Collaborations are awesome. The idea that two or more artists can come together and create something is the greatest achievement I think we can witness. It’s not easy for artists to work together on something, sure a musician can throw down some songs they have in their catalog alongside another musician and call it a split. To really create something, to really collaborate on a story, an idea, takes work. Talent often works best alone, or so I’ve experienced, and yet fit the right puzzle pieces together and you can create a picture you didn’t think was really possible. Locus Arcadia is a story created by four different artists: Randal Collier-Ford, Flowers for Bodysnatchers, Council of Nine, and God Body Disconnect. It takes us, the listener to the Locus Arcadia Space Station out in the depths of space. Given the subject, one can expect some spacey ambient music that makes you feel like you’re high but the music really goes beyond that. If I could, I would make this album the soundtrack to Event Horizon, one of my favorite horror/space flicks. This music reflects the same sort of mind bending, reality warping genius the film exhibits.
Normally I hate giving track by track analysis because it’s tedious and can take too much away from the music but in a case like this it’s almost necessary to do so. Before this album I hadn’t heard anything by Randal Collier-Ford but I knew the name and I knew the legacy if you will. His portion of the album was exactly what I hoped it would be. It’s a mixture of soft ethereal soundscapes with unearthly electronic beeps and drones. It reminds me a little of Star Trek, if Star Trek could have ever managed to create a truly scary storyline. The song delves into the science fiction realm with its drones but it’s not the overdone, smoky room SunnO))) sort of drone. It’s truly a sci-fi drone that sets the scene for the entire album. This was the best song to put first because it grabs the attention of the listener, it intrigues them without creeping them out (not that creeping out is a bad thing at all!). When I close my eyes I can see the infinite blackness of space all around me, stars may twinkle here and there but for the most part there is nothing but darkness all around me. The feeling doesn’t last long though, this is dark ambient after all. The song descends into the terrifying as the drones begin to drop out and the echoes take over. They start out slow and almost beautiful but soon they overtake the senses and threaten to drive us mad. It’s brilliant!
Next is Flowers of Bodysnatchers, an artist I know well from his works Aokigahara and Love Like Blood. The use of classical instruments in ways most people would not imagine or recognize is his strong suit and he really hits in his song. I could pick out a few string instruments, the piano, and even some percussion that’s been distorted to almost sound like a field recording. He has the longest song on the album but perhaps the most diverse. To an inattentive ear it could sound as though the music follows a sort of progression from beginning to end that doesn’t really change, but listening closely you can feel the changes in mood and tempo the same way you could with classical music.
Council of Nine, having experienced him on Nyarlathotep, is a master of creepy atmospheric ambient. His song starts off quiet, almost innocent drone but as the seconds tick by the drone gets stronger, angrier, and more terrifying. This is the song where the story of the Locus Arcadia Space Station really takes a turn. If this were a true soundtrack, this would be the song when the villain is finally unveiled in their evil glory. The music is never really loud; the drone has volume but I wouldn’t say that’s loud per se, but the music is strong and emotive, it rattles the nerves almost in the way that infrasound does. It works wonderfully for the story, giving it a desperate, traumatic quality.
And finally God Body Disconnect, sci-fi ambient at its best to tie everything together. This song really does have everything in it, it has naturalistic field recordings that abruptly give way to mechanical drone. The story slows down and allows the listener to fill in the blanks. Each section, movement, calls back to the three previous songs, incorporating elements from all three songs into itself. It’s a quieter song than its predecessors, more gentle with the ethereal vibe normally associated with space ambient. It’s by no means weaker though, or less cinematic. While it’s quieter and more contemplative, its within that sphere that the unease of space travel can be cultivated. The song is open ended, allowing for a return to the space station should the artists choose to but it wraps itself up nicely.
This album exemplifies everything good about collaborative works, each artist giving his or her own vision to a single piece, making it greater and more imaginative. Each artists paints a leaf for the tree so to speak, making it totally unique and enhancing the beauty of the tree while being enhanced by the tree. Listen to this album, feel the story surround you and take you into worlds and dimensions unknown.
Listen and support!