(posted 11/17/2000)

THE ISLAND SERIES (six 3"CDRs by The Archipelago)

Six small CD's by artists who life in the Bay Area, and who are all in some way connected to eachother and who all work in the fields of electronic music. What are they about? Here we go:

Number one is by Rhomb, a duo of Nathan Kreisberg and Michael Bentley (see also number six). The two tracks sort of flow into eachother and both combine eerie and subdued sounds of the darker side of life. Chilly, dark and atmospheric.

Number two is by Csero, aka Ian Stokes. His six short tracks uses a Commodore 64 and Byte based editor. The resultant sounds like a processed Casio VL tone 1 (also an ancient machine in case you don't know). It's a kinda of microwave like stuff, but it seems a bit unfocussed.

Number three is by Seofon, a member of the Ambient Temple Of Imagination, of which we recognize the sounds very well. Track one and three are fierce up tempo rhythm pieces with ambient synth washes underneath. The shorter second track in the middle is a breathing exercise for seagulls and is hauntingely ambient piece.

Number four is by Thermal, whose Joshua Maremont is also running the Boxman label. He offers three tracks, although the first and third track only serve as intros to the excellent psychedelic long piece 'Main Span' with ebowed tones and rich textures. Certainly not innovative, but well enjoyable.

Number five is by Dean Santomieri, whose five tracks go in all directions, noisy, musique concrete, but who couldn't hold my attention for very long.

Number six by eM, aka Michael Bentley, the person behind The Foundry. His music should connect to the glitch, microwave but more in a pop music sense. He only succeeds half in this. Some of the ideas are half worked out and are a miss. Maybe it's the fairly traditional use of synths on some of the tracks.

It might not be the wisest thing to say, but I'll do it anyway: the best tracks could have fitted easily on one very long CD, and the lesser tracks should have been shelved. As an idea it's of course nice to present it like this - each artists gets an equal oppurtunity... (FdW)