Warning this recommendation may include clichés and lazy gratuitous uses of the word epic! You have been warned.
Over the last decade 65DaysofStatic have built up a reputation and cult following by playing a more upbeat, more electronically influenced version of the instrumental rock style, which has brought fame to the likes of Mogwai et al. The word epic has probably been used to describe their sound on more than one occasion. However, in the case of this release the soundtrack to the game No Man’s Sky, such a term is entirely appropriate.
No Man’s Sky is, in terms, of scale the largest video game to have ever been made, with over 18 quintillion planets to explore, which are created through a regeneration engine. The scale of the game is vast. 65DaysofStatic have taken this vastness into consideration when creating the soundtrack.
All the usual dynamics of a 65DaysofStatic album are present and correct in this release with the main dynamic being; rock instruments that sound like electronic trickery. However, to reflect the style and vastness of the game, the band have slowed their sound down. Unlike previous efforts tracks are drawn out over 10+ minutes and instead of sounding like music from a future rave each track sounds exactly like the purpose it was intended for, a space themed video game. Of course this isn’t saying 65DaysofStatic have been unimaginative in their creation rather that they have achieved the task set out before them. The fact they have achieved this and that no track feels overly long is an added bonus.
One of the strongest points of 65DaysofStatic’s previous releases has been their ability to bring positivity and energy to instrumental rock, a genre, which often distinctly lacks both of these credentials. Whilst for the No Man’s Sky soundtrack 65DaysofStatic have sacrificed energy they have pleasingly retained a sense of positivity. Nothing on this record wanders off into GodSpeed! You Black Emperor territory. For this the band deserves credit as exploring space to the sound of a track like Mladic would have been (let’s face it) depressing.
In selecting 65DaysofStatic to create this epic soundtrack it would seem the game’s creators knew exactly what sound they wanted: Spacey, epic, and instrumental without any hint of depression, the band have delivered on this. Whilst some of the energy of their previous releases may have been sacrificed, the results remain engaging and at times beautiful, this is especially apparent from the opening chords of many of the tracks, which are drawn out and emotive.
The track Supermoon is a good example of nearly all the positives of this record, with its drawn out chords to open, beautiful piano and up lifting beat, it is perhaps the strongest individual track on here. Though a good soundtrack is never about one element but rather a composite whole and this is the best and most enjoyable way to engage with 65daysofStatic’s No Man’s Sky effort.
Even if you have no intention of playing No Man’s Sky this release is still a worthy listen. Kick back and enjoy one of the UK’s most under-rated cult bands doing what they do best, it’s erm…epic!