Stratosphere is the new EP from the electronica duo Tullamarine. Bringing together influences from Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno and Aphex Twin, they fill your ears with a patchwork of sounds. Swinging from rich ambient soundscapes to pop melodies and minimalistic designs, the EP is an ever-changing sonic experience that has to be experienced to truly understand.
Consisting of long-time friends Adam Young and Jess Armitage, the band has been creating swirling soundscapes since 2015. It was late-night conversations and half-formed ideas that led them to blend their sonic worlds. Since then, they have released an album and a range of singles leading to this EP.
The EP starts with the title track ‘Stratosphere’. The roiling sounds of the opening combine with the deep beat to draw you into the band’s soundscape. There is a restless sound in the lower levels of the track like it is poised to leap. The upper levels have a building feeling to them as they progressively take over the soundscape. However, instead of an explosion of sound, there is a turn to something more stable like a realisation that the bad thing you were expecting is not going to happen.
‘Automaton’ has a sombre opening that is threaded with a strange sense of melancholy. The piano notes make you think of dust floating through the air in an old building while invoking the feelings of what used to be. This is a very peaceful song that you can easily breathe with. It is also a very carefully crafted track with a wonderful melodic flow that is both smooth and uneasy. This makes for a song that you really can’t stop listening to.
The last track is ‘Monochrome’ but there is nothing one-dimensional about it. There is a rich depth to the lower levels of the melody with shuffling beats hanging over it. The pulsing synths have a charged feeling to them as they build tension. This combines with the bouncing higher notes. The different elements in the melody almost seem like they are talking to each other which makes this song really interesting to listen to. What they are saying is anyone’s guess, but they are trying to tell you something.
Tullamarine sets you in an ever-changing soundscape moving from restless melodies to gentle piano lines and pulsing synths in Stratosphere. While the EP is only three songs long, you are hit with the versatility of the band. Each track has its own flow and there is nothing quite like the sound they produce.