Subduction – Bad News from the Inner Solar System

Subduction is an experimental electronic band formed in 2008. It is a collaborative effort by my good friend William (Brian) Van Huss and Ian Briscoe. Ian Briscoe builds and plays his own moog synthesizers, including those heard on this album and he also contributes vocals on the track “Celebrate”. I have known Brian for several years, and consider him to be my closest friend. This album could be considered a “return to roots” album for him. One of his first bands, Ghoul Feeding, was a noise rock band that experimented with improvised sounds using found instruments. He would later go on to record more structured rocks songs, primarily focusing his efforts on punk rock and power pop music.

“Bad News from the Inner Solar System” is anything but a conventional album, and attempting to pigeonhole it into a specific genre would be futile. “How Very Much (I’ve Loved You)” utilizes tape loops, moog synthesizer, and various other elements. The tape loops are samples from the notorious “death tape” recordings of the Jonestown massacre, discovered by the FBI during the aftermath. The samples, accompanied by what sounds like blasts of steam, along with an eerie moog give the track a very haunting sound remeniscent of early industrial musicians such as Throbbing Gristle.

The next track uses samples in a much more upbeat way. All of the samples used in “Greetings” are from the Voyager Golden Record, a gold plated phonographic record containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth, which both Voyager spacecraft carried during their launch in 1977. The track opens with a sample of a female singing a Peruvian wedding song recorded by John Cohen, followed by samples of songs from Indonesia and Africa, and finally the U.N. President’s greeting for those who might discover the Golden Record. These samples are backed up by a groovy beat, which wouldn’t seem out of place in an old school hip-hop record. One might normally expect to hear such songs accompanied by bongo or djembe drums, yet it works perfectly in this case and helps to tie it all together.

“Celebrate” is the only track on the album which features vocals contributed by the artists involved. Ian Briscoe delivers the vocals on this one, which backed up by Van Huss on stylophone and short wave radio. It could be considered EBM (Electronic Body Music), as it combines elements of both industrial and electronic dance music.

The grand finale of the album is the epic “Anything In here”, which clocks in at just under 23 minutes. It could be considered an electronic jam session of sorts, as it was recorded live in one session. As with the previous tracks, it features a variety of different synth instruments, audio samples, and various other sound effects. Some of the samples used are taken from the movie “The Fly”. The sound similar to a fax machine heard throughout is actually the teleportation device from the movie.

This is an outstanding debut release from the duo of Briscoe and Van Huss. “Bad News from the Inner Solar System” is at times earthly, at others celestial, often desolate, and yet heartening also. If the goal was to make a statement concerning the human condition, it achieves it remarkably. If you consider yourself a fan of experimental music, or the other genres mentioned, you owe it to yourself to listen to this.

Year of Release: 2009
Label: Psyche Zenobia
Genre: Experimental, Sound Collage, Electronic
Bitrate: 256kbps

Track List:
1. How Very Much (I’ve Loved You)
2. Greetings
3. Celebration
4. Anything In Here

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