The Celestial Department Store is the follow up to last year’s Etidorhpa, by Brooklyn based electronic musician Arnold Mathes. By pure coincidence this is the second album I’ve reviewed this week by an artist who did time with Alien Planetscapes (John Likides is the other).
Whereas Etidorhpa consisted of classic 70s space electronica along the lines of Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze plus elements of cosmic Progressive Rock, The Celestial Department Store is largely song focused, blending Space Rock, Prog and Pop. Songs like Rip In Time feature a non-Motorik brand of Neu! Space-Pop with a Symphonic edge. Off The Beaten Track is a spacey mix of Neu! and 80s Electro-Pop. The Toymaker is a quirkily fun Kraftwerk meets Neu! alien dittie, with OD and Malfunction being similar whimsical. Don’t Knock The Annanakh features spacey symphonic Prog-Pop. The high octane electro space rocking How To Drive A UFO could be the theme to a sci-fi TV show. There’s one example of pure floating space electronics in the form of the appropriately titled Conscious Of Consciousness, which is a cinematic Space-Prog excursion that gently sweeps the listener through the cosmos. And Interociter goes in a different direction, being a sound exploratory blend of minimalism, drones, and a variety of spacey effects. Overall I found this to be a fun set, the spacey melodic and quirky tunes being my favorites.
For more information email Arnold Mathes at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz