It is fair to say that Indifferent Spaces has produced a varied collection of sounds throughout their career. Each album or EP has its own vibe and aesthetic while still encompassing an overall cohesive style that ties their discography together. In this way, you never really know what you are going to get with each release. Will it be lo-fi or hi-fi? Will the tracks be simple or complex? Downtempo or uptempo? EP or Album? Will it be more nostalgic, or dark or perhaps even both? The questions go on and on…
Well, this time, with their 12th release aptly titled “12,” we have a complete album; not too long, not too short, of you guessed it, 12 tracks. The tracks here are definitely in the hi-fi production quality, which is a breath of fresh air, being that their last few releases were very lo-fi and grimy. With the production being very polished, bright and "big” sounding, and the general song lengths in the region of 3 to 5 minutes, it seems Indifferent Spaces are going for more of a mainstream audience. This could be seen as a bad thing, but that is not the case here. The overall style is mid-tempo with a heavy trip-hop, yet digital feel; boom-bap beats and old school grooves laced with tinges of techno melodies and a crafty electronic atmosphere. Very modern yet bygone, the common vibe is that of the “street" and of “space;" as if you are walking the avenues of some futuristic planet. I suppose we could creatively classify this music as something like “Urban Astro.”
The album opens with a soundbite from an interview with the late great Capital Steez, which sets the mood perfectly as the first song “Galacticide” glides though your mind with melancholic ease. Next, the album takes a slight turn with the bombastic melodic groove of “Crystal Scissor Hex” and flows right into the stoic ethereal “Angel Dirt.” By this point the listener is well prepared for the awesome feel-good groove of “Wings of the Wasp” and the epic wonderment of “Morningstar Stomp." The collection continues fluidly with each track fully satisfying the listeners anticipation, and expectations being completely settled in every song. More notables are “Sun: Canceled" with its old-school suspense and the uptempo rhythmic mystery of “Disappearing into Nowhere.” As the album progresses towards the end, it slowly crosses into a darker, more unclear territory. Starting with “You Are Not Right in the World” which feels as if you are trapped alone in some space vessel with limited oxygen waiting for your demise, and gets even darker with “Dead Web Secrets 1 and 2, which at finality, leave the listener with an uncertain air and the closing question of “Where is this world heading?"
By and large “12” is a deep album with a very grandiose unspoken philosophy displayed by only the music itself, while still maintaining a comfortable feel-good vibe. Its distinctive hi-fi atmosphere, along with its pop sounds, melodies and grooves make it very easy to digest that philosophy and crowns it as one of their best efforts to date.
Limited Cassettes available through Weakie Discs: