On their self-titled debut full-length release, the duo of Loess (Ian Pullman and Clay Emerson) have produced an album that wanders between the fuzzy dreams of spacemusic and the newfound reality of Intelligent Dance Music. And with this diversity of stylings comes an impressive range of content, something sorely lacking in our post-ambient era. The album is organized as an organic whole and includes all the ambiguities and complexities one can imagine being extracted from synthesizer technology by way of a creative spirit. Loess rises above cliche through its imaginative use of rhythm and texture. The album is animated through its metric irregularity - the variations in beat - the expansion and condensation of phrases. The more extroverted pieces leap out of the speakers fully formed while others emerge contemplatively into vital unified modern electronic realizations. The pulse and beats may rise and recede, but it is the ever-present, continually shifting and morphing of the timbral and harmonic design of this album - in the rhythms, pads and effects - which makes this album so enjoyable to experience. The music is - at its hottest - penetrating , only to be contrasted by passages of somber warmth and dislocating chill. Loess has had to suffer through its share of comparisons, but this duo's contemporaries and critics need to realize that Loess attains, on their first release, that which the genre's more established artists still aspire to.
In 2001, Loess played live in Philadelphia at the Khyber (1 July) and at Gate to Moon Base Alpha (16 Nov).
- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END 25 April 2003
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