Review Summary: We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.
Each one of us have a “happy place.” Whether it is an actual location or simply a state of mind, “happy places” provide temporary mental escapism from the harshness of reality. For some, this place may be a nearby ice cream parlor. For others, this place may be found inside a faded memory from his or her childhood. As for me, my “happy place,” goes by the name of Sputnikmusic.com
; a humble, relatively-unknown music reviewing website. Since writing reviews and discovering new music were to be expected, what struck me most about this website was how active and diverse its community was. Everyone on the site has completely different taste and is genuinely passionate about the types of music they enjoy. With that being said, it came as no surprise to learn that Sputnikmusic.com
is crawling with dozens of young musicians who are anxious to share their work with others.
In all honesty, although quite a few are, not every musician on the site is particularly talented, nor even very creative. However, each one of the site’s musicians possess such undeniable passion for music, and are dedicated beyond belief to ensuring that their voice is heard. Due to this, it is difficult not to enjoy hearing and supporting these people’s musical endeavors. Perhaps this is why Ambient Sputnik and the Dancing Government
, a compilation of tracks produced by Sputnikmusic.com
musicians, is such an entertaining listen despite its numerous flaws.
At first glance, Ambient Sputnik and the Dancing Government
appears to be a complete mess. In truth, its messy appearance is due to the album being touted as the debut LP by Molecular Corporation; a “band” fronted by Sputnikmusic.com
user Frippertronics. When viewed as an LP, this album fails miserably on every conceivable level. For one, there is no consistency whatsoever in the album’s tone, sound quality, genre, etc. In fact, arguments can easily be made in favor of Ambient Sputnik
being the most disjointed album ever released. Each track is entirely different from one another; there is absolutely no sense of flow or cohesion between songs. This is detrimental to enjoying the album as a whole, and becomes apparent quite early on when the subdued, lo-fi, acoustic guitar solo "Grundler Deceiver" is immediately followed by a professional-sounding experimental hip-hop track, "Murder and Death In Satan’s Courtroom (Part II)," without reason. Such instances appear frequently over the course of the album, causing one to believe that no thought or effort was put into organizing the tracks. In addition to its disjointed nature, the mere size of the album is enough to scare off potential listeners. With twenty-nine tracks clocking in at over two hours in total length, Ambient Sputnik
is near-impossible to finish in one sitting without fear of permanent hearing loss. Although it bears the name Molecular Corporation and is therefore to be thought of as an LP, viewing this album as such is the wrong way to go; a perfect example of an album in which the sum of its parts are greater than the whole.
Regardless of its obvious faults, Ambient Sputnik
is still an overall success and rarely ceases to be an interesting listen. As previously mentioned, the community of artists on Sputnikmusic.com
are, for the most part, some of the most dedicated and passionate young musicians one may ever meet. Despite varying levels of musical talent and skill per artist, each track offers something completely unique and different from the last. The variety on this album is jaw-dropping, and is able to capture the listener’s attention and hold most of it throughout the album's two hour running time. Unless one is already familiar with the artists' work beforehand, there is no possible way of knowing what to expect from the next track. From the disturbing, yet humorous drone opener “Dronzertronics,” to the acoustic doodling of “F*** Off, Get Weed, Kelsey’s My Everything,” to the furious, industrial pounding of “Sleepyhead,” to the lullaby-like penultimate track “The Eyes That Tell the Story (Prelude),” Ambient Sputnik
is bound to keep the listener constantly guessing. This is not to say that this album does not have definite weak points, however. While no song in particular was outright terrible, some of the album’s tracks occasionally seem rushed or thrown together without revision. Although seldom and unpredictable, these displays of sloppiness are the album’s greatest weakness and severely detract from the listening experience more than anything else. With the exception of these instances, however, most tracks remain entertaining from start to finish.
The enjoyment one gets out of Ambient Sputnik
is bound to vary from person to person. It can viewed either as a masive failure of epic proportions or as a modest success. I believe this album is the latter. However, in order to enjoy this album to the fullest extent, one must first realize that this is not an LP, and Molecular Corporation are not a band. This album is a success solely because of what it truly is: a compilation; a comprehensive collection of talented, creative, enthusiastic, and committed musicians who play music simply because they have fun doing so. The nature of the musicians alone make this worth a listen.
In the liner notes for the album, which are available upon download, the tracks are listed along with the names (or usernames, if you will) of their respective composers. For many up-and-coming musicians on Sputnikmusic.com
, Ambient Sputnik and the Dancing Government
was their first chance to shine. After listening to this, one thing is clear: it sure as hell won’t be their last.