Ethernet – 144 Pulsations of Light Ethernet – 144 Pulsations of Light

Ethernet - 144 Pulsations of Light

Ethernet - 144 Pulsations of Light

Good things are afoot yet again for independent experimental record label Kranky. The Chicago based duo running the highly revered imprint have been releasing some of the most influential and groundbreaking material within the experimental Electronics and eerie Ambient circles and the brand new debut full-length from Ethernet is in no way an exception. Conceptualized by one man Tim Gray, the music found on 144 Pulsations of Light is a heady affair of well thought out ideas all transformed into gloriously processed sound and field recording.

At face value you could quite easily pass off 144 Pulsations of Light as just another foray into the world of Ambient Techno. It is, after all, a creation made up of all the characteristic elements of a typical Ambient Techno album. The reason it stands out is that it has been crafted with attention to detail. Tim, being somewhat of a expert when it comes to meditative sounds, has all the right knowledge to just make music like this special.

‘Majestic’, the aptly titled introduction to our meditation, undulates softly with the nodding pulse of a kick drum almost coaxing the ambience on a little further and further. The track sprawls beautifully with little immediate change. All of the time, warm synth textures are constantly shifting in the background. When you listen beneath the drones you’ll find a whole new World of sound. Chords change while the synthesizers work to create an atmospheric quality through melodic pitter patter of stray notes.

More finely attuned aspects of the music become apparent when listening a little more acutely. A lot of the Ambient textures have been created using field recordings Tim has taken himself not only in California but also in Central Japan. This, alongside the use of more scientific ideas such as binaural beats only help to layer the soundscapes to great effect.

As the album progresses, we’re treated to more standard Ambient compositions. Standard in the conventional “beat-less sonic picture” sense at least. While you can clearly hear homages to greats like Eno, you’re still looking further and finding more in the music. ‘Summer Insects’ begins with a processed and distant but pleasant buzzing quality that slowly evolves into a thick drone of climbing joyous frequencies. The album closer ‘Temple’, a mammoth near-thirteen-minute drone, is a swirling mass of sound countered by organ synths and odd noises, reminiscent of the likes of Thomas Köner.

Interlude tune ‘Seaside’ works well too. The soft processing on a piano sound offers a warm and subtly pretty break from anything too brooding. The ringing of pitched theremin-esque noise circle overhead like fireflies in the dark. It’s very beautiful indeed. And then with one fade we’re brought on to what I think is the highlight of the album, ‘Kansai’. The tr-808 kicks are more present here and accompanied this time by more obvious synth sounds. A demented warble globs along above a field of delicate chords and the occasional clacking of percussion rattles in the distance. It’s the most involved track on the album but it still retains that thought provoking, trance-inducing atmosphere.

144 Pulsations Of Light is a true thinking persons piece of music. It offers a form of escapism, at least for me, where you can spend an hour in your day focussing on one thing: the sounds on offer. I’ve even found myself actively trying to break down parts of the music. Is that a Police siren I heard in the background? There’s definitely a lot more than the brain can process in one listen and that’s an admirable quality to find in music nowadays. I definitely feel an incredible sense of calm and serenity after every listen.

Track Listing:
1. Majestic
2. 5 + 7 = 12
3. Summer Insects
4. Vaporous
5. Seaside
6. Kansai
7. Temple

Ethernet - 144 Pulsations of Light, reviewed by Heard on 2009-10-15T11:33:33-07:00 rating 3.8 out of 5

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