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Sound Tribe Sector 9
Ad Explorata
1320 Records
www.sts9.com


Electronic artisans Sound Tribe Sector 9 craft a sonic imaginarium of chimerical figures, ambient tones, malleable sound bytes, and swirling electric light waves on their latest release Ad Explorata from 1320 Records. Their music has a futuristic vibe reminiscent of Hot Chip with alluring effects relatable to The Chemical Brothers and esoteric atmospherics emblematic of Elliot Lipp. The instrumental team of keyboardist David Phipps, percussionist Jeffree Lerner, guitarist Hunter Brown, bassist David Murphy, and drummer Zach Velmer who form STS9 produce a nomadic journey on Ad Explorata, taking the listener on a ride into realms that stir the senses and engage the mind.

The tracks stream into one another like a foreign trade route picking up ideas from every culture it travels through and adapting it into the group's melting pot. Starting off with the sparkling wavelets of "Phoneme," the album titillates the mind right out of the gate and then plunges into the industrial rock depths of "Heavy" showing tones akin to Nine Inch Nails, which recover into the fantastical sonic imagery of "Looking Back On Earth." The tracks will remind folks of the background music played during magic shows, whether in television programs or shows that are popular at casinos. STS9's music has a spellbinding feel which is attractive, though it is a mystery how digitalized sounds craft such scintillating melodic patterns.

The zigzagging phrasing and malleable curves of "Atlas" boggle the mind without turning it away, shifting into the title track which is decked in futuristic sprigs and budding plumes producing music that is tastefully arranged and attired with cosmic splendor. STS9's music is esoteric sounding as it fluctuates between feral excitement and smooth coasting which is exhibited in the soft bristling springs of "RE: Stereo." The album transforms into a mass of erratic radio waves in "Central" and converts the transmission into the sounds of rolling winds and tumultuous blazes in "Lion" returning to a NIN's intensity. The album closes with the sonic glisten of "Echoes" framed in softly rolling ambient waves and emulsifying sound effects that tense up and release in the outro.

STS9's album Ad Explorata is an ad-hoc exploration into sonic realms that seem intangible and last for a short time. There are no catchy hooks to hum along to in your head, but the music penetrates the mind and senses in an aromatherapy type of way. It's an album meant for atmospheric purposes but it satisfies that need sufficiently.

-Susan Frances

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