Friday, June 22, 2012

Cosmos - Zombi (#1, 2004)
The Story So Far...

Holy shit. This post has taken me almost forever. No, seriously... the previous Top 10 of 2004 post was May 31st, 2010. Over two years ago!!

The original delay was for me to somehow get the vinyl-only bonus title track digitized and available. That never happened. Then I guess I just got psyched out by how much I really love Cosmos - it's still my favorite Zombi album. (I think.)

But now it's going in the hopper with an overall discographical history.

"Sequence 1" from Zombi EP (2001)

So it begins. This self-titled debut EP collection of secret-origin demo's is by far the most classically horror-soundtrack stylized of the Zombi albums, although they all have that DNA. All of the tracks are even named "Sequence 1" through "Sequence 8" - as was the (horror OST) style back in the days.

For a long time, I mostly read comparisons to Goblin, probably just because the band name derives from the Dario Argento-edited version of George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead - titled Zombi in Italy (1978) - for which Goblin did the OST. But I've always heard more of the minimalist synthesizer tension of John Carpenter and his other devotees, rather than the often elaborate prog flourishes of Goblin. Probably by necessity, given the fact that Zombi are only a duo. (And later they would seem to edge closer to Tangerine Dream territory, but Goblin's definitely still in there - a bit.)

"DMC-12" from Twilight Sentinel EP (2003)

Only 4 songs on the 2nd EP, but the band has matured quickly. Kind of odd, in that the first track is "Sequence 8 [alt. version]" (last sequence on Zombi), and the second track is "Part 2" of a Cosmos track ("Gemini"). Then the last two songs are automotive related, because... for some reason. You might know the DMC-12 as the classic DeLorean model of stage & screen. And the great title track takes its name from a 40-year old GM light-control technology. The '60s!!

Both EP's together as The Zombi Anthology (2005) are available for download on both Amazon and iTunes. Original EP included a "hidden" bonus version of someone(s) playing Steely Dan's "Green Earrings."

Twilight Sentinel
So here we are... Zombi's 2004 classic double-album Cosmos! It's excellent. Caught between earlier growth & development and later experimention & genre explorations, the whole experience covers minimalistic mood pieces, horror-soundtrack vibe, some blown-out prog musicianship, epic synth-drone workouts, and anything else in the grab-bag.

"Orion" and "Cetus" from Cosmos (2004)

The opening one-two punch deals it out. The tight bassline in "Orion," the rolling drum fills, with the synth not really doing all that much work. Although the synthesizer is the "main" instrument, so much action takes place on the drumkit (obviously) and with the bass-work. "Cetus" rocks out so propulsive, even for "space rock." Now that we're here, I guess I should say that Zombi have always been Steve Moore (on synth/bass) and A.E. "Tony" Paterra (on drums/synth). They worked out of Romero's Pittsburgh for a long time, then it seemed like Chicago, and now I think it's from outta Brooklyn plus elsewhere.

That's my 15th video ever, from 9/25/2009. The keyhole wipe!

"Cassiopeia" from Cosmos (2004)

Set sequencer to stun. Now the arpeggiator!

"Cassiopeia is a constellation in the northern sky, named after the vain queen Cassiopeia in Greek mythology, who boasted about her unrivalled beauty," per Wikipedia. As you may have noticed by now, the tunes on Cosmos focus on space, the night sky, and especially constellations.

Wikipedia sez: "Orion, sometimes subtitled The Hunter, is a prominent constellation located on the celestial equator and visible throughout the world. It is one of the most conspicuous, and most recognisable constellations in the night sky." I'd never thought of a constellation having a subtitle.

"Cetus is a constellation. Its name refers to Cetus, a sea monster in Greek mythology, although it is often called 'the whale' today." Once again, from our friends at Wikipedia. Read the mythology Wiki links to learn non-Zombi factoids like "[t]he term cetacean originates from cetus."

"Serpens" from Cosmos (2004)

Cosmic vastness and kickin' beats. From here on out, Zombi mostly stretch it out to epic length. Risky, but they were up to the task. We're kinda beyond the horror thing here. Intro from the 2001 wormhole, or maybe the Imperial Vortex? The Sea of Fire? (Flash!) Many twists and turns, a building crescendo, planets collide, victory - or at least survival. (Alien!)

Check it out! Here's some demo's for three of those songs. I think I heard of a CDr release for these, but I've never actually seen it.

And "Serpens ('the Serpent') is a constellation of the northern hemisphere. It is unique among the modern constellations in being split into two non-contiguous parts, Serpens Caput (Serpent's Head) to the west and Serpens Cauda (Serpent's Tail) to the east. Between these two halves lies the constellation of Ophiuchus (the 'Serpent-Bearer')." (Wiki!)

"Gemini" from Cosmos (2004)

A little more epic now... One of the multitudinous things I dig about Zombi is how they balance the soundfield. Too much synth-oriented music occupies the ultra-higher-frequency end of the audible spectrum, which can get excessively grating. But without a bunch of non-synth instruments to get out the way of, we get a lot more deep-bass synth and mid-range, without the ear-splitting screeches. Also, drum & bass! - although not the electro genre of DnB.

Gemini is one of one two (HA!) constellations used here that also serve as an astrological star-sign. "Gemini ... love to talk! It's not just idle chatter with these folks, either. The driving force behind a Gemini's conversation is their mind. The Gemini-born are intellectually inclined, forever probing people and places in search of information." At least according to

The quite interlude "Andromeda" sounds the most like something from an actual (non-Goblin) Italo horror soundtrack, possibly of anything Zombi ever did. The Andromeda constellation contains the Andromeda galaxy - closest spiral neighbor to The Milky Way - and both are named for the mythological Æthiopian princess, daughter of Cassiopeia and sacrifice to Cetus.

"Taurus [edit]" [complete] from Cosmos (2004)

Taurus is the other star-sign. It's a bull. (Also a once-popular Ford automobile.) Wikipedia informs me that "It is one of the oldest constellations, dating back to at least the Early Bronze Age when it marked the location of the Sun during the spring equinox."

Man, I love this song! It's so ominous and stately, and eventually just bugnuts ending. That video is 2-years-old today... and that brings the album to a majestic close.

"Legacy" from Surface to Air (2006)

Zombi's next full-length record was Surface to Air (#1 Record of 2006). A much more difficult album to delve into, but well worth it. Several tunes still not on YouTube, but I just now discovered a Zombi Bandcamp - entire album streaming!!

The Digitalis maxi-single contained a couple of non-album B-sides in a more electro-space-disco vein - such as "Sapphire" (which would get its own 12" in 2009, with the non-album B-side B-side club banger "Long Mirrored Corridor").

!!!!! A little-known Zombi track appeared on Seed Records, Volume Two (2008): "Sessuale" - stream a bit and/or buy it.

"Spirit Warrior" from Spirit Animal (2009)

The rest of the #2 set of releases from 2009 included the next full album Spirit Animal and their split with Maserati. The latter had one Zombi track - here's 10 minutes of "Infinity."

Spirit Animal brought new instrumentation (guitar!), new cover artist Jeremy Schmidt (keyboardist of Black Mountain), and is by far Zombi's proggiest record. By far. Five extended cuts, with themed song titles ("Spirit Warrior/Animal", "Earthly/Cosmic Powers") - depending on your tastes, this might be the right place to jump in. Stream the whole album.

"Saturnalia" by Steve Moore, from Valerie and Friends comp (2009)

Steve Moore has also released material under his own name, under the alias Gianni Rossi, as Lovelock, and as a member of Miracle and of Titan. Plus various remixes, including one of Maserati's "Monoliths." Here's an old/outdated blog-post about solo Moore. Here's a very recent interview!

A.E. Paterra releases solo work under the name Majeure. He also filled the drum seat for Maserati's last tour (#3 Live Show, 2011).

Their most recent is the split-LP Brainstorm (2012) - stream or buy cassette, or buy the vinyl. Or check out a review...


Genre - Horror Soundtrack Synth-Prog
Official -
Myspace -
Location - Pittsburgh, PA

Review - Sea of Tranquility
Download - Amazon, iTunes
Lala - Cosmos
Purchase - Relapse Records [2xLP]

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