Review of Frame [12k1011]

Alternative Press (US)

Ambient music, with its pendant chords and slow-motion melodies, seems perfectly suited for winter weather. Sure, it might be a pretty obvious association, but listening to the hushed splendor of Shuttle358’s second CD, the most immediate references that come to mind are the sense of suspended animation that overcomes the frozen world and the hiss of snowflakes scraping across silent fields. The latter effect, along with the crackling of digital pops, links Frame to 12k’s more austere incursions into microsound, but the album’s lush harmonic sensibility sets it apart. Dan Abrams’ first CD as Shuttle358 struck many listeners as a minor masterpiece, but Frame is even more accomplished, ranking alongside Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works II and Eno’s Music for Airports in its evocation of imaginary space. Chords of indeterminate tuning flicker across the spectrum, rubbed raw by interference and speaker hum; static erupts in fractal patterns as cool-hued tones describe arctic horizons. For an alternate perspective, the Quicktime video included on the CD presents an intriguing take on urban emptiness, where the streets of Los Angeles become a place of empty passages, blown-out skies and powerlines whose ubiquity belies our essential disconnectedness. Frame is a welcome addition to the ambient pantheon and a future classic: absolutely essential listening. 5/5 – phil sherburne

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