A slick, technically polished effort. However, whilst newcomers to the JC series might be contented, I was not. The first four in this series were all strong releases, each having their own particular eccentricities, with Vol 3 worthy of special note. This time I was bored, very bored.
(review by Paul Milligan)
All three tracks and 52 minutes on this thing sound oddly familiar. Sounds like Pete Namlook and Atom trying to do their best Steve Roach/Vir Unis "Light Fantastic" impression, and failing miserably. Track 1 (I Miss Green) starts off with some nice tinkling sounds that made me think my bass was turned down too low or something. It evolves into a fury of beats and strange sounds which slowly shift. About 8 mins into it, a few synth waves come in and quickly disappear. The beats and fractal grooves? plod along till the end with the synth thing emerging again near the end, but it's so much in the background you can hardly hear it. BTW, I really like the "I Miss Green" sample.
Track 2 "Tightness" is just that. Very tight fury of more beats with the occasional synth background and lots of shifting.
Track 3 "Voted Steady". Uhh, read the description for track 1 again.
The worst part about this CD is that the beats/grooves whatever you want to call them, are interesting but weak, IMO. The synth parts sounded like there was not much thought put into it, and there was not enough of it, IMO.
Overall, I'd say on first impression this is a very fascinating CD but I'm sure it's one that will bore me after 4 or 5 listens. Better then JC4 however.
Congrats to [email protected] for doing a fine job on the CD graphics.
(review by Steve Luckabaugh)
Unlike the majority of ambient music collectors, we must admit that our compilation is sorely lacking in the Fax Label department. RagConEast's first exposure to the label brought to the East-Coast office from our West Side¹s Sr. Ed. - the now infamous "Air II". The CD, we felt, was of high caliber yet lacked that certain 'something' that make collectors drool - and rush out to buy. It was not until "Sultan", when David @ Playing by Ear - knowing our love of Muslimgauze - suggested we try it and that quickly we were 'snagged' by Fax. Every Raging Consciousness Desk writer was astonished by both the music and the outstanding production values. Here was a CD you would trot out for the 'dog and pony' shown to test the limits of yourstereo¹s capability.
We must give credit to the members of the ambient group, and their love of all things Fax, for piquing our interest enough to dig deeper and investigate the label to find what merited such praise. Our first step was to download everything from that mysterious Fax page - the one with a hundred hours of Fax, FAX, "FAX". After a few weeks of playing the recordings, we went to work picking favorites to purchase.
The Raging Consciousness Desk once again turned to our Music-Sherpa (of 30 years), Playing by Ear¹s David Hodgson. He sent a list of (what looked to be) a couple hundred Fax (and related labels) CDs from which to choose. We tried Psychonavigation "4", Shado "2", Erik Satin "Light music", Outlook "4", Sultan "Osman" and a few others to get a feel for those artists we felt most in sync with and to help choose where we would go next.
While listening to the recordings, one CD stood out. Both musically remarkable, coupled with the fact it seemed we could not play it quite loud enough - no matter which system we chose to listen on - made us take notice. That CD, Jet Chamber "V", blew us away. The staccato percussive tracks were so intense that listeners agreed in feeling the excitement in our collective stomachs. Breezy, imaginative electronics swirl throughout the soundstage and dynamic range (literally) had (plaster) walls shaking. It only got better with each subsequent listen.
Track two, "Tightness" brought back the awe and astonishment that Tangerine Dream¹s "Force Majure" wrought some twenty-five years ago. Using a series of sliding electronics, impossibly quick percussive bleeps, seemingly random keyboard attacks and droning effects deep within the mix made "V" a real attention grabber. What makes the duo of Namlook and Atom Heart 'rather interesting' is the choice of sounds used. Both alien and beggaring description, we could think of no other recordings that outfitted their music with similar sounds. There are many brilliant artists in the Ambient music field - yet many times the patches used are readily identifiable adding a similarity to many works. That is not the case with this dynamic duo.
For the most part this is beat-driven, -up- music, which IMHO would have it rest more comfortably in the IDM camp than Ambient proper. That said this music is NOT to be confused with the music that masquerades as IDM, when in reality it is nothing more than Y2K Disco is. If there were ever a release that fit the lofty IDM moniker, it would be Jet Chamber. This is music of intensity and genuine intellect and we are sorry it took us so long to 'get it'.
We can hardly wait to hear the releases preceding "V".
(review by Glenn Hammett)