An impossible task? A musical metaphor? Sound as atoms? Hard to say but I'm surprised this hasn't been reviewed yet, for two reasons. First, this was the 200th release on FAX which, you would think, lends it some critical weight as a release. Second, its a pretty fine cd which is very different in character to a lot of other stuff by Namlook.
Environmental Atoms - is pretty choppy. It uses the kind of bass line found in Sultan, a real bass laden beat with metallic noises jumping all over. The idea behind the cd, that sounds are broken into sound 'molecules' seems well represented here and it may come as a surprise that it is actually quite listenable, actually I really like that track a lot.
Noise Atoms - sounds like beads running across wood which then turn into more forceful hisses. Computer voice comes in (not sure what it says but it sounds cool) which opens the way to clicks and deep bass pulses, a little like Atom Heart, electro space funk when played loud, especially when some organ-like chords overlay the bass.
Machine Atoms - Similar to some of the tracks from the Amp series, quirky but overlong for the idea involved.
Subharmonic Atoms - Not really much subharmonic here, maybe my machine cant handle it! Very short piece that ambles along,.
Sadness Atoms - I seem to remember Namlook saying this was written soon after his dad had died? Hope I haven't got that wrong, but this is certainly an emotive piece with long sweeps of warm but sad sounds that wind on for a quarter of an hour. This is quite a meditative piece worth engaging with.
Audio Atoms - Back to almost live drum beats with quirky randomized sub bass that rises into an almost anthemic pattern persisting while clicks, squeaks and bass kicks roll around. This is really great stuff, somehow there is jazz in here, its so higgledy piggledy (!) but it straightens out into a killer piece with even shades of 70's jazz fusion a la Davis' Agharta (that's a good thing by the way!) with a dose of hip hop - damn, I cant explain what's happening here :-).
An interesting theme and a great disc. Surprisingly coherent given the different styles in here, a FAX summary? Not really, more of a unique Namlook project and highly recommended
(review by Rowland Atkinson)