Ulaan Khol: I

[16 March 2008]

By Joe Tacopino

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.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/ulaan-khol-i/