Taking a greater role this time around are also the live instruments, which are comprised of bass and drums. It is in the live instruments can really hear the obvious influence Rush has on this duo, with many of the drum sections sounding like something right out of the Neil Peart textbook.

While the shorter songs have been improved upon, it still feels like Zombi is at their best when they go for the longer compositions. The final track 'Night Rhythms' is a fine example of this. While still feeling somewhat aimless in sections, the fact that Zombi has so much room to detail and work with their sound lets them create some very effective buildups and harmonies with the synths. Quite clearly, Zombi is a band that does not work well when they have a defined song structure to adhere to, and instead are in their greatest element when left to explore. All the same, the lack of ideas and generally very long time it takes for these ideas to develop is not always worth the payoff at the end of a segment, making 'Surface To Air' a much less effective album than it could have been.

Regardless, 'Surface To Air' is a good album from this duo, and the first chronological album that I find valid enough to return to for repeated listens.

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |

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