Ethernet 144 Pulsations of Light

When a CD release one-sheet offers a quote like: "based on my research and experience in using sound for induction of meditative states," you might brace yourself for a round of algorithms or panpipes. Luckily, Tim Gray's first release under the Ethernet moniker doesn't require either advanced math or a yoga mat. Instead, you are treated to fibrous electronics that graph the median between Kranky compeer Loscil's trance-like minimalism and Keith Fullerton Whitman's more abstract explorations into clouded synthesizers. Not that Gray isn't serious about his science; his MFA thesis (directed by Deep Listener supreme Pauline Oliveros) can be consulted at www.truesoundhealing.com. But what distinguishes "Vaporous" from any track by (irony not intended) GAS? The answer is, superficially, very little. Other tracks, like "5+7=12," do break the horizontal stasis of most ambient techno, gracefully ascending a staircase of tones into, presumably, the bliss centre of your brain. The album does deliver on its calming promise but isn't that why you were listening to ambient music in the first place? (Kranky)