THOUGHT GUILD: Electric Curios (2013)
“I simply can't believe that the music in Electric Curios was sleeping in the vaults. Too good and vital to have been forgotten somewhere”
1 Netherworld Passage 1:23 2 Vapor Trails 6:16 3 Son Synthetique 12:04 4 Machines at the Edge of Dawn (Live) 9:08 5 Interstellar Hitchhikers 18:48 6 Juniper Moon 5:52 7 Angels in Empty Rooms 7:28 8 Before we Migrate (Live in Connecticut) 10:52 HRR131212
(CD/CD-r/DDL 71:56) (V.F.) (Analog ambient and sequencer-based EM)
I knew the music of Alpha Wave Movement but not that of Thought Guild. What is the link between both? Set apart a music which is alike in several points, Thought Guild is an American duet consists of Christopher Cameron and Gregory Kyryluk, the man behind Alpha Wave Movement and the Harmonic Resonance Recordings label whom he set up in 1995. It's thus with pleasure that I have accepted Gregory's invitation to review ELECTRIC CURIOS, a collection of EM of which the analog flavors keep bringing up the past with rare live recordings and unreleased tracks played and recorded before the exit of Context in 2002. And believe me; never remainders had so many flavors.
Netherworld Passage passes at the attack of our ears with big drones which weave apocalyptic atmospheres à la Vangelis. Squeaking of synth and ethereal voices invite each other in this intense burden of ambiospherical drones which want to be a good sonic portal ELECTRIC CURIOS. Then we fall in love with the splendid Vapor Trails and its sequenced keys which cut out the vintage atmospheres with keen sedentary fluttering. The rhythm is delicious. It waves lazily, such as slow roller coasters, colligating another line of sequences to contiguous movement as well the jingles of cymbals and the arrhythmic pulsations which drum deftly in an ocean of static rhythm where are fluttering these delicious analog tones and some solos from a synth prowler. We are swimming the ears full into the analog eras of Jean-Michel Jarre and Michael Garrison with these ambient rhythms which are used as rampart to some very contemplative cosmic structures. Even if the rhythmic approach is finely more sustained and slightly livelier, Son Synthetique breathes of the same perfumes of the confused rhythm and the rich cosmic ambiences as in Vapor Trails. The synth is just as much delicious by forging these harmonious solos, as well as these analog tones, which float against the current of some dense clouds of floating layers and a rhythm which decorates constantly its strengths by amassing elements which contribute to its sedentary blooming. Recorded in one of the rare live performances of Thought Guild, Machines at the Edge of Dawn is a small jewel of cosmic rhythm, I hear fragments of JMJ and his Equinoxe, with pulsations which quietly emerge of a thick interstellar cloud where are gliding the slow waves of a morphic synth whose fine harmonies are roaming like lunar spectres. The musical show is exhilarating with this pulsatory rhythm which chases the nothingness more insistently while the synth embalms the night-ambiences with solos more and more ethereal, more and more oniric. It's of a tranquillity to be cut at night, while the pulsations weigh down constantly our eyelids.
Ah...Do these floating rhythms are delicious. They re-appear after the slow ambiospherical intro of Interstellar Hitchhikers and its lugubrious drones which kiss the clear breezes, the lunar violins and the sighs of old organs which sweep the arid intersidereal plains. I like hearing these old analog tones where we easily confuse the waves of Farfisa with the dark lines of Moog or ARP and of which the merging breathes of these psychedelic perfumes of the 70's. The rhythm makes tremble the columns of the contemplativity a little after the mark of 6 minutes. Resounding of its heavy sequences of which the reverberations make ripple the synth lines, it waddles slowly its black dangling which oscillates between some fluty winds, sinuous lines and chthonian choruses. Gregory Kyryluk and Christopher Cameron have the art to embroider progressive rhythms by injecting here and there elements which are weighting down a fictitious pace or accelerates the pulse. As here where the rhythm sparkles as much as it crackles, skipping and stumbling in its shadow to copy a pleasant attractive arrhythmia with the support of sober electronic percussions to the Teutonic beatings. The ambiences are delicious. Less powerful than those of Arc or yet Redshift, they are the result of a sound mosaic with lines of synth which agglutinate and get mix in a black ambient magma where we have the impression to be transported in another dimension by pads to the colors of sulfur. How such a track was forgotten in the vaults??? More black and melancholic, Juniper Moon is a somber down-tempo with a guitar which makes roll its obscure dreams in synth pads of which the singings get unite with the romps of locusts. It's a quieter music piece which brings us to the cradle of meditation with the very lunar and ambiospherical Angels in Empty Rooms, and of its synth layers which complain literally, as well as in the very ambient Before we Migrate; two tracks strongly inspired by Steve Roach's meditative and organic ambiences.
Well, I was more than conquered by this fascinating search in the vaults of Thought Guild, because ELECTRIC CURIOS is well and truly the result of a search in the archives of the American duet. And nevertheless, all along we have the impression to hear a concept album so much the gradation of the rhythms and ambiences reach a peak before to withdraw in a superb astral contemplativity worthy of Steve Roach's beautiful works. I like this sensation of flirting with the universes of Jarre, Garrison and even Tangerine Dream of the analog era on an EM which seduced me both by its ambient rhythms and its rhythmical ambiences. A pleasant surprise which urges me to discover this American duet of which the death of Christopher Cameron in 2011 is limiting only for other searches the vaults. And great finds like this, I'll take it by dozing!
Sylvain Lupari (December 11th, 2013) ****½*
Available on HHR Bandcamp