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Shades of Orion - AW 018 (also PW 09)
Shades of Orion 12.37
Did You Ever Retire a Human... 12.48
Liquid Shade 20.46
all tracks written by Pete Namlook and Tetsu Inoue
The closest to perfection Namlook and Inoue have come in my view, the original Shades of Orion deserves its classic status, with the first and last tracks being particularly sublime. I'll try not to go overboard here....
"Biotrip", the opener, is the longest, and in my view, best, made up of two distinct soundscapes, one longer one sandwiched by two slices of the other. Floating melodies, spacy sounds and lilting ambience characterise a track that is probably in my all time Fax top 10. The closer, "Liquid Shade", is deep "light" ambience, twenty minutes of heavenly noise, evoking a magical, far-off place. This is an intense trip.
The title track is of a similar style to the closer, while the third track, good as it is, causes the whole to lose a point for me, as it doesn't quite sit right with the other three.
Minor quibble aside, this disc deserves a place in anyone's collection, and I'm proud to be one of the 500 who can say it has! ;-)
9/10 - Chuffing marvellous.
(review by Martin Jones)
This is an excellent, excellent, excellent disc for the ambient-lover in your family. As usual, Mr. Namlook didn't see it fit to label this one... to find it, look for a cover that's: (1) mostly blue, except for; (2) this big circle, which is mostly black except for; (3) a galactic football at the lower left, and; (4) a cute little earth-icon at the upper right. This particular work is a 4 track 70+ minute collaboration with Mr. Tetsu Inoue, who deftly lifts Mr. N's standard tonal fare up from the pleasant blandness it tends to settle into.
Biotrip is a very apt name for the first piece, 24+ minutes, which starts out electro-weepy and shifts gears into a lovely throbbing, twinkle stereo effect (DO NOT activate your Loudness button). The second (and title) piece isn't really as much a separate track as it is a way for our heroes to get from Track 1 to Track 3 in 12+ minutes with as little a disturbance as possible: Mr. I does a lot of funky digital signal things and Mr. N makes a lot of neato backwards and/or swirly noises.
Okay, so they eventually get around to Did You Ever Retire a Human... (you won't see it coming), and although this song doesn't really belong on this album (being very toe-tappity in nature), it's just faaabulous. The movie sample shows up towards the beginning and end of the piece, Mr. N gets to insert his usual waveforms, and the music itself is trancy, rolling and sensual, making a very nice full circle before slipping into Track 4.
The last piece, Liquid Shade, is 20+ minutes and has Mr. I written all over it. It is vast, spacious, indescribably placid and absolutely fucking beautiful. For this song alone, acquire this disc.
(review by Dan Foley)