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  Analog Creatures


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Immersion is the latest project from post-punk's first couple, Colin Newman and Malka Spiegel. Here they are experimenting with minimalist electronica.

Apparently they have recorded as Immersion before, the last time in 1999. 17 years later and they revive this name to release an EP on 10" vinyl. I guess this music was a little too out there for their Githead project...

Immersion is minimal droning electronica. Think early Tangerine Dream or n.Ln or Arp instead of Skrillex. This is music of subtle tones that meander quietly, not thumping dancefloor music.

And they released this on 10" vinyl! I find 10" records to be kind of neat in that they are a little different and unique, and at the same time i find the six or seven of them that i actually own to be a storage annoyance because of the odd size. Well, in this case i was sent a promo download of the songs and don't have the actual vinyl to appreciate while being troubled by how i store the thing.

There are 5 songs here, and i am not sure how they break down on the vinyl. No matter.

Always The Sea kicks things off with a Krautrockish tone. Echoed keyboards, a slight drone, and, at the end, something that sounds like a woodwind. A pretty little song. Shapeshifters is similar, with a faint tinkling keyboard bit and some random guitar trills, all looped over and over. It has a nice rhythm, one of the most hypnotic rhythms on this generally hypnotic, droning EP.

Up next is the "single" (such as it is), Organic Cities. This song really reminds me of Tangerine Dream -- vibrating drones and pulsing synths in minor tones with faint bits of guitar pulsing back and forth. I find this stuff to be a little eerie, but when Newman and Spiegel made a video for this they added footage recorded by Ms. Spiegel of driving in San Francisco during sunset one day on the latest Wire tour. Being in traffic during sunset seems to be a very Californian experience, and the footage added to this music makes it all less eerie and more reflective, more introspective. Driving in California during twilight is an isolating experience, and there is often an eeriness in being alone, but the footage makes it seems calmer to me.

Moving on, Mechanical Creatures has a deeper, dark tone throbbing as lighter synths pulse. It's very sci-fi, the lighter tones seeming to fly by you as the deeper tone throbs.

And finally we have Slow Light, in which tinkling and string sounds waver in a faint reverbing fuzzed out guitar hit with a bass thunking way in the background. On this tune they approach the distorted guitar and bass work of their Githead project. This is a pretty nice addition to that sound. Maybe Immersion's drones will be on that next Githead release. That could be interesting...

But anyway, this is a delightful little ambient EP. I wasn't familiar with Immersion before, even though i have followed Newman and Spiegel for a while. Let's face it, they are kind of busybodies and it's difficult to keep up. But i like this. However, i listen to a lot of ambient music, and this fits in with the stuff i listen to. People who find ambient boring might not be so enamored.

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