STS9 succeeds in crafting ambient electronic grooves

By Merritt Wuchina

STS9

Ad Explorata

1320 Records

Rocks like: An acid trip

Ad Explorata

1320 Records

Rocks like: An acid trip

Grade: B

Sound Tribe Sector 9, or STS9 for short, is an electronic band that has its act together.

The five-piece band plays sold-out shows and music festivals across America and will support Jay-Z next week in Denver. STS9 released Ad Explorata, its third album of 2009 and tenth album over all, last November.

According to STS9’s biography, the album is “inspired by the idea that there is always more to be discovered, manifested by the belief that you can always push towards the unknown and unexplored, and created by the will and desire for constant artistic evolution, expression and change.”

Ad Explorata demonstrates the group’s ability to weave colors of sounds into melodic and ambient landscapes. Self-described as “post-rock dance music,” the album boasts tracks perfect to pump up the mood at a house party — but also swells with chill jams that can fill the void of silence during a late-night study session.

Songs like “Oil & Water” display this duality with a heavy, distorted intro that fades into a melodic jam as soothing as raindrops.

“Atlas” starts out with a Radiohead-esque keyboard intro, with several layers of drum beats and ambient tones sifting under the surface, until it reaches a screeching climax that sounds as if it’s carrying the doom of a dystopian apocalypse on its shoulders.

Underneath all of the layers and chilling beats something doesn’t always feel quite “right” about the tracks on Ad

Explorata, as if there’s a secret lurking beneath and whispering in your ear — and actually, there is.

Though it may not be everyone’s cup of musical tea, Ad Explorata promises, at the very least, a listening experience unlike any you’ve … recently had.

[Editor’s Note: STS9 will perform tonight at Mr. Smalls at 8 p.m., with special guest Ana Sia.]

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