In some ways, we live in a pretty amazing age. For example, I’m a sucker for “space porn,” for lack of a better term (critics: “What, wasn’t ‘space photography’ good enough for ya?”), and I’m fascinated by how deeply into space we can peer. And what about right here, in our “galactic neighborhood,” in our own solar system? I got a big ol’ science stiffy when NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft piped back those images of Pluto and Charon, the closest we’ve ever gotten to them and the clearest they’ve ever appeared. “Remarkable” is a term that doesn’t even do it justice.
Space Blue, a solo electronic offshoot of Florida’s Electric Bunnies, gets me, I think. His new tape is a deep, dark look at the cosmos, that part of space that you see looking out of the window of a craft (like New Horizons maybe! If it were built to carry people, I guess). It’s dark, your field of vision isn’t overcrowded with romantic sci-fi imagery, and the only way you’ll get to see anything remotely up close is if you perform some severely advanced mathematical equation to get there. Space is freaking big, you guys – if you ever went out in it, you’d probably get that.
So “Awareness,” then, drops you right in the middle of nothing, its barely-there beat glitching along, making you wait for any payoff. The song glides along on this for a while before adding a heavier bottom end, but even then it just propels itself forward, making you think for yourself instead of telling you how to feel. Are you awake in your spaceship? You’ve got a lot of time on your hands. You’ve got eleven minutes of this song. Maybe this song is the soundtrack to your own awareness.
“Venus of” doubles down on the intensity of the rhythm and mood, and lumbers through its machinations in only seven minutes, but those seven minutes are among the most bracing you’ll ever experience while in deep space. I’m not sensing any danger in the track, so just enjoy it, knowing that you’re puny, and human, and you’re at the mercy of something other than yourself. Space Blue says, you’re not in control, sucker! Listen to my awesomeness. “I Remember Something You Told Me While We Were in the Singularity,” great title aside, feels like time stops, especially after the great one-two opening punch.
“A La Luna” has a similar feel to “Venus of,” but way more industrial, and it’s a fun, scrappy mood switch after “Singularity.” There’s another version of the song, later, dubbed “(Mix Ambiente),” and it teases out a much more gauzy, ethereal center than its predecessor. The two tracks work nicely as juxtapositions of each other. “Green Eyes” almost sounds like a tossed-off Animal Collective track, and it even has vocals! An unlikely but welcome surprise, throwing just a large enough spanner into the works to cause your CPU to hiccup then resume. “Relax” ends the album on a beautiful ambient note, with chimes and a female voice whispering unintelligible words in your ear. Perhaps in your hibernation tank aboard your vessel? Who knows, what am I, Isaac Asimov? Go finish your lunch.
This is a wildly promising debut from Space Blue, and something I could listen to over and over again on headphones. I mean, seriously, that one-two opening punch of “Awareness” and “Venus of” takes me to all the right places. I’m gonna have to keep my eye on this fella…
RIYL: Demdike Stare, Andy Stott, Eric Copeland