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by Thessalonians
Noh Poetry Records, San Bruno, Ca, 2005
Audio CD, 15 tracks
NPR 005
Distributor’s website: http://www.nohpoetryrecords.com/.

Reviewed by Stefaan Van Ryssen
Hogeschool Gent


The Thessalonians, based in San Francisco and featuring percussionist Larry Thrasher, and keyboardists Kim Cascone, Don Falcone, and Paul Neyrinck, performed live improvisations for electronic and acoustic instruments, that were the ultimate cybernetic-psychedelic ragas. Solaristics was produced between the springs of 1992 and 1996 in Berkeley and San Francisco. (At that time, guitarist David James was not a member of the group).

This is an early and typical example of what is known as ‘ambient’ music, but what is basically highly produced, slowly moving pop with a presumed spiritual, metaphysical, or outerworldly inspiration. Generally, audiences who prefer this type of music would talk about it in terms of ‘chilling out’ and relaxing——possibly combined with comments on ‘the groove’ or the ‘deepness’ of the sound.

The CD consists of eight ‘songs’ turned into a suite by seven short tracks composed to act as bridges from one piece to the other. Each piece brings its own atmosphere, ranging from pensive to thoughtful, or from melancholy to gloomy. The bridges are mostly short explorations of one or the other electronic effect. The consistency of the suite is kept by the presence of waves of pink noise, overlaying patterns of repeated chords that are following simple progressions through a range of timbres.

Interesting release for historic reasons but very dated for contemporary ears. Thrasher and Cascone have done more interesting things.



Updated 1st June 2006

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