“Voyager 1 is in the space between the stars”. Danish duo Krypton 81 give us as taste of what this space would sound like as Mariner 11, the second cut from their debut EP, Voyager 1, drifts into the unknown. The sequenced 808 and acid chirps fall into a low frequency drone while a couple of auspicious synhts call in a modulating single note over some white noise. There is no indication as to where Voyager 1 might be going, only that it’s far removed from its origins. Mariner 11 has all the makings of a classic electro track until that point, when the bottom falls out and Krypton 81 question the very essence of the genre. It’s like they stuck a spear through the complete history of the electro and came up with something that represents it genesis and its terminal resolution, all at the same time. It could sit alongside the high-energy work of DMX krew just as easily as it could drift amongst the drones of Dopplereffekt’s later catalogue. And this is the case for the entire EP.
Probability One, which closes off the EP, flits very closely to synth-pop territory as a catchy synthesised pipe-organ hook languishes around some major chords before a beat transports it into unknown territory, the chord progression never yielding the direction in which it fall next. Just when I get familiar with a phrase Probability One goes into a minor chord, which disrupts the tonal centre of the piece yet again. It’s a remarkable composition and it brings a new dimension to Nodezero, the Italian label, which brought us Direct Y back in August.
Laboratory and Titan IIIE are the only tracks on the EP where the label’s influence is strong. They both stick stubbornly to their sequential riffs, with very little changing the progression of the track. Titan IIIE is the centrepiece of the EP however as dissonant chords are punctuated by a simple, yet effective kick-snare beat. The big synth that floats over the bass-line intermittently sends a chill down your spine, as the inevitable launch of Voyager 1 looms ever closer. This is the track that would propel you across the dance floor at one in the morning, which does the launch system it’s named after justice.
Voyager 1 fits in nicely amongst the rest of the Nodezero catalogue, who seem to have quite a handle on what the future of electro holds. At times, Krypton 81 do get a little unsure of themselves as they attempt to settle on a distinct sound, but I do enjoy the contrasting influences they call upon, everything from synth pop to drones. It’s still electro that holds the ship together and its dissonant voices and science fiction themes are prevalent throughout. Krypton 81’s experiments with progression are also very interesting and bring a hint of composition to the minimalist landscape of the electro genre. Where will Voyager 1 end up? No-one would be able to tell from this ominous launch, but we’ll be watching its progress intently.