Album Review – Cochrane – Sounds Like Science; A Journey Into Sonic Alchemy

Delving into the world of Cochrane McMillan, otherwise simply known as Cochrane, is like stepping into a scientific laboratory where sound is the primary subject of experimentation. From the Californian coast, this composer, musician, and artist brings an interdisciplinary approach to music, blending a profound fascination with the science of things with a desire to construct fresh sonic environments.

“Sounds Like Science” arrives with a promise—a full hour of meticulous sound sculpting spanning across 9 instrumental tracks that manifest Cochrane’s quest for completion and release. The resulting album feels less like a series of tracks and more like a singular auditory experience that meanders through time, evoking a sense of lost and found, of chaos and order.

The journey commences with “Horizontal Transfer,” a masterclass in tension and release. We’re submerged into an aural landscape that contorts, stutters, and sings. The delicate infusion of an acoustic guitar offers a familiar touchstone amid an otherwise alien soundscape, suggesting that Cochrane’s science is as much about the heart as it is about the mind.

In a similar vein, “Sponge Modeling 101” is less a traditional song and more a sensory expedition. With its hazy tones and intricate layers, the track envelops listeners in an electronic mist, challenging them to discern the organic from the synthetic. It’s both a testimony to Cochrane’s sound-designing prowess and an auditory invitation to lean in and listen deeply.

“Can’t Stay Home” offers a tactile groove—a merger of the electronic and the analog. Its sprawling 10-minute runtime showcases the interplay between these two realms, never rushing, but constantly evolving, keeping the listener both anchored and adrift.

Skipping to the second part of this sonic diary, “Hidden Variables” presents a delicate, almost meditative canvas where piano notes resonate like drops of water on a still pond, sending ripples through the sonic spectrum. The duality between the organic and the mechanized continues in “Haus on Haus.” The clear guitar plucks juxtaposed against the burgeoning synths reinforce Cochrane’s command over melding distinct sound worlds.

The culminating moment is undeniably “Gdp / Planck Length,” a magnum opus where every second of its sixteen-and-a-half-minute span feels necessary. It’s a composition that asks for immersion. As layers build upon one another, we’re led through a swirling ambience that feels like a controlled descent into Cochrane’s core ethos.

Interwoven throughout the album are the occasional sampled spoken words, almost as if eavesdropping on snippets of thoughts or overheard conversations. These moments of vocal clarity amid the largely instrumental soundscape add depth and mystery, alluding to the secrets and revelations of the scientific process.

Yet, what makes “Sounds Like Science” truly compelling isn’t just its craftsmanship or its intricacy, but its emotive power. Cochrane’s meticulousness never veers into cold or sterile territory. Instead, every beat, loop, and melody pulse with life and intention. It’s a testament to the album’s central ethos, one that explores the liminal space between logic and emotion, science and artistry.

In an era where music is often consumed passively, “Sounds Like Science” demands attention. It’s not just background fodder but a rich tapestry that reveals more with each listen. As we reach the album’s end, it’s evident that Cochrane is not just a sonic scientist but a true artist, crafting pieces that invite introspection, wonder, and an appreciation for the interplay between nature and technology.

Just released on September 22nd, “Sounds Like Science” is a testament to Cochrane’s boundless creativity and dedication to his craft. This isn’t just an album; it’s an experience. And as the final note fades, one can’t help but wonder, with bated breath, where this sonic alchemist will take us next.

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