Insiding is another Bruce Gilbert release containing tracks that were initially commissioned to be something other than standalone musical pieces.
The album's opener—Bloodlines—accompanied a ballet production by Ashley Page, and follows Gilbert's often-used style of quiet, introspective, near-ambient atmospherics peppered with quasi-industrial rhythms. It builds rather well, developing in minutes from slight beginnings to a marching pace, subtly introducing layers of drums, clattering noise and echoes, before abruptly returning to occasional distant sounds and textures. This pattern repeats a few times along its 25-minute length. Ever one with a wry sense of humour, Gilbert also offers the odd surprise along the way: a bizarre gun-shot rhythm at the half-way point; a finalé that culminates in a kind of calliope noise that gives way to scattershot ethnic percussion and a final choir-like ambience. Almost story-like in its construction, the lack of narrative only serves to make it more compelling during its progression.
Dark and brooding atmospherics introduce Insiding, which was commissioned for the film Savage Water. The structure is fairly similar to Bloodlines—subtle instrumental washes vy for attention with rather heavier 'beats' and industrial noise loops. The latter is somewhat more evident in this piece, including some slightly dated drum loops, and although it is probably a little more coherent, the sounds aren't quite as engrossing as Bloodlines.
As with many of Gilbert's compositions the pieces on this album work as well in isolation as they did when used for their original purpose. By and large this is an engorssing collection and comes recommended.
Craig Grannell (March, 2000)