Album Review

Howden, Matt – “Voyager” – [Amplexus]

Thurston Hunger   3/5/2014   A Library, CD

2004 releae, from Sol Victus violinist in the UK. Like the Voyager
probe[s] this CD is named for, the music here continues to
communicate well beyond its launch. Similarly, the further this
drifts out, the more compelling the finds. Early on the melodies
are romantic and gentle, with as much synth as reverb-clouded
violin (some guess cello on the blast-off track.) Electronics
blink on and off as on Ganymede, disembodied vox humana come
from somewhere in the core too it seems. Violin/synth lines
drift to the elegiac, for man’s isolation in the universe?
The tracks lives are fleeting, save the finale. Each is discrete
but I wonder if the album were meant to track at times? #8
“Cassini Division” is one of the first less ambient, more kinetic,
numbers, with a bassline that finds its footing. “Hyperion”
echoes that with some static in the memory banks and a space
child speaks. By the time we hit “Uranus” transmissions are
picking up a little grit in the gravity well, alien shamans
greet us, or is this astro-psychosis. From this point on, call
it Hal’s mutiny, the electronics take over. Look out for the
interstellar closer, “No Boundary Proposal” which may include a
small DJ remix of the gold/copper records onboard the actual
Voyagers. It does include Howden’s daughter repeating the
English greeting from those galactic records “Hello from the
children of Planet Earth.” Like actual earthlings, that track
is a wonderful jumbled mess, a marriage of flesh and math,
with moments of focus and ADD-addled mind lurches.

-Thurston Hunger

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