Gears of Sand is an independent CDR label run by Ben Fleury-Steiner than is dedicated to releasing electronic music in the ambient drone genre.
BEN FLEURY-STEINER: To Reach the Other Shore (CDR on Gears of Sand Music)
This release from 2004 features 48 minutes of liquid ambience.
Sparseness is keynote here, with drifting tonalities vibrating ever so slightly in a field of equally sedate electronics. Embellishments of minimal proportion occur, but rarely manifesting enough change to attract attention. The flow is even and determined, devoted to lulling the audience with an extreme dose of unwavering calm.
Many of the tracks embody a softly growling astral void, with incidental sounds punctuating the solitude with subtle reminders of earthly presence (like doors opening and closing, or the chiming of distant church bells, or environmental crickets). The strict ambience displays periodic hints of pulsating variance, just enough to maintain motion, but not enough to jar the listener from their state of meditation.
HEATH YONAITES & K.M. KREBS: The Seed Project (CDR on Gears of Sand Music)
This release from 2004 features 73 minutes of variable ambience.
The music on this release is split between the two musicians, performing solo ambience. The tracks alternate like a checkerboard, making the flow rather erratic.
Heath Yonaites’ compositions are more traditional atmospherics, with harmonics that wind like a slithering aerial snake creating minor ripples in the sonic flow, then along comes unexpected sidereal sounds that serve to agitate the even-tempered flow. Treated strings often replace the electronic drone, vibrating strangely so as to divorce themselves from their source.
K.M. Krebs’ style tends to lace his ambience with edgy rhythms and unpredictable outbursts. Controlled bottle-rolling is employed, which always adds an eerie touch to minimal harmonics. The presence of toy piano injects a childlike quality to some of the music.
BEN FLEURY-STEINER: Chroma (CDR on Gears of Sand Music)
This release from 2004 features 58 minutes of atmospheric ambience.
With this release, Fleury-Steiner continues to generate soothing tuneage that drifts high overhead. The ethereal electronic textures are mingled with softly mechanical buzzings and almost subliminal whirs, evoking a remote machine presence creeping up on the audience.
The deviations from track to track are very subtle, usually found within the faint embellishments that surface and sink throughout the elongated refined droning. Sparsely dressed tuneage such as this leaves little room for the mind to focus on any part of the music, existing primarily as a minimal backdrop for whatever the listener chooses to do while playing the CD.
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