Amoeba — Pivot
(Release RR6474-2, 2000, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2001-03-01
Without reading the credits, it would be easy to assume Amoeba is a four or five member band, but in reality it’s two guys: Robert Rich (vocals, keyboards, steel guitar, flutes) and Rick Davies (electric and acoustic guitars). They are joined by several guests, most prominently on bass, drums, and cello. According to their web site, the recording is full of rhythm loops and samples, but the final product is very organic sounding, rather like a mellower Porcupine Tree with cello. Rich’s voice is breathy and melodic, like Steven Wilson’s, and the swirling psychedelic effects and lush overdubbed harmonies enhance the similarity. Davies handles all the various guitar styles with perfect, if not flashy, execution. The lyrics are imagistic and cryptic: “So many holes in my head / The world rushes in / Scanning for signals / before all the noise / Gets under my skin.” Much of the disc is achingly beautiful without being precious, in the way that the best psychedelia can be, an acoustic Dream Syndicate more than the Dukes of Stratosphear. Subtle sound effects such as children at play, a squeaky rocking chair (I think that’s what it is), and so on, enhance the moods. The cello too is an especially nice touch. The short instrumental, “Miniature,” features sparse piano, beautiful flute, and fretless bass. But not all of is sleepy and pretty. The opening track, “Fireflies,” has a driving midtempo beat and tough fuzz bass, and “Traces” has a loping triplet beat with accents from the drums in very unexpected places, providing a slightly off-kilter feel to the song. Pivot should definitely appeal to fans of Porcupine Tree and other modern psychedelic groups.
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more