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Atom Heart - Live at sel i/s/c - PS 08/41
Release Date: 11 April 1994
Live at sel i/s/c 1.01.44
all tracks written by Atom Heart
This one came out in early to mid-1994 as one of Atom Heart's first solo efforts on Fax (along with Orange and Coeur Atomique). Totally beatless, Live at sel i/s/c is a one-song journey that is just over an hour, and there are track divisions every 5 minutes for convenience. Live at sel i/s/c is extremely minimal and consists of two main sounds. The first is a robust, ambient glow that is present throughout the piece's entirety (with a short 1-minute exception that marks the disc's midpoint). This sound is all the listener hears during the first and last 5 minutes of the disc, and though it is fairly low-profile sounding, there are subtle yet noticeable texture changes every now and then. The other sound you hear seems to be the focal point of the piece. It is a very basic, soft sinewave-type sound whose pitch and timbre seems to be real-time controlled, as it is constantly changing and doing different things...after all, this is a live album. The meandering sinewave sound noodles itself through very submarine-sounding reverberations... scraps of the melodic contour ricochet off distant oceanic shelves. For me, this disc is quite visually evocative. The melodic segments are very underwater sounding. It's almost as if I'm snorkeling. About 20 minutes into the disc (somewhere in track 5), a coherent melody emerges. It is repetitive, but tastefully so, much like a mantra which keeps your attention, but doesn't lead you around like a fisherman with a whale on the line. Track sections 6and 7 are my favorites, the coherence of the melody has dispersed in the deep, and you're left floating. The ambient glow gives me the same impression that I would have if I were to look further from the comfort of the clear, shallow waters to the slope not far off, whose gradual depth and darker blues obscure the largest creatures on the planet. Midway through section 7 the glow vanishes for a minute, and there's a short melodic solo. The second half of the disc seems to take this melody into a progression which starts out fast, but winds down gradually for the remainder of the piece (are we running out of air?!?!) It's timbre is slowly but constantly changing, ranging from a blatant tin to a more subdued and rounded feel. Other melodies, meanwhile, try to leak through to the forefront, but our synth mantra dominates. Optimistic, electronic minimalism. All in all, a pleasantly relaxing listening experience.
(review by [email protected])
Atom Heart's finest hour (of chill) in my view. Not much more to add really, except to say that if you like deep ambience, you'll love this.
There are two "main" melodies, one in each half, each repeated, played around with and fully explored by Mr Schmidt, but in the main this is beautiful background with the slight exception of the last couple of segments.
A lovely disc to go to sleep to, at the moment it's fighting for bedtime play with perennial favourite Sad World 2 for that particular honour. It's still fairly easy to get hold of (at the time of writing) so my adivce to you is add this to your collection now...
Verdict - 9/10. A five inch chill pill.
(review by Martin Jones)
Broken up into about 12 parts, this may as well be one long track a la Vapourspace. This is deep, deep ambience- not for the easily distracted. I think a lot of people would dismiss this as extremely boring, and to an extent they would be right. There is a deep rumble that continues throughout the entire hour that consists of the backing sounds. Sometimes the texture changes slightly if you listen closely, but otherwise its one long tone. On top of it is Atom Heart playing some higher pitched melodies, none of which are really related to one another. If you listen closely it is very relaxing but if you are not into repetition, this disc is definitely not for you.
(review by jonathan takagi)