[sic] Magazine

Sterling Roswell – The Call of the Cosmos

Reviewed by Jonathan Levitt (Beijing China 3.17.2015)

Space tourism is coming, but only for those of us who are willing to pony up millions for the experience. The rest of us will still have to rely upon artists transporting us to an articulation of what’s really out there.

Sterling Roswell (Rosco) ex- Spacemen 3 and The Darkside, has created with The Call of The Cosmos an album brimming with a deeply compelling narrative that reminds us that a journey to interstellar space need not be a scary proposition, at least at the beginning. As such he fills the first few tracks with a summery 60’s pop vibe. ‘Interplanetary Spaceliner’ is a blissful, hazy affair that says, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.

As we pass Jupiter, ‘The Girl from Orbit in Dub’ a more stretched out number and one of the best tracks on the album with its narco-flanged whir cast over a minimalist maraca-tambourine beat. At the halfway point the song seems to recall both, Recurring era Spacemen 3 and The Terror by The Flaming Lips. In fact it’s the latter that seems to be a sort of kindred spirit to The Call of The Cosmos, as both explore desolation in their own right. Their album covers even share a similar color palette.

When ‘Asteroid No. B-612’ begins you know that we’re never coming back again. The solemn reality hits home that from here on out there is no script for us humans to read from. This is a Kubrickian vision rendered in musical form. ‘Island of Ether’ follows with its “Do Not Panic” Hawkwind/Michael Moorcock, buzzing uneasiness.

‘Outskirts of Infinity’, is where all the signals from all of the television shows ever beamed out to space arrive and collide with one another in an interstellar symphonic cancellation and morphing of sound and light waves.

‘Counter Clock World’ & ‘Time is of the Essence’ close out the album with an mélange of blurred drones recalling the end of 2001, A Space Odyssey where we’re left observing the truths of the cosmos overlooking the event horizon. This is a desperate moment where ecstasy blends with horror and a reality that we’ll never be able to tell another living soul of what we’ve seen. It’s a desolate and tragic ending to the album where one resounding universal truth rings out that, time truly is of the essence, and all we stupid humans do is let it slip through our fingers.

Unlike his psychedelic peers, who sometimes let things meander, Roswell has rendered a succinct, deeply moving musical odyssey for us. And until Virgin Galactic lower their prices this album will more than suffice to take us to the farthest reaches of space for a fraction of the cost.

Artist at Fire Records