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Released on August 1, 2016 via Altitude Records
‘Terminal 10’ sets the bar for the album as a sci-fi soaked opening track, never have I heard something so close to what I imagine extraterrestrial music would be like. I don’t just mean the sci-fi tinged electronica vibe imbued into the various timbres within the track, I mean almost everything about this seems completely removed from the standard approach to music most people have. At its best the free form approach produces moments of glorious idiosyncrasy but, at times it does just sound like a couple of people on acid in a room full of synthesisers which in itself is still a pretty entertaining prospect.
‘Resonances’ takes the album in a more stable, hypnotic direction vaguely reminiscent of acts like Aphex Twin and Stars of The Lid. The trance is tinged with a variety of disorientating reference points sounds culturally associated with the desert, the Scottish highland, outer space and in the inner city, the result is a sense of drifting across existence watching from afar. The middle section with its screaming synths and menacing take-me-to-your-leader pulsations is completely atmospherically dominating and as a result adds a strange cinematic tension to the piece. The pay off is incredibly strange, although, there is a degree to which it becomes a bit like dabbling after a while; the improvisational aspect somewhat detracts from the more uniform moments that utilising the wider arrangement become collectively more engrossing.
The sense of displacement continues in ‘Liberator’, CSMA’s ability to put the brain in conflicting lines of thought is a pretty unique charm; the dichotomy of tones and timbres invites the listener to correlate the relationships between the sounds almost creating a greater focus on the listening experience like a showcase of sonic capability. All of the pads and synths seem as though they should not be together but, at the same time they work incredibly well.
The title track glistens into the album like a blinding light, its pitches pushed to each band’s limit. Shrill, malevolent chimes, aching, bellowing pads. The dancing of crumpled machinery. CSMA define the album in a brutal experiment of sound with beautiful, arresting melodies tucked behind a veil of ominous sadness.
‘Hyperloop’ is probably the most accessible track on the album in a weird way. It sounds like I’m about to cut some shreds out of Jenova in Final Fantasy VII and is aurally fascinating as any comparable visual experience. The track is made up of several oscillating rhythms on various synths fortified by drums and sound effects and topped off with a War of The Worlds-esque Metatron lead. There is an inherent anxiety and panic within the track like watching all of existence in fast motion and all there is to experience is flitters of hope and oceans of chaos and entropy. It’s a bad trip and a good track but, I can see it being overwhelming for some people who can’t handle their tang.
‘Waiting For’ is, for me, the best track on the album. It’s a pretty straight forward somber dirge built on a foundation of agonising organs, brutalising drums and a deep bassy groan. The track has a nice Dead Can Dance quality to it infusing electronic and post-rock elements into a gothy instrumental track.
Cryosphere is overall a very intriguing and thought-provoking album, although occasionally it seems like it could do with a bit more of a grounding in reality rather than straying too far into the avante garde and disassociated.