Sound Tribe Sector 9
Artifact


4.0
excellent

Review

by dub sean USER (37 Reviews)
October 25th, 2007 | 18 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Musical Story, Yes.

Close your eyes, sit down, and relax. Sound Tribe Sector 9 (STS9)'s Artifact will sweep you up and take you away. Rarely has an album with so few lyrics been so powerful and moving. With the exception of the first track, Musical Story, Yes, there are only a few fleeting glances of lyrics, just worked in the song in no particular order. But all of this is beside the point. Artifact is an album filled with layered sounds and enough elements to put the listener into a trance; an excellent listen indeed.

Rumor has it that Artifact was created over a three-year period of 2001-2004. It is STS9’s first album in five years. The album was recorded on tour, at home, in bedrooms, in parking garages, hotels, and more. Yet there is no lack in quality, no errors, no problems at all. Even though the album was recorded in different times and places, it is not just a collection of random tracks. Artifact is a story…a music story. STS9 is a mind-blowing live act, making it very challenging to portray the same energy in a studio album. Though you can’t really call Artifact a studio album because not one track was actually recorded in a studio. Artifact is a haunting ambient trance album.

It's hard to pinpoint exactly the genre of this album, or any of STS9's albums for that matter. The soothing guitars, pacifying keys, and warming drumming could be described as anything from psychedelic to progressive rock. STS9 never fails to create their own unique sound, constantly transitioning into new beats and styles.

Doing a track-by-track review of this album would be completely pointless. Even picking out a few ‘recommended tracks’ would be irrelevant. Artifact is an album to be listened to in its entirety. The songs flow effortlessly into each other, each one containing the trademark STS9 sound, yet each one unique in its own way. The album gives you a natural feeling, as if you are walking through a forest around a lake on a shivery, frosty morning. The electronic keys will warm your body, while the bluesy guitars will calm you, all at the same time. The album really is just feelings portrayed into music. It’s a truly sensational feeling.

While a handful of listeners would consider this album nothing but an hour-long sleeping pill, and others may become bored with the lack of lyrics, the real beauty of the album lies in the feelings and moods generated by the music. Tokyo, for example, is not an oriental yangqin jam, but it does portray a feeling of city night life. The song transforms from the waning daytime, filled with sliding, bending strings, and plunges directly into a bustling key jam of the night. Better Day, strangely, features the most lyrics in any song on Artifact. The guest vocalist sings in an eerie, high pitched voice. It is a capturing sound that will instantly grab attention. First Mist Over Clear Lake is a beautiful, yet dark track, over loaded with emotion. I would continue to describe tracks but some…no…most of the feelings and emotions throughout Artifact are just too beautiful to describe. The music will pick you up, throw you down and, best of all, put you in a trance.



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user ratings (45)
4
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
UmphreysHead
January 20th 2008


285 Comments


I wouldn't put there genre as Psychedelic; while they have bits of psychedelia they are
really more electronica. From their website, "Santa Cruz-based, 5-piece electronic
jam band fusing live instruments with "electronica."

The review was good though. You don't go into very much detail about the actual
music on the album (other than saying that it is calm and trance-like), but luckily I've
listened to them enough to know what you're talking about.This Message Edited On 01.20.08

CoRpSeSlAyEr
July 2nd 2009


855 Comments


I saw these guys last night, it was one of the most incredible concert experiences i've ever seen.

GoodVibes
September 14th 2012


3 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

sound tribe is legit.

mindleviticus
October 23rd 2012


10521 Comments


Some STS9 fans on sput? wooo

Love these guys

MotokoKusanagi
April 26th 2020


4290 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

wtf how did i not realize this had a review. i must've bumped this thread on my old account at some point over the years



classic album

MotokoKusanagi
December 13th 2020


4290 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is one of those things i only listen once or twice a year, hits so good every time though. special album

ABalefulAura
March 20th 2024


122 Comments


this album deserves more attention outside of the jam scene imo. fantastic stuff

jrlikestodance
April 18th 2024


1190 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My fav jam band forever. Can't believe this has a review

ABalefulAura
April 30th 2024


122 Comments


one and only time i saw them was All Good Music fest late night in 2011, fantastic set. sadly they kinda fell off after Peaceblaster. Ad Explorata had a few cool tunes. basically all their shit before that is great, especially this and Schematics. Artifact has to be one of the best jam band studio recorded albums that i can think of, considering most jamband studio albums kinda suck compared to live sets

it's actually kind of mind boggling how many 2000s era staple jam bands absolutely nose dived around 2010 lol

jrlikestodance
April 30th 2024


1190 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

STS9 is probably the only jam band I can listen to recorded. Haven't checked anything new since Universe Inside dropped, only have gone to shows. Surprisingly, those songs are pretty good in their live sets. They've really been revisting old shit and doing a lot of improv as of late which is so dope. I feel like they are in a new era live

ABalefulAura
April 30th 2024


122 Comments


yeah most of those bands are still amazing live but at least for me, I noticed a huge drop-off in terms of "original works" / new material stuff from jam bands around that 2010 mark. i'll def have to consider catching an STS9 show the next time they come through

Lotus was coming off of three excellent studio albums all through the 2000s (Germination, Nomad, Hammerstrike - all amazing) and then drop the self-titled dud in 2011, followed by Build in 2013 which wasn't any better. need to catch up on their more recent releases but i'm willing to bet they aren't great

not quite as severe but Umphrey's Mcgee had a chain of killer albums through the 2000s with Local Band, Mantis, and of course Anchor Drops. But then in 2011 they release Death By Stereo which, while not bad, does lack the intensity of previous albums and definitely starts a downward trend in their discog to lukewarm material

my friends seem to agree but maybe it was just a timing thing for us with when we got into the scene and being resistant to bands changing their style, not sure lol. at the end of the day, 9 times out of 10 i'm just going to throw on some Grateful Dead anyways and i'm not a huge jam head anymore. but i do look back fondly on all the shows and it was a cool thing for us through our early 20s for sure. definitely shaped some of my music taste now and the improv aspect really helped with jazz

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
April 30th 2024


26271 Comments


the only people I know who were ever into this band were basically functioning addicts.

ABalefulAura
April 30th 2024


122 Comments


Hyp are you thinking of the Disco Biscuits per chance? I always knew Biscuit fans to get a terrible rep but never heard much about STS9 fans lol. i guess the jam crowd in general has a lot of addicts though tbh, the fests and pre-show parking lots basically encourage it

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
April 30th 2024


26271 Comments


nah they were major festival heads but pretty much all of them had significant drug problems. i guess that kind of just goes with the scene though.

ABalefulAura
April 30th 2024


122 Comments


word, yeah it definitely does. only thing comparable would be the EDM crowds but I always thought of that as more of a "weekend warrior" type thing. jam scene definitely has a dark side to it. just walk around the Phish parking lot before/after the show lol. lot of weird shit and people who are clearly not well

jrlikestodance
April 30th 2024


1190 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yea its more a consequence of the jam scene. People get too caught up in the party and think that it's the peak of music for the rest of their lives lol

ABalefulAura
May 1st 2024


122 Comments


@Hyperion

have you tried jamming this album yet? it's definitely not a traditional jam album you might dig it. very jazzy and downtempo/light dnb-esque at times

@jr

favorite track on here? Tokyo was the song that got me into STS9 so I have to choose that one. Runner ups might be Somesing or Possibilities. i need to give this a proper relisten lol

jrlikestodance
May 1st 2024


1190 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm due for a relisten as well but my top 3 would probably be GLOgli, ReEmergence, and Tokyo



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