Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Corners of the Mouth
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Alternative Rock, Special Interest, Pop
Ends with the sea
loteq | Regensburg | 03/02/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The cover art-work of this album tells us that some of the proceeds from the record would go to the School of Sound, part of a non-profit organization called The Sound Healers Association. "Can you explain that with a bit more details?" Well, the concept behind this medical organisation is the fact that music can be used with therapeutic intentions, such as inducing relaxation (perhaps the best-known application of ambient and trance music), altering states of consciousness (hypnosis etc.), accelerating learning and brain activity, or treating such disabilities as autism and dyslexia. While there are certainly a few aspects, in my opinion, which border on esoteric and spiritual matters, the idea that sounds/noises/music can affect our minds and bodies is, of course, very obvious: Well all listen to music because we want to experience pleasure, suspense, fear, sympathy, and so on. Enough said, let's take a look at what this album has to offer musically. The list of the artists who contributed to this laudable project is initially promising -- among others, German neo-krautrockers Mouse on Mars and Oval, ambient-dub band Seefeel, techno-pop mastermind Moby (under the Voodoo Child name), Japanese sound sculptor AUBE, and E.A.R. (featuring ex-Spiritualized guitarist Sonic Boom) can be found; in sum, an album with some of electronica's most acknowledged artists. Even better, most of the tracks are previously unreleased studio recordings, so it does also serve as a useful source if you're looking for otherwise unavailable material from such cult bands as Seefeel. What remains remarkable is that the bulk of this album comes up with this "clicks and crackles" style of '90s ambient, an exciting musical avenue which is not necessarily associated with healing and relaxtion. It rather emphasises the fact that although fully developed melodies may not be necessary, structure and rhythm are essential in any sound-based work. But this does not mean that "Corners.." is tuneless or even unlistenable -- for the most part, the music walks expertly the line between sonic freakout and the understated, quiet nature of traditional ambient music. It opens with "Funkytiste" by Mouse and Mars, one of the stand-out tracks here. Continually mixing semi-abstract textures with intertwining layers of restrained guitar feedback and muffled percussion in the background, it becomes a little repetitive at times, but manages to have a very hypnotic flavor. As good as this track is, the following "Polygon Med Pak" by Oval is even better, featuring a fine web of alienated acoustic guitar sound and warm electronic undercurrents which create a very beautiful and engaging piece of ambient music. However, things shift to a different gear with Fragmented's more techno-inclined "Hearing is our concern": This piece with its nervous, sharp digital drum punches and waves of cloying melodies resembles Autechre's more recent work such as "LP5" or "EP7". Seefeel's contribution is the remix of "Filter dub", a track whose original version appeared on their 1993 album "Quique". The strong central beat and the looped bass are clearly Seefeel trademarks, but nine minutes are probably a little too long for this game to play, even if Clifford manages to coax some amazing textures from his guitar. Moby's "Frog" is also worth noting; opening with rumbling fragments of percussion and gentle atonal effects which are soon joined by a pulsating rhythm and hints of melody. The album's second half begins to sound a bit empty and emotionally cold with AUBE's noisy "Gloriole", Mice Parade's jazz parody "Peeking..", and the rather dissonant, annoying "Orpheus" by E.A.R.. Unfortunately, the last three tracks also do not stand up to the quality of this disc's first half; one wishes that the artists would have taken a few more risks rather than delivering such simple, predictable tracks. Overall, "Corners.." still overshadows many other attempts at a full-length, 74-minute album with ambient music. As you might imagine, this release comes quite recommended as a starting point for those who want to get a first taste of all the bands since most of the cuts here are quite representative of their studio work. If you have already listened to the artists' individual albums and other ambient compilations, such as the "Sub Rosa Underwood" or "Touch Sampler" series, you will also find "Corners.." a fairly worthwhile purchase."