1/ Psychic and UFO Revelations (Laswell,Namlook) 38.44 in the Last Days 2/ Angel Tech (Laswell,Namlook) 10.15 3/ Black Dawn (Laswell,Namlook) 21.16 Created at Greenpoint Studio, Brooklyn, New York All tracks arranged by Bill Laswell and Pete NamlookBill Laswell: sounds, bass; Pete Namlook: sounds; Robert Musso: programming.
1994 - FAX +49-69/450464 (Germany), PW 13 (CD) 1994 - Subharmonic (USA), SD 7005-2 (CD) 1994 - Subharmonic (USA), SD 7005-2 (Ltd Ed. CD) 1995 - Subharmonic/Interactive Multimedia Corporation (USA), 3705 (CDROM)Note: This CD was released on Subharmonic in three packages: the regular CD, an enhanced CD (graphics to go with the music) and a limited edition version with a raised cover.
Psychic and UFO Revelations in the Last Days - This track serves as the bulk of the album, checking in at just under 40 minutes. The title, though perhaps a bit too pretentious for some, pretty accurately conveys the overall feeling of the song: on the edge of something catastrophic, revolutionary, and significant. The end of the Eskaton draws near. Enthusiasts of Remote Viewing (a psychic technology even the military dabbles in) might have an affinity for this one, as it evoke images of superluminal messages racing to distant corners of the universe to large yet shapeless beings roaming through space. Poised on the brink of inspiration and devastation, a slow dub rhythm and bassline set the foundation for spacious frequency sweeps and the occasional synth pad textures one might recognize from 2350 Broadway II and various Namlook solo recordings from the early periods of Fax. A voice declares "We seek contact with other life forms..." Dr. Tyrell says a few words about genetics: "The coding sequence cannot be revised once it has been established." Roy Batty's time is up. Other phrases introduced sporadically through the piece: "Each day affects the next..." and "It is the unknown that defines our existence." The words are merely food for thought and do not overwhelm the music of the recording. This is the first track and also the longest track in the whole series so far.
Angel Tech - This track owes its name to a curious little book by Antero Alli on creative meditation, yoga, and visualization. Check it out, even Borders Bookstore carries it these days. Actually, this piece gives me the heebie jeebies if I happen to put it on at night when alone. It just sort of evokes a mysterious murky atmosphere that never sits comfortably in the dark. A voice announces the date of recording from the year 1912. Another phrase can also be heard, but I haven't been able to figure out what language it is or what it means. It's eerie like the number stations are eerie. A gentle howling builds up and goes around and through winding underground tunnels. Definitely a unique sound, and this track seems to serve as a resting point between the two longer beat-oriented pieces.
Black Dawn - This is some grim orchestral dub. Somber, yet dignified at the same time. Perhaps it's the nice bass melody drawn from the Laswellian Bass Machine that retains optimism after all that's transpired. And the bassline will be your only consolation on this dark morning. The melody it plays goes along well with Namlook's accompanying synth chords, and this is indeed an interesting fusion of styles. With breathy pads and strings enhancing the low melody being played, this track is my favorite of the 3. More of the squelches and sweeps from track 1 leak back into the scene here, but the tone of the track overall is quite different largely from the influence of the bassline. Somehow, despite a sense of great loss or aftermath, the melody still seems to carry a message of hope.
Very deep, dark and groovy little work from Pete & Bill. The lower part of it's audio range is enough to run your subwoofer right through the wall. Psychic and UFO Revalations is almost 40 minutes long and goes through several peaks and valleys. I'm particularly fond of the gratuitous Star Trek samples (however, note the lack of an HTML reference around "Star Trek"). The rest of the album is pretty decent, but the first track defines the whole thing. It's FAX, but I believe that Subharmonic has picked up the license for a domestic release.
Dan Foley (courtesy of the Ambience For the Masses website)
I was listening to this last night and remembered how amazing it is. Laswell uses a really phat & heavy bassline throughout (as he does!) and the first half is quite shuffly with some really nice funky beats floating in and out. The second half of the album explores some of the darker elements of deep ambience. Lots of loops/echoes and almost alien sounding samples which works really well unlike some other things I've heard in this vein. Great titles too! This is available in the US on Subharmonic, Laswell's dark ambient label if you can't find the FAX import.
Will-E (courtesy of the 2350.org website)
Psychonavigation is Pete Namlook + Bill Laswell. Laswell, of Material/Axiom/Divination fame brings out the weirdness of Namlook. Namlook's usual knob twiddling is accentuated and exaggerated with the help of Laswell.
1- Starts out with some hollow droning sounds and some odd whirrs, hums and beeps. In comes a LOW bass and a kind of weak beat, which gets lost in the sea of bass until it is strengthened by a deep thump and a cool bassline. A breathy synth melody rides over the top while the beat/bass fades away and comes back a few times. It mellows out at the end and ends with some tweaked noises. Interestingly, there's a sample that says, "We seek contact with other life forms" which appears to be stolen from Captain Picard from TNG.
2- Ten minutes of just totally strange warped and mutated noises spanning all frequencies. Totally beatless. Ironically, there is a C major scale being played in the background, just to show how tweaked the tones are.
3- Very beautiful, with some knob twiddling that brings in a string like emotional melody. A beat comes in and is reinforced with the low thump and a bassline once again. Nice.
All in all, there is a lot of unrealized potential here. After hearing "Dead Slow"' (Ambient Dub vol.2--Laswell's, not Beyond's) I expected a lot more rhythmically, while this release sort of ignores the beat and goes for the bass. I had to turn down the mega-bass thing on my discman cause the bass was too much and was hurting my ears (on a volume level of 2!). So I guess if you heard this on a big system it's blow you away.
Jonathan Takagi (courtesy of the 2350.org website)