Brain Ballet - "Aquarium Of The Deep Sea"
(Magnanimous Records 2004, MAG008)
Uploaded to Aural Innovations: June 2004
Over the past few decades, aquatic themes have been popular among artists of pure electronic music. One need only point out such classics of the genre as Tangerine Dream’s Underwater Sunlight, Edgar Froese’s Aqua, Richard Vimal’s Aquarhythmies, Kitaro’s Oasis and, more recently, Future Sound of London’s Life Forms to attest to the fact. Because of the synthesizer’s almost infinite capacity to artificially generate such sounds as waves, bubbles, whale song and a plethora of other liquid-based natural phenomena, it’s perhaps surprising that only a handful of albums have been solely devoted to mapping the sonic landscape of Earth’s terrestrial seas and oceans. Brain Ballet’s Aquarium of the Deep Sea is perhaps the most recent attempt to explore the vast, murky terrain that still resonantly echoes somewhere deep within the hindbrain of every living mammal on the surface of the earth. Listening to the hushed ambience of such songs as “Ancient Sea,” “Universe” and “Aquarium of the Deep Sea” must be the aural equivalent of walking on the ocean floor or gliding through the sea green gardens of some primeval sunken city. It’s a thoroughly enchanting voyage, as if Brain Ballet deliberately choreographed music for a kind of electronic oceanographic survey. Many of the textures and sequences are appropriately muted, often evoking a sense of haunting serenity and quiet wonder. Almost child-like (though neither childish nor brazenly simplistic) in design and execution, pieces like “Brain Ring” and “Another Life” effortlessly drift along on floating waves of synthesizer, chiming bell tones, sound samples of organic life, and repetitive piano arpeggios. There are no jagged edges of sound or dissonant squeals of white noise that ever intrude upon this pleasant descent into one of the few remaining terrestrial habitats still untouched by the heavy hand of humankind. Aquarium of the Deep Sea is a deceptively clever amalgamation of tonal simplicity and psychoacoustic ingenuity.
For more information you can visit the Magnanimous Records web site at: http://www.magnanimous.org.
Reviewed by Charles Van de Kree