steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"This Is My Ampbuzz" CD

Strange Attractors

Genres: drone, ambient, experimental electronics

Strange Attractors
PO Box 13007
Portland, OR 97213

Aug 12 - 25 2002

Every single time I receive one of Strange Attractors' releases, I am overjoyed. Putting out drone records predominantly, the label hasn't released a dud yet. And this, their ninth record, is no exception. While This is Ampbuzz may stand out from some of Strange Attractors' other drone releases, simply because the guitar isn't used as much on it, it is still ready to drone with the big boys, except in a much more electronic-oriented way.

The first track, "Bubbles", starts with a high frequency tone and then introduces guitar whispers so delicate that they made me want to cry. "Soft currency", meanwhile, is a much more experimental track, combining a short, endlessly-repeating sample with a gradually metamorphosizing chime sound - until it all of the sudden changes into a bubbly concoction of oddball sounds. And then there's "Diving instructions" and "Welcome to the ocean floor", both of which boast a dark, deep ambient background and a whole cast of throbbing electronic sounds. Nice. And with four of the six tracks' titles referring, either explicitly or implicitly, to being underwater, you kind of see what Ampbuzz is getting at; this whole soundscape feels as if it belongs thousands of feet down in the depths of the ocean sea.

All in all, Ampbuzz's music is much more experimental than that of fellow dronesters Surface of Eceon, Landing, and Yume Bitsu. In fact, it seems to fit more in the company of Brian Eno, Thomas Köner, and some of the Mille Plateaux roster than any of Strange Attractors' other artists. However, fans of the psychedelic drone scene, and even Ampbuzz mastermind Chris Martin's main project, Kinski, are likely to find this a pleasant, refreshing listen - albeit a less guitar-heavy one.

Meanwhile, Strange Attractors can mark down its ninth great accomplishment.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 43 min 13 sec; 6 tracks; distributed by the label; released 2002]