[sic] Magazine

Geomatic – 64 Light Years Away

My first thought after playing this album through was of Doctor Who – only in India – on an electronica-fueled hallucinogenic trip. And I definitely mean one of your old school Doctors like Tom Baker .

At face value, it’s likely the analogy is misleading, but rest assured there is no outdated, 70s sci-fi kitsch, camp or claptrap to be heard anywhere here. I use it more to imply the almost archaic, steampunk aesthetic that has been applied to some of the machinery in Geomatic ‘s tardis; and that if there are indeed Doctors at the helm, they’re just as much of the witch variety as they are of the scientific.

The album begins with ‘Nano Anu’, a track that seems placed squarely in the desert, where you can see the heatwaves slowly burning off the sand and blurring the horizon. Arriving in other places happens almost imperceptably when playing 64 Light Years Away. It’s like civilisations are being built in front of your eyes and on a variety of foundations. You won’t, however, notice the construction as much as you will the resulting scenery, populated by anything and everything you are capable of imagining.

For example, ‘Sacrifice’ had me taking a walk down a moonlit shipping dock, where I then found myself in a smoky old jazz bar and met Casablanca ‘s Rick Blaine – except that he was also James Bond , and while perhaps odd-sounding, it made perfect sense to me in context. Elsewhere, I also met rattlesnakes that could charm the flute players, women with swivelling hips that could charm a good deal more, as well as a couple of shaman that would put the Pied Piper thoroughly to shame, plus a few robots that pretty much do what robots do best – that is, deliver, create and obey order.

Ok, so obviously the album plays well with my sense of fantasy. This owes as much to the invocative, tribal mystics who help lead the way with narrative chanting, as it does to the fact that it sounds like they’re working from within a long-since abandoned robot factory from the future, which makes their tools of motion both well-worn and innovative. While I did occasionally find myself wandering away from their world, Geomatic consistently found an incantation or mechanism that drew me back in.

64 Light Years Away certainly channels the mystical and the industrial, which allows it to do something a little more unusual. Placing it in a bit of alien space that’s familiar in a sense-memory kind of way, it draws from the kind of concepts we think we can expect from space-age technology, as well as being built with the mechanics of the past, present and future.

While thoroughly capable of inducing rich and evocative imagery, there is also sometimes a dark, heady sense that here time and space are different creatures entirely, and that you’ll be driven to explore places that you’re not sure you’ve been to until you leave and something further down the line rather surprises them back into memory. The fifth track, ‘Shesqi’, for example, brought to my attention the fact that up until then I was completely unaware the songs had been taking a lighter, slower approach to their construct.

The last track, ‘Final Dimensional Shift’, is a definite highlight that finishes and sums up the album very nicely indeed. It begins with a murky, almost hollow drone, and while there is a little bit of nervous excitement inspired by the underlying, steadily-paced tribal percussion, there’s also a genuine sense of dramatic finality by way of a sparse but haunting melody, as well as an odd, slightly cold metallic clang and deeper, resounding drum. Once the sound begins to recede, a vague, staticised and windswept vocal sample acts as both an anchor to one plane and a farewell gesture to the next.

Once everything goes silent I’m not exactly sure if it’s me or the Doctors who have left the dimension, but I do know that Geomatic have left me with plenty of nifty devices to play with, as well as a little magic to make them work.

~64 Light Years Away is out now Tympanik Audio .~