No Bay on the Spaceway

There has to be credit given for managing to sound this original using sounds influenced by old Commodore consoles. New York-based Starscream deliver a dynamic, captivating record with their debut studio LP Future, Towards the Edge of Forever. The resulting effect is somewhere between space travel and beating pokémon, in the best possible sense.

It's a careful balancing act to explore electronic experiments while maintaining the energy of live instruments. When programming becomes a vital part of sculpting a band's sound, a whole new kind of craft is brought into music - one that can easily suck the life right out of its performance. Where Starscream benefits is choosing an actual drummer over a machine, a refreshing and rewarding decision.

The contrast between live instruments and digital sounds is what makes this record great. The 8-bit emulations provide the bulk of this record's spacey polyphony, and the sparse use of drums makes it all the more dynamic when they do show up. There's some live guitar and bass on here too, providing a supporting role for  this synthesized symphony.

"Space" evolves from minimalist chiptune interplay into a post-rock climax; fluid instrumental movements always remaining in the foreground. The drums drive the retro video game sounds, leaving space to build atmosphere. They've got the space travel motif down; this is sonic weightlessness if I've ever heard it.

Space [audio http://killerbabytomatoes.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/starscream-future-towards-the-edge-of-forever-06-space.mp3]