Robert Scott Thompson

The Silent Shore

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The Silent Shore found Robert Scott Thompson firmly entrenched in the minimalist ambient movement of the late '90s. Indeed, it was the first release on Mirage, a subsidiary of Oasis. That subsidiary, founded by Grant MacKay, aka Stephen Bacchus, professed to release "the finest in ambient atmospheres." That statement rings very true here. This album demonstrates, quite clearly, the possibilities and probabilities of atmospheric minimalism. At the time of release, minimalists had caught up with some of Thompson's techniques and ideas. This deep and introspective set was, however, very much ahead of its time. Most minimalists in the late '96 were still very involved with and focused on the darker sides of ambient soundscapes. Thompson has spent some time in that realm himself and goes there again on this album. However, there is an equal amount of effort and energy devoted to some cheerful, almost pastoral, sound worlds. Thompson acknowledges those differences by suggesting two alternate playback sequences -- "Opaque," focusing on the darker compositions, and "Translucent," highlighting the brighter side. This is definitely one of Thompson's best CDs. It is very accessible and a landmark in the genre. At that, it is still not his best work.

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