Most have probably never heard of Zombi. But the few who have know how truly amazing this duo's music is. The best way I can describe them as is Rush without Alex Lifeson and more focus on synthesizers. It is these synthesizers, along with A.E. Paterra's pounding drums, that make Surface to Air a breath of fresh air. Here's the album broken down track by track:
1. Challenger Deep - The album begins with the usual Zombi sound. Some drum fills over a repeating synthesizer. But then the focus switches to Steve Moore's ever present and highly distinguishable bass. I find his bass tone to be very similar to that of Chris Squire (Yes). The song continues with some very impressive drum fills while Steve Moore does some improvising on the bass with that ever present synthesizer in the background. The song then shifts into an almost ambient sound with several layers of synthesizer playing all at once.
2. Digitalis - Starts off with some very heavy synthesizer which gives it an 80s feel. Meanwhile, A.E. Paterra shows off some of his high-hat skills in the vein of Stewart Copeland (The Police). Unlike Challenger Deep, this song sticks with the ambient vibe for the entire track. Slightly less impressive than Challenger Deep, but some great synth playing from Steve Moore.
3. Legacy - The beginning of Legacy sounds like a mix between an 80s new wave band and Iron Maiden. The 80s coming from the synth, and the Maiden coming from the drums and bass. The song has, as usual, a repeating synth line while A.E. Paterra and Steve Moore show off their skills as a rhythm section. Occasionally Steve Moore jumps in with a synth solo.
4. Surface To Air - A very creepy sci-fi intro starts off Surface To Air. Then it shifts into some of the heaviest synth you'll ever hear. Then immediately shifts right back into the creepy sci-fi sound. A.E. Paterra's drums truly shine on this track. Eventually, the song transforms into an ambient, all synth soundscape. This continues until Paterra's drums come in and truly help this song build its way to an epic ending.
5. Night Rhythms - The longest track on Surface To Air, clocking in at 18:34. The song begins with some atmospheric synth and a choir singing along faintly in the background. This shifts into a very creepy section of the song in which A.E. Paterra plays very tribally while Steve Moore plays some very low and distorted notes on the synth. Then Steve adds a layer of strings. Then comes one of the more surprising sections on the album. A choir takes center stage! This is probably the closest well ever get to hearing vocals on a Zombi album. The rest of the song continues down the standard Zombi path, with impressive synth playing and pounding yet sophisticated drumming. Ultimately, a great closer to an amazing album!