Music Reviews 


Reviews 12-11-2001


Acousma: Electroacoustsic Music

by Dr. Robert Scott Thompson

Visit Aucourant Records  website

Dr. Robert Scott Thompson created the elements of "Acousma: Electroacoustic Music" during the period from 1996 through 2001.  Some of the elements (pieces) have appeared on previous releases.  "Acousma," as an entity in and of itself, was created in 2001.

An acousma is "a form of auditory hallucination, a sensation of hearing imaginary sounds (also acouasm) or a nonverbal auditory hallucination, such as a ringing, buzzing or hissing." 

This double CD set comes with a booklet of detailed comprehensive liner notes in which Robert describes his styles, techniques and/or intents for each piece.  There is also a very informative and enlightening essay by Ronald Squibbs, Ph. D., presumably one of Robert's colleagues.

The project was supported by a grant from Georgia State University (Robert is an associate professor there) and commissioned by The Electric Music Foundation.

If this is not the best CD of Robert's career, it is certainly one of the most important CD's.  This composition can be appreciated as a long-form continuous play symphony or as a collection of related pieces.  It also works very well on random play with other ambient, minimalist, classical and/or avant- discs.

So, where does the focused listener go with this set?  The set represents a veritable kaleidoscope of emotional, spiritual, physical and intellectual responses.  There are Celtic references, accolades to Robert Moog, references to T. S. Eliot and mathematical progressions and algorithms.  So, deep listeners will go in many different directions, some of them simultaneously.

The career of this genius is, essentially, the history of modern computerized music.  That Robert is able to translate that to the ambient and minimalist genres is a tribute to his genius and to his creativity.

This is an absolutely essential CD!

Reviewed by Jim Brenholts


Temporal Suspensions


Reflections in Mercury


The Solstice Sessions

by Craig Padilla and
Skip Murphy

Visit Craig Padilla's website

Craig Padilla and Skip Murphy collaborated on some of the deepest space music of the 90's.  Their most recent CD had been "Beyond Beta" on 1995.

They got together from December of 2000 through January, 2001 for The Solstice Sessions.  They recorded almost three hours of music.  They have released two of those hours on two D.A.M. CD's.  "Temporal Suspensions" is hypnotic atmospheric CD.  "Reflections in Mercury" is the rhythmic Berlin school sequenced disc.

Craig has stated that composing atmospheric minimalism comes very easily to him even though it is not his preferred mode.  The grace and beauty of "Temporal Suspensions" will surprise deep listeners.  This is a very personal statement from Craig and Skip.  The music is the statement and the journey.  They invite listeners to go along to distant destinations inside the self and outside the realms of reality.  The disc works well for meditation or for imaginative sci-fi sound worlds.

"Reflections in Mercury" gets right down to it!  It starts with a Middle Eastern influenced sequence and builds and amazes after that.  This is a high-energy frenzy and a smorgasbord of delightful nuggets and delightful tidbits.  The sequences are heavy; the walls of sound are steep; the atmospheres are vast.  This is where Craig likes to be and this is where he goes with Skip.  There are no hidden meanings.  This is "in-your-face" Berlin school fun!

"The Solstice Sessions" can be enjoyed either as two CD set or as two individual CD's.  At D.A.M. budget prices, the former is suggested.  The latter is a viable option.

Reviewed by Jim Brenholts


Strange Jukebox: Live at Mother Fool's

by MilkBaby

Visit Uvulittle Records' website

Individually, Barry Bennet, David Lee Smith and Tracee Westmoreland were dropped on their heads at birth.  Collectively, as MilkBaby, they are stilling their heads, HARD!  Now, however, they bang their heads against a wall of indifference.  These talented folks have every right to wonder why they do not have a larger-than-national following. 

"Strange Jukebox: Live at Mother Fool's" is their third CD.  It is their first release on Uvulittle Records, an independent label out of Madison, Wisconsin.

It is a dense soundscape of ethnic rhythms, electronic manipulations, acoustic accompaniment and ethereal vocals.  And it is as unpredictable as a Detroit Lions victory!  Deep listeners will feel the pull as the band takes them in many different directions at the same time.  The sixth piece, "Holyholdme," is a frenetic amalgamation of pure emotions, many of them undefined.

This is a great roller coaster ride.  Uphill swings build the tension that is let out with sharp, steep and energetic falls.  The unpredictability is the fun of this CD!  It is hard to find!  Look hard.  Find it!  Enjoy!

Reviewed by Jim Brenholts


Return Home