Raygun Ballet "World That Wasn't" CD
My ventures into IDM/downtempo infused electronica are quite limited, but the fact John-Mark Austin is the creator of new project recording under Raygun Ballet moniker immediately raised my eyebrows. Because except newly born Raygun Ballet, he is also the sole protagonist of Immersion Theory and with its "The [Icarus] Foray" album he is responsible for one of the most magnificent deep space odysseys offered during the last decade. Even if entering into quite different sonic terrains, we have to stay alert, because John-Mark Austin is enormously crafted artist. And it's already evident when unwrapping the sleeve wallet of "World That Wasn't" CD. Inside it's hidden very attractive 4-panel CD FiberPak packaging with 8-panel booklet, featuring liner notes on each track, especially focusing on used samples and looking like pages of an old comic. As presented by its creator, "World That Wasn't" plays as a humorous requiem for the "Amazing World of Tomorrow" rhapsodized by old science fiction pulp novels and pre-sweetened cereal boxes, a world of grand utopia that never really happened.
Let's fire the show with the opening piece "Figment"!!! My listening room is right away invaded by hypermodern electronics fusing the best ingredients of IDM and downbeat, masterfully backed by serenely floating ambience. All blended with the extensive use of well-placed voice samples. Hints of tribal percussions are added as well at the beginning. A truly fresh and laid-back introduction of Raygun Ballet's soundworlds!!! "Plastic Forest" quickly transfers from quieter course into razor sharp electrifying rhythms. Again another thrilling fusion of hyper kinetic beats with perfectly chosen samples, female celestial choirs and patrolled by serene orchestrations on back. 7 minutes of highly dynamic and feet moving sonic adventure!!! "Sparky's Theme" is slightly more relaxing, but still highlighted by lively midtempo rhythms interplaying with processed voice-like textures, enriched by various voice samples with the addition of euphoric acoustic guitar. "A Prayer For Mercy" belongs to more relaxing pieces here, merging few modern classical fragments with catchy downtempos, joyful strings and female choirs hovering above. "The Fourth Year", the longest piece clocking to 8 and half minutes, opens with dreamlike seashore washes with ghostly whispers and seagulls, soon cascading into rhythm infused electronics attractively colored with German reading, Gregorian chants and female vocals. Absolutely high-spirited all-inclusive sonic pearl!!! "Bursting Eden" unveils with darker mood, but soon powerful beats steal the show for another exciting sonic adventure highlighted by hard hitting, finest EBM or techno trance compounds coupled with Middle East flavored female voices. Wow!!! For long time buried memories of the 90's from the good old Crewzine days are quickly awaken!!! "Coquette Automata", the shortest piece, reaching nearly 4 minutes, offers quite a relieving mood after its highly energetic predecessor, it's a kind of love song enriched by a vocoder chorus. The funny story behind it can be explored through booklet's liner notes. "Lift" keeps on relaxing route with sort of jazzy and modern classical fragrances thrown in along with female vocal bits and brings the album to its finale.
Richly colorful and precisely detailed "World That Wasn't" is enormously adventurous and entertaining journey to experience 1950's futurism through very personal and blazing sonic visions of John-Mark Austin. Superb mastering with audiophile quality sound is another bonus here. John-Mark Austin, in Los Angeles based creative director for visual effects, has struck once again!!! And together with him all others involved in this project. Any bad points here? The only one is the length of the album, 51 minutes only...:-( No matter if it's Raygun Ballet or Immersion Theory or some other future project, I definitely will stay tuned for more!!!
Richard Gürtler (Aug 19, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)
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