Robert Scott Thompson


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Frontier is Robert Scott Thompson's best and most accessible CD. It is, however, not his most important. (Nor is it his personal favorite.) The album was his second release on Mirage. The heavy-handed -- even condescending -- liner notes state "any ambient music connoisseur will... (hear) in (Thompson's) music the influence of the genre's pioneers -- Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, and Steve Roach." While those gentlemen are absolutely pioneers, the statement implies a derivative sound. This album is not, by any stretch of the imagination, derivative. Rather, the CD is totally and uniquely original. Thompson has arranged this soundscape in an almost symphonic manner. The individual pieces are integral and integrated pieces of the whole. A gentle and deep drones recurs, providing the coda that ties the pieces to the theme. The frontier of which Thompson speaks is one of many different worlds. The beautiful artwork depicts a lunar horizon with a subaquatic foreground. The music itself visits inner frontiers of emotional and spiritual possibilities. Revisiting the inaccuracy of Grant MacKay's liner notes, Fripp and Eno created pure background ambience. Roach, assuredly a pioneer and a visionary in his own right, visits such soundworlds in completely different vehicles. Any similarity between Thompson and Roach is most likely the result of a mutual and subtle influence of their predecessors or colleagues.

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