Pete Namlook

Dark Side of the Moog 9

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Pete Namlook and Klaus Schulze join forces again for Dark Side of the Moog IX, an unchallenging assembly of ambient music that's both easy to listen to and interesting. The album sounds effortless, hearkening back to a simpler time in electronica before laptops and nanosecond editing effects dominated the genre. For better or for worse, Namlook sticks to his old habits for a more leisurely trip toward tomorrow-land. Thus, "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Mother" reveals itself patiently in six parts. Both part one and three are melodic tapestries of soft sequencers and shuffling percussion à la Tangerine Dream, with simple chords hovering in moderate proximity. Part two growls in suspended animation, like the ringing of a gong that's still in liquid form as white noise caramelizes the edges. Similarly, part four is a brief and formless chorus of mist, exhaling in loops. These two passages are a welcome sorbet for the ears, adding an element of mystery without being abrasive. Furthermore, it breaks up the pace of tracks that might sound even more similar if they were placed back to back. The disc closes with part five and six, lush chords shifting with subdued romanticism reminiscent of an Equinoxe-era Jean Michel Jarre. Six finishes out the thought in drumless contemplation before orange seafoam washes the disc into complete silence. With a relatively narrow scope of sounds, listeners will no doubt feel as if they've heard this music before, but with an album title that refers to the first commercially available synthesizer, no doubt that's part of the point.

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