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Outland 3

 Outland 3 - PW 37 (also AW 027)
  Release Date: 20 April 1998
  Limitation: 2000

   Definition of Life                 14.13
   The Question of Containment        20.44
   Keeper of the Purple Twilight      11.47
   DSTC                                7.47

  all tracks written by Pete Namlook and Bill Laswell

This is certainly something of a grower and is probably destined to be a classic. This Outland is a different area to that explored in parts one and two; if part one traveled through a dreamland version of Mongolia and part two through an ethereal African rift valley then this seems to put us at a place in space. There is also more some humour in here with 50's B film sound clips punctuating thunking beats, electro percussion and bumping bass lines. The first track opens with what sounds like a jet shooting across the spaces between the speakers, this is replaced by screaming insect-like noises and deep ambient background rumblings which act as a backdrop to an upbeat bassline. Flutes run up and down scales suggestive of a sci-fi flick, it makes it immensely fun to listen to as melodramatic voices talk about spores with roots that can eat through metal. The final sci-fi chill down out the end is highly effective.

The Question of Containment tones it down again with guitar and synth noises creating a spacious feel and drone-like atmosphere reminiscent of the first Psychonavigation. Sounds disappear into space but soon a bass line enters with multiple tom tom sounds keeping the beat going. A piano overlays a simple pattern.

Keeper of the Purple Twilight a bass is plucked slowly. It sounds like a beacon that barely shines out among a building wash of synth background. The effect is quite emotive and just carries you along even though there is very little happening less is certainly more.

DSTC yet more guitar wails into the aether to great effect. Drums enter the fray and the sci-fi sound clips are back with us as a bass drum also joins in. Its clear this is going to be pretty heavy as a sub-bass begins to underlay the beat and Laswell's bass thunks along. Metallically tweaked drums join in adding something of an industrial flavour. The overall effect is quite stunning, as string sections sampled from films add flourishes the music almost turns into a theme to a retro space movie. I've probably listened to this disc more in the past month than I have many other FAX discs in two years which isn't really an indication of quality but I think this has to be destined to be a classic.

(review by Rowland Atkinson)

The first two Outland releases seemed to take place on Planet Earth; this one is definitely an outer space record. "Definition of Life" is a really impressive track, which uses rave energy and beats but with a different set of sounds and instrumentation than we're used to - excellent, thoughtful music. The other tracks tend towards the type of spacey keyboard-oriented music FAX is known for sometimes providing, with occasional flare-ups of Asiatic percussion.

(review by Scott McFarland)


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