AirSculpture / Quark Soup

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AirSculpture / Quark Soup

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The first CD of this double was taken from their E-Live festival performance in October 1999. As usual the music is improvised and is therefore unique. All AirSculpture’s music is effectively live. Some is live in the studio where as in this case it is in front of an audience. We begin with cosmic drones, twitters and effects blended perfectly to create one of their best atmospheric passages ever. A faintly melodic lead line is then introduced. A few minutes later a rapid high register sequence starts up- and what a corker it is too! It develops and becomes increasingly complex but also more powerful all the time and yet they keep it tightly under control making it mutate to fit their every whim. Its all so tight that its incredible that it is improvised. The second track begins with soft swirling pads. A lonesome melancholy lead strikes up floating in the middle of the mix. This is AirSculpture showing a rare tender, even serious, side to their nature. Metallic crashes punctuate some ‘tron sounds and things get moodier and moodier. Its music for post apocalyptic landscapes. The mood then lightens as a delicate sequence starts up, its as if a gentle rain has started to fall. Another beefier sequence is added but initially stays in the background. Its only when the lead lines start to flash over the top that it really cranks up and we start to motor. Next we have a mammoth twenty seven minuter. From a tranquil beginning a slow melodic sequence starts. Initially it enhances the relaxed mood set up by the initial section but it gains pace and additional sequencer lines are added. At the eleven minute mark the sequences depart and we are immersed in ghostly cosmic effects. This is another superb atmospheric section. Its the sort of thing that early 70’s TD or any of the pioneers might have come up with if they had had the technology available. Its full of twitters, vast metallic drones and vaguely vocal sounding noises (both human and animal) very low in the mix so that you can’t make up your mind if you are imagining them or not but adding an effective sinister element. With eight minutes to go we enter another structured section and a no nonsense sequence enters. A lead line playfully bounces over the top. More sequences are added and the band work themselves up to a blistering finale. The audience demand more and AirSculpture get straight into a dynamic five minute sequencer romp. Subtlety is thrown out of the window and they just let rip- superb! Apart from the encore the entire second disc is taken up with one track which has four distinct sections. The first is AirSculpture at their most cosmic, it’s then bright sequencing time, we then get an ominous brooding section and finally (lasting half an hour!) we have the best sequencer bash I have ever heard them do – the audience went crazy! But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here. Soft pads and note droplets are left to hang in the air as the mind wanders through vast uncharted areas of space. The occasional lonesome lead line provides some focus and from time to time we get other cosmic effects but for the most part this is pure float. At twelve minutes we enter the second section where the first sequence makes an entrance, a rather fast bright one that could probably have done with being slightly lower in the mix but that is only a small quibble. As this sequence dies away the pads become darker sounding. Then we get a very slow, very deep bass rumble / sequence and the darkness of the piece intensifies considerably sending chills down the spine. The accompanying crashing effects and slabs of chaotic sound fit the mood created by ‘the throb’ perfectly. It is the final section of this track that most people will remember however. This sequencing just has to be heard to be believed. The sounds used are some of the thickest and most thunderous I have ever heard spewing from a sequencer. It is as if we are in the middle of a thunderstorm with one rumble being replaced by another with hardly any gap in between. The scorching lead lines are like flashes of lightning whilst others sound as if the clouds themselves form some demonic figure which is crying out above the thunder. The physical battering taken by the first three rows of the audience as tidal waves of sound relentlessly broke onto them must have been amazing. What’s more everything is in a constant state of shift. I am not exaggerating when I say that for fans of heavy sequencing this will probably be the best half hour of music you will have ever heard. So its encore time and really its pretty much more of the same with a sequence blasting from the speakers. What you can’t tell by listening to this however is that after about half way through Pete and John leave the stage leaving Adrian to play everything – remember AirSculpture don’t use tape. Its just unbelievably well done and he is very clearly enjoying himself immensely! ;\ ‘\’