CD, Audiophob, 2009
Space! The final frontier. An expanse so vast it cannot be conceived by the simple human imagination. A great source of inspiration for artists and scientists for centuries. The incalculable universe scattered with bizarre phenomena such as black holes, red dwarves and quasars. A quasar (I have just discovered) is a quasi-stellar radio source, a compact region surrounding a black hole. So having previously dealt with more earthly or abstract imagery, Germany’s ambient experimentalist Spherical Disrupted now turns his attention to space and one of its strangest mysteries.
In a change of inspiration and imagery it seems fitting to have a change of style, and while the first six or seven minutes of the epic “Einstein Cross” feature some cosmic ambience, a real surprise comes with the introduction of a thick electro bass line and crunchy, almost industrial beats. This is topped off by an evocative retro-style synthesiser, giving a lovely scientific feel to the piece, with the passion for exploration and discovery. “Accretion Disc”, which powers the quasar, is then the second track, darker in mood, a suspenseful journey from which there may be no return.
A galaxy bulge is the tightly packed group of stars at the centre of most spiral galaxies, and the track named after this formation is another foreboding piece of dark electronica, subtly suggesting the presence of powerful celestial bodies. The highlight of the album may well be its shortest track, the appropriately titled “Solar Luminosity”, the quasar’s being two trillion times that of our sun, expansive synth washes shining brightly through the ether. “Stellar Debris” returns us to haunting dark ambient sounds, possibly illustrating a spaceship drifting cautiously through dense fields of material, attempting to steer a safe course as the debris threatens to breech the ship’s hull.
We then reach the remix section of the disc, which thankfully works really well to keep in the right mood of the main album while providing extra dimensions to the music already heard. Xabec’s take on “Solar Luminosity” adds an effectively repetitious melody sequence to the piece, elevating it to the status of classic sci-fi soundtrack music, while Empusae’s reworking of “Accretion Disc” smooths out some of the original’s rougher edges and adds occult sounding percussion, bringing to mind some ancient ritual intended to channel the universe’s mystical energies. Finally we have Spherical Disrupted’s remix of his own “Cosmological Redshift” piece, which features more of the curious experimental scratchings and scrapings he indulged in during earlier works, overlaid with ethereal synth sounds characteristic of the “Quasar” album. All in all, an excellent soundtrack for an evening of amateur astronomy or of reading up on astrophysics until your brain feels strained and needs some audio soothing.
— Nathan Clemence