The album looks beyond the narrow confines of ambient electonica towards great Romantic composers such as Mahler, Dvorak and Holst. Unfortunately these tracks never achieve anything like the grandeur or emotional connection that lies at the heart of these composers’ works.
Anti-Atlas – Between Two/ Between Voices
To my mind there are few more ghastly phrases than the dreaded ‘chill-out’ sobriquet which is often applied to the worst kind of boring and bland lounge muzac. So when I saw the phrase on the press release for this double album my first thought was a rather different two word phrase, beginning and ending with ‘f’. If I want to chill out I drink. If I’m really stressed I listen to Otis Redding. There is nothing like coming to something with an open mind, I find.
To be fair to Chris Hufford (who produced this when not doing his other job of managing those cheery lads from Radiohead) and Chris ‘classically trained composer’ Ned Bingham there is ambition on this double album. The album looks beyond the narrow confines of ambient electonica towards great Romantic composers such as Mahler, Dvorak and Holst. Unfortunately these tracks never achieve anything like the grandeur or emotional connection that lies at the heart of these composers’ works.
The second of these albums adds (as the title imaginatively suggests) voices into the ambient mix. The most high-profile of these is Gemma Hayes (who is also managed by Hufford). Unfortunately her track (aptly titled It’s A Shame) is a particularly insipid piece of naffness. The most successful of the tracks is probably Wait For Me where vocalists Trinah and Kalli do at least add some interesting vocal textures. However they can’t save the track from lapsing into staid and boring elevator music.
Imagine something with all the pretentiousness of Sigur Ros that attempts the same level of glacial magnificence. Except without any of that magnificence. Or any of the emotional, if difficult, core of that band. This record somehow achieves something that should be in the realms of the impossible. It simultaneously makes me bored and angry.
Words: Stuart Crosse (Rover)