For more than a decade, 'Ramp (aka Stephen Parsick) has been delivering journeys into dark zones of disturbing electronic ambience (characterized by the term: doombience). Well, with this new release the band has ramped things up into an entirely new territory.
'RAMP: Steel and Steam (CD on Doombient Music)
This release from 2011 offers 75 minutes of outstanding electronic music.
'Ramp is Stephen Parsick. He is joined on several tracks by Mark Shreeve (from Redshift).
This release exhibits a more hyperactive character than Parsick's last few outings. Not that they were lifeless, for his style of haunting ambience with ominous undertones can be quite engaging--but with this new release he delivers tuneage that is rich with melodic rhythms. A cursory explanation might be the collaborative presence of Shreeve--except that even the tracks without Shreeve fairly smolder with bewitching activity.
This music bristles with a mounting tension generated by nimble keys whose timbre is often akin to electrified bees, and e-perc which can only be described as steel drums filtered through ectoplasmic veils.
Admittedly, not all the percussion falls under that latter description, but even the more conventional e-perc possesses a ghostly flair, resulting in rhythms that are innovatively riveting. Echoes are grafted onto some passages to create the illusion of the music occurring in a gigantic metal chamber.
As for the tunes with Shreeve in attendance, these too possess the same edginess, but are tempered (slightly) by a whimsical airiness (consider a stratospheric altitude in which the listener is made uncomfortably aware of their extreme elevation). Familiar Redshift melodies in one passage are given a dire undercurrent, transforming the sprightly tuneage into excursions through an industrial haunted house. The result is unsettling and delightful.
These compositions are lively and compelling. The blend of melody and overt strangeness is striking and highly alluring. A mood of stress is quickly achieved and then stridently maintained as each song undergoes variations designed to escalate the audience's enjoyable uneasiness. (Yes: "enjoyable uneasiness." A state in which the anxiety reaches a point of such dazzling intensity that the effect brings a sly grin to the listener's lips--the same smile you get when an insufferably skeptical character in a horror film is about to get decapitated by the monster he refused to believe in.)
Parsick has become superbly adept at combining industrial edginess with gripping melodic content. This fusion is remarkably appealing, albeit somewhat intense, and is not recommended for those looking for a passive background soundtrack.
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