Russell Mills/Undark

Pearl + Umbra

BY Matt MernaghPublished Feb 1, 2000

Prolific album artist Russell Mills has carved an excellent ambient landscape out of snippets of acoustic/electronic field recordings and, most importantly, found sounds from musicians for whom he has done album art. The diverse range of artists who donated orphaned sounds to the project include Brian Eno, David Sylvian, Peter Gabriel, Robin Guthrie and Thurston Moore. Don’t expect to be able to pick out their donations as Mills, much like his famous paintings, blends, bends and distorts everything to create his mellow dreamy sound. The impressive and hypnotic “Rooms of the Sixteen Shimmers” is fronted by Sylvian. With a multitude of layers that wash in and out like an ocean it is very easy to get lost in the sea of pleasant sounds. As much as the undertow pulls you out, parts of the songs push you back in, making for perfect background music that adds to a room like a painting. Mills’ second album deep cleanses the soul in the same manner as This Mortal Coil.

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