Every year after completing my list of favorite albums I usually have that moment of “Damn! How could I forget that album?”, and it usually occurs about five seconds after I hit “Publish” on said favorites list. So for the next few days I’ll post about those records I forgot to give ample love to. This tradition continues once again this year. There were four or five albums that didn’t make the list that despite that I really did like them. One or two were because I hadn’t been able to spend enough time with them in order to feature them. Others were because simply they got lost in the mix of all the albums I’ve bought and spun this year.
Funny thing about this year, I didn’t rank the albums on my year end list. At first I thought it was just out of laziness on my part, but then I began thinking about it and I think more than than anything it’s because I never got completely obsessed over any album in particular. Maybe I’m mellowing as I get older, or maybe it’s that I just don’t care. No, I do care. I’m as big a music guy as I’ve ever been. I think though that nowadays I’m much more open to soaking in as much music as possible. That may mean that I don’t get completely lost in just a handful of albums all year. The last few years there have been two or three albums each year that I kept going back to, where as this year it felt like I was jumping around to several albums and really enjoying them all.
Maybe it’s that this was the year of soundtracks for me.
I don’t know. I loved the music I discovered this year, ranked or not. Now, onto something completely different.
Zombi’s Shape Shift feels like the most straight ahead rock album Zombi has put out, and it’s the one I’ve put the most listening time into as far as their discography goes. Their earlier albums, like Surface To Air and the Zombi Anthology leaned pretty heavy on the atmospheric synth drones which I love. But, I don’t think those showcased the power between Steve Moore and AE Paterra synth/drum interplay like Escape Velocity and Shape Shift do. With Moore working on movie scores and Paterra’s side project Majeure, those feel like outlets for the spacier, atmospheric sides of their musical worlds. That left Zombi to be heavier in the rhythm and groove department. Shape Shift has rhythm and groove to spare. But there’s still plenty of atmosphere, too. Side D is dedicated to the epic space case “Siberia II”, an almost 15 minute slow burner that slinks and sways like a cloud of deep space madness looming overhead. But tracks like “Pillars Of The Dawn”, “Mission Creep”, and the mini-epic “Interstellar Package” sound like Rush’s Moving Pictures reimagined by a band of replicants. The Moog-y sounding “whaaaaas” and “swooooohs” burn through the air at every turn. Paterra sounds like Neil Peart had Peart been more into Tony Williams instead of Buddy Rich. And besides the impeccable synth work, Moore plays some pretty incredible bass lines(Geddy would be proud…or maybe he is?)
So, if I loved this album so much why didn’t it get a paragraph or two? Man, because I’m an idiot I guess. Shape Shift hit my turntable in October and in the midst of busy times here at the Hubner ranch. It was unceremoniously enjoyed a couple of times then forgotten about. I think it was hidden in the shadows of Steve Moore’s film scores he put out this year that I did in fact give a few words of praise to. But still, that’s no excuse. I’m making amends here with Zombi and Shape Shift. I mean, how could I not give words of praise and love to an album with song titles like “Diffraction Zone”, Toroidal Vorticles”, and “Metaverse”?? For Christ’s sake, “Toroidal Vorticles”, people! And “Diffraction Zone” feels like the opening music to some lost Cannon Video 80s sci fi classic. It’s about perfect. Golan-Globus would have died for this music to don a trailer of theirs.
I hope there’s more to come from Zombi. I suppose if Shape Shift was it from them it would be a hell of an album to end things on. I’m just hoping that’s not the case. I think Zombi have a lot more to give us. And I have more money to give them.