13 May 2016 (released)
10 May 2016
The 13 Crystal Skulls transplants you to another realm and puts you on the hunt.
Chris Wirsig's career stretches back in to the last century and back to the Old Country. The German producer was a founding member of the EBM group, no:carrier who released a string of albums from 1996 until the end of last decade. The composer may have moved to sunny San Fransisco, California but the sounds he conjures are as ominous as ever, transporting the listener in to a dark, heightened reality. Wirsig has taken his extensive experience crafting sounds and soundtracks for film and video games and created a cinematic album inspired by the legends of the crystal skulls.
The 13 Crystal skulls is stark and foreboding from the first notes. Both terrifying and enticing. Ghouls gasp through cavernous tunnels, overture piano marches in to a daunting darkness. In 'Ghosts of the Aztecs', persistent drums and thudding synth bass take you out of the haze and plant you firmly on the path to seek these relics.
'Ceremony in Tenochtitlan' clearly paints a picture of discovering the treasure you seek in a tomb, only to find that another has got there first. Maybe that's just me. It's a testament to Wirsig's compositional skills that his soundscapes can not only plant a scene in your head but also give you the sense that you are there personally with a vested interest. It's upsettingly cliche to say but Wirsig makes you feel as if you're in a vivid, lucid dream.
'Carved Legend' brings to mind spirits overseeing the forging of a sword of fortune. The fading clinks of metal, a blacksmith's grindstone slowly spinning. Sparks fly around you.
'Watching Eyes' is a highlight. Music box piano struggles to survive over the looming danger of the underlying synths. A mortal dealing with powers it doesn't understand. The music box and the beast seem to meld for the finale. Poignant.
Crystal Skulls is crafted for a very specific listener. Even those seeking dark, brooding rock may not find what their looking for as the album doesn't ever coalesce in to normal song structure. However, for lovers of movie and video game scores, this is an intensely satisfying piece. I liken it to reading a book and creating the images in your head rather than watching them on TV. Perhaps you may see something far different than I.