Mark Ashby

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When I first saw this cassette, I thought: "Someone had actually named an album after a reverb unit company!" The cassette cover, however, quickly guided me to the proper dictionary meaning. Mark has a quick wit and a nicely twisted sense of humor which is readily apparent in reading the liner notes. The tape itself starts out with a nice Procol Harum-sounding piece called "Ozone Transmission," which gives way to the dreamy "Crescent Moon." This piece sounds a lot like the old ballad, "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" by Roberta Flack, with a tonal structure like Kitaro's "Silk Road" album. Despite the similarity, it holds up well on its own. The third and final piece on side one, "Alone in the Clouds," is almost overtly sweet, but not to the point of excess. Side two is one long piece called "Infrared." This is a collage of snippets from television and radio. A trancelike backdrop of guitar and synths churns and builds into quite a powerful piece. There are some excellent synth textures in this one, deep guttural tones with a lot of punch. Some great engineering on this piece keeps you glued to your headphones which is the recommended method of listening. The vocal snippets and synths dart in and out of each channel, panning in a circular motion creating a mesmerizing effect. This guy has achieved a great deal of musical maturity when you consider he's only 20 years old. It's a wonderfully tantalizing journey for the adventurous listener. Available from: Mark Ashby, 60 Victoria Lane, Frostburg, MD 21532 USA.