ARTIST: Paranoid Foundation
ALBUM: Life Death Indifference
REVIEWER: Matthew J.
Prolific ambient duo Paranoid Foundation is back with a new collection of short, somewhat disturbing compositions. As per their usual method, they add a hint of darkness via the muffled, deadpan spoken word of Crispin Lee, but compared to his solo project, City Paranoid, the emphasis here is really more on texture than on lyricism. "Lines We Draw" is all dark drones and hints of static and fuzz, for example, and "Perfect" builds layer upon layer of sustained choral effects. Though it's definitely quiet, this isn't pure ambient, and Lee and production partner Andrew Walker do make occasional use of rhythms. Closing track "Submission" is the closest they ever get to a dance track, and even that is more the sort of ambient house pioneered by The Orb than conventional dance music, but "Say It's Too Late" makes use of metallic jazzy rhythms, "The Undiscovered Country" clicks quietly through thick reverberation, and "The Showroom" makes use of a minimalist pulsing beat beneath a current of slowly evolving electronic tones. Though Lee and Walker's choice of sounds is more on the minimalist end of the spectrum, making frequent use of drones and beeps, it's for the most part layered thickly enough to give a real sense of depth rather than the sparseness usually associated with their sort of sonic experimentation. "Three Directives" in particular is rich in texture despite consisting of little more than sustained panning tones. Any of these tracks could easily be extended into a 20 or 30-minute ambient epic, but this album keeps things short and sweet, each composition a sort of tonal haiku that makes its point succinctly and then steps aside to make room for the next. While this approach seems more apropos to punk than to ambient, it makes for an album that doesn't overstay its welcome.
Visit Paranoid Foundation online at www.paranoidfoundation.com for more information.
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