ANECHOIC, Heavenly Music Corporation (Silent SR9599; 61:22), 1995. Recorded in the carcass of a gutted mainframe computer, Kim Cascone's latest work as HMC is a gritty, edgy new collection of background process musings. Following upon LUNAR PHASE (an ethereal trip to electric heavens), this work dives down deep into a buried realm of raving circuits. "Designed to be listened to at a low level in a set of headphones," ANECHOIC is virtual loop music that seems to go on in a session of impending, cyclical regeneration. The stages are alive with cascades of scintillating sounds, as if the current were yearning to run beyond limits of memory, leading to some form of synergistic release. ... Pretty poetic stuff, but so is ANECHOIC -- an album of patient, throbbing mystery. You don't listen TO it, you listen IN it.
DEEPER THAN SPACE, Current (Flask/Silent SR9594; 75:38), 1995. The blurry line between the music form and their progenitors, ambient (space, minimalist, musique concrete) and trance (dub, rave, disco), get really fuzzy when listening to a trippy album like DEEPER THAN SPACE. The track "Uncomfortable To Be Alone" keeps the beat, and keeps it strong, through twelve minutes of slowly developing anxiety that seems to leak from a radio telescope.
EMIT ECAPS, Spacetime Continuum (Astralwerks ASW-6147-2; 63:36), 1996. Previously this Northern California group collaborated with Terrence McKenna on ALIEN DREAMTIME, a spicy recording of a live performance that must've been phenomenal to attend. This time out, they're bringing a more fast-paced urge to disc, polishing the groovy synths and floating spaces to a metallic sheen. A nice little intro to trance/techno alloys, very well mixed, too.
EVENT HORIZON, various artists (City of Tribes COTCD-009; 45:43), 1995. A splendid riff of ethno-ambient music from the San Francisco-based City of Tribes label. This compilation brings together a wide array of world music, trip-hop, rock-influenced folk and such, into a mellow excursion of late-night music that can be sipped ... or danced to. The music reflects influences from New York ghettoes, Middle Eastern rifts, and beyond, with pieces featuring Beth Custer, Robin Guthrie, Stephen Kent and Kenneth Newby (whose ECOLOGY OF SOULS can be found on the Fathom/Hearts of Space label). Another reason why the Northern California community is one of the world's music hot spots ... and City of Tribes one of its best kept secrets. EVENT HORIZON is the place where all times and dialects intersect into one soulful, ambient panoply.
A HOLE OF UNKNOWN DEPTH, PGR (Silent SR9602; 36:28), 1996. A collection of dark, minimalist sketches from ambient maven Kim Cascone. These suites are a perfect complement to his more aggressive ANECHOIC (recorded as the Heavenly Music Corporation, also on Silent), though more reclusive. It's a soft, metallic work, well-oiled and humming, beckoning the user into a grotto of half-sleeping entities. Music like this should've been around when Kubrick filmed 2001.
INNER RUNES, The Tunnel Singer (Self-released LES-0001; 54:59), 1995. Northern Californian singer Lee Ellen Shoemaker has been performing improvisational songs of ambient voice in and around the resonant spaces of San Francisco and Marin County, particularly some acoustically "live" tunnels. Recorded by Hearts of Space collaborator Bob Ohlsson in the Exploratorium's Sound Column exhibit, this CD has a clear, penetrating presence, and Lee's vocal sensitivity is at times miraculous. Though the idea wears thin on some tracks, there's plenty of indication here of interesting work to come.
C o n t a c t I n f o r m a t i o n
City of Tribes, 3025 - 17th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110 Web: http://www.cot.com
Silent Records, 340 Bryant Street 3rd Floor East, San Francisco, CA 94107; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web: http://www.iuma.com/silent
The Tunnel Singer (Lee Ellen Shoemaker), 236 West Portal Avenue #248, San Francisco, CA 94127