One of the first artists to send their wares to this humble blog was Japan based Canadian Joshua Steffane aka Endurance. After the review appeared a handful of further cassette releases appeared on labels such as Onmyodo Cassette, ACR, Moss Archive and Metaphysical Circuits. He also has been involved with new Japanese label Muzan Editions.
This self titled cassette was self released and is based on a science fiction short story that Steffane was writing involving a stranded astronaut infected by a parasite that protected him from harm and prevented him from aging (see more information at his bandcamp page). The album was constructed with a variety of electronic tools and field recordings.
“Starsea” opens up the release with glacial ambience of the floating variety combined with static bursts. The swirling layers of ambience give the feeling of being off the ground and being above the clouds.
“I No Longer Miss Home” long tendrils of drones spiral out with one sounding a bit cut up, another looped and a third being of the proggy synth variety. While the opener had a feeling of floating, these drones have a bit more of a discordant edge to them, especially the secondary drone that is slightly dominated by the proggy synth one. As the track progresses the drones alternate in focus, bringing out different qualities. You get the feeling of isolation or abandonment through the singular nature of the music.
“Collapsing Giants” opening with distant screeching noises, a rumbling soundscape emerges which is oscillating as if it is almost stuck in a short position and is decaying. The decaying sounds increase with the screeching becoming a howl and industrial like field recordings add a sinister robotic edge.
“New Companions, Old Friends” what sounds like looped broken electronics or signals moves from right to left with a rumbling, but not oppressive sound. There is a feel of some sort of transmission , but also a feeling of the still and quiet after something has happened and a new dawn is beginning. It’s hard to pin down as it is slightly eerie, but also calm and unsettling.
“Goodbye Everything” is the first of two of the album’s epic tracks clocking in at just under twelve minutes. In that time it moves at a relatively slow pace, much like a mud slide that engulfs everything. Opening with what sounds like affected field recordings similar to natural electricity, random melodic tones appear as the field recordings start to have a stormy quality. The tones start to get heavier and darker, but also uniform. The speed of them is constant and slow, with the background stormy recordings containing the variety as opposed to the constant foreground drones. Coming up to the six-minute mark the melodic tones return accompanied by a harsher weather sound and a thicker bottom edge. For the remainder of the track the elements alternate in their intensity and the attention of the listener. With such a thick long track, it is almost like a wiping out of what has come before and a possible new start.
“Why Must I Endure?” Is a more purer ambient track than the one that preceded it. Lush ambience, in a way returning to the style of the opening track, alongside field recordings that give an environmental feel. Layers of synth start to envelope with one being a more constant drone, while the other having a cut up varying tone to it. With a title such as this it would be expected to be quite morose, but for me the meaning is obtained largely through the repetition as if the character is ruminating things over and over in their head. There is still enough of an edge that it is not all light and fluffy, but not claustrophobic either.
This album would be suited to listeners who like their music thematic or with a Sci-Fi edge.