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Review

Immersion

Oscillating

Immersion is Colin Newman and Malka Spigel's ambient venture and is more organic and less structured than their self-titled, pop-oriented work. Traditional rhythms are ignored and layers of electronics build the pieces, none more impressively than Water Walker. A simple and squelchy electronic riff is gradually joined by other organic sounds and an occasional thump of bass. About half-way through a kind of tune or arrangement begins to build before the layers are stripped away and the piece disappears.

Despite its breezy and calm aura, several of these pieces still have an edge. Oscillating Between loops a cutting distorted bassline and adds slight distant instrumentation in a way that becomes hypnotic. The dream-like Les Iles Flotantes begins with simple droning bass and harsh undercurrents of electronic washes before adding lighter, airy effects, as if surfacing from ocean depths. A suppressed and slight beat then carries the piece for several more enchanting minutes.

With this sort of music the magic is in its simplicity and the fact that the sound is excitingly different. Not a great deal seems to happen in any one piece, although everything tends to mutate and change during its duration in a subtle, engaging manner.

If you're looking for a straightforward dance-oriented electronic album then this isn't for you. If you have a more open mind, or a leaning towards the ambient or experimental electronic side of music, then this release should impress.

Craig Grannell (April, 1999)

Cover artwork