Molecular Corporation
Ambient Sputnik and The Dancing Government


2.5
average

Review

by ZombicidalMan USER (17 Reviews)
April 18th, 2014 | 46 replies


Release Date: 04/18/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It’s less akin to “Apocalypse Now” and more like “Waterworld”.

Why did I give those movies as examples for the album? Well, both films had a huge amount of buzz surrounding them, with promises made for the awesome end product again and again. Each film ran into numerous walls, from men being lost at sea to the Vietnam air force deserting the film crew to neutralize a threat. In the end, Apocaypse Now turned into a wild success, while Waterworld failed to deliver on nearly every front, leaving many disappointed. This album may not be as grandiose as either film, but to me, the inconsistency and ambition bring it down considerably, leaving me with a taste in my mouth similar to when I watched Waterworld. It just could’ve been so much more, though it remains a fun yet challenging listen, and several hidden gems on this album are worth looking into. Lucky for you, I’ll tell you which ones they are at the end of the review.

The album opens with the appropriately named “Dronzertronics”, bursting with noise, then filtering out to a soft drone. A sample is layered over the track, spoken in harsh vocals. It’s like Cookie Monster on open mic night. The short song transitions into “Treeqt’s #rare track (The Fripp Ambien Edit)”, a reverb-drenched affair that sounds like furniture moving around. These two tracks almost made me turn off the album – they weren't particularly well done, and made me unsure of what would happen for the next hour and fifty minutes. The third track, however, is the first sign that this album may actually have some redeeming points. “Gerald Sucks At Making Music” could possibly be a true statement, but this song points to the contrary. After a rough start, the song introduces a tasty electronic beat reminiscent of the SNES days. About six minutes in, ambient synth is thrown into the mix, creating a transcendent effect that fits perfectly. I think the same song cut down to 4 or 5 minutes would’ve have been much more entertaining.

In truth, this is probably the best advice the album could get. Most songs overstay their welcome and fail to introduce enough variety – even for largely ambient music. Case in point, “Grundler Deceiver” is a sloppy albeit interesting guitar song, reminding me of early Pink Floyd work like "Set The Controls For The Heart of The Sun". Following it is “Murder and Death In Satan’s Courtroom (Part II)”, which basically sounds like a RZA song on Quaaludes. Both songs are okay in their own right, but still fail to grab my attention. “The Elitist Song” follows in suit, bringing some great beats and ideals but falling short again. More instrumentation could’ve gone into every track, and it would’ve helped each one immensely.

The first truly great track appears next with “Bubbles”, a relaxing jam with a simple drum beat, some quiet vocal samples, bloated synth, and smooth guitar chords. The song is only 2 and a half minutes long, yet it manages to stand head and shoulders above everything else so far. Changing tone instantly, “Damage” pops up as an old-school style rap track. The voice and flow are actually quite good with some pretty entertaining lyrics. Sadly, the beat is dreadful and repetitive (even at a 2:30 run time). If another member of the album had helped craft a better beat for the song, it easily would have turned into a standout track.

“A Resolution” comes in instantly afterwards, introducing a crunchy guitar noodle. It never really goes anywhere, but the idea is there. Some more work to expand the song would make it great. “*** Off, Get Weed, Kelsey’s My Everything” is another guitar-heavy track following “A Resolution”. It's mostly experimental, jumping around with odd notes and harmonics. Although the concept is great, the song simply doesn't work overall, sounding too random and chaotic. Following this is the wildly different “Romancing The Ghost”. It's the first traditional song on the album, with drums, bass, and guitar, all at once (!). The song works pretty nicely too, with some groovy bass lines and almost jazzy guitar. It sounds a little like “Never Meant” from the classic American Football, and even with some poor production, it remains one of the more interesting tracks on here, too.

Following this is “Requiem For Scott”, a haunting and soaring drone track that drags on just a little too much (even for drone). To me, adding an acoustic guitar and some samples would’ve turned it into a great track, in the vein of Giles Corey. The next triumph on the album comes with “Moonlit Canyon”, one of the longer tracks at over 7 minutes, but never getting too boring. It opens with an odd sample, a bass line, dreamy synth, and a nice drum beat. Thankfully, the song changes up, adding more drums, additional cheesy synth, and later some nice acoustic guitar. My complaint lies with the vocals, done in a black metal style, which aren’t bad themselves, but really don’t fit in with the music. Especially since the backing vocals are quite nice, with a faint and hazy sound – the whole song could’ve used them, really.

The oddball of the whole album is “Conscious” comes next, and it really just doesn’t belong here. While the album is mostly ambient, this song is an odd, crusty-punk riot with thundering bass. Like many tracks on here, the foundation work is solid, but it lacks a certain quality which makes its appeal limited. Now, we’re halfway through the album. Here, we come back to the more electronic roots it began with. “Stay” is a piano-tinged song with a decent and simple beat underneath. It actually sounds a bit like a movie soundtrack; throw this in at the end of X-Men 2 and I wouldn’t know the difference. Again, however, the track is so repetitive it gets on my nerves by the 2 minute mark, hurting it in the long run. “Welcome to 2067” manages to add some different sounds, but none of them are particularly interesting enough to warrant your attention for its duration. Unfortunately, this happens with “Themisto”, as well, a haunting track that really does nothing over the course of 4 minutes despite some interesting melodies. Drone and ambient can be hard to pull off, and without the right amount of noise or improper transitions, they fails pretty fast.

“New York at 37,000 feet” actually manages to execute an eerie yet engaging ambient sound. This track managed to hold my attention with cool, fluctuating synth and soothing white noise in the background. New York at 37,000 feet certainly describes it perfectly, and this is probably the first minimal track that works. Next, “に恥ずかしい [Embarrassing]” is by far my favourite song on the compilation. The song trudges along at a slow, relaxing pace, with enough layers of sound and vocals to keep it entertaining the entire time. Three minutes is cutting it close, but it’s just long enough that it doesn’t fail whatsoever. “Sleepyhead” disrupts us with a harsh, quick beat, before transforming into a piano-driven song. It works well, but doesn’t deserve to be almost 5 minutes.

Likewise “Pop-op”, a possible Community reference, has some nice ideas and beats, but lingers just a bit too much. In my opinion it does fare better than “Sleepyhead”, perhaps because it incorporated a few more sounds. Both tracks are solid, but neither stand out. Yet, the follow up “Cauterizing Astral Wounds” is an excellent track that made me rewind and confirm my disbelief. The song begins with some weird, nasaly rhythms, but it soon blossoms into an instrumental epic with shredding guitar and dissonant chords. It’s like a rough, electronic-tinged Scale The Summit, but it completely works, and was probably the biggest surprise of the album.

“Books” comes right after, not giving you a chance to breathe, bringing a post-hardcore style into the mix. Somehow it works, perhaps because it comes after “Cauterizing Astral Wounds"'s more electronic sound. The song turns into a more relaxed affair with quick guitar, then returns to a distortion-filled romp. It’s a nice change from all the ambient tracks, without feeling too alien at the same time. Vocals would’ve helped it, but as it is, it’s a complete blueprint for a great track. “Absentee” and “Stronsay” follow with the most vocals we’ve heard on the album. “Absentee” has some pretty decent vocals, and the music is catchy, riff-y, and well done for the most part; but the production is worse than early Burzum. “Stronsay” has operatic, NWOBHM vocals, which actually sound great and show a nice range. Accompanying them are amazingly cheesy prog-style synth and some great drumming, but somehow I just didn’t enjoy the track - I'm not a fan of this music. While some of it sounded professional, it still retained an amateur feel that brought it down.

Nearing the end of the album, both “Lazarus” and “Swell” are something we’ve heard before (a lot). The boring beats and lack of movement make the two songs completely unnecessary, especially when we’re so close to the end. Earlier in the album, they may have been a welcome addition, but placed here they simply become monotonous. Likewise, “The Eyes That Tell The Story” is a decent sample that entices you to keep listening, with some swelling notes behind it giving it a cello-like quality. However, when an album has strained to keep your attention so much, I would’ve appreciate we cut to the chase a little faster. Especially since the epic closer “Flatliner” had enough calm that the sample could’ve been blended into the closing track, adding a great element to the track and cutting down on the run time.

“Flatliner” itself is somewhat of a ambient-post-rock bastard child, teasing us with a simple riff and some delayed guitar, never really going anywhere until around the 6 minute mark. Removing some of the intro or adding in guitar and synth would have immensely helped this track. When it gets going, it’s a great track that blends genres together (though it certainly isn’t an “original” song). Unfortunately the best part also ends almost immediately, trailing off with some final guitar, living up to is title name and leaving this track somewhat of a mixed bag. Just like the album.

Let me finish by saying I never thought this would actually happen. Ambitious music collaborations are usually doomed to “development hell”, however amateur or professional they may be, so it certainly came as a surprise. But, all of the talk, messaging back and forth, and lo-fi recording actually added up to a real album. The final result is pretty shaky, often times utterly terrible, but I cannot deny the hard work that went into many of these tracks, forming a huge range of sounds and styles. While not everyone who contributed is a musician, sometimes the album really did keep me entertained. It truly is a Waterworld of an album, giving you a few tastes at what it could have been. If you want to check out the album at all, look at the recommended tracks. Certainly, there will be something to please you.

Recommended Tracks:

Bubbles
Romancing The Ghost.
Moonlit Canyon
New York At 37,000 feet
に恥ずかしい [Embarrassing]
Cauterizing Astral Wounds
Books
Absentee
6:00-8:40 of Flatliner



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user ratings (41)
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3.2
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other reviews of this album
Nash J. CONTRIBUTOR (3)
We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams....


Comments:Add a Comment 
ZombicidalMan
April 18th 2014


1997 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this is the biggest review I've ever written, because I wanted to do a track by track style for everyone's songs. Sorry it's massive, I wrote as I went basically!



CaptainDooRight
April 18th 2014


30337 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Posd and thanks for mentioning my track lovey

ZombicidalMan
April 18th 2014


1997 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

thanks man. I know it's a bit rambly and should've been cut down, but I wanted to let everyone know what I thought of their track (even if I hated it).

GmemberKills
April 18th 2014


1035 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'm kinda struck odd by your review, Saying "Lazarus" and "Swell“ are unnecessary. Then you say "The Eyes That Tell The Story” is a decent sample, but you don't talk about any of the music in the track, and then say the album should have just cut to the chase and used the sample on "Flatliner".

I mean this is a compilation album with tracks submitted from different user's, just about anybody who wanted to be on this album was promised a spot. I can understand you not liking some tracks, but you almost act like at times someone had creative control over how tracks were made and how the overall album flowed together.

ZombicidalMan
April 18th 2014


1997 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I guess I assumed that the contributors had listened to each other's songs and were sharing ideas rather than just writing stuff and sending it off without a second thought

if the songs were totally individual then you're right, some of my complaints are unwarranted

Rhyme
April 18th 2014


1203 Comments


damn son my song is your fav by far? i'm flattered :')

pos'd

Digging: Godflesh - A World Lit Only by Fire

GmemberKills
April 18th 2014


1035 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

While some individual songs were collaborative efforts. This album is definitely meant to be more of a
compilation or a "mix cd" of sorts so sputnik members can have there music heard. Its not meant to
have any kind of flow or pacing an album would. So i'd agree alot of your complaints are unnecessary.

YakNips
April 18th 2014


13234 Comments


sweet I introduced a crunchy guitar noodle

life is complete

Digging: Jordaan Mason - The Decline of Stupid Fucking Western Civilization

ZombicidalMan
April 18th 2014


1997 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

keep in mind I treated this as I would have a full album by any real band. I don't expect a bunch of Sputnicians to be up to snuff to those standards, but I wanted to write a completely honest review nonetheless

I just think that if people were working behind the scenes, cutting things down and collaborating more often, it actually could have been really good, regardless of its status as a compilation.

ZombicidalMan
April 18th 2014


1997 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I edited this a little bit with the knowledge it was fairly anonymous, hope that suits people better

GmemberKills
April 18th 2014


1035 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I totally understand. Its a well written review especially since you've edited it. pos. I could definitely see a cool, more cohesive collaboration project happening in the future with smaller amount of people involved.

TheGreatQ
April 18th 2014


1555 Comments


"“Welcome to 2067” manages to add some different sounds, but none of them are interesting to warrant your attention."

You missed a word (I think "enough") after interesting.

Digging: Somos - Temple of Plenty

Judio!
Contributing Reviewer
April 18th 2014


6567 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hey fuck you, "Themisto" was gold! What do you know?

Totally kidding, thank you for being honest, man. In truth that song was basically just a left over track I never used for my A Slow Descent LP haha so i take no offense. Was an enjoyable read, thanks for writing this. Pos'd.

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

laughingman22
April 18th 2014


1937 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

good review

Shuyin
April 18th 2014


12064 Comments


nhaw

BMDrummer
April 18th 2014


9997 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Thanks for mentioning my track. I understand how unfinished it sounds, but I never thought of it as crust punk. Interesting though because my guitarist didn't even like punk, let alone know what crust punk was. Gonna finish that track sometime and add vocals. Pos'd

ZombicidalMan
April 18th 2014


1997 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Sorry about being so harsh on it, dude. Like I said, the drum work and guitar was solid, but it felt so out of place on this album it made me dislike it a lot. As a standalone it's not awful at all, keep working on it IMO. At least you have some sweet drumming chops

If you guys do an album again, all you should take away from this monster review is 1) set a certain tone or style everyone tries, and 2) be more collaborative. Maybe I'll even add a track and you can all rip it apart, lol

ScuroFantasma
April 18th 2014


2538 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Fantastic review man, even for it's length it was an interesting read. I agree that maybe we should've been more communicative with each other, but Frip did a great job organising this himself.



Digging: Kyuss - Blues for the Red Sun

Shuyin
April 18th 2014


12064 Comments


heh, lazarus was a demo, fripper told me about this a few days before the release and it was the only song i had to spare

next time ill contrib something much better

InbredJed
April 18th 2014


6106 Comments


"production is worse than early Burzum"

I take that as a compliment! Thanks for listening and reviewing, it was fun being a part of this.



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