Department - "This Is Tension Avenue" (Laboratory Records 2000, LD001)
Department - "Exiting" (Laboratory Records 2001, LD002)

From Aural Innovations #21 (October 2002)

Okay, no real information on the first CD. The second lists Peter Mitchell (saxes) and Sam Bottari (piano).

I donít know who or how many play on the first CD and I donít know if Peter and Sam play everything on the second so I canít pass that info on to you. I can say that the playing is pretty good. The production values are also quite good: nice sonic range, no mush or mud, and very easy on the ears.

The music is tone poems. Songs with no beginning or end. Very lyrical with deep reverb in places to give them a spaciness. Both up-tempo and down-tempo and well layered (that comes from the good production values). There are lots of studio tricks: looping, samples, slow/fast tape (or digital). While some of the instruments may have been created on a synth or sampler, they have a normal feel to them; a pleasant blend of acoustic and electronic sounds.

At first I was put off by the feeling that the tracks seemed to only be snippets of larger musical pieces. At times they almost seemed to be cut & pasted together. But not liking a piece the first listen through is a good sign for me. My final decision: I like both of them. Although they are a little short, hopefully that will keep the price down.

For more information you can visit the Chaos Music web site at: Once there just search on Department.
Contact via snail mail c/o Department/Labaratory Records; PO Box 1131; Lalor; VIC 3075; Australia.

Reviewed by Louis Hesselt-van-Dinter

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