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Fluorescent Grey

Lying on the Floor Mingling with God in a Tijuana Motel Room Next Door to a Veterinary Supply Store

(Isolate; US: 1 Jul 2006; UK: Available as import)

What is it that distinguishes sound from music? Believe it or not, I’d never sought out the definition of “music” before. The Oxford English Dictionary uses “beauty” in its description, so I guess music is made in the ears of its listener. I’m not trying to imply that Flourescent Grey’s album isn’t music, but it certainly challenges our instinctual notions more so than, say, Mozart or the Beatles do. Certainly, Lying on the Floor… contains organized sounds and, occasionally, some beats. Robbie Martin, the man behind these spare, quiet, creepy scrapings, whirs, taps, and mechanical digestive noises, explains the processes which resulted in his songs (as I guess we’ll call them), and his approach is most closely aligned with the musique concrète composers of the mid-20th century, even if the output of his digital manipulations (“tempo grid” and “spectral analysis” are two terms found in the liner notes) resembles the work of Matmos more so than any other artist. While the CD doesn’t evoke the noir humor of its title, the track “Cobweb Cave Pt. 1” is spot-on. Mostly, regardless of name, Martin’s works here are successful, even if their “beauty” is not readily accessible. So, are the sounds produced by Flourescent Grey music? To this fan of Autechre and Stockhausen, the answer is yes. Your ears may not agree. But, for those seeking a glitchy, claustrophobic aural adventure (the audio equivalent of spelunking with spiders), Lying on the Floor… awaits.


Michael Keefe is a freelance music journalist, an independent bookstore publicist, and a singer/guitarist/songwriter in a band. Raised on a record collection of The Beatles, Coltrane, Mozart, and Ravi Shankar, Michael has been a slave to music his whole life. At age 16, he got a drum set and a job at a record store, and he's been playing and peddling music ever since. Today, he lives in Oregon with his wife (also a writer, but not about music), two cats, and a whole lot of instruments and CDs.

Fluorescent Grey -- "Organic Cadence" video
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