By Dr. Abner Mality

I’ve always had an obsession with the mysterious reaches of deep space…and the music that goes with exploring it. Analog synth space tones have fascinated me since seeing “Forbidden Planet” as a lad. So when I hear about something new that’s based on these kind of cosmic sounds, I get a little excited.

IIVII is the creation of Josh Graham, a man experienced with the heavier side of things as a member of A Storm of Light and Red Sparrowes. You’ll hear no electric guitar riffing on “Colony”, but this is a very heavy record in its own way. The thought of infinite dark space is the heaviest thing you can think of. On “Colony”, we have instrumental music that conjures the feeling of floating in the interstellar void, with only a puny space suit separating you from eternity. All the songs here have a spacy, sci-fi feel and seem to be telling a story despite the lack of words. Pulsing electronic synth tones make up the foundation of IIVII, combined with sampled noise and ambient drones. If Sandra Bullock would have flew off into space at the end of “Gravity”, “Colony” would have been a great soundtrack.

“Signals From Home” begins the journey in epic style, with icy and elegant synth over a pulsing background and the sounds of someone breathing in a spacesuit. It’s a fantastic ambient song, but followup “Colliding Horizons” is sheer beauty. So fragile and gliding…the sonic equivalent of watching glowing waves of solar radiation dance in outer space. “Transmissions Illumine 1 & 2” are darker and more pulsating, with what sounds like police band conversations and solar winds in the background. But my favorite is the final tune “Shaping Itself From Dust”…so mysterious and majestic! I absolutely adore the tone Graham conjures up on this one!

At certain points, it does get a bit dull, as most instrumental albums do, but you never lose the sense of wonder when listening to “Colony”. It’s truly interstellar music and one of the best drone/ambient releases I’ve heard in a good while.