Peter Principle

Idyllatry

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This solo effort from one of the Tuxedomoon main men is less a coherent album as such than a compilation of instrumental efforts designed as commissions for installations, a bit like David Sylvian's album Approaching Silence. Mostly it's Peter Principle working on his own, though the lengthy "Tunguska" is a multi-person jam that starts as a fairly tight rock/ramble/funk exercise before stretching out into more ambient corners. Otherwise Principle tackles his own compositions, aside from a playful opening instrumental run through Love's "Emotions," turning it into a bubbly, semi-exotica exercise. It's by no means a hallmark for the collection as a whole -- by the time Idyllatry reaches "The Quarry" and "The Cloisters," the intent is to work with meditative, environmental constructions, the former using seagull samples to call to mind a lost, cold beach somewhere, as heightened by the moody music. "The Cloisters," perhaps appropriately, uses a semi-church organ feel as a key element, though the distant tones and melodies that make up most of the piece feel more like a sad broadcast from some unknown shortwave radio source, before a louder section turns the piece into a more aggressive, if still contemplative, composition. "Desolate Idyll" is the longest and concluding piece, a multi-part song that moves between a variety of orchestrations and styles, from minimal keyboard melodies to more bombastic arrangements -- more than anything it feels like a soundtrack to an unknown movie, much like the work of In the Nursery. As a whole the album is interesting rather than compelling -- the somewhat uninvolving chaos/trudge of "The Unknown" kills the sequencing momentum in particular -- but those who enjoy Principle's work already will appreciate it.

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