steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Zombie Nation

"Black Toys" CD

UKW Records

Genres: electronica, techno, club

November 2006

You remember "Kernkraft 400", I won't get into that... but who knew years later this German-only release on UKW Records (whatever that is) would trickle down to the Indieville Ears of Justice. Well it's no EMF comeback but I'll give it a whirl anyway.

But first - who IS Zombie Nation? The man behind the Mexican wrestling mask is DJ Splank, or Florian Senfter - though ZN used to take the form of a duo including Mooner (Emanuel Guenther). Following "Kernkraft 400" and its corresponding album, the mouthful-of-a-title Leichenschmaus (only released in Germany), they put out a series of lesser-known singles and an album called Absorber. Now it's 2006 and it's time for Black Toys to be showered onto the world in shrouds of glory and fanfare and excitement. You get the picture.

And hey, since their little stadium mega-hit Zombie Nation have really honed their skills. Black Toys is electronic music done well, club stuff that doesn't embarrass itself... I'm reminded of Mr. Oizo a lot on this disc, especially in the grimy beats of the title cut and "Talks." "Booster" and "Slomo", meanwhile, remind me more so of the disco-like flare of old-school Daft Punk. Meanwhile, excursions like squiggly "Squid," dirty vocal-laced "Don't Touch," and eclectic and somewhat experimental "Monolove" add diversity to this jam-packed albeit slightly disjointed album. "Paang Paang" (a Sven Vath favourite) is saved for late in the disc, and it really helps keep the momentum alive - its delicious sample and gushing bassline make it the record's obvious highpoint. A ten-minute "Orange Mix" of the title-track, meanwhile, closes out the album on a more avant-garde note.

Black Toys is the type of club record I like - one that has appeal off of the dancefloor as well as on it.



Fun Fact: Zombie Nation is the name of a NES videogame from 1990 (based in the futuristic world of 1999.) According to wikipedia, "The game is considered to be extremely bizarre, as the playing character is a giant floating zombie head who shoots eyeballs and vomit as a weapon." More info here. Interestingly, ZN's hit song "Kernkraft 400" takes its melody from another videogame, the Commodore 64's Lazy Jones (1984).

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 12 tracks, 70:44, distributed by Forced Exposure, released Nov 6 2006]