Jan Hanford, Vespers (CD, 64:20); AD Music AD12CD, 1996 AD Music Ltd. P.O. Box 3021 West Sussex, UK BN16 2NX Phone: 0181 539 3600 Cyberhome: http://tile.net/admusic These electronica offerings range from the meditative "Theoria" to the lively and danceable "Angels." Things get a little formulaic: "Landlocked," "Delirious," "Theoria," and "Denial" are all based on a mechanized arpeggio with a melody on top of it, almost always played by a strings patch. This is the industry standard of the genre, and Hanford could stand to break out of the mold more often. The techno drumbeats on "Human Response," Angels," and "Ambien II, of the Five" are subdued and a little colorless. "If I Can Believe What I See" features a funny sci-fi movie sample and grooves along with guitar-like synth chords. The obligatory Gregorian chant sample rears its head on the title track, "Vespers." I don't know what it is about this kind of music, but I can't count the number of times I've heard this effect used. Enough already. And I'm not sure about the purpose of the final track, "Dancing (moog archive 1)," which is nothing more than a pastiche of freaked-out moog sounds. Here technology supplants musicality. Head and shoulders above the rest is a cut called "Total Truth." The drumbeat and synth bass line are engaging and different. I would have made this the title cut. Let's hope that "Total Truth" is a sign of things to come from Hanford. ~David R. Adler
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