Birds Of Tin : Ene.Key Ray.

Label:Mystery Sea – MS01
CDr, Album, Limited Edition, Numbered
Style:Ambient, Experimental, Minimal


1Key Nell5:07
2Open Doors6:41
3Paper Lock12:43
4Clear Passage Through11:16
5Thin Walls0:14
7Endless Empty10:07
8Key Ray11:24


Original recordings made February 2000. Additional recording/remixing/processing by Birds Of Tin May 2000 and Ene June 2000.
Numbered edition of 100 copies.

Other Versions (1)

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Title (Format)LabelCat#CountryYear
.Key Ray. (CDr, Album, Promo)Mystery SeaMS01Belgium2001


  • tinbird's avatar
    Birds of Tin is a decidedly underground artist whose music
    seems only to reach the initiated, due either to low-profile marketing or
    limited runs or perhaps some combination of both. Fellow American Ene
    is dug in at least as far underground. However,
    whereas the former is known for his somewhat industrial ambient
    soundscapes, the latter's reputation is more of a lo-fi samplemaniac.
    'Key Ray' brings them together for the first time to produce a sound
    highly appropriate to the name of the label imprint, Mystery Sea.
    Underground goes underwater. Juxtaposing low drones with vocal, vinyl and
    environmental samples, sound and texture float and drift, but also
    occasionally run aground on jagged rocks, or get lost in labyrinthine
    coral reefs or tangled up in seaweed. Although aquatic drift is the main
    order of the day, it is not an entirely unhazardous experience and
    signals of distress intrude at times. Creating an overall impression both
    broad and minimalistic, with spurts of aural collage, it is as if,
    speaking in the broadest terms, Gavin Bryars' 'Titanic' had sunk
    containing electronic instruments instead of an acoustic orchestra. Stephen Fruitman
    • tinbird's avatar
      Birds Of Tin collaborate with Scott Hudgins, aka ENE,
      to create a sublime disc of strict light ambience.
      Electronic ambience here will not mean keyboards or synth however,
      nor does it mean "techno".
      It means that the sound is airy, clean and spacious.
      Expressive and rendered with the precision of one who would arrange beats.
      But there's no percussion, it's a sustained drift and beautiful emotion that weaves its way through all the tracks.
      Each track with it's own feeling, history and structure.
      The only way to soak up every second of Key Ray is to either lay back, close the eyes and move straight into it for an hour, or to listen to it over and over.
      You'll want to do the latter, as this is light, beautiful, mysterious ambient worthy of Tear Ceremony, Zero Ohms or Robert Rich.
      Great stuff.
      On the new Mystery Sea label, who I hope we can see more great releases like this from in the future. Vince Harrigan
      • tinbird's avatar
        The first release from Belgium's MYSTERY SEA label adds
        Birds Of Tin+Ene.
        This intriguing equation is solved by Brooke Oates and Scott Hudgins
        who swap and reprocess each other's material, recombining everything
        into the subtly surreal passages which lead to various zones of key ray's
        oblique structure.
        Touched by faint breezes, intriguing plains of desolation unfold
        as key nell expands from the horizon.
        Inexorably thrumming energies are heard through open doors,
        slowly flickering amid wispy, wafting tones;
        the final moments are scored by gritty high sheens.
        Television voices, then steady-state drones open paper lock (12:43);
        abruptly interjected musical deformations break that flow, leaving behind
        a more ominous realm of nervous anticipation where assorted hauntings occur.
        I suppose it makes sense that it only takes a few seconds
        to pass through thin walls (0:14)... into the seething vapors of entry
        where boiling clouds swelter in varying degrees of turbulence.
        From slightly abrasive textures, title track key ray
        shifts into a softer mode of rising/falling tonal loops to close the disc in obscure beauty.
        The generally subdued, though definitely twisted, audioconstruction
        of key ray will provide murky funhouse thrills for those who seek
        out-of-the-norm soundscenes.
        Birds Of Tin+Ene generate eight tracks of mysterious,
        though not inaccessible, experimentation. David J. Opdyke
        • tinbird's avatar
          Birds Of Tin are one of those bands who are definetly underground.
          Via releases on CDR, CD and vinyl, they have created a small output
          that seems to find its way to the dedicated fans out there.
          Here is a new release, again on CD-R on a new Belgium label, Mystery Sea, released in a full colour cover in a lovely small edition of 100 copies.
          Birds Of Tin here hook up with Ene, nom de plume of Scott Hudgins, another active mind in the US undergound.
          Birds Of Tin are easily classified as 'ambient industrial',
          but I don't think this entirely justifies what they are doing.
          And to classify Ene as another sample terrorist doesn't justify him either.
          Both are around too long and have developed their own techniques.
          Through the use of lo-fi equipment (one recognizes the old casio samplers by their lo-bit sampling rate) and likewise sound effects, they built epic drone pieces, which hold enough variations to be entertaining and are minimal enough to create a trance inducing state in the mind.
          These epic pieces are sometimes torn down in a collage like manner, via speeches, environment sounds and the like.
          Intense music is the result of this collaboration of two different minds that works remarkable well. Frans de Waard



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