Zombie Zombie & Igor Cavalera – Cafe Oto, London 23 November 2022

If it is Wednesday night and there are wires and cables then it must be Cafe Oto.

First up is Igor Cavalera. Igor was one of the founding brothers of Sepultura, a huge Brazilian metal band from the 80s and 90s. I have to confess I know nothing of their music. Igor was the drummer but left in 96. Since then, he has played in punk bands, performed as a hip-hop DJ with his wife (Mixhell) and now appears to have branched out into modular synthesisers. He’s lived in London since 2013 and clearly feels at home here, judging by his relaxed demeanour after the gig.

His rig was set up so that Igor had his back to the crowd. This didn’t detract from the performance. We had a perfect view of him at the controls tweaking knobs, altering patch cables and hitting electronic drum pads.

The set began with some gentle aquatic sounds before we got some found voices and bleeps and whooshes. It was all bubbling along nicely, but around 15 minutes, Igor upped the ante. The sound moved into a more sequenced approach that raised the temperature and moved the venue a little. This faded away as we returned back to the aquatic opening section. The set was no more than half an hour, but it was a really enjoyable counterpoint to what followed.

Igor’s modular rack was cleared away to reveal two drum kits surrounded by a plethora of effects pedals and assorted boxes with racks of synths at the rear. The whole evening was a gear fetishist’s fantasy. Drummer Cosmic Neman sat down and announced via his vocodered microphone that following the drummer from Sepultura was somewhat intimidating.

He needn’t have worried. Both he and his opposite number, Jerome Lorichon, kept us rhythmically satisfied all night. We even got some dancing, a first for me at Cafe Oto. Between them was Etienne Jaumet, who tackled banks of synths.

I have to confess seeing this much umbilically linked gear on stage causes me to break out in a cold sweat. On the occasions that I’ve performed live myself, I fret over the cable between my guitar and amplifier. I’d find the responsibility of dealing with the morass of wires on display at Oto completely overwhelming. There was a glitch early on when Jaumet dislodged the mains cable to his keyboards, causing the opening number to be curtailed. It was plain sailing from there on in, aside from him having so much kit that he had to lift up one item to play another.

The music was approachable, often veering into fun, an emotion often in relatively short supply at Cafe Oto. I’m currently reading Graeme Thompson’s excellent biography of Simple Minds. It tells how drummer Brian McGee played along to I Feel Love to use a drum track for their own songs. Zombie Zombie pick up this link with Georgio Moroder and combine it with a Motorik beat with a soupcon of New Order’s Steve Morris too. It is the full European package (Zombie Zombie covered the instrumental version of Blue Monday on their debut LP). The two clips below give you a sense of the combined muscle of Team Zombie.

To reinforce this, the French band have recorded their latest album, Vae Vobis, in Latin. It is a lot more fun than it sounds. In a recent Electronic Sound, Neman said

The idea behind the Latin thing was to have this cryptic language. When I was younger, I remember listening to metal bands who would reverse their vocals so you couldn’t understand what they were meant… I liked the idea of singing this ancient language.

Electronic Sound Issue 90

They assembled a choir for the recording and allegedly taught them Latin for 12 hours a day for three months. That’s dedication.

I wasn’t familiar with their music but bought the tickets after reading about them in Electronic Sound. They have been around for 15 years and have a warm synth-based sound. They’ve done soundtrack work, covered some of John Carpenter’s movie themes and even been sampled by Lady Gaga. Their music is very approachable, quite removed from some of Cafe Oto’s scare the horses fair.

There was a ton of chemistry on stage. Jaumet and Neman had a running dialogue (“band shit” according to Neman) which left the keyboard player animated. It looked like two mates arguing about which restaurant to have lunch in. During Black Paradise, Neman gave the cues via the drum breaks, with everyone keeping an eye out for the crescendos.

It was another great night at Cafe Oto. This year I’ve seen guitar excellence (Steve Gunn, Marisa Anderson and William Tyler), synth madness (Bitchin’ Bajas) and hypnotic rhythms (Moritz Oswald Trio). The venue is the gift that keeps on giving.

1 comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

LondonJazzCollector

Adventures in collecting "modern jazz": the classical music of America from the Fifties and Sixties, and a little Seventies, on original vinyl, on a budget, from England. And writing about it, since 2011. Travelling a little more widely nowadays, and at lower cost

PETALENGRO

Printmaker and Artist

the Heat Warps

Live Miles 69-75

The Fall in Fives

All the Fall songs, five at a time.

#KeepingItPeel

Commemorating the life of John Peel

The Bobsphere

Ramblings on Books, Music and Films

Headphone Commute

honest words on honest music

Wolves Molinews

Your place for everything Wolves

The Old Noise

"This old noise?" she demurred.

The Sunday Dinner Diaries

On the Gravy Trail

Pushing Ahead of the Dame

David Bowie, song by song

Punk Rock Reviews

Reviewing Music

Every record tells a story

A Blog About Music, Vinyl, More Music and (Sometimes) Music...

WORDS AND MUSIC

News, views and reviews on hi-fi and beyond, by Andrew Everard

downatthecrossroads

Where the blues and faith meet

LondonJazzCollector

Adventures in collecting "modern jazz": the classical music of America from the Fifties and Sixties, and a little Seventies, on original vinyl, on a budget, from England. And writing about it, since 2011. Travelling a little more widely nowadays, and at lower cost

PETALENGRO

Printmaker and Artist

the Heat Warps

Live Miles 69-75

The Fall in Fives

All the Fall songs, five at a time.

#KeepingItPeel

Commemorating the life of John Peel

The Bobsphere

Ramblings on Books, Music and Films

Headphone Commute

honest words on honest music

Wolves Molinews

Your place for everything Wolves

The Old Noise

"This old noise?" she demurred.

The Sunday Dinner Diaries

On the Gravy Trail

Pushing Ahead of the Dame

David Bowie, song by song

Punk Rock Reviews

Reviewing Music

Every record tells a story

A Blog About Music, Vinyl, More Music and (Sometimes) Music...

WORDS AND MUSIC

News, views and reviews on hi-fi and beyond, by Andrew Everard

downatthecrossroads

Where the blues and faith meet

%d bloggers like this: