By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — In recent years, fans of synthesizer music have been reveling in an intense revival of interest in the unique electronic between a wealth of soundtracks reissues for numerous ’70s and ’80s horror/suspense classics by directors like John Carpenter, Dario Argento and others. Inspired by those sounds and the work of earlier German synth pioneers like Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk and Cluster, legions of young musicians are exploring the music that can be made with vintage and modern gear.
Pittsburgh, PA-based instrumental duo Zombi deserves credit for being ahead of the curve when it comes to the resurrection of analog sounds starting at the turn of the millennium. Taking their name from the Italian title to George Romero’s iconic film “Dawn of the Dead” (Italian progressive-rock group Goblin, who did the music, were a major influence), bass/synthesizer player Steve Moore and drummer/synth player A.E. Paterra combined the driving rhythm section work of bands like Rush and Yes with the synth and sequencer pulse made by Carpenter for the soundtracks to his movies “Halloween” and “Escape From New York” for their eponymous self-released debut recording in 2001.
By the time Zombi issued it’s second effort Cosmos for Release Entertainment in 2004, the duo had amped up Paterra’s kinetic drumming as a propulsive force behind their expansive space-rock epics. Finding kindred spirits in post-rock experimentalists like Trans Am and San Francisco’s own the F–king Champs, Zombi logged thousands of miles of road work during the decade, taking stages across the country with their arsenal of vintage keyboards and a DIY laser light show that added to the onstage atmosphere.
Signed to noted independent metal imprint Relapse Records for their second full-length Surface to Air in 2006, the band would gradually evolve their propulsive sound, introducing elements of krautrock and Giorgio Moroder’s Italio space disco for their 2011 album Escape Velocity. By that time both members had begun to release solo material, with Paterra delving deeper into sequencing and ambient drones under the moniker Majeure and Moore indulging in everything from his dance-oriented projects Gianni Rossi and Lovelock and a string of acclaimed soundtracks to new horror films (two of these, the OSTs for “Cub” and “The Mind’s Eye,” came out in last couple of years).
While Zombi hasn’t put out a new recording since Shape Shift in 2015, fans are sure to turn out for the duo’s first Bay Area appearance in years at the Starline Social Club in Oakland Sunday after performing at the darkwave/gothic Cloak & Dagger Festival this weekend in Los Angeles. The band will be joined by Author & Punisher, musician Tristan Shone’s one-man industrial-noise project that features the artist manipulating his custom-made electro-mechanical instruments and controllers to conjure up a unique and terrifying sonic soundscape. Shone released his latest album Pressure Mine earlier this year.Local band Creepers, a side project of two members of lauded black metal/shoe gaze band Deafheaven, opens the show.
Zombi with Author & Punisher
Sunday, Oct. 22, 7 p.m. $15
The Starline Social Club