Review Summary: Space travelling soundtrack.
How time flies. Carbon Based Lifeforms’ debut LP, Hydroponic Garden
already turned 20 years old. Together with World of Sleepers
, they offered some of the most beautiful and cohesive odysseys in the ambient/psybient field. During the past decade, the Swedish duo branched out, exploring the droning side of their sonic spectrum, as well as producing a soundtrack for the Refuge movie. The latter saw them dabbling slightly into house music and post-rock aesthetics. It worked at times, yet returning to familiar territory with Derelicts
was more rewarding. This latest album, Seeker
is a direct follow-up to it, as only traces of the minimalist structures of 2021’s Stochastic
can be heard throughout. The rich layers of synthesizers and electronic beats swing in right from the beginning on the title track. As usually, they kick off with a lovely tune that sets the tone for the entire record. Tempos change on the two-part “Bloom”, going from the Lights Out Asia-type of post-apocalyptic vibes and slow burning grooves to the breezy, ambient second half. Both sound beautiful and nicely complement the sci-fi theme depicted in the artwork.
Meanwhile, the smooth downtempo “Fauna” and “Starfish” contribute to the overall warmth of Seeker
, boasting dreamy melodies to lose yourself into. In between them, the vibrant “Nukleator” builds on sparkly sequencers and percussive samples before bursting into an intense segment, complete with sweet keyboard leads. Compared to previous affairs, there is more contrast between parts here. They often grow faster from low key ambient pads to more powerful rhythms. Such is the case for “Departed” & “Gone”. Both reach great heights with different sounds, adding diversity in the process too. Another highlight is “Sync2n”, where the mesmerizing progression keeps turning louder with each minute, alongside lush accompaniments and background beats. It’s one of those straightforward tracks where the right few chords play, instantly luring you in. Then, instead of ending with a gentle fade out, “…and On” shares a drum’n’bass drum pattern with shiny embellishments around it. This tune is an interesting, optimistic ending to Seeker
, something unusual for the group. Nevertheless, this is the duo’s most extrovert sounding record, so it does not come across as such a surprise. Carbon Based Lifeforms crafted a more vivid experience this time, relying less on their trademark droning ambient. The results are great as always.