[sic] Magazine

First Glances – 555

Though the mainstream seems to be catching on that psyche is hot, they pitch their stories of discovery in such a way however, that it’s as if nothing of note has been bubbling away under this banner since the 70s. Utter nonsense of course, yet it serves as a neat intro all the same to 555 ‘s timeless ambient instrumentals, which effortlessly bridge the electronic pioneers and new-age soundscapers of yesteryear with more generally contemporary, amorphous drift.

555 is Chris Farstad of Minneapolis ensemble Food Pyramid and he’s just released his like-minded debut album Solar Express on outsider hub Moon Glyph. And while his choice of evocative titles paint pictures themselves, it’s his deft compositions-cum-chapters that breathe life into the Solar Express narrative – an experience with no logical beginning or end. The meditative melodies of “Rainbow Death” are nominally first, the track’s subtle swirl casting an image of 30th century zen, but the curtain-raiser could just as well have been, for example, the darker dialogue opened by the buzzing synth wave formation in “CW Celphei Casualty”.

In between, the intangible robotic communication of “Ultralight Survey Malfunction” is more understated, introducing a deceptively complex blend of drum and percussion that, along with “IED Intercept”, seems to identify with glitch – yet, this is a world run by machines, so they pattern and sequence with overriding precision. Altogether more human, the minimal “Poor Tide Judgement” then opens a direct channel with the frontal lobe via its pulsing drone frequencies, while “Mirror Paint Heartstroke” inhabits a plane between the two, an inquisitive and choral strain of AI that leads you by the hand down endless blinding hallways.

With Solar Express , Farstad has put together a curiously intelligent communiqué that basks in its off-radar status, comfortable both being there and in the knowledge that’ll it’ll never be anywhere else.

~Solar Express is out now on cassette on Moon Glyph .~