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The Float Zone
by Dino Pacifici
Scorpio Rising Music, 2004

The Canadian musician and electronic ambientarian Dino Pacifici has 
produced a number of fine albums over the last seven years or so. 
Some of them were club or dance-oriented, others were sweet-
sounding "light ambient" with a warm, even humorous feeling to them. 
But in the last few years, Pacifici has experimented with a stranger, 
more trancey style, and even made some pieces in the "dark ambient" 
or "drone" genre. This album, 
The Float Zone, drifts into that territory as well, though not 
all the way through. From the bizarre severed "alien" head on the 
cover, to the spooky sustained sounds of the longer pieces, you know 
that Pacifici is into "X-Files" territory. The calm quality is still 
there, with few variations in loudness or softness, but his harmonies 
at least in the first few tracks, are more dissonant and his mood is 

As he has in previous albums, he adds in distorted samples of human voices. He has had fun with his little voices over the years, but here, though there is still an element of humor, it sounds more "grotesque." At the end of track 2, "When It Came," (first "published" on the Web at Stephen Philips' "Drone Download Project" at http://www.darkduck.net/drone.htm ) there is a fragment of spoken narrative, probably read by Pacifici, about "when the effects came…" that sounds definitely X-Philiac.

Track 3, "Spectre," features a Gothic atmosphere of muffled bell tones, while Track 4, "Undercurrents," is a homage to that desert master, Steve Roach. (Even the title sounds like a Roach title.) Track 5 returns to Pacifici's old, more mellow style, with some lounge bongo rhythms over some rather ironic synthesizer and organ playing. Track 6, "Epilogue," shows some of Pacifici's other musical side, with some meditative rock-style electric guitar riffs (he is a professional guitarist with pop and studio bands) over a wistful synthesizer background. As you listen to The Float Zone you can see Pacifici experimenting with darker, weirder material, and then returning in the later tracks to the kinder, gentler stuff which seems more natural to him.

Hannah M. G. Shapero (Volcannah) 7/2/04

Dino Pacifici The Float Zone 2004 has been defining itself as a strong e-music year – before the halfway point! There are strong releases coming to the electronic music fan and deep listener from every angle in every style. The Float Zone is Dino Pacifici’s first release since 1999 and it is one of the defining discs of 2004! This is an awesome release in the classic space music style. The atmospheres are dark and eerie. The sci-fi timbres have smooth edges and organic textures. The rhythms are tribal and provide excellent contrasts to the electronic soundscapes. Those contrasts and textures provide unique frames of reference for deep listeners. The journeys are to far away places and mysterious “zones.” The vehicles “float” in mid-air. (The opening track is “Currents of Space, Pt. 1,” a very deep and very dark journey. An alternate version of this composition appears on disc two of Tracks Across the Universe, the CD set that accompanies my book, Tracks Across the Universe: A Chronology of Ambient and Electronic Music.) - Jim Brenholts

Hallowed Ground by Dino Pacifici http://www.dinopacifici.com Dance Plant Records, 1999 Dance Plant Records, Inc. 3756 Prieur, Montreal North Quebec, Canada H1H 2M1 Dino Pacifici, from Montreal, Canada, has up to now created a sunny, serene ambient sound, filled with smiles and relaxation, as well as a parallel line of bouncy, club-oriented but soft-edged dance tracks. Hallowed Ground is a departure from this usual style. Pacifici is going exploring, and his travels take us to places both familiar and unfamiliar, from Steve Roach's deserts to the ice fields of Neptune. The first track on this album, "Solace," has a soothing "mystical temple" feeling, but because it is so slow and relaxing I think it should not be the first piece on the album. The middle tracks, "Timeshift" and "Hallowed Ground," are more electronic-oriented and modern. A slow drumbeat adds a Roach-like touch to the track. "Hallowed Ground" moves even further into an ominous ambient mood, with electronica and percussion combining for a slightly disturbing sound. Track 4, "Warp," is a foray into "old-fashioned" (meaning that old 20th century) electronica, the way it was done in Europe in the 1950s and 60s. Dino's sense of humor resurfaces here. A jaunty but sarcastic electronic beat introduces a Eurostyle machine tune, accompanied by beeps and bloinks which could have come from old science fiction movies. "Ice Fields of Neptune" is a rerun from one of Pacifici's older albums, Random Factors. Its electronic evocation of icy sparkles has that scene-setting quality that makes it seem like film music. The last cut, "Cave Dweller," is self-consciously "jungle music," Pacifici's musical tongue in cheek statement. It is not only drink-it-up lounge music, but a satire of the "tribal" ambient style of the last decades. It's fun to listen to Dino Pacifici going into new territories. He visits the world of "dark ambient" and "tribal," as well as the Orientalizing territories of drifting bells and trance rhythms. But no matter where he goes, his characteristic wry, ironic humor goes with him, as well as his shimmering, warm harmonic lines. Even in the ice fields of Neptune, somehow with Dino Pacifici there are always echoes of summer. HMGS rating: 8 12/28/1999




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