Silence V is a very atmospheric landscape, ambient in production value, and relatively sparse in instrumentation. Making use of female vocals and a handful of other organic-sounding samples, Pete Namlook avoids his usual arsenal of keyboards and effects, giving fewer (and more worldly) elements extra room to breathe. "Asbendos" evokes images of a slow-motion sandstorm in Morocco, like Peter Gabriel's Passion soundtrack without all the percussive grit. Its warm basslines and lilting baritone flute solos hover among an open chord of strings. "While Angels Sleep" is an ethereal wash of breathy vocals and heavy droplets of bass keys; it's the subconscious score to a salt tank meditation, reminiscent of Brian Eno's fantastically sparse album Neroli. "Master of the Sky" is the most futuristic passage of suspended animation. It hangs chords of synthetic vapors in the air, further elaborated upon by some Dark Side of the Moog-style vintage solos. Omnipotent whispers and a hint of percussion escort you through the final minutes of this piece, and it's really the only track that calls attention to its foundation in electronics. "Ancient Beauty" spins a ghostly web of the aforementioned vocals, while adding a distant drum that gives the piece a majestic sort of weight during the second half. "Picnic" closes the disc, spreading a flickering canvas of birdsong over light keyboards and simple shifting chords. Some crisp electric guitar and subdued beats help build this track toward the album's melodic high point, and the most contemporary one at that. The compositional structure on much of this CD rewards the patient listener. It hypnotizes and depressurizes, without being the uninspired new age drivel that some people might confuse this with. There is a reverent stillness that Pete Namlook subscribes to here, like the musical foundation of a sacred place -- calm and mysterious. He excels at these sorts of projects, and Silence V is one in particular that should not go unnoticed.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Glenn Swan