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Tracklist: 1. Sunspots 9:53 2. 1 Frequency - Dream In Soundwaves 7:38 3. Brief Moon 4:53 4. Underwater: a) Decsent 6:28 b) Floating 6:49 c) Echolocation 5:42 d) Deep Zone 8:01 e) Acsent 3:29 Line-up: Johnny A. Rodriguez - analog & digital keyboards, Native American flutes, extended vocals James H. Sidlo - guitars; loops, processing Guest musicians: Bobdog Catlin - 'bug' voice (on 2) & 'whale' bass (on 4) Stephanie Key - clarinet & ocarina (on track 4) All compositions written, arranged, & produced by J. Rodriguez & J. Sidlo. Recorded, mixed, & mastered by Bobdog Catlin at "Doghouse Audio Laboratory", San Antonio, TX.
Prologue. A couple of days ago I received two CDs, both of which are linked among themselves by the resembling lineup of performers. However, I can't include my reviews on them in a unified Overall View. It is because these CDs were released not only under different names of the bands (or projects), but also by altogether different labels. And after all, it is not obligatory that these albums were created in the same or resembling stylistic vein.
The Album. There are no percussion instruments on this album at all. The kind of music that is presented on "Underwater" does not require their use: what for? The keyboard-based spacey and atmospheric chords and passages, reminding of the gelatin-like waves of the ocean of Solaris, move extremely slowly throughout the album. The sounds of distant worlds, cryptic noises, outbursts of Supernovas, and all of the other big bangs just aren't able to budge these waves. They are, as it were, tightly attached to the invisible axis of the universe. Devoid of rhythms and melodies, this is all about atmosphere and, at the same time, all of this seems to stretch to the depths of space. All of the more or less structured episodes are linked with either solos of electric guitar or passages of piano. In that way, from the progressive standpoint of view, the highlights of this album are Sunspots, Brief Moon, Descent, and Deep Zone (tracks 1, 3, 4-a, & 4-d). There are a few symphonic (read "best") episodes that remotely remind me of intros to Pink Floyd "Wish You Were Here" and Eloy's "Silent Cries And Mighty Echoes" albums. Unfortunately, only three tracks on "Underwater" feature such an important instrument as guitar. These are the first three of the four compositions that I've mentioned above. The lack of guitar solos and passages (which, by the way, are excellent anywhere where they are on the album) is the most serious drawback of "Underwater". All of the remaining tracks on the album almost entirely consist of the dreamy shades of synthesizers and various processed sounds. A cosmic wind, which is heard on Dream In Soundwaves (track 2), apart from the "extended voices in the void", is in my view the best among them. As for the underwater, here, I haven't heard their swashes or breath either.
Summary. Ambient and fluid, this music is good for meditation. On the other hand, "Underwater" is marked with a deeper sense of mystery than the other albums of this style that I've heard. In any case, ambient listeners will surely love this modern electronic space music.
VM. March 13, 2002
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