Invention, Parable of the Surveyors

Invention, Parable of the Surveyors

Invention is from Seattle. Do “electronica” music, apparently. Beyond that, we know nothing about them — nothing really online, no bios, nothing. In crafting their spacey, midrange-y music, Invention use compressed bass and guitar to create very synth-like sounds. Lots of interesting rhythmic vocal parts jammed against round-cornered industrial beats. Lots of reverb keeps everything melodic way in the back, guitar and bass way up front.

Snippets of a sci-fi “B” movies weave in and out of the songs, apparently about the imminent destruction of the earth, connecting, stitching together a bloated album that never feels heavy. In some places a dirge, in some places a delay pedal (“A Retrospective”) or ping-pong echo (“Non-Vista”) creates the beat for a half-time vocal line surrounded by bees. The vocals are nearly always dreamy, nearly stream-of-conscious. “Baskerville” introduces a death metal riff over programmed drums.

Surveyors is at once dense but not murky, spacious but not airy. It may be overlong, and a few of the songs drag a bit, but dragging to one listener is a slow build to another. “Nacht” attempts to crush itself under its own weight, but a fantastic chorus riff gives you just enough joyous lift to keep the whole thing standing, and slammed up against “Greatest of All Directions,” another tech-metal mashup (think an electronic Dream Theater, but without the pretension), probably the heaviest thing on the album. “Never Before Imprinted” never really goes anywhere, but “Passion and Capacitance” and “Pepper and Cream” (appearing back-to-back on the album) introduce a somewhat new feel while never moving too far from the spine of the album (in fact, the middle of “Pepper” might be mistook for an experimental online e-jazz jam).

This is not an album to include in a party mix; there aren’t any singles, and you have to be in the right mood to digest it. It is masterful, however, and an incredible achievement, really. The palette of sounds and images reminds me of Pynchon. There’s just so much coming at you that it’s hard to know where to focus your attention, but when it’s over, you know something important happened — you just can’t really describe what it is.

(self-released; Invention --

Review by . Review posted Friday, June 12th, 2009. Filed under Reviews.

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