MARK DORRICOTT/STAN DART, Seaside
Seaside, an epic 16-track, double CD intricately conceived and executed concept album by composer/musicians Stan Dart (from Austria) and Mark Dorricott (UK), is an ambient electronica masterwork – and one of the most mystical, soulful, dreamy. percussive and lushly produced film scores you’re likely to ever hear.
Only there’s no actual film, except in the duo’s imagination as they envision what may have happened during the era between the timeline of the original “Blade Runner” (which takes place NOW, 2019!) and its recent sequel Blade Runner 2049.
Here's a little background for insight into how Dart and Dorricott – who use only virtual and synthesized instruments to create their expansive sonic universe – came to create this extraordinary project. Though he cites Jan Hammer’s revolutionary hit music for “Miami Vice” as the catalyst that inspired him to start composing electronic music, nothing captured Dart more than Vangelis’ award winning score for Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner.” He’s also been fascinated for years with the dystopian future of replicants and runners that the film depicts. When he and Dorricott were working on their 2016 album “Midnight,” they realized they had a mutual passion for Vangelis. After many delays for a sequel due to outside commitments, the success of the film sequel made Seaside a no brainer.
An artful fusion of Dart’s atmospheric synth music and Dorricott’s spirited jazzy melodies, Seaside invites us into a fascinating sonic realm that dares us to imagine the unspoken day to day life that Deckard (Harrison Ford) and Rachael (Sean Young) must have shared together. Disc One rolls from the spacious, tenderly expressive “Waves” to the funky, hypnotic discofied synth jam of “Deckard’s Party” and includes the project’s lone vocal, the hauntingly soulful and ominous “It’s A Rainy Day” (featuring Ms. King).
These ten tracks (plus a single mix of “Time’s Right”) reflect the human side, the “almost normal” life of the couple, full of good times despite being hunted relentlessly by the rest of the blade runners. Disc Two, a five-track suite of stark atmospheres, immersive moody ambiences and occasional bouts of swirling chaos, is bookended by two 11 minute tracks, the multi-movement “Replicant’s Dream” and the densely percussive, soaring “Thannhause Gate.”
This part of the album, which the duo calls “the replicant side,” is the description of the opposite of human life: the life of artificial beings. By Dart’s admission, it’s not simply emotionally impactful, aurally wondrous entertainment. These pieces are intended to inspire us to think about the meaning of life – and what that concept means for those of an artificial race with implanted consciousness who may be asking the same questions. “So,” he says, “disc two is dedicated to these beings, their life in outer space and the respect we should pay to them.” You don’t have to be a “Blade Runner” fanatic to appreciate and enjoy Seaside. But if you are, you may start hoping some writer and director out there hear it and start translating it to an onscreen narrative.