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 Hemisphere - PW 08 (also AW 021)
  Release Date: 13 October 1993
  Limitation: 500

   Hemisphere           18.11
   Carbon Theory         9.49
   Cloud of Orion       23.35
   It's Not My Way       9.09

  all tracks written by Pete Namlook and Steve Stoll

Utterly amazing. Odd cover, looks like the back of a statue of Beethoven's head! I always had a feeling about this cd, it must be good, just the name is somehow so evocative. Impressions of this music are that it is unmatched by most FAX catalogue material (apart from Trk 4) . There is certainly an element of 2350 in here and while the sound palette is less minimal than those pieces there is genuinely spaced out pure ambience. This stuff is damn evocative.

Hemisphere - starts with some of the most atmospheric echoing, bouncing bass and atmospheres I have ever heard. It rates along with Biosphere and Locust, bringing in treated stabs of voice which aren't threatening, more moving. As synths and hisses enter it then fades before the main theme comes back.

Carbon Theory - starts with shimmering sounds while swathes of bass laden washes underscore a progressive set of chords which enter the track along with a slow almost military beat though this soon fades out and back again. Cloud of Orion - Chattering reed-like sounds are added to by a simple sub-bass beat. A pleading voice (in Spanish??) repeats a phrase. Perhaps this track is over-long but its simplicity gives it a certain timeless quality - the changes are subtle so you can engage in these changes or just let it wash.

It's not my way - Clock chime chords begin to explore a theme that quickly changes into a beaty track built on semi-acid squiggles in the background. The tone here is definitely darker than the other tracks and mirrors some of the elements found in Alien Community but the alien voice chants 'its not my way' though its difficult to distinguish. This voice becomes more recognizable though cut up towards the end. Not such a good track unfortunately in my view.

(review by Rowland Atkinson)

Not what I was expecting. As I turned the CD player on I thought I was in for a much more upbeat ride for some reason, but instead the accent is very firmly on measured, laid-back, almost ponderoous sounds. The opener drifts along in fairly uninspired fashion without going anywhere much for eight minutes, before slowly building with chords and percussion to around eleven minutes, when the plug is abruptly pulled and we staret again, reaching the end with floaty ambience and a reprise of the main rhythm. While it may well hit the spot with some, it didn't do that much for me.

"Carbon Theory" is pure ambience, an immediate and marked contrast to what precedes it, very evocative and atmospheric, while the third (and longest) of the four tracks, "Cloud Of Orion", is another slow-builder, peaceful yet surprisingly reliant on rhythm to carry off the whole. As the piece builds, so it becomes more tuneful, with sweeping chords and melody edging their way in. Ideal background music, as even if you're only half-listening, you still feel moved by the end.

Lastly, "It's Not My Way", which comes closest to my prior expectations by displaying a slow 4/4 beat. It could almost be described as a mini techno-stomper, with effects, distorted speech and quintessentially techno sounds (you'll know 'em when you hear 'em). :-)

Overall impression : Not bad at all, but not quite as good as I'd hoped...motto - expect less...(?) 7/10.

(review by Martin Jones)


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