Review: Seabat - "Scattered Disc"

Seabat - Scattered Disc
(2013 Goldtimers)
"Remarkable synth tone and narrative ability"

I have little interest in science fiction, but I do enjoy the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, not for its extraterrestrial setting but for its lulling sense of sleepiness. Camera angles dip and dive and perspectives often change, but there's a calmness that pervades the movie, a silence only broken by scattered dialogue and an unassuming score. The unobtrusive yet acute soundtrack most likely serves as a major influence on this similarly space-themed instrumental album. Seabat's Scattered Disc uses more modern, synthesised elements to re-create the somewhat unnervingly serene ambience that made 2001 so fascinating. The first track, "The Human Endeavor", is the most orchestral of the five cuts on the LP, as triumphant strings rise high into the sky, lifted by the the chanting of an artificial choir. As a helicopter-like whirring noise assumes a position in the mix, one can almost picture a space craft taking off in a cloud of red-tinged smoke.

Though, as far as I know, there isn't a film accompaniment to the album, it isn't hard to create a movie in your head while listening to Scattered Disc. The mood created by each track is lifelike and subtle. Foggy sound effects and ominous drones on "Cryogenic Awakening" create a sense of unease at first, but synthesizer sparkles convert the unease to wonder. The instrumentation on "Trans-Neptunian Space" illustrates its title well: minimalist, dark and lonely. Though there's plenty of "new new-age" music out there to listen to, Seabat's remarkable synth tone and narrative ability make it a standout experimental record. The LP version comes in a thick, high-quality sleeve and is packaged with a neat insert with background information on Voyager 1. Listen to the album below and buy the LP here.