Mick Harris & Ambre dys
Grade
B-
 
Also Try
Lull
Main

A fair warning to those who might not know what they're getting into: dys is ambient music, pure and simple. There is nothing accessible to the mainstream here (where mainstream music includes vocals, guitars and a beat set in a predictable pattern for around 3 minutes for easy access to radio airplay). dys is a cooperative project between industrial/ambient guru Mick Harris (Scorn, Lull, Quoit) and Ambre as part of the Threesome Series. Those familiar with Mick Harris' body of works will no doubt understand the quality and breadth of his experimentalization. To make a quick comparison to Harris' previous efforts, one might compare this album, stylistically to efforts made under the Lull or Main names.

Audiowise, this album is composed purely of electronic sounds, most placed in slow patterns of low sounds. At times, random audio elements are dashed in to break up the mood. Any natural sounds sampled are so deconstructed that they're often unrecognizable. The opening track, Ome, immediately comes off as disjointed and unorganized. A sporadic spattering of sounds makes me think of Main, but after some time it tends to wind down to a low-toned lull, broken up with intermittent jolts of sound. Track 2, Blaste, is a droning piece that reminds me of Harris' work in Lull. It rolls along, never building up too much steam, but is still pleasant to have playing in the background. Algie feels less low tone and has the intrusion of more high-pitched electronic sounds littered throughout the track. Lithe is similar to Blaste and Algie, except that it's painted in a different tonal scheme. Lots of low tones with the occasional higher pulse in a pattern that's familiar and easy accessible. Phane is the shortest track on the album, running at less than five minutes, which is just enough time to establish it's casual, and even familiar tonal pulse.

On an initial listen, you might find the album odd and even confusing. After some time, the overall structure becomes evident and you can even differentiate between the tracks. Make no mistake, this isn't an album that the casual music listener will get. Fans of experimental will want to look into it. I found it a nice change of pace and some portions of the album were nice, but in the end, it still seemed a little less impressive than the monolithic albums from Lull. Still, it's an album worth adding to an experimental collection.

- - Kinderfeld

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