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artist:
Thought Guild
country of origin:
USA
style(s):
Spacemusic, Berlin-school ambient, psychedelia
essential releases:
Context (2002, Harmonic Resonance)
Continuum (2005, Harmonic Resonance)

 

Reviewed by Mike G

 

Ever since Tangerine Dream's rapid decent into creative oblivion in the late 1980's, the hole they left in Berlin-school ambient has been more than ably filled by the likes of Alpha Wave Movement, X1 Project and even a few of the old-school originals like Klaus Schulze.

There is still plenty to say in the gentre, too. Electronic music now well and truly has a history and Thought Guild - a duo consisting of the late Christopher Cameron (1966-2011) and Alpha Wave Movement's Gregory Kyryluck - are in a sense re-creating history by using vintage analogue synthesisers to capture a particularly rich sound that once dominated European electronic music. It's not quite nostalgia however; its more a case playing with a sound palette that's been around a long time and using both period analogue instruments and modern digital tools.

Context and Continuum both evoke the sequencer-driven ambient trance of Tangerine Dream's early to mid-80's albums, as well as peak period Ashra and Klaus Schulze, the filmic world of Vangelis and the beautiful environmental ambience of early Steve Roach. The music is retro enough to tickle the ears of longtime genre fans while also contemporary enough to seduce lovers of ambient techno and trance. "Distant Star" from the first album is a perfect evocation of the Vangelis' score for Blade Runner and actually ranks alongside that's soundtrack's very best moments. Also outstanding is the gently rhythmic "Semiotic Sequence" with its exquisitely rich and spacey harmonies.

What really impresses across both albums is the duo's knack for gradually layering sounds multiple melody lines and building momentum without giving in to cheese or bombast ala Michael Garrison or latterday TD. Restraint is a gift, and these albums walk that path with quiet grace.

 

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