he disfigured, imaginary gods of ambient music have turned their hideous grins on me again! Thanks, guys. I appreciate it, I really do.
When this deceptively simple album arrived in my non-electronic mailbox a few days ago, I slipped it into my laptop, expecting another twee vocal performance along the lines of Deerhoof or Piana. But no! When I heard it, I was so surprised that my monocle fell out of my eye and smashed into a hundred pieces on the bald concrete floor of the abandoned warehouse that I call an apartment.
This is one of those new-school ambient albums. Don’t think Gong or Eno. It’s closer to the whole Shuttle358 / Frank Bretschneider / Michael Heumann thing. Don’t believe me? Well, check out some of these track titles—“3 am cityscape,” “28o C,” “lights and water,” “modern architecture…” So you know what you’re getting, right? Big pads, repeated minimalist electronic drums, and occasionally even processed samples of field recordings and acoustic instruments. Yeah! That’s what I’m talking about.
So although the first couple of tracks aren’t the best, by the time we hit the fourth song, there’s something odd and original going on here. A wobbly Alva-Noto-style synth sound and an acoustic guitar (gotta be sampled!) appear and ripple in the pond. Then some vocal “ooh” sounds and bizarrely delayed percussion featuring water-drop bloops appear, and the guitars go away… then just the water drop sound and some background garbage noise… and then a pattern played on a synthetic triangle is heard, as it goes in and out of phase… and then the song turns into what sounds like a general midi bossa nova. What’s going on here anyway? I don’t know. I really don’t.
But I do know how to play this music back. I’ve told you all before. The best playback format is random, at a very low volume, and left on for no less than 3 weeks. This is the new background music.
Man, I can’t wait until I’m old or possibly dead, when music like this is played at extremely low volumes over public address systems mounted on street corners to dull the rebellious tendencies of the proletariat. That’s gonna be so awesome! The proletariat’s especially going to love Takashi Wada’s heartbeat kick drums, ticking space clocks, reversed garbage loops, and rusty processed pianos. They’ll get all mellowed out and will finally start to appreciate the geometry of electric wires. And they’ll want to buy consumer goods. Like this album, for example.
Reviewed by: Francis Henville
Reviewed on: 2004-07-21