Record Review - 3 October 30 2003

Sound Tribe Sector 9's latest release, Live At Home, is an exhaustive exploration of the musical possibilities created by the heavy use of synthesizers, vocal samples, sound effects and traditional instruments.

The tracks, better described as soundscapes, each express a different mood or scene. The album compiles musical experimentations played at home, though not recorded live. Some songs are collaborations between band members, such as "Luma Sunrise," a softly droning piece perfect as background music to a lazy Sunday afternoon. However, most tracks are the result of a single creator.

It wouldn't be surprising to find "Linguistics" in a porno film soundtrack. Parts of "L1nQs" are reminiscent of the one-dimensional beeps of original Nintendo games. "Midwest" is a layered musical meandering with heavy jazz influences. "Ocean's Ride," the only track with any considerable vocal part, provides ample beach vibes for the imaginative listener.

Live is an intense and pulsating experience — with one listen not nearly enough to fully experience and appreciate all the nuances, emotions and musical peaks it has to offer. Much of the album accentuates sound over traditional rock structure, and the band openly acknowledges that fact in the album's closing soundbite: A child declares that he likes fire trucks but does not like music. His teacher responds: "Would you dance to the siren of a fire truck? Is that music?"

Sound Tribe Sector 9 plays the Tabernacle Fri., Oct. 31. $20.