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Crommie, Daniel: The Last Thing I Remember
Oregon's flautist/electronica magician Daniel Crommie has created an extraordinarily beautiful work based on the simple idea of trying to describe the phases of sleep and a selection of dream states. The principal approach is to layer swirling synth and keyboard textures underneath electronic loops and free wheeling flute parts. At times the arrangements remind me of some of Camel's more dreamy compositions like "Lunar Sea".
The album itself is made up of 18 short pieces arrayed into 4 different sleep patterns bounded by the 'Alpha Rhythms' of "Even Song" and "Dawn Song". Within these 4 parts Daniel employs an enterprising catalogue of hypnotic repetition and mysterious meanderings by a variety of flutes and whistles from a home made bamboo affair to a modern concert quality instrument.
The bamboo whistle-flute, broadly following a whole tone scale according to Daniel, in fact makes its first appearance on the second track. In the following song a clay ocarina is used to create an eerie ethereal mood with damped clanging bells in the background. In track 4 you could swear there is a 'tron in there at the beginning but the piece quickly picks up the pace with electronic loops and a warbling flute creating a feeling of flying (my favourite dream apart from scoring for Wigan).
Other highlights are the insistent rhythm of "Rare as a Devil-Winged Ice Monkey" (about as upbeat as it gets), the playful Jaw's harp of "The Slumberer's Procession" and the startling 3-dimensional percussion effect which jolts you out of your reverie in "Doppler Drum". The "REM" suite as a whole has less rhythmic dominance, with the focus on more mysterious effects. The exception is the last piece of the group which perhaps announces the upward surge toward wakefulness and the closing "Dawn Song".
A clever and supremely well executed album.
a) Alpha - Even Song
b) Theta Waves
2) Walking through parallel worlds
3) Vertigo Avenue
c) Sleep Spindles
2) Squid ink
3) Song of the sea turtle
4) K complexes
d) Delta Waves
2) Rare as a devil winged ice monkey
1) Delta wave outro
2) The slumberer's procession
3) Doppler Drum
5) The zenith curse
f) Alpha - Dawn Song
Added: June 18th 2007
Reviewer: Richard Barnes
Related Link: New Weave Records
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|Crommie, Daniel: The Last Thing I Remember
Posted by Kerry Leimer, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-06-18 07:22:38
This collection seems to yearn for a primitivism, reached through some spontaneity and simplicity. Comprised almost entirely of basic rhythm patterns – some of which emanate from rudimentary sample and hold settings, others with added acoustic sources that gurgle forward with the unwavering determination and single-track eloquence of trains just off schedule – Daniel Crommie then spreads a variety of flute voices on top in mostly rambling fashion. And that's it. Not much else to say. The quality of the results varies only narrowly. Beginning with a smooth echoplex'd solo that in it's technique might remind Gong listener's of the "Flute Salad" from Angel's Egg, most of the rest has a now archaic sound. Whether trapped in Zamphirism, or the doodling of early 1960s flautists – think soundtrack for "The Party" here – or the robotic beats of analog synth emulation squeezed into an aqueous mush by a pulsed flanger, the pieces are mostly aimless, decorative whimsy which remain unable to attain much in either variation or mood, contrast or structure. Claiming a hold on the various sleeping states is offered as the raison d'ętre, but the music is so bead-store head-shop generic you could say it's about pretty much anything.
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