James Whelan (2) & Andrew Pinches ‎– Wizard On Wizard

Label:
Electronical Dreams ‎– 021
Format:
Cassette, Album
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Released:
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Tracklist Hide Credits

A1 Across Time 3:47
A2 The Crystal Tower 6:24
A3 Visions Of Light 3:29
A4 Skara Brace 2:42
A5 Final Release 4:17
B1 Norseman 6:15
B2 Shadows Of Blue 3:22
B3 Invisible Desert, Part 1 3:40
B4 Oasis 1:48
B5 Invisible Desert, Part 2
Vocals – Jackie Robinson (6)
5:09

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Notes

Recorded & mixed at Visionsound Studio, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
© 1991

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June 4, 2012
Despite the claim that this is 'New Age Electronic Synthesizer Space Rock Music', and irrespective of the awfully clichéd post-Tolkien imagery, this is actually a bloody wonderful album of mood music which borders on that of SAM ROSENTHAL's ever-brill PROJEKT label (and, as I remind myself every time I review material from ELECTRONICAL DREAMS, typical of most of the music on this label). It really deserves release on CD (ANDREW PINCHES should release his debut on this format in '94, if the world can wait that long). An album of shifting soundtracks, of electronic ambience & atmospheric mood which both relaxes & excites. Maybe I experience the intended feeling - a journey through wonderous lands, with elements of exquisite beauty contrasted against a more sinister, more earthy dark side. Whatever, this is a much recommended mood album. "Across Time" opens the first side, the effected sound of an approaching horse made to sound machine-like until it neighs (a stark, disquieting sound which churns through echoes while a single high synth line creates an air of tension). The end of this movement is punctuated by thunder, a darker, deeper synth, then it becomes a sequential piece with minimal splashes of guitar before fading gradually away. "The Crystal Tower", the longest track on this album, rises up at it's decline, tension building to a sound of distant echoes heard through an immense cavern, some maybe human, some indescribable. From here it moves in & out of atmospheres, through various shades of light, changes in temperature, smells & textures, a journey through an underworld, as exciting & fascinating as it is potentially dangerous. "Visions Of Light" comes next, growing out of an atmosphere which might be a more diffuse, more pastel-coloured version of THROBBING GRISTLE's "After Cease To Exist". Moody drumming fades in like something from the HIC SUNT LEONES compilation album - warm & intense, a brief visit to some benign jungle tribe before departing again into the weird soundscape of synth rising on a busy sequencer for "Skara Brace" deceptively simple, this shows it's Space Rock roots, yet, despit it's minimalism, keeps the mood, with fragments of almost ambient birdsong synth rising before it sets out on a more dense pattern. The first side closes with the strange "Final Release", a pattern of electronic sounds like a mellow fire alarm going off, a rhythmic thing full of tensions, with human voice, sounding like a tortured soul being led to execution, adding to the drama. It changes midway through, becoming another instrumental thing, darker, more Ethnic with thumping bass drum punctuation, mood synth & wooden, stick-like drums. Side two opens with "Norseman", a dark, tense, brooding piece with simple but moody plodding synth, atmospheric backing & horse sounds (like the opening track on the first side). This should be used as a film theme - it may not be a memorable, catchy tune, but it tells of things to come, a dark, chilling portent. "Shadows Of Blue" comes next, rising out of the wind-blown ashes of the previous track. Its a shape-shifting audioscape of sounds which keep the dark mood of the previous track, filling the air with a gravid stillness & promise. Out of the chilly, arctic wind-blown end rises "Invisible Desert Part 1", built on bell-like chimes & fast black sequence, this is perhaps the most 'composed' & memorable piece here, a huge great thing with the plodding impetus of a Terminator-like theme mixed with a more emotional feeling. "Oasis" is a short passage through drifting sounds, colourful string sounds, with haunting, floating flute & shimmering noises, all layering gently, moving towards the final track, "Invisible Desert Part 2" with it's tinkling sequencers, plucky bass & harmonic snatches of female voice (courtesy of JACKIE ROBINSON) building into a giant, graceful whale-body of a tune, carefully picking it's way through the mood sounds, leaving traces of it's tune on everything it touches before closing on a final few snatches of electronics. This is the closest thing to New Age here, with the flute & voice blending into one another. Again this is much recommended & well worth the money. A really beautiful recording - some sounds are opalescent pearls, some matted obsidian, all exquisite.

Originally reviewed for Soft Watch.