What does color sound like in music? I had a music director once who tried to convince his ensemble to think certain hues to achieve the right sound – he’d tell the flutes to be more yellow, the trumpets to be more black, or the saxes to consider a more purple tone. His unorthodox directions baffled us to no end, but somehow it worked – for him, anyway.
I’ll probably never quite understand the correlation between colors and instruments, but I can at least tell when a tune is colorful. And bright and myriad are the colors that flash and spark in this split EP “Aegis Arctic Alps”, featuring the cosmic pair P For Persia and Speak Galactic. Both engage in epic progressive pieces, with vibrant electronica and blazing guitars often dueling each other across the void to create a fireworks display of dizzying melodic prowess. Together they mesh like violet and vermillion – perfectly complementary, and yet strikingly different.
On the A side, P For Persia storm out the starting gate with the galloping intro to “Rainbow Flux”. The tune quickly bursts into a prism of sound – bustling arcades, charging drums, confident power chords, brazen voices. It’s pure euphoria, and it surges straight into the churning stomp of “St. Luanne”, where punky aesthetics clash with bubbling chiptones. You might trace the influence of indie giants in P For Persia’s full-tilt cyber assault, but P For Persia have brewed some truly unique brand of noise here – particularly on their great progressive finale, “Uncanny Valley”. The tune shifts through a multitude of phases, with much of the bravado and showmanship that would be expected of Yes or Genesis – yet, did Peter Gabriel ever feature an undulating steel drum in his mega-masterpieces? No, not that I can recall. But yes, “Uncanny Valley” is worthy of the term epic.
The first few seconds of Speak Galactic’s debut, however, transport us at once to a different era. “New Inventions” opens on a hauntingly familiar analog, but soon unwinds into a whirlwind of warped whistling and freakish falsettos. Just when we think we’ve figured this tune out, however, Speak Galactic close on a grand fanfare of organs worthy for a king. These fellows, however, are even trickier to pin down than their EP mates – the sprawling freak-out of “Magnified Destiny” shifts from a Silver Apples-esque groove (distinguished with a sultry sax solo) to a mind-bending coda of space-travelling guitar, soothing drones, and sputtering drums. If you’ve wanted to experience a drug-induced trip without consuming drums, now’s your chance!
I told you, I know a colorful tune when I hear one. And while P For Persia and Speak Galactic paint with two different palettes, they both draw from a plethora of hues to create vibrant masterpieces that enthrall and excite. This EP showcases their talents – electrified arcade belters on one hand, and psychedelic synth-fuelled trips on the other – on a level field, as equal components to one iridescent whole. To lay your hands on the dramatic purple 12” (along with a t-shirt AND a download code), come out to the launch party at the Green Door Store in Brighton on 23rd August.