Dome

Yclept

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Just when it seemed safe to turn the stereo back on, Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis returned with Yclept, 16 years after Will You Speak This Word. Comprising three tracks completed in 1999 and previously unreleased material dating back to 1983, Yclept isn't exactly an album of new material. Nevertheless, it serves as a useful primer to Dome, offering a map of the duo's sonic explorations from its minimal soundscapes to later forays into more dense, industrially flavored electronics. While the eerie, tribal ambiance of "Making a Meeting" (excerpted from a 1983 performance with members of the Rotterdam Conservatorium) encapsulates Dome's more subtle experimental inclinations, its noisier, mildly unsettling tendencies are apparent on shorter tracks taped in 1988-1989; some of these evoke the churning of machinery ("Gebar"), others sound like a swarm of bees being frozen to death ("Carpo"). But the late-'80s tracks aren't all dissonant and disturbing. Commissioned by choreographer/dancer Michael Clark, the hypnotic Euro-disco groove of "Because We Must (Version 2)" could almost be a collaboration between Dome and Giorgio Moroder. Most compelling, however, is the sound of Dome on the verge of the millennium, captured on material recorded between 1998 and 1999. On "Virtuous Speed" -- a track whose epic, droning menace suggests a monstrous, metallic didgeridoo -- Dome revisits its early-'80s ambient work, albeit with late-'90s technology. The more compressed, abrasive textures of "Virtual Sweden," on the other hand, situate Gilbert and Lewis alongside younger electronic experimentalists like Aphex Twin. To listeners unfamiliar with the pioneering ambient minimalism of Brian Eno, Dome's first four albums might have made for difficult, puzzling listening. Now that elements of such experimentation have become increasingly conventional components of mainstream music, Dome no longer seems as obtuse and alien. The historical overview provided by Yclept attests to that.

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