Wow! This is one release that has been long awaited- and it's so good. Three stellar tracks by two men who have a wonderful ability to make great music together. As in the first From Within, this release has that uplifted type of feel to it- that cosmic trip kinda feel. Both Hawtin's and Namlook's influences seems very well balanced so far (only on track 1 now). I'm not going to go into great detail, only say that this disc will certainly not disappoint- in fact it is almost a direct extension of the last project- except a bit more on the chill side- meaning less beats (and slower ones). One odd thing is the last track Future Surfacing, which builds and builds into one tremendous track until it suddenly ends...a minute or two later a few slurred beats...more silence...then with about 8 minutes left starting back again with some shimmering sounds and then to some jazzy beats with some Hawtin acid and concluding on a quite amazing note. Really nice track, but someone tell me that I don't have a defective disc. It was just unexpected- dead silence and all that. All in all though, an incredible disc- and one certainly not to be missed. Excellent!
(review by rdudley)
This is embarrassing: I have not heard "From within 1" (yet). Therefore I cannot compare these two. Anyway, this is perhaps the best I have heard from Hawtin ever (except for his seminal "Krakpot"). It's hard to tell Peter and Richie apart on this CD, just as it is with his other collaborations, but I think we have got the very best from both here. "Do bassdrums have feelings" opens with a solo synth sound, going into a female choir, followed by some typical lush Kuhlmann strings. Then it breaks down to a solo pattern synth, adding bassdrums (of course!) and processed hi-hats. Then the two add the chords from the beginning, throwing first a solo flute, then a solo synth on top of it all, before breaking it down to the choir from the beginning. Absolute genius. Track two is "Brain to MIDI" (the ancient system MIDI will hopefully be replaced soon), a calm affair with a deep and steady bass and various solo filtered synths and environmental sounds over it all. Also we have some quiet and beautiful chords. The CD ends with "'Future surfacing (what lies ahead)": 1) A lonely and expressive synth sound fading into 2) A droning motif which lasts through-out the composition, sometimes filtered. 3) Various synth and drum parts surround the main motif. Lasting for 25 minutes and 55 seconds, this is clearly one of Peter's best works. Then, after a break until 31.01, it continues in a different direction until 39.23. Brilliant!
(review by Christian)
The second release from this tandem takes a somewhat less rugged course into the art of acrid, minimalist soundsculpting. Here, Namlook's TDream like cadences bare the forefront, while Hawtin's light rhythmic weirdness becomes the icing on the cake. Perhaps a chilled-down version of its predecessor, this combination provides a smoother flight thru inner atmospheres. The contrast is provided at thirty minutes into the final track as a blast of acid overdrive whips it into gear. Why the sudden shift, and why after two periods of prolonged silence? -- perhaps only the authors will know. _From Within 2_ is a solid release, and though it might die in the hands of expectations, it will live in the minds of memorable journeys. 3/5
(review by zig)
I've actually fallen off on my FAX buying of late -- this is the first one I've bought in a couple of months, primarily because there's such a thing as having enough of a particular style of music.
But, I'm a Hawtin fan and a Namlook fan (so sue me). I haven't found the first "From Within" so I jumped on this one.
It's been on constant rotation at work here for a day or two and my impression is: meditative, smooth, harmonically interesting. The first track "Do Bassdrums have Feelings" starts out with a neo-classical rubato section, complete with ahh-chorus, before going into a more rhythmic section based around a nice little one measure groove. Then you get a percussive section with rising and falling sub-bass that would be deadly on the bins.
In my opinion this is not one of those "doesn't go anywhere" tracks people slag FAX for. This one covers some ground and has a sort of pleasantness and harmonic interest you don't often find, impeccably sequenced to rise and fall in intensity.
'Brain to Midi' is more in deep chill territory, starting out with quiet ring modulated speech sounds and distant rumbling. Eventually a solo synth comes in and meanders about pleasantly, to be joined by a one measure bassline pattern. It's a kind of long jam on a spanish-sounding modal scale. Finally about 13 minutes you finally get a little of Richie's Devilfish 303, and then it's gone again almost as quickly.
It's as well structured as 'Bass Drum' but it's not as immediately inviting. And the name is something of a misnomer, as the piece sounds like it was mostly done with analog-style sequencers and live playing. There is such a thing as a brainwave-to-midi converter, but I seriously doubt they used it here.
'Future Surfacing (What Lies Ahead)' is somewhat mistitled as well, it sounds a lot more like an early Tangerine Dream piece than anything 'futuristic' Again we get a combination of pattern sequencing with solos from Namlook. The pleasures here come from slow introduction of one-bar melodic loops in counterpoint over the course of the piece. Well into the piece comes a nicely syncopated 909 pattern. And then (drumroll please) the only readily recognizable 303 pattern. Richie is, of course, a past master of Accent and Slide, and for several minutes you get some trademark low-key Plastic, with some 909 crash bringing things to a climax. Throughout there is good use of harmonic modulation.
After 25:00 you get about 2 minutes of silence, a little varispeed 909+303 snippet, and then at 31:00 another 'hidden track' that sounds more Plastic-y than Namlook-y. There's even a short section with some 4 on the floor bass kick and handclaps on 2 and 4. Then Peter comes in with an analogue string pad to tie things together. It's as though he left the room for a smoke and when he came back, Richie was up to his old tricks again. So there you have it. I think it exhibits the strengths of both artists, and creates a definite warm mood, and it is not an aimless tweak-a-thon. Enjoy!
(review by Kent Williams)
Compared to its esteemed predecessor, From Within 2 sounds hurried and haphazard. Hawtin's thick analog tones mesh perfectly with Namlook's spacious atmospherics, but none of the three long tracks benefit from the thoughtful construction that made "Sad Alliance" or "Snake Charmer" so successful. The forty-minute "Future Surfacing" typifies Fax's confusion of endless filter sweeps with real composition. "Brain to Midi", with its irresistibly eerie theme, is the album's saving grace.
(review by Miles Egan)