A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Exploding In Your Mind

After being blown away upon first-listen to Future Sound of London’s experimental ambient epic, Lifeforms from 1994, I did a bit of digging to find more exciting sounds from the artist. I quickly discovered that the same gents from FSOL also perform under the moniker, Amorphous Androgynous with quite an expansive catalog for the project. But the real shocker was the realization that FSOL was in fact the other half of the brilliant psychedelic EP I’d ordered from DJ Food earlier this year!

The Amorphous Androgynous

The Amorphous Androgynous

DJ Food & The Amorphous Androgynous collaborated on The Illectrik Hoax EP in 2012 producing a fantastic electro-psych-rock-leftfield mix that really gets inside your skull.

It sounds as good as it looks.

DJ Food & The Amorphous Androgynous - The Illectrik Hoax EP

label 1

label 2

I wasted no time in picking up an archive of both FSOL / Amorphous Androgynous’ extended discographies as well as a complete archive of their radio broadcasts, live mixes and anthologies, anxious to learn more about the psychedelic side project.

For those who own copies of FSOL’s primary albums, there is a treasure trove of other material in the presently-circulating lossless discographic archive and its accompanying radio broadcast collection.  The content is organized chronologically into a series of categorical subfolders thusly:

The Future Sound of London Studio Discography
The Future Sound of London – Complete Radio Broadcasts
BBC Radio 1 Essential Mixes
The Collected Electric Brain Storms
The Collected ISDN Live Transmissions
The Collected Kiss FM Transmissions
The Collected Monstrous Psychedelic Broadcasts
The Amorphous Androgynous Discography

The Future Sound of London Studio Discography:
Albums
Anthologies
EPs & Singles

Albums:
(1991) Accelerator
(1994) Lifeforms
(1995) ISDN
(1996) Dead Cities
Environments Series
From the Archives Series

Environments Series:
(2008) Environments
(2008) Environments 2
(2010) Environments 3
(2012) Environments 4

From the Archives Series:
(2007) From the Archives Vol. 1
(2007) From the Archives Vol. 2
(2007) From the Archives Vol. 3
(2007) From the Archives Vol. 4
(2008) From the Archives Vol. 5
(2010) From the Archives Vol. 6
(2012) From the Archives Vol. 7

Anthologies:
(1992) Earthbeat
(2006) Teachings From The Electronic Brain (The Best of FSOL)
(2008) By Any Other Name
(2008) FSOL Digital Mix
(2013) The FSOL Remix Anthology
(2013) The Papua New Guinea Anthology

EPs & Singles
(1993) Cascade
(1994) Expander
(1994) Lifeforms EP
(1994) Promo 500
(1995) Far-Out Son of Lung and the Ramblings of a Madman
(1996) My Kingdom
(1997) We Have Explosive
(2007) A Gigantic Globular Burst of Antistatic
(2008) The Pulse EPs

The Future Sound of London – Complete Radio Broadcasts:
BBC Radio 1 Essential Mixes
The Collected Electric Brain Storms
The Collected ISDN Live Transmissions
The Collected Kiss FM Transmissions
The Collected Monstrous Psychedelic Broadcasts

BBC Radio 1 Essential Mixes:
(1993) BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix 1
(1995) BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix 2

The Collected Electric Brain Storms:
01 Vol. 1 (2008)
02 Vol. 2 (2008)
03 Vol. 3 (2008)
04.1 Vol. 4A (2009)
04.2 Vol. 4B (2009)
0.5 Vol. 0.5 (2006)
05 Vol. 5 (2009)
06.1 Vol. 6A (2010)
06.2 Vol. 6B (2010)
07 Vol. 7 (2011)

The Collected ISDN Live Transmissions:
01 Transmission 1- (1994) ISDN Tour
02 Transmission 2- New York, 11th May 1994
03 Transmission 3- Edinburgh, 28th October, 1996
04 Transmission 4- Netherlands, 9th September 1994
05 Transmission 5- Rome, 16th May 1994
06 Transmission 6- France, 17th May 1997
07 Transmission 7- Manchester, 6th November 1996
08 Transmission 8- Los Angeles, 22nd January 1996
09 Transmission 9- London, 25th March 1997
11 Transmission 11- Berlin, 12th June 1996
14.1 Transmission 14a- Barcelona 1995 – Preshow
14.2 Transmission 14b- Barcelona 1995 – Art Future Festival
16 Transmission 16- France, 1997
[1997] ISDN Show

The Collected Kiss FM Transmissions:
Test Transmission (Pts 1-6)
Test Transmission 2 (Pts 1-6)
Transmission 1 (Pts 1-6)
Transmission 2 (Pts 1-5)
Transmission 3 (Pts 1-2)
Transmission 4 (Pts 1-6)
Transmission 5 (Pts 1-6)
Transmission 6 (Pt 1-6)

The Collected Monstrous Psychedelic Broadcasts:
A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Exploding In Your Mind: 13-Episode 8 Volume Library

01 AMPBEIYM Vol. 1 (Part 1)
02 AMPBEIYM Vol. 1 (Part 2)
03 AMPBEIYM Vol. 2 (Part 1 – Paul Thomas Mix)
04 AMPBEIYM Vol. 2 (Part 2 – Annie Nightingale Mix)
05 AMPBEIYM Vol. 3
06 AMPBEIYM Vol. 4
07 AMPBEIYM Vol. 5
08 AMPBEIYM Vol. 6
09 AMPBEIYM Vol. 7 (Part 1)
10 AMPBEIYM Vol. 7 (Part 2)
11 AMPBEIYM Vol. 7 (Part 3)
12 AMPBEIYM Vol. 7 (Part 4)
13 AMPBEIYM Vol. 8

Amorphous Androgynous Discography:
1993 – Tales Of Ephidrina
2004 – The Isness & The Otherness – Disc 1 – The Isness
2004 – The Isness & The Otherness – Disc 2 – The Otherness
2005 – Alice in Ultraland
2008 – The Mello Hippo Disco Show
2008 – The Peppermint Tree & The Seeds of Superconsciousness
2014 – The Cartel Remixes
2015 – A Monstrous Psychededlic Bubble Exploding in Your Mind – The Wizards of Oz – Disc 1
2015 – A Monstrous Psychededlic Bubble Exploding in Your Mind – The Wizards of Oz – Disc 2

Similarly, DJ Food has generously made a multitude of his mixes available at djfood.org for your listening pleasure.  And NinjaTune has 37 of DJ Food’s Solid Steel mixes uncut on their Soundcloud page.

This latest musical discovery has really pushed these two libraries to the front of the line.  In the weeks ahead I’ll be further-exploring the IDM / trip-hop / dub / psychedelic / and ambient wonders of DJ Food and Amorphous Androgynous.  When I emerge from the funky depths, I’ll go on to explore FSOL’s thirty other aliases –

  • Aircut
  • Amorphous Androgynous
  • Art Science Technology
  • Candese
  • Deep Field
  • Dope Module
  • EMS:Piano
  • Heads Of Agreement
  • Homeboy
  • Humanoid
  • Indo Tribe
  • Intelligent Communication
  • Mental Cube
  • Metropolis
  • Part-Sub-Merged
  • Polemical
  • Q
  • Sand Sound Folly
  • Semtex
  • Semi Real
  • Six Oscillators in Remittance
  • Smart Systems
  • Suburban Domestic
  • T.Rec
  • The Far-out Son Of Lung
  • The Jazz Mags
  • The Orgone Accumulator
  • Unit 2449
  • Yage
  • Yunie
  • Zeebox

…I’ve got some work ahead of me.

UPDATE: Before the end of the evening I was able to acquire the remaining stray albums and DJ sets missing from the above catalog.  Now I’ve added:

1993 – Amorphous Androgynous – Tales Of Ephidrina
1994 – Future Sound of London –  ISDN (Black Edition)
2005 – Amorphous Androgynous – Alice in Ultraland
2008 – Amorphous Androgynous – The Mello Hippo Disco Show
2008 – The Amorphous Androgynous – The Peppermint Tree & The Seeds of Superconsciousness
2013 – Amorphous Androgynous – The Cartel Vol. 1
2013 – Amorphous Androgynous – The Cartel Vol. 2
2014 – Amorphous Androgynous – The Cartel Remixes
2015 – Amorphous Androgynous – A Monstrous Psychededlic Bubble Exploding in Your Mind – The Wizards of Oz (2CD)

The Illectrik Hoax – Waking up from a Lifelong Retromusical Hibernation

I’m feeling incredibly inspired.  It’d been a week of stagnation; I’d looked at my record collection and had said to myself, “wow… I’ve successfully built an autobiographical library of the greatest examples of each niche genre I love – downtempo electronic, avant-garde jazz, the Berlin School… and many others.  But NOW what do I do?

With the purchase of Underworld’s 20th anniversary deluxe edition of their masterwork, Dubnobasswithmyheadman, I’d come full circle to the album which first-inspired my life-long musical journey.  But something was missing.

Dubnobasswithmyheadman 20th Anniversary Edition

The 20th Anniversary Box Set of Dubnobasswithmyheadman

The majority of my knowledge of electronic music focuses on early revolutionaries of the genre – the tinkerers and innovators of monstrous noise machines.  I’ve archived classic milestones from the grating clamor of Luigi Russolo to the soothing sounds of 20th century ambient music, concluding with Basinski’s soundtrack to 9/11.

But I’d really lost touch with modern music, instead obsessing over the rich and vibrant sounds of 1969-1973.  Thankfully, a siren sound lured me to the official website of DJ Food in the last few weeks, and, on a whim, I compiled an archive of his 35 Solid Steel Radio shows, and with the entire weekend ahead of me pledged to dedicate some serious listening time to these programs.

Solid Steel Radio

These would be the first “modern” recordings I’d heard since the dream pop halcyon revival of the late 90s and first years of the new millennium.  And with the opening minutes of the very first set, my ears piqued and I was swept away.

His “A Weird World Reader” mix is described as a trip through the recent EP ‘One Man’s Weird Is Another Man’s World’ featuring tracks, samples and influences that make it what it is.  The first track is a 17 minute tour de force collaboration with The Amorphous Androgynous – a track called, “The Illectrik Hoax.”  10 minutes passed in a single breath and as the track concluded and I returned to the physical world, I leapt from my listening chair.  Locating my girlfriend and fellow music junkie, I fit my studio monitors firmly upon her ears and cued the track up a second time.  Her eyes closed and her head began to groove with the rhythm.  I paused the track asking what she thought, but her only response was a whine of discontent translating to, “play more!”

A Weird World Reader

The wonderfully weird “Weird World Reader”

Minutes later I had the full album playing in my studio and was absolutely enamored by the mysterious, sci-fi soundscapes of the record.  Best-absorbed in its entirety from start to finish – this is a concept record of infectious rhythms and strange sounds which successfully transport the listener to the “Weird World” Food alluded to in the Reader mix.  Long before the end of the album, I’d searched Discogs.com for a copy and phoned my local shop to order one for my library.

The Search Engine is a 4LP set of 45RPM discs housed in a magnificent quad-gatefold sleeve.  True to DJ Food’s usual form, it features eye-popping artwork that is best-viewed in its proper 12″ format.

Search Engine 1

Search Engine 2

Search Engine 3

Search Engine 4

Search Engine 5

Discogs classifies the record as “Abstract, Breakbeat, Broken Beat, Downtempo, Experimental, Hip Hop, Leftfield music.” – effectively a mishmash of all my very favorite words.  Thank you, DJ Food for breaking me of my pretentious retomusical fanaticism, and for initiating me into the music of the now.

UPDATE: New findings reveal that the 17-minute mix is exclusive to the 2012 Record Store Day smokey psychedelic vinyl edition, limited to 1500 copies worldwide.  I’ve just tracked down a sealed copy and it’s on its way to me now.

Here’s the complete track – “The Illectrik Hoax (A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Mix by the Amorphous Androgynous.)”

RSD Edition AA Single

The Merits of Nostalgia and a Cozy Placebo Effect

And so it came to pass that my beloved McIntosh C39 pre-amp was not made happy by replacing the volume pot.  I’d decided in advance that if that didn’t fix it, I would cut my losses and consider, for the first time in my 30+ years, to explore the possibility of a brand new pre-amp/power amp combo.

My first McIntosh - a MAC 4280.  RIP 2013.

My first McIntosh – a MAC 4280.

I am fully aware of the tried-and-true code of the audiophile – quality vintage gear will generally out-perform and out-last newer contemporaries dollar-for-dollar.  But after repeatedly battling oxidation, bad resistors, and a few bad volume pots for the better part of three decades, I was ready to consider something new.

The Next Generation: My McIntosh C39 Pre-Amp (RIP 2014)

The Next Generation: My McIntosh C39

My life-long trusted audio adviser and best-friend tossed a few suggestions my way, namely the emotiva xsp-1, some newer Rotel models, and the most alluring of his suggestions – the Parasound Halo p3.  But for the interim, I had a local hi-fi shop tune up my Yamaha CR-840 – the first real amp I ever had.  Years ago channel A stopped working, and oxidation built up rending the amp nearly-unusable, but I’d never given it up, as it was a very special gift.  Thankfully the shop returned it to me the next day in PERFECT working condition!

I’d forgotten how great it sounded.  Please understand – I know it’s not remotely in the same class as some of the finer amps I’ve used, but the warm and familiar tone of this amp transports me back to college and all the memories attached to those years.  I completely acknowledge that this nostalgia trip is in no way a measure of the amp’s technical performance.  It is of no quantifiable measure an amp comparable to my MACs or, likely, to the Parasound amp.  But I will fully-embrace the head-trip it brings and am more than satisfied to use it until the right upgrade comes along.

Next up? Parasound Halo P3

Next up – Perhaps the Parasound Halo P3

To make the amp-swap official, I chucked the eyesore of a component rack that I’d picked up from a thrift shop.  30-seconds of Craigslist searching produced a nifty 60s record shelf for only a few bucks to serve as both a surface for the amp and as additional record storage.  Better still – the funky elderly couple selling it were ridiculously adorable and had mirrored-and-velvet-patterned wallpaper with matching decor all about their home.

Not kidding.  This... with mirrored panels.

Not kidding. This… with mirrored panels.

The shelf has a very “college” feel to accompany the amp, and the space was PERFECT to relocate all my LPs pressed between 1995 and the present.  All my favorites are in here – DJ Food, Boards of Canada, Lemon Jelly, DJ Shadow, The Orb, Underworld, Stereolab, Spiritualized, The KLF, St Germain, Bonobo, Aphex Twin, Cinematic Orchestra, Sigur Ros, Pantha Du Prince, Low, Beck, The FLips, with just enough room to sneak in nearly all of Brian Eno and Tom Waits’ albums.

The Nostalgia Corner

The Nostalgia Corner

This is as good a time as any to resolve to listen to more of my records in 2015 – to enjoy what I have instead of always searching for the next grail.

And there you have it – an objective and meticulous audiophile reduced to a nostalgic dolt by his trust old amp.  Think what you will, but I’ll be happy here, spinning some great tunes.

Eno & Hyde Postcards from their first two LPs

Eno & Hyde Postcards from their first two LPs

Chaos, Magic, and the Band Who Burned a Million Pounds

More big news to finish off the year with a bang!

Two new titles to report – one from each of my greatest musical inspirations.

The first is John Higgs’ new book – THE KLF: Chaos, Magic, and the Band Who Burned a Million Pounds.

To quote DJ Food, who just blogged about the book at the end of October:

“If there’s one event that the book centers on it’s the burning of a million pounds and from there he draws clear lines to Robert Anton Wilson & Robert Shea, Alan Moore, Ken Campbell, the number 23, Dr Who, magical thinking, The Dadaists, the Devil, Discordianism, the assassination of Kennedy, Wicker Men and the banking crisis of the late 20th Century.”

This is definitely not your average KLF biography.

Image

The book went into print just last September, so I was happy to create an entry for the title on Goodreads and to provide its first review.

I’m 3/4 through this brilliant book and with each new chapter I am amazed how much this humble little paperback reveals about global events and cultural responses of the 20th century.

For example, Chapter 12: Undercurrents examines the quiet death of 20th century culture – the forgettable early-to-mid 90s.

The chapter summarizes the beginnings and endings of cultural climates, citing key events beginning with Darwinism’s impact on the pillar of faith in the late nineteenth century to The Great War, the conflict of the 40s, the conformity of the 50s, the liberation of the 60s, the hedonistic self-indulgence of the 70s, and the shift toward material wealth in the 1980s.

All of this lead to the 90s – the point where culture simply burned out. “They were out of ideas.” Slacker became the iconic low-culture film of 1991. Nihilism peaked in 1994 with Kurt Cobain’s suicide, the KLF’s burning of a million pounds, and the death of Bill Hicks.

And with these events, Higgs declares, “this was the point when the constant creation of new musical genres that had characterized the 20th century came to an end.”

Higgs refers to 1991-94 as the “Age of Extremes,” bracketed by the end of the Cold War and by the birth of first popular web browser.

The chapter also touches upon Surrealism, Situationism, Anti-capitalism, Communism, Fascism, Dadaism, The Cabaret Voltaire, Generation X, Tony Blair, George W Bush, The Spice Girls, and how all of these lead us to the new millennium.

Other chapters are equally rich in content.  Chapter 4: Magic and Moore, (specifically pp 80 – 89) examine the nature of consciousness, Carl Jung, Alan Moore’s concept of “Ideaspace,” and reality, itself.

A thoroughly exciting book, I had to put it down mid-chapter just to collect my thoughts.

One thing is for certain – Higgs’ book will give you more insight into the mysterious entity that is the K-Foundation than you could ever have asked for.

The KLF Print by Innerspaceboy 2013
A screen print design I made in tribute to the K Foundation earlier this summer.

And I was absolutely delighted when I received a record from my other great inspiration in the post – the first solo recording from Underworld-frontman Karl Hyde.

For those who aren’t aware of my history with Underworld, the debut record of Underworld Mk II – Dubnobasswithmyheadman was the very first album I heard which wasn’t top 40 radio pop.

Dubnobasswithmyheadman

The album set me on a path to discover the progressive and cerebral sounds of the avant-garde and the history of electronic music.  And the album’s packaging, designed by Karl Hyde and his design company, Tomato, inspired me to pursue my degree in graphic design.

In the 35 years since two gents from Cardiff sold their first single out of the boot of their car, Underworld has gone on to write floor-stomping anthems, to collaborate with Danny Boyle on Trainspotting and more recently, the Frankenstein play with Benedict Cumberbatch, and to score the 3-hour opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games.
They’ve produced experimental works with Brian Eno and created ambient installation pieces for their Tomato art collective.

And now, in 2013, Karl Hyde has released his first-ever solo LP at the age of 57.

Karl Hyde - Edgeland

Edgeland is an elegant and ethereal experimental record – an appropriately sophisticated first solo venture for the man who has been pioneering the electronic genre for decades.

There are subtle but clear elements of inspiration sprinkled throughout the record which Karl’s life-long fans will surely detect.  The last 40 seconds of “Final Ray of the Sun” for example contains a few notes from a muted, compressed harmonica.  The sample comes from a single titled, “Big Mouth” released by Karl back in 1995 under the moniker, Lemon Interupt.  The single received little press or radio play, but true Underworld fans will smile contentedly when the harmonica begins to play on “Final Ray.”

The percussive piano loop which comprises the opening 10 seconds of “Out of Darkness” serves as a subtle nod to Terry Riley’s genre-defining minimal masterpiece, “In C.”

Furthermore, the fragmented instrumentation of “Dancing on the Graves” and the mechanical vocals of “Cascading Lights” are musical elements one might suspect were lifted from Brain Eno and David Byrne’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts.

Even if not for those particular samples, Brian Eno’s collaborative impact is certainly evident in Karl’s trademarked stream-of-consciousness vocals.  It is a mature, contemplative record and a triumph for Karl Hyde.

The release of this new LP inspired me to take on a large project.  This evening I set myself to the task of downloading the largest compendium of Underworld’s work – all in 320CBR  quality and merged it with my own UW library, twice the size of the web-sourced archive.

In four hours’ time, I had constructed a 27GB network of 393 sub-folders and over 2,500 tracks.  I applied uniform naming conventions to the entire set to establish the first archival-quality library of their extended catalog.

Each folder is prefixed with the year of release, and suffixed with its respective catalog number.  Albums are sorted into folders such as ALBUMS, DEMOS & PROTOTYPES, INTERVIEWS, LIVE RELEASES, SINGLES, SOUNDTRACKS, etc, etc.

I plan to spend the remaining evenings of the year tagging the entire network of files to match the folder structure.

And I will enjoy every minute of it.

Thanks for tuning in for 2013 and I’ll see you next year!

A Journey into Electro-Jazz, Future Jazz, and Dark Jazz

A week ago, I finally started listening to my archive of the first 154 releases on the legendary Ninja Tune label.  From the early 90s forward, nearly every artist with a progressive electronic sound and a touch of jazzy flare was on Ninja Tune.  

I was already a fan of the big names in Future Jazz like Jaga Jazzist, Bonobo, Funki Porcini and St Germain.  The first LP I bought after being bitten by the electro-jazz bug was St Germain’s classic Tourist album on Blue Note Records.

Here’s “Rose Rouge,” a classic example of electro-jazz.

That album instantly reminded me of LTJ Bukem’s Journey Inwards double LP (released in ’00 – the same year as Tourist) so I picked up a 94-disc archive of Intelligent D’n’B records, including Bukem’s Good Looking Records label, the Earth series, and several  others.  

My favorite album from that new selection was Big Bud’s Late Night Blues, which I’ll be ordering on vinyl soon.

But as I continuted to research the Future Jazz genre, a few artists clearly stood out from the crowd.  

From Hidden Orchestra’s official profile:

Hidden Orchestra combines two live drummers and deep basslines with strong jazz and classical influences, to make cinematic, emotive, percussive, next generation music using traditional instrumentation and organic samples.

I was similarly entranced by the stripped-down rhythmic and melodic jazz loops of The Cinematic Orchestra, particularly their earlier LPs, Motion (1999) and Remixes 98-2000 (2000).

For example, listen to “Channel 1 Suite” from Motion. (A possible nod to Buddy Rich?)

Or for a taste of electronic free-jazz from the very same LP, “Blue Birds.”

And from the album, Everyday – the slow and bassy “Burn Out.”

That’s when I hit the brick wall of harsh reality surrounding the family of Future Jazz LPs –

They cost a small fortune.

What I soon learned was that Ninja Tune is a small, independent label and they pressed very limited numbers of these fantastic albums in the 90s and early 2000s.  As such, many of these discs command $50 – $150 per album if you want the real thing.

And I wanted the real thing.

But two days of searching yielded the most wonderful discovery I could have ever asked for.  There is a site called BeatDelete.com.  Think of them as a Kickstarter for all your favorite, out-of-print records.

Ninja Tune was offering all their greatest albums from the 90s to be pre-ordered for reissue on BeatDelete.  100 orders locked in the re-pressing, and then they’d take it off the site.

I couldn’t throw money at the monitor fast enough.

I locked in pre-orders for two of my favorite Cinematic Orchestra double LPs and tracked down an original copy of Remixes 98-2000 from a private seller who also had a mint copy of DJ Food’s Kaleidoscope (another of my new-found favorites from the Ninja Tune archive.)

Kaleidoscope is the magic album I hinted at in my last entry.  DJ Food samples both the Del Close & John Brent How To Speak Hip LP from ’59 and features the smokey vocal legend of the 50s and 60s – Ken Nordine.  

And that jazzy upright bass plucking you hear is Benny Golson’s “Wink” from ’67.

The “thinking man’s” track he’s introducing at the end of “Ageing Young Rebel” is the reason I had to buy this record.  Here it is – “The Crow.”

And then, I discovered darkjazz.  Call it what you will – darkjazz, doomjazz, noir jazz, funeral jazz… It’s magnificent stuff.

From last.fm:

Dark jazz is a form of modern jazz characterized by the fusion of downtempo, minimalist ambient music with jazz. The term is often used interchangeably with doom jazz, and is comparable in feel and mood to dark ambient music.

There are approximately 100 contemporary artists which fall into the category of darkjazz, but there are three names among them that you need to know: Bohren und der Club of Gore, The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation and their other half – The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble.

For those who understand silence to be the most beautiful song the in the world, The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble’s 2011 LP, From the Stairwell will take your breath away.

Almost literally, in fact – as I found myself holding my breath throughout my entire first listen, perhaps from fear that my breathing might interfere with the hauntingly fragile sounds coming from my studio monitors.  The album is full of half-audible frequencies – whisper-soft percussive tones, electronic sounds who’s source the listener can scarcely place, and gently-played fragments of jazz solos which vanish as subtly as the appear.

From the Stairwell is a contender which could challenge Miles Davis’ In a Silent Way for the quietest album ever recorded.

And if The Cinematic Orchestra’s Motion is an evening in a smoke-filled jazz club, then From a Stairwell is the intoxicated alley-walk home when the night is through.

In the age of the loudness war, The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble is a beacon of hope that delicate and well-produced records will survive the millennium.

Here is Kilimanjaro’s “Cocaine.”