Originally issued in a quantity of 500 in September of 1993, this first album proves to be a solid foundation on which much would be built. In fact this album, above so many prized others (including Ambiant Otaku, Shades of Orion, and Sequential), was voted on the Ambient email list to be reissued on Namlook's Ambient World label a couple years back to satisfy the many Internet Faxheads yearning to own it. Apparently, the claims made on the mailing list overemphasized just how many people planned to buy the reissue and Namlook ended up with a pile of extras. Because of this overabundance, fans are still able to find all 3 volumes of the 2350 Broadway albums for sale, although spotting 2350 Broadway II is becoming increasingly difficult these days. Much like the seemingly crazed fans who would practically sacrifice body parts to secure their own copies of rare albums, the musicians that make them must often go to great lengths to find the special instruments used to produce the desired sounds. One of main sound sources for this first album was a an EMS Synthi. These are legendary pieces of equipment that many musicians claim have no equal. Here the vintage Synthi is placed in a modern electronic studio context and its inner workings are explored and its seamless textures revealed. The machine produces a glistening stream of sound which our duo uses generally as the background for their pieces. Of course, 2350 Broadway is hardly anything more but background, but somehow these guys keep the textures interesting enough to just sit and listen them. Each sound surface is rich and full of fine detail that readily keeps my attention.
Vision of Pulse - What a way to start it out. A gargantuan wind tunnel and loop of chimes launches you immediately into spacious uncharted territory. Feel the cool aural breeze gently usher you into a chamber of endless proportions. After a few minutes, the chime pattern begins to change, the loop sequence is altered by a few added notes. Meanwhile, distant sound waves ripple high above the stratosphere. I found that this track began to grow on me only after I gained familiarity, through many listens, with how the piece proceeds. For me, the real fun beings at around the 17-minute mark, those next 6 or 7 minutes are pure gold. The mood shifts noticeable to a more serious, introspective pose and a lead synth takes the spotlight. The notes are carefully executed, each tone is crucial in the overall formation. Later, a huge synth wave rises and breaks over your temporal lobes like some analog tsunami, and the subsequent reverberant forces wash all in its path out into an endless sea....
Raga - Listening to this track on headphones can be compared to watching a match of intergalactic ping-pong. The delays are panned hard to the left and right. Most of the sounds you here in this track are processed in this way. We begin with some plastic tapping toms sounds, with a slowly rising layer of background synth. A hi-hat now, through the same echo pattern. Gradually, other sounds are gated in, fragments of speech, or just aliased squelchy noises sounding like language segments. All bouncing the elements front, left, and right while the backing sound slowly builds. It doesn't really get rambunctious until about 14 minutes. The voices become more explicit, and many of the sounds are swirling and tilting around. Finally more computer chirps and a wind down begins at around 20 minutes. The bleeps become more like an intentional malfunctioning loop, ending the piece.
Tokai - A bonus segment with more rounded computer blips and a powerful recurring bass hum that will blow your speakers if you aren't careful. Tokai works best for me at lower volumes, this puts the hum at a tolerable level and blends the bleeping sequences (which are similar to those in the previous track Raga) with any other incidental sounds occurring in the room.
Hands of Light - The song takes up the entire length of the disc and is indexed every 10 minutes for the listener's convenience. This is the only song with beats in the entire trilogy, and it's a good one. Because it is so long, I'll go through the various phases by track # and list the appropriate times that they occur:
Start-10': The first few minutes serve as an intro, with the opening melodic theme emerging at the 5 minute mark.
10'-20': The jetstream tones steadily grow.
20'-30': A few moments later the beat is set: a distant, thundering rhythm appears that will continue weaving around for the next 10 minutes or so. The beats stay constantly in motion and the echoes bounce around a seemingly endless sphere-shaped room. The bass drum projects a tactile series of compressions and rarefactions from the center region while thumps reflect off the invisible wall somewhere on the other side of you. At 2:32 a ground shaking feedback erupts. For the next 10 minutes or so the rhythmic drift is sustained and then later vanishes.
30'-50': Somewhere in segment 4 a drone takes over while remaining traces of jetstream are swept away. Now it sounds as if we've gone subterranean with the vibrations from the veins of natural water lines. The drone builds with the occasional undulating disturbance and becomes decorated with Dune-like synths chords. Things get quiet toward the end.
50'-60': By now you definitely be off in REM-land if you've put this on for sleep time. A new 3-tone theme appears.
60'-70': At this point, Hands of Light becomes a kind of gentle mixture of everything up to here, distant wisps of sounds bubble up ever so quietly.
70'-72': The drop off...
(review by [email protected])
you MUST buy 2350 broadway. do not delay, run back to that store right now. perhaps one of my favorite releases by pete and tetsu (well, to be honest, the only full release by the artists' that i own...)
very deep, very spacey, very drifty and murky...pete noodles on the murky sounds while tetsu's bleepy little melodies slip in and out and around...
a couple of trax have some deep bass that churns underneath the atmospherics as well...but nothing that produces any motion...
just drifting thru space...
(review by [email protected])