The Elderbranch Campaign – Aural Histories of the Jovian Survey – Book II (Not on Label, MP3)

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The Elderbranch Campaign has been pumping out releases that fall into the category of the Jovian Survey, an idea that encompasses the exploration of life on Europa and Jupiter’s moons. It’s a sci-fi idea that fits right in with the kind of fantastical sounds that drone can often encompass, and Aural Histories of the Jovian Survey captures the essence of space quite well by flooding the listener with sound.

The release offers two tracks that float just a bit past the 20 minute mark. The first, “And the Extinction Event Came In the Form of Ice,” is a strong opener that contains an intensely cold experience; synths wail and scream, layered upon each other with just the hint of a rhythmic yield underneath it all, each layer ebbing and flowing with elongated tails of sound. It all resembles the sound of a howling windstorm, but this would fit in on a movie soundtrack about a horrifying space exploration trip just fine. There’s a denseness to the work that’s both intriguing and suffocating.

“They Coded Resurrection Seeds Into Digital Microbes” features a similar concept, with a droning track slowly building to cacophonous levels, and the sounds continue to waver and flow without completely ending. There’s a feeling of perpetual chaos within the sound, that whatever event is being portrayed sonically is horrifying – almost like the continual trill of flute and violin in a horror movie soundtrack, except this drone is stretched to lengthy extremes. Eventually the track moves into more recognizable synth tones, a chilly but beautiful melody that sustains for the rest of the track.

It’s easy to get lost in Aural Histories of the Jovian Survey – Book II and write it off as two lengthy tracks that do relatively the same thing, but that would be overlooking the grander scope of these pieces. Though they resemble each other, and use a wall of drone in each, the feelings and attitudes of the tracks are different, and only appreciated by a calculated listen akin to harsh noise wall.


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