Thursday, November 6, 2008

Experimental Audio Research - Transistor Music

(Earworm, 1998)

Releases by Experimental Audio Research tend to deliver what the group name implies, as Sonic Boom and a rotating cast of friends screw around with various electronics in a non-pop, non-“song” context. Unfortunately, with the exception of some early drone-oriented discs, these recordings come across as far more interesting to create than to listen to, a problem that worsened as the ’90s dragged on. The “Transistor Music” single is all Sonic Boom (credited with E.M.S. Synthi VCS 3 & AKS, Serge Modular Music System, OSCar & Custom Human Voice Synthesizer), who produces layered whooshes, whirs, and voop-voop-voops in a chilly, Doctor Who-esque spacescape that’s admirable for its ambition, but not a whole lotta fun coming through the hi-fi. A much more intriguing failure is the near-contemporaneous Forever Alien album (released as Spectrum), which marries EAR’s electronic fiddling to semi-traditional rock/pop structures for a way-out, uncompromising take-off on what mid-period Kraftwerk only hinted at.

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