Kyle Swager

The Other Side of Words

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Calling this release The Other Side of Words is producer/composer Kyle Swager's way of saying that he has provided an instrumental album -- instrumental as in ambient electronica. Swager, of course, isn't the first person to use that sort of imagery in a title. For a long time, jazz instrumentalists have been using phrases like "stories without words" -- and that same concept also exists in everything from new age to traditional Indian raga playing. But Swager works in the ambient realm, and his brand of ambient electronica owes something to rock -- Swager, in fact, has cited Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, and Dead Can Dance as influences. The Other Side of Words doesn't contain any instrumental versions of Pink Floyd's "Shine On, Crazy Diamond" or any of the songs that Gabriel has written (either as a Genesis member or a solo artist); however, one can see where Swager's compositions get some of their lushness from those artists. This CD demonstrates that an ambient instrumentalist can, in fact, get some inspiration from the melodies of lyric-oriented artists like Pink Floyd, Genesis, and Gabriel. And the word "lush" definitely describes atmospheric, pensive tracks such as "Looking Through the Shadows of Light," "Reflections Through Passages," and "The Mirror of Life." Those are the sort of titles that one might expect from a new age release, but The Other Side of Words isn't new age -- certainly not in the way that Kitaro, Yanni, and Suzanne Ciani are new age (although some new age enthusiasts are also fans of ambient electronica). The Other Side of Words falls short of amazing, but it's a pleasant, likable example of how an ambient disc can use rock influences effectively.

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