Michael William Gilbert

I Can See from Here

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Having been in the electronica and worldbeat scenes for some time, Michael William Gilbert's fifth album has elements that would be surprising in any other context. In the realm of worldbeat electronica, however, those same elements can seem almost clich├ęd. In I Can See from Here, those common worldbeat aspects are counterbalanced with more exploratory compositional approaches, tinkering with separated sounds and more atomic pieces of music -- isolated vibraphone hits in "Sometimes I See the Sky," basic beeping arpeggios and clunking sounds in "Origami Riff." Though a touch of gamelan is a nice addition, synthesized trumpets and violins do little to elevate the music beyond a standard impression of academic electronica. When electronica doesn't carry an overly heavy beat, it risks devolving into an academic exercise rather than more aesthetic music. Gilbert toes this line from time to time over the course of I Can See from Here, trying out old MIDI sounds and fusions that seemed new only long ago. At other times, he validly finds interesting compositions, and is more cerebral in exploring a range of sound rather than just enveloping the listener in a mushy course of electronics.

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