"Personal Voyage" C90
(Maple Death Records)

Blak Saagan invites us all to explore the universe with him on Comet 67P. In space, of course, there is no sound, but there is in your space suit, right? Samuele Gottardello uses analog synth and a drum machine to create the soundtrack to an eternal journey. Throughout much of the journey there is little action, allowing time for introspection. Not entirely enveloped by the sound, you watch planetary bodies slowly drift in the distance. Light bends around Jupiter as you are slowly drawn by the gravitational current. You stop on one of Saturn's many moons, Enceladus. Do we hear footsteps here, or dripping water? The drums flow in and out from rhythm to texture and back. Synth lines are slowly layered upon one another and as you stare deeper into the void, bodies become more defined. You begin to realize that there may be no end to your journey, that you may be forever hopping planets and navigating between stars. Forever hoping to discover...

The audio contained is wondrous, calling to mind the likes of Silver Apples or Cluster, at times the propulsive melodies of chiptune games and at others the boogeyman boogie of Angelo Badalamenti or Barry Adamson. The cover art is perfect for the sounds and ideas contained, but as you can see the tape has some annoying flaws. The screws are on the B-side, but at least they labeled it. I may play screws first in the future anyway because they hit my biggest peeve: a short A-side b/w a full B-side. I hate to have to fast-forward through 8 minutes of blank tape at the end of my A. It does come with a download code to bypass this issue. Other than that this is a solid release.

--Ben Myers