Zambri is: Jessica & Cristi Jo
Zambri is the ethereal duo of Cristi Jo and Jessica, sisters whom have been making music together since they shared a bedroom as kids. Spending endless hours creating stories and building universes with their voices and toys, their debut album, House Of Baasa, out April 10th, 2012, is a powerful expression that embodies the spirit of adventure in all its glory.
Strings are stretched to reveal alien textures, found sounds and field recordings weave in and out, all the while traveling through a colorful landscape that pulls the listener deep into the otherworld of Zambri, a world as imaginative as the mind of a young Alice (In Wonderland).
Just at the end of last year, Zambri released their debut EP, Glossolalia, receiving praise from the likes of Stereogum (Band to Watch), Spin Magazine, NME, MTV, Under The Radar, and more pointing out the unique sound the sisters seemed to have plucked from the netherworld. MTV says Zambri “…delivers the sort of fully-formed, cohesive sound that a lifetime of collaboration might be necessary to achieve.”
With House of Baasa, Jessica and Cristi Jo bare their soul even more, revealing their true adoration for pop music and catchy melodies. During the recording process, the sisters drew heavily from sounds of familiarity to create a mood that is as recognizable as it is contagious. Together, they produced and recorded the album in its entirety, bouncing back and forth from Chinatown to The Village for the greater part of a year. Paying homage to their roots, they used old demo recordings from cassette tapes, manipulated the traditional use of their voices and built their own sounds. The majority of the finished record is made up of the very original takes they laid down, resulting with a sound that is both honest and magical.
For the final touches, they enlisted a small crew of imaginative collaborators like Rick Kwan who mixed, Chris Coady who played a co-production role on select songs, and mates Seth Kasper and Will Spitz (whom also play live with Zambri), Noel Heroux (Hooray For Earth) and Jon Philpot (Bear In Heaven) who are featured throughout.
The album’s title refers to the ancient Zambri – a servant in the bible who rebelled against his ruler Baasa to overtake the throne for seven days, after which he set fire to the palace and himself. In the spirit of their namesake, Zambri’s music effortlessly defies genre, a parallel to the attitudes of its creators. A natural ear for pop melody informs their experimental yet deliberate approach, which makes their music boldly fearless and refreshingly original. Zambri says, “We wanted to go back into that childhood zone of absolute freedom, making moves with gut instinct”. House Of Baasa sounds simultaneously free and highly intentional, alien and nostalgic.
“…They’ve reached this Kate Bush level of top-of-the-mountain, sing-into-the-sun gothic atmosphere, flanked by electronic ghost hammering and little synth baby coos. It’s dark and uplifting but not calculated…”
“Named after the biblical tale of a servant who overthrows his master only to commit suicide a week later, House of Baasa centers around the struggle between euphoria and darkness. The canvas of each song shows the mark of the battle, featuring more contrasting spatters than a Jackson Pollock painting.”
“Like their post-punk precursors the Banshees and the Cocteau Twins they evoke a sense of doom as well as its mirror image, mood.”
” It’s a promising, hooky five-track set of left-field, occasionally gothic and avant garde electronic pop.” “Evidently, Zambri are production and synth-wonks. Glossolalia‘s tracks swerve and unsettle on a bed of loaded, dissonant production…Sultry and slow moving with haunted keyboards that Zola Jesus would jump at.”
“New York’s Zambri sisters — Jessica and Cristi Jo — have established themselves as sweet pop songwriters who also like to freak out, couching celestial harmonies in skewed synths that sound transmitted from Kate Bush’s womb. But Glossolalia stretches their sing-along melodies into something even weirder.”
“Fuzzy components, bruised and edgy electronic pop, blown-out field recordings and old cassettes with tape-reeling demos. Zambri have made one of the most original debuts of the year”
“…with its sparkly synths and overabundance of effects-heavy filigrees, suggests a more feminine TV on the Radio”
“A glowing, uptempo morsel of synth pop, exuding gothic darkness at the fringes of its sonic universe.”
“This doomsday electro-pop project led by sisters Jessica and Cristi Jo Zambri transform frightening into fantastic. Their music is full of nightmarish industrial sounds and gothic vocals filtered through three microphones at once for a warped sound. It’s spooky and beautiful. With a drummer and additional keyboardists joining for their live shows, concertgoers should expect chills. Pleasurable ones.”
“…there’s still plenty of noise, but House of Baasa blends the sputtering synths and samplers, and menacing, clattering drum beats, with pretty melodies. A lot of the appeal of Zambri comes from the sisters’ voices, which not only sound lovely but have an odd quality of sounding both detached and emotional.”
“On House Of Baasa, Zambri’s debut LP, opener “All You Maybes” positions the softness of their voices against thundering drums, metal clanks and synths, setting up the tormented-dream, Snow-White-in-the-haunted-woods quality of the album.”
“Deftly blending vocal manipulation and masterful keyboarding, the duo creates a soundscape that is equal parts haunting and uplifting. Their ambitious live shows translate their sound perfectly, with an array of computers handling their effects in real-time as they cavort in front of psychedelic video displays. Everything about their work is imaginative and though-provoking, and you’re left feeling the band’s presence long after the music stops playing.”
“Zambri brought gothy, witchy vibes … with their custom-made stage gear, including four microphones stuck together with duct tape.”
“…They’ve got an ear for a haunting melody and buckets full of attitude to deliver it with, too.”
“Upon listening to the brooding, psych-industrial tunes produced by sisters Cristi Jo and Jessica Zambri, one begins to ponder if the duo ever did the typical childhood activities like nail painting, tea parties, and gossiping about boys, or if they were always busy conceiving dark yet poppy hooks, and fragmented synth melodies.”
“Zambri doesn’t speak in tongues, but they do twist synths, drum machines, industrial crashes, and their ethereal voices into a fevered cloud. Their music is a ghostly dialect … splitting the difference between pop and sound art…. No matter what language the sisters are speaking; their message is one of unmistakable beauty.”
“If you want to see and/or listen to something that’s magically creepy in a poppy industrial sort of way, Zambri just might be the band for you. And probably is the only band for you. Who else sounds like this?”