Robert Scott Thompson

Air Friction

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Air Friction is one of Robert Scott Thompson's early ventures into the world of ambient music. At least, it is one of the first forays that he cites as ambient. In his own words: "(It is) a crossover between...computer music, pop music and ambient music." Indeed, it has some elements of those three genres, but the overriding essence is that of ambient minimalism. Thompson has long been enamored of Erik Satie's notion of "furniture music" and his own experimental and avant-garde styles were nurtured during his studies with Pauline Oliveros. He has also cited the early Brian Eno/Robert Fripp collaborations as impacting his style. That is a very appropriate reference point for this album. While it is by no means derivative of or similar to those works, it is every bit as cutting edge and futuristic as those albums were. In short, this album was ahead of its time. Working in the digital domain, Thompson forged a sound and a hybrid style that others would not achieve for another five years, at least. While these hyperbolic statements about his work might be wearing thin, they are hard to avoid. Listening to this album in '95 would have been, at best, interesting. Listening in the new millennium is illuminating! Deep and careful listening reveals the true essence of Y2K minimalism and gives an ex-post-facto view of the healing and rejuvenating powers of true ambient. Freed from the confines of "egoic (sic) trappings," Thompson has created a vehicle for the integration of the mind, body, heart, and soul. Again, this album is neither Thompson's best nor his most important. It is very accessible by new millennium standards.

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