Dylan van der Schyff, drums and samples
Chris Tarry, electric bass and tape machine
From a nether corner of the ambient world comes Sponge, a largely improvised and very eclectic take on the subject. The duet has conjured up a visceral sea of sound and imagination which is sometimes calming, sometimes disturbing, sometimes both at the same time. Don't mistake Sponge for another hypnotic, into-the-void wallpaper music CD. Sponge is too emphatic and embodies a greater musical presence than most ambient releases, largely owing to van der Schyff's deep background in improvised and new musics and to Tarry's multifaceted experience across the musical spectrum. 24 minutes of live improvised electronics. Produced by Chris Tarry and Dylan van der Schyff.
Recorded and mixed April 1997 by Shawn Pierce for Maximum Music.
What the critics are saying:
"Each of the five pieces of assertive Ambient improvisation forms a lean, concentrated soundscape. Well worth hearing…"
—Julian Cowley, The Wire
"[A] set that can be recommended equally to hardcore devotees of Brian Eno or the cutting edge of free improv.."
—David Lewis, Exclaim
"An eerie surge runs under the spinning ambience so suited for a darkened room and a freed mind. Builds then glutters, shrills then sprinkles. All sound exploration of a delicate and delicious level created by men and machine interspooled and tangled within rhythmic tinctures. My living room wall shudders and breathes when thrust into this rich tonal sphere textured by the taints of ears alerted to every aural ping among us."
—Sasha Dryden, Terminal City
"A drum n' bass record with a difference: bassist Chris Tarry and drummer Dylan van der Schyff put texture before rhythm and value exploration more than another predictable lope across the dance floor. Tarry's enormous tone and van der Schyff's keen ear for microscopic nuances of timbre are to the fore here in what is unapologetically an experimental record."
—Alexander Varty, The Georgia Straight
"Here's a wooly one: electric bassist Chris Tarry hunkering down with drummer Dylan van der Schlyf in Canada and getting down to the business of spontaneous improvisation. For starters, the duo employ a number of effects, van der Sclyff an enormous range of samples, musical and non, and Tarry using an old tape machine. Four of the five pieces here have the word "tension" written in parentheses at the end of the title, with the fifth tracks getting the parenthetical moniker "release." The tracks range from the near ambient "Snakes and Sand" and "Sponge," to the beat conscious "Tribes," with reggae rhythms juxtaposed against rock and jazz ones, to the skronky "Police Tools," which is truly one of the most paranoiac tunes ever recorded. The host of sounds and textures overlap to create a darkly impersonal view of the world through the first four tracks, which lulls us into submission before "Water Song," a wonderfully anti-climactic bit of silvery lyricism. This is far from the free blowing anything goes date one would expect from either of these two, but it is no less powerful for all its restraint. "
—Thom Jurek, All Music Guide
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