It was once stated that in space, no one can hear you scream. It is fitting, then, that Auxiliary Priest should be at the controls for what is a noisy, turbulent chasm of deep, black experimentation that does indeed suck the screaming void of space inward with deep, thin lungs that have been starved of oxygen.
There are, thankfully, no Xenomorphs in sight, but the synths have a retro feel that dates back to the late 1970’s. Just as the stars we see date back to a time long before life on Earth began, so too do the synths trace a line back into history. The frightening is replaced by the thrill as the immense scale of our Galaxy is unclothed.
Famous taglines aside, Auxiliary Priest’s music sits in close proximity to the listener despite the vast scale of outer space. The static-injected electronic rhythms are pulled into close contact via a NASA shuttle that has drifted, by accident, into the depths of deep space. Outside of our Solar System, and outside the arms of the spiral, comes the vague apparition of melody, cloaked in the withered static of the ages.
Gritted by the debris of rogue rocks, the aftermath of which can be felt rumbling throughout the first side, the electronics beam back frequencies containing unstable squeals and abrasive higher pitches. The notes spin around their different orbits like tiny points of light that used to be monolithic planetary spheres.
The Milky Way is itself a celestial city of stars. Heavenly pillars of dust are located in unknown constellations. Through the clouds comes a rainbow of light, masking itself as the prime harmony sung by ancient angels, constructed out of electronic, choral-sounding codes and lines of alien synth. Encounters with the yawning chasm of the galaxy lie in wait, with the burst of radio static from beyond the only hint at a tantalizing discovery. Out here, the universe constantly alters and evolves. Breathing, almost.
Prehistoric squeals fill the cosmos. Another race has made contact, or so it appears. Sonic beacons contort as they break through the sound wave. What enters through the shuttle is a light cacophony of song, created and then sent by exotic beings. You then remember that this is a long, dead signal, and whatever species it was may now be extinct.
We are all made of stardust – so is the music. Side B is the tranquil side to space travel, as if the abrasive, rocky opening has had the effect of shutting down the electronic power supply. Echoing out of the black is a colourful melody that sparkles like a crystal prism. Alien tones slither past the windshield, a series of notes that are incredibly open, flexible in their contoured shape and soaked in the deep, cavernous bass of the galaxy. Still those frail signals from the distant past shoot into the shuttle, only now arriving home.
The tape format itself is an ancient relic that hones in on the potential for teleportation, the distant unveiling of stardust shining through to the present day. Drift on. (James Catchpole)