GLOBAL COMMUNICATION 76 14 (Dedicated)
Although the Cornish duo of Tom Middleton and Mark Pritchard only released this one proper album as Global Communication, they recorded critically acclaimed work under the Jedi Knights and Reload monikers. They also demonstrated a rare form in this most anonymous of genres: Middleton had worked with Aphex Twin, and Pritchard had been partially responsible for Shafts kiddie techno hit Roobarb & Custard.
Fortunately, 76 14 is a world apart from such crude novelties. In an act of aesthetic purity that out-Enossifies Eno, even, the tracks are titled after their durations. As they note in the booklet, Numbers are chosen to identify separate tracks because names tend to bias the listener by pre-defining images, places and feelings. This gives the listener the freedom of imagination to derive whatever he/she wishes from the music. A laudable aim, certainly, but it also shrouds the whole enterprise in a potentially alienating, antiseptic air, and certainly makes collective discussion of a tracks merits more difficult than it might have otherwise been.
At its best, 76 14 - a title that, incidentally, doesnt appear in traditional script on the cover, although Im willing to bet its contained in the dots and dashes of Morse code that pepper the packaging works on an almost subliminal level, winding gentle electronic melody around found sounds, for example the pendulum percussion and distant crashing breakers of 14 31. Theres a rude awakening on 9 25 when a drum machine jackhammers into the liquid pastoral: The Orb were rather more adept at mixing beats and breezes. Global Communications music is also strongly reminiscent of early Irresistible Force, evoking the same sense of balmy stasis, and both the Meddle-esque cover and the sonar blips that punctuate 9 39 a la Echoes are a bit of a giveaway!
The slightly clumping beats of 7 39 date it, its melodic eccentricity making for the kind of tune that either clicks immediately or else you spend its entirety trying to work out where the musical phrases start and end (Stings version of Shadows In The Rain being another track that catches me off-guard like that). The brief fragment 0 54 suggests Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Darks pioneering short wave and sampler experiments on the Dazzle Ships album, but 8 07 and 5 23 show their age in a way that the softer sounds of Aphex Twins Selected Ambient Works 85-92 or Enos ambient works dont, being pleasant but a little overinsistent. The closing 12 18, though, is possibly the albums masterstroke, wherein the music finally attains a measure of the downy softness its spent the last hour aspiring to. Heck, it could be the Lamias siren song reverberating in a vast cathedral of sound. And how many albums can you say that about?