FAX e-mail list

Shop at iTunes





Privacy Policy

cover art
Possible Gardens

 Possible Gardens - PK 08/151
  Release Date: 8 May 2000
  Limitation: 2000

   Possible Gardens               12.24
   Breeding Machine               11.05
   Terminal Beach                 13.11
   Memory Lagoon                  11.00
   Possible Gardens (reprise)      5.37

  all tracks written by Pete Namlook and Peter Prochir

Anyone that thought this CD would be new age, put that thought right out of your head. (for the most part)

1. "Possible Gardens" starts with some deep dark rumbles and burbling sounds, goes into a tribal thing. Later some almost Laswell-esque bass comes in and it chugs along till end. Very nice.

2. "Breeding Machine" and 'machine' being the key word here, starts with a mechanic type drone sound that sounds like the hum under power lines and then some muted drum sounds start to emerge. Other mechanic type sounds fade in and out. It sort of resembles the beginning of the pink floyd song "welcome to the machine." About half way through a rhythm starts to emerge amongst the mechanic sounds and then the mechanic sounds join in a glorious mechanic symphony. It then returns to its droning hum and muted drum beginning. Strange but interesting.

3. "Terminal Beach" (best track on the CD) Strange sounds start, with some synthy sounds in the background. Soon a shuffle beat kicks in and is joined by a looped bass line and some synthesizers. A nice groovy little ditty you can tap your toe to. About half way through Pete throws in a very nice guitar solo and it starts to sound like a Pat Metheny or Larry Carlton song.

4. "Memory Lagoon" Welcome to the machine part 2 begins this track. Them some distant deep wind chime sounds come in along with other mechanic drones and strange bursts of sound. This effect is interesting at first but it continues for the whole 11 minutes and doesn't change that much. Gets rather boring by the end.

5. "Possible Gardens (reprise)" basically just goes back to the tribal stuff that began the cd. Nothing new to add, too bad.

Overall impression: Very nice CD and can't really be compared to Miles Apart since the sounds are too different. Clocking it at a little over 50 minutes, it leaves me thinking they could have done more with it, but that seems to be par for the course these days on fax. For me though, "Terminal Beach" is worth the price of admission. If you are a hard core fax addict, you must get this cd, mild fax addicts probably *should* get it and people only looking for the best of the best should stay away.

(review by Steve Luckabaugh)

A somewhat self-conscious setting for reviewing a FAX CD. I am planted on my porch with cumbersome headphones plugged into my notebook. The traffic on the street bleeds through every 20 seconds or so. It's a warm, still night.

I start the CD. It's obvious immediately that I cannot accommodate the full frequency spectrum in my headphones. This may be one of the heaviest low-end fax tracks I've heard. Baritone church bells peal out, supported by earthquake rumbles of dubby bass, and a persistent, riding rhythm on hand drums and synth chimes. Five minutes in a didgeridoo mimic plays about the overtones. I can't hear the traffic anymore. Reversed drums and cymbals creep in. Synth improvisation flows in, just audible behind the thick rhythms, then locks into a looped melody of harmonic overtones. All falls away but the bass and overtones. And it ends. Possible Gardens.

A machine drone is accompanied by a frame drum beat, paving the driven way for electronic kicks and more apparently reversed washes of breathy sound. A somewhat menacing ballet mechanique ensues among metallic crickets. Six minutes in, a more human intelligence presents itself, and the rhythm locks into a syncopated one-note groove, electric funk without the kick and clap. This brief midsection seems out of place, and the track reverts to its original elements. Breeding Machine.

Other worldly echoes and ricochets are joined by a melancholy string line as an intro to a very pre-post-modern samba sound. Nice, an accessible lounge mood. Quite sexy, and melancholy. This might fit in well with some downtempo Detroit music. An old-school Benson or early Metheny-style guitar solo makes a well-suited entrance midway through. One for the lovers. A standout track for me. Terminal Beach.

Welcome back to the machine. Haphazard rattles and hums serve as a prelude to a warm swirl of tones. The drone modulates, and the subsonic rumble enters, followed by cascading echoes of chimes. A wash of colors, succeeded by dense drones, echoes, and persistent rumbles. A fog of chromatics. Memory Lagoon.

All of this organic chaos sets the stage for a return of the initial track, in it's pulsed, bass heavy glory. A more clearly trance-like mood sets in. At the same time, it's a fitting epilogue. A reminder of just how far we've traveled. As the track fades the hand drums are accented by the sounds of traffic from my porch. I'm not in the same place I was when I started this review. Possible Gardens (reprise).

(A nice addition to the catalog, varied, if a bit unfocused. Something for everybody, and not overly burdened by too many Namlook "signatures".)

(review by Ian Malbon)

Namlook may be likened to a fungus. The further involved and familiar one becomes with his work the more he grows on you. One of the newest recordings, "Possible Gardens" shows Namlook progressively improving on earlier works, growing even more sophisticated with each subsequent release. There is a distinct balance to his work - perhaps the equivalent of musical Feng Shui. As with all music, if there is 'rightness' to an artist's compositional styling a listener knows instinctively upon hearing it contains the ever-evasive 'something' which makes it special. We have heard theories given that try to explain away the Beatles popularity and long standing appreciation - one that holds up well after release. Some say that a particular sound is used that our psyche recognizes, thus seeming somehow familiar - others claim the composer possesses the ability to see beyond the current trend. RagConDesk disagree with these explanations, feeling simply some have 'it' and others don't. The 'it' we speak of is an intangible by-product that cannot be explained or rationalized.

Namlook has 'it' - and anyone with a love of music will be unable to deny his flair for creating memorable music that seemingly has a long shelf life. All music collectors will be able to associate with that dropping feeling one has when digging out an old favourite, only to find it sounding dated and (in some cases) inane. We are willing to except the fact that there will always be music serving its purpose for the moment and that perhaps years ahead will not be so gentle. If music has served it's purpose in bringing happiness at a given moment - no matter the brevity, so be it. Personally, many of the old 1970's LPs of Electronic and progressive music that used the cheesy synths and drum machines popular at the time are positively unbearable to hear once again. Conversely, a great deal of music from said time period holds up quite well, sounding as if it might have been released in the present. Obviously the latter is the preferred of the two scenarios.

Namlook has many early works that we happen to be hearing for the fist time sounding both timely and exceptional harbouring no clues with which to trigger the listeners 'outdated' button. The recent issues are even better, however, placing Namlook in the ranks of some serious company. This musical statement has a near-perfect balance of the natural, smooth ambiance and the mechanical, machine-like quality of the Glitch movement. The compositions are filled with beautiful melodic threads that weave through the drones present in nearly every track, providing a musical anchor. There are bits of ethnic percussive effects sprinkled throughout as well. We are unaware - due to a lack of liner notes - which artist contributes their particular talents to this recording, yet the duo fit as a glove with no telltale uneven qualities or the odd piece that does not fit. In fact, were one to listen blindly, we doubt that there would be any indication if this was indeed a solo or group effort - all pluses in our book. Also a plus is the nature of continuity the recording exhibits as tracks bleed perfectly into one another creating a sonic whole. What may seem as a rather simplistic work when listened to at near-silent volumes or, as background sound could not be further from the truth. There is a great deal listeners may obtain from repetitive up-close auditions. The multi-layered density of superbly textured sounds brought into play in this brilliantly composed recording will assure it's place in repeat listen mode in CD players world-wide.

Our staff, between it's entirety, thought we had the bases covered - at least the important ones - only to recently discover the Fax label's line-up. To the delight of finding a veritable treasure of recordings to discover is like having Christmas with the arrival of each new release. What an unexpected treat it has been.

Needless to say if you've not purchased a copy of this recording, have your own Christmas morning - we guarantee you will not be disappointed.

(review by Glenn Hammett)


back to top