Mankind has always been fascinated by outer space, the stars and heavenly bodies he can just about still see from our smog filled cities glittering in the night sky. Musicians are no exception and this no doubt this goes right back to Neolithic times when man first picked up bones and fashioned them into implements to make sound with. One of the greatest examples of instrumental space exploration is English Composer Gustav Holst whose Planet Suite written between 1914 and 1916 was a popular hit of its time and to this day is pretty much insurmountable in its excellence. Many others have taken us into the realms of territories we have only shortly ago began to explore, most of which are beyond our reaches and relatively young in our understanding of their great mysteries. From Kraut Rock cosmonauts to soundtrack composers such as James Horner whose score for Alien illustrated that all may not be friendly in their fantastical and descriptive music through to Space by Jimmy Cauty and the KLF, an ambient project revelling in the mysteries of the universe. There is some fantastic music allowing us to dream and imagine worlds beyond our own primitive and backward realms. Of course as far as stoner, doom and funeral doom is concerned you can’t throw a stick without being in danger of knocking an asteroid out the sky and it is a place where music is able to really describe something beyond mortal man’s understanding and comprehension, apart from what we have discovered through scientific means.
Arcane Voidsplitter is Belgian space cadet Stijn van Cauter who has helped us travel beyond our means (unless that is Richard Branson and a select few are reading) and this project is releasing its second album following on from independent release ‘To Reach Beyond’ in 2017. Realising that music of an “out-there” nature can appeal to dreamers and explorers of an eclectic nature Aesthetic Death have cannily picked up this second album from the man also behind many other funeral doom outfits such as The Null Collective, Beyond Black Void, Desperandum Gothica, Gruulvoqh, Inframonolithium, The Ethereal and Until Death Overtakes Me; busy bloke and a half Stijn is. ‘Voice Of The Stars’ pretty much does as described and takes us over three immense and sprawling tracks to Arcturus, Betelgeuse and Alderbaran and explores their cold and icy, gaseous terrain over a 65 minute playing time.
This might sound like a challenging job on paper but believe me it is not and probably the reason I have waffled so much up to this point is that when we get to the music there is not actually much to describe. This is pure and utter slow synth work coming in with ebbing waves and continuing ad infinitum. From the opening bars to the very close it just floats through space like an abandoned ship that has been through an event horizon and come back to drift endlessly through space. This is of an incredibly minimalistic nature and in being so is definitely not music for everyone. The main moods it conjures are of peace and tranquillity and perhaps a little wonderment at the great cosmos beyond our reach. Nothing much happens and despite there being three different stars here they are all very similar flowing into each other and staying in stasis without any real huge change in definition.
If you played this to the person in the street no doubt they would need to be strapped down to stop them escaping and would profess to it being the most boring thing they have ever heard and akin to a paint drying experience. Those among us who get it will chill out in its spatial tones and drift away on the slow sonic journey. I don’t mean to be a hippy man but for meditational purposes this is a fantastic album. It doesn’t really put any expectations on the listener but it is just simply out there; ladies and gentlemen we are indeed floating in space. Whether you want to float with us is entirely up to you.
(7/10 Pete Woods)