This album reminds me of an old trance song, Space Manoeuvres’ “Phase One”. (“In deep space … abandoned.” ”Any crew?” ”Negative.”) Not that it’s a trance album; trance-inducing, perhaps, but thankfully lacking in repetitive beats. That track existed in multiple forms, but its ambient version is the one that sparks the comparison. Artificial Intelligence is a desolate, synth-laden album, which possesses the feel of an abandoned ship. The main deck is empty, the crew frozen in cracked pods or hunched over the main controls. Yet the ship continues to run, hum, whirr and grind; and something is skittering in the rafters, like an escaped virus that has just achieved sentience. The noises it exudes – popping, bubbling, gurgling – are the only specifically active sounds to be found, signs of life laid across layers of patterns and slow scales. Occasionally a John Carpenter vibe emerges (particularly in ”Gazelocked”), but for the most part the menace is held in check.
Concessionaires is the duo of Brad Rose (Digitalis) and Pete Fosco (Early Tunnels). Together, they create a sound as expansive as the unexplored innards of an intergalactic ship. But as solid as the effect may be, one yearns for a little more plot development – for the guitar to do more than keen, for the synths to enter a more agitated state. The sprawling “Skeleton Summer” could have been a launching pad for such a transition, but despite an active mid-section, it never really takes off. Still, for mood alone, the album works, and oddly enough, a Quivver remix might take it to Phase Two. (Richard Allen)