The sonic universe of Edward Ka-Spel is, well, just that: a universe, self-contained, non-referential except for his own previous and future works. Each album creates its own environment and O'er a Shalabast'r Tyde Strolt Ay follows the same route by choosing its own path. First released as an LP and later reissued by Beta-Lactam Ring as a limited edition CD, this album presents 46 minutes of dark ambiances and mutating collages. It begins with the side-long (that's 23 minutes to you digital people) "An Ill Wind." Ever dreamt that you could fly? This track would make a perfect soundtrack for such a dream. Atmospheric, it is filled with light wind and washes of ethereal synthesizers, while including many other sounds that come in and out like half-remembered relics from the "real" (aka awake) world. A piano tune enters four minutes in and becomes the leitmotiv of the piece. Ka-Spel's voice, untreated, also appears. At 13:30, there is a shift toward a clanky, jerky electro-sound (like flying over the huts of a techno-African tribe) but the piece soon resumes its course. "O'Riley's Comet" (11 minutes) introduces more rhythm and an earthier mood before devolving into a choppy digital sound collage of disparate elements (the dust particles of the comet's tail?). We're back to something more ethereal, even angelical, with "Safer than the Open," another 11 minutes or so, this time dominated by Ka-Spel's multi-tracked vocalizations forming a pleasant, reassuring drone spiced up with keyboard motifs and light noise pollution that makes one briefly think of Fennesz -- a lovely finale.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture