Freeform, Green Park
Released: December 1999
I had to listen to this album about 10 times before I truly appreciated it. The reason it took me so long to get into, however, was not because the music was hard to listen to or incomprehensible. Actually, it was the opposite of that. The music was too user-friendly for my IDM-coated ears; I thought I would listen to it a few times, find it enjoyable but a bit too simplistic, then discard it like so many mediocre albums before it. But I didn't do that. I kept listening, and each time I listened I found new and stranger sounds buried in the dense mix. I started to notice the Indian and Southeast Asian influences that permeate above, beneath, and around the traditional IDM sounds. The more I listened, the more I appreciated how good Simon Pyke really is. He manages to make weird music out of the ordinary sounds of life (culled as they are within a wash of CGD, 303, FX, samples, found sounds, synths, 909, 808, and traditional bass). As the title suggests, this album has green elements, but they are mixed with reds, yellows, whites, and browns to produce a legitimate rainbow of emotional reactions. Medium tempo, building-block songs like "Spinder" and "Craving for Grey" offer wonderful contrasts: CGD bleeps blurring with Balinese temple rhythms, happy melodies bouncing around menacing FX and obscure found sounds. This album is an encyclopedia of IDM and of sound in general. It is not to be missed.
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