Wow, is this a terrific CD. In the Fax Café, I would call Space & Time a center cut steak with fresh vegetables on the side. In short, a solid ambient meal for the hungry hordes. Surely no one can doubt at this point that Move D is one of Namlook's all-time greatest collaborators. They keep working together because obviously the inspiration is still flowing, and I think this is one of their very best outings. First of all, this is a lengthy disc--73 minutes, just like so many Fax discs in the days of yore. It's divided into three meaty tracks, each of which is over 21 minutes long. Yeah, baby, yeah! Here's a summary:
"Unrealized Realities" launches you straight into outer space with some old-school drone a bit reminiscent of Eno's '80s work. There are periodic pinging sounds which are wonderfully organic...they're quite pleasing to the ear. A simple bass sequence on synth also enters the mix, and between that and the random pings, there's a strong sci-fi cinema mood to the track. You might envision some sleek star cruiser trying to barrel through a dangerous region at the fringes of the galaxy; maybe the pings represent asteroids or some other potentially hazardous space phenomenon. The drone underneath is so steady, so constant, that the mood that develops is immensely satisfying. It really casts a hypnotic spell. About 12 minutes in, there's a little burst of upbeat synth, joined by a simple percussion loop. The timbre of the electronic sounds here reminds me of John Carpenter's score for Escape From New York. The track certainly hits a great groove at this point, and keeps it going. It's yummy ambient, or "yumbient," perhaps? Around 16 minutes, a more shimmering bit of keyboard joins the sonic fray in little bursts, but the rhythm stays absolutely steady. This ship is set at Cruising Speed! Just past the 19-minute mark, you get your first sampled voices...I'm not a fan of these, and never really have been. But they're distorted somewhat, so that makes them kinda interesting. "Space and time are fused" is one of the bits of dialogue you can make out, and it'll occur several times on the disc. The track ends on a very quirky bit of percussion, and you're almost sorry it does. Fine, fine stuff!
Next up is "Felice," which again is very spacey. You hear bursts of interstellar chatter, an exuberant synth wanting to tell the cosmos what a glorious day it is in the stellar-hood. An old-school sequence hums in the background, while a low-frequency pulse commences that might be the coolest sound on this record. It just has this quality...how does one describe such sounds adequately? Eno-like clusters of keyboard sounds swirl while that insistent pulse gets deeper under your skin. Once or twice, I was reminded a little of the stargate sequence from 2001: A Space Odyssey. At the 7:20 mark, there's a different synth element that essentially mimics a woman's voice, or so I thought. If synths could talk, this one might be saying "Wow, we are way, WAY out here...don't you think?" That spacey pulse, though, is what really trademarks this track. A rhythm commences around the 10-minute mark, and after a short spell, it results in a magnificent groove in tandem with the pulse and some additional sparkly synth. This is the kind of thing that reminds you of all that's great about Fax. Ol' Pete is still spacey after all these years, and gloriously so, in this fine track. Oh, and it's worth mentioning that I listened to this both through headphones and on my car stereo while driving...it sounds fantastic either way. The pulse comes prominently to the foreground at about 19:00 or so, then it suddenly stops, while the track fades amidst some Wired-style pinging sounds. The journey is over halfway through.
"Millions of Exits" delves right into some spoken word samples..."Each to a distinctive time and place," says our speaker after repeating the title. There's another nice, spacey drone going on here, with a tom tom in the background that will soon become more prominent. At about 6:00, some steady, thumping percussion (a bit reminiscent of Air 2) begins to dominate, surrounded by twinkly synth sounds here and there. Despite a few too many voice samples for my taste (including a woman saying something about this man who would probably finish a game with a broken leg), Namlook and Moufang hit another classic groove here. It's notable, in fact, that each of the three tracks hits an awesome groove that seems to last awhile. You can tell the boys were relaxed and really enjoying stretching out on this album. The main rhythm stops at about 14:00, and there's a little DSM feel to the subsequent synth. But then at 17 minutes or so, a little sequence that's very different in tone from the previous keyboard sounds comes in...it's just four or five notes of minimal, slightly murkier synth repeated to good effect. The voice samples repeat from earlier, one of them being "Why are we here?" Oh, and that "space and time are fused" thing again. Finally, it all comes to an end on a curious repeated note that sounds like a skipping CD...but don't worry, your disc is fine. And this whole platter, my friends, is mighty fine. I'd give the first two tracks a 9/10, the third, 8/10 (docked slightly for a little too many voice samples). Overall, though, this is just classic Fax, and I definitely recommend it to listeners wanting to get their interstellar groove on. This is a "Limitation 500" disc, so I wouldn't wait too long. Oh, and I haven't tried the 5.1 DTS disc, so I can't say anything about that. But I completely lost myself in the wonder of this disc just playing it normally. Nice job, Pete and Dave!
(review by Kevin Renick)