Record Reviews

Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel: ‘Oumuamua Review

(May 28 via Stickfigure Recordings) Titled after the first known interstellar object to visit our solar system—a Hawaiian word roughly translating to “a messenger from afar, arriving first”—’Oumuamua mirrors the inherent mystery and infinite vastness of outer space through ambient soundscapes. Like their namesake comets, tracks such as “Borisov,” “Borrelly” and “Encke” carry a sense of movement as they drift, sweep and swirl across time. Composed of Scott Burland on theremin and Frank Schultz on lap steel, the duo creates music through a process of improvisation. These immersive sonic environments are painted with buzzing drones, hypnotic pulses and other tonal flourishes that feel unsettling and magnificent all at once. While last year’s release was named Halocline for its peculiar parallels to water—thereby essentially grounding itself on Earth—’Oumuamua can be thought of as its atmospheric, celestial counterpart arriving from beyond the stratosphere. Pair this cinematic, cosmic album as the soundtrack for an episode of “Cosmos” or “Planet Earth,” or better yet, take it outdoors and look up at the stars and moon.