Developed as sound accompaniments for a photography exhibit, Pillow Scenes Soundworks 1996-1999 is a 74-minute collection of ambient noise-scapes, atonal instrumentation, found sounds, and intercepted telephone conversations. Photographer Mark Laliberte spent the better part of four years photographing subjects in different stages of sleep and recording the surreal sounds that he imagined may occur in their subconscious, thus creating the sounds that now comprise his 2000 release Pillow Scenes Soundworks. In the music's proper setting, speakers are sewn into pillows and placed at floor level concealing a tape machine that runs the separate soundtrack. A functionless wire extends upward to the wall-mounted photograph to psychologically link the picture and sound. In the room, voices, instruments, and noise overlap as viewers walk from picture to picture while the repetition of sounds merge and collide around them. The phases of sound shift and lock as patterns emerge. Laliberte's sense of color and composition is masterful and his visual training shines through in the arrangement of these components. Ghastly, animal-like moans blurt from a forest, reminiscent of the Smiths' "Meat is Murder," as Laliberte ties human nature to animal nature throughout the recording. Pieces like "News Story" evoke feelings of terror as a news reporter explains the damage done by a fire, while others such as "A Moment of Sadness" bring about complete peacefulness even though the dialogue is flecked with feelings of distrust and hurtfulness. Laliberte paints diverse pictures, from somber and creepy to settled and content. And considering the esoteric nature of the project -- a compilation of audio accompaniments for photographs -- Pillow Scenes is a brilliantly relaxed and fluid listening experience.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Taylor