Thursday, December 3, 2020

Vector Lovers - Separation

self-release: 2020

Doing a video game score seemed inevitable. Lot's of electronic music producers do it, those with sonic similarities to sci-fi, anime, and all that good geeky stuff perfect adepts. So when I heard Vector Lovers had made a soundtrack for a game, it didn't surprise me that much. What did surprise me was the game in question, called Separation, was developed for the Playstation VR system. I've heard of the gear, but hardly seen much buzz around it. Or maybe there's plenty of buzz, but since it's a device I'll never use, it all passes me by.

In any case, I followed the handy link to the game's promotional website, for that all-important context on the subject matter, and it looks interesting enough. Mostly a walking simulator with a desolate world to explore while solving the mysteries of what went so horribly wrong for this civilization to have come to ruin. Gosh, getting some real Atrium Carceri / Sabled Sun vibes here.

I was curious how Vector Lovers came into contact with this project, so poked about the Recluse Industries page some more. Ah, here's an 'About' page, going into the developer's past game-making experiences, mostly done during earlier generations. He took a break from it for a while, then returned to the fold when the death of his father inspired him to make Separation himself. Signed ...Martin Wheeler? Wait, Vector Lovers not only did the soundtrack, but the whole game? Holy cow, I had no idea Martin was an indie game developer too! Seems like information that should be included on his Discogs page. That also explains the long stretch of minimal musical output following iPhonica. He was busy making a VR game in all that time!

Befitting a VR game that's more about immersion and exploration, the music for Separation is mostly on that moody ambient tip. It even occasionally dips its toes into atmospheric synthwave territory (Epic Fail, Outpost), which totally tracks for Vector Lovers. In fact, I'm surprised I didn't hear more of it, as this seems like a prime environment for some vintage retro-future synth pulses.

But nay, Separation's primary sonic domain are subtle droning pads that ebb and swell, likely emerging as you come across some new landscape or ruin in your sojourn through the game's world. Some of it is ominous and mysterious (Ocean Of Nothing, Requiem), others tranquil and relaxing (Into The Air, Unlearn, the titular cut), while a couple could have been the mellower moments in a Vector Lovers album (Foregone, Requiem again). Such distinct markers of Mr. Wheeler's music seem few and far though, Separation a much different outing than the usual Vector Lovers fare. It's fine on its own, but undoubtedly would be enhanced with associated stimuli from the gaming experience.

And the game itself? Oh, I've obviously never played it, but did check out a few reviews. I've seen opinions range from "immersive masterpiece" to "tedious... treasure hunt". Always positive things to say about the music though.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

ACE TRACKS: October-November 2020

So I made a Topster.


And you may be wondering, what even is a Topster? Just a simple little chart app that lets you put images of music albums however you want. Most have been doing it to make Favourite Albums collages, which I figured, “When in Rome...” Only, I have no idea what my favourite albums are. For sure there's one's I like quite a bit, but I've never thought about ranking them or paring things down to a Top 40 (or 100, or 1000). There's just so much in my collection, it'd take some serious study to figure it out, and I don't care to rank my albums that much.

Fortunately, there's a handy little place that tracks which albums you listen to the most often, and while not the most accurate of apps, should be representative of what my favourites are. So off to the Last.dot.fm I went, scoped out which were my top scrobbled albums, and selected just the top from each artist that came up (there'd be quite the bunching of FSOL otherwise). The result... wasn't what I expected.

Oh, absolutely many of these albums are favourites, but I can't say they're my absolute favourites from each artist. I'd put Big Men Cry over Maya any day, or Demon Days over Plastic Beach, or Dead Cities over Environments 2, or U.F.Orb over The Dream. Plus, I'm missing whole genres here (house, techno, d'n'b, rap, almost all of rock), which is just ridiculous. What gives?

Methinks this scrobble information is so skewed because this is a lot of stuff that I tend to play at home, on the downswing, sometimes when I'm ready to nod off. I generally don't get scrobble information for music blasting on my main stereo or MP3s on the go. Others likely got high scrobble info because they have so many tracks to scrobble from (I see you, Pete Namlook tribute box-set; you too, Neil Young box-set).

Still, I feel like this is an app that could be toyed around with some more, given the time to do so. Stay tuned for future Topster pics! For now, here's the ACE TRACKS for the past two months of reviews. Seems like enough to make a decent playlist out of now.


Full track list here.


MISSING ALBUMS:
Autumn Of Communion - Reservoir Of Video Souls
Various - Recycle Or Die (Electronic Mind Music)
Skanfrom - Postcards
Vector Lovers - Pale Blue Star EP

Percentage Of Hip-Hop: 0%
Percentage Of Rock: 0%
Most “WTF?” Track: Nope, can't think of one. Even the dark ambient stuff is comparatively tame.

Aw man, I go and say downtempo, ambient, IDM-chill stuff really isn't my only port of call, and here's a playlist that's filled with it! At least there's a little more variety in here though, what with Technical Itch, UNKLE, and, um, Fictivision. Wow, relying on eurotrance to break up monotony. Strange days forever more.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Atomine Elektrine - The Second Moon

Old Europa Cafe: 2016

No doubt about this one. Browsing through Peter Andersson's Bandcamp, spotting cover art of celestial objects, and I'm on it like a wook with white powder. Just the concept alone gets my astro-dork endorphins going. Think about it, a whole other moon orbiting Earth, one that has somehow gone undetected in all of mankind's star gazing. Or even better, an Elseworlds concept, where there's always been a second moon, one woven into the very fabric of our culture since cultures began. We've set so much of our society around the regular rotations of Luna, could you imagine what else might be added to that with a little sister of sorts? The possibilities are mind-boggling!

Even ignoring the cultural implications though, the astronomical ones alone are fascinating. Where would such a moon feasibly be? How would its gravitational pull affect Luna and Earth? How large would such a body have to be to even sustain an orbit without other astrophysics interfering with it? There have been transient bodies that have, for a time, shared Earth's orbit, and even briefly come under its gravitational pull, but most of the time is kicked back out into the cosmos by that jealous hanger-on Luna, forever dominating our skies for attention.

I find it interesting that Mr. Andersson chose an image of Charon for a stand-in of Moon Two. This image was extremely new when he released this album, the New Horizons probe having done its Pluto flyby barely a year prior. And while the make-up and orbital mechanics are quite different between the Pluto and Earth systems, there is some similarity, in that they're both examples of a double-planet system. True, the Pluto-Charon relationship is more a true double (dwarf) planet example, each always showing the same face, their the barycenter outside either body, whereas that's not the case with Earth and Luna. Still, it's the only shared example within our solar system of a proportionally large moon orbiting another body.

Oh dear, have I ever gone way off topic here.

As mentioned before, Atomine Elektrine was the alias Peter used when exploring music outside the confines of dark ambient's domain. That initially meant skewing closer to techno, but when he relaunched the project with the Nebulous album, it's become more about space ambient and dronescapes ever since. Unsurprisingly, this has led to his music inching ever closer to Berlin-School, because the never-ending fascination with Tangerine Dream's early works is forever etched into space ambient's DNA.

The Second Moon definitely has that vibe, lengthy pieces built around pulsating synth melodies. For sure opener Sepharial's Lilith harkens more to the darker drone of raison d'être, but beyond that, it's spaced-out sounds with slowly evolving arps. By the time we're at final track Green Crescent (or even bonus Bandcamp track 2006 RH120), it's upper astral all the way, gazing back at the pretty pair of Earth and Luna from the surface of an ignored, forgotten sibling's surface. Always lonesome, the second child.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Fictivision - Ringworld / Outpost

In Trance We Trust: 2003

Yes, I admit it: it's totally the cover art that drew me to Fictivision's Ringworld. Just the retro feel of it is enticing enough, though being among the most unique images of ITWT's catalogue doesn't hurt either. Like something out of a '70s astronomy book, before we had amazing telescope photography splashing across our pages, relying on the imaginative guesswork of painters.

Arny Bink typically used beauty shots of various Earthen locales and scenery in his photography for the label, giving the early In Trance We Trust releases their distinct character over so many other trance prints of the early '00s. I wonder what inspired him to go so cosmic with Fictivision's debut? Also, did Arny make it himself? The legal details say the artwork is owned by Black Hole Recordings, so maybe so.

Anyhow, I wouldn't have acquired this single if the music within was rubbish – lovely artwork can only take things so far. Fortunately, Fictivision was one of In Trance We Trust's unsung heroes of the label's golden age, each of his singles among the classiest a bloated Dutch scene could offer. Heck, it was his pairing with Phynn on Escape that clued me in that there might still be some worth in a genre I'd long since abandoned. But while his partner would go onto a decent little career of his own, the Fictivision project ended after just four singles.

Instead, the man behind the moniker, Bart van Wissen, focused his attention to producing proggy electro house after, as was the style at the time. I listened to a few of those singles, and they're fine for what they are, but I get more of a kick from his darker, dubbier prog from before the Fictivision years. In any case, a genuine talent that could have offered so much more if he'd gotten a similar break as his buddy Phynn did.

And how does Ringworld go? Right, it's honestly a fairly standard epic trancer with a cosmic bent, including a mild breakdown for the main lead to go a little quiet for a tasteful build. It's still a lead that triggers the Proper Trance synapses in my brain matter though, which can happen provided its not surrounded by a bunch of bollocks. The flipside Outpost is more straight-forward, leaning on that Ton-TB brand of tech-trance that was making the rounds of Black Hole at the time. Not bad, though I've heard better out of Fictivision, including that pairing with C-Quence in Symbols, not to mention another epic cosmic outing in Out Of Orbit, his final release with In Trance We Trust. Man, that's another one I wouldn't mind having. Shame you can't even buy these in MP3 format anymore.

Erm, yeah, full confession I nabbed Ringworld from the Seeker Of Souls, all my regular options exhausted. Still, between his Fictivision stuff, and the material released under his own name, Mr. van Wissen has enough to compile some sort of retrospective on Bandcamp. Would definitely drop dollars for that.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Autumn Of Communion - Reservoir Of Video Souls

Fantasy Enhancing: 2018

It appeared that Lee Norris was shifting his music ventures down different avenues, stepping back from managing ...txt while consolidating his Autumn Of Communion works into a box-set. He followed that up by establishing Fantasy Enhancing, debuting the fresh label with another Autumn Of Communion album. Everything old is new again!

Naturally, I had to get in on that action as soon as it was announced. Who knows how limited and rare these albums might become? Firsts of anything in these post Fax+ ambient techno circles always end up with ridiculous prices on the collector's market, and this particular outing from Lee and Mick looked to be a very spiffy first indeed. Why, they even went the DVD-sized package route for Fantasy Enhancing, making them something akin to a book on your music shelves. Boy, am I ever glad I sprung for it when it first came out. Shame I somehow, inexplicably lost it.

No, really, how does one lose a CD with packaging that big? It's not like there's a lot of space in my apartment for it to wander off to. Did the mice in the walls steal it? A nosy landlord nabbing it as a deposit for all the shelving holes I'm leaving? Will it miraculously appear when I finally move, unearthed from some impossibly deep couch cushion? Mysteries upon mysteries!

Okay, enough belly-moaning about my music collecting tribulations. Is Reservoir Of Video Souls any good? Sure things it is – it's not like Misters Norris and Chillage had taken a long break between this and Metal such that they'd lost their songcraft synergy. If anything, this album feels like something of a return to an older style, a simpler style, a 'not-quite-so-experimental-drone' style. A lot of Autumn Of Communion 4 feels, is what I'm saying, what with those spaced-out melodies and soft rhythms, conjuring long nights spent gazing upon stars slowly circling the heavens above.

Five tracks make up this album, each hovering in that sweet spot of twelve-to-twenty minutes of runtime. Plenty of room for the AoC lads to indulge in some freeform music making before striking upon a lead melody, and not so long that the plot gets lost along the way. Well, except opener Metacognition, so abruptly switching gears midway through, I keep thinking it's an entirely different track, and that Reservoir Of Video Souls is a continuously mixed album. It's the only track on here that does it though, making it an odd-man out.

And speaking of oddities, was I the only one that thought Reservoir Of Video Souls would end up being a DVD release? Something like BT's This Binary Universe, with little movies accompanying the music? It's right there in the title, plus the whole DVD packaging to go along with it. Heck, no lie, I assumed Fantasy Enhancing itself would feature such releases, taking the world of ambient techno into an untapped realm of modern audio-visual media. Alas, t'was not to be. Yet...

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Various - Recycle Or Die (Electronic Mind Music)

Planet Earth Recordings: 1994

You couldn't be a techno-trance label of the early '90s without an offshoot of ambient-leaning downtime music. Warp Records had Artificial Intelligence. R & S Records had Apollo. Suck Me Plasma had Aural X-Perience. Even Fax+ had Seasons Greetings (wait, what?). Naturally, Eye-Q Music got in on that action, Recycle Or Die the print's contribution to the overstuffed spaced-out chill-out market. This would not be some mere ambient or pseudo New Age outlet though, oh no! Recycle Or Die would be a continuum of the German avante-garde, carrying on the legacies of Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, and so forth. Just, y'know, with artists from their own Eye-Q roster and all.

Which artists you ask? Oh, the usual suspects: Ralf 'Soul Of Eye-Q' Hildenbeutel; Oliver F'n Lieb, stalwart Stevie B-Zet, plus Dominc Woosey and Baked Beans. Definitely a strong opening salvo with that roster, but the sub-label's fortunes kinda' sizzled out after. Some more Baked Beans, a little more Ralf (with Gottfried Tollmann), obscurities in Solitaire and #9 Dream, plus... oh hey, MIR. I recall seeing MIR's Welcome Spacebrothers in shops way back when; that human figure on the cover at least.

Anyhow, despite the Recycle Or Die story being short-lived, you cannot deny its first act was one of the strongest for a trance-techno label jumping on the chill-room bandwagon. This particular compilation, released in America for a little cross-continental promotion, rounds up their contributions to the Recycle Or Die launch.

And you couldn't ask for a more perfect pair of opening tracks than two pieces from Mr. Hildenbeutel's debut album Looking Beyond. Follow Me is all meditative woodwinds, soothing pad work, and subtle bleepy electronics, properly steering things just out of the range of New Age into something space-aged (the Techno Age!), while Coming Back... Okay, this one dips its toes into world beat, so not really all up on that German avante-garde the Recycle Or Die manifesto claimed. Still a nice tune, just would fit more snugly rubbing shoulders with Enigma and Deep Forest, is all. Heck, at least those tracks are still immaculately produced for what they are, whereas #9 Dream's Summer Offering really does sound like the sort of thing found on New Age tapes in crystal shops. Is there anything on Recycle Or Die that hints at the techno-trance of its parent label?

You bet your chakra there is! Dominc Woosey's sixteen minute long Stray Dawn, First Light is straight from the big book of Berlin School synth minimalism, subtle arps and breathing synths slowly building to... Look, it's not about the destination with such music, just the journey, yo'. Meanwhile, Oliver Lieb's Spice Diving sounds like the Liebermeister having his own kick at Berlin School weirdness, but filled with all the sci-fi synth sounds anyone familiar with his Spicelab work will recognize (plus pitter-patter conga drumming). And finally, Be-Zet's Closed Eye View does the 'trance as ambient' thing quite common in Harthouse and Fax+ circles. Probably what folks diving into Recycle Or Die raw expected.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Raison D'être - Prospectus I (Redux)

Cold Meat Industry/Old Europa Cafe: 1993/2013

Here I am again with Peter Andersson, scoping out his main alias, raison d'être. I won't deny my first couple forays into his body of work were incidental, drawn in by cover art rather than recognition from 'dark ambient producers you MUST hear before you die cold and alone!' lists. This one though, I learned was a Very Important one in the raison d'être canon, being his first wide-release and all. For sure he had a couple tape albums in prior years, but with Prospectus I, Peter made his leap to a major label (well, major within dark ambient circles), getting a spiffy CD roll-out in the process. When Cold Meat Industry folded, the album got a redux double-LP re-issue on Old Europa Cafe, and even more recently, got the vinyl treatment with Cyclic Law. Gosh, Within The Depths Of Silence And Phormations didn't get that, so Prospectus I must be Very Important indeed, genre defining even.

I honestly don't know about that, but then dark ambient was still in its infant stage way back in 1993, finally emerging out of its original industrial influences into something truly its own. Indeed, those aforementioned early tapes as raison d'être were filled with all sorts of sound experiments and clanking noises more befitting of the power electronics scene. With Prospectus I, however, such sonic sadism is generally reduced and shuffled to the background, a heavier emphasis on such daft concepts like melodies and harmonies. In dark ambient? Why I never!

Okay, you could find such things in this music in the past, generally whenever it drew influences from the goth and ethereal scene rather than the industrial one. I guess you could say raison d'être is doing the same here, if you consider cathedral music within the same lane. Chants, church bells, choirs, all the things that have you throwing yourself into a religious frenzy. However, a lot of it sounds quite under-produced, especially some of the choices in kettledrums and choir samples, not much better than what you'd hear out of Super Nintendo. Again, I'm willing to overlook it based on the era in which it was made, but Prospectus I really does show its age, and no amount of remastered vinyl production can hide that.

The second CD in this Redux version includes a bunch of material from assorted compilations, plus the Lost Fragments demos album that was released nearly a decade after Prospectus I. I honestly find some of this stuff more interesting than the album-proper material, though more on an academic level than any sort of real enjoyment. There's only so much tinny, ominous church vibes I can take before it grows repetitive to my ears (d'at Decay I, tho'!).

Well bully for me, because the Bandcamp purchase I made for this release included even more tracks, basically a third CD's worth of unreleased early versions and alternates! Oh boy, I can't wait to more variations of Carnificaina, Dissection, Synopsis, and In Extremis! Prospectus I, for eternity!

Friday, November 20, 2020

Technical Itch - Progression Threat - Part One

Tech Itch Digital: 2013

A follow-up to Diagnostics. That's all we wanted. Relentless singles were nice an all, but another long-form outing from Technical Itch was what we craved. Even a consolidation of all those wayward EPs into a compilation would be dope. Just something longer than a two or three track release, feeding us those industrial-grade drums and basses. No, not those Digitally Ascended mini-albums, that's the wrong genre. Heck, the wrong scene, no matter how much d'n'b and dubstep were getting chummy. We was hungry for that darkstep dining, and wanted Technical Itch to keep feedin' us, and feedin' us, and feedin' us with full-course meals.

Ask (beg?), and you shall receive, Mark Caro giving us not one, not two, but three servings of Progression Threat. I wouldn't call these full-blown proper albums like Diagnostics, but at ten tracks each, is plenty 'nuff of the rough and rugged jungle business for folks that need their d'n'b fixes in larger than single-serving portions.

And yes, I'm not calling Progression Threat a proper-proper album roll-out on the same level as Diagnostics. If this were, in fact, a real-real album, there would have been a vinyl roll-out, maybe a box-set with CD option, the whole shebang. Yeah, yeah, the whole point of Tech Itch Digital was to release things primarily in a digital format, but even in ye' olde year of 2013, enough folks would divvy up dollars for hard copies, guaranteeing a return on a run of records. Anyhow...

I know Mr. Caro has flitted about other jungle styles over the years, but when opener Sun Eater, um, opens, I almost thought we'd be in for something on the atmospheric tip. Such a tranquil pad refrain, calm and floating, as though gazing upon Sol from afar. No, wait, here come some menacing overtones, a feral bassline, aggressive drums. Oh no! It's Unicron, come to eat the sun! I should have known better than to expect 'dolphin d'n'b' from an album with titles like Oblivion Survival, Soul Gritter, and Day Sleeper on it.

Jokes aside, this was definitely the Technical Itch, erm, itch that needed scratching after my dashed expectations following Digitally Ascended, Vol. 3. From there we get a nice variety of aggro thrashers (the aforementioned tunes; Code Weave), twitchy tech-steppers (Progress Trap, the titular cut), Led-heavy stompers (Someone Else), and... Gosh, is that a stab at Squarepusher jazz-fusion in My Being? Like, not quite so spastic cut-up as Jenkinson can go, and Mark does bring the beef later in the track, but still, a nice divergence from the norm.

And that's all there is to Progression Threat – Part One. Yeah, little need for deep analysis here. It's Mark Caro dropping nine tracks of what he does best, with one spicy outlier for flavour. Are the other Progression Threats the same? I don't know, I haven't heard them yet. For now, this was enough to sate my appetite. Besides, there's a full-course meal about to get served soon.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Dead Melodies - Primal Destination

Cryo Chamber: 2019

It's funny how circumstance can affect one's engagement with the music they consume. For sure we want suitable soundtracks to the events of our lives: rockin', high energy stuff for heading out on the town; chill, unobtrusive sounds for downtimes; smooth grooves for sexy shenanigans. When some feel glum and gloom, there's nothing like a little dark ambient to placate the mood. And four years ago, I was feelin' that dark ambient vibe indeed. Yeah, I'd been intrigued by the genre for a couple years prior, but after that happened... hoo boy. Possibly some of my most inspired prose was written during that period, regarding this particular style of music.

Yet things kinda' seem just a bit... better now? Not as good as they could or should be, oh no. Just... better. Makes me wonder whether dark ambient all-oppressive mood will be as relatable anymore, or will return to the 'conceptual escapism' status I previous held it as.

I haven't kept much tab on Dead Melodies since I last reviewed the project, but Tom Moore does remain active, especially in the year 2020. He's even gone a little noir with Zenjungle in Anthropocene, which I may pick up down the line, but for now, we're in high-concept territory in this album, Primal Destination.

In fact, we're getting in on a little sci-fi action here, if the miniscule spaceman in the cover art wasn't enough of an indication. I suppose the astrophysics patterns and and ancient stargate is a handy clue too. Or is this an inter-dimensional portal? This cover has me thinking space, but many of the track titles don't really suggest as such: Superdrone Descent, Pearlescent Dawn, Subterraformed, Glades. Gosh, now that I look at the figure on the cover harder, I wonder if that's even a spacesuit. Looks more like radiation garb, the sort of thing one might wear when traversing volcanic regions. No, don't go in there! Who knows what horrors you'll find! Dammit, why don't they listen when I'm screaming at them from my meatspace?

Primal Destination starts out relatively calm and tranquil in that cinematic drone sort of way, the first couple tracks lulling you into a sense of serenity. Third piece Pearlescent Dawn comes off more ominous though, as though your environment is growing more askew the further you travel. And while Glades may initially conjure images dewy, rolling hills of grass, there's nothing peaceful about Mr. Moore's use of field recordings here, the sort of sounds that will have you jumping at shadows from the periphery of your sight (damn you, Xtro!).

From there, it's the steady descent into, well, primal thoughts and instincts, your reptile brain getting all itchy and twitchy from the sounds Dead Melodies utilizes. Save some orchestral manipulations in Fields Of Sleep, it's not until final track The Wake Of Man does something resembling calm and rationality enter back into the discourse. Ah, the steadying breath of the wise man's brain in action.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

The Higher Intelligence Agency - Preform

self-release: 2020

Bobby Bird's been a bit of a busy-body on Bandcamp this (b)last half-decade, slowly releasing his back-catalogue with upgraded fidelity. This has seen the availability of long out-of-print and rare items again, including his collaborations with Pete Namlook and Biosphere. There were a few, scattered HIA items from the project's earliest days that had yet to be re-issued though. I've covered some of these as they appeared on compilations, but others were exclusive to tapes of the original Oscillate shows. Basically a lot of very hard-to-get stuff for completists, unless one was willing to scour Discogs for them. I mean, it's not like these assorted early tracks were available on a tidy collection.

So Bobby gathered all these stray tunes into a tidy collection called Preform. Aw, now isn't that nice of him.

Three of the eight tracks included here, I already have: W.H.Y. (from Ambient Dub Vol. 2), Harmony Angel (from One A.D.), and Alphanex, which was the name of the short-lived pairing of Bird and Brian Duffy, for the one-off track Planet Hoskins on Ambient Dub, Vol. 1. Not sure why this change was made for this compilation, but whatever, it's great to have that in such spiffy remastered form. Seriously, d'at bass! HIA got its rep from being purveyors of bleepy dub, but back in the day, they squeezed some serious juice out of those low ends. Having a higher fidelity version of Why ain't such a bad thing either. Harmony Angel is fine, but was never one of my 'must hear' tracks on One A.D.

Two other 'compilation exclusive' tracks are on Preform, one of which any follower of the Artificial Intelligence series should know, Selenite. I... kinda' feel like I've heard variations on this track before. Then again, many of WHY's elements were re-purposed into the Colourform track Re-Echo, not to mention bits of Harmony Angel could be heard in Speedlearn. Hence this collection of tracks being called Preform, I guess.

Anyhow, the other compilation track is Genius Island, which appeared on one of those gargantuan charity-driven collections on Touched Music, a quite lovely, spaced-out slice of ambient techno dub (Spectral's chimes help). There's actually an earlier version that appeared on the tape Totally Ambient Groove Volume 2 – Live From Oscillate, but I assume this version was plucked instead since it already had a re-jiggering for a 2014 release.

Speaking of those tapes, the remaining three tracks on Preform all come those sessions, and yeah, these definitely sound like tunes intended for a live audience. Sub Oscillate 2 is little more than an acid techno workout with dub flourishes. Meanwhile, Alien Mind feeds of that ol' school HIA vibe of dancefloor efficiency while working all the pulpy, bleepy sci-fi sounds and samples you can indulge. Juju Love is sillier, though that twisting bleep noise sure harkens to the sort of leads weeaboo trap loves. Interesting curiosos for the HIA completist, but well removed from the minimalist electro-dub that'd mark Bird's later work.

Things I've Talked About

...txt 10 Records 16 Bit Lolita's 1963 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2 Play Records 2 Unlimited 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 20xx Update 2562 3 Loop Music 302 Acid 36 3FORCE 3six Recordings 4AD 6 x 6 Records 75 Ark 7L & Esoteric 808 State A Perfect Circle A Positive Life A-Wave a.r.t.less A&M Records A&R Records Abandoned Communities Abasi Above and Beyond abstract Ace Trace Ace Tracks Playlists Ace Ventura acid acid house acid jazz acid techno acoustic Acroplane Recordings Adam Ellis Adam Freeland Adham Shaikh ADNY Adrian Younge adult contemporary Advanced UFO Phantom Aegri Somnia Aes Dana Afrika Bambaataa Afro-house Afterhours Agoria Aidan Casserly Aira Mitsuki Airwaves Ajana Records Ajna AK1200 Akshan album Aldrin Alex Smoke Alex Theory Alice In Chains Alien Community Alien Project Alio Die All Saints Alphabet Zoo Alphaxone Altar Records Alter Ego alternative rock Alucidnation Ambelion Ambidextrous ambient ambient dub ambient techno Ambient World Ambientium Ametsub Amon Tobin Amplexus Anabolic Frolic Anatolya Andrea Parker Andrew Heath Androcell Anduin Andy C anecdotes Aniplex Anjunabeats Annibale Records Anodize Another Fine Day Antendex anthem house Anthony Paul Kerby Anthony Rother Anti-Social Network Aoide Aphasia Records Aphex Twin Apócrýphos Apollo Apple Records April Records Aqua Aquarellist Aquascape Aquasky Aquila Arcade Architects Of Existence arena rock Arista Armada Armin van Buuren Arpatle Arts & Crafts ASC Ashtech Asia Asian Dub Foundation Astral Engineering Astral Projection Astral Waves Astralwerks AstroPilot Asura Asylum Records ATCO Records Atlantic Atlantis atmospheric jungle Atomic Hooligan Atomine Elektrine Atrium Carceri Attic Attoya Audion AuroraX Autechre Autistici Autumn Of Communion Avantgarde Avatar Records Aveparthe Avicii Axiom Axs Axtone Records Aythar B.G. The Prince Of Rap B°TONG B12 Babygrande Balance Balanced Records Balearic ballad Banco de Gaia Bandulu Battle Axe Records battle-rap Bauri Beastie Boys Beat Buzz Records Beatbox Machinery Beats & Pieces bebop Beck Bedouin Soundclash Bedrock Records Beechwood Music Benny Benassi Bent Benz Street US Berlin-School Beto Narme Beyond bhangra Bicep big beat Big Boi Big Dada Recordings Big L Big Life Bill Hamel Bill Laswell BIlly Idol BineMusic BioMetal Biophon Records Biosphere Bipolar Music BKS Black Hole Recordings black rebel motorcycle club Black Swan Sounds Blanco Y Negro Blasterjaxx Blend Blood Music Blow Up Blue Amazon Blue Öyster Cult blues Bluescreen Bluetech BMG Boards Of Canada Bob Dylan Bob Marley Bobina Bogdan Raczynzki Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Boney M Bong Load Records Bonobo Bonzai Boogie Down Productions Booka Shade Botchit & Scarper Bows Boxed Boys Noize Boysnoize Records BPitch Control braindance Brandt Brauer Frick Brasil & The Gallowbrothers Band breakbeats breakcore breaks Brian Eno Brian Wilson Brick Records Britpop Brodinski broken beat Brooklyn Music Ltd Bryan Adams BT Bubble Buffalo Springfield Bulk Recordings Burial Burned CDs Bursak Records Bush Busta Rhymes Buttertones C.I.A. 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