Loam

Terra Obscura

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    5
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AllMusic Review by

Jim Warchol, aka Loam, is a cautious man. In his attempt to find his own sound, he nudges his software-based electronica just a bit left field of IDM, a few inches into sound art, noise, and the Austro-German current of experimental electronica (think Fennesz and Ekkehard Ehlers). Yet, in most tracks he keeps the rhythm (at least a certain form of rhythm) going, "easing the pain" some more conservative techno lovers might say. Does he succeed in finding a fresh sound? Not really, since the music gives an impression of compromise between aesthetics rather than a genuinely new one. But that doesn't prevent the album from having its moments, especially in the more ambient tracks. In "Long Min (Live)" and "Wrong Tack," the music focuses on grainy textures instead of rhythms. Both take the form of evanescent clouds of smoke. The latter, 12 minutes long, is particularly successful at creating a shimmering yet glitchy guitar drone -- like Ehlers sampling the soundscapes of Oren Ambarchi. "L@dy n My Life" is entirely made up of samples from Michael Jackson's "Lady in My Life." The piece retains a similar groove and ballad feel, making it sound almost like a remix (a very narrow-minded one, since there are no vocals or appearance of a verse/chorus structure). Slipped between the longer tracks are two-minute snippets of live software sampling where chopped fragments are assembled into mildly noisy soundscapes. The mood swings created by these vignettes provide structure and variety in an otherwise rather average avant-garde album.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1
6:19
2
2:10
3
5:30
4
1:49
5
9:52
6
1:31
7
10:37
8
2:32
9
11:36
blue highlight denotes track pick