Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

173

The Maskit Chamber: The 4th Wave

By

Sign in to view read count
Ambient music. As a rule either you dig it, or you just don't get it. However, I've managed to find myself in the odd position of straddling the fence on this issue - I've heard some very cool ambient CDs such as Fayman/Fripp's Temple in the Clouds, and I've heard some stuff that quite frankly just puts me to sleep. So, with an open and undecided mind I dove headfirst into The Maskit Chamber's The 4th Wave, and I'm afraid that despite some interesting moments - and plenty of birds chirping - this one falls into the "puts me to sleep" column. Not that sleep is always a BAD thing mind you, it just tends to get in the way when you're trying to review an album.

The Maskit Chamber is actually a solo effort from Gayle Ellett - member of underground proggers Djam Karet. The 4th Wave consist of exactly ONE song - a 50 minute+ whopper named after the album itself. Unfortunately, 50 minutes was about 40 minutes too long for this reviewer, as the piece never really goes anywhere. I know that ambient music is all about emotion and subtlety with its long drawn out chord progressions and droning meditative keyboards, but I expect at least a decent amount of stimulation out of my music and I just didn't experience anything very interesting on The 4th Wave.

The track kicks off with something that sounds like a child's music box, but quickly enters familiar trance territory with a low didgeridoo (did I spell that right?) sounding keyboard note that lasts around a half an hour. On top of this drone, Ellett provides minimal (but at times effective) melodies using various string instruments, a mellotron, and a potpurri of digital samples. Actually, they could ALL be digital samples for all I know, it didn't specify in the liner notes.

Anyway, while Ellett does manage to create some interesting ideas within The 4th Wave, the problem is that the ideas are only interesting for a couple of minutes, while in actually they last about 10 minutes apiece. Nice Pink Floyd-esque swirling keys topped off with about three occasional chords from a rhythmic acoustic instrument is cool with me - but not over and over again for 10 minutes with much change. There is some trippy mellotron added into the mix for flavor, but it's not enough to save The 4th Wave from becoming a casualty of the mundane. Things actually get a little interesting at around the 36 minute mark, where the piece takes a Tangerine Dream inspired turn complete with some groovy percussion. But again, things simply descend back into "insert wacky sounds... re-start the low drone" school of ambience.

Perhaps connoisseurs of the genre would find some pleasure in the relaxing tones of The Maskit Chamber. I would've myself preferred a CD with perhaps a number of shorter tracks, but I do respect Ellett for accepting the challenge to write a piece almost an hour long. Like I said at the onset, ambient music is definitely an acquired taste; but The Maskit Chamber is definitely a taste that I have not yet acquired. The 4th Wave is not for the uninitiated!


Track Listing: 1. The 4th Wave (50:25)

Personnel: All music performed, arranged, and composed by Maskit Chamber

Title: The 4th Wave | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Maskit Chamber, The

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Live at Pyatt Hall CD/LP/Track Review Live at Pyatt Hall
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Flying Heart CD/LP/Track Review Flying Heart
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 23, 2018
Read The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow CD/LP/Track Review The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow
by John Sharpe
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Solano Canyon CD/LP/Track Review Solano Canyon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read "8th Window" CD/LP/Track Review 8th Window
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: April 11, 2017
Read "Blue Fantasia" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Fantasia
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 25, 2017
Read "EE-YA-GI (Stories)" CD/LP/Track Review EE-YA-GI (Stories)
by Troy Dostert
Published: November 13, 2017
Read "Reaching Out" CD/LP/Track Review Reaching Out
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 18, 2018
Read "Welcome to Swingsville!" CD/LP/Track Review Welcome to Swingsville!
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 26, 2017
Read "My Love" CD/LP/Track Review My Love
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 28, 2017