Sinoia Caves

The Enchanter Persuaded

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The Enchanter Persuaded, the debut album from Black Mountain keyboardist Jeremy Schmidt (billed here as Sinoia Caves), is a nice example of the early-21st century's fascination with synthesizers. Unlike his contemporaries, who tend to echo new wave acts, Schmidt draws inspiration from a different pack of synth gods -- bands that boasted cosmic monikers like Tangerine Dream and Hawkwind, musicians who wielded their Moogs and Mellotrons like mighty swords. And as such, this album shouldn't be viewed as a particularly innovative work but rather as an adept tribute to the analog wizards of the mid-'70s and early '80s. The standout tracks here are the soundscapes, which echo Tangerine Dream's Phaedra both in terms of the vast aural territory covered and in terms of actual length. "Dwarf Reaching the Arch Wonder" and "Sundown in the New Arcades (Milky Way Echo)" make for over half an hour of galactic terrain built on sheet after sheet of analog synth and Mellotron effects. There's a definite sense of composition here; every whoosh and drone serves the structure, and Schmidt does a good job of keeping these sprawling compositions under tight rein. Shorter, acoustic guitar and vocoder-knit tracks like "Naro Way" and "Through the Valley" are a nice break from the epic stuff going on elsewhere, and they'll probably draw more than a few comparisons to some of the tracks on Air's 10,000 Hz Legend. From the druggy green cover art right down to the humid, slightly grimy production, The Enchanter Persuaded is a convincing period piece, not to mention a fitting showcase for Schmidt's impressive synth sorcery.

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