The Minus Pilots refer to themselves as “sound experimentalists devoted to improvisational aural assaults or otherwise skewed music often played slowly and quietly.” And they have the MP3s to back up the claim. Currently posted on the minuspilots.com website are excerpts from an upcoming album, Boundless Walls, and other tracks that date from the same recording period. After its static-laden opening, “An Exit” is like a great Air (or latter day Pink Floyd) tune, one with a melody that seems sweet enough, until it’s been looped back around so many times that it becomes a theme you can’t get out of your head; layers of field recordings keep the timbre dark. “Drive Yards” is a soundscape stained with hauntingly distant voices and music; aural elements swerve by, then reappear as if you’ve never heard them before, as if it had been recorded in a place from some science fiction novel by Greg Egan or Steve Erickson, a place where small timewarps are transforming the environment. “Transmission” finds a nice tension between a romantic piano line and the mechanical echo that allows it to mirror itself, when suddenly the Pilots display an unexpected bit of humor, interrupting the song with a Cold War-era public service announcement.
“Disconnected,” one of the two non-album tracks, ventures into the illbient realm of dub — a deep chasm of echo, but one with too many twists and turns to appeal to anyone just looking to zone out; it’s a purposefully bad trip, and one worth taking. The title of “Remote” comes from the TV accessory, not the emotional state so common in electronically mediated music. It changes channels like a John Zorn suite, from horror-show organ to free jazz to spare percussion, with a whole lot more in between. Like all the songs here, it opts for narrative over song form, and like “Disconnected” in particular it makes art of disjunction. Warp your MP3 player at minuspilots.com.