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Ambient noise is all around us, from the chatter of people to the dull drone of the traffic and the trill of birdsong. At times the background cacophony of sound it can be deafening and at others, it can be a thing of beauty. Even is you lay in bed and are lucky enough to find that absolute silence around you, there will still be some distant hum breaking the tranquility - even if it is just the sound of blood rushing through your ears.

London based artist, Vacant Stations focuses his current project in the grey area somewhere in between the chaos of the world and that internal serenity we seek. Clones is a soundscape of darkly ambient, claustrophobic and cinematic vistas. It's a piece of work inspired by maintaining our identity in a world where uniformity is embraced; from the way we think, feel and interact through technology, to our sense of self and purpose in a coldly scientific world. From the sinister opening of Day, we are plunged into an underworld where humanity and technology collide. The icy bass synth sounds pulling you into the abyss. The sense of isolation grows with the ghostly electronic chorus that phase in and out of the track. There's a feeling of both wonderment and also dread on this piece too.

There are tinges of Violence laced in Five as an insurgency takes place in the musical world. The phasing in and out of sounds draws comparisons with Brad Fidel's first terminator soundtrack which, although more industrial and metallic in sound, deals with the concept of humanity and the machine: Clones is a fiercely futuristic atmospheric album in a similar vein.

The album gradually intensifies in sound and briefly moves away from the bleakness. During Reprieve we get a glimmer of hope in the closest form of a melody we've had so far replaces the underscore to a barren musical apocalypse. Rubberneck plays with elements of white-noise to disorientate the listener.

The final track, Publix brings in a polyphony of sounds against a jarring peal of bells that heralded a new dawn and we move out of the darkness and into a subtle ray of hope. In Clones, Vacant Stations have created a noirish and cinematic album that could easily replace the diegetic din of the outside world.

Groupie Rating 4/5

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