Shuttle358
Frame
12K
2000
A

music fans that only listen to music with guitars, drum, and bass lineups are missing some of the most vital music going these days. It would seem that those so concerned with how the sounds are created (only in an “authentic” manner please!) are simply closing their ears (and minds) to new and exciting experiences. And, while it doesn’t seem agreeable in all inclusive universe, it can be accepted eventually. Some people simply have no use for anything made with a computer. Of course, if rock fans knew how much of their favorite band’s new albums relied on computers, they might be shocked and dismayed- but, in the end, they would probably shrug it off to advancing technology. Those who don’t shrug it off, however, may be looking for something different- something a bit outside the normal spectrum of their listening experience.


Oddly enough, Shuttle358 (Dan Abrams) has crafted an album, Frame that shimmers with such intense beauty that it may just be the best introduction into the ambient genre for interested listeners. It never transcends the genre in any way, but that’s certainly not the point. The point of the record is to simultaneously serve many different purposes to the listener. As Brian Eno points out ambient music was fist intended as aural wallpaper. Music to be listened to, but not actively focused on. This is certainly possible with Frame. It is recorded at a low enough level that active listening becomes something that only the engaged listener will do. And, while Eno’s definition of ambient music is a valid one, the active listener of Frame will receive many of the treasures lying beneath the surface that the casual listener will not.


On the title track, Abrams melts an ever encroaching synth with a rapidly palpitating beat that lies carefully under wraps. A simple pulsing melodic line underlies it all in an understated manner. These are merely the elements presented in a music review format. There is simply no way to convince anyone to listen to this album by bringing in a laundry list of typical clichés and adjectives. It’s the way that Abrams puts these sounds together that makes the song special. And, with the accompanying video placed at the end of the disc complementing the song perfectly, “Frame” becomes one of the finest tracks recorded in the early years of this decade.


It would be pointless to blather on about how Abrams mixes digital elements to make them seem like organic living beings, or how Abrams crafts beauty of the smallest shards of sound source, or even how it’s probably the best ambient record since Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Vol. II. Because, if I know you well at all, you’re already going to 12K’s website and ordering it.


Reviewed by: Todd Burns
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01
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