Chip-Meditation, Pt. 2

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Peter Mergener and Michael Weissner's "sequel" to 1987's Chip-Meditation is still enamored of Klaus Schulze-style dreamscapes, but is able to find its own way amongst plunging synth melodies and top-end touches of keys and the occasional burst of programming. Chip-Meditation, Pt. 2 drops the proverbial pebble into a musical puddle, and amps the resulting concentric rings. "Flowers of Boundary" rises and falls on waves of synths; it's easy to imagine the stone falling over and over in lock-groove bliss, forever creating gentle waves on the surface of the water. The album also benefits from understatement, keeping things more toward the electronic new age movement -- tracks like "Short Wave" fit in nicely with the eventual movement toward IDM and glitch. The duo has also tapped a well of awesome song titles, all of which are dominated by tones and effects that float on top of cliché but never seem to fully sink into it. Thus, you have the whirring "Winds of Time," with its frantic, reverb-drenched keyboard patterns, or "Byte By Bite," which subtly builds from a lone synth line to a prog-influenced extended solo accentuated with clattering, computerized percussion. "Phancyful Photons" is another winner in the song title sweepstakes. Chip-Meditation, Pt. 2 isn't relaxing; rather, there's an uneasy tension in its pieces. Sometimes, it even suggests what it would be like to find yourself stuck inside a particularly screwy Dr. Who episode ("Power of Independence" seems to have this effect). Still, Software's sound experiments are important in the timeline of electronics-based music, and Chip-Meditation, Pt. 2 is one of the better examples of Mergener and Weissner's fruitful partnership.

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