Ampbuzz

This Is My Ampbuzz

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Having made an initial name for himself with the excellent Kinski, Chris Martin took a solo bow here with his Ampbuzz project -- perhaps one of the most descriptive monikers for a musical guise ever. With his propensity for guitar drone, drive, and wash established, This Is My Ampbuzz allows him to explore that further but also to create darker, deeply unsettling pieces reminiscent of the cold chill of Main or Thomas Köner. Certainly it's Köner's bowed cymbal howl that most readily comes to mind with the opening moans of "Bubbles," though the calm, understated head nod of a guitar line at the heart of the song provides a gentler hook for the overall experience. The other songs on the album work with a similar balance of unnerving creep and often warm, meditative elements, all created by Martin on guitar with appropriate loops, multi-tracking, and noise. "Center for Clouds," with its central bubbling loop softly touched with icily high guitar tones, the Fripp & Eno-styled flow of "Diving Instructions," and its immediate companion, "Welcome to the Ocean Floor," with its heavily echoed, low-frequency moans, all make for excellent listening. "Soft Currency" is a clear standout on this overall quite fine record, a scraping mini-loop matched by a number of calm two-note chimes that slowly but surely grow elaborate (and slightly out of phase) as the song progresses, suddenly cutting into another, burbling and chaotic loop toward the end. In their own way, both parts call up a certain serene peace without ever sounding like a glop of new age, more than reason enough to give it praise. "Underwater Bomb," far from being a muffled composition of extreme speaker violence, makes for one of the gentlest listens on the album, concluding it with a slow, rising guitar line reminiscent of the Durutti Column or Slowdive's "Crazy for You," a soft sunrise via delay.

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