A bold, beautiful and exciting entry into the 65 canon.
Label: Laced Records
Released: 17th June 2016
Naysayers will do down this new album from experimentalists 65daysofstatic before they’ve even heard it, purely on the basis of it being a soundtrack record. If they did their research, however, they’d find that their brief when making it was to simply write a 65 record, and that the only creative constraint was the deadline required to make it – substantially shorter than 65’s usual gestation period for refining material.
As such it’s not as lean as its predecessor, ‘Wild Light’, but it is equally focussed and powerful, as well as boasting a couple of surprises tucked into its running length. Opener ‘Monolith’ is as unlike 65 as it gets; abstract, almost machine-like music that nevertheless quickly becomes a segue into ‘Supermoon’, one of the most grand and spectacular songs 65 have yet penned.
The same is true of ‘Asimov’, that follows directly; in fact, this is the template for the album. More soundscape-like, ambient material like ‘Pillars of Frost’, ‘Heliosphere’ or ‘Hypersleep’ is juxtaposed with upbeat, immediate tracks like ‘Red Parallax’ and ‘End of the World Sun’ in such a way that the album never drags. Moreover, perhaps by virtue as its intended use as an infinite, procedural soundtrack composed of small pieces of these tracks, percussion and melodic themes recur throughout the record to tie everything together in what is, at times, a viscerally thrilling way. If the brief for the album had been, ‘evoke wide-eyed wonder’, then this record could be nothing other than a roaring success.
The second disc, ‘Soundscapes’, which directly complements the main album, ‘Music for an Infinite Universe’, is more avant-garde in character, combining various alternative versions of themes from the main album as well as wholly distinct material written during the album sessions. While it’s more like what one would normally think of as soundtrack material, when listened to in company with the first disc, the two form a pleasantly complementary pair – although probably only die-hard fans of the game or band will venture far into these deeper waters.
It’s hard to talk about this record and divorce it fully from its functional purpose and the context surrounding its creation; even so, this is a bold, beautiful and exciting entry into the 65 canon, a worthy successor to career highlight ‘Wild Light’, and a tantalising glimpse of where the band might be headed now. A new life surely awaits them in the off-world colonies; the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure. Alex Lynham