Laika was a stray dog before she was sent into the black void of space by Soviet Russia in 1957, becoming the first animal to go into space and orbit the Earth. Perpetual Journey has been flung into the depths of space, too, but the music strays closer to home with things that affect all of us: disentangling our own entwined emotional states, weird flukes and strange destinies.
Laika died five hours into her space flight. She went down in history, but something else came to light. Soviet officials had misled the public on two fronts, one being the length of her mission and the other in her cause of death. She didn’t die painlessly after a week in orbit. She died from overheating and panic just hours into the mission. Five hours of torture, to be precise. Panic can quickly suffocate our minds, too. It overrides cognitive thought and shrinks the capability of the brain.
When things aren’t going so well, it’s important to slow down, take a timeout, and remember that life isn’t a straight, single road. Point A to Point B usually looks like a child’s doodling: you go one step forward and then two steps back; you zigzag from side to side; you zoom up high like an airplane before plummeting the crayon to the bottom of the page: that’s rock bottom.
Perpetual Journey isn’t a straight line, either. A deep confusion buries itself within the music’s metallic structures, locked inside the claustrophobic static and the echoing, eternal hisses. Free will is strangled. Under the great duress of stress, heart rates shoot up to three times the normal level.
Both conceptually and musically, the album orbits the outer layers of the Earth, but Stri? takes the listener on a journey of inner discovery, too. It isn’t a cold or isolated listen: ‘Capsule’, the opener, is a noisy start, with clanking tones and a thrusting bass-sequence. Lukewarm synths and subdued harmonies are dispersed within the album, as are frayed, stitched-together patches of radio. Cut-out and indistinct vocals are left to loop, as if calling for her to return home, calling her name from the backyard of a shrunken continent whilst knowing deep down that there will be no answer. Hope is extinguished and reality digs at the base of the skull with a cruel truth. The coda leaves an emotional aftertaste as cries are splattered against a dense wall of sound: she won’t be coming back.
Finally, the music fades until its life sensors are no longer received.