Category: Electro / Ambient
Album: Songs in the Key of Arrakis
Blurb: Not so much a soundtrack as a musical/atmospheric reinterpretation of one of the most celebrated works of literary science fiction.
For over 15 years, Steven Archer has built up a considerable reputation as an artist and musician, with Ego Likeness being his most recognized outlet. Crossing through the genres of gothic rock and darkwave with heavy traces of electro/industrial, Ego Likeness has become one of the most revered names in modern darkwave, and though filled with numerous references to Frank Herbert’s Dune, it was perhaps inevitable that Mr. Archer would embark on a separate project devoted entirely to his love for the science fiction masterpiece – Stoneburner is that project. With this second full-length release, Songs in the Key of Arrakis stands as yet another virtual companion for Herbert’s unique literary vision as Archer interprets the images evoked by Herbert’s words into a musical soundscape that is as surreal and esoteric as its inspirational source material. While the opening pads of “Sisters of Isolation” may initially recall elements of Toto’s score for David Lynch’s 1984 cinematic adaptation, the howling vocals enter and take the track into a wholly different yet strikingly familiar alien environment; bringing to this writer’s mind the likes of The Knife, the song sets up the sonic setting perfectly, evoking images of vast and barren landscapes traversed over uncounted centuries. From here on, the album picks up the pace as “Secher Nbiw” enters with a steely Middle Eastern loop introducing an energetic dance loop topped off by ghostly murmurs of voices and shimmering electronic melodies, perfect for any belly dancing troupe’s routine. Some tracks like “Chani,” which brings to this writer’s mind Peter Gabriel’s Passion with its blend of expansive synthesizers and tribal and traditional themes associated with ancient desert civilizations (not unlike the Fremen of the planet Arrakis), and “Irulan” with its upbeat percussion and mysterious otherworldly atmospheres seem rather well suited as thematic accompaniments to their namesakes – prominent characters in Herbert’s universe – while others like “Synchronized Worlds” with its danceable rhythms and floating warbles of voices, and “Flowers in the City of Introspection,” which builds to a dynamic and energetic, almost trancelike track, are much more abstract and do well to evoke a wider scope. “Eternal Ghafla” is notable for its progression from a mélange (no pun intended) of robotic voices seemingly speaking in an unknown language into a boisterous electro/dance track, while “Scattering” ends the album running in the almost opposite direction as it moves from vibrant rhythms to a sudden, strange, and eerily mechanical conclusion. In some regards, Stoneburner is more related to Steven Archer’s primary output with Ego Likeness given the concentration on rhythm and atmosphere, as opposed to his more experimental noise leanings with Hopeful Machines, but this just goes to show the breadth of his creative abilities. In the absence of standard song structures and lyrics, Stoneburner delivers a broader and more immersive listening experience appropriate to the source of its inspiration; it’s not so much a soundtrack to Herbert’s books as much as it is a musical/atmospheric interpretation, similar to The Unquiet Void’s approach to the works of H.P. Lovecraft, albeit less menacing and more inviting. Just as The No Chamber and the accompanying Sisters of Isolation EP do, Songs in the Key of Arrakis welcomes listeners into its strange and wondrous universe, giving voice to the eight millennia of history and mysticism that is Frank Herbert’s Dune; a remarkable and above all enjoyable journey.
Stoneburner Website http://www.stoneburnerband.com
Stoneburner Facebook https://www.facebook.com/stoneburnerofficial
Distortion Productions Website http://distortionprod.com
Distortion Productions Facebook https://www.facebook.com/distortionproductions
Distortion Productions Twitter http://www.twitter.com/distortionprod
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)