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 Spyra - Sferics - PS 08/91
  Release Date: 18 May 1998
  Limitation: 2000

   Mechanic Piano             3.06
   Sferics                    7.35
   Interzen                  11.59
   10-12 Meters               10.45
   Gentle Machines           11.59
   Crossing the Channel      16.06
   Vinyl vs Cards             9.17
   V.C. Piano                 3.10

  all tracks written by Wolfram DER Spyra

Quite good. I'll have to disagree with Warren, though. I think I'll be playing Phonehead more often than Sferics, but barely.

1. Mechanic Piano - Solo Piano. Goes better here at the beginning than at the end (as it is on Phonehead). My theory, then, is that if you put whatever song that is most out of place at the beginning of an album, it doesn't seem quite as odd as it would following the more uniform music. In addition, you can also take away the out-of-placeness of the last piece by putting basically the same thing at the beginning (as done here on Sferics).

2. Sferics - The static makes its debut in this very mellow smooth jazz-ish song. To be honest, I think the sferics themselves interfere with the song; in particular, right around 1:00 and 5:15 it actually hurts, like tuning an AM radio to static and cranking it up. Other than that, I really like the song. Female vocals "ooh" their way across the sonic landscape.

3. Interzen - Nice, mellow meditative ambient until about 3:30, when the marimba makes it a bit more active. At around 5:00, we are reduced to bass, drums, and a few twitters. At 6:15, we return to our meditative state.

4. 10^(-12) Meters - Starts out VERY nice and spacey. At around 2:30, we get a robotic trance club late 80's thing plus a hammond organ sample. It's alright, though a bit formulaic.

5. Gentle Machines - Again starts out ambient, but enters into a sort of late-Soft Machine / Carl Jenkins lite-groove. Very mellow. At around 7:00, an almost reggae-Orb feel (minus the extreme reverb), but that quickly fades into the background. The song fades about as delicately as it started.

6. Crossing the Channel - DEEP. Choral synth introduces the song, which eventually evolves into an old-school analog BLISS-OUT.

7. Vinyl vs. Cards - The static returns, though not as much and only at the beginning. Very gradual. It isn't until about 5:30 that the beats really kick in. Meanwhile, a woman says something about reel-to-reel.

8. V.C. Piano - The aforementioned bookend. Like the first track, but with a mellow Kraftwerkian bass line underneath.

OK... Since Phonehead got a 9.5, I guess this one gets a 9.0 (only because of that annoying static). He's still my second-favorite FAX artist. :-)

(review by Damon Capehart)

I got _Sferics_ and _Phonehead_ at the same time, and I've only listened to _Phonehead_ twice. _Sferics_, however, has been a regular, and I think it's one of the better recent FAX releases, with the title track alone being enough to warrant seeking this one out, with its downtempo shuffle beat and organ...is that a live drummer?

The rest of the disc varies between downtempo and somewhat more energetic stuff, with some Dub and Reggae(!) flavor cropping up, yet the FAXian roots of the disc never disappear...what would a FAX disc be without lush synths?

(review by Warren Lapham)


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