bigover.gif As always, a plethora of miscellaneous audio odds and ends for your perusal and consideration. With a variety of styles, surely something here will catch your ear. The accompaniment of outgoing web linkage will lead you to more information, of course.

CC:Dome: Dream Furious   (Cursor Club - 2000) (8.4)
CC:Dome delivers soft electro-fantasies. Luxuriant tones ebb-and-flow in The Glistening, to be eventually joined by a faintly gritty rhythm. The Glistening II (6:40) swirls in dreamy synth washes, pumped up by a bubbly bassline and lightly clattering percussion. The adjective "dreamy" wants to apply itself again to the Remix of Fibilini's Tango (4:00) which .

With Pandora's Pastoral, the 29.5 minute disc closes on the lush wonders of beatlessly drifting synth/strings. Until the Cursor Club website is more fully functional, e-mail Cursor Club for more info.

Chaos as Shelter: In the Shelter of Chaos   (the Rectrix - 1999) (8.5)
As dark, dank and noisy as a poltergeist-infested tomb, the nine slabs of blackness which emanate from In the Shelter of Chaos will practically suck the light from your listening environment, if not from your soul. Almost 65 minutes of droning, groaning and electronic moaning are pierced with assorted clatter and unidentifiable bumps in the night. The dangerous atmospheres lull during A funeral for your flesh (11:47) as demonic symphonics hover in waiting, like an angel of death. Unidentifiably mutated sound sources abound in In the shelter of chaos, pt 2 (5:35) backed by sporadically clattering beats, careening hightones, and arachaic accents.

From Israel, Chaos as Shelter has bled the venom from his/their heart, personalizing this boiling cauldron of sound-muck with tortured dreams... and, yes, I mean that in a good way! Seekers of darkness, the Rectrix is building a catalog of dark ambient sounds which you need to know about.

Eyeless in Gaza: Song of the Beautiful Wanton   (Soleilmoon - 2000) (8.0)
Melancholy (though often rousing) experimental/electronic Gothpopfolk songs seem to be a mainstay of the Song of the Beautiful Wanton, my first look into Eyeless in Gaza (a.k.a. Pete Becker and Martyn Bates). Wan vocals croon and spiritedly strummed guitars ring over faint electronics in tracks like the piano and drone haunted Dearsong and the harmoniously mysterious Less Sky... think of a more-folky early-Cure perhaps.

Among the Blue Flowers and the Yellow (2:01) (like Lullay my Liking and The Silkie) seem particularly like ethereal folksongs where voice and guitar enjoin in semi-medieval arrangements. One Light Then (12:27) makes an extended foray into structured pop explorations with jangling guitar, muffled femme chorals and pattering beats.

Quickly flowing Mysterious Traffic rockingly explores vocal-free highways by way of guitar, drum and electronics. My personal favorite would be the gorgeously spooky (and un-sung) Old and Cold and Full of Ghosts where violin sounds waft through weirdly phasing remnants. Interesting and moody despite its blatantly non-ambient modes, the disc is certainly left of the mainstream at any rate. Contact Soleilmoon for more info on this and many other more-properly-ambient releases.

Kozo: Planned Penetration   (Waveform - 2000) (7.8)
Brassy horn stylings and downtempo jazzlounge vibes are peppered with electronic accompaniment and stylish e-percussion. Call it ambient/electronic jazz... Kozo Ikeno's a one-man-show combining experimental electronics with cool beats and do-it-yourself brass. Room Service delivers a dub-like bass rhythm behind which swaggering drumhits spatter and moodily honking trumpets sounds drift. An overpowering electrorhythm gives a tribal edge to Voodoo (1:38), as hornlayers effectively work their black magic. The slow beats of Fieldwork (7:02) allow the echoey trumpet sounds to shine through in a retro-style gleam.

Here's the thing though... when I (don't) listen, ambient-style, I get (and enjoy) the jazz-flavored, hip-hop grooviness as intended. When I do actually listen though, (and I readily admit to NOT being any kind of jazz aficionado) the horn blares often seem not-quite-ripe, like someone's practicing and getting pretty good, but just not all the way there yet. The packaging said something like "makes you wonder if Miles Davis would be making sounds like this"...well, to that I say rigor mortis of the lips and fingers might cause that.

Listen with your own ears at the Waveform site, where you can connect to their Musical Starstreams for streaming webaudio sampling. See also the review of Ras Command's Serious Smokers also from Waveform.

neurepublik: Promo2000   (Self-released - 1999, 2000) (8.4)
A convergence of darkness and light, this 43.5-minute promotional disc compiles 9 tracks from jeff crowell who skillfully balances dark electrogoth moods and lighter synthpop arrangements, bringing out the best of each IMO. Of course with this type of blend, you never know... it may seem too soft for electronoiseheads, and too rough for dancepop fans.

Prime examples way out and the real me are presented in two versions, bookending the CD with their fragile-yet-powerful sounds. i believe in nothing drips with sweet electric melancholy, wrapped in phantasmal whispers and e-piano, spattered with bass and beats. Surrounded by bubbling notes, assorted media samples are interjected into the twisted expressions of happy, and Bauhaus' bela lugosi's dead is faithfully resurrected, revitalized even, in a more electronic style.

For a closer look, see the neurepublik homepage, or listen at the mp3.com site.

Brent A. Reiland & John Lyell: Wormholes   (Solar Wind - 1998) (8.4)
I met up with John Lyell (and Brent A. Reiland) at the Robert Rich/James Johnson/Ma Ja Le show last month in Milwaukee. Their deep, dark and deliciously spacy sounds lead to various celestial destinations, from the more abstract to the more musical. Tracks like Wormholes, Abandon Soul, Machine Shop Pluto and Star Child remain intriguingly unfathomable, writhing in shapeless electronic soundwaves, interstellar drones and other sci-fi effects.

Others are more overtly musical, though still spacious in nature... New Worlds retains Earthly ties with slow beats, synth streams and exploratory Floyd-ian electric guitar. Twinkling notes spiral through the slowly revolving audiocosmos of Quasar Planes (5:04) while Remember recalls a spacier "Chariots of Fire" with beats, analog drifts and echoey e-piano. Oriental-ish strings are plucked amid soft electronic waves and low rhythms in the calmly expanding Rain Harp Horizon (10:04).

With 10 nicely rendered tracks adding up to more than 70 minutes of spacemusic, this shuttle makes stops at several different stations, reflecting various moods and styles of this extraterrestrial genre. It's recommended that you get your own boarding pass and other deep space information at the Wormholes website.

Kent Sparling: Route Canal Diary   (Jicama Salad Co. - 1997) (8.5)
Nearly one hour of decidedly experimental musicscapes, Kent Sparling's Route Canal Diary meanders through exotically decorated otherworlds via six pieces of non-traditionally-played instruments and other altered noise. With a hypnotic chorus of ethnobeats, guitar and accordian-like keyboarding, Fellahin Snapshot (4:08) captures a strangely lit scene. Clattering oil-drum-and-bucket percussion is entwined with distorted slide-guitar strands in High Atlas. The almost-13-minute-long During Shooting Star juxtaposes spacious piano notes with the sitting-around-the-campfire ambiance of crackling kindling and chirping crickets.

More abstrast treatments turn the source sounds of Called Out of Time into rippling zig zags of sound with a watery rhythm. At 28.5 minutes, Good Posture emits a continual series of sky-swallowing sonic rays, droning away in regularly thrumming cycles. Enjoyably simple arrangements and a suitable lo-fi recording make for transportive listening down some dusty backroads to wonderland in Kent Sparling's psyche.

Posted May 29, 2000 | 1999/2000 Overviews Index

AmbiEntrance © 2000-1997 by David J Opdyke (except CD cover art, rights retained by original owners).