Procyon-X - The Ghost of Orion (Paradigms Recordings) Keith Boyd 11.2.07
Dark swaths of shimmering metallic dust arc out across the void of space. Epochs of restraint are followed by centuries of release. Let's put it this way; have you ever been out surfing or playing in the ocean and been sucked over the back of a wave? Well if you have you know the supreme terror and thrill of it all. Just when you think you're over to safety the churning pulls you back in and it's down you go into a spin cycle tumble through bubbles and darkness. Those seconds seem to stretch out well beyond their holding capacity and as you reach out towards the surface you often times are headed the wrong way. Eventually you break out and that gasp of air is like your first one all over again. There are probably many more physical instances one could think of to examine the quality and texture of this music but I think that the immersive, disorienting aspects of being pulled under water are particularly appropriate.
I have no idea who Procyon-X are or were. The jacket on this album says it was recorded in 2002 but this release is from this year and is on one of the most adventurous and exciting labels out there; Paradigms Recordings. Paradigms has bravely set their sights and focused their energy on the other extremes of music. They release off the wall folkloric metal, outsider noise slabs and atmospheric epics like the Procyon-X disc. I feel a deep affinity with the crushing, isolationist aesthetics of most Black Metal. The music packs in an amazing amount of sonic density and is simply a relentless listen. The spirituality and/or political motives behind it all can seem a bit cartoonish but I'll leave that for someone else to criticize. I'm in it for the intense buzz and spark it throws through my nervous system. The flip side of the extreme stuff is the weird hybrids that Paradigms seems to specialize in. As a natural extension of this there are the many great "space music" epics they have put out. How to categorize this music? It's hard at times to really call it music. It's a sound adventure with open ended interpretation for every listener. The obvious touchstone for "Space Music" is well, space. That is space travel or space adventure. The limitless potential for this type of exploration lends itself to long dreamy passages filled with hovering borealis-like sound. These sounds could just as easily be field reports from a journey through inner space as well.
The fluidity and grace with which this disc is executed make for an engrossing and compelling listen. Although it only clocks in at 28 minutes the whole piece rewards the deep listener. However these pulses, sweeps and cosmic bubblings were created they enchant and hypnotize. I'm so happy that such music exists. I'm also quite pleased that there are adventurous labels out there like Paradigms to champion it. Imagine what a dull world it would be indeed if all we had to choose from were endless packs of well groomed pop stars dry humping The Beatles back catalog and peddling energy drinks? Tune in and turn on to the ectoplasmic goo that is "The Ghost of Orion".