Music Reviews

Artist: Between Interval (@)
Title: Legacy
Format: CD
Label: Spotted Peccary Music (@)
Rated: *****
Sweden's Between Interval, the project name of electronic music composer Stefan Strand has been working in electronic music since 1996 and has five albums going back to 2004, four of the on the Spotted Peccary label. His last release was all the way back in 2009 ('The Edge of a Fairy Tale'), so Between Interval fans have had a long wait for 'Legacy.' I haven'[t heard any of Between Interval's prior efforts, but the promo sheet says that he's influenced by Jean Michel Jarre, Robert Rich, Aphex Twin and Pink Floyd, so there is a certain expectation, for me at least. While the album's concept is not nearly as exacting as S. K. Johansen's 'Secret Space Program,' it certainly is a spacier affair. This artist seems to prefer a more impressionistic approach, which is fine in music like this. Once you get too definite, there are certain expectations that are disappointing when not met, and tend to dichotomize the artist's concept from the listener's experience. None of that here. This is space music, pure and simple. Damn fine space music too. Between Interval never gets too specific with melody, and lets the sublimity of the atmosphere carry you away. Right from the opening track ("Tunnel") the music seems other-worldly. There is motion well-integrated with the cosmic ambience, with a purposeful sequenced percussion track that gently propels the listener onward. The journey continues in the nearly hypnotic "On Track" with just enough simple thematic content that doesn't overwhelm. (This makes for wonderful driving music, by the way.) Maybe your energy is waning. Maybe you need an "Accelerant" to give you a boost. It takes a little time to come on, but when it does, it recalls the impetus of Tangerine Dream and Michael Hoenig sequencers. Plenty of nature field recordings herald in "The Hour Appointed," but also with bellish tones and an ominous dark and low ambient pad that adds contrast to what otherwise might have been a sunny day. The technoir of "Septimal Laws" makes for pure space ambient delight, and the cosmic awesomeness of "Fields of Neptune" holds its own with the best of 70's electronic space music. Old school at its finest. By the time you get to "The Outer Shell," you're in floating deep space and time seems to have little meaning anymore. However, every flight must eventually return to terra and the trancey return with "Gravity Core" makes for a smooth landing. "Inner Guidance" is perhaps the most enigmatic track on 'Legacy,' with electronically manipulated voices, methodically placed bass accents, and a Blade Runneresque ambience. While "Closing In" isn't much more than a minute of noise sweeps, it's an effective way to end the trip. What I really like about Between Interval's compositions is that they never go overboard with sounds (nearly minimalistic at times) and allow the music a lot of breathing space, yet still sound huge. In electro-ambient space music, that's a big plus. Also available in limited edition vinyl.

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