Released at the tail-end of last year, Survey Channel’s Holotype Skybox is an intriguing album. While it only consists of three tracks, it is able to take the listener on a bizarre journey through some type of unfamiliar or alien world. To me, the world it paints is reminiscent of some of my favorite space adventures such as Destiny and No Man’s Sky. It is at times soothing and slightly uncomfortable at others all while being bathed in the warm analog hiss of cassette tape.
The first track “Minnows” is a nearly pure drone played out on a soothing pad that experiences little movement. That is, until the end in which one of the pads deftly diverges from this drone and experiences quite a bit of movement, bringing the track to a calm yet noticeable crescendo. This soothing atmosphere is countered in the next track, “Node.” This track presents a much more uncomfortable aura, though not so intense as to be anything resembling horror. Rather, it utilizes a subdued ambiance that sounds almost mechanical that is pierced by a thick, science fiction inspired pad that creates the movement and tension in the track.
Finally, the last track, “Trimimic” expertly combines both of the previous motifs into an atmosphere of mystery and wonder. It is almost reminiscent of a movie in which the main character has reached their end location and is taken aback by what they are observing. The track is unusually emotive for something so deep into ambient territory and provides a climactic finish to this short EP that is superbly crafted.