In space, no one can hear you scream. Probably the most frequent complaint about sci-fi / space opera movies is the fact that they can’t help themselves when it comes to putting sound into outer space. Things don’t go bang, because in a near-vacuum, there aren’t enough particles to vibrate to convert energy into sound. Yet, in music, there is a clearly defined type of aural experience that is readily identified with space – from the Barrons’ theremin and tape loop experimental soundtrack to Forbidden Planet, through the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Tangerine Dream’s early works right up to Murcof’s decdedly cosmic Cosmos album from last year.
Dave Fyans’ I Am the Line Drawn in the Sand Between the Living and the Dead is not explicitly, or even implicitly, cosmologically related, and yet the static hiss, distant drones and bass hum conjour up something so huge and otherworldy that it’s hard to relate it to anything else. This is defiantly epic music: a single track that slowly builds, twists and turns over 46 minutes. It has an air of melancholy, but more than that, it has the feeling of insignificance set against something unimaginably vast.
As the track wends its way, there are parts that sound like the windswept deserts of other worlds, fragile, crystalline tones, metallic ringing, aching chords and background static that could be the last radioactive decay of aeons. It’s hard not to get lost in it – it’s music to fully immerse yourself in.
What’s more remarkable, is that the whole piece was recorded in one take – no overdubs, no edits – and that it was all put together using the minimum of gear (a Nord G2 Engine and a couple of delay units). While it doesn’t sound particularly constructed or composed, it’s still remarkable that it flows with a purpose, rather than just aimlessly floating about for three quarters of an hour. It’s a mightily impressive work. It’s available as a download from the Highpoint Lowlife website and in a strictly limited CD edition of 100 copies.
1. I Am the Line Drawn in the Sand Between the Living and the Dead 46:10