36: Sine Dust EP
For his latest 36 EP (available in twelve-inch vinyl and digital formats), UK-based ambient artist Dennis Huddleston apparently drew some degree of inspiration from the Voyager 1 spacecraft, which in August 2012 left our solar system for interstellar space; some of the facts about the project, that 40,000 years will pass before it reaches the next star, for example, are more than a little humbling. In the spirit of that voyage, the four synth-based tracks on Sine Dust conjure the image of a lonely spacecraft, its fate and destination unknown as it hurtles through the darkest reaches of space.
Huddleston deploys minimal means to convey that feeling of melancholy loneliness, yet the effect is nonetheless powerful, moving even. The synthesizers' soft, muted tones alternately suggest stars twinkling in the distant night sky and the slow-motion arc of a spaceship as it drifts across immense expanses. Different moods are conveyed by the individual settings: the delicate “Sun Riders Part II” feels wistful, whereas the glimmering “Drift Orbit” seems stately and sad by comparison. The synth tones blur even more dramatically during the title track, intimating perhaps that the connections between earth and the spaceship are growing ever more tenuous.
Each of the pieces feels like a gentle cry rendered into instrumental form, a fading transmission from a distant star (for the record, Sine Dust isn't wholly instrumental: a human presence literally surfaces during the title track in the form of delicate vocal murmurs). Abetted by many years of experience, Huddleston raises his level of craft to an artful high on the release as well as demonstrates that a recording of modest EP length is more than capable of making a powerful impression.