I was hugely disappointed, when I heard about the demise of the band Formes – their, “headfuck of psych vibes rubbing up against extreme metal influence played from a jazz fanatics mindset”, heralded a unique band, who seemed to buck every conceivable trend. At the time, I commented that, “the phoenix will rise again”, and rise it has!
Reassuringly, “Stupid Cosmonaut are a Manchester-based pseudonymous musical entity consisting of Sam Read and Steven McNamara amongst others, experimenting with electronic, ambient and psychedelic soundscapes.” Steven was one-third of Formes and brings with him, an unnerving ability to evoke euphoria and dysphoria in equal measure – the inherent beauty in Stupid Cosmonaut’s debut single, ‘Salvia‘ still affects me to the point of exuberant tears, with each and every listen.
Since releasing ‘Salvia‘ back in March, ‘Proxima‘ is already Stupid Cosmonaut’s third Digital Album release, a concept album, mined from the same rich seam of Titan moon inspiration as, ‘Abstract Concepts‘ in May and ‘Astral Transmissions‘ in September.
As a prologue to the release of ‘Proxima‘, Stupid Cosmonaut accompanied the bandcamp release with an abbreviation of the following message;
“On August. 24 2016, astronomers announced they had found a possibly Earth-like planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our sun. The planet, called Proxima B, sits in what is known as the habitable zone. What is more startling is that new evidence shows Proxima B could be an ocean planet like Earth. We like the idea of aquatic lifeforms swimming around on a planet 4.25 billion light years away. The tracks were recorded live in two sessions right after recording ‘Astral Transmissions‘. It’s odd that we never intended for it to sound like anything in particular, its just how the tracks came about, out of nowhere. It’s a very dynamic way of doing things. It just so happens they work together as a record. I guess subconsciously, elements of Tangerine Dream and various sci-fi film soundtracks from the 80’s have materialized themselves. We are constantly finding things that sound like us, rather than the other way round. ‘Live’ we know we can never play the tracks the same way twice. That is so liberating and expressive for us, and keeps things interesting. Because of this, the music is constantly evolving, and I dare say we might sound like a completely different band in 6 months time. But this is where we are at the moment, living out the sci-fi fantasies in our heads.”
‘Proxima Centauri‘, clocks in at eighteen-and-a-half minutes. My initial reaction to Steven was, “Wow! Wish I was in the market for a sci-fi movie soundtrack…” This nearest Centaurus star, a red dwarf, listed by Ptolemy in the 2nd century, ebbs and flows in tidal cosmic fanfare, a pulsating Doppler odyssey, fanning the magnetosphere, of this flaring, lustrous star…
‘Centaurus’, is depicted as half-man, half-horse – liminal beings sent to challenge our thin, sociocultural veneers. This trip-notic excursion, transcends the Oort Cloud, leaving the perceived certainties of our infinitesimal Solar System, in spiralling echoes, far behind…
‘Proxima B‘, evokes a darker, brooding exoplanet, buffeted by portentous stellar winds. This latin mare’s horse latitudes, frothing at the bit with mounting unease, “regarded (by) this Earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely (we) drew (our) plans against (it)…”
With humanity, seemingly hellbent on scuttling it’s own life raft, ‘Proxima‘ offers tantalising, off-world slingshot glimpses – an asteroseismic quest, buoyed in audiovisual synaesthesia.
‘Proxima‘ with original artwork by Steven McNamara, is available now via bandcamp.