Zombie Zombie - Rituels d'un Nouveau Monde

by Rich Morris Rating:8 Release Date:2012-11-19

Staggeringly, synth 'n' drum duo Zombie Zombie were among those goofuses convinced the apocalypse was nigh in 2012, and they set about recording this new album as their epitaph. Exactly who they thought was going to be around to enjoy their signature squelchy sounds and tense beats isn't clear but - hey - the loss of those notional holocaust-surviving mutoid scorpions is your gain, fleshbag. You get to enjoy this undeniably fine long-player as it's beamed directly into your brain while telepathic sex-droids satiate your every fleeting coital whim. Such are the unalloyed joys of Space Year 2013!

In what way and to what extent Zombie Zombie were influenced by their conviction of the coming end days is unclear, since Rituels d'un Nouveau Monde sounds very similar to previous Zombie Zombie releases. The French electro-proggers still sound like they're playing fleshed-out versions of John Carpenter film scores, much like they did on... Oh yes, that EP of fleshed-out interpretations of John Carpenter film scores they released a couple of years back.

I'm being facetious. That EP was a mighty fine release, and so is Rituels d'un Nouveau Monde. So while 'Illuminations' sounds like nothing so much as a cosmic disco take on Carpenter's 'The Bank Robbery', only a tasteless cad wouldn't recognise that as a bloody excellent thing. Likewise, the elasticated bass which opens first track 'The Wisdom of Stones (Do You Believe in?)' might sound like Zombie Zombie are gonna start chucking bowel-churning brostep drops at you, but it soon evolves into an irresistibly noir imaginary film soundtrack, just with a sexy modern sheen over the top.

Elsewhere, there are steps away from this template. 'Rocket #9' is a slouching minimalist techno take on Sun Ra's freaky avant-jazz classic and it's pretty awesome, with some real woodwind and a gloriously unhinged sax solo adding texture towards the end, turning the whole affair into something like a vintage Gong acid goof-around. Meanwhile, 'Watch the World from a Plane' starts in the typical Zombie Zombie style before the percussion drops away for a bit of mind-expanding, Tangerine Dream-style kosmische. Towards the end, what was a serene glide through the night skies is viciously punctured by what sounds like repeated fist hammers at a poor abused keyboard.

If super-squelchy 'Foret Vierge' owes as much to Selected Ambient Works Vol 1-era Aphex Twin as it does to intense motorik beats, then the following L'Age d'Or', the album's longest track at nearly eight minutes, is all straight autobahn lines zooming into the horizon and vapour trails in the twilight sky. And, of course, it's bloody gorgeous, perfectly realised, even if there's nothing really new here. But sod that - if the world were ending, this is the soundtrack I would want to play out on.

Only final track 'Black Paradise' lets the album down a little, working more as a showcase for drummer Cosmic Neman's excellent percussion skills than as a fully realised piece of music. But hey - I could totally imagine myself drunkenly dancing to it and throwing some melodramatic shapes, so it's still job's a goodun. Overall, as great as Rituels d'un Nouveau Monde is, Zombie Zombie should be glad it isn't their final album. On this evidence, they've got a huge amount of potential they're only just stating to tap.

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