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Ulaan Khol

I

(Soft Abuse; US: 4 Mar 2008; UK: Available as import)

The feedback, hiss, buzz, and delay effects on Steven R. Smith’s psychedelic soundscapes seem to peacefully coexist completely independent of one another. Like strangers in an elevator, his guitar-driven creations have disparate elements that, at times, awkwardly stand together in the same space. There are moments (such as on “Untitled” Track 2) where an ascending drumbeat brings these elements together, like atoms and molecules colliding in space. But the remaining minutes on Ulaan Khol’s first solo effort are suspended in air, giving just a faint glimpse at whatever cohesion may lie underneath the surface. Although Smith has worked previously as a solo artist (and with ensembles such as Thuja and Mirza), I is the first creation under his Ulaan Khol pseudonym and continues his wildly experimental, instrumental psychedelia. Consisting of ten tracks, which are all untitled, I is the first part of what promises to be a unique and challenging trilogy.

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Joe is a freelance writer who focuses on music, politics, and popular culture. His work has been published at AOL Music, Staten Island Advance, NYDailyNews.com, and SIDump.com. One semester away from mastering J-School over at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, Joe lives in a pastoral abode out on Staten Island where he enjoys the solitude and the whiskey.


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