65daysofstatic – Music For An Infinite Universe


Album

Music For An Infinite Universe

Label

Laced Records

Year

2016

Genre

For Fans Of

This Will Destroy You, sleepmakeswaves, Hammock, No Man's Sky.

Summary

Hello Games made the best decision in choosing 65daysofstatic to score their incredible new game.

Rating

90 / 100

In case that rock you’ve been living under that doesn’t have Wi-Fi, I’ll bring you up to speed real quick on this whole No Man’s Sky business.

No Man’s Sky (out now for PS4 & PC) is a science fiction survival game in which you, the player, awaken on a planet roughly on the edge of the universe with the only goal being getting to the centre of said universe to discover what exactly is at its core. All the while you will have to traverse your way through a multitude of planets and galaxies, collecting resources for your weapons, exo-suit, and ship to better prepare yourself as you delve deeper through this universe; for the closer you get to its centre, the more… wild things become.

Now, the game’s environments are procedurally generated with algorithms and mathematics, with developer Hello Games creating all of the textures, resources, and models for which the algorithm uses to create a staggering 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 planets.

Put simply, it’s like digging up some clay and dirt and handing it over to a robot to make into bricks who will then hand it to another robot who will then build the actual house. The clay being the base resources made by the developers, and the robots being the algorithms in that analogy. Anywho, long fucking story short, the post-rock masterminds in 65daysofstatic were approached to score the game’s soundtrack, said “Yeah, fuck it, why not?” and wrote what is easily their best record to date; the appropriately titled ‘Music For An Infinite Universe’.

(Note: I abstained from officially reviewing the six additional soundscapes the band created to aid in scoring the game, as I wanted to take on ‘Music For An infinite Universe’ as mainly a standalone album with reference to its use within the game. Cool? Okay, let’s move on).

Songs like ‘Asimov’ and ‘Red Parallax’ demonstrate the band’s insatiable ability to build and sculpt monolithic soundscapes that burn along at a million miles an hour, whilst ‘Pillars of Frost’ and ‘Hypersleep’ sees the band flourishing in the creation of droning and pulsating compositions. Their knack for both catchy grooves and captivating atmospherics has always been the big selling point of this band for me. But if there’s one song that blends all these things together in the most divine and beautiful way possible, it’s album closer ‘End of The World Sun’. What begins as nothing but a simmering synth pad ends seven minutes later in a cataclysm of sound and beautiful noise that rounds off this album in fine fashion!

Now, you won’t be hearing these songs played on constant loop whilst you discover the vast universe in-game. See, the band actually ripped apart the album and recorded more parts that were fed into a procedurally generative music system called Pulse, designed by Audio Director Paul Weir. This creates a procedurally generated score for the game, and much like the game’s world, this adapts and changes depending on where you and what situation you’re in.

I don’t know about you but that is some fucking next level shit right there!

Having sunk a decent amount of hours into No Man’s Sky already with the music all the way up, I can safely say that it works wonders, both within the context of the game and when you remove the game from the equation. Traversing the stars and planets and hearing these small audible snippets – whether tiny sections, a single note or whole drones blending in with other samples –  creates an immersive and ever-changing score that is anything but incredible and utterly fitting for this stunning game. Even the parts that don’t come from this album are still teemed with the same production and 65daysofstatic “touch”, which only makes ‘Music For An Infinite Universe’ an even more incredible experience.

Now, 65daysofstatic has never really been a band that writes typical post-rock music in the sense of the huge, emotive swells and monolithic crescendos that equate to heart-wrenching and melodically beautiful epics. Instead, the band nearly always opts for a more chaotic and wildly electronic sound, filled with ambient bits of noise and synths, all backed up by their live instrumentation. Whereas ‘We Were Exploding Anyway’ was music to cry on the dance floor to, ‘Music For An Infinite Universe’ is far more nuanced. It’s a less… explosive, and far more concentrated and direct in its delivery.

As much as I love their past records like ‘We Were Exploding Anyway’ and ‘One Time For All Time’, I often found them too overwhelming with a little too much going on. However, here there’s a somewhat controlled chaos that carries a brighter, more polished production and what seems like more purposeful structural and production decisions.

It’s amazing, is what I’m trying to say, okay?

Conclusion

65daysofstatic have crafted an immensely articulate record, one where each instrument isn’t solely there to fill space or add to the musical anarchy, but there to tell a part of the wider story that is ‘Music For An Infinite Universe’. That story is one of beauty, tension, and disorder that will leave you feeling both scared, hopeful and unabashedly in love with this band, this record, and hopefully, No Man’s Sky as well.

Tracklisting

1. Monolith
2. Supermoon
3. Asimov
4. Heliosphere
5. Blueprint for a Slow Machine
6. Pillars of Frost
7. Escape Velocity
8. Red Parallax
9. Hypersleep
10. End of the World Sun
Cast your ears to this epic record here. Also, go pick up No Man’s Sky, it’s fucking exceptional. 

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