Relapxych.0/Quantec/Deer: Shapes and Phases of Ambience
Ghost Sounds

You certainly get your money's worth from this Ghost Sounds collection. Not only does it close in on eighty minutes' worth of material but the material's split between three artists. As a result, Shapes and Phases of Ambience—presumably the first of in a projected series—is rather like three individual EPs compiled onto a single CD. It's generally solid stuff too with Quantec, Deer (Neo Ouija associate Martin Hirsch), and relapxych.0 (Anders Peterson) all leaving distinctive fingerprints on the collection: though the album's moodscapes are on the whole meditative and soothing, Deer's tracks tend towards relaxed electroacoustic IDM, Quantec's evoke the classic Basic Channel-Chain Reaction era, and relapxych.0's gravitate towards ambient soundsculpting.

Quantec's “Absent-mindedness” gets us started nicely with deep-sea ambient swirls and a muffled kick drum faintly beating within earshot, then later plunges into nine minutes of melting chords and dub bass (“Endless Sacrifice”) and blustery emissions and industrial factory-scaping that are as relentless as a Vainqueur or Porter Ricks track (“Kry”). Deer's “Live In Manchester (relapxych.0 Remix)” splatters its warm tones and rubbery bass rhythms with prickly percolations of insectoid clicks and pops, while “The Reflective Place” brings some grungy techno-funk to the album with a surprising combination of acoustic guitar and bass-heavy throb. From relapxych.0 we get “Hallucinogenitaliencryption (Edit),” a shape-shifter of woozy and liquidy flow, and the thirteen-minute “City Nightlights,” whose shimmering lights bleed in and out of focus as one's attention drifts. Ostensibly an organ drone, the ultra-restrained piece largely remains at the same pitch throughout and only occasionally allows outer sounds to surface. In truth, no one track stands head and shoulders above the rest, and the release should be experienced as a whole.

March 2009