STS9, Inviting in the Winter

STS9 Plays Oak Mountain on October 28th

As is so often the case when winter arrives in Alabama, most of us natives are starting to wake up to a world that seems slower, quieter, and somehow strange. Here chronic heat is as much a natural law as gravity, but only from March to August (or in this year’s case the tail-end of October). And when that warmth disappears and the cold starts sweeping in, as it is now, home begins to feel decidedly alien.

Enter STS9, a musical group hailing from Georgia whose blend of instrumental rock and ambient electronic overtones makes you wonder if the band members might be related to Daft Punk’s astronaut-helmeted duo. With albums like Interplanetary Escape Vehicle and Ad Explorata, Sound Tribe Sector 9 has a track-record of producing music that’s best characterized as “otherworldly.”

They’ve toured widely, performed at large festivals and small venues alike, and have challenged musical boundaries at every turn. In short, these guys aren’t afraid to innovate. Their success owes largely to the way they string different styles of live music together with electronic layering to create a sound that, in many regards, supersedes standard musical classification. Rock, jazz, techno, funk, hip-hop, they use it all. What’s really admirable is that although they use pieces of all these distinct styles, the music they produce stands in a category of its own. Listen closely and you might hear a familiar rhythmic bass line or chord progression, but take a step back and the music becomes shapeless and alien and awesome.

If you’re at all intrigued take note: STS9 performs this Friday, October 28th at the Oak Mountain Amphitheater. It’ll be nighttime when they start to play and one of the first cold days of the year. Most other warm-blooded things will be migrating south but you’ll be here, only a short way from home, wondering where the leaves went, wondering where the year went, and maybe wondering other things too. But the music will elevate you into another space altogether.

Their newest album, entitled The Universe Inside, pulls it’s inspiration from Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, the two spacecraft shot into the dark by NASA in 1977 in a mad, but oh-so-human act of universal exploration. The Voyagers are now 11 billion miles from Earth, a distance that is beyond comprehension. Each carries a coded record, a message in a bottle, to tell our story, the story of human life, to whoever happens to find it. SRS9’s latest album is no different. Take the time to listen and they’ll beam you up and take you for a ride.

– Mother Plug Music staff writer, Nathan Diehl