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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari


Updated: Jul 8, 2021

It's a fusion of electronic and acoustic music in a more progressive New Age vision

1 Leak 11:12

2 Android Cat Dreams of Mice 13:51

3 Starry Night 12:03

4 Painting Earthtones in Orbit 9:16

5 Bullet Train 1:03

6 Nightshift at the Baby Mecha Nursery 5:23

(CD/DDL 52:55) (V.F.)

(Tribal Ambient, New Age)

LEAK by Sensitive Chaos! It's a fusion of electronic and acoustic in a more progressive New Age vision. Sensitive Chaos is the project-band of the American musician, Jim Combs, who is in fact half of the experimental, even abstract music duo, TouchXtone. The other musician being Michael Thomas Roe. With LEAK he presents compositions written and recorded live over the last 2 years. Much experimental, with a very personal approach, the style of Sensitive Chaos reflects its identity, sensitive chaos. This first album offers 6 tracks, mostly acoustic and very quiet, except for Painting Earthtones in Orbit, guided by tribal percussions and arpeggios that melt into the same rhythmic framework.

The title-track is a good ambient tribal one that gently settles in with a nonchalant keyboard that lets its chords wander in an ambient structure that the echo metamorphoses into different tones. These chords appear as black dots in our ears, weaving a very abstract figure. And when it all comes together, there's a lovely fusion between the keyboard chords and the tinkling African percussions, like Udu, that infiltrated Leak's ambience at the same time that Brian Good started playing of his saxophone. Between the pastoral odes of Ray Lynch and this Jazz diluted in an experimental form, Leak becomes this title which obsesses so much the fusion between its elements is the source of all. Android Cat Dreams of Mice takes advantage of the very acoustic tonalities of this album to offer chords tinkling like bottles that chime in a light festive atmosphere. Arpeggios and percussion, one struggles to identify the keyboard and/or synth approach versus the percussive elements (is there a xylophone in the room?), that enlivens this opening defying the ears. I hear an organ wave as the percussions get a little clearer. The reverberation effect feeds the musical surface which receives a variety of tinklings in this carousel for dreamy souls that constantly stores tones, like tinklings of fairy bells, but also this fascinating artificial trombone that makes crack of charms our ears with those unexpected grunts. Android Cat Dreams of Mice continues to parade with those delicate glassy percussive sounds and elements that are the source of LEAK's main charms.

A breeze from afar turns into a woosshh, only to become a breeze again and awaken bells and then Brian Good's saxophone, already forging the embryo of a glass melody that emerges from a night lulled by sax breaths. Starry Night is a superb track that rises to a crescendo with good percussions and slow staccato effects in the arrangements. Superbly, the saxophone wails over a rhythm accentuated by its echo effect. Small bells and a variation in the texture of the percussions add depth to the decoration of this enchanting landscape that one would like to be eternal. An excellent track! The beginning of Painting Earthtones in Orbit exploits the chiming notes with inaudible synth voices. The rhythm rolls in loops on muffled percussions and a good bass line. The cadence increases on synth layers which seem to seek themselves. But the tabla's percussions are hammering the pace on a confused rhythm, closer to a static ambience than to a sequenced evolution. Short, but very successful Bullet Train could have been the intro of adventure and detective TV shows of my youth. The percussions are incredibly efficient here. A short minute that goes down well! Nightshift at the Baby Mecha Nursery is LEAK's only studio track. It unfolds into a spinning carousel of prisms and beams its pearls in divine tones that grow as the seconds leak off the dial. This is the most energetic track on this Sensitive Chaos debut album, which sounds like a nursery rhyme for adults. The vocal effects of the finale have annoyed me more than anything else.

This is a very interesting first album from Sensitive Chaos. Forged in chimes and the tinkling of various synth tones, the melodies sway and run over acoustic rhythms woven through classical and other African-style percussion, especially the udu. There is some very good music on this LEAK, and a track like Starry Night is not at the reach of all pencils. A very beautiful title in a great album which gets tamed rather easily.

Sylvain Lupari (January 22nd, 2007) *****

Available at Sensitive Chaos

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