Album: Alien Technology
Artist: Staring at Screens
Label: In Your Brain LLC
Alien Technology, the latest experimental electronic album by Staring at Screens, released mid-October just in time for the spooky season. While Halloween nowadays is largely dominated by demons, werewolves, and slasher films, Alien Technology invites its listeners to return to an era when sci-fi horror shared the spotlight of the full moon.
Staring at Screens is actually one of the several aliases used by Clayton Bullard. Staring at Screens was created as one of Bullard’s side projects in 2016 and serves as a more experimental offshoot of the electronic music produced under his main artist name, Trevor Something. Whereas Trevor Something’s music often uses lyrics to push darker themes, all of Bullard’s albums under the name Staring at Screens have thus far been purely instrumental. As the name suggests, Staring at Screens is all about creating music that sounds entirely digital, as if it weren’t even manmade.
Alien Technology certainly interprets that last part literally and does not shy away from the wild, adrenaline-filled sounds present in all of Bullard’s work. This album takes inspiration from a handful of genres—primarily including elements of synthwave, breakbeat, and IDM—and blends them together to present its listeners with a truly alien soundscape from start to finish.
Right from the start, Alien Technology encourages the imagination to wander with its cover art depicting a person being pulled up into a UFO. The album starts with a short but sweet intro track that sounds like a UFO powering up, or perhaps like the very tractor beam seen pulling this individual toward the ship. From there, listeners are brought on an auditory journey through the cosmos, each track sounding totally different from the last, and it is not difficult to immerse oneself with a good pair of headphones and allow the mind at this time to conjure images of flashing lights, exotic architecture, glowing dashboards, and twinkling stars.
“Extraterrestrial Elements,” the second-to-last track on the album, is my personal favorite. This track has a captivating breakbeat rhythm the whole way through, accompanied with a barrage of glitchy electronic sounds and warping noise. I particularly love how this track sounds like the auditory equivalent of being sucked through a wormhole, but every track does something unique to complement the album’s ‘alien’ vibe. Alien Technology has a bit of something for everyone, and it’s worth checking out if you’re a fan of electronic music already or if you’re curious to push the bounds of your music taste with something truly out of this world.
Cosmic Energy Waves
Reviewer’s Name: James Favot
Date of Review: Oct. 31, 2023