Ian Boddy / Bernhard Wostheinrich - "Moiré"
[DiN, www.din.org.uk]

302 Acid - "Even Calls"
[Em:t Records, www.emitrecords.com]

Infinite Scale - "Sound Sensor"
[Toytronic, www.toytronic.com]

Rhian Sheenan - "Paradigm Shift"
[Loop, www.loop.co.nz]

As much as I hate to use the world ambitious electronic ambient music, in the cases of these releases, I might as well go all out. To be honest, I lost track with some of the innovations in the ambient genre a while back, around the time Pete Namlook and Alec Empire were gaining notoriety. With that said, please note that this review may be either biased or under informed. [But hell, it's better to be honest than to suffer from consequences of your ignorance.]

DiN label has been going strong now for a good few years, and "Moiré" is the latest development from its' founder Ian Boddy along with designer / musician Bernhard Wostheinrich. The clicks and pops these two men inundate us with here are soft-spoken. No abrasive noises and no harsh or unpleasant tweets are within ears' range. The beats though repetitive aren't trance-like or sleep inducing. [Sure, go ahead, use this as sleep music but why waste your time sleeping to it, when you can actually listen to it?] Though the bass is not overtly heavy, there is still a bit of a kick to it. The music sounds as if it were made in an echo-like chamber which means the listener feels awkwardly isolated. Then again, don't get me wrong, there's still a lot of warmth in these sounds. The whole lot sounds very organic. If it's groove-oriented, nearly beat-less ambience that you're after, "Moiré" is a safe territory to explore.

Recently resurrected Em:t Records label offers the new album from 302 Acid entitled "Even Calls". Continuing along a similar vain as the Boddy / Wostheinrich collaboration, the album has a largely organic edge amidst a cloudy ambient surface. Feedback loops appears and disappear faster than the ever-shifting landscape that this trio assembles. Soft and breezy scenery brushes right past your ears. What I love the most is the band's use of "real" [come now, what's real nowadays?] bass and percussion. It's not that this sort of instrumentation lends the album any sort of authenticity. It's just that the heavy layers of sound somehow sound more user friendly. Ethereal, slow-moving terrains that stick in your head and relax the mind, "Even Calls" is for those who need an extra rush of electronic bliss when the lights go out late at night.

UK based Infinite Scale has been wondering around the electronic landscape for the last several years. His latest EP "Sound Sensor" is one release that brings back the lush together with intelligent electronica again. The landscapes are equally rich as they are serene. The beats are processed so that no unforeseen urges come across anyone's mind to get up on the dance floor. This isn't exactly chill-out music [in the same way Eno's "Music for Airports" isn't a chill-out record but a mastery of the minimal]. Don't get me wrong, this isn't exactly music to sleep to there are too many intricate details here for you to be nodding off. The gentle thumping and loopy beats create an atmosphere that is delectable irresistible. Rather, you can safely treat "Infinite Scale" as a short dose of wind-down sounds for your mind.

Rhian Sheenan - a new name to me - is a New Zealander that has been roaming ambient-electronic field for a number of years. His third release "Paradigm Shift" is a wondrous offering that doesn't exactly mine one category of music. Though the majority of the release is heavily on the electronic side, there are moments of folk bliss and some pop revelations as well. Lotus Hartley's vocals on "Waiting" [especially on the "Sea of Tranquility" Remix] are seductive and serene at once. While the atmosphere that is built by Rhian is oftentimes mellow, too frequently it just falls flat into the lazy category. The loops are regurgitated and I don't feel an effort to come across with something truly new and unique. Rehashing old ideas is an old trick in the book and unfortunately doesn't move anyone's music forward. Though "Paradigm Shift" has its moments of ethereal beauty, it is stuck in a schizophrenic world, not sure whether the next step will be a full fledged pop record or whether a shift towards ambient field is inevitable.

Tom Sekowski

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