Hallicrafters - "s/t"
(Triangle Mallet Apron Records 2000, TMA CD02)
From Aural Innovations #10 (June 2000)
From the folks who brought you Runaway Mind Train comes Hallicrafters, a Texas duo of Brian Locklin on guitars, piano, keyboards, and rhumba, and Wes French on table guitar, analog synths, and effects. The music is like a cross between Tangerine Dream and Phillip Glass. Floating ambient electronica that develops slowly, setting somewhat minimalist patterns that bubble, throb, and lull the listener into a valium-like trance. The duo's trademark, and the music's strength, is their ability to create hypnotizing patterns that include a single brain piercing standout sound that stops short of being painful or annoying. Rather, these sounds function as aural mantras that command the listener's attention, the mantra sounds leading the way through the music's subtle textural journey.
Among the standout tracks is "Carousel", a slow, sailing, psychedelic journey into the mind. A slightly wah'd guitar strums a trippy pattern, accompanied by a simple, but lulling keyboard melody. The guitar becomes louder and the strumming deteriorates into a wailing drone. At 9 minutes the music has plenty of time to hypnotize the listener along on an ambient path. Similar enjoyable tracks include "Silent Gathering" and "Suite For Table, Saw And Motor", an ambient trip into space with synths and effects that trip along in a carefree manner, without direction, but in no way lost. The music builds very slowly, retaining it's drugged pace, yet still managing to reach increasing levels of intensity.
A couple tracks strayed from the theme. "Apparition Of Lenin On Piano" is a solo piano track that is part dissonant ragtime, part avant-classical. And "After You're Gone" includes avant classical guitar noodlings against an industrial drone. Interesting music but it seems a bit out of place with the ambient textural music that make up the bulk of the album.
In summary, Locklin and French play enjoyable ambient excursions that lack direction, but in the positive sense of a weekend drive in the country where time and destination are of little consequence and the journey itself is what matters.
For more information you can email Triangle Mallet Apron Records at Trianglemallet@aol.com
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz