Icebreaker

Icebreaker

Distant Early Warning

Aesthetics

The inside panel reads: “The distant early warning system is a series of radar stations which stretch along the northern periphery of Canada and Alaska. Constructed during the height of the cold war, these stations were intended to alert North Atlantic Treaty Organization member states in the event of a Soviet nuclear strike over the pole. Although now mostly unmanned, the distant early warning system continues to operate.”

That’s a pretty good indication of the direction the music takes on this. The compositions echo the quiet isolation and lulling repetitiveness of these automated stations on the frontier’s edge, quietly performing tasks assigned so long ago. Machines hum and whir, transmitting signals and interpreting them as they return. The subtle intertwining of minimal keyboards, electronics, the occasional guitar, ambient noise, radio waves, and sparse percussion paint this picture well. Not all is so cold and windswept, though. Mostly the mood evoked through the tones and melodic interplay seems quite warm, bringing to mind images of the inside of the station where machines are sheltered from the elements and the occasional attendant sits with a cup of coffee, somehow cozy in the middle of nowhere. It varies. An artistic vision perfectly realized as well as a wonderful album to fall asleep to.

Aesthetics, P.O. Box 577286, Chicago, IL 60657; http://www.aesthetics-usa.com

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