Maybe it’s just me and my own overactive imagination, but when I’m deep in it with some heady ambient and new age music I often imagine floating in space. The deep and healing tones of heavily-effected guitar, the warm buzz of analog synths, the wash of digital pads like static rain, and just the overwhelming sense of a quieted mind put me squarely floating in the cosmos. There’s something about the heady calm and meditative high of ambient/new age music that brings to mind constellations, galaxy clusters, and that final frontier.
Ambient/new age musicians/producers zakè and Ossa have taken that idea to a whole new level with the transcendent Syntheticopia. Syntheticopia is an LP built from actual sounds of space, along with an impressive list of earthbound hardware like the Korg Minilogue, Moog Mother-32, Poly D Polyphonic Synth, and more. The sounds of space come straight from NASA field recordings courtesy of spacecrafts like Juno, Van Allen Probes, Cassini, Galileo, and Stardust. The results are nothing short of, well, out of this world.
You don’t “hear” space on Syntheticopia. The NASA field recordings act as a foundation on which zakè and Ossa launch their heady and prolific compositions from. These two composers/producers seem to use the static tones and cryptic swishes of space noise as a base ingredient to these epic cosmic compositions. It’s kind of a dream come true for any ambient musician.
It seems to me that the ultimate goal of any new age/ambient musician is to take the listener from their everyday rut and give them a transformative musical experience. Something that transcends this earthly plane; headphones on and floating in some middle space between here and beyond, purple hues and chrome clouds. Or riding the slipstream in the Milky Way, with only your headphones keeping you from disappearing completely.
Syntheticopia is a headphones album. Tracks like “astronomer, inc”, “syntheticopia”, and “drifting” are best up close and personal. They pull you into their sonic cosmos and carry you along as they slowly encompass your psyche. zakè is no stranger to this world, being an old hand in the world of ambient/new age music. He and Ossa use the sounds of space as just another color palate to paint with, filling richly dark tones with touches of light.
Each track – from “galaxy twilight” to “unchartered region” to “acquisition of signal” -form a constellation of buzzing, heady sounds and moods. They encapsulate the monolithic nature of these songs. There’s a connectivity here; an emotional core that gives a beating heart to the cold, vastness of space. Maybe it’s the awe that humanity holds for the infinite blackness of the cosmos, and the mystery of that final frontier that comes through in these songs. Through all the cosmic field recordings and buzzing analog electronics, the humanity shows through.
Syntheticopia is music wonder for the head and heart. A soundtrack for pondering, dreaming, and looking up at the stars.
Out now on Zakè Drone Recordings. Buy it here.