Flying Saucer Attack

Instrumentals 2015

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On Flying Saucer Attack's first album in 15 years, it seems as if Dave Pearce is leaving the project's history in the past and rebuilding it from the ground up. Instrumentals 2015 consists entirely of drifting, effects-heavy guitars; no vocals, no acoustic guitars, no Wire covers, no blown-out drum'n'bass breaks. It's the sound of FSA re-emerging from a bunker and cautiously exploring the surface, carefully attempting not to disrupt anything on its initial investigation above ground. The album stays true to FSA's D.I.Y. aesthetic, and was recorded directly to cassette and CD-R by Pearce at his home, so it constantly has a faded, grainy texture to it, contributing to its otherworldly feel. The album's 15 tracks are numerically titled, and while that may give them a generic appearance, they have a diverse characteristic range, from brief, wispy fragments to complexly layered drones that stretch out toward the ten-minute mark. Pearce is a master at building blankets of sound consisting of intricately woven clusters of notes, and they're often held together with haunting melodies. If there's any rhythmic element to these instrumentals, they ebb and flow in waves, such as in "Instrumental 9." The most startling track is "Instrumental 6," an 80-second burst of Merzbow-like harsh noise. The piece that follows seems to be buried behind an air-raid siren, and it keeps cutting out as if the tape is damaged, which of course adds a suspenseful pace to it. "Instrumental 14" is bathed in backwards effects, and stunning ten-minute conclusion "Instrumental 15" expands toward space, yet seems to be the most focused, deliberate composition on the entire album, with each carefully placed note playing a crucial part. Instrumentals 2015 feels like a successful reinvention after such a lengthy absence, but at the same time, it could've been beamed in at any point during FSA's existence, as its elemental, bare-basics construction isn't beholden to any trends, and therefore it feels timeless.

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