Sunday, October 30, 2005

You like me!

Hooray for that old zine policy of "we review everything we receive"! The following is from

and is probably the fourth review that "Moss" has received overall.

On his second full-length album as Connect_icut, Sam Macklin builds warm, organic sound pictures from melodic elements and industrial clangor. Macklin, who relocated from the
UK, is a fixture in Vancouver's music scene -- a zine contributor, pop culture commentator and champion of the outer reaches of electronic music. In addition to Connect_icut, he has also recorded with Interim Lovers, The Bastion Mews, The Countless Jibes and North Shore Academy of Dance. Here he turns synthetically generated washes and blots of sound into meditative, deeply human ruminations on time, space, thought and memory. Opener "Blood on the Walls" follows a hesitant melody of steel drum-like percussion over the hiss and roar of machinery; it sounds like art persisting in the shadow of a living, breathing monster of industrialism. "Two Guitars" layers electronic noises over their echoes, allowing the sounds to ping pong from one headphone to the other. It would be interesting to know whether any element of the song's base elements come from the two guitars of its title, as the sound could hardly be less guitar-like. Instead, there's an ebb and flow of auditory experience, almost a pulse, as abstract motifs ricochet off of a buzzing, almost snoring background. This track yields to the more atmospheric, less rhythmic "Galadriel", all distant washes of organ-like sound overlaid with windy, inorganic accents, whipping like flagpole ropes against metal on a blustery day. The cut fades to a whisper, like a connection slowly dying. "There's a Rite Going On" is the least appealing of Moss's cuts; its overtly computer-ish bleeps dart in and out of flute-like swoops and tinkling chimes. Still, the track has a bright, jittery energy, skittering across the higher registers, slashed with synthetically made pulses of vibrato strings and saxophone-like slurs.

Until now, Moss has been an interesting trip with occasional moments of transfixing beauty, but the record finds its space-centric groove during its second half. "Lethal Cocktail" is space-journey mysterious, laced with reverberating pings and Ligeti-esque choral sweeps and conveying a sense of endless space and time. "TV Lightware" has the same feel, but its colliding tonal pulses and lingering after-tones are warmer, more melodic and organic. "Winter Song" brings a music-box precision to the same run of notes that illuminated "Blood on the Walls", but cranked up faster and more mechanical. "Deathless" is denser, a tangle of overlapping staccato tones through whose gaps can be glimpsed Enya-like washes of altered vocal sounds. As in other cuts, the sound shimmers, mirage-like, in and out of focus, discord building and fraying as the cut moves forward. There is a profound, oscillating mysticism to "Pass the Aura Goggles" and a transcendently beautiful resolution to "Omsk-F" that closes the disc in slow moving, mood-shifting style.
Jennifer Kelly

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