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Ben Neill

"Green Machine" CD (Astralwerks/Caroline)

More ambient music from one of the premier labels in the field. Astralwerks releases the odd turkey now and again (witness Freaky Chakra which is so utterly lame I'm not even considering reviewing it), but roughly 90% of the music this label puts out, much like Ben Neill, is hella interesting and innovative. Again, it's swooning, dreamy and makes that silly shoegazing bullshit seem like just so much boredom evinced by rather dull college kids with way too much time on their hands and way too much technology at their disposal. Neill not only composed this and played all of it, he invented an instrument to play it with. Now, I'm not saying he's Harry Partch or anything, but still, that's a hell of a lot more thought and effort than most wonks with access to a Moog or a Roland throw into their prog gibberish. Best heard on headphones at a deafening volume.

Ben Neill "Triptycal" CD (Antilles/PolyGram)

Tranced, dubbed-out, funky, ambient jazz with a touch of throbbing jungle thrown in for good measure. It sounds like listening to music underwater, like hearing odd fragments of songs juxtaposed and played in different styles, obscured by thick liquids which blur the boundaries. Listen to the blood flowing in your veins, the beat which emerges from your natural bodily rhythms. Listen to the sounds around you and you'll know where this comes from and what it sounds like.

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Last modified on Wednesday, March 26, 2008