“On A Balloon” starts off Scope with ambient drones, digital tomfoolery, slight sizzling white noise — subtle sound manipulations used to create an interesting experience, particularly with headphones. Much of it sounds like he’s playing around with the “search” button on the CD player, although much more focused than that. This technique is used throughout Scope . “Kepler” is set against a background of layers of soothingly rhythmic bells. The effects this time focus on a sampled fragment of a woman’s voice. The rhythms of the bells make for a nice interplay with the rhythms created by the manipulation of the sample. Some organ or keyboard is used as well.
“Icefall” is again search-happy but manages to makes the digital ripples occur at just the right moments in order to create some interesting melodies with the whole experience. “Taw” makes me feel like I live inside an Atari with its patient digital burps and gurgles while “Tiddler” applies some interesting stereo ideas to organ, making for a haunting piece.
Throughout Scope , digitalia gets played with. It works. Nobukazu Takemura knows what he is doing. Quite well.
Thrill Jockey Records, Box 476794, Chicago, IL 60647