Terra Incognita: Ambient Works 1975 - Present

NON / Boyd Rice

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Terra Incognita: Ambient Works 1975 - Present Review

by David Jeffries

Is this some kind of joke? An ambient album from the man who initiated both Marilyn Manson and Marc Almond into the Church of Satan? Like the pretty font and pretty girl on the cover, Boyd Rice mucks up ambient on Terra Incognita. These tracks weren't made with "ambient" in mind, not in the Brian Eno or marketing definition. They're the lighter moments -- the ones that aren't ironic or sinisterly sweet -- from Rice and Non's albums with Easy Listening for the Hard of Hearing and Blood & Flame getting the most attention. Perhaps if Rice had the intent for these tape loops and industrial soundscapes to be under the ambient header, it would have turned into a purposeful mistreatment, but this is warmer than you'd think and beautiful in a subterranean way. The man with contempt for the meek and weak isn't about to give us a sweet melody, and it's too complex to be what you'd call "approachable," but it's vivid stuff and nothing a Klaus Schulze fan would shriek at. The sounds of "Sunset" evoke its title if it happens to be a particularly hazy day, and the harps and strings on "Arka" don't melt or shatter as much as hang in the smog. "Father's Day" is the pick of the litter and -- like most everything else on the album -- it wouldn't be out of place on a David Lynch soundtrack. The selections feel like they all belong together except for the "Extracts" from Easy Listening which are way too tense to be placed here. An angelic choir mixes with crackling fire on the closing "Fountain of Fortune," a dark kiss goodnight from Rice, and a perfect ending to this fever dream.

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