Wednesday, October 3, 2012

CD REVIEW: Microscopium Oo

Microscopium Oo recently independently released a debut album, titled LAX>KIX. Microscopium Oo is a project of L.A. violinist Timothy Maloof.

Maloof's other musical projects, like the Saffron Parade Arabesque Band (an ensemble focused on classical Arabic music), do little to suggest the electronic depth of Microscopium Oo. Similarly, on LAX>KIX Maloof rarely feels the need to display his wide knowledge of Arabic phrasing and tuning, doing so on only a few tracks.

Much of LAX>KIX owes aesthetic allegiance to Brian Eno's early ambient works, along with his more recent instrumental albums. As the title suggests (KIX being Osaka's Kinsai International Airport), these are 21st century tunes to contemplate the marvels of globalization to during a transpacific flight.  It's a sort of musical cousin to Fennesz - but less Austrian, more Arabic. Besides the delineated Arabic-influenced tunes, the sonic palette also draws freely from European ambience, Japanese electronics, and Indian timbres.

The results sound deeply international in a way that is fitting to emerge from California - where the West can't go any further without become East, and the East must do the same. This is not to say it fits into the often cringe-worthy genre of "East Meets West" projects. To the contrary, on LAX>KIX these sounds have been deeply internalized and are merely a natural part of the musical expression.

Tracks like La Mode or Oud of Sync sound like a collaboration between Eno and Eyvind Kang, while Turn It On and Prelude seems to have been cut from the same cloth as Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II. That might sound like a disparate combination, but there is strong cohesion in the underlying aesthetic approach.

LAX>KIX is available on iTunes, Bandcamp, or CDBaby. You can also find Microscopium Oo on Soundcloud and Facebook.

Listen to the album streaming on Bandcamp:

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