The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa

Fluidtrance Centauri...

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Having gained initial attention for its work, the band was able to make a visit to the U.K. in early 1993 for a few shows and a John Peel radio session, which made up its debut release in Britain. Simply put, Fluidtrance is a stunning recording, arguably one of the best efforts from the whole shoegazing scene of the early '90s and easily equal to the work of My Bloody Valentine. Even more to the group's advantage, the performers no longer sound like clones of that group but have a truly distinct, unique sound, mixing fragile, subtle beauty with awesome feedback rampage that sounds fantastically lovely rather than brutish. Opening track "Fluidum" demonstrates this perfectly, with a soft bell loop and the merest hints of guitar leading into a low, reverbed-out full-band melody, drums played crisply but just so, lead guitar echoing into the distance, Libowitz softly crooning. This suddenly alternates with a blasting roar of feedback overdubs, performed with an eye on vast, evocative atmospheres, setting the striking pattern for the rest of the piece as Libowitz's singing matches the change in flow excellently. It's a quantum leap over the rough beginnings of Sussurate -- genuinely jaw-dropping stuff. The softer development of "Alpha Centauri" is no less gripping, rising to a series of subtle climaxes time and again, Muchow's guitar work hitting all of space rock's power with almost none of the clich├ęs, the changing rhythms of the track just as important to the song's overall power. "Trance (Between the Stars)" concludes with more hints of where the band would end up on Free-D, Libowitz's vocals rising to the heights over ambient flow when things aren't crunching away in usual lovely fashion.

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