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Eclectic Earwig Reviews
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Robert Scott Thompson: Acousma
EMF CD034
www.emfmedia.org
www.aucourantrecords.com
info@aucourantrecords.com

Dr. Robert Scott Thompson created the elements of Acousma: Electroacoustic 
Music during the period from 1996 through 2001.  Some of the elements 
(pieces) have appeared on previous releases.  Acousma, as an entity in and 
of itself, was created in 2001.

An acousma is "a form of auditory hallucination, a sensation of hearing 
imaginary sounds (also acouasm) or a nonverbal auditory hallucination, such 
as a ringing, buzzing or hissing."
  
This double CD set comes with a booklet of detailed comprehensive liner notes 
in which Robert describes his styles, techniques and/or intents for each 
piece.  There is also a very informative and enlightening essay by Ronald 
Squibbs, Ph. D., presumably one of Robert's colleagues.

The project was supported by a grant from Georgia State University (Robert is 
an associate professor there) and commissioned by The Electric Music 
Foundation.

If this is not the best CD of Robert's career, it is certainly one of the 
most important CD's.  This composition can be appreciated as a long-form 
continuous play symphony or as a collection of related pieces.  It also works 
very well on random play with other ambient, minimalist, classical and/or 
avant- discs.

So, where does the focused listener go with this set?  The set represents a 
veritable kaleidoscope of emotional, spiritual, physical and intellectual 
responses.  There are Celtic references, accolades to Robert Moog, references 
to T. S. Eliot and mathematical progressions and algorithms.  So, deep 
listeners will go in many different directions, some of them simultaneously.
The career of this genius is, essentially, the history of modern computerized 
music.  That Robert is able to translate that to the ambient and minimalist 
genres is a tribute to his genius and to his creativity.

This is an absolutely essential CD!

Reviewed by Jim Brenholts


Robert Scott Thompson: Alchemy
Aucourant Records, AUREC0015-1
www.aucourantrecords.com
info@aucourantrecords.com

In the late summer of 2000, an aspiring author/producer asked Robert Scott 
Thompson for a contribution for a compilation to accompany a pending book.  
Robert's enthusiasm and excitement for the project compelled him to offer his 
services as mastering engineer.  He also created an entire CD of material 
from which the author had his choice.  Alchemy is that CD.

It rivals Blue Day for the top spot in Robert's discography.
From the very eclectic artwork to the deep expansive atmospheres and the 
dynamic soundscapes, this disc is a gem.  While the major characteristics of 
this CD are ambience and minimalism, there are plenty of Robert's 
computerized sounds and techniques to give the set experimental undertones.  
This is a major achievement in this major artist's career.  And it is a 
desert island CD!

(As the aforementioned author, I must tell you that I chose "From the Free 
Field.")
Reviewed by Jim Brenholts


Robert Scott Thompson: Blue Day
Aucourant Records, AUREC0011-1
www.aucourantrecords.com
info@aucourantrecords.com

Blue Day might be Robert Scott Thompson's best CD. (I have to revisit my 
"Desert Island List" if it is.)  Judging it on its own merits as pure 
minimalism, it is a classic and one of y2k's best CD's.

Robert has proven his expertise in both the ambient and avant- genres.  His 
crossovers between those styles are classics.  He is at his best, however, 
when he focuses on one style.  This CD represents the fruits of such focus.  
Robert continues to integrate all aspects of his psyche to deliver holistic 
healing music.  This somber minimalism takes deep listeners on a gentle 
journey to all sides of the soul.  Once inside the soul, Robert lets the 
listeners loose to explore areas as they see fit.

Robert has designed an ambiguous soundscape for that purpose.  There are very 
few artists capable of ambiguous sound design.  That capability earned Robert 
his first ticket to the perpendicular universe.  He had been flirting with 
that zone for years.

Reviewed by Jim Brenholts


The Silent Shore by Robert Scott Thompson Oasis Records, “Mirage” ambient series Oasis Productions Limited 8306 Taylor Road, R.R.# 4 Cobourg, ON Canada K9A 4J7 OUR TELEPHONE, EMAIL & WEBSITE: Tel.: 1-800-554-0855 Email:info@oasisproductions.com Cyberhome: www.oasisproductions.com Robert Scott Thompson, a professor of music at Georgia State University, has created an album with a rich variety of electronic sounds, many of them deliberately harking back to the earlier days of electronic music, with its filtered and ring-modulated sounds and its use of the electric guitar as a synthesizer all its own. Occasionally there are drifts of modified voices, such as in cut #8, “Chanter,” and some moments of what has become commonly known as “tribal” percussion rhythms. There is also at least one passage which is highly reminiscent, perhaps almost identical, to something by Steve Roach. This is found in what to me was the most interesting track on the album, “Erin Outback.” Thompson’s choice of harmonies ranges from somewhat dissonant (or “dark”), to avant-garde microtonal, to classic New Age modal scales. In general, despite the interesting sounds, this is a rambling, slow-paced album (though Thompson does suggest alternative “programmed” sequences of tracks that might liven up listening to it). Most of it seems to float along in long sleepy currents, though there are some pieces that are somewhat more noticeable. If the purpose of true “ambient” music is to set mood rather than engage the intellect or attention, then this is a good example of it, though its mood tends toward the spooky rather than the soothing. HMGS rating: 6 4/20/2000




Frontier by Robert Scott Thompson Oasis Records, “Mirage” ambient series, 1998 Oasis Productions Limited 8306 Taylor Road, R.R.# 4 Cobourg, ON Canada K9A 4J7 OUR TELEPHONE, EMAIL & WEBSITE: Tel.: 1-800-554-0855 Email:info@oasisproductions.com Cyberhome: www.oasisproductions.com Frontier is the second ambient electronic album that Robert Scott Thompson has done for Mirage Records, the first being The Silent Shore. This later album has much of the same quality as the first. Thompson continues with his smooth flow of well-crafted electronic sounds, sometimes with added modified guitar, voices, and percussion, all sunk in a freezing ocean of reverb. Frontier, like its predecessor, depends on mood rather than melody or rhythm. Two standout pieces are cut # 5, “Submerged,” and cut # 6, “Fragile Light.” This last piece has a rather interesting progression from floating icy tones to a kind of labyrinthine sequence made of heavily modified piano notes. Usually, though, there is not much linear structure to the music. His choice of harmonies this time around is even more dissonant than on The Silent Shore, so the listener is sometimes baffled by atonal droning or chilling metallic sustained notes suitable for a scary science fiction movie. This is fine if that is what you are looking for (and sometimes, I actually am looking for this kind of mood of Plutonic inspiration) but I wouldn’t want to meditate to this music; I might see aliens instead of angels. HMGS rating: 5 4/21/2000

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