Featured image shot by Jayden Becker
In a world already filled with alternate reality games and VR for your own living room, I have always felt like the storytelling capabilities of electronic music are oftentimes overlooked for all of the other things that music can do. Interesting to think about especially when you can clearly see the impact of albums like Porter Robinson’s Worlds, or in a similar fashion Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, m.A.A.d City. A good story can sometimes be more impactful than even the real thing. So perhaps there is a special touch that goes into creating nothing from something. A special touch that Houndtrack has managed to give to his new album Last Chance at Life.
Only way forward is to leave this all behind…
Basically, every one of his socials has been wiped clean, with nothing but the cryptic phrase, “Only way forward is to leave this all behind” plastered in all corners. Opening his website finds you with nothing but a link to a track called “Launch Sequence,” an eerie few minutes of ear ringing bass. It’s end leaves your head feeling too empty, thirsty for some type of sound, anything to drown out the silence. About what you would expect when blasting off into zero-gravity space, although not necessarily expected from Houndtrack. Coming from more mellow roots, this project has pushed the boundaries of what Houndtrack has always sounded like as an artist. In an attempt to challenge the listener, he has created a story we can’t seem to look away from. Join us on this Cowboy Bebop-esque space adventure across the stars, something we all have only ever dreamed of…..
“In the near future, Earth has been ravaged by humans’ destruction. Dystopian distress compels a ragtag crew of a biochemist, an aerospace engineer, and an artist to launch into space in search of a new planet to sustain a last chance at life…”
The first release of the project, “Scorched Earth” is masterful in its stage setting. You can almost feel the tools in your hands hit material with the grating beat, working metal and wire, and technology in an attempt to reach the stars. There seems to be a clear moment when your vessel is complete. There is this burst of almost… euphoria at the end. An insatiable feeling. Hope manifested for just a moment in a world ravaged, just like the dark rose blooming in the cover art. Our humans here, Kyla, Omar, and Leo, are finally ready to set off on the adventure of their lives. Time to buckle up as we head out on this journey with them.
Into “Hyperspace” we go…. the hope that sprouted in the first track threatens to bloom through your chest. A reckless hope, one so immense it overpowers even your will to live. Not caring whether you die or not, all that matters is that this hope does not whither away. I’m not kidding you, my jaw dropped the first time I heard this song. A high you never come down from, literally. Ending in breathlessness, weightlessness, any other word for that moment when you feel like you are made of nothing.
I think “Weightless” is so very interesting. This moment of release before the real journey. A simple taste meant to awaken your hunger and deepen your thirst. There are echoes of the world you have left behind. The almost guitar sound seems like something your brain tries its best to understand and, yet, it is truly unfamiliar. The tossing emotions are such a thrill after the absolute drag that the end of the world has been.
Last Chance at Life by Houndtrack To Be Continued… April 22nd…
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