“Voyagers” in Merchants of Air

In 1977 Nasa launched two Voyager spacecrafts, each carrying a golden record. The records feature sounds and images from earth, along with instructions on how either alien lifeforms or future humans can play them. There is also a note from president Carter, who said “This is a present from a small, distant world, a token of our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our thoughts and our feelings. We are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours.”. The content was selected by Carl Sagan and his team. It contains music from Bach, Beethoven, Chuck Berry and many more. Sidenote, EMI refused to add a Beatles song.

These golden records were the main inspiration for this debut album by Italian guitarist and sound sculptor Carlo Monti under his MCVX moniker. Not only does he use some of the sounds and sample from the records, he also managed to create a matching space ambient sound. Monti, being a progressive rock guitarist, obviously knows a thing or two about elaborate soundscapes and atmosphere, something he clearly showcases on this album.

The album contains five tracks, all of them being immersive pieces of ambient. Here and there percussion, voices or unidentifiable samples enhance the vast and ever-expanding feel, like in the brilliant ‘Perpetual Angelus’. ‘Oceanless’ seems to take on a somewhat noisier approach, which immediately gives the track a haunting atmosphere. My favorite track here is the opener ‘Faded’, which reminds me of acts like IIVII, followed by the beautiful  ‘A Prayer’.

So in all, this is a splendid piece of work, delivered by a seasoned musician, one I gladly recommend to all you ambient aficionados out there. I don’t think that’s a surprise since  the quality label Krysalisound has released the album and Francis M. Gri mastered the thing. ‘Voyagers’ is free to download, according to NASA samples copyright and I strongly suggest you do so. This is a gem.

http://www.merchantsofair.com/albums/mcvx-voyagers