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It is interesting that Klayton chose to release these acoustic/ambient songs under the Celldweller moniker. Then again, if Celldweller has become the central pillar in the Scandroid/Circle of Dust/Celldweller triad, what does it matter? Furthermore, as the lines between the three “entities in one” become more obscured, it actually makes a ton of sense. Afterall, he has already released almost 3 volumes of “soundtracks” and numerous other clips for video games/movies, etc. under the Celldweller brand, so why should it matter? Nevertheless, there is no doubt that those who are looking for an aggressive and rhythmic collection of new material will be disappointed by Offworld, an album driven more by the lyrical catharsis than pulsating/bass-thumping rhythms. For me at least, I don’t really care, as long as the music is good … and after repeated listens, these songs are very good.

Conceptually, this album is a nice complement to what we’ve been through with End of an Empire, the debut Scandroid release and the new Circle of Dust. The title seems to be inspired by the original Blade Runner movie (for those old enough to remember) from the early 80’s – this whole concept of “replicants” and going “offworld.” I actually love how “Embracing Entropy” and “Malacandra” from COD show up here alongside “Awakening With You” from Scandroid. And speaking of that song – this version of “Awakening…” is probably my favorite, much more eerily passionate and somewhat sultry in the spirit of 80’s Vangelis Blade Runner. And I absolutely love how the reprise of Offworld is a remake of the Celldweller classic “Own Little World” from the debut. So cool how these two songs are blended. The acoustic driven “The Great Divide” is solid, and the cover of The Call’s “Too Many Tears” is really good as well. For me, though, the best song is “Last Night on Earth.” I love the lyrics and the way the music – laced with those 80’s synths - builds throughout to the climax.

I can see the musical criticisms with the short songs (“How Little I Must Know” and “Mother’s Arms”) – although I love the lyrics to them – and can even agree with the observation that there isn’t as much original material here compared to the first 3 full length Celldweller releases. I can’t disagree with that, but in fairness, Klayton did reveal that this album was a bit of a “revelation” in that it came to him quickly and was recorded much more quickly than any of the other Celldweller releases to date. Certainly, this album wouldn’t make as much sense if it were recorded 10 years ago, but in the context of the current Klayton milieu I think it works really well. Mostly importantly, I don’t think we’ve yet had an album this emotionally transparent y from Klayton. Yes, he’s always been cynical, passionate, aggressive, outspoken, etc., but with Offworld we get to enjoy the more profoundly spiritual side of his offerings, and for that I am grateful. There is a maturity to the content that says “I don’t have to be heavy, fast, loud and rhythmic” to be relevant.

In essence, Offworld offers yet another perspective into Klayton’s musical world, one that might not appeal to some fans, but one which feels more mature and transparent in many ways than his more aggressive works. The artwork on the CD triple gatefold digi version is fantastic and the lyrics are included (although not necessarily in the correct order). Listen to this with headphones. [F.I.X.T.]

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