Sonic Curiosity Logo

Ambient Electronics: Aperus, Art of Infinity, Igneous Flame, Lopside

decorative rule

APERUS: Tumbleweed Obfuscated by Camera Failure (CDR on mPath Records)

This release from 2003 offers 47 minutes of soothing ambience.

Aperus is Brian McWilliams, with assistance from John Phipps, Carolyn Koebel, and Michelle McWilliams.

Pensive atmospherics establish a luxuriant foundation for artificially induced thunder on the horizon. More dramatic (but still languid) harmonic tones emerge, adding definition to the ambient soundscape with ethereal textures and tenuous keyboards. Metallic rhythms provide subtle modern tribal disposition for one piece, while subliminal basslines assert a geological demeanor in several instances.

Generally, McWilliams endeavors to generate a sonic interface between man and earth, reminding us all of our inert origins.

Although harmonic throughout, this music exhibits a delicate presence of melody that is often absent from most ambient music. Textures merge with graceful ease, blending melancholy piano notes with flowing electronic airs. The electronics rise and ebb, guided by aerial currents that strive to evoke a placid temperament. The desert terrain receives an intimate portrayal through these gentle sonic structures, allowing colors to manifest in sound, inciting moods to unfurl through elongated chords, urging the audience to augment their human senses with an inanimate perspective. As man unifies with earth, the cosmos enters a focus that encompasses a totality of being.

The CDR comes in an oversized case which contains some desert photography (exampling how the tumbleweeds were obfuscated by camera failure) and text (that delivers impressions of the prairie).

decorative rule

ART OF INFINITY: Dimension Universe (CDR on Atomic Pool Records)

This release from 2003 features 53 minutes of space music.

Art of Infinity is: Thorsten Sudler-Manz and Thorsten Rentsch.

Astral electronics establish an interstellar backdrop for languid melodies comprised of stately keyboards, prairie guitar, and soft percussives. Vocals are prevalent in a few tracks, adding specific definition to the sonic dimensions.

There are sedate pieces, full of drifting ether and distantly twinkling stars, but some of the songs exhibit a rhythmic presence with congenial, uptempo beats and reasonably peppy keyboard riffs. There are even passages of dramatic percussive demeanor, embellished by a searing space guitar that bends notes with infinite sustains to achieve a truly cosmic tableau. In other instances, the guitar relegates its outcry to soothing slide-manifestations or romantic strumming, portraying a luxurious sky of atmospheric disposition. Saxophone appears in three songs, adding some humanistic touches to the intergalactic mood. Effects are sprinkled throughout, enhancing the music's otherworldly flair.

With song titles like "Cosmic Rain", "Passing the Pulsar", and "Supernova", extrastellar excursions are insured for the audience.

decorative rule

IGNEOUS FLAME: Intox (CDR on Chillfactor 10 Records)

This CDR from 2003 features 68 minutes of chilled out electronic ambience.

Igneous Flame is Pete Kelly, based in Leeds, England.

Ethereal electronics generate a nebulous fog to contain synthetic textures that duplicate interstellar noise and the infrequent soft patter of percussives. Overall, though, drones are the main sonic tool, with hardly any noticeable key-strokes.

Harmony is more keynote here than melody. The music unfurls like a slowly moving breeze, wafting through computerized baffles that attribute distinction and character to the ambience. While one tonality is elongated to infinite stature, other traces inject slight deviation with their languid expression, fleshing out the ambience to a full (but still minimal) range. Each piece retains a particular growl that conveys a furrowed brow seriousness to the sparse music, as if hinting at somber secrets contained within the aural structures.

These songs are all reasonably brief, with the longest being just over seven minutes; so the compositions are compressed, focused into sonic gems that sparkle without any pesky air diffusing the glow.

decorative rule

LOPSIDE: 37 (CD on Lopside Music)

This CD from 2003 offers 68 minutes of relaxed electronic tuneage.

Lopside is Dean Hinds.

Deviating from the guitar-driven style of previous releases, Hinds explores more textural, almost harshly ambient tuneage with this CD. A variety of electronics are utilized to generate placid passages as bloops merge with stately timbres to achieve an otherworldly mood. Percussions of acoustic and synthetic origin provide tasty enhancement, injecting unintrusive rhythms to the pleasant soundscapes. Strings creep into the mix with subtle intention, hiding amid the pools of reflective synthesizers. Non lyrical vocals appear infrequently, adding a touch of distorted humanity to the electronic flow.

Hinds offers this insight to explain this album's obscure nature: "I received a 'hand me down' pager as a gift from a friend who complained that I was too difficult to get a hold of. My unwillingness to use such a device was only further enforced by the pager's erratic behavior, the pager's voicemail frequently filling with unintelligible messages. On one particular afternoon, I received 37 voicemail messages, all of them inhuman beeps, buzzes, and other random bursts of electronic noise. I recorded the messages, and those sounds later became the basis for many of the tracks on '37'."

Applying these digitally found sounds to his rich melodic sensibilities, Hinds has produced a collection of music that bridges accident and intention while blending machine and man into a congenial unity.

The mode of structure alternates between fragile constructions of tenuous sounds and elegant applications of those curious noises to achieve engaging and substantive tuneage.

Although generally ambient in delivery, several of these tracks are often too lively to remain relegated to background listening elements. While rarely demanding attention (for there are certainly purposefully explosive moments), Hinds' compositions seem to establish themselves as sonic companions instead of subliminal environments.

decorative rule
Entire page © 2003 Matt Howarth.
All rights reserved.
Webpage design by Stasy