Digitalis by Stupid Cosmonaut

Release date: January 5, 2018
Label: Bandcamp

If you’re keeping up to date with these guys or with me, then you might know that I think Stupid Cosmonaut are fucking excellent. Everything I’ve heard from them has completely blown me away and Digitalis is no different. Here we find a new side of the band, one that is somewhat more glittery and shiny and nice but, is no less intriguing and enrapturing than their previous offerings. I feel like this is a band that is only going to put out great music so, fucking stay tuned.

The opening syrupy electronic instantly remind me of one of my favourite Battles songs, I’m not gonna say which but, it’s equally gooey and squelchy and amazing. ’Field Trip’ seems like a fairly literal title to me but, I say that as someone whose had some of the best times of their life stargazing in a field whilst tripping on LSD and these innocent and cosmical sounds that are so sweet and overwhelmingly nice remind of those wholesome and carefree experiences lying down and looking up in wonder and awe feeling as though the world makes sense but, is also completely beyond our tiny pea-brains. We are passengers on a journey, going wherever we decide to go. As legendarily lysergic comedian Bill Hicks once said “it’s just a ride”. Music like this reminds of that, it’s pleasant and bizarre and busy with dazzling sounds and textures but, most importantly it instils in me a sense of joy and awe; of contentment and intrigue and the more I venture out into my trip, into my “ride”, the more I realise that this is the key to my happiness; staying hopeful and curious, wondering and experimenting, playing and discovering just like we used to when we were young.

‘Rephlex’ opens with a somewhat mysterious and alluring synth arpeggio that is slowly underscored by a funky and danceable synth jig and some more out there atmospherics. The track’s drums sit crumpled and searing like a hissing train track pumping out electricity. A pad plays a string-like role at the core of the track changing lines and creating a new direction; one that builds a sense of sadness and unease within the track, a sense of duty and imposition manifests itself within these pads and the venomous drum work until we’re slowly left with something ominous. A malevolent energy that twists and turns something sinister through to the end of the track.

When ’Offline’ enters the fray this sense of duty has now become almost palpable like the soundtrack for some sort of action-thriller, punctuated heavily by roaring frequency shifts through the lead synth and violent, erratic drum work firing on all cylinders, in all directions. The background melodies that I think are played on guitar are fucking lovely they remind me of the latest Twilight Sad album ‘Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave’, I love Andy Macfarlane that dude is an incredible musician. Gotta thank Stupid Cosmonaut for the reminder though, I’d love to hear this album start featuring on soundtracks, that’d be a fangirl moment for me.

I love the brassy, byzantine synths in ‘Post-Human’, the whole thing sounds like some surreal advert made by vampires to market blood to humans. The soft 80s drums and slow moaning backbone synths have this strange, seductive quality. It’s almost in the same vain as Cocteau Twins’ ‘Cherry Coloured Funk’ but, it feels a lot more rapturous; like an unveiling or an unravelling. Peeling back and revealing some otherworldly and enticing.

The title track ‘Digitalis’ has somewhat more a Final Fantasy feel to it; on a mission propped up by beats and yet, dazzled with soft, delicate piano twinkles like stars overhead. With a name like Stupid Cosmonaut, you know these guys have to be absolute space cadets. Their music always seems to venture outward and oozes a sense of curiosity, for that reason it always reminds me of the psychedelic and the science-fiction, it’s much like 2001: A Space Odyssey in that respect, I guess.

I fucking love those synth strings in ‘Sadness and Euphoria’, I feel like this sort of sound is never really used anymore because they sound “fake” but, the misery that particular timbre has is completely unique and beautiful. The guitar work in this track is fucking great as well, for whatever reason I feel like it’s very Carpenter-esque, maybe it’s just the rest of the track that makes me feel that way. The more glitchy synth sounds that enter the fray around the 6-minute mark completely slay me as well. I love that they just to isolate and emphasise them at the end, Stupid Cosmonaut are a fucking great band.

This an album for nerds, outcasts, soundtrack fans and beatniks but, if you’re not one of these try it anyway, after life is just a fucking ride.

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