Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Maserati/Zombi split, plus... (#2, 2009)

Earlier this year, two Headspace favorites split an album: Athens post-rockers Maserati (#2, 2007) and Chicago horror-synth proggers Zombi (#1, 2006). You could call it MaseratibmoZ or ZombitaresaM, based on each side of the cover. And lo, it was good. And there was more too!

Let's take the Maserati part first. For their side, they brought two big songs, soon to be live staples, and an intro/outro section attached to each. For some reason, the videos with the complete studio pairings have been taken down (maybe because they had advertisements for video).

"No More Sages" [live, without "Join Us, Mystic Sister" intro]

Kinda quiet, but decent sound once you turn it up (especially the bass). Whole show is streaming here. "Join Us, Mystic Sister" is almost Grails-ish, with chanting, droning, and tribal rhythms. It segues perfectly into the chug and thump that kicks off "Sages." But then there's this!

"Monoliths" [without "Thieves" outro]

That's one of the four, straight from the studio. A definite highlight song, with many nice live versions on YouTube! The Passages referred to on the video image is Maserati's other release for 2009. It contains the extremely rare, OOP, vinyl-only split-album's four songs on CD, and an apparently unreleased song. Plus three remixes, ranging from the decent/interesting (Zombi's Steve Moore remix of "Monoliths") to the horrible and unlistenable (Thee Loving Hand's butchering of "The World Outside"). At least the unreleased final track is really good, although uncharacteristically mellow for the usually hard-driving band.

"Do You Hear the Nightbirds Calling You?" from Passages (2009)

For their side, Zombi put it all into one 14-minute tune - with an extended drum solo opening.

"Infinity" [live in Pittsburgh, PA - 8/29/2009]

But Zombi wasn't done either! They had their own full album out this year, Spirit Animal. It took them into fairly new directions, adding guitars, stretching songs out even more prog-like, and seriously expanding beyond the John Carpenter-horror soundtrack vibe. You can listen to its entirety streaming here. As much as I like the album (and I do), I don't think it plays to the simpler strengths of previous albums' more focused mood-making.

"Spirit Warrior" from Spirit Animal (2009)

That's got a bit of the old-school sequencing, with a bit more Italo disco peppiness. Three of the five tracks are more epic jams, too long for a YouTube clip (11-18 minutes). That one and this one are the two more concise tunes.

"Cosmic Powers" from Spirit Animal (2009)

But then, late in the year, drummer A.E. Paterra released a 1.5xLP (three vinyl side-length jams, and a fourth side with etched art), Timespan, under the name Majeure. This is the shortest one, and I guess the single, although no better than the other two bigger helpings.

"Teleforce" from Timespan (2009)

Now, I don't want to say definitively that I prefer the solo side-project to the new Zombi album. But there's something about how it's split off from the basic roots of Zombi, in a different way than Spirit Animal has evolved, that has made me preliminarily like it more. I can see the two competing, give and take, many years for my preference. Right now, Timespan holds the edge.

So, of course that's not the end of the weirdness. Around the time Spirit Animal was released, Zombi also put out a 12" single. The A-Side was "Sapphire," which was a B-side to the 2007 "Digitalis" single, a song off of Surface to Air (#1, 2006). So, of course I made a video for one of the B-sides. Enjoy!

"Long Mirrored Corridor" from "Sapphire" 12" (2009)

I'm not calling it my favorite Zombi song, but it does show a different side. And I think it's the 2nd most obscure song in their library (I'll probably make a video in 2010 for the most obscure). And I think it's weird to be a B-side of a single for a 2-year-old B-side of a 3-year-old song.

Zombi also played some live shows this year, in both August and December. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend. I did get to catch Maserati though - see Top 10 Live Shows post. But unfortunately, didn't go to Austin to see them and Mono finish their joint tour together. O well...

What could top all that? One more day to learn the truth!!

Official - Maserati / Zombi
Myspace - Maserati / Zombi / Majeure
Purchase - Zombi: Relapse Records
Maserati/Majeure: Temporary Residence
iTunes - Maserati / Zombi / Majeure

Genre - You got your Post-Rock in my Synth-Prog!
Location - Athens, GA vs. Chicago, IL
Review - Zombi: Rock Freaks
Maserati: Strange Glue
Majeure: The Needle Drop blog

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