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Skirting The Top 40 Fine Line


During the 1980's, Paul Haslinger was a member of the the pioneering electronic group Tangerine Dream. Although the group made their best work much before the era when he joined them, he was no doubt a good musician to have worked with them at all. Like the title of his newest release may or may not suggest, this is mostly instrumental music that feels like a soundtrack to a movie that has never really existed. The songs are big and multi-instrumental, and although they're well put together, the arrangements and sounds used within them would probably draw the interest more of someone who likes Enigma, Deep Forest, or Mike Oldfield more than artists like the Aphex Twin or the Orb.

The back cover of the CD actually describes the music as "Rare groove / urban lounge / cine-fi / fringe-pop" and as large and unweildy as that statement is, it covers the bases pretty well for what Haslinger has created on the 12 tracks and nearly 60 minutes of music on the disc.

The opening track "Accidental Measures In Cool" (yes, sometimes the disc falls prey to somewhat silly song titles as well) moves along with sort of a grimy beat, some muted trumpet playing, little bits of various-sounding keyboards and some pretty female vocals that are really nothing more than nonsensical "ooh-ahhs." The second track "Infinite Jest" takes off with more of an ethnic flavor, beginning with a sample of some guy speaking an eastern language before the track breaks into some middle-eastern sounding rhythms and horns. To back it all up are various vocal chant samples of both males and females. The track goes through several different breakdowns (recalling 70's movie soundtracks with their horn rises) before ending. The likely single on the album is another ethnic-flavored track "When Worlds Collide." With seductive vocals by Julianna Raye, a little shuffling beat and some tabla drumming, it's the most mainstream sounding track on the entire release, but still doesn't quite fall into completely cliche' top 40 territory.

The rest of the disc moves sort of a similar pattern. The sixth track "Magheda" samples what sounds like an African tribal song and lays it over some smooth beats, while "Life, Lounge And Lesser Evils" takes the expected (by the name anyway) route and injects some strings and lounge flavor into the ethnic/electronic surroundings, and "Inbetween Nowhere" is a great, shorter ambient track. Overall, it's an interesting disc with a lot of things going on. Some of the tracks feel a bit on the new-agey side, while others might end up being a little too abrasive for someone who likes the aforementioned groups. Now, all he needs to do is find a real movie to put his sounds to.

Rating: 6.25