The baby boomers are a traitorous, vacillating generation. As 30-somethings, they changed en masse from hippies to yuppies; in the '80s, they dumped the vinyl LPs of their youth for the sterile convenience of CDs. Yet while boomers cling to their mirrored beer coasters, CD sales are plummeting, giving way to downloads. Vinyl is looking better than ever, holding its own with a cult following from teens to geezers, as a way to preserve the tangible, physical appeal of music.
Few agree more with that sentiment than space-rock duo Zombi, currently on tour with Midnite Snake. The duo has the most current releases available on vinyl of any Pittsburgh group: Six, counting both older, self-released recordings and those also on CD via Relapse Records.
Twilight Sentinel and Zombi -- originally a CD-R double pack -- recently came out on Wabana Records, run by Dave Sweetapple, who plays in the band Witch with Dinosaur Jr.'s J. Mascis. "He's put out some Acid Mothers Temple and Comets on Fire -- it's a little specialty label," says Zombi drummer Anthony Paterra. "It was really quick -- we sent him all the stuff and it happened within six months." Vinyl can be surprisingly lucrative, he adds. "It's a good deal for us, because that's music we own, it has nothing to do with Relapse. We'll have a lot of them to sell; he pressed 1,000 each."
Meanwhile, a couple of Relapse kids in Philly started Aesthetic Records, offering to do Zombi's Cosmos on double vinyl. The packaging is amazing -- you feel like you've stepped through a Stargate just looking at it -- and they've included an LP-only bonus song.
Zombi set its sights abroad for three more limited-edition vinyls. Hypertension Records in Belgium put out the Surface to Air LP, and Norwegian DJ Prinz Thomas remixed Zombi's "Sapphires" track for his Cosmo Galactic Prism, where it shares wax with Boards of Canada, Parliament and Hawkwind. The U.K.'s Static Caravan label meanwhile issued a 180-gram, deluxe 12-inch for Relapse's Digitalis tour EP which Zombi sold on the road with Trans Am. "Static Caravan is a very prolific label with a large catalog of fairly obscure avant-rock and space music -- there were even some glow-in-the-dark copies," recalls Paterra. "All of this activity has happened in the past year and a half, and they're already mostly sold out. I almost can't keep up with it."
Zombi will record another album in the fall; the band's synth/bass partner Steve Moore (recently moved to New York City) will have a solo debut on Relapse in October called The Henge.