In dark corners of Switzerland live men devoted to creating ambient music that challenges the meanings of rhythm, melody, counterpoint, and harmony. Why they do this, and why especially in Switzerland, remains a mystery, but Lugano Fell pursues this odd career with some energy. This is his first full CD, and it flies well beyond Eno’s “ambient” music, yet it recalls the mysterious sounds we associate with outer space. Of course, the ISS and Shuttle are powered not by theremins and mellotrons, but by pumps, blowers, and electronic instruments that might well sound like this album. On “Slope” a slowly varying drone is modulated by slight dribbles of static, perhaps due to the charge of a solar flare bleeding off into the dark side of the ship. In “Malpenza” the drone returns, now with a ticking clock and what might be an electronic mouse scurrying through the recycle bin, looking for a lost peanut or 3.5 inch floppy. By “Prefrom Naple” a jar lid drops and rolls under the mix board and actual music is sampled and decimated (in a signal processing sense, not a Roman Army sense). The effect is that of fast forwarding through a DVD you’re not that interested in, hoping for a helicopter explosion or a bit of gratuitous nudity. Quiet time in the office fills “Vallory” as a chair creaks, a phone rings in a distant cubicle, and chimes slowly fell the hours. Time wends its way through this collection, and falls into a black hole of sensory oblivion in the final track, the 13-minute long “Two Hundred Clocks and a Metre.” Here a soft guitar line invades a click track hoping for a sensory lull occasionally modulated by other strings, but will it work? Or is that guitar just those same strings auto tuned into another dimension? These are questions best contemplated on a high mountain in a neutral country, but if solved might verify String Theory. For that, I’d move to Switzerland.
Lugano Fell: http://www.myspace.com/luganofell • Baskaru: http://http://www.baskaru.com