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 HIA/Namlook - S.H.A.D.O - PW 34 (also AW 043)
  Release Date: 9 June 1997
  Limitation: 2000

   Intruder Detector               11.04
   Secret Location                  9.51
   Space Interceptors              13.51
   Skydiver                        20:53
   Maintaining Scan for UFO's       9.42

  all tracks written by Pete Namlook and Bobby Bird

Well, after 14 months it looks like I got my wish - HIA/Namlook arrived in my mailbox yesterday! Here are my first impressions:

* Track 1: Intruder Detector: 11.04 - What's he saying? Quirky beat opening not unlike those found on mid 30's RI releases. Sorta like D&B over Alien Community 2 with later accompanying lush keyboard chords.

* Track 2: Secret Location: 9.51 - This is truly a gorgeous beatless Icelandic creation. Very beautiful and takes you on a haunting journey into deep chill. I could dwell here forever. ECSTASY, RAPTURE, TRANSPORT.

* Track 3: Space Interceptors: 13.51 - Is anybody out there? A trademark HIA rhythm begins with sparse but ever evolving sounds and it's only after 10 minutes that Namlook emerges out of the background with some tasty mellow keys to make his presence felt.

* Track 4: Skydiver: 20:53 - The piece opens with what it is must be like to freefall through the clouds before you pull the rip chord. A blissful keyboard collage is awakened after 6:45 with a journey into funk and then melts into pulsating tones/blips/blops around 15:00. Three minutes later we dissolve back into the opening freefall.

* Track 5: Maintaining Scan for UFO's: 9.42 - Distorted Aphex Twin like bottom beat with scratchy and unscrewing sounds and slow keyboard glissando. PK gives us a couple interludes of his classic keyboard melodies reminiscent of the early days of the FAX label.

(review by Roy SeGuine)

S.H.A.D.O is a formidable collaboration between Higher Intelligence Agency's Bobby Bird and Fax label head Pete Namlook. Delving into electro, ambient, and trance, this album maps a galactic and melodic journey. The first and most aggressive track, "Intruder Detector," is an 11 minute electro soundtrack to a sci-fi scene where robot guards are patrolling a futuristic star base. Huge environmental drifting synth chords, a resonating bass, and precise, regimented percussion build the song's fantastic aural landscape.

Through the middle three songs of the album, the ambient and trance effects prevail, providing a gentle but stimulating space cruise which climaxes with the 21-minute epic "Skydiver." It drifts in with layers of sustained falling chords, eases into a resonating synth backdrop, and utilizes a subdued percussion line to evolve the concept. No transition comes too soon; sufficient distance is provided both within and between the sounds in this song.

The album follows a logical path of styles. Starting with a beat-driven electro track, drifting into mostly beatless ambience, and concluding with "Maintaining Scan for UFO's," a beat-oriented trance venture, the listener encounters natural progressions. This album is a recommended listen for fans of other works by both Pete Namlook and Higher Intelligence Agency. To listen to S.H.A.D.O is to experience worlds far away.

(review by Brett Neely)


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