Album Review: S U R V I V E—“RR7349″

By Harry Myles, Feature Photo via Relapse Records

On September 30, Texan experimental synth group S U R V I V E released their new album RR7349. Comprised of four members: Adam Jones, Mark Donica, Kyle Dixon, and Michael Stein, the group grew to prominence this past summer due to the phenomenon of Stranger Things. The latest Netflix success, Stranger Things is set in Reagan-Era small town America, where a young group of friends becomes acquainted with a girl equipped with telekinetic powers. The show excels as an homage to classic 70s/80s cinema, in which a sci-fi tale blends with government conspiracies and, of course, a synth-filled score. The soundtrack of Stranger Things is one of the primary drivers of this nostalgic atmosphere composed by none other than Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein. Maintaining that signature 80s inspiration, S U R V I V E presents a moody, cosmic album with RR7349, conjuring images of abandoned space-crafts and monster-filled fog.


Album Art for “RR7349”

This latest record is definitely not a continuation of the ambient Stranger Things score, incorporating instead a wide variety of beats, mechanical blends, and gloomy synth. Listening to the album, I could not help but close my eyes and allow the music to carry me towards the sci-fi flicks of a bygone era. Beginning with “A.H.B.,” a yawning beat conjures an image of a soaring craft jetting through time and space bouncing from one star to the next. As the crew approaches an abandoned ship, “Other” begins to develop an atmosphere of gloom incorporating garbled voices lost within the countless layers of sorrowful production. Aboard the ship, paranoia then sets in as you nervously enter the slow, meditative “Wardenclyffe.” What were they carrying? Is the crew still alive? Walking down the deserted halls, a persistent hum is accented by aggressive synth-backed beats in the following track “Sorcerer” adding a splash of tension and despair to this already grim atmosphere. Suddenly, the ship starts to shake as it is trapped within a planet’s gravity. It hurtles towards the surface, wings flying off as it burns through the atmosphere. As “Low Fog” begins, you gradually rise from the wreckage peering through the smoky haze and looking for survivors. Soaring beyond the misery of the past, you rejoice as “Copter” commences. You discover your crew is still alive. The powerful pacing rises with the harmonizing, yet still indiscernible, vocals until the closing track of “Cutthroat” begins to play rolling the closing credits of this space adventure.

In the final seconds of RR7349, you begin to wake from the cosmic dream. Coupled with the colourful array of instrumentation and immersive beats, the impressive synth composition of S U R V I V E hints at past masters like Tangerine Dream. Yet, beyond the technical components of their work, I’m most impressed with the imagery each song creates. This Texan quartet has managed to perfectly capture the abstract experience of space providing a wonderful and engaging trip through the cosmos.

One Response to “Album Review: S U R V I V E—“RR7349″”
  1. Heather Williams says:

    Excellent review!

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