Oliver Lieb: Inside Voices
Psychonavigation Records

Saying that Frankfurt-based electronic producer Oliver Lieb brings an impressive personal history to Inside Voices is a rather huge understatement: a producer since the early ‘90s, he's had a hand in upwards of 300 singles, EPs, albums, and remixes (for artists such as Moby, Human League, Yello, and Faithless) and released what many consider to be classics in the ambient-electronic genre, namely Constellation (Recycle Or Die) and, with Dr. Atmo, Music To Films (Fax+49-69/450464). Citing Kraftwerk, Yello, Jean-Michel Jarre, and Pink Floyd as influences, Lieb has issued music on labels such as Harthouse, Superstition, Platipus, and Bedrock and released material under the aliases L.S.G., Paragliders, S.O.L., and The Ambush as well as his birth name. The ever-productive producer is still readying new releases, including a forthcoming compilation on Solieb Digital to mark a quarter-century of work in the industry.

Inside Voices won't disappoint admirers of those aforementioned classic albums, as its seventy-three minutes can be heard as a natural extension of their style. Though presented as eight distinct tracks, the album unfolds continuously, with each setting flowing into the next without pause. In accordance with the time-honoured ambient tradition, chilly winds blow across ultra-sleek surfaces, gaseous emissions and droplets punctuate reverberant atmospheres with their presence, and pulsations surface intermittently to propel the material forward with subtle animation. There's an icy character to the content that suggests the album would sound as much at home on Glacial Movements as Psychonavigation.

The longest part, “Spooky Action at a Distance,” differentiates itself from the others by adding muted horn-like bluster and chiming, electric guitar-like textures to its ominous sound mix, while “Self-Aware Universe” does much the same in undergirding its brooding synth flourishes with a lulling see-saw pattern. By the time we reach the penultimate piece, “Inside Voices pt.1,” the impression formed is that of a journey that's advanced rather surreptitiously to a deeper and darker level of experience. Generally speaking, the album develops in natural and patient manner, Lieb confidently helming the controls and dictating the directions taken. If there's nothing terribly groundbreaking about the material, there's also no doubting the artfulness with which it's been crafted and executed.

August-September 2014