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Nocturnal Emissions

Musica Maxima Magnetica EE10 CD
Track listing

Nigel Ayers, the founder of this British trio, live in Newcastle, near Stonehenge, which may explain the fog-haunted, Cimmerian atmosphere of Nocturnal Emissions’ industrial new age. These are curiously restful, these long, droning instrumentals, and develop gradually, like moss growing on the dark side of a dolmen. Gravelly samples – played, according to one article, on Casio SK-5s – add what Pierre Schaeffer called "grain": a rough-edged quality that makes music sound gritty or abraded. The ghost of Kitaro is effectively banished.

Keyboard magazine
May 1992

In keeping with its journey out of the noisy musical world of industrial music, Nocturnal Emissions’ Cathedral features serene and sparse ambient music. The patterns on this album develop slowly, if not minimalistically. Delicate, often iridescent electronics form drones or little figures which loop in slow progressions. Dissonant sounds are often used, but usually so subtly that they nearly escape notice, or do little more than bring you to alertness. From time to time, unobtrusive concrete sounds similar to tiny whistles, clocks, hinges, water gurgles, sandpaper rubbings, etc appear. Though the group cycles numerous pitches and timbres through any one piece, the music’s serenity is maintained by its near static patterns. With three of the five pieces being 12- to 24-minutes long, nothing happens fast, yet the music is never boring.

Tom Grove
Option 44
April 1992

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