Sci-Fi Industries

[Architectural Development sleeve]"Architectural Development" (Album, 2005)


Architectural Development is an accurate choice of titles for what is as much a collection of sound sculptures as anything else and its also a step up from their brilliantly-entitled if frustratingly variable Dead People on Stylish Chairs. Like a lot of their Portuguese label mates, Scf-Fi Industries are interested first and foremost in exploring the textural possibilities of sound and use various electronic resources to produce a series of pieces that sometimes sound as much like stereo effect test discs as they do compositions.

We're firmly rooted in instrumental breaks soundtrack territory here, and there's an unmistakably European feel about the proceedings, though more like the achingly cool theme to a relaxed, hot afternoon siesta than the noise of a dingy nightclub. As much as it occasionally risks drifting off into deep sleep space, thanks mainly to the cleverly intricate (though never tricksy-for-tricksy sake) construction, this always has you hanging on for just a little more, knowing that the odds are your patience will be rewarded with something both leftfield and smart. A notch above much of the competition. 8/10

Rob Dyer (May 2009)

[Dead People on Stylish Chairs sleeve]"Dead People on Stylish Chairs" (Album, 2001)


Whatever my thoughts might be on the music, this easily walks away with the award for Album Title of The Year. I mean, Dead People on Stylish Chairs - how cool is that? Sci-Fi Industries is a project of Luis Filipe Seixas, aka ThisCo.'s Ras-al-Ghul. Somewhere in the contemporary middle ground between Herbie Hancock's Rocket and early Roni Size, this doesn't quite live up to its brilliant title. Nevertheless, the music remains a rewarding take on drum 'n bass, that takes a few side swipes at dub, SF film soundtracks and breakbeat. Percussion focussed, occasionally a bit too clever for its own good and also pretty dark, but possibly not as groundbreaking as it thinks it is.

More variety would have been welcome, and it's very 'clean' sounding despite the odd crackling, glitchy vinyl sample. The layering technique used means there's a fair bit going on, but it is never really very dense or complex. There are plenty of breaks and changes but the overall feeling is one of great in parts only. Allegedly done without the use of any computers - samplers and rack mounts notwithstanding I suspect. Vertebra 21 manages to pull together all the best elements. One to definitely keep an eye on. 6/10

Rob Dyer