When you look into the night sky, do you hear music? Do the stars reverberate for you privately with tones and tempos? Yeah, me neither. Thankfully, Victoria B.C’s Marble Pawns has taken some time away from the disastrous forest fires to illustrate the planetary bodies for his listeners.
Astrophobia is an EP of swelling synth lines and heavily effected guitar parts. But it’s also one artist’s attempt to take on the second coming of Cosmos; we live in an incredibly astronomically inclined age. We can live stream the schedules of astronauts in the International Space Station, or check out the most recent glamour selfies of Mars rovers whenever we feel like it. Our universe has never been so immediate. The truth that flows from this close connection with the solar system and beyond is heavy. The sound that Marble Pawns uses to illustrate that truth is equally hefty. Hence the swollen synths and guitar effects.
There was a great deal of thought put into the construction of the EP, and each laboriously laboured track travels on a perfectly balanced path around the other, converging and rotating in a delicate orbit. Opener “Flipping Like a Coin” produces a carnival of dreamy chords and melodies, while the vocal rambles with realization and psych word association. The composition of static-y, jumbled radio broadcasts at the start of “Radiolight” is another carefully constructed and delightful gem. Even the track sequence, the changing of moods between “Gaia” and “Alpha Centauri” being particularly exquisite, shows real dedication to examining the album as a complete work.
There are many things to love about the way that Marble Pawns plays with the theme of space and the interconnectedness of existence. But perhaps the greatest thing is that these five songs all came freely from this creative man’s love of the stars. It’s a timeless thing, this astral inspiration. When you listen to “Beyond the Cosmic Dark,” you’re listening to the same awe and respect that moved Vincent Van Gogh or Gustav Holst. And those super retro synth lines and vocal layerings are damn good. It makes me want to jump the next shuttle and host a Ionian dance off.
The summer is in full swell. Grab a copy of this fine EP, bring it with you out of the city, and stand under the open sky. Look up and realize that you are very lucky to be alive, in a world filled with starlight and gorgeous music.
Top Tracks: “Alpha Centauri” ; “Beyond the Cosmic Dark”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)