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 Dreamfish - AW 012 (also PW 02)
  Release Date: 19 August 1996
  Limitation: none

   School of Fish      18.26
   Hymn                28.09
   Fishology            9.25
   Under Water         15.18

  all tracks written by Pete Namlook & Mixmaster Morris

A pioneer in its style, this album was a frequent player in my collection and a favorite CD to recommend to the non-FAX literate. It's full of wonderful low-tempo rhythms, bouncing bass lines, and produces a warm surreal environment about it (check out the picture of the Dream Fish on the cover of the reissue - it totally encapsulates the mood). The spoken words by Terrence McKenna may irritate those of you who were over-exposed to him at the dawn of techno/rave, but I don't find him particularly bad. Rating: 9/10

(review by Michael Lekas)

Dreamfish is the first collaboration between Namlook and Mixmaster Morris, who has released acclaimed ambient albums as The Irresistible Force (see the Mixmaster's excellent website for further info). This album sees Namlook drop his deep space sounds and join the Mixmaster for an album of aquatic, submersive and subversive sounds.

The opening track, 'School of Fish', is just gorgeous from the moment that it starts. There are no beats as such, although there are strong rhythmic surges and currents going on all around, the track is quite stimulating and uplifting as well as being chilled at the same time. The title of the track is quite accurate, as images of a school of fish fill your mind, darting around just under a sunlit ocean surface. Occasional bass waves surge upwards from the depths. This is my favourite track on the album, definitely the sound of two ambient masters at work.

Track 2, 'Hymn' changes the mood. Not exactly 'dark' but maybe 'pensive' or 'foreboding'. A trance-like melody repeats over murky, lurking layers of synths, suggesting being deep under water, or on the sea floor. There are repeated samples of psychedelic guru Terrence McKenna talking about the role of women within western society. I think the title of the track is a cunning play on words? My only niggle about this album is that this track doesn't evolve enough to warrant the extended length of the track - it could have been halved and still wouldn't lose anything. Track 3 maintains the pensive atmosphere, but in a more 'meditational' way. A inhuman voice repeats some strange sentence. The sound conjures up an image of some huge, dog-ugly fish (maybe the fish from the Rising High cover?) hiding in a cave and making these noises. Fishology? It's surreal, anyway.

The last track is back to more chilled territory. Shimmering, aquatic environmental ambience. Not a lot going on really, sounds of electronic jellyfish and dolphins passing by.

Overall, this an essential album, and has obviously proved popular, having been released on Fax and Rising High, and re-released on Ambient World, and it's still pretty hard to get hold of a copy. If you see one, snap it up.

(review by AdAckBar1972)

The track "School of Fish" is very much out of Philip Glass and Steve Reich's music, not bad at all but the rest of the record is better. "Hymn" resembles 70's German music ala Tangerine Dream or early Kraftwerk, but darker than most (or, perhaps, under water) - impressive track. "Fishology" gets downright rhythmic, it's a really excellent trance piece. "Under Water" is burbling sounds and mood. Really, a fine record.

(review by Scott McFarland)


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