1320 Records In light of recent reports that lava tubes under the moon’s surface would make ideal locations for human settlements, Ad Explorata is already the required listening front-runner for any future space station residents. With a captivating backstory that sounds like something straight out of LOST, STS9’s latest effort is steeped in mystery and overflowing with astral ambience. As always, it’s outer space music for outer space people. The band’s musical maturity is obvious on tunes like “Phoneme” and “EHM,” where programmed drums lay the foundation before the raw primal power of Zach Velmer’s mind-bendingly good live drumming is utilized for maximum emotional effect. The frenetic guitar and bombastic drums of “Heavy” make for an anxiety-filled flight through dark and moody intergalactic territory, and “Looking Back on Earth” oozes with ethereal swagger.

The biggest punch comes mostly in the form of standouts like live favorite “EHM,” with its drip-drop gangsta lean vibe, and the glitchy, gritty and agressive “Lion,” easily Ad Explorata‘s darkest foray. The interplanetary lullaby feel that is explored on the title track continues into even dreamier realms with “Re:Stereo.” “Central” is at the heart of the album’s inspiration, with the creepy repeated numbers having much more meaning than initially meets the ear, and their story is certainly worth seeking out. “ATLAS” and “Oil & Water” are the perfect examples of what STS9 is doing these days, making what is ultimately mood music, but with a slyness that leaves every single one of those moods completely open for interpretation, which explains their rapidly expanding, genre-defying fanbase.