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The space concept album is as old as time, from Holst, Louis & Bebe Barron, Jeff Mills, Jack Dangers, Lustmord, Nurse With Wound and so on. There’s been no shortage over the years but I’ve always got time for them. Especially in this case as I thought Roly Porter’s ‘Aftertime’ LP was a dark ambient/ drone/ neoclassical bass thing of brilliance. It’s an ambitious undertaking for any artist but let’s not forget Roly was one half punishing bass peddlers Vex’d whom were indeed pioneers of the darker strains of bass music. I recall ‘Aftertime’ seemed to be somewhat eclipsed at the time of release by Jamie from Vex’d’s Kuedo album. However 'Life Cycle Of A Massive Star’ confirms Roly’s vision and technical ability as a producer and artist. A most talented sound designer to say the least. Bringing his skills as a master bass technician into the space album injects a fresh new life into the concept. Like Throbbing Gristle’s’ Journey Through A Body, this does what it says on the tin.
Opener ‘Cloud’ begins with low cavernous throb slowly melting into beautiful stuttering synths and widescreen neoclassical strings, it’s an epic beginning to the sonic journey of the life of those things we see twinkling in the sky at night. ‘Gravity’ feels like it’s constantly increasing in intensity with dramatic electronic sculpted noise, like the force itself uncontrollably pulling downwards and then it fades and fizzes away revealing shimmering metallic ambient textures and into processed male choral vocals and outstanding futuristic sound design. At this point in the album it occurs to me that this is so well executed it would really make a mind blowing soundtrack to a massive budget documentary about the cosmos or even a Hollywood production like Blade Runner.
Porter knows full well that futuristic electronics and a classical sound palette are a marriage made in heaven when it comes to creating sonics for the cosmos and he gets the balance just right here with very subtle but effective use of the more organic sounds as can be heard on ‘Sequence’. The bass really bringing in a huge sense of scale but also used to subtle perfection. Finally ‘Giant’ is a suitable title, bringing gargantuan low end eruptions and huge bolts of pure electricity that made me almost shit myself when they came at me. This at high volume will turn you inside out. A cracker of an album but then that was expected cuz this guy’s got skills. Highly recommended.
8/10 sarangot 5th December 2013
Great sounds ! Abrasive stars are collapsing with a kind of humanity. Roly Porter push the beauty of textured life. It sounds massive on my turntable !
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