Experimental Audio Research

Live at the Dream Palace

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Sonic Boom's irregular touring schedule -- sometimes as Spectrum, sometimes as E.A.R., sometimes something else -- has produced a variety of interesting concert appearances, one of which gets documented on Live at the Dream Palace. Officially a stop on the Data Rape tour in New Orleans, Dream Palace (named after the exact venue) consists of two lengthy tracks -- the first one being three-quarters of an hour long! For these shows and similar ones the following year, Sonic would bring along his full Speak and Spell setup to reproduce the conditions of Data Rape, but rather than trying to replicate the album, he used the tools to create something new and even stranger. "Modulo 2" starts with an active (almost hyperactive) swirl of sounds partially familiar from Data Rape but with even more of an aggressive edge before settling back into a slightly calmer texture that's still pretty ominous. From there the song continually builds up and retreats in a general ebb-and-flow structure, within which Sonic piles on the sudden sonic surprises. High pitched squeals, distorted roars, and other fragments of communication from the original toys are sent out into the ether following Sonic's own particular logic, though even at its busiest there's still a calming sense of a central throb or pace. After a long last rumbling sigh and trebly drone, "Song for a Seraphim" starts up to fill out the remainder of the disc. Even more of a stripped-down, unearthly affair, this piece recalls the total doom/dream style of Main (ironically enough, given Sonic and Robert Hampson's general disregard for each other), interspersed with further quirky noises and samples before wrapping up in a discordant buzzing conclusion.

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