Sunday, 20 March 2016

Album: Retro Burn - Follow The Light, The Light Is Your Guide

Retro Burn - Follow The Light, The Light Is Your Guide

Retro Burn - Stars Like Christmas Lights

Info: Retro Burn is a collaborative project between Nicholas Williams of Freudia and Brock Splawski of the Midwestern Bass Machine. The project focuses on the chopping, screwing, and distorting of layers of samples, in order to find a new approach to the original recording. The project’s first release, Follow The Light, The Light Is Your Guide came out just last week, with two artists who featured separately on my Top 10 International Independent acts of 2015 combining to take us on an incredible voyage through space, time, and the cosmos.

I'm not gonna lie, I got overly excited at the prospect that was this album when I was first made aware of it over a month ago, giddy with excitement, and when I started to listen to it I realised straight away I was experiencing something special once again, and quite daunted at how I was going to adequately apply descriptions to what was unfolding in my ears.

Follow The Light, The Light Is Your Guide is ambience as it should be, more than just a good listen, a supernatural journey, and as soon as the track bearing the bands name begins, you're pulling across your belt and strapped in for take off. 'Stars Like Christmas Lights' (above) is take off, the afterburners have kicked in and away we go, the soundscape shudders and shimmers and then disappears into the echoed distance with simple but beautiful keys repeating on loop to give the track a hypnotic and other-worldly effect. 

Retro Burn - Mr.President Makes A Phone Call To Houston

In keeping with the theme of space, Retro Burn put their electronic filter on the 1970's sounding soundtrack to an elevator scene from a movie on 'Mr. President Makes A Phone Call To Houston', a hazy jingle that you could easily expect to find on something from The Flaming Lips or Spiritualized. Full sci-fi mode is unleashed on a sequential trio of tracks, 'I. Eternal Crepusculum', II. 'The Dead Astronaut' and 'III. Situational', this roughly nine and a half minute segment of the album is where you will become fully lost and subsumed. There's a sense of loneliness and being lost, strange and distant mechanical sounds popping up every so often, perhaps from the bowels of the craft you are now journeying in, the creativity at play here is impressive to say the least.

From 'Kuiper' to 'Dream Land' Retro Burn maintain a steady pace of continuing the path through alternate moments of calm and sparks of aggressive distortion coupled with static effects. 'Coming Back Down' begins slowly, but builds intentional intensity with it's clockwork snappy beat and distortion which eventually drowns everything out until the drop sharply back down to drone-like ambience once again. Descent begins on the lounge-room mood of 'The Floater', we're unconscious but aware that we are returning home, the jazzy classical piano playing inducing calm after the chaos. Finally, 'Tropicalia' is the end of transmission, intense static distortion preludes a dull and void chamber of birds singing and low piano keys, so strange, like much of the album.

Retro Burn - The Floater

Follow The Light, The Light Is Your Guide could easily be the soundtrack for any science fiction film from the 1970's to today, there were moments where it felt a little bit over-stretched across it's 16 main tracks (there are 4 alternate versions also). But this didn't diminish my enjoyment one little bit of what Splawski and Williams aimed for, a large sonic paintbrush sweeping across the cosmos and creating a world and trip for us to partake in at our leisure.

Digital copies of Follow The Light, The Light Is Your Guide are available here and on Spotify here.

For both The Midwestern Bass Machine and Freudia's music go here -

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