Black Meteoric Star – Black Meteoric Star

As a lay-person when it comes to Electronica, i often have a hard time distinguishing god from just ok, from really poor. My original attitude was one of complete disinterest because of the lack of real instruments, and the repetition of the beats throughout the songs, and albums. Sure, i listened to Prodigy’s Fat of the Land as much as the next guy, and obviously college brought Daft Punk onto my radar, but other than a roommate who had a huge collection of rave music (or maybe just a lot of copies of the same song, i couldn’t really tell…) i was almost completely unexposed.

Through the power of the internet and the influence of some people who i became acquainted with, i discovered the mad ravings of Richard D. James’ Aphex Twin, the brilliance of RJD2, and Does This Offend You, Yeah? just to name a few of the better examples.  None of that prepared me for the sound of Black Meteoric Star, and their self titled album. A duo, hailing from the east coast of the US and working in Germany, BMS was introduced to me by a tweet from a webcomic artist, and usually liking what he suggests, i checked into it.

BMS is an album of long songs. The shortest clocks in at 6.15, the longest at 18.34. It certainly calls for some time investment to get the full enjoyment from a listen. Contrary to the world of popular culture and pop radio, long songs are not bad songs. The three minute pop song has been a staple since the Beatles started in the 1960’s, and apart from some underground, small market, or college radio stations, long tracks have gone all but unheard, or have been edited to fit the formula. The reason i bring this up is simply to suggest that if you decide listen to BMS, be sure to have some time set aside to really get into it.

Excuse my complete lack of knowledge on the different types of electronica, but in order to classify this album, i would suggest that one would hear it at a rave, or as the score for a fast paced, techo-thriller movie, similar to Eagle Eye, or any of the subsequent Matrix rip-off films to hit the market recently. [No, i am not saying this came from that movie, but it sounds like the type of score that would suit the genre of movie very well.] The songs have an industrial feel to them, and get deeper as the tracks go on; a new sound emerges fairly often, layered upon a repetitive beat from the section prior. A little bit of research on the band says that the music created by BMS is meant to accompany art installations, and the repetition is part of the visual art as well, provoking a trance, which i suppose would qualify this as “trance electronica” then.

Black Meteoric Star gets it right. They see when the beat is about to go stale, and add a new element at just the right time, leaving enough of the old to keep a connection, and adding enough new to make it fresh, and to keep it from getting boring. There are no vocals on this album, which works to its benefit; the duo has enough going on that adding any vocals would make the tracks seem overly cluttered, and lose some of the mystique. Tey save one of their best tricks for the last track on the album, which coincidentally is the longest track. The start is a rain storm, you hear rain falling, just as if you were out in a cabin on the plains. It’s heavy rain, and for 25 seconds or so thats all you hear. Then the rain starts morphing, swirling and skipping, until you realize it has become part of the soundscape of the track. It’s a killer way to start a track, and an even better example of how to use a sound sample.

As someone who can listen to, but not really discern techno’s merits, i give this album 3.5/5. Solid, fun electronica, but nothing to write home about either. Maybe those with a more discerning ear will question this score, and are certainly welcome to do that, but either way, give it a listen. If nothing else, you can blast it on your stereo as you pretend to be recreating the elevator fire-fight scene from The Matrix.

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