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cover art

 Drum Machine Circle - DADA - PS 08/90
  Release Date: 30 March 1998
  Limitation: 1000

   the sea of information
   coming down

  all tracks written by Charles Uzzell-Edwards 
   except 2, 3 by Charles Uzzell-Edwards and Jason Rivera

Not sure what is going on here on the cover but the lush, almost psychedelic, colours are somehow like many of the sounds used on this recording. Since the majority of activity lies on Roswell and Realization we are taken quite a long way away from the deep waters of CUE's Octopus projects toward a mixture of Electro styled ambience and the use of Roswell witness testimonies. Sea of Information is perhaps a strange opener in that it is very low key and slightly out of place with the warmer tones of Dada's other three tracks. That said the childish shouting voices sound cute and strange when combined with the broken beats. Roswell is a massive track of nearly forty minutes in length. While possibly overlong it pays dividends to those who listen to its lush washes of sound combined with treated samples from Roswell witnesses that become more distorted as the track progresses. Realization pits a warbled looping set of sounds on top of weird environmental spaced-out sounds and bass filled drums that bubble along. Coming Down is probably my favourite track which combines an emotive theme with an Aphex-like scattered drumming on tin pots. A child's voice reads a rhyme about us putting pollution in the sea. Sub-bass vibrations can barely be heard, they are so low, while the drums turn into a Squarepusher styled drum 'n' tinpot combo! For some reason it gives you a sense of nostalgia but you don't know why.

(review by Rowland Atkinson)

You don't hear much discussion about this release. Perhaps it is overlooked? That's unfortunate as to me it is one of the better FAX releases, and especially the best one that has CUE in the credits. I tend to find CUE's efforts fairly boring and without musical substance. Perhaps DADA avoids this because of the contributions of the other collaborators? I'm not sure.

My review of this is more of a description of my thoughts and feelings than an objective description. That is because this release is all about thoughts and feelings. Read on.

I remember when I received this disc with a bunch of other FAX. It was one of the last ones that made it into my player. I thought "oh no, not another boring CUE release!" Man, was I mistaken! This CD spent the next week in my bedroom player (as nighttime reading music)!

It started off slowly and shaky. But something about track 1 perks you up and keeps you interested. Later listenings reveal more depth and interest.

Then track 2 (Roswell), clearly the core of this release, comes in and instantly hits you with a panned sweepy wash (or is that a washy sweep?), HIA-style bleeps and MM.Morris-style blurbles and endlessly progressing rap-esque "farty mouth noise" and ragtime rhythms. When I first heard it the track immediately struck me as familiar and nostalgic -- like something from your childhood that you just can't place. The only other artist that gives me that feeling is Boards of Canada (esp Amo Bishop Roden on the Beautiful Place EP). I can't really place exactly what it is. It just vaguely feels like something from the 70's/80's. Even weirder is how Rowland's review mentions this as well, and I had not read his review beforehand. Kudos to artists that can touch something ethereal in your subconscious mind, but damn them for that unnerving, unrelenting feeling of deja-vu!

Roswell contains just the right blend of elements making it an excellent 38 minute ambient/background listen-while-you-work/read track, yet still keeping your interest as a foreground track. Odds are that if you listen while doing other things you'll find yourself subconsciously toe-tapping to the beat! It's difficult to pin down, but the rhythm appears to be constantly shifting and changing, much like Autechre's Flutter (from the Anti EP). Lastly, the Roswell (and other) samples and filter effects (CUE's contribution?) work extremely well in this track, adding extra depth yet not intruding.

The rest of the disc consists of supporting tracks that meld together into an engaging and satisfying whole.

Rating: 7/10

(review by Trevor Cordes)


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