Cute Electronica From Russia

SPHERE REX – For Electronics And Piano

I was left guffawing by the hilarious reinvention of the “legend” surrounding Brian Eno’s conception of “ambient” narrated in the press release, according to which Mr. St. John Le Baptiste De La Salle had nothing better to do than clutching at the echoes from the outside world while hospitalized, thus having the first impulse for a hypothetical album called Ambient Music (it was in fact Discreet Music – and he was bedridden at home, trying to listen to a record that a friend left playing at low volume). Jokes aside, the subject of this review is a nice outing, particularly useful after a sleepless night like the one this writer just experienced. Sphere Rex utilized vintage electronics and synthesis to concoct a number of charming – but not mellifluous – tranquil pieces that produce a beneficial soothing effect whatever side you approach them on. Points of similarity, rather obvious from this angle, are Roedelius and Cluster; streams of quietly throbbing waves, soft rhythmic pulses and a general fluctuation enriched by the transparency of the piano figurations make sure that the 41 minutes of the CD don’t squander our time. Unfussiness without added stupidity: that’s fine with me.

ARCHON ORCHESTRA – Pong

Apparently, Archon Orchestra and Sphere Rex are the same person. I didn’t do any further research and, to be honest, this trend of anonymity behind esoteric names has become despicable. Pong – directly inspired by the namesake ancient videogame by Atari – is a strange yet pleasing album mostly made with sequences of sampled sounds, the organ dominating its first part. Some of the pieces are informed by a remote Bach aroma, appearing structured like mini-fugues. Others tend to an easily palatable minimalism (the usual suspects are inevitably quoted, however Glass, Reich and Riley might consider suing if the comparison ever comes to their attention). In the long title track we take delivery of a bucket of obsessive abstraction in “outer space” sauce, the outcome sounding indeed as a funny supplement for a computer game (or perhaps something coming from the Papalla planet). What’s really welcome is the obvious purity of intents that transpires from these “experiments”. They never get on the nerves and sound relatively ear-friendly, causing my white cat Dido to fall asleep in minutes. So there must be a few good vibrations in these little things. But please, no more parallelisms with the masters, true or presumed.

Musyka Voln / Zhelezobeton

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