Album: PHILLIP WILKERSON – New Smyrna (Clinical Archives CA198 2008)

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The cover makes New Smyrna appear like one of those Ibiza ambient chill out compilations. Covers can be misleading. Phillip Wilkerson’s album has its share of ambient moments, but this is much more of a minimal affair. Most tracks are based around microtonal clicks and pops, fleshed out with loops that range from dream house synth washes to small scale electro melodies; from drones to micro-house rhythmic clusters.

There is a lot of repetition and very little progression within each track. What you get in the first minute is more or less what you get in the final one. There is plenty of variation between the twelve tunes, but each is set on its own course, with the minimum of change. This kind of structural rigidity is fine in itself and lends a hypnotic quality to some of the pieces. Others, though, feel a little hollow and outstay their welcome long before they draw to a close.

Closing track “Afternoon Recess” is very different to everything preceding it – a twelve minute electro-house tune that is more akin to Lindstrøm than anything else on New Smyrna. Generally, this is a good set that would have benefited from tighter editing. It’s available as a free download from Clinical Archives

Tracks
1 New Smyrna 9:05
2 Sand Dance 7:30
3 Ambient Digression 6:22
4 Fayalite 5:36
5 Rum & Sour 4:55
6 Sons of Ares 6:10
7 Signal Groove 4:50
8 Joy By Moonlight 8:21
9 Prominent Lineae 7:04
10 Arc Tangent 6:20
11 One Day in 2012 7:00
12 Afternoon Recess – New Mix 12:42

Websites
www.clinicalarchives.spyw.com/
www.phillipwilkerson.net

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