CyberZenSoundEngine and Matt Borghi: The Intercepted Transmissions 2001 In early 01, Matt Borghi recorded some deep atmospheres on his droning acoustic guitar. He made several CDR's and sent them to some of his fellow e-musicians. He requested that they add something and send it back. One of the CDR's went to GraceNoteX and Smith 6079, a.k.a. CyberZenSoundEngine. They liked Matt's base track so much that they proposed to embellish the entire set and produce a collaboration. From small circumstances and happenstance like this, greatness is often born. That is how The Intercepted Transmissions came to exist and it is a great CD. CZSE's atmospheres surround Matt's drone. The drone surrounds the atmospheres. This paradoxical CD is the ultimate juxtaposition. The atmospheres convey a sense of angst and a sense of hope. Experimental overtones cast doubt on all the proceedings. Deep listeners will appreciate the irony and the ambiguity of the situation. This highly emotional CD is a winner at every level. And it is an instant classic. - Jim Brenholts
Moonscapes: How Stones become Enlightened by Cyber Zen Sound Engine N-light-N Records P.O. Box 5586, Beaumont, Texas 77726-5586 http://www.CYBER-ZEN.com This album begins promisingly, with a Euro-pop style synthesizer rhythm piece. But then it veers off into ambient, “techno-tribal,” floating spacemusic, and other styles, without much coherence. “Cyber Zen” has all the requisite elements, from edgy synthesizer tones to rock/modal harmony to electronica rhythms. They’ve got some fairly melodic piano-playing on some tracks, too. But like their name, it is just too eclectic to cohere. Is it “cyber?” “Zen?” (This noble Buddhist tradition has gone through an intolerable amount of commercialization and vulgarization in the last decades!) Is it a club-techno “sound engine?” There’s a bit of everything in this album but little of it stays in the listener’s memory. It all seems rather “generic,” as if compiled from a standard library of electronic musical effects. The pieces go on through their length without much change or invention; what you hear at the beginning continues all the way through. The producers are well-meaning and earnest, with their “space/yinyang” visual theme and their philosophical/science track titles such as “All directions are Up” and “One Divine Neuron.” But earnestness is not always enough.
The sound on this album is certainly professional and well-put-together, the kind of background music you would want for planetarium or light shows, documentary films, or the more soft-sell kind of commercials, but as stand-alone music, it is neither here nor there – neither moody and soft enough to be ambient nor powerful enough to be danceable and moving. It just sort of wanders on by. HMGS rating: 4 out of 10 Hannah M.G. Shapero 1/14/01
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