Kyle Swager

Into the Blue

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Never let it be said that Delvian Records was neglecting Kyle Swager in 2003. April 2003 found the California label reissuing Swager's Rise to the Sun album and putting out a new recording titled The Other Side of Words -- then, in June 2003, Delvian reissued the Swager disc Into the Blue. This CD, like The Other Side of Words, offers ambient electronica with a rock edge -- the sort of rock edge one acquires by listening to the polished, sophisticated sounds of Pink Floyd, Dead Can Dance, and Peter Gabriel. Of course, there are those in the punk field who would argue that rock should never be polished or sophisticated -- that rock was meant to be raw, basic, and primal. But truth be told, rock should accommodate a variety of approaches -- and the same goes for electronica, which can be anything from the harshest, most abrasive and forceful of techno to the most laid-back chillout music. Clearly, Into the Blue represents the more reflective side of electronica, and that approach serves Swager well on mysterious, intriguing tracks like "Back in Front" and "Purified." One of the CD's most interesting tunes is "Techno Blues," which finds Swager using his synthesizers to get the sound of an electric slide guitar; the end result is an unlikely mixture of electronica and blues-rock that hints at what Canned Heat and John Lee Hooker might have sounded like in a high-tech environment. Meanwhile, the dusky title track contains a guitar-like sound that brings to mind guitarist Ernie Isley (of Isley Brothers fame). John Lee Hooker, the Isley Brothers, Pink Floyd -- these aren't names that one ordinarily reads in an electronica review. But they're names that easily come to mind when one is playing Into the Blue, which is arguably the best album that Swager provided in the early 2000s.

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