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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

SENSITIVE CHAOS: Seeker after Patterns (2011)

Updated: Jul 8, 2021

The rhythms are mostly minimalist with a very mixed tones' palette adding in

1 Seeker after Patterns 10:41

2 Warm Glow of the Atomic Fire 7:29

3 A Piece of Stars 6:13

4 L'Ascension 7:30

5 Sensitive Chaos 5:26

6 Thoughts of Home in a Sand Storm 8:59

7 Psychic Twins of Gemini 4:59

8 Simon Stilites Dreams of Rain (Chaotic Remix) 7:48

Bonus Tracks/Radio Edits

9 Seeker after Patterns Radio Edit 1 6:30

10 Seeker after Patterns Radio Edit 2 4:59

(DDL 70:41) (V.F.)

(Tribal Ambient, Progressive New-Age)

Sensitive Chaos is the musical project of multi-instrumentalist Jim Combs who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. He invites musicians, some of whom become regulars, to perform and record his compositions. SEEKER AFTER PATTERNS is a 4th album that navigates between delicate southern rhythms, with a somewhat tribal flavor, and ambient structures. The rhythms are mostly minimalist with a very heterogeneous palette of sounds which get grafted in, giving SEEKER AFTER PATTERNS a rich musicality that arouses the ears listening after listening.

The discrete bouncy chords that introduce the title-track are quickly harpooned by bass chords that juxtapose a slightly zigzagging rhythmic approach. This slightly jerky rhythm evolves through its minimalist cycle with the addition of various instruments. The wavering chords of the synth have a nasal tone. It drops fluttering layers that give a strange harmonious shield which is wrapped by silky synth lines and sparkling electric piano chords. Brian Good's melancholic saxophone precedes a very ambient moment where the electric piano chords dance in a mellotron mist before the rhythm, which advances stealthily, resumes its pace with a more incisive approach. Warm Glow of the Atomic Fire is a soft soaring track with fine oscillations that fly in the echoes of delicate loops and their subtle and different variations. A Piece of Stars follows with delicate arpeggios bouncing over a double synth line, of which one drops a continuous breath while the other throws in some threatening oscillations. It's a very beautiful track with a delicate tribal approach. Its tam-tams and its Amerindian breaths evolve over a structure where the percussions dance with slightly spasmodic arpeggios on gyrating synth waves and instruments which shape the movements of the winds (EWI). Another ambient track, L'Ascension navigates in interstellar spaces among synth blasts that are reminiscent of Vangelis' melancholic laments. A galloping rhythm on wriggling guitar chords and undulating bass gives a curious western-indie structure to Sensitive Chaos, the track. A rhythmic structure with subtle variations that catches on and that I can easily imagine in a totally crazy Quentin Tarantino's western movie.

Thoughts of Home in a Sand Storm is offering instead a jerky rhythmic structure with chords and pulsating sequences that intertwine with those of a synth/keyboard with the curious sounds of a quacking duck. A soft, warm synth, like in L'Ascension, unfolds its layers around this stuttering rhythm of a heightened intensity. It's a curious track, just like the title-track, which deserves to be heard because of the discreet and subtle sonic fauna that revolves around a rather unexpected rhythmic structure. Psychic Twins of Gemini is a nice electronic ditty that swirls with its delicate crystalline arpeggios. An incredibly simple track, because of its timeless glass carousel, this one charms with its cherubic approach. That being said, I liked it a lot! Muffled percussion and pulses are fluttering as bass notes and guitar riffs drop to drown with keyboard chords, drawing the very ambiguous and unusual rhythm of Simon Stilites Dreams of Rain, an IDM flavored track. Heavy layers and twisted solos of a biting guitar dock with this very metallic fusion where the blows on an anvil get lost in this heaviness that hides a subtle walk of a lone cowboy discreetly fleeing the scene of his attack. This latest album from Sensitive Chaos offers two versions of the title-track Seeker after Patterns for radio purposes. It's the same piece but split in two. The 2nd one starts from the piano section whose chords float in a mellotron haze. I prefer the original version, but radio have its needs...

Sensitive Chaos' music is not the most accessible to fans of Berlin School and of modern EM. Its ambient tribal, or simply electronic tribal approach is a clever mix of different styles that are tied to good minimalist structures. Catchy structures where you can hear all the artistic work done by Jim Combs and his musicians. I had already heard and reviewed Leak in 2006 and I come to the same conclusions; Sensitive Chaos creates a kind of experimental music with a minimalist approach that allows to dress up its musical structures with different variations and instrumentations. Pleasant compositions that listen very well and that house beautiful melodies.

Sylvain Lupari (July 19th, 2011) ***½**

Available at Sensitive Chaos

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