Thanks to the glories of the information age, we can easily find new music in mere seconds. When I was pointed in the direction of the record group, “Silent Realm”, I became more than eager to check out the many styles of electronic music they offered. Silent Realm is a small record company within the Rocky Mountains region dedicated to independent experimental musicians. One of the artists from their label in particular intrigued me, Dada Davros, an independent electronica artist from Australia. Not only does their name evoke images of various bits of science fiction, the tracks (and artwork) within “Architecture” do too in a sense. But, that’s just some sort of geeky preconceptions. (That or let my dorky viewpoint cloud my interpretation of the music, but we’ll see.) No matter, let’s dive deeper into the ethereal plane with “Architecture”!
Silent Realm Industries bills Architecture as a “sonic quest through the cosmos that is not worth missing” and they are certainly correct! All of these tracks carry a very strong feeling of astral realms and a distant space to them, whether on an overt or covert manner. And it’s without a doubt that the artist themselves are a huge fan of science fiction. With titles like “20 Minutes into the Future” and “Killing Splicers”, one really does have to wonder. But, enough nerd rambling, let’s take a closer look at the tracks themselves. While each of the tracks carried a very cosmic and dreamy soundscape, each of them maintained a very unique and individual mood and tone.
“Tilt Towards Sun” lines its sliding synth with layers of rining bells. This ethereal choir creates this image of looping and endless environments, perhaps like a cave. A “bouncing” percussion adds to he groove and energy without requiring the track to go faster in pace.
“Theme of Recurring Rabbit” feels a tad slower, sounding a bit more dramatic as well. This leads into a more industrial sound driven by a mechanical ambience. A blend of dream-like keys and technical beats creates a truly engaging mix.
“Suck” is a different take on an early ’90s NIN collab piece. This one fuses the styles of that era’s electronic with retro video game sounds, which take the roll of a percussion sound. Pacing of the percussion sometimes seems to interrupt the dark electronic beats, but doesn’t damage the enjoyability. Overall, a cool take on a NIN classic.
“Pushing Data” opens with a trance-like introduction that’s somewhat akin to the first track. The calmness of the introduction gives way to an offbeat dissonance which creates a dark duality. The clashing machine sounds turns the atmosphere into the soundtrack for a Phillip K Dick story. The track feels like an exploration of virtual space, perhaps the web itself; data moving through endless streams without care. The track goes even darker toward the end as the inorganic sounds begin to transform into harsh squeals and squeaks of some kind of creature, the dream has become a nightmare.
“Twenty Minutes into the Future” brings William Gibson to mind by title alone. The intro automatically evokes classic cyberpunk in ’80s keyboard driven fashion. The main synth line has this wavy feel to it, as a more drum and bass style overlaps to create a stressed and chaotic realm of “high tech/low life”; true to the cyberpunk style. Amidst the high energy, there’s subtle undertones of something somber and sinister.
“Respawn Safely” brings various aspects of sci-fi video games into a colliding soundscape of old and new. The title alone seems based on the trope of respawning characters. The mix of styles in particular bring to mind the cold astral underworlds and 8-bit spacey tunes of Metroid, the demented hellish space dungeons and deepy and grungey beats of Doom, and terrifying quarantines of the Flood and the eerie tunes that come along with them in Halo. Together, they form the theme for a truly disturbing cosmic realm. Metroid shines through the most, in my opinion, as it sounds like a remix of a level or a pastiche of the games themselves.
The next track, “Asqwmth” communicates a variety of dark emotion; chilling isolate with an almost ironic solace. The main sound conveying the mood is an almost ghostly choir. It almost reminds me of a slowed down sci-fi thriller soundtrack, rife with its own intrigue and sorrow. An unnerving wind-like sound coats the background with an extra level of deep atmosphere, solidifying the sound of a cold world.
Next up, “Pleasing HUD” seems to be quite the ironic title. The track opens with what sounds like backmasked sounds. It’s foreboding, ominous, and you get a sense of something truly evil lurking within an unconfined space. The world of this track feels like an endless astral realm, while a deeper sounding tune tells of something malicious laying somewhere within this realm. As the music fades, a low breathing gives way to tube-like keys occasionally playing in slow repetitive drone. To me, this screams “Bug Hunter” or some other dark science fiction scenario, like the “Aliens” franchise.
“Children Welding” departs from the feel of the last track with a more pleasant/innocent sounding introduction. This leads into a more dance focus track with strings of rave beats. All cascade into a more upbeat sound that pulses with its own vibrancy and energy.
“Nano Particle for Hire” oozes emotive cyberpunk piece for all intents and purposes. The atmosphere delivers more drama than Theme of Recurring Rabbit did, through repetitive beats with heavy sinking feelings. Like previous tracks, there is a heavy “sci-fi noir” ambiance that is present throughout the track, as it carries a dark and mysterious sound common to many futuristic thrillers. The name even implies some kind of gritty crime drama. Midpoint mixes it up with a deep bass beat and backmasked sound, leading to an immersive track with its own edge to it. This creates its own narrative; a weedy world filled with action and mystery. Mellows into a low pitched drone with a darker mood.
“Killing Splicers” might just be a personal favorite track, if for the likely BioShock reference in the title. This track starts with a thick sound that’s perfectly at home in a setting like Rapture. It conveys a rich ambient realm; a place of once great pride and mangificence, fallen into disrepair and decay. This faded beauty is juxtaposed with machinery to imply its technological prowess, as well as the sounds of water. It also sounds like dripping water leaking into the dilapidated cityscape. Midpoint evokes feeling of wandering the empty halls wrought with collapse and death, as something dreadful lurks within the subterranean shadowy ruins. While this doesn’t quite capture the “mid-century pulpy/atomic-age” setting, it showcases a world that has fallen from grace, a setting isolated as it continues to fall apart. Droning takes over the piece as it fades to nothing. Besides being biased toward this piece for my reasons, this one gathered the most emotional response form me.
All in all, this album gave me a solid experience. Each piece was a richly textured soundscape, with its own world and rules. It’s obvious to me that the artist is a huge fan of various sci-fi pieces old and new. Even their name makes me think of the classic antagonist from BBC’s “Doctor Who”. Perhaps it’s all coincidence, but even if it is, it helped me become more intrigued and more engaged in the music. The music itself always kept me interested with a wide variety of emotions and themes. Some were more upbeat, while others were more gloomy, some were more esoteric than emotional. While I’m still somewhat new to this variety of music, I’m more than satisfied with what I’ve heard.
All around, “Architecture” receives 8.5 voyages into the astral plane out of 10.