If Quentin Tarantino brewed his morning coffee while playing Last Transmission From Sector 7, I would not be surprised. The 12-track album from Houston native Arc Rev One blends psychedelic, experimental, lo-fi, and alternative electronic into a record that sounds like an acid trip in the Wild West.
To get an idea of opener “Silent Rage,” just imagine RHCP’s “Suck My Kiss” video. The track’s gritty defiance and anarchy-in-the-desert feel are complimented by muffled, southern-accented vocals. Bluesy tones reveal hot Houston influence on one of the more alternative electronic tracks on the album.
“Stage 3 Exp” and “Great Galactic Central Sun” also have alternative distinctions, but with a flair for the psychedelic. “Stage 3 Exp” melts right into the rock elements of “Great Galactic Central Sun,” whose atmospheric guitar riffs confirm this record has a vintage instrumental appeal to it, despite varying electronic soundscapes.
“DON’T TRIP (nothing is real)” is a perfect example of those soundscapes – it begins with laser beams zapping their way into syncopated dance beats. Then, bits of carnival ride synth drop in unexpectedly to prove that, were there ever a song that could deliver a sonic hallucinogen, this would be it. It dips and weaves into so many different energies that “chaotically colorful” is an understatement.
For balance, ambient tracks like “Drift,” “Event of the Orbit,” “Orbit of the Event,” and “Dissolve” give the record a lonesome quality. Despite the name, “Drift” has a stranded-in-the-desert vibe – there’s no beachy groove here. It seems lost in time through repetitive, somber guitar riffs and vocals that are mirages on the horizon, so light you’re not sure they’re present. On “Event of the Orbit,” piano offers a beautiful, classical side to the rather glitch-filled album; throughout its seven-minute duration, “Dissolve” hypnotizes you at each utterance of its repeated phrase (“You can dissolve”).
“Ecstatic Data” most intrigued me, though. It has chiptune elements that take you on a synthesized space odyssey and legitimately sound like R2D2 having a conversation with himself. It’s awesome.
Through its psychedelic compounds, galaxy-like glitch, and lo-fi electronic coated with a good ‘ole smokey grime to it, Last Transmission From Sector 7 puts a whole new meaning to Cowboys vs. Aliens. If rustic and trippy all at once is a category, Arc Rev One has nailed it. —Rachel Haney