As a music reviewer it’s always an interesting
proposition to review a new artist. Chicago based Kurt
Michaels has been involved with playing music for approximately
thirty five years and has played with such famous musical
personalities as Chuck Berry and Badfinger to name just
His first self released CD is “Inner Worlds Part
One” and features several styles of ambient and electronic
music with the odd experiment in sound manipulation
and the occasional nod to do something quite bizarre
The first track is “Heaven?” and as maybe expected
the music reminds one of ehhh…Heaven. This is a classic
piece of “space” music, floating, intriguing and somewhat
relaxing, the contorted vocal samples add a nice touch
to the overall sound of the track.
“ Nightmare Crossing Over” as the title suggests
is in a darker vein. Deep organ like chords mixed together
with pulsing drum sounds create an ominous tone to the
music. Another ambient piece is “Alien Presence” that
touches on the subject of alien abductions. Sonic manipulations
of a decidedly eerie nature introduce this track before
a gently reverberating sound collage takes the center
stage whilst strange breathing sounds punctuate the
sound stage then we hear a strange brew of other worldly
sounds that give the track atmosphere.
Now the next piece of music is homage to my most
favorite (and obviously Kurt’s) TV show, “The Prisoner”.
There seems to be two opposing forces at work on “The
Village” one the ominous slow sounding heavy cloud like
synthesizer drones that represent the sinister aspect
of the village and secondly the rather happy go lucky
sound of the brass band designed to make one feel “welcome”
it adds up to a disturbing piece of music and anyone
familiar with “The Prisoner” will understand this track
“You Don’t Say” is a short piece of music that basically
could be a rock instrumental, a dry electronic percussion
track that features daring electronic guitar lines.
The second to last track is “Inner Worlds” and is
a quieter tack than the one before, slow electric guitar
meditations mingle with the throbbing sounds of distorted
vocal samples and strange shimmering synth effects becoming
more and more intense until its finish.
The last track oddly named “Nervous Barnyard: Afterure
& Rebirth” (what this track is about is anyone’s
guess!) starts off with a multitude of animal sounds
before a sixties-style TV show theme enters
the mix. In some ways this reminded me even more of
“The Prisoner” than “The Village”. It sounds a
strange combination but the twists this track possesses
come off in great style. Not sure what the crying baby
is about at the end though!!
I found this release interesting in a number of ways,
one it had traditional elements of ambient music that
is very well presented and secondly it had elements
of the unexpected that gave the album a uniqueness and
subtle character that sets it apart from most ambient
music at the present time.
Reviewed by Gary Andrews for Ambient Visions