Pipedream - "Pipedream LP"
(Amberley 1998/2000, UK
From Aural Innovations #15 (April 2001)
Well, it took awhile for this one to finally emerge on the marketplace, and even then, it's not so easy to track down. Released in the UK by Amberley just this past year, the 35-minute recording was actually ready for consumption a few years earlier. And the delay wasn't a case of packaging certainly... this LP has just a simple cover, no inner sleeve graphics, and not even a spindle label. Just a black sticker on a black slab of extra-thick vinyl. Ah well, the music is what's important, and I'm just happy I finally got to hear this long-awaited release after falling in love with Pipedream's debut CD "The Journey from Hamburg to Iceland Begins" (1996). The lineup of Dr. Roberts (percussion), Jupiter Six (bass, electronics), and D.T. (guitar, synths) from that work was apparently retained for the followup.
The all-instrumental LP starts off with the dreamy, warm ambience of "Twilight Runner," employing the sort of spaced-out sounds that you might remember from Gary Wright's "Dream Weaver" - a big plus, no matter how insipid that song might seem in retrospect. So yes, I quite liked it! "Deeper Arcades" starts out similarly - languid-paced and pleasant, but then builds in tension by throwing in some darting electronic noises and unrefined drone-bliss right up until the abrupt conclusion of Side 1. "3 AM at the Border of Toppo" follows suit in the slo-core drone mode, though the added beef of the sliding guitar melody imparts a more substantial essence throughout. "Yards Visible from the Line" is more-or-less rhythmless, a mix of humming keyboard tones and seemingly backward-masked electronic noises...kinda mind-numbing you might say. More experimental ideas were pursued in the three-minute finale "S & H," such as ersatz electronic birds chirping and computerized bleeping...no doubt inspired by an old Star Trek soundtrack.
While I don't believe this will become the classic that 'Journey' is certainly to be, I still recommend searching this LP out. Side 1 especially is wondrous. Overall though, Pipedream has evolved a little from the more kinetic to the more atmospheric, and so this work has the solemn, slowly-building feel of Montreal's godspeed you black emperor!, just done with old analog gear instead of three guitars and a string section. In that guise, a bit of sameness creeps into the picture by albums end...though of course, here in the CD age, we're more programmed to be patient with albums much longer than this, and so I'm truly never bored here. I hope this trio from Vancouver, B.C. does more recording in the future. I only know that Dr. Roberts has been working on a sideproject called Of a Street, and that Jupiter Six has finished an album with Live Evil (a band initially called Mockwind, if that's any indication of their direction).
Pipedream's website still lingers on at http://persweb.direct.ca/astreet/, and the label resides at http://www.amberleyrecords.co.uk.
Here in the states, my new friends at http://www.clairecords.com in Florida offer this (and many other excellent modern space) album(s).
Reviewed by Keith Henderson