I remember very clearly the first time – when and where – I heard Zebra Island. It was a couple of days before Christmas 2011 and I was working late at the office with deadlines about to drop. Feeling tired and train-wreck-y, I decided to look up a nice song to listen to on the internet.
Somebody had just shared a song called „Falling Through“ by some new Estonian band and I decided to give it a listen. And then I listened to it about ten times in a row and just couldn’t fathom who they were, where they came from and why they were so good. I have been waiting for an album ever since. In the meantime I have, of course, found out who makes this music and been to most of their concerts. So far ZI has mainly been a live band for me, since they only had about three songs recorded. This makes the new album Saturnine all the more sweeter – I know what they sound like live and I have always liked that, but now I can give a closer listen without all the additional noise of a live show.
What really makes the album for me, are the vocals by Helina Risti – the sound, timbre and feel varies from song to song, it’s especially surprising in „Dreams“ where she has that lower, sleepier sound that gives you goosepumps of the enjoyable variety. Another thing that makes ZI unique, is definitely the guitarsound by Lauri Raus. It sounds so calm and deep and eternal, at times also unexpected, yet so right. The third and most important side of this triangle is Rasmus Lill and his approach to electronic dance music. Eventhough there are guitars and drums on the stage, it’s the synth that ties it all together, sounding fragile and bright, but also bass-y and deep. Also worth noting is that this band is also very easy on the eye playing live.