There is a seamless emptiness to life. Stop thinking for just a moment, and all you will hear, if you’re lucky, is the wind blowing through the trees. If you’re not lucky, it will be the howl of empty space. Most music seeks to fill that space with something else: noise, joy, love. We are afraid of absence, so we search for ways to distract ourselves from it. We hope that music will be our salvation.
Titanium Tunnels’ The Last Cosmonaut and the Infinite Computer, on the other hand, amplifies emptiness with sparse echoes of sound that punctuate the void. Before the music begins, the album introduces a wave of static, alluding to the sound of tuning a radio and beginning the deconstruction of boundaries between sound and silence, music and noise. As the tracks thrum along, there is always a sensation of searching, as if we are trying to find a stable centre. We are lost in empty space, and the music might be our only link to something real. This is not an album for the agoraphobic.
Though we never find anything solid, Titanium Tunnels’ simple yet evocative music guides us seamlessly through the anxieties of a potentially meaningless existence. One track fades into another, a continuity suggested by the ellipses in the title of each song, and slight alterations among the futuristic computer sounds give us hope that we will set our feet upon the ground. But it is not to be. We are destined to be wanderers. As the last deep notes sound in “E…”, the final track of The Last Cosmonaut, we return, finally, to empty space.
These are our choices: we could start again, static in our ears, and hope to find something meaningful among the noise — or we can resign ourselves to silence, remaining steadfast in the certainty of emptiness. Titanium Tunnels The Last Cosmonaut And The Infinite Computer... calls us to the former path. To remain in silence is to abandon those who continue to make noise and fight. It is better to be lost together than a lone witness to the horrors of silence.