My first experience with Starpilot’s new release, ‘Space Cadet’, came when I was organising the Pxl-Bot Presents compilation. I asked Düane if he could give us a hand by throwing us a-so-far un-used or unreleased track, and he kindly obliged by sending me ‘Vailixi’. From the first listen I gave it, I was floored; the trippy melodies coexisting so peacefully with hooks that didn’t feel forced, the soft ebb and flow that morphed into an almost completely different song, almost like a story, really got me giddy. So it was with a huge level excitement that I greeted the following release after finding out it was here from whence the track had been taken.
Album opener ‘Freefly’ slowly coaxes in the atmosphere before releasing a bittersweet set of melodies over you, coupled with the envelopes which create a truly ethereal feel, this release really puts Starscream to shame. The unmistakable glances to minusbaby (I don’t know if he WAS an influence, but his presence is definitely felt here) conjoin with the gorgeous arps to make something wonderful. The title track goes a similar direction, though leaving some of the trippy glue that joined the first two tracks in favour of more up-tempo pastures. Now, I don’t want to be “that guy”, but the best way I can describe this track is ‘Knights Of Cydonia’ by ‘Muse’. I’m not saying that they have the same structure, merely the same sort of atmosphere, as the middle section of this track sounds rather similar to the ‘Muse’ tracks’ opening, in the fact it’s hugely triumphant and VERY space-y. The uber-happy vibe continues through the rest of the track, giving the impression of hurtling through space at high-speed. It’s truly brilliant.
‘Death Is Dead/ Shedding Spores’ brings back a placenta of trance-y space melodies, with a thundering bass pedal note in the opening half followed by a gorgeous sliding lead in the mid-section, before rolling into the dub influenced and glitch-caked finale. Following that, the dual boost of light relief ‘Ha Ha Ha Haters’ and ‘Feisty Robot’ grab a pace and keep it stuck on full, with almost hairtune levels of pumping followed by some chancy wobbles. ‘Feisty Robot’ then let’s loose with its melody and countermelody which swim over each other elastically before the tension builds only to be released in scalic melodies and completed with another epic and triumphant sounding finish.
If this pace wasn’t enough to keep you exhausted, ‘Paranoia Is A Liar’ opens with a dirty punch before quickly building its layers into a house-fuelled rave, featuring a beautiful chordal break in middle and a genius stop and stutter section as its eight minutes (trust me, it feels much shorter) come to a close.
However, every release is not without its flaws. I personally found tracks four and five, ‘Amputated Fist’ and ‘Big Bacon Vortex’ to be a bit of a drag on both the overall pace of the album and the overall enjoyment of the mid-section. The glitch start has ‘Amputated…’ off to a rocky start, though the final scale sections is gorgeous, but couples with ‘Big Bacon Vortex’, it doesn’t work as effectively as it should. Whilst ‘Big Bacon Vortex’, as part of an album, COULD work to a degree (depending on the person’s feelings about overly glitch sample work and slow twisting downtempo stuff), on its own as a standalone track, it falls flat on its face. Also, the album closer ‘Tripping Out’ was a bit weak as a finale I thought, and if ‘Paranoia…’ had been the final track I think a far more lasting impression would have be made on the audience.
But is it worth the four dollars asking price? In every fucking way. This album is great. The fifty four minutes whizzed by with a great amount of enjoyment, and the progressive and psychedelically layered approach ‘Starpilot’ has taken here give the release a lot of replay value. On top of that, the songs are just plain memorable and REALLY well written. Yes, some of the tracks I wasn’t a fan of, but my tastes are not everyone’s, and on top of that, the pace surrounding the mid-season dip pushes you through it without a second of dull audio. Definitely worth both your time and money, ‘Starpilot’ has really reached a new golialithic height with this release, and finally spat out the amazing promise he has always shown. So do YOURSELF a favour and get this now!!!
3. Space Cadet
4. Amputated Fist
5. Big Bacon Vortex
6. Death Is Dead/Shedding Spores
7. Ha Ha Ha Haters
8. Feisty Robot
9. Paranoia Is A Liar
10. Tripping Out