Noise For Lovers (2005, Parasomnic)

You know you’re in for a long listen when:

1) You pop the cd in and the display reads over 72 minutes
2) The very first sound you hear is wind blowing
3) The liner notes warn that a song containing delta frequencies (‘Goodnight Princess’) may cause drowsiness.

…Ah, the moody, atmospheric record. This album brought to us here by programmer Jason Coffman and vocalist Teresa Santoski. While it’s fun to play the ‘was that a line of guitar feedback or a door creaking?‘ game, there’s little else to nab our attention. Layers of light synth humming, sound washes, and various weather patterns whooshing by can get tedious, if not downright pointless, without some other elements to spice it up.

Unfortunately, the flavor and flourish doesn’t hit the music taste buds until the unnamed, unlisted track 6 (whoever heard of a hidden track in the middle of an album?) where the dreariness steps aside for a cool percussive exercise a la Amon Tobin. Santoski’s ethereal vocals are great, but her appearances are few and underutilized. ‘All Yours’ loops her lovely and chilling voice effectively, but the vocal effect of ‘Tomie’ might as well have been lifted from a Sounds Of The Whales cd.

Sit through the ten minute soundscape of ‘Wait Here’ and be rewarded with the pretty cool ‘VFD’, which pits a stuttering synth against an ocean wave, and believe it or not, we hear something resembling a beat!

At last I’ll (kinda) go with a music crit standby: It’s good for what it is. …But what is it? Background music for a person who only paints haunted houses? The soundtrack to a suspense/thriller movie about glaciers? The results of sweeping up Godspeed You Black Emperor!’s and M83’s cutting room floor? The title says ‘Noise For Lovers’ but I refuse to believe our sweetest, most passionate emotion strives in such a creepy, lethargic environment.

-Mark Hughson 7/24/05

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