Have you ever wanted to go to space? The obsession with what lies outside of our Earth has been raging in our hearts for…well, probably forever, but in the recent century or so, our hunger for the stars seems as a fever pitch. It makes sense, if you think about it: a great unknown, stretching for a literal eternity, where new chances and new hopes can be birthed. But, if you think about it a bit further, space is also scary as all hell. This, of course, has also been explored by a host of authors but I think it’s an under-appreciated point for many. It’s not just that monsters might wait in the dark. It’s also that the dark itself represents an overbearing, all-encompassing, cold nothingness in which the human mind is not even a drop in an ocean. One of the best ways to explore this sensation, the majestic and terrifying feeling of confronting the vastness of existence, is music; there’s a long tradition of tapping into this feeling and “exploiting” it for some great music.
Enter the French-based project VAISSEAU (“space shift”) and their brand of synth doom. Yes, synth doom; my eyebrow also arched when I first opened my inbox and found that moniker waiting for me. But, I’ll be honest, it’s a damn fine way of describing their music. Blending space rock, psychedelic, stoner, and synthwave, VAISSEAU make the kind of music you might find in the background of a trippy space montage, a kind of blend between Oneohtrix Point Never‘s work on Uncut Gems, a Vangelis epic, and a Stanley Kubrick fever dream.
On “Sonic Dislocation”, an eight minute epic of time and space off of their upcoming album, Horrors Waiting in Line, these influences are front and center. The beginning of the track is made up of these slowly undulating synths which will be immediately familiar to fans of space/psychedelic rock. Their thick timbres are a joy to swim in, taking there time in winding majestically towards the pivot of the track, ushered in by the thickest synth tone yet. There’s so much attention given to how everything sounds, to the variety and texture of every synth effect, that even these “premature” intonations are a joy to take in. Once that pivot arrives, with drums breaking through the tapestry created, groove and vibe are added to the mix, creating an effective momentum above these more atmospheric explorations.
The end result is one hell of a track, a true journey through a unique and deeply fleshed out soundscape. Like many bands from the eras of music which this track (and band) is referring to, like Hawkwind or Magma, the key is in the vision, the depth of the story being told, even through these instrumental means. For that, the composition and execution have to be flawless, taking in and fleshing out all the little details therein. VAISSEAU have both, making this track a true joy to take in.
Horrors Waiting In Line releases on March 13th and it has plenty more amazing things on it beyond the already magnificent “Sonic Dislocation”. Make sure you pre-order it right here.