Stardust is the debut album of the Romanian band The Thirteenth Sun, released last week by Aural Music. In multiple ways, the album represents a journey of exploration, using an escape from the confines of earth and a venturing into the limitless night sky as a metaphor for an exploration of one’s self, free of the constraints of routine and any settled expectations about the possibilities of what may lie ahead. The name the band chose for themselves and the title they picked for the album manifest the concept, as does the striking and memorable cover art by Costin Chioreanu. But of course the concept is reflected most strongly in the music itself.
The music on Stardust is not all the same, although there are unifying ingredients that pass through the album. The album’s own journey begins with a track named “Universus“, and it’s the subject of an animated video created by Costin Chioreanu that provides a fascinating visual companion to the music, and we’re delighted to premiere it below.
“Universus” is quite unlike most of the music you’ll find at our putrid site, a song that has much more in common with progressive rock from an older era (and progressive metal) than the varying forms of howling extremity we tend to patronize here. But it’s an extremely well-written and engrossing piece of music, one that gets lodged in the brain from the first listen.
It’s spacious and spacey, surreal and seductive. Its mysterious atmosphere seems more like a gliding trip across an astral plane than a trip through the hostile vacuum of space, but it’s as beautiful and mesmerizing as the images of galactic wonder regularly captured by the Hubble telescope.
The music builds from a crystalline hypnotic melody over a bass-led rhythm, gradually becoming heavier through the addition of a jabbing riff, and heavier still as the riffing and the vocals become more urgent, building a sense of mounting tension. The vocals are a significant reason for the song’s allure. Rather than harsh, they’re high and soaring… but they become intense, just as the music does.
As mentioned, the video is a fine and fantastical companion to the music, portraying in the drift of a motionless astronaut through the depths of space, retrieved by a spacecraft not of our world, and carried to a strange place where a mysterious transformation occurs.
Stardust is available now through Aural Music on CD and in a translucent aquamarine double LP edition in a gatefold sleeve. Those are available HERE. And the album can be acquired as a digital download here:
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