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  Strange Attractors  
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Psychedelic music is back! Yes, that's right, drag out your old Pink Floyd records and find that lava lamp your parents hid in the attic. There are a whole slew of bands making psychedelic rock these days, and Landing is one of the better examples of this resurgance.

The current wave of psychedelic music is not called such in the media. You see, we Music Critics had a conference in Toronto in 1998 and we agreed to hide the resurgence of psychedelia under the terms "drone" or "space rock" or "ambient"..... In fact, i bet that Assassins of the Music Writer's Guild are closing in on me even as we speak. I should flee -- throw the laptop and my cats into the PostLibyanMobile and drive west, into the desert. I can hide among the cactii and they will never find me.

If i did actually act out on my paranoia, Oceanless would be the perfect album to listen to. To start with, there is the appropriateness of the name: i mean, is there anyplace more ocean-less than The Desert? Also, there is an expansiveness to this music that strikes me as reminiscent of wide open spaces with little to block the view to the horizon; the air wavering in front of you, from heat, inebriation, mental trance, or whatever....

At least, that is the type of imagery this album invokes to me. However, well, i am an Eastern Coastal Plains resident. We don't have deserts down here. The closest that i have ever come to being in a desert is being in the East Bay region of San Francisco in August during a drought. I know that's not really desert-y, but man the dry air really seemed to suck the moisture right of ya...

So i think this is a desert-y album, but i could be wrong. If you live in a desert area and listen to this album and disagree with me, please let me know! I would appreciate it.

Now, aside from the percieved desert-ness of Oceanless, primarily this is an album of wandering drones constructed out of layers of echoey guitar. It is similar in nature to the shoegazer genre, but entirely different in application. This music is slower paced, for one. It meanders along, as if exploring a vast territory.

I find it really peaceful to listen to Oceanless on headphones. It induces a mellow sort of trance on the mind. However, i have found that this is not a good trance to write code to -- it makes my work sloppy. (It also gives me the muchies. Whoa.) So don't listen to it at the office. However, for those many times when you just need to sit, listen, and let the mind go, Oceanless is a fine choice.

One song of particular note is Rial Veed Fiir, which is a great instrumental track, about 5 minutes long, built out of fuzzy guitars and intricate basswork. It is the real standout of the album, but that might be due to the fact that it has a little more structure than much of the rest of the disc. In fact, the last two tracks are each 21 minute guitar "experiments", wherein instruments, melodies, and sounds wander in and out. Good listening on the whole, even though there are minutes when any one part goes on a bit too long.

So -- Oceanless is good psychedelia for sitting and letting the mind wander. That said i have one problem with the album, and it could possible affect each of you as well. Apparently Strange Attractors, the label that released this, used the cheapest possible CDs to burn the music onto. I am all for cheapness, but they sacrifice some quality here by using CDs that are too transparent. You know how some CDs can be held up the light and seen through? Well, my high-end Technics 5 CD changer component doesn't like those CDs. If the laser on that unit passes through the CD, then no music is read. I also know that certain older laptop CD-ROM drives have a similar problem. The result is: i can't play this album on my stereo. I have to play it on my discman or computer. And that's annoying. But fortunately i am such a music geek that i have spare listening hardware lying around. If the only means you have to listen to CD's is your component system, then you might experience technical difficulties.

But hardware issues aside, it's a really nice, spacey, tripped out listen.

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