Leonardo: Review of Slew

A difficulty inherent in this genre of electroacoustic music—its sources often sine wave generator or radio waves—are its inevitable science fiction associations. An interesting whirring animates "4 Poles" to suggest a black hole or collapsing suns emitting its radio signals, and in "Usher Substart" a tone gradually builds to suggest the traversing of and deep space. Much of the collection is reminiscent of similarly generated "Music from the Hearts of Space" on radio station KPFA in the 1970s, perhaps that decade's New Age equivalent to Korla Pandit's mysterious 1950s organ stylings. Thomas Dimuzio may blame the reviewer for dwelling on such visual associations from his music as he also works to subvert or re-imagining them. The sense of awe set up in "Never Steven" gets punctured with dynamic sweeps across the speakers. "Zosz" sounds like experiments in breathing and speaking underwater, or the great snake at the end of the universe. "Radio Traces" begins with a string quartet then threatened by distant cloud activity until an abrupt stop. "Yard" has a heroic centurion theme and looped voices, while an untitled piece with collaborator Needle suggests rattling worry beads. Other tracks have obscure voices, somber mood sweeping, and the sound jetting across speakers. Yet long passages in works like the 12'40 "Lightswitch" are uneventful and faceless to the point of anonymity and audial invisibility. —Mike Mosher