Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited would be one of the best at their genre if they didn’t feel like their own genre. If each LPs sounds similar to the last, I believe that’s OK because nobody else sounds like them and that sound has been pretty tightly designed since LP1.
There has been growth though, even if it’s subtle. The opening track “Rocket TX7” is a great example. Guitar is used sparingly, hardly the front-and-center instrument -- if there even is one, but there's a really great warm, nostalgic sound, everything working in concert to achieve it that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where it’s most coming from.
“Rimini nel Inverno del 1976” is nearly guitar-free, drawing from Italian soundtracks (as is so en vogue right now) while keeping that hypnotic SSSU beat. “Lido Giovedi Mezzanote” puts synths front and center.
Don’t panic guitar fiends: “The Nubian Wasp” is an unashamedly guitar-based bellydancer and the sneaky picking of “Kyoto 4.50am” is a delight.
But deep at the heart of Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited is the percussion, which takes on so many forms and layers, never really going full drum-kit and sounding better for it. The easy-going “Just Wastin’ Time” sounds like “the snare” sounds like it’s actually a somewhat muted washboard? And “Lido Giovedi Mezzanote” is a soup of bongo, cymbal and… other noises. Sometimes it’s hard to really decide what sound is being used as part of the drum beat. Perhaps the answer is always “yes”.
At the end of the day, this does mostly feel like another Sterephonic Space Sound Unlimited record. Perhaps a little more patient and atmospheric than their earlier records, but not a world apart from their more recent ones. That’s fine. There’s no dip in quality to what they’re making, more new material from them is always welcome, and if you haven’t heard them this is as good a place to start as any.
They’re self-releasing this one rather than their previous Dionysus releases and it doesn’t seem like the full album is on bandcamp yet, just these two tracks. It is on most of the big places where you buy music though. And there's a vinyl copy floating around out there too.