Karda Estra has always provided the sound track to truly big ideas, deep thoughts and boundless expanse, so the latest attempt to “chronicle the collision between the Andromeda galaxy and our own Milky Way, the eventual end of everything, a celestial intervention and a return to where everything began – viewed from an impossible, empty shoreline.” is perfect territory to be working in.
The idea of someone stood alone on that shoreline witnessing the end of existence, the beautiful and destructive final act in the story of the galaxy, sounds like a scene from Iain M Banks at his most imaginative or Michael Moorcock at his most surreal and as such the music that is conjured here is as equally unique. Evolving from the gentler themes that evoke the empty shore to the shimmering and fractured music that captures the approach of the encroaching galaxy and the aftermath of the resulting destruction.
These are not songs, those familiar with previous Karda Estra records wouldn’t be expecting anything so mundane anyway, but soundtracks or musical statements created through a wide range of instruments, many more usually found in the classical and folk repertoire. It merges disembodied sounds with sweeping orchestration, mournful piano lines with melancholic woodwind, delicate acoustic guitars with brooding electronica and the result is music that bridges a gap between the dark and the ethereal, sounds that are familiar yet often heavenly and occasionally suitably alien.
As always it is music that opens the mind to the impossible questions, questions about the cyclical nature of the death and rebirth of the universe, the transient nature of life, the majesty and unfathomable beauty of the destruction of worlds, systems, and galaxies. There aren’t many records that simultaneously evoke astro-physics, philosophy and Roy Batty’s famous last speech in Blade Runner, but you can always count on Karda Estra to give you more than you bargained for.