Alien Genome Project

Craig Murphy is a man of many projects: the Herb Recordings founder tackles electronica under the Solipsism guise, electro-psychedelia in Shoosh alongside band-mates Neil Carlill and Ed Drury, and deep ambient under the name. Alien Genome Project finds Murphy fashioning a three-part opus that's about as immersive as ambient gets with the album's eight sections featuring multi-tiered synth swells and billowing masses so immense you could disappear within them altogether. The material's galaxial feel and trippy ambiance intensify when distorted voices echo across the limitless expanses of deep space, and nowhere is that epic pitch achieved more intensively than during the title piece which unspools over ten trance-inducing minutes (the sound is so huge, it reduces the voices that occasionally surface to indecipherable mumbles). A thirty-six-minute work of varying moods, Alien Genome Project takes its inspiration from the “Panspermia” theory—the idea that “micro-organisms or biochemical compounds from outer space are responsible for originating life on Earth and possibly in other parts of the universe where suitable atmospheric conditions exist”—but the work can be experienced just as easily on purely musical terms as an engrossing exercise in synthetic dronescaping. If anything, its unapologetically pure synth-based sound has more in common with ‘70s-styled ambient recordings (early Tangerine Dream, say) than a more current release where granular static and other noise might accompany the drones. That Alien Genome Project leaves such a strong impression is due in part to the forceful intensity of its presentation.

September 2008