Atomic Cosmonaut Pharmacopoeia

The atmospheric soundtrack has become a hot commodity over the past few years. Bands like Tortoise, Labradford, Godspeed You Black Emperor! and Mogwai are successfully continuing what Pink Floyd and Ry Cooder began a while back. The Atomic Cosmonaut (aka Erik Culp) can be added to the present list of soundtrack artists. Culp, the sole cosmonaut, uses slow and spacy sounds to create a milieu that feels lonesome and desolate. Recorded in his own personal studio, Silver Star Motel, Pharmacopoeia is a journey into Culp's niche as a talented instrumentalist. Assisted by Chris Bell, of the hard-rocking Chore, on drums, Culp's eclecticism surpasses today's typical atmospheric soundtracks. The lead track, "Atomic Cosmonaut," is a moderately repetitive guitar strumming over light drums that gradually picks up the pace, only to end with some quiet vibes. "Radar" sounds as if it were heavily influenced by something off of Labradford's Mi Media Naranja, whereas the following track, "The Fallen Empire/Collapse," contains the hopelessness that GYBE! are praised for. The standout track on the album is the closer, "The Song Of The Dinosaur Shrimp." Eight minutes in length, the song begins with barely anything at all and gradually builds up to a metal jam session more suited to the aforementioned Chore. Pharmacopoeia has its influences sewn to its sleeves, yet it is a welcome addition to an already established genre. (Independent)