The second CD for Portland, OR's Ethan Rose reflects his interest in utilizing natural instruments and physical icons, modifying them through electronic sound washes and loops. Though the music is for the most part ambient, there's a discipline to layer, drape, and develop beyond the vague and indistinct. This is a one-man show, as Rose maneuvers all instruments and treatments via assistance from various static mechanical devices. "Singing Tower" utilizes sounds entirely derived from the carillon tower at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA, but manipulated and mutated by Rose. Bells and organ sounds, very reverent and churchy, are stacked upon swelling backwards loops, slightly macabre vocal assimilations, and sea sounds at midnight. Comparisons to the similar creations of Eno are inevitable. "...The Dot and the Line...," clocking in at 15 minutes, comes from player pianos, even more like Eno à la Music for Airports. You hear the armada smoothly docking, even-keeled and serene, with a subtle processing of the loop concept locking with real and imagined piano sounds, then collapsing into triple pianissimo and morphing into even softer, redeveloped loops. "Miniature & Sea" concludes the disc, a 16-minute nautical discourse. Music boxes and optical film readers are used as base instruments to create more organic, less digitized somber sea sirens, buoys, wafting waves, ghost ships careening, lighthouse sonic images, seagulls cawing and strafing in flight, whales moaning, even fish weeping. Slight piano accents are heard in real time. This well-conceived and multifaceted recording links old with new devices, technologies, film noir music, and the biological and spiritual worlds in a unique way, and is recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos