BLACK DICE, "MILES OF SMILES"
Those expecting Black Dice to travel further in the trajectory suggested by the beat-infused abrasiveness of Cone Toaster will no doubt be disappointed by Miles of Smiles. Black Dice's newest 12" on DFA is not very similar to the material on the aforementioned EP, and it doesn't share much in common with the blissful psychedelic clamor of their Beaches and Canyons album, either. It's something else entirely, an unexpected tangent into the realm of sampling and tape music. Both tracks appear to have been constructed by meticulous editing, like so many avant-garde tape collages. However, the effect is decidedly less academic than many works of concrete music. Miles of Smiles hits me on a visceral level; an urgent, intuitive drama that decisively pushes forward. Side A opens with the insistent chirping of crickets joined by a cacophony of looped voices and structured clouds of noise. Muffled beneath this dark fog of noise are pounding Japanese tribal rhythms. I am suddenly lifted onto a circulating jet stream of fluttering electronics, before being violently torn back by a jagged edit, pulling me into a surreal, stereophonic audio environment. Someone is shaking a rain stick, a bag of runes or a handful of mosaic tiles. It's a shamanistic invocation that sets the stage for the sudden explosion of nervous percussion and ethnic, vaguely Arabic swirls of sound. Side B is "Trip Dude Delay," a study in industrial exotica, a shrill piercing tone which gives way to stacks of mutated voices, gently coaxed and sculptured. A left turn into psychedelia sees the track dropped into a chasm of echo, a cubist hall-of-mirrors that refracts the abstraction into semi-clarity. I am suddenly caught up in a giant, cresting tsunami of noise, an adrenaline rush of forceful wind accompanied by a roll of thunder. I am swept along, riding through apexes and nadirs of sound, feeling the tension of nature's senseless brutality. Finally, I'm dumped off on a tropical island, where whacked-out Boredoms-style percussion and strangled birdsong fill the crisp, sparkling ocean air. Not unlike its photo-collage cover art, Miles of Smiles is a highly structured mosaic, yet it remains willfully disorganized, vital and surprising. - Jonathan Dean
Kammerflimmer Kollektief, "Cicadidae"
When feeling below the weather, this is the kind of sound that manages to pick me up and put me at peace. The cool, glass melodies and rainforest rhythms never cascade out of control leaving only the breeze and scent of spring in their wake. Calling "▄ber Die Wasserscheide" a gentle ride might leave the impression that Cicadidae is a simple record, but the masterful combination of live instruments with electronic moans is anything but that. Kammerflimmer Kollektief have an ear for space and fluidity short tracks like "Blood" relate a universe of thoughts and feelings in just over a minute while "...Denn Nacht Ist Jetzt Schon Bald!" unfolds in acoustic strips and wandering, mystical drum patterns. The weave of patterns and stream-of-consciousness noise-melodies play well with eachother, never choking out one another and never floundering in chaos; each second of sound plays an important part in the song at just the right time. Dense or heavier moments always find themselves relieved in the caress of a woodwind instrument or the lazy kiss of a strummed guitar. "Sie Tranken Regen (Version)" ushers forth like cigarette smoke, slowly expanding through the room, tasting of memories, and shrouded in mystery the drumming pulsing from beneath a veil of jazz and the horns hover over the lullaby of a lustful saxophone. The residue this record leaves behind sticks to the walls and reverberates perpetually until finally it seeps into the blood and animates the mind. Though melancholy finds its way onto the record, its the sort of sadness that only serves to rejuvinate the soul and lift it back to its feet. As a little added bonus, the latter portion of the record unfolds into a sultry dance that can only be called sexy. Late-night excursions and secret thoughts course throughout "Mantra" and "Edierdaunen (Gerupft)." The variety of character that marks these songs stand out as one of the records best strengths. There is a unique quality to the production, instrumentation, and arrangement of each tune that cannot be overlooked. - Lucas Schleicher
AGF, "Language Is The Most"
With her previous full-lengths, Head Slash Bauch and Westernization Completed, Antye Greie-Fuchs proved entirely capable of creating beautiful and unique electronic music without the help of her Laub bandmate Von Jotka or frequent collaborator Vladislav Delay. Reaching an early peak on last year's Westernization, AGF's mature style is both more challenging than her past work and more rewarding. The increasingly abstract free-association of Greie's characteristic speak-singing seems to have found perfect accompaniment in a new loosening of song structure which, instead of dissolving substance, allows for the careful buttressing of her words with basic and uncluttered sound-forms, accentuating the language and aligning the music more closely with the power of suggestion. The "instrumental" portion of AGF's music remains a recognizably laptop-based affair, full of crisp, bass-less beats, clean synth-like melodic lines, and a delicate underpinning of digital drone and flutter; however on Westernization and to a greater degree on Language is the Most, these elements are treated with greater economy of use, layered less frequently or abundantly, and approached with more attention to variety and improvisational flow. It's as if Greie treats instrumental sound like it were part of her vocal, as if these melodic shards and open rhythms have assumed fixed places in the artist's advancing word bank, lent the same concise, charged delivery as her speech. This effect is consistent with the broader theme of Language is the Most, essentially a live recording from AGF's performance at the Ars Electronica Festival's Klangpark in 2003. The theme of the festival last year was "Code - The Language of Our Time," and it's hard to imagine an musician engaged in a more literal dialogue between digital code, musical composition, and spoken language than Antye Greie. Westernization is as much sound poetry as it is patient left-field electronica, and Language makes the distinction even more complicated. The live setup, by force or by choice, has Greie's voice appearing with less regularity and less reliance on structural cues, creating music whose success is largely reliant on the tact of the artist's speech and the resonance of her words taken alone. Her compositions progress along a stream-of-consciousness logic, incorporating numerous field recordings, samples and organic-sounding clatter to make Language AGF's most complex listen to date, despite the equally unprecedented amount of open space appearing throughout. Compounding the event's thematic interest in coded language, text, and the relevancy of established communication methods, Greie incorporates pieces of Westernization, as good a document of the artist's own "language" as any, into her live set. This decision has ended up granting Language something of a "companion piece"-status, and while I'd be more likely to recommend the former to new listeners, the live disc has provided an equal amount of rapturous listening and contains the seeds of new refinement in AGF's sound, making it just as essential.
- Andrew Culler
V/Vm Test Records
For V/VM this is love in the time of controversy, and it's especially fitting for them to be making some of the hottest music of their careers while in the hottest water yet. After I obtained a copy of this now rare commodity through means I will not disclose a process others might find difficult, as well I immediately dimmed the lights and fired up the candles and twinkle lights to get in the right mood for this revisiting of the Frankie Goes to Hollywood classic. Truth be told, I knew my body was about to be rocked, just not this hard and not with so much of a history lesson involved. This being the 20th anniversary of the original release of "Relax," it seems V/VM wanted to share some of the more interesting tidbits of the single's background, and some of the controversy that surrounded it, as well. Hence, the artwork that closely resembles the sleeve of the Frankie single, and samples throughout the remixes of radio programmer reactions and other strangeness. As for the digital reconstruction that is the music itself, I was floored by some of the showmanship involved. V/VM have gathered remixes from a number of manipulators, including Animal, Toecutter, Shitmat, The Alien Porno Midgets and more that succeed in capturing the essence of the track and then obliterating all conceptions about it. Several of the tracks don't even feature the word that is the song's title, cutting and splicing the bassline and choice other phrases, creating a neo-stomp in pasting it all back together. There's odd combinations to be sure, but they work so well: the uses of "Auld Lang Syne" and "Smoke on the Water" are particularly noteworthy for their originality and creation of an irreplaceable leitmotif in my brain. Where other V/VM releases have seemed to pick apart and mock the artist in question, I felt that this was an earnest homage to the orginal and to the process of remixing in general. This is more of a statement than V/VM have ever made, and it hits on all levels; thus unintentionally they defy the issue that makes it difficult to find in the first place, as well as those responsible for it. - Rob Devlin
After years in Trans Am collaborating on sounds from the extremely experimental to the completely inane, Sebastian Thomson finally gives his own songs a go with The Frequency, and the results are enough to send my head reeling into eternal confused giddiness. Thomson plays the majority of the instruments himself as well as handling vocal duties, with guests here and there as necessary. This album was finally an explanation to me for TA, as most of the songs have a new wave/Beat Street soundtrack vibe. That's not to say "Blame Seb for that piece of crap," but instead to say that his desire to make an '80s club booty record may have driven that release and bleeds over to this one. At moments while listening to this debut, I felt I was listening to the long lost music of hitchhikers on the Autobahn, then I wanted to breakdance, then laugh out loud the shouts of "move dat ass! move dat ass!" followed by synchronized thrashing a la Warrant. In the middle of it all, though, is a unique voice trying to get out, and for that and trying to shake some posteriors Thomson deserves some props. The style-meter is all over the place for this band, and that's sometimes the problem as the switch can jar uncomfortably. Nevertheless, there are real nuggets to be found. "Erasing Myself" is an arena rock anthem of magnum proportions, destined for inclusion on some teen angst coming of age compilation bust still cutting-edge enough that indie rock and hair metal fans might blast it. The gutter bass, snare snazz, and space sax of "Allnite" may just be the solution to the boredom on many dancefloors, where "You're the Perfect Size" and "Moonburn" are hard rock intensity with vague sexual innuendo spread throughout with extra panting on the latter. There's also near-death metal here and there, like on "Tell Me" and "Forgot," and a touch of that familiar Trans Am sound on "Chicas." Thomson appears to wrestle with the different sides of his personality much in the same way Trans Am does, but he's at least decided on a pop-song structure, which in and of itself puts him ahead of the pack in the electro-rock genre. The Frequency are on tour soon opening for Trans Am, so show up early for a taste of this live. - Rob Devlin
Razing Darkness is the five years young solo project of South Carolina resident Jason Danielson.
He is also a longtime member of the Tapegerm Collective, a "non-profit community of loop-based
recording artists" in which members from around the world may cross pollinate megs upon gigs of
sounds via good old fashioned file transfer protocol. Razing Germs is the result of 30 others'
contributions being fed through the Razing Darkness filter over two years. Danielson adeptly
composes and mixes with a palette that includes all manner of machinations, synth sounds, some
percussive elements, heavily manipulated samples and various other more easily identifiable
samples like bird song, lapping water and electricity. Nearly every track surrealistically
(though more serious than humorous) juxtaposes moments of controlled calm and barely controlled
chaos. The noisier end of the spectrum is well represented and listenable throughout but it's
the more ambient end that I find most intriguing. "Bottom Dweller" announces itself with
metallic sheen and later transitions to somnambulist drift and near-tinnitus tones. "In Death's
Dreams", the lengthiest at nine minutes and my favorite, subconsciously shifts from deep moans
and grumbles to brighter rays and surges, gradually revealing a light at the end of the tunnel.
"Dimension Arachnia" opens with a gorgeous melodic loop then slips into fluid electronic waves
and random-ish bleeps and faux disco beats. The occasional rhythm or melody comes off a bit
forced but overall it's an almost surprisingly cohesive whole. Danielson is an amateur on his
way to becoming a pro. Also of note is the wonderful cover art by DeVico, an antiquated partial
profile of a woman whose beautiful features transition into tree branches and reptilian scales.
- Mark Weddle
Enduser, "From Zero"
For my money, the breakcore scene's reigning king of beatfuckery is Cincinnati's Enduser. This collection of vinyl-only tracks, remixes, and previously unreleased songs is a blistering master-class in the art of sample splicing, genre-hacking, beat annihilating and wanton destruction of sound. Clocking in at almost 80 minutes, this is honestly all the breakcore I need for a good while, but that's okay because Enduser offers not only some of the best examples of this style of post-jungle madness, but he also comes through with an uncanny amount of variety that keeps the record from sounding like one idea blasted ad infinitum. "Endya" is a delightfully tacky mash-up of Enya and some brain-splitting beat work. In a similar vein, "West Side Breaks" attempts an unadvised treatment of This Mortal Coil's "Song to the Siren". It's handled about as well as it could be, but that's one song that it's unfortunately difficult to do anything to without falling into the shadow of This Mortal Coil's timeless original. Elsewhere, the mood is decidely less tranquil as on the aptly titled "Wreckin' Shit" and "Knuckle Fucker"; the former works what sounds like the synth riff to "I Wear My Sunglasses At Night" over some splintered Amen breaks while the latter takes video game melodies and plays them off more tracker beat switching. Ragga vocals pop up here and there, the Amen break gets more than its fair share of attention, bass is distorted, snares all sound like machine guns and sword fights, and through it all Enduser is able to establish a tone that is equal parts playful and violent. The zombie movie samples may be tongue-in-cheek, but the abuse Enduser wreaks on his breakbeats and record collection can be incredibly harsh at times, making the juxtaposition, or rather COLLISION of all of these elements work so perfectly. "Things to do in the Queen City" samples news reports about violence and racial tension in Cincinnati then plows forward with a ragga vocal and evil bassline that serve as an appropriate counterweight. Enduser's next platter up is actually a remix side on the new Bug 7", a mix I heard live that shreds Kevin Martin's ghetto ragga even further than the original. If From Zero is a collection of what Enduser's done in the past, I'm anxious to hear what he'll do next; I just need some time for all of this to sink in. - Matthew Jeanes
MUSLIMGAUZE, "ALMS FOR IRAQ"
I'm certainly not the first to observe this strange paradox, and I won't be the last, but it seems that the release schedule of new Muslimgauze albums has somehow increased exponentially since the death of Bryn Jones. Every month since Jones' untimely passing has brought at least one new release to his already preposterous discography, often two or three. At this stage, I'm actually having a hard time believing that even the absurdly prolific Bryn Jones committed this much unreleased material to tape before his demise. By this point, Gauze might actually have crossed that Biggie Smalls milestone, having released more albums posthumously than those released during his life. I have to admit however, perusing the newly released 77-minute Alms For Iraq on Soleilmoon, it's hard to say who else could have produced this music other than the singular Muslimgauze. Multiple tracks of sampled rhythms abruptly explode out of nowhere, spraying violent distortion across layers of interwoven samples of Arabic music. Scattershot, sweltering tabla rhythms are suddenly phased and mutated across the stereo channels, with moments of arrhythmic hiccupping and digital blurring maintaining a consistently aggressive, intense atmosphere. "Pale Elegant Egyptian" sounds like something Coil might have recorded for Horse Rotorvator, a mysterious Nubian folk loop matched with a pounding, hashish-filtered industrial rhythm. For most of the album, the dials are turned all the way up in an effort to push the distortion into the red zone, so many of the beats converge into a thick amorphous cloud of smoke. Dub techniques are utilized in unique ways, quiet passages that serve as the quiet before the storm, giving way to machine gun rhythms and fiery distortion. For those masochistic enough to be Gauze completists, the quality of the music on this disc is pretty much irrelevant: no doubt you've already purchased this. For those who enjoy only the occasional dip into this artists' imposing catalog, however, I can guardedly recommend Alms For Iraq as one of the better examples of late-period Muslimgauze. One thing that stands out about this release is the packaging: a tall cardboard wallet with six panels of disturbing images culled from alternative media websites dedicated to publicizing the ongoing atrocities in Iraq and Palestine. It's well-known that Bryn Jones was deeply moved by the plight of the disenfranchised Palestinians, and I would further conjecture that he felt his music could serve as audio terrorism, a series of violent missives to spread a message of an oppressed group of people. The cover image shows bare Arabic feet above a pair of sandals bearing the words "ISRAEL" and "USA." To the uninitiated, this might seem like a plea for tolerance and unity, until you realize that for Arabs, anything that touches the bottom of their feet is vile and unclean. One thing that Israel and the Western allies seem unable or unwilling to understand is that the "war on terrorism" will never be won. Terrorism is the symptom, not the disease itself. Anyone at the CDC would agree that the cause of an epidemic must be attacked, not its symptoms. Terrorism is the last brutal resort of a people who have no other voice, but refuse to surrender. - Jonathan Dean
Out of the thousands of tedious archival record labels popping up recently in this accelerated age of information overload, it's great to find a label as fascinating as Sublime Frequencies. Alan Bishop of the Sun City Girls created Sublime Frequencies as an outlet to release video and sound recordings collected in his travels around the globe. Bishop's release schedule thus far has vividly illustrated his view of the third world as an alien landscape, an enticing ethnic cacophony of marginalized cultures and traditions, obscure music, vibrant environmental noises, hallucinogenic otherness and unraveled threads of the human narrative. Alan Bishop neatly sidesteps all of the tired implications of "world music" by refusing to editorialize; he simply releases unadulterated vintage recordings, impromptu radio collages, untreated field recordings and personal home videos. The recordings are quickly slapped onto the digital format and released with a minimum of post-production or fussy packaging. Radio Morocco is the sixth CD released on the Sublime Frequencies imprint, and it's also one of the most intriguing. Culled from recordings of radio transmissions intercepted all along the Moroccan coast in the summer of 1983, Radio Morocco is a kaleidoscopic trip through French-Moroccan pop, French and Arabic news reports, Berber trance-folk, Arabic divas, Middle Eastern orchestral music, European new wave, hypnotic jajouka and shortwave radio noise. I was immediately reminded of the revolutionary cut-ups produced by William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin on Break Through in Grey Room that were often culled from radio and field recordings from Tangier. Interspersed throughout are live recordings of Arabic divas like the legendary Oum Koulthoum, who perform for an enraptured crowd of men who zealously shout "Allah!" at the end of each sexually charged refrain. At various times, Radio Morocco operates as a sonic avatar, an audio time capsule, a free-form diary through the crossroads of Western Africa, or expressionist collage. Although Bishop clearly sees Sublime Frequencies fulfilling the same sort of archival musical preservation function of a label like Smithsonian Ethnic Folkways, Radio Morocco simply doesn't work on that level. None of the performers or musical styles that we hear throughout the disc are identified in the liner notes, so its historical value is questionable. Instead, Radio Morocco is a postmodern collage of cultures alternately melding and clashing, replicating the fragmented memories of a unique time and place. Upon repeated listens, these sounds can download into the listener's brain as an anti-virus to an unimaginative, safe and homogenized Western culture that daily threatens to erase our uniqueness and cultural heritage forever. - Jonathan Dean
Radio Palestine is the most recent of Alan Bishop's amazing radio collages released on his Sublime Frequencies label. "Palestine" is used here as a blanket term to denote the whole of the Eastern Mediterranean encompassing the various locations where these sounds were recorded over the summer of 1985. Bishop captures a stunning snapshot of a region splintered by political upheaval and violence, but united in its teeming, eclectic overload of cultures, traditions and lifestyles. Radio Palestine cycles through an endless multitude of disparate styles: the Nile River Nubian folk of Southern Egypt, modern Arabic pop from Beirut, orchestrals from Cairo, Greek sartaki, Palestinian folk, shortwave signal jamming, Jewish Klezmer and other traditional forms, European pop hybrids, Jordanian reverb guitar and scores of news reports, commercials and radio station IDs in a Babel-like cacophony of languages and dialects. English news reports provide grim details of terrorist bombings and political tensions in the region, clearly showing just how little has changed in the intervening two decades. This prismatic approach to splicing together music and dialogue is extraordinarily effective, juxtaposing absurdly overwrought French lounge music from Beirut with minimalist, hypnotic folk of Egypt which might suddenly and unexpectedly segue into shortwave radio interceptions of messages from military spies, clandestine political organizations and what sounds like field recordings of gunfire and explosions recorded in the midst of Israeli skirmishes with the PLO. And I was just as likely to hear that kind of human bloodshed as I was to catch a few seconds of Robert Wyatt's "Sea Song" or experimental female vocal pop sounding not unlike a Lebanese Kate Bush. "Tangental Psychedelico" contains an amazing performance by an unknown Jordanian artist, calling up the spirits of Islam with the resonant echoes of his desert-surf guitar. Radio Palestine is a powerfully constructed document that forgoes making any political statements, instead painting a painfully ephemeral portrait of a country in violent flux. - Jonathan Dean
Andrew Deutsch, "Lung Cleaner"
Conceived as a therapeutic agent for Anomalous label head Eric Lanzillotta as he suffered from a serious lung infection, Lung Cleaner is just the kind of dizzying, confused music I'd specifically avoid if ever visited by a similar illness. If the artist's goal was to create a series of immersing sound-environments for the bedridden, then he's succeeded, only these four tracks are hardly comforting, and with names like "Dizzy From the Cold Meds" and "Coughing up the Lung Cleaner," they seem more appropriate for a healthy person looking to simulate the infected state. If there is any fluidity to the music it's only because there is rarely any silence, each moment tempted by multiple layers of queasy sound, never very noisy but always arriving at warped, uncomfortable angles. To his credit, Deutsch does take sound from a variety of inviting sources, including wine glasses, bells, music boxes, even baby toys, each left well enough intact to make for surprisingly warm, physical compositions, despite the reliance on digital technology. Certain sections of the disc, especially the opening "Nice Day, Some Rain" with its cascading violin-like washes and gurgling water percussion, sound as if they could be played by bucolic drone ensemble Pelt; however, Deutsch practices little of that group's restraint when applying thick, busy layers of amplified clatter from his own unique box of gadgets. The degree to which he is able to organize so many small, fleeting sounds into dense and coherent clusters, without the digital process stripping them of their livelihood, remains an amazing feat throughout, but sadly, this is the limit of Lung Cleaner's appeal. The compositions seem for the most part aimless, with no progressive intent behind their changes in palette and texture. And while logical progression might be outside of the artist's immediate interests, his creations here are too shambolic and scatterbrained for their created environments to be at all satisfying. There's no release to the aural nausea induced by these tracks; even the closing "Sleep Fields (go to sleep)" provides no solace for the sickly, it's slowly repetitive gurgles and panging noises winding up again and again for another anxious heave. That said, it is also rare to find music of similar creation that sounds as "alive" as Lung Cleaner, leading me think that either I could be trying harder to hear these quasi-"familiar" sounds in new ways or Deutsch should be more wary of the redundancy created in pushing already animated source material into a frenzied compositional structure. Then again, maybe I just need to get violently ill, pound a bottle of Robitussin and have another listen, compare and contrast.
- Andrew Culler
Peekay Tayloh, "Sofa O.D."
Peekay Tayloh is actually electronic collage artist Pantelis Kakaroglou, and his first CD is a valiant effort that sadly accomplishes little but reveal some of his influences and portray a derivative style. That's not to say there isn't potential, or that he doesn't master some amazing beats on the debut, which he does effectively and consistently. Peekay Tayloh just utilizes a tried and true formula big beats and jazz structures plus a love for hip-hop with odd and new sound samples or live instruments mixed in for good measure without doing something incredibly original with it. There's a real taste for the talent involved, but an overwhelming feeling of "I've heard this before" clouds the entire release. Sure, there's no way to protect against this sort of thing from time to time, but when I'd swear I heard the exact snare or cymbal sound that I've heard on several records, and can even pull them out for a quick reference listen with no real trouble, I'm not impressed. I wanted to step into the music with an open mind, however, so I let that go after a while and just basked. A few tracks just plain smoke, like "Rumbus Rooms to Let," where the track moves in a certain direction but switches it up and puts the pedal to the metal towards the end. And the use of guest alto sax and vocals wasn't overpowering, just intriguingly added to the mix, which said that not only does Peekay Tayloh not ram something down your throat but he chooses artists who will complement not take over the music. The pieces are all there, but the resulting product doesn't make the cut. Interestingly, the last cut is a remix by Beefcake of a track earlier on the record that takes the same elements essentially and ups the wattage by 150%. It's all about showmanship, and for his next project maybe Peekay Tayloh will show some more. - Rob Devlin
Murmer, "They Were Dreaming They Were Stones"
They Were Dreaming They Were Stones can't be considered a purist's field recording composition, as Murmer's Patrick McGinley does incorporate "operated" devices like a car seat massager and telephone feedback/ringtone; however the majority of the five-part piece was gathered from locations as idiosyncratic and rich with colorful associations as the resulting music. McGinley takes sound from elevator shafts, airplane cabins, a Turkish football victory celebration, Hewlitt's Cove Marina in Massachusetts and the Brooklyn Bridge among other disparate spots, transforming them into a diverse current of noise dominated by thin drones and loose textural scatter, never busy and nicely blended. The artist seems more interested in creating music with its own private momentum and internal reference points than instigating the kind of environmental illusionism or detail-oriented, "investigative" technique common to the field medium. Even after reading the liner notes and discovering the origins of McGinley's recordings, it remains near-impossible to pin certain sounds on particular sources to the exclusion of all others. When, at the end of Stones' "Prologue," traffic sounds from the Brooklyn Bridge begin to interrupt the shrill tones of telephone(!) feedback, the cars are far from disruptive, hardly cars at all and more suggestive of the low rumbles that come from the 600-gallon steel watertank that appears in "Part Four." The creaking wood and chiming mast sounds from the marina in "Part Three" only reveal themselves when thrown into relief against the vacuous thudding of the elevator shaft, which could itself be the watertank or part of the airplane's ghostly interior. Through careful timing and expert fades, McGinley manages these discrepancies without making the resulting confusion the focus of the piece. The artist matches the rhythmic and tonal structures of his individual segments, splicing them together so that points of flux do not emerge arbitrarily with the chance swells of a particular component but at calculated and anticipated moments in the whole. Recognizable melodic turns, via ringtones presumably, reappear throughout several parts, reinforcing the involved, almost symphonic character of Stones. Only once, during the piece's first part does McGinley run into trouble. The cyclical rhythm of an old gas meter in his basement provides the dominant noise during this part, and the artist could've tried harder to submerge the meter in the surrounding atmospherics, as the rhythm, while appealing, stands out as too forced or persuasive an element within the otherwise sublime, organic progression. McGinley recovers with the longer, climactic "Part Four," which (somehow) drives the aforementioned watertank and cabin ambience into a heavenly chorus of droning activity, almost Eno-esque in its resounding warmth.
- Andrew Culler
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