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(53 min, Dog Fingers)
TRACK LIST: 1. Therapy Refuge 8:21 2. Memory Game 2:10 3. Pulse 4:00 4. Winter & Spring 7:34 5. Don't Disappear 4:31 6. Trip 10:53 7. Wildlife Crossing 10:31 8. Bloom 4:46 All tracks: by Rivera & Sidlo. Produced by Rivera & Sidlo. Engineered by R Catlin. Artwork: by
Prolusion. SILO 10 is a joint effort by two Texas guitarists and composers, James Sidlo and Warren Rivera, which, in turn, is a joint release of two San Antonio labels, Dog-Fingers and Uncle Buzz. I have heard several albums with the participation of James Sidlo, who is a very versatile musician. The reviews of the most recent of them can be read by clicking here and here.
Analysis. According to the CD press kit, the album was recorded in one of the grain silos outside The Blue Star Art Complex in San Antonio and features the natural reverb of the silo. It would be pointless to call that statement in question. However, most of this music doesn't arouse associations with the silo, which, in my comprehension, is the strictly utilitarian matter, the feature of 'our' spacey temporal continuum. To me, the album sounds like it was recorded in an observatory or in some scientific center whose work is dedicated to the attempts to reach absolute zero, everyone knowing that the process of the infinite approximation to zero is the same as the flight to the depths of the universe with the purpose to reach the end of infinity. The development of computer technologies has given birth to an axiom of the equality of the microcosm and the macrocosm regarding their endlessness. Although most of the contents of the material have a pronounced spacey sense, I perceive "Silo 10" as a journey to the microcosm, because the music is exclusively very slow and is at times as if tending to freeze in its inversely backward development. Like some of those by Robin Taylor and Greg Segal, this album witnesses to the extraordinary flexibility of music, resulting in the fact that it can be progressive on many tempo levels. Although incredibly slow, this is for the most part carefully composed, harmoniously developing and, simultaneously, constantly shifting music, which, moreover, possesses a concrete mood, usually dramatic. All these are distinct progressive features, which very rarely can be found within the genre the duo appealed to this time out. Three fourths of the tracks here: Therapy Refuge, Memory Game, which is the logical continuation of the former, Wildlife Crossing, Don't Disappear, Winter & Spring and Pulse are gems of electronic Space Rock. Of course, I've put this generalized definition here just lacking something better. The patterns James and Warren created by playing their (fretted and fretless) electric guitars remain both eclectic and cohesive regardless of whether they are combined with genuine passages of synthesizer or are accompanied by generated sounds. Apart from the obvious guitar and keyboard textures, the men sometimes reproduce the sounds of other instruments. The most impressive of such are the violin-like pizzicatos running through Pulse, which, as well as the preceding piece Winter & Spring, is especially rich in genuine symphonic colors and even has something in common with Minimalist Classical music. Don't Disappear is one of the most imaginative compositions and is the one with somewhat romantic mood, due to which, and also by the title, it reminds me of an ode to pioneer pilots to the spaces beyond zero, those who've heard the heartbeat of parallel worlds. The last track, Blossom is too static, as the theme laid in the beginning of this piece never really blossomed. However, the only real disappointment would be Trip. The band definitely took a trip with that piece, having appealed to the genre's customary traditions. There is almost nothing musically: only simplistic, endlessly repeating guitar chord with echoes, random effects and monotonously droning synthesizer.
Conclusion. While most of the people working in the field of electronic Space music and related directions just elicit sounds from their instruments and see what happens, James and Warren gave a reflective analysis to most of their stuff before performing it, with all the ensuing consequences. I wouldn't dare to recommend the CD to the traditional Prog lovers, but those accepting any kinds of progressive music should definitely give it a chance.
VM: May 6, 2005
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