IX is a duo that formed in 2013 and with last year’s release System VII they have a lot of people's attention. The reason why is because System VII is an album that doesn’t sound like too many others out there today. It’s thematic, dark, immersive and thoroughly enjoyable. System VII is an instrumental album and even though the duo has created a sound for themselves you are still able to hear aspects of other artists. Artists who have a propensity to inhabit the dark side come to mind such as Nine Inch Nails, Burial and Massive Attack.
Before I read anything about the album I took an attentive listen to what it had to offer. My initial thoughts were that the music could be a soundtrack for a movie. A lot of the music is atmospheric and almost surrounds you in milieu that you can see, breathe and live in. It wasn’t much of a surprise when I read that IX thought of the album as a soundtrack to a movie not yet made yet. The music would fit in perfectly in a sci-fi thriller somewhere between Dark City, Blade Runner and Ex Machina.
System VII does have a flow and I encourage you to listen to it in sequential order. The first track “Breaking Faith” was a highlight that immerses into the environment. The song combines deep beats, a pulsating synth bass with jagged guitars that have Pink Floyd-esque like quality. “Recursive Function” deviates from the forward moving kinetic energy of the first. The music had noir-esque David Lynch like quality that settles into the absurd. It’s minimal and sounds come and go as they please. “System VII (Part II)” sounds like the part of the music that would be playing when the protagonist has to sneak into the missile silo and steal the abort codes. Some of the tracks like “Immortal” contain little if no percussion and rely on pads.
The centerpiece of the album goes to the twelve-plus minute “The Machine (Parts I-III).” This piece in itself would be perfect for a short film. It’s a sprawling composition that gains more traction as it progresses. The duo pulls it off and left me thoroughly impressed.
Although System VII would probably work best as a soundtrack it isn’t necessary to have a visual to enjoy it. The songs are perfectly fine to explore on their own and if you have a good imagination who knows what's possible. That being said, if any there are any filmmakers who went to make a sci-fi movie with an ominous vibe then you should probably reach out to these guys.
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