Sianspheric - "Else"
(Sonic Unyon 1999, 497 2012)
From Aural Innovations #9 (January 2000)
From Hamilton Ontario, Sianspheric has essentially imported the thick, dreamy sounds of the British shoegazer bands of the 80's and 90's, and have started to add a bit more experimentation and tension into the mix. However, 'Else' starts out in atypical fashion with "Planet Hal," full of techno rhythms and samples of HAL 9000 (what else?). They head back toward familiar ground with the instrumental "10/3/79," a long-winded, shoegazer anthem. Without the well-defined and mobile bassline that underlies the washed-out sonic stew, this one would be too featureless. Both "Planet Red Nexula" and "Planet Ag Genav" are works based on themes originally presented in "Where the Planets Revolve..." from their debut CD, 'Somnium.' While different in some ways, each builds slowly from a soft bed of ambient textures. For awhile, "Ag Genav" throws in snippets of techno-ish percussion loops now and again, which do grow a little old, but later (this one goes on over 20 minutes) it morphs into an 'ambient jam' with all sorts of planetary winds ablowin'. In between are three live recordings, including one new original tune and a cover song. "Watch Me Fall" (originally on 'Somnium') ebbs and flows effectively with the 'rock out' sections broken up subdued section featuring some limited vocals (by bassist Steve Peruzzi) and the dual guitar wizardry of Sean Ramsay and Paul Sinclair. One on the phased-out heavy fuzz and one on the light, echoey licks.... nice touch. The new one, "To Myself" is a similar style tune, but I think it suffers here from subpar vocals...warrants a go in the studio anyway. "Shag Shack" (a tune originally by Teenage Head) is a slow, plodding, and thunderous march; not such a bad thing really...the blazing reverberations of the power chords are cool, though the screaming vocals seemed a little out-of-place.
While there is some redundancy in the material on 'Else,' it is a compilation of 70 minutes of material that is at least new in some way. And while not consistently potent throughout, I have grown to enjoy it more with each listen. So, although I would still initially recommend their wondrous first release 'Somnium' for any fan of Space Rock of the dreamier or dronier variety, you shouldn't be disappointed with this effort.
Click here to visit the SIANspheric web site.
Reviewed by Keith Henderson