Music Reviews

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Title: Playing With Light
Format: CD
Label: Housepig
Rated: *****
Unicorn is the new solo project of former Man Is The Bastard/Bastard Noise member W. T. Nelson, and here and there you'll probably recognize some of the scorching electronic machinery of the aforementioned projects - but as a whole, "Playing With Light" is a stunning collection of largely melodic drones and melancholic minimalism. The carillon-like melody of the eponymous track, the guitar tones and sparse bleeps of "Far Away; Close ToYou", and the repetitive clusters of "Spots" are all trance-inducing in their apparent simplicity, and "The Sea" is a peaceful fragment that could easily last much more without tiring. "Clay and Fire" and, especially, "Maho Kyoto" (with those peculiar oscillator screeches) opt for more sullen and cloudy ambiences, but perfectly merge with the rest. What's magic in "Playing With Light", apart from the high quality of every single track, is indeed its cohesiveness and sense of flow. At times it sounds like the missing link between Labradford's melodic minimalism and heavier noise electronics. The enhanced cd also includes three Quicktime-format videos by filmaker Stephanie Miller, each of whom has a Unicorn track as its soundtrack. "Bob Lawrence: Clay and Fire" surely empowers with its visuals the whole feel of the track, with Lawrence's tale of self-realization through handicraft pot-making, and "The Sea" is a perfect counterpart to the music with its blurred images. I've only found the "Playing With Light" video dissatisfactory, since the sparse stills just didn't match that perfect tune for me. With that being said, the video part is a welcome add. Do check out this awesome disc and everything else Unicorn has put out.

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