Terrence O'Brien is Anomalous Disturbances, and he's been around for a while, manufacturing extremely intelligent and seductive ambient musics that have caught even the ears of television and film producers. I mentioned some background data in the body of the Inside critique (here), so I'll add only that he's highly respected by the few progcrits I bother to read, as well as by other ambientalists, and definitely by the more refined prog aficionados on planet Earth. This 2-disc compendium, then, is a collection proving that anyone's affinity to his work is not only well founded but hopelessly unavoidable.
Disc 1 is a gatherum of previously released materials (with one unreleased track) now extended, reworked, and so on. To these ears, it sits with the astonishing catalogue of one of America's best: Vidna Obmana, a gent almost unknown in the larger music sphere but revered by those intelligent enough to understand his barely categorizable oeuvre. Anomalous Disturbances is more accessible but not a whit less cerebral, possessing compositional elements beyond the abilities of most ambientalists, craftsmanship frequently deceptive for its very gentle sophistications.
O'Brien is the sole musician here (his brothers accompany him on Inside), and he plies what he calls "his ever-expanding rig of discombobulation", not a bad description despite its grinning Loony Tunes Acme Corp wit. The goal of the ambientalist is to decomponentize music structure, even the adagioed airs it embraces, and draw everything closer to the fuller sense of nature and its infinite manifestations, cosmic and earthly. O'Brien succeeds brilliantly at this, painting canvases so broad that the mind opens just upon the contact, at the passive encompassing of such far-reaching vistas.
Disc 2 is composed completely of previously unreleased work over the last near-decade, and every cut is as exceptional as Disc 1. Without being told, you'd never guess the guitar is his sole axe—what with the instrument's envelope and characteristics greatly distorted, expanded, compressed, fragmented, and evaporated by triggers, interfaces, and various whatnots—but that just adds to the elegantly enticing narcotica of the entire affair. I'm sorry to say that the space music continuum is nearly dead, but O'Brien is doing world class work in keeping its dimming flame lit. Think of the mellowest, most galactic, entrancing, and hypnotic aspects of Klaus Schulze, Steve Roach, the early Michael Stearns, Jeff Greinke, Michael Hoenig, and an array of the primest of the prime, and you'll have a very good picture of what to expect.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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