On his second solo release under the moniker 15er, guitarist Kyle Jackson abandons the sonic boom often lowered with his mates in Six Star General in favor of ambient, stargazing electronica. Out of the Future and Into the Woods ($6 shipped at 75orLessRecords.com) follows 2009's Backseat Lifer, and this time around Jackson's mission strays far beyond the stratosphere.
"There's a loose structure across the album — it takes place in the future and deals with lost transmissions floating around space," Jackson told me when we caught up earlier this week.
"I've been a film buff since I was about 10 years old, and to me this record is a soundtrack to a film that hasn't been made or that only lives in my head," he continued.
"Think of it as music to make movies to."
Having spent time with Jackson over the past five years, we're usually talking up mutual personal favorites like Queens of the Stone Age, Silkworm, or pretty much anything John Agnello produced in the '90s, so this sonic detour is an unexpected yet interesting offering from a dude known for rocking the shit out of a wah-wah pedal with the thunderous Six Star crew (which, by the way, took back-to-back Best Song honors in our Best Music Poll).
"The ambient, electronic stuff definitely is not the leader of the pack in terms of my music collection, but it has its own spot," said Jackson. "The first time I watched A Clockwork Orange and heard Wendy Carlos's score for the film, it pretty much blew me away and piqued my interest in the genre."
Jackson succinctly described the 15er sound as "stoner/electronic/space-type stuff" in a recent email, which is spot-on when spinning Out of the Future opening cuts "The Mounteblank of Your Mind" and the nearly seven-minute jam "Living Through Kiloyears." Local musician Stan Sobczak provides all the swirling and spacey Moog synths, while friend Jodie Treolar (who sang lead vox on a killer rendition of T Rex's "Life's a Gas" with Six Star General) offers the occasional "lost transmission," but the album mostly is a one-man effort. Jackson utilized his iPhone (and the NanoStudio app) to program and record the loops and drum tracks. "SN2087A," "A Dizzying Frenzy in 2101" and "Levitation Increases by Multiples of Four" pick up the pace, while the chillwavey numbers "Disintegrating In Our Spacesuits" and the closing title cut reek like a jettisoned escape pod brimming with bong smoke.
Jackson enlisted 75orLess go-to producer Kraig Jordan and his Plan of a Boy studio for some final touches, and echoed the 15er mission statement.
"The album is like a soundtrack to a movie that I haven't seen, and while I was working on it, I was envisioning scenes and trying to add effects, flourishes, and sounds that would fit the 'story.' "
Jackson currently has no plans to perform under the 15er name (which comes from a deal he made with Coma Coma bassist Eric Sampson on the way back from a Bottomless Pit show in Boston: "I promised I would give him a '15er' tomorrow for gas"), but he and his Six Star mates (Slick MacDougall and Dan Ulmschneider) stay busy on the local live circuit just about every weekend, and Jackson reports that the trio is writing and practicing a bunch of new songs to be cut with Jordan in early December, with plans to release their ninth studio album in early 2013.
SIX STAR GENERAL + COMA COMA + HURRICANE ME | Judge Roy Bean's, 1 State St, Bristol | 21+ | $5 | 401.253.7526 | 15er.bandcamp.com | 75orlessrecords.com