Tag Archives: Zombie Zombie

Best New Electronic: January 2018

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As we remarked in the roundup of the best electronic releases of 2017, a general society-wide feeling of hopelessness can add an urgency to club culture. And that never lets up. For every mindless scoop-neck T-shirt deep house bro or EDM clown pumping out cookie-cutter beats, there are people working on building something that means more, from the center of culture to the far margins of subculture. Whether it’s documenting and making available the lost gems of the ’90s rave and jungle movements, or raising money and awareness for a new generation DIY arts spaces, or it’s New Zealanders raging against sterility with raw, pummeling noise, or Chinese musicians creating queasily blissful sci-fi dreams that create an uneasy spin on the country’s headlong rush into the future, electronic music is still consistently capable of surprising you at every turn. From tripped-out French disco-dub to South London ambient R&B, this first roundup of a new monthly series will take you down all manner of rabbit holes—so get in and get involved. Continue reading

The Synthtastic World of Zombie Zombie

Zombie Zombie

Photo by Maro Dos Santos.

Throughout their decade-long career, Zombie Zombie have demonstrated an incomparable ability to craft perfect atmospheres with their music—sounds that immerse the listener into fleeting worlds full of tension, ominous moments punctuated by John Carpenter-like synth lines, pulse-raising beats and, finally, moments of respite. Their music is strange and mischievous, eschewing every possible path to predictability while still conjuring old associations with concepts you may or may not know you have in your head—like visions of the future concocted in a ’70s sci-fi film set. It’s wonderfully confusing and disorienting, to say the least. By mixing influences ranging from old horror movie soundtracks to krautrock, early electronic music, Kraftwerk, and the ’70s French underground scene, Zombie Zombie set out to create music that is modern but rooted in old techniques and ideas.

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20 Years of Dancefloor Classics from Versatile Records

Versatile Records Selection

With 20 years and more than 100 releases under its belt, Paris’ Versatile Records has become legendary, releasing instant dancefloor classics like I:Cube’s Disco Cubizm and Cheek’s Venus (Sunshine People) in the mid-90s, and later launching the careers of eclectic musicians like Joakim, Zombie Zombie and Acid Arab. Along with Daft Punk, Versatile Records and its founder Gilbert Cohen, who’s released music as Cheek, Gilb’R’ and Chateau Flight, helped shape the sound of the Parisian electronic underground to what is now recognized around the world as the “French touch”—a bass heavy, funk driven house music with sparse vocals and an undeniable geographical identity.

The story of Versatile Records is equal parts serendipitous and visionary. Coming from the predominantly rock-oriented Nice music scene, Cohen—then a hip hop and funk DJ—scored a midnight gig at the influential Parisian station Radio Nova, offering him a privileged view of what the French underground had to offer. “When I was coming from Nice, I didn’t have so much knowledge about music,” he recalls. “The radio completely opened my mind and gave me a lot of opportunities. I worked there for five years, and at the same time, I kept DJing. After those five years, I had the will to start a record label. Not particularly for me, because I was not doing music at the time, but I had some friends around me who were doing things.”

While the idea for the label began as a Radio Nova enterprise, it quickly evolved into a solo venture for Cohen, who grabbed his records and equipment and left the station before the collaborative concept became a reality. “I noticed that I wouldn’t have the kind of freedom or it wouldn’t go in the direction I thought would be the best,” Cohen explains. “Most of all, there was some really tough ego stuff. Basically, I decided to do it on my own.”

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