Scott Helland

Space Age Tranceology

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Man, this is pretty. Helland is yet another accomplished ex-punk from the early '80s who has made the striking transition to atmospheric soundtracks. And he's not kidding when he says on the sleeve, "File under Ambient Instrumental Space Folk." Unlike most dream pop, this is just his carefully picked guitar with a fair amount of shimmery reverb on it (and the occasional blissed-out crash cymbal), but the shivering "trance"-like qualities of the repetitive signatures is apparent from the onset. Like music for a film, these instrumentals are a tapestry of far away yearning, with titles such as "Gazing at the Stars From the Floating Sea" and "Dark Wet Roads to Peace of Mind." While Scenic contemplates the Mojave Desert, and Toshack Highway floats on the water, Helland's eyes are skyward, into the infinite heavens, a wordless Carl Sagan with a shadowy touch and a stars-twinkling temperament. Moody, affecting, and sometimes quietly startling in its reach and scope despite its simplicity, Space Age Tranceology would send even Brian Eno to dreaming in his armchair. Excellent! (P.O. Box 2195, N.Y., NY 10101-2195;

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