Goff/McGee - "Verve Of The Void"
(Taped Rug Productions/HalTapes 2003, CDR)
Uploaded to Aural Innovations: August 2003
When I interviewed Charles Rice Goff III last year he revealed that he and Hal McGee were working on a Space project so I'd been looking forward to this one. Verve Of The Void does indeed serve up heaping portions of electronic space, though these investigators into the nature and intricacies of sound aren't just targeting the Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream set. Charles and Hal create eerily somber yet thematic voyages that conjure up images of abandoned spacecrafts and a looming alien presence. The trademark sound through much of the album consists of Charles and Hal utilizing a mere handful of keyboard lines to create hauntingly cosmic scenes that take place deep in the cold and lonely regions of space.
The album begins with "Hydrogen Into Helium", which features airplane engines, drones and screaming high pitched keyboards, all running parallel but winding ever so slowly around one another. "Unertia" is similar but brings to mind a haunted house in space with pulsating and spinning tones functioning as ghostly screams and wails. I felt like I was part of the team boarding the ship where the entire crew is dead but we discover an alien entity that taunts us as we make our way through the craft. Things get proportionally larger with "Hissing Nebular Gas", which is like a full electronic space orchestra with rising and falling symphonic waves. Some of the throbbing and wailing tones even sound like horn sections.
But it's the 31 minute "Transmission" that is the wildest and most richly detailed ride of the set. We've got growling creatures who are clearly not offering tea and scones, swirling UFO sounds, wind tunnel blasts, and a banquet of sounds and efx that work in tandem to create a sensation very much like that moment where the roller coaster has just reached the crest of that first big hill and you're now zooming back to Earth... the only difference being that Charles and Hal are in control and instead you are hurtling straight up and the G-force is ripping your face off. I like the harsh keyboards around the 8-minute mark that give the music a strange Rock feel. The music is continually evolving and does settle into more drifting segments that are similar to the rest of the album. But this would make a great soundtrack to a short film. I wonder if there's any unreleased Ed Wood flicks lying around somewhere?
In summary, Verve Of The Void is highly accessible if you enjoy the details of the film soundtrack in which subtle aural brushstrokes are key ingredients of the larger visual experience. Like so much of the music that both these artists create... ya gotta just sit back, relax, open your ears, let your mind go, and all will be revealed.
Visit the Taped Rugs Productions (Charles Rice Goff III) web site at:
Visit the Haltapes (Hal McGee) web site at: http://hometown.aol.com/haltapes1/index.html.
Contact via snail mail c/o Hal McGee; 1909 SW 42 Way Apt E; Gainesville, FL 32607-5407.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz