Evan Marc + Steve Hillage: Dreamtime Submersible

It's fitting that Evan Marc's latest collection is titled Dreamtime Submersible, given that the first minute-and-a-half of its opening composition “Intention Craft” sounds so completely like Tangerine Dream; it's only with the addition of hi-hat and bass drum patterns that the music disassociates itself from its otherwise Phaedra-like flow. The music's trippy character is deepened considerably by the seamless integration of Steve Hillage's guitar atmospherics into the mix, with Dreamtime Submersible presenting the guitarist in full System7 mode rather than anything reminiscent of his early Fish Rising days; in other words, Hillage's guitar is used more as sonic wash than as lead or soloing instrument (though admittedly his playing in “Delta Phase” does assert itself more aggressively—albeit hazily—in “Delta Phase” before ceding its spotlight to the song's swelling dub-techno pulse). iTunes' display identifies the genre as “deep techno” and it's not a wholly inaccurate characterization though it is incomplete. More precisely, the seven tracks—most of them in the ten-minute range—distill trance, dub, techno, and house into gauzy set-pieces that pulsate insistently. They're also on occasion subtly funky, as the chugging rhythms in “Theta Phase” and the beautifully insistent bass line powering the dance-funk flow of “Hypnagogue” make clear. In the album's most appealing track, the steely textural washes and swinging dub-house attack aligns “Hypnopomp” to the deep dub-techno of Deepchord. Submersive and immersive.

July 2008