It's odd to think that the first work by ambient soundscape artists Pablo's Eye would be conceptual in tone. All She Wants Grows Blue is full of the music that would usher in "You'll Love Chinese Food," and other mixological constructs, but this record, issued in 1999 is primarily musical in tone and texture. It's not that there aren't beats, but mostly they're played on a drum kit by Dirk Wachtelaer and painted by Patrick Hanappier's violin. Producers and mixologists Axel Libeert and Erwin Autrique build their sound from the ground up, using organic percussion and music first, and spindling it about with other effects -- this is especially true of the way they use guitarist Royo's lines, which are straight from some desert blues soundtrack. But there's something else about this album -- the spoken word vocals of Marie Mandi reading Richard Skinner's text. The stories, "Delay Horizon," which tell of illicit yet mysterious love, are seductive in their reach; keyboards and rounded-off guitars offer all the melodic framework Mandi has to hang her words on, and percussion accounts for all the rest. Likewise, in "The Episodic Nature of Life," along a slower-than-slow bassline and echo chamber drums with wide open guitar chords, Mandi sets up a story that may or may not have a reason for being -- just that it does seems to be reason enough for Pablo's Eye. In between the spoken word pieces are musical interludes that border on funk, Middle Eastern jazz, ambient pathways to trance, funk, and even jazz-rock fusion. As this story refuses to unfold, the music itself becomes more mysterious, more compelling, full of twists and turns that urge the listener into the breach between voice and sound. In sum, there is nothing here that reminds one of the Pablo's Eye that made You'll Love Chinese Food. There's simply so much more here to grab the listener's attention and draw it into the nether region where most of this music lives. It's a stunning album in its own quiet way.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek