Title: Terraform Mars
Label: xylem Records
Keywords: Ambient, Electronica, Algorithmic
Reviewer: Alex Spalding
*Alex stands on the planet Mars*
Jeez… what a dump! *kicks a rock* It’s time for the red planet to go green, already. Can’t even breathe out here… it’s like there’s something wrong with the atmosphere.
*Alex snaps back into reality*
Oh… maybe I was just in my head again… anyway, it has indeed been awhile since my last review at YIKIS and so I’m very excited to bring to your tender, loving ears an album by Schemawound titled Terraform Mars! I wanted to actually go to Mars to write the review as I hear it’s lovely this time of year, but unfortunately the rocket ship’s down and so my inner-mind travel system will have to suffice. Right, so where were we…
*Back on Mars…*
Aha… yeah, this place is gonna need some work. If I’m gonna clean up this dusty, wayward planet I’m going to have to think up a few tools. Some music might also help…
It looks like ‘A Month Of Dust’ has collected… give or take a few billion years. It seems I’ll need a broom and dustpan for sure. Ah, the lovely sound of vinyl crackles, it’s like kindling in a fireplace. It sounds like it is being combined with a layer of white noise, and now both sounds are being filtered, cutoff sliding up and down. It sounds like it could be raining, flooding… but I don’t think that’s right, as this is Mars after all. Of course, water would be a key component in terraforming the planet Mars, and we’ll need lots of it if we’re going to set ourselves into that business.
I find the ‘Use Of Orbital Mirrors’ helps a lot. By reflecting solar heat into a concentrated beam I can burn a lot of the debris. This is interesting music, though, as the previous track flows right into it but with an added industrial groove and some really nice ambient textures, which follow into..
… wait, look at ‘The Ground Beneath Your Feet’! Is that dirt!? Ew! I’m going to have to vacuum! Ah, but I don’t have a vacuum at hand. They say space is a vacuum, though, so maybe I’ll just use it. We’ll need to put a hole in the atmosphere for this to work, I imagine. I hope space has plenty of disposable bags. … There, done. I can hear the air escaping, and it does seem to be working to pull a lot of this filth up.
While everything has been ‘Altered Through Artificial Means’, do not worry, it’s all for the sake of cleanliness. Who knew Mars was so dirty? I’ll bet Neptune is a lot tidier. Watch the noise, I’m gonna run a few hoses to put out the fires from earlier and use a chainsaw to cut away some of the ice that’s collected on the polar caps up here.
Oh no! I think the ‘Magnetosphere Collapse’d! That’s not much of a problem though, we’ll just find some fridge magnets to hang up someplace, should correct any issues. It sounds like there’s a lot of noise, a bit of feedback, some pretty ambient textures in the spaces. It gets very rhythmic, gritting.
Looks like all that water helped! Behold, ‘The Hourglass Sea’! It’s… beautiful… and an interesting colour! Wisps… will o’the wisps of noise, flitting above the glassy moor. There’s a mental bit of feedback, it sounds like that space-vacuum is on overdrive. Some rhythms come in, but it feels like reality is breaking apart!
Y’know, ‘When The First Seed Takes Hold’, you’ll scarcely recognize this place. You can already hear the gurgling of the h20 as it’s sucked up hungrily by the parched earth of Mars.
Once ‘Colonization’ occurs, this is gonna be a pretty hip planet. There’s this distorted, overdriven rhythm that seems composed of steel battering rams run through transistor amps.
Ghostly wails of noise as ‘A New Biosphere’ settles in. It will creak and moan at first, but that’s ok. We’re getting some strange arboreal atmospheres with all the new vegetation!
Look at all ‘The Red And The Green’! One is rapidly displacing the other across our field of vision. I can hear a low drone as the new harvesting machines pave the way for a neo-agricultural revolution.
There’s a ‘Repeating Northern Annular Cloud’ bringing rain to this once dry planet. Very drone-heavy, terra-morphic frequencies feeling almost as if they are very physically manipulating our ear drums. Thrusts of jarring high-pitched feedback stab at us like the ice-cold drops of rain. The music evolves into a largely quiet, subtle span of sound toward the end that is very nice.
‘Life On Mars. Full Stop.’ What more need be said? Let’s bring it on with some industrial/rhythmic noise! This is probably my favourite piece of music on the album, just some fierce, well produced industrial breaks with loads of distortion. Yeah!!! Now that the cleanup of Mars is over, it’s time to dance!
But, one question still remains: what shall we ultimately do with the new, cleaner Mars? Maybe open a vacation resort? Better yet, let us keep it our little secret so it doesn’t become some overpriced tourist trap. 😉