There's just no pigeonholing multi-instrumentalist Adam Smith. When he's not singing and playing guitar for the highly regarded metal outfit Deadsea or flexing his jazz chops drumming for Wizards, the Columbus Ohio based musician is always on the lookout for the next collaboration, so he never seems to be idle for more than a couple of minutes. Another passion of Adam's is electronic music and more specifically Musique Concrète, which brings us to this cassette only (yes you read that correctly) release entitled Evening Storms.
Recorded entirely on vintage, analog equipment Evening Storms is made up of four improvised pieces of music that come across as a modern extension of the early experiments first conducted by electronic music pioneer Pierre Schaeffer and his GMRC (Groupe de Recherche de Musique Concrète) in Paris in the early 50's.
"Duet For Piano & ARP Odyssey Synthesizer" is a great way to commence the proceedings as the delicate acoustic piano melodies contributed by Scott Steelman dance in perfect unison with Smith's colorful, mysterious sounding synth textures and prepared 8 track tape manipulations. This segues right into the title track which is a superb vehicle highlighting Adam's dexterity behind the kit as he lays down a sizzling drum solo-type performance over top a mellotron painted backdrop.
Flipping over to side two and the focus shifts dramatically towards the abstract as he offers up two epic sounding compositions that really stretch out and dare to push the sonic envelope. First up is "Peripheral Isolates", an almost nineteen minute tour-de force consisting of a plethora of bubbling synths that sound like they've run amuck and taken over the laboratory. The added surface noise or what sounds like static from the well worn grooves of a vinyl lp only adds to the overall vintage feel that permeates this whole recording. It should be noted that Smith's Deadsea buddy J. Alex Conley also contributes here on the ARP 2600 guitar synthesizer as well. All of this brings us to the final and most adventurous piece of music on Evening Storms, the brilliant "Intermezzo & Requiem For Magnetic Tape". This track is a vibrant, half hour, sonic collage that finds Adam throwing all kinds of wild and wonderful sounds into the mix, via once again his 8 track tape manipulations and a couple of what else, ARP synthesizers and sequencers. It's all very minimalist, but man is it effective as this composition goes through a handful of different thematic changes that really keeps the listener fully engaged for the entire duration.
Evening Storms is an absolutely captivating and fascinating hour long journey into the world of minimalist electronica and Musique Concrète. Not to mention the analog sound really adds a fabulous dimension of warmth to the overall listening experience. I realize that this style of music isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea, but if you do enjoy the sounds of early electronic music then consider this a 'must have' for your collection.
1) Duet For Piano & ARP Odyssey Synthesizer (6:22)
2) Evening Storms (5:25)
3) Peripheral Isolates (18:42)
4) Intermezzo & Requiem For Magnetic Tape (26:36)