Album Reviews

Zombie Nation – Zombielicious

(UKW) UK release date: 9 March 2009

Zombie Nation - Zombielicious Zombie Nation, the Munich-based act responsible for monster smash Kernkraft 400 a decade ago, bursts right out of the gates with the frenetic pulse of the modern club scene on Zombielicious.

Flesh-eating electrophile DJ, sometime Tiga collaborator and producer Florian Senfter, whose Zombie Nation projects have been variously released by DJ Hell and Sven Väth, has assembled a vivacious collection of tunes that jump out of the darkness at you in a frenzy. The grooves are deep, the sounds are interesting, and if you’re not in a night club yourself, you’ll feel like a fool for inevitably starting to dance along with these tracks.

At the core of these energetic outings (each is four to seven minutes long) lies a persistent no-nonsense techno element that, given Senfter’s pedigree, could only have emerged from Germany. You can hear it in the percussion: the shuffling, awkward shaker of opening track Mas De Todo; the standard offbeat hihat splashes in Supercake 53; the hyper hip-hop swagger of Bass Kaput.

But there’s another current of the music that’s vying for attention in these tracks. Bass Kaput has a crescendo of waves that build slowly into what sounds like (but is most certainly not) a theremin. Electro creeps into the techno building through side entrances, eventually finding its way out to share centre stage.

This push and pull of influences is what brings such a repetitive, formless track such as the seven-minute Mystery Meat Affair into focus. The song starts out with synths that would sound at home in early video games, but soon progresses into something resembling a hip movie soundtrack, all while staying influenced by a steady techno beat.

Zombie Nation is, in fact, very cinematic. The repetitions in the beat give you something familiar to hang on to, while you focus on the varieties in the melody, harmony, and accompaniment provided in synths, electronic pulses, and rumbling bass sounds. You can really transcend the beats in this fashion, letting your mind wander into the intricacies of the music as you envision a fast-paced chase scene or a montage of a cityscape or anything else quick and energetic that you might find in the movies.

The few tracks that include vocals – among them Get It and Radio Controlled – suffer. Short phrases are shouted repetitively, most likely meant to give club audiences a hook to remember. But the net effect is a distraction from the more interesting components of the music. Though these vocal sections appear only in short bursts, it might have been better to leave them out completely.

Otherwise, the music remains compelling, even after more than an hour of beats. What makes great club music here could also function well as great house party music. But even more than that, these songs are accessible any time, any place. Many club DJs rely too much on the energy contained inside the clubs at night, and as such their music does not usually cross over well onto tape. But in a rare bit of a conversion that few producers can pull off, Senfter makes inspired tracks that can fit into virtually any playlist for any occasion.

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Zombie Nation – Zombielicious