Exit Music Review SectionMusic Review Navigation Menu
Paul Pimsler

Paul Pimsler

Depending on your tolerance for floaty, airy compositions, you will either think that the compositions on this CD by Paul Pimsler are the perfect thing to listen to while you're winding down for the day or you'll simply think that it's baked-over new age. An album of 16 different instrumental tracks, the elements that go into the release are fairly simple. On each of the tracks, there is at least one guitar (mostly acoustic, although touches of electric creep in) melody, and subtle touches of electronics.

Stylistically, the arrangements vary between sort of a classical method of guitar playing and the open-ended style that Eno and Lanois worked so well on their Apollo. It's that release that this disc by Pimsler reminds me of the most, although it doesn't change quite as much in arrangements. For the most part, each of the 16 tracks begin with a guitar melody, and as the track progresses little bursts and slivers of electronic washes, pings, and drones fill in the expanses. Sometimes, the reverb of the guitar makes up the majority of the remaining sound on the track, and at other times manipulated tones and pulses ring out.

If that sounds like the album simply works the same feel over and over again, that's only partially the truth. Pimsler fortunately seems to realize that things can only go on for so long without completely making the listener drift off, and every single song save one clocks in at under 3 minutes (many of them linger in a rough 2-minute zone). He also makes some attempts at varying styles, and it helps give the album a smidge more dynamics. After an opening half of the disc in which most tracks simply fray out softly and slowly at the edges, "Two One Two" arrives and provides a quick burst of energy with rapid plucking and shimmering effects. "One TwentySeven" has just the slightest bit of added urgency to it, and it stands out from the rest of the release as well.

Although the album is fairly short, it's the spots that Pimsler varies the tempo or style of the guitar melodies that stick out the most. He has a fine melodic sense the rest of the time, and the album is completely inoffensive and quite pretty as well, but the overall lack of variety (even the aforementioned peacefulness of Apollo stirs up things more often) is the primary weakness of the release. For those looking for warm background music, you could certainly do a lot worse.

Rating: 6