The Detroit Escalator Company - Soundtrack [313] Music Album Reviews

The Detroit Escalator Company - Soundtrack [313] Music Album Reviews
Gleaming with ambient intent, melodic classicism, and clean lines, this 1996 classic bridges the gap between Detroit techno and Tangerine Dream.

The elliptical orbit of the earth around the sun, the poetic swirl of the Messier 94 spiral galaxy, and the elegant curve of the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird—these are the images beamed into the megacosm by Soundtrack [313], the 1996 debut album from Neil Ollivierra, aka the Detroit Escalator Company. It is a record that gleams with ambient intent, melodic classicism, and clean lines, bridging the gap between Detroit techno and vintage Tangerine Dream.

As the name suggests, Ollivierra hails from the Motor City, where he once worked at the center of the city’s techno scene as the promoter of legendary club the Music Institute. But Soundtrack [313], now re-released with bonus tracks, is far from the frantic propulsion of an underground after-hours party. Instead, Ollivierra specializes in a pearly clean and galaxy-deep blend of ambience that brings to mind fellow Detroit producer Carl Craig’s beatless excursions, the far-out electronic strands of 1970s kosmische, or the more relaxed side of early IDM acts like B12—all synth sweeps, chiming melodies, and faintly hissing percussion.

At its best, there is something perfectly poised about Soundtrack [313], an innate balance that suggests all is well in the universe. There is not a great deal to songs like “Abstract Forward Movement” or “Force,” both of which appear towards the start of this rather front-loaded album, but what there is is basically perfect. “Force,” in particular, is astonishingly complete in its minimalistic sound: Over nine minutes, the song uses little more than echoing hi-hats, astral synth swoops, and a couple of simple chord patterns whose hesitant evolution drives the song’s unhurried and rather melancholic progression. But this handful of sounds seems to expand to fill both time and space, as satisfyingly absolute as a Mark Rothko painting in good light.

“Abstract Forward Movement,” meanwhile, has a whiff of Manuel Göttsching’s minimalist electronic classic E2-E4 to it, as a gorgeously wistful central riff tumbles around, minimally supported by the faintest hint of percussion. At times like these, the half-speed mastering process that has been used for the Soundtrack [313] reissue sounds less like an audiophile indulgence and more like the restoration work that sharpens the faded colors of a Renaissance masterpiece. (The reissue’s six rather anonymous bonus tracks, where the constituent parts add up to less than their sum total, are considerably less essential.)

There is something very powerful about the confident, profound simplicity of the music on Soundtrack [313], like being confronted by the mysterious structural perfection of the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The modest melodic cycle in “DELTA” has an emotional pull that transcends its limited musical scope, while the two harmonic ideas that coalesce on “Gratiot” have the structural solidity of the double helix in a DNA molecule. That this song ends in a kind of collapsed breakbeat shows the links between Soundtrack [313] and the work of early IDM pioneers like the Black Dog and Aphex Twin, who were finding inspiration in the UK’s hardcore raves, while the field recordings of street chatter that join the songs on the second half of the LP give Soundtrack [313] a fleeting metropolitan warmth among the deep-space vibes.

Neil Ollivierra’s roots in the urban steel of Detroit techno and melodic proclivities make Soundtrack [313] feel atypical in 2022, when ambient music is dominated by drones, fuzz, and fear on one side and hippy-dippy New Age wellness on another. But there is a sense of brilliant infinitude to Soundtrack [313] that makes it impervious to the demands of time. Soundtrack [313] is removed, rather than outdated, a musical guiding light beamed in from a more benevolent place.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
The Detroit Escalator Company - Soundtrack [313] Music Album Reviews The Detroit Escalator Company - Soundtrack [313] Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on February 24, 2022 Rating: 5


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