wEirD, A Different Kind of Normal, (NH011) Neu Harmony/ Synth Music Direct PO Box 592, Sheffield, S35 0FE, UK Tel: 0114 2864 889 Fax: 0114 2864 890 email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.neuharm.demon.co.uk/ Weird are a pretty aptly named duo (Baron De Weird and Count Von Veird, according to the booklet) who specialize in that spacey electronic/ambient/psychedelic/krautrock (whew!) sound which really needs a more precise name. Their CD is no groundbreaker, but is magnificent in accomplishing what it sets out to accomplish. The first track, "Klaus to the Edge" is a not-too-subtly disguised tribute to ambient pioneer Klaus Schulze, and is actually as good as some of Schulz's top-tier material. Mysterious keyboard sequences and cautious ambient pads provide ample room for emotive guitar and synth explorations. A very well-constructed piece which arrives smoothly at an ethereal climax and back down before its conclusion. The next track, "Shaltzeit Nachtweit" opens with a breathtaking flute choir before settling into a dreamy guitar-led atmosphere. "9VFE10M" shows them branching out into a darker and more mournful Tangerine Dream (circa "Phaedra") type sound which is slowly merged with an almost techno-like percussion groove. Again a masterpiece of celestial electronics. "Tiefenfluss" marks the exploration of even darker recesses of the electronic realm, with an overwhelming sadness which is expertly transformed into a wonderfully mysterious sequencer frenzy. "Manuel Gearchange (La RD Remix)" (probably a reference to the Ash Ra Tempel founder and guitarist) is one of the lesser pieces, concentrating too much on the lead guitar and sacrificing some of the interesting keyboard/sequencer work found on every other cut. Still not too shabby, just sub-par. Next is the 25+ minute title track, which contains just about every mood previously put forth on the album plus some. An obvious highlight a genre masterpiece. The last track, "Ausklang" brings in two guests, Mark English and Idur Van Hansequenzen on unspecified instruments, and has the most cold, vacuous, and mysterious sound of any piece on the album. Finally out of the darkness enters piano and planet-sized synth textures. Beautiful piece. Yeah, if you haven't guessed, I've thoroughly enjoyed this album and heartily recommend it to those who like this kind of sound. If you think all of those "boring ambient pieces" sound the same, this won't change your mind, probably, but if you dig them, this album probably won't let you down. -Jon Dharma Murphree
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