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Anyone For Indie Electronica?

Bill Streett
(Streett Recordings)

A lot of self-produced and recorded electronic music out there does completely nothing. Due to the proliferation of slick software and tools, nearly anybody can slap together some beats and samples, string themselves together a song and throw it up on MP3.com to be ignored by the masses. Sure, it's neat that the technology has made that possible, but how many people actually want to sit down and listen to hours of music, only to find a couple songs they like?

Fortunately, this self-produced effort (although a bit hit-or-miss at times) is a very listenable effort that runs the range from ambient to IDM to nearly straight techno for the dancefloor. The disc starts off with the drippy wanderings of "Descension" before mixing seamlessly into the strange juxtapositions of "Parting Company." Coupling several different looped stringed instruments and piano with some nice electronic sounds and a somewhat grimy beat, the track feels like a Mike Oldfield track with kick. The classical sort of sounds continue on the very next track with "Concrescence" with some rather dark background atmospherics and a nearly algorithmic keyboard progression. It's pretty, but dark sounding at the same time.

After a rather upbeat track, the disc takes another turn on "Might Jo Slow Jam." With odd little squiggling noises and very soft live percussion sounds and a sample of a little kid, it sounds like it could be an out-take from Boards Of Canada's Music Has The Right To Children. He also churns out some awesome atmospheric numbers with the short "Stalactite" and very creepy "Golgotha." With "Kneel Before Zod," the disc takes off into a stomping, fuzzed-out beat, but it doesn't compare with the quirkier tracks like "Consciousness Approaching The Speed Of Light" or the two-part squelch of "Chode." As a whole, the disc works better on the tracks with less of a beat.

One thing that kind of throws a small wrench in the proceedings on a couple occassions is what sounds like a glitch in the production. On the upbeat "Don't Bring Back The Past," the beat hiccups once during the beginning of the track and during another point on the disc there is a small eek as well. It's nothing that's train-wrecks the sound, but it does provide for a double-take upon hearing it. One of the only other things that might be troublesome for some listeners is that it seems like Streett hasn't quite found his voice for what he likes doing the best. It's cool that the disc is packed with music and most of it is fairly listenable, but if he whittled things a little bit more and focused on a sound, it might be even that much better again.

Rating: 6