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S.H.A.D.O 2

 HIA/Namlook - S.H.A.D.O 2 - PW 41 (also AW 044)
  Release Date: 3 May 1999
  Limitation: 2000

   Countless                 16.26
   Inner Sense               12.15
   Bergend                   15.42
   UFO Detection System      10.31

  all tracks written by Pete Namlook and Bobby Bird

Not much different from S.H.A.D.O. 1, except for the last track.

1. Countless - So apparently this album starts in an arcade . . . On this first track, with Bobby Bird providing most of the composition, an android version of Andy Dick in Sedona (!?) gives us a pep talk about new-agey individuality among the synthetic population. "I am unique in my own thpecial way", etc. All of the ingredients for a H.I.A. album are here. Bleepy bloops, higher-pitched angelic melody, quirky beats. Tasty.

2. Inner Sense - This time more Namlook than Bird. This track could easily have been on DSotM, had Bird been invited to the sessions. Dark and spacey. Best on the album, IMO.

3. Begend - Now we get a lecture on DNA and computers. On this song, Pete and Bobby share more of the duties. At 9:00, they change directions somewhat, but retain the same mood. A good track.

4. UFO Detection System - I thought the warnings from fellow FAX-heads would have sufficed, so I decided to listen to the track all the way through just once. MAJOR HEADACHE! Digital static cranked up to 11 just doesn't float my boat.

Skip the last track, and you have a decent 44:23 of good music. 7/10.

(review by Damon Capehart)

Good minimalist electronic music is not easy. You've got to really know what you're doing to take the elements of a genre and refine them to an essence, and then use that to create music with as much depth of feeling as this album has.

This album is not really minimalist, but it feels that way, because there is nothing extraneous. The tripping staccato beats, the simple melodies, the instruments - more pure tones, actually - all very basic ingredients. But Namlook and Bird arrange them so precisely that every tiny piece has an impact. Even the two monologues from Ghost In The Shell, on 'Countless' and 'Inner Sense', fit in perfectly and put my mind in exactly the right contemplative mood for the music.

However, I agree with the other reviews about track four. It's just too bizarre for me to get my head around. Substitute that for 'Go No Go' on Namlook XIV, and you'd have my vote for 'perfect electronic music'.

(review by Garrett Birkel)


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