steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Paul Bradley & Colin Potter

"The Simple Plan" CD

Integrated Circuit Records

Genre: soothing ambient ether

London, UK

April 2010

Two thirds of drone act Monos bring us over an hour of ethereal, synthesizer and guitar based ambient music in the vein of Brian Eno, Steve Roach, and Pete Namlook. The record is characterized by shifting, soaring tones which gracefully overlap to mind-clearing effect. Certainly, this formula has been done before -- and by some very prominent folks, I'll add -- but that doesn't preclude The Simple Plan from being an inviting and evocative work of sky-bound elegance. It's a record which matches its cover (itself an example of drone music's blurred pastel trope) in terms of expected content; it's all dreamy, hazy, out-of-focus charm, tailored for vague rainy days and midnight hypnagogia. I found myself particularly engaged by the enrapturing "Alta Mesa," which melds soothing synths with effects-treated guitar atmospherics to evoke a blissful yet pensive aura; then feedback gets turned up near the track's end, eliciting a dense climax before a reverberating drop-off. Shimmering "Supernal," led by heavenly guitar chime, and momentously meditative "Gloaming" also rank among the disc's finer achievements, though the entire record, produced with minimal digital intervention, is ultimately a sturdy ambient treat for enthusiasts of restful, droning sound.

Michael Tau

[Vitals: 5 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2009]