SETI (Taylor Deupree)

With their SETI project, Tayor Deupree and Savvas Ysatis created something that is truly music of the stars. The albums were made not only with the leading-edge music technology of the time, but also drew inspiration and sampled sounds from astronomy lectures and deep space transmissions received by Earth's radio telescopes.

artist:
SETI

country of origin:
USA/Greece

style(s):
Ambient techno, spacemusic

decades active:
90's

essential releases:

  • SETI (1994, Instinct)
  • Pharos (1995, Instinct Ambient)

Reviewed by Mike G

A must for fans of 90's ambient techno, SETI (1994) and Pharos (1995) are two albums of first-rate spacemusic from ambient techno's first, glorious wave. The short lived SETI project comprised of gifted New Yorker Taylor Deupree - one of the main creative forces behind the ambient music of legendary 90's label Instinct Records - and Greek-born electronic composer Savvas Ysatis.

SETI, of course, is also the official name for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, a global project that scans the stars for extraterrestrial transmissions. Thus inspired, Deupree and Ysatis created something that is truly music of the stars. The albums were made not only with the leading-edge music technology of the time, but also drew inspiration and sampled sounds from astronomy lectures and deep space transmissions received by Earth's radio telescopes.

For experimental techno, the music is often quite melodic, segueing between sparse, haunting tunefulness and abstract strangeness. It's often bleepy but rarely grating, and unsurprisingly full of space and an alien-like presence. Pharos is a double length album and a good introduction; if you enjoy it then there's no doubt you'll love the self-titled debut SETI as well. The duo's non-essential third album Cyphers (1996) is best avoided; a cold curiosity of rhythmic clicks, pulses, noise and general tunelessness.

On Instinct Records during this period Deupree also recorded three superb ambient techno/trance albums under the pseudonym Human Mesh Dance, more beat-orientated and harmonic than his work as SETI but no less creative and interesting.

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