When recreating the sound of '70s analogs, today's digital 'boards are well-stocked with enough sampled waveforms to enthrall the casual listener, but usually there's a little something missing. It might too little warmth, too much brightness, and not enough of that good ol' grit, that sonic dirt, but trained ears often recognize the emulation. And sometimes the music is so good it makes no sense to give a hoot (check out the CD by Eccentric Orbit for more fashionably analog headway).
But let us quote analog advocate Erik Norlander: "There's nothing like the real thing, baby!" And the duo that is Zombi subscribes to the same mindset: every piece of synth gear employed by bassist~synthesist Steve Moore and drummer~synthesist A.E. Paterra is a true analog unit issued between 1980-1985, some of the last before the digital revolution pulled a fast one. Zombi is in love with that time-tested Goblin and Synergy sound, circa 1975-1982, and Moore and Paterra do an exceptional job of "musical remote viewing." Goblin and Synergy (along with Fabio Frizzi and Tangerine Dream, two other soundtrack icons) defined their niches in "giallo rock" and electronic prog, respectively, delivering darkly organic ululations and undulations and an undisputably wholesale elegance that is lacking in many a derivative work. This isn't the case with Cosmos — along with select others, Zombi is the real deal.
Based in Zombieland itself, Pittsburgh, the duo draws directly upon the legacies of Romero and Argento. The short "Orion" is a thunderous track with jackhammer drum rolls and megalithic triads supporting a VCO-laden infrastructure — set on repeat play, its melody will linger for days. "Cetus" plays off more of a steady beat, and the looped Moog bass and Juno lead make it a fine piece with a "chase" feel. One of two tracks exclusively by Moore, "Cassiopeia" is (also) propelled by a robust soundloop and programmed rhythms; eventually, the track dissolves into a soupy bog that begs for a ladle. The first long piece, "Serpens" commences with ominous strains of filter-modulated washes and a pulsating one-note bass pattern. At 4-1/2 minutes in, the vibe coasts toward a slightly more neutral plateau, topped with a wonderfully wiry right-hand lead of the sort Larry Fast would employ. The tempo begins an upshift, following the upward-transposed arpeggiated chords before a whole note is held for several bars and modulated back into oblivion. Thus concludes Act I.
The second Act is signaled by the subdued intro of "Gemini," substantiated by background darkness & drones circa [Tangerine Dream's] Encore & Sorcerer, and a melodic sensibility worthy of Kitaro. Moore's Fender Jazz bass joins the skins to heat up the mercury around halfway through. A euphoric number, "Andromeda" is another Moore solo that prefaces the epic Frizzi-esque closer — "Taurus." Like a long lost outtake from one of Lucio Fulci's Zombie films, the unwavering quarter-note kick-pulse of "Taurus" and its tonal pastiche works more than enough magic to transport us back to times of gnarled latex and animal organs substituted for human. The impenetrable briar mass of electronics creeps forth like an invading zombie squad, slowly infiltrating even the safest of spaces until the protagonist (you, the listener) finally realizes his or her last words will be..."Bon Appetit."
— 1. Orion (2:49)
— 2. Cetus (4:01)
— 3. Cassiopeia (2:56)
— 4. Serpens (9:38)
— 5. Gemini (11:05)
— 6. Andromeda (2:12)
— 7. Taurus (13:44)
Total time – 46:32