Allow yourself to be taken in and enveloped by the alluring sounds of The Useless Lesson , the latest CD from electronic musician/composer, and Sea of Tranquility writer, Kerry Leimer. It takes a special touch to create successful ambient recordings, but Leimer has been at this a while, and has created a lush, yet mysterious & dreamy amalgam of sounds here that can be taken as a whole or broken down into separate pieces. "To Force Closed Our Eyes" features undulating waves of almost Mellotron-ish melancholia, which then tapers off to give way to the far reaching "Declining Need of More", a near 14-minute journey into deep dark space, sort of like a minimalist version of early Tangerine Dream, complete with droning soundscapes and an undercurrent of tension. For more upbeat material, there's "Music That Conceives of Itself As Music", which combines electronic with neo-classical (like a futuristic Henry Cow), highlighted by synthesized drums and soaring strings. "Anosognosia" is haunting ambient space rock, with an emphasis on the "space" rather than the "rock", and a track that builds the tension throughout, erupting in a powerful climax drenched in feedback. Leimer's take on modern classical music can be heard on "Trio (sentimental Music)", a gorgeous yet sorrowful piece with yearning string arrangements (The principal instrument for acoustic strings on the CD is a virtual one, based on about a thousand+ samples -- called Miroslav Philharmonik, assembled by Vituous himself), which is the precursor to the dark & menacing sounds of "Long After Dowland". This piece could easily substitute as the sountrack to your next nightmare, or the background score to some desolate Sci-Fi film, much like what Tangerine Dream accomplished many years ago with Zeit. Leo Abrahams adds some guitar soundscapes on this one, but you'll have to listen very carefully to hear him, as the whole song sounds like one continual wave of sound. The somber mood continues on the closer "Declension of Need", with dark Mellotron cascades slowly gaining in strength before giving way to rich synth washes that at first drip with melancholy, but then slowly portray a feeling of hope.
A demanding listen for sure, and not something you will just want throw on as background noise. The Useless Lesson proves that ambient/electronic music can be mood altering and thought provoking, two terms not always associated with the genre.
1 To Force Closed Our Eyes
2 Declining Need of More
3 Music That Conceives of Itself As Music
5 Trio (sentimental Music)
6 Long After Dowland
7 Declension of Need