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coverpic flag US - Texas - Full Moon 82 - 06/14/03

Re: Cooperation
Transcollaboration
Dogfingers/Uncle Buzz

One of the advantages of the internet that I imagine is never truly exploited is collaborating musically. My experience of home internet connections is such that as soon as you start doing anything important or meaningful, you can guarantee that you get messed around by the phone line. Collaborating musically via post, on the other hand, seems like a great idea: you send your creative fruits and then wait in delicious anticipation to hear the direction your collaborator has taken the sound.

This is the basis of this intermittently brilliant CD, a collaboration between David Cooper Orton in the UK, and James Sidlo in the USA. An anonymous soup of e-bowed guitars, synths, bass and background atmospherics, it can drift by for minutes with very little happening, and then interesting melodies will emerge, glistening brightly on the surface.

Despite the fact that the two musicians met on an internet site called Loopers Delight, there's very little here that sounds obviously hierarchical in composition, like most looped music does; you can't mentally pick out and inspect all the different elements within the music. The sounds complement and meld with one another, which can produce some lovely results. Although some of the instruments sometimes sound overly ponderous - the 'prog rock' timbre of some of the e-bowed guitars can get a bit grating - most of the sounds are handled with finesse. And the first time a drum beat kicks in around halfway through the album it's a genuine surprise, the sequencing of the songs accentuating the effect of the beats when they arrive.

This is the best review CD that I've received out of the blue rather than bought, and I'd like to thank David and James for sending me their music - a very enjoyable, mellow listen. I have to confess that it hasn't set my world alight, partly as a result of my recent aversion to ambient, instrumental albums. But I foresee being pleasantly surprised by it again at some point in the near future, when I want something warm, immersive and passively engaging.

Copyright © 2003 Tim Clarke e-mail address

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