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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

Magnanimous Records
A Magnanimous Compilation (CD-R)

Thematically, the tracks on the Magnanimous Compilation make up some sort of cadre of ambient music from an X-files episode. Let's just say you won't put this on the stereo when your friends are coming over for a party, unless you've got some very, very gothic friends. Well, maybe if it's a Halloween party! The eight tracks from eight different artists make up a swiftly tilting planet of ambient noise and quiet synth driven ruminations. One part Sigur Ros and two parts Vangelis makes for a very interesting mix of music.

The dark opener by Ligo, "Prayer to Infinity" is actually one of the few (if not the only?) track that has any vocals on it, even though they are heavily processed, muttered thingies. Twin peaks anybody? Jamesevanpilato creates an incredibly bare song, "Read My Dust", out of just a single keyboard line and for some reason it's strangely catchy. Greenie2600 lays bare in "Laid Bare", continuing the minimal approach with only string pads and muted bass notes. I really liked the Seiss track "Unattended Analogue". It put me in an uneasy post-apocalyptic cinema mood, like Blade Runner or Dark City. Some of this stuff reminds me of the Asaurus dark-side bands like The Goslings or Smithsonian.

I wasn't as fond of the modulated gronks on Matthew P.'s "Reretiflurems" athough the chord progressions and quiet bells are very beautiful; but that's just a personal thing. The Red Orchestra's "The Other Side" is sort of similar in feel to the Seiss track though perhaps a teensy bit more upbeat. D-ork's "Sonic Seahorses" reminded me too much of the Crystal Method-ish car commercials that propagated across television sets in the mid nineties... but once again a personal thing; the track is performed capably. Natrul closes with the strange "Descending Part I" which is just a reverbed synth bass drum hit for the first couple minutes or so and then regresses to some sort of shaker cutups. Oh wait, this track actually has some vocals as well... I think some guy saying "boo" about 2 minutes in, hehe.

Overall, the distribution of instrumental wanderings are quite "generous" on this album, I guess as you might expect from a label named Magnanimous. Ambient fans will get a kick out it, but do not expect this comp to knock your indiepop socks off.

- review by RABBIT (11.21.03)        

Magnanimous Records
P.O. Box 541
Shepherdstown, WV 25443

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