Seattle-based Andrew Reichel describes k8ema, his follow-up to 2008's IZ, as the “newest planet in the Gel-Sol universe.” Spacey k8ema certainly turns out to be when it carves an explorative path through seventy minutes of psychedelic ambient soundscaping beamed in from the Vangelis and Tangerine Dream universes. Written (as was IZ) for Reichel's niece, the album is an unabashedly synthetic affair that stretches immense washes across softly pulsating skies. Occasional voice samples punctuate the material's lush, symphonic surfaces, and beats and choirs (celestial and children's) are heard in isolated instances. Micro-organisms and glissandi chirp amidst the music's layered tones, and each piece flows into the next, making the album feel like an epic, never-ending dreamscape. The album lifts off with eight galaxial minutes of New Age-styled whooshes, washes, and swirls (“Abyssinia”), before settling into a serenading, slow-motion drift through the cosmos (“k8ema”). Track titles such as “Spirit Guide” and “Halo of Stars” are consistent with the music's oft-soothing tone, but it's not all lightness and sparkle, however. Some welcome grit and grime gets under the fingernails of “Peacetime Fortress,” and brooding moments arise during "Panta Rhei" to offset the heavenly radiance. k8ema often plays like a sonic transmutation of 2001: A Space Odyssey and, during its darker moments especially, the dystopic visions of Blade Runner.