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Christus and the Cosmonaughts: From Atop This Hill

Scot Solida is the man behind the music on this album. Scot is an accomplished electronic musical composer who occasionally stretches out into a band context with various collaborators. For this work, Scot is joined by the enigmatically named Har on bass and most other things not played with knobs and keys. Scot on the other hand plays a multitude of electronic synthesisers, along with a range of percussion, acoustic and lap steel guitars and dulcimer.

The 8 tracks offer a variety of styles and approaches from space rock to electronic psychedelia. Early busker-style Hawkwind springs to mind in the hypnotic first track featuring a neat counterpoint structure between guitar and riffing keyboards which develops out nicely into a melodic rising keyboard figure. In "Nothing to Say" the inspiration of the simple acoustic and synth arrangement is a more melancholic one, perhaps stemming from the writer's awful experiences as a child. A sense of hopelessness and alienation is certainly evident in the lyric.

Things get quite weird in the title track, a strange electronic arrangement with some glorious synthesiser sounds and vocal effects. The song structure returns in "Surviving the Fanatics", a bouncy piece of pop which could easily have come from one of Scot's inspirations, Gary Numan. A spacey interlude divides us from the epic piece, "Nod if you were the last man alive". The song features an echoing vocal chant with a simple acoustic guitar accompaniment to begin with but synth and Gilmour-like electric guitar parts are developed giving an airy, mysterious aura to the arrangement, like an early Floyd piece. The piece shows fascinating development with a percussive bombardment toward the end. The final section reprises the opening chant.

Dark, broody synthesised industrial sounds and loops are the main feature of "Modulating between faith and knowledge", an atmospheric piece of electronica whilst the last track starts in even stranger territory with its weird distorted vocal effects and echoes. I'm reminded a little of some Systems Theory pieces here as the music develops with the interplay between drum and bass and the jaunty shuffle which emerges gradually on the synths. The bolero like cycle and build makes it one of the most enjoyable on the album and a good way to close.

Track Listing
1. The Painfree God
2. Nothing to say
3. From atop this hill
4. Surviving the Fanatics
5. The fractured faithful
6. Nod if you were the last man alive
7. Modulating between faith and knowledge
8. No chance to dream

Added: October 15th 2007
Reviewer: Richard Barnes
Related Link: Beta-Lactam Ring Records
Hits: 2306
Language: english

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