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Electric Forgiveness - 2008 - "Echoes & Booms"

(75:58, Jam Recordings)


*****
                 
TRACK LIST:                   

1.  In My Mind I'm Going to California 3:19
2.  The Escape 2:28
3.  Tangerine Dreams 1:36
4.  Intrigue at the Peach House 3:20
5.  Gilmour Was Pink 2:25
6.  MBA on LSD 7:18
7.  Eno the Disco 4:03
8.  Valentine from a Porcupine 7:37
9.  Morphine Jello 4:26
10. Syd Barrett Blues 3:47
11. Stiglitz 3:56
12. Some of Them Chew the Bark Off Trees 6:18
13. Britney Spears Swallowed My Tears 8:48
14. Dark Side of the Sun 3:44
Bonus tracks:
15. The Escape Remix 2:29
16.  In My Mind I'm Going to California Remix 3:19
17. Intrigue at the Peach House Remix 3:21
18. Dark Side of the Sun Remix 3:43

LINEUP:

John Bundrick  keyboards; guitar, bass; drums; loops
Jon Dawson  keyboards; guitar, bass; percussion
Jeremy Morris  guitars  

Prolusion. ELECTRIC FORGIVENESS is a project that came about pretty accidentally. Jon Dawson had been working with John Bundrick (of The Who fame), as the latter contributed keyboards to some tracks on an album by Dawson's band Third of Never. At the end of that collaboration Dawson sent Bundrick some electronic tracks he had been working on, and Bundrick liked them and added some contributions of his own to these excursions. This eventually led to further collaborative efforts in the next year, with some additional input by Jeremy Morris of Jam Recordings, and in November 2008 the result was issued under the moniker Electric Forgiveness, titled "Echoes & Booms".

Analysis. This production is a rather intriguing affair and probably a rather surprising one as well for any fans of The Who that may stumble upon it. The first 5 creations on the disc, all pretty brief in length, are psychedelic tinged pieces filled with spacey textures and ambient explorations, pretty neat sounding but without inspiring any major emotions one way or another. But from the 6th number MBA on LSD and onwards we're taken on a spaced out journey the likes of which I've rarely encountered previously. The ambient moods and spacey textures are still very much in place, although with some, at times rather insistent, psychedelic additions, but the intensity is increased greatly, to the point of unreality in places. Spoken voices and samples are the key element added for these excursions. We're served a calm, spoken voice discussing various aspects and results of LSD (or acid if you like), with samples of what appears to be recordings of people using LSD and interviews with people about their experiences with the same substance. These spoken narratives and sampled voices are sometimes placed on top of the musical explorations and at other times placed back in the mix, with an at times pretty eerie mood as a result. The music itself shifts rather dramatically on these compositions as well. Tranquil, calm excursions are suddenly evolved into or shifted to energetic, hypnotic or dramatic sound collages, spacey and fluctuating patterns or techno-inspired danceable themes. Percussion, drums and instruments come and go, swirling synth sounds ebb and flow in intensity and distinct psychedelic tinged themes are built up at times in a chaotic disarray of disharmonious and dissonant sound walls - to suddenly be replaced with silence, mellow percussion and even classical chamber music in one particular instance. In most cases the atmospheres created are disturbing as well as fascinating. Be it the most intense moments, with a calm spoken narrative against a musical backdrop consisting of several different melodies and rhythms blended together with fragmented melodic pieces making brief appearances in a chaotic dissonant and highly psychedelic sonic wall, or more peaceful space-tinged segments with the manic speaking and laughter of a person apparently on a major acid trip complementing and contrasting with the ambient soundscape. These excursions make an impact, and despite being taxing and at times highly challenging to listen to in a concentrated manner these sonic tapestries are fascinating in a very special kind of way too. The last regular track on this disc takes us back to the beginning of the album again, a calmer instrumental affair without spoken voices and samples - the end of the acid trip one might say. Four additional pieces follow at the tail end of the disc. These are variations on tracks elsewhere on the album, where various changes in instrumentation give these tunes a different atmosphere, although personally I can't say that these variations were any more or less fascinating than the original incarnations of these four numbers.

Conclusion. "Echoes & Booms" comes across as an album that tries to describe with music what an acid trip is like, with an electronic dominated musical landscape as the chosen vehicle to do so. A gentle starts leads on to some pretty intense excursions, equally disturbing, intriguing and fascinating to follow. The album has its fair share of highs and lows in more ways than one, but should interest people into tripping music in general and those comfortable with the electronic varieties of psychedelic and space-tinged music in particular.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: July 11, 2009
The Rating Room


Related Links:

Jam Recordings
Electric Forgiveness


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