Reviews 01-24-2002


Music Reviews 


The Earth Space Continuum- A Virtual Sound Experience

by Sozra

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Sozra is John Sosnowsky.The Earth Space Continuum - A Virtual Sound Experience is a deep expansive experiment that explores the connections between acoustic Earth and electronic Space.  It is set up as two long-form compositions.  Each composition has "non-interrupted subdivisions."

The Earth composition is almost entirely acoustic.  John augments his soundworld with pastoral samples.

The Space piece is mostly electronic with minor acoustic accompaniment.  The soundscape is vast and dynamic.

John's sound design expertise is on full display in this showcase.  He has created the ultimate juxtaposition within his own imagination.  His vast talent allows him to translate that to a musical statement and to share it with his listeners.

Reviewed by Jim Brenholt


Cantus Umbrarum

by Lightwave

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Upon first playing this CD my initial reaction was "What the hell ..." as it is somewhat unusual. Lightwave are a French duo who recorded this album for a sound exhibit in underground caves, hence the theme is very much the underworld and the unknown. It consists of readings from works by writers such as Dante and Victor Hugo against a backdrop of ambient music and sound effects. Apart from the occasional passage in English most of the words are in French.

The musical aspects tend to vary from the very sound effect driven to the smoother and occasionally almost melodic. The track which most appeals to me is A mineral light in the subterranean sky because it has a lovely flowing theme.

Listening to this CD I was reminded a little of A Troubled Resting Place by Robert Rich. That also generates images of weird and slightly disturbing places by the use of musical sound effects rather than music per se.

Having been to some underground caves many years ago which included a sound and light show I can imagine how effective Cantus Umbrarum must be in the caves. I'm not so sure how well it works as a CD for normal listening, but I do find it strangely satisfying listening. It's certainly worth getting by those who are prepared to listen to more experimental works.

Reviewed by Dene Bebbington for Ambient Visions


Memories of the Elder

by AeTopus

AeTopus' website

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Bryan Tewell Hughes is a multi-instrumentalist recording as AeTopus out of Bellingham, WA.  Memories of the Elder is his debut CD.  it is from 12 Ton Productions, Bryan's recording company and vanity label.  Melissa Macapulay (spoken word) and Michael Bajuk (percussion) contribute their talents also.

This is a huge CD!  Bryan has created a delightful melange of deep space sequences and gentle new age melodies.  He offsets some deep funereal drones with gentle nature samples and eerie computer beeps.  His ethnic influences and passages are right on time.  He has interspersed them well.

Bryan runs the gamut.  This CD has elements of the Berlin school, pastoral new age, dark ambience and droning minimalism.  At the same time, it is none of those styles.  This unique hybrid has something for everybody.

Reviewed by Jim Brenholts



by Ian Boddy, Markus Reuter and Nigel Mullaney

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A triptych is a picture made up of three distinct pictures.  It can be folded so that each picture can be viewed separately.  Triptychs are often religious images.

Triptych is also a deep set of e-music from Ian Boddy, Markus Reuter and Nigel Mullaney.  Ian and Nigel collaborated as Dub Atomica on Autonomic.  Ian and Markus collaborated on Distant Rituals, one of the first releases on Ian's DiN label.

This CD has a lot going for it.  As listeners expect from Ian, there are scads of deep sequences and large atmospheres.  Markus's WARR guitar has its customary distinct and experimental sound.  Nigel's steady rhythms and manipulations complete the set.

And what a thrill ride this is!  These consummate electronicians are at the top of their games.  The synth plays off the WARR guitar perfectly.  Ian and Markus are in the sympatico zone.  It is as if they are one.  Nigel's ministrations are not secondary either.  These three artistes are on the same page at the same time.

The DiN label is still putting out "the finest in electronica."  This CD, DiN #9, is some of the year's best space music.

Reviewed by Jim Brenholts


Beat Hollow

by Fognode

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Brian Siskind is Fognode:::.  Beat Hollow is a collection of eclectic sound combinations and a different style of ambience.  It could be described as electronic folk avant-garde atmospheric ambient.  That would cover most of the bases of this CD.

But it is much more than that!  It is a musical statement and a sonic smorgasbord.  Brian uses any and all devices and noises to deliver messages of angst, hope, desperation, fear, anger and ambivalence.  The ambience is, obviously, fairly dark.  The rays of hope come through clearly but sparingly.

And the strange combinations and juxtapositions work very well.  Instruments used on this CD are synths, bass, acoustic and electric guitars, piano, dobro, drums. Hammered dulcimer, keyboards, keyslaps, flute, field recordings, pedal steel guitar, kalimba and bowed acoustic bass.  Contributors are James Diginolamo, Sarah Siskind, Al Goll, J. D. Meek, David Dawson and Mack Starks.

This is a great CD!  it is worth every effort to locate it and add it to the collection!

Reviewed by Jim Brenholts


The Significance of Secrecy

by True Colour of Blood

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Eric Kesner records as True Colour of BloodThe Significance of Secrecy is his limited edition (250 copies) CDR on Andrea Marutti's Afe Records label.  (Andrea is a good friend.  He records as Never Known and Amon.)

As listeners expect from a project involving Andrea, this CD is seriously dark minimalism.  Eric created this ominous soundscape at his studio in Alexandria, VA.

A deep foggy drone is the catalyst for this dreary soundworld.  Eric surrounds that drone with walls of bleak manipulations.  The sound design is cloudy, murky and organic.  There are no edges or respites.  The sinister soundscape is consistent from the get-go.

It is fun to be scared.  This disc scary is scary.  Ergo, it is a fun disc!

Reviewed by Jim Brenholts


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