Time Travel







New Age Reporter
- A Review by Bill Binkelman
from Binkelman's Corner

Richard Bone

Frequently, pictures of electronic music artist Richard Bone in album liner notes always make him look so serious, even menacing. Yet knowing him personally, he’s seldom been dour or somber. Even when he released a “dark ambient” CD (1998’s The Spectral Ships), the music, while haunting, was also beautiful and seductive. Bone’s recordings many times mirror his sly sense of humor and unique friendliness. These aspects are exemplified by his trippy bouncing percolating beats as well his lively yet chilled-out explorations of integrating world fusion elements into his trademark jazz-tronica. While some of the tracks on Infinite Plastic Creation (such as “Elastic Sahara” which combines a funky collection of beats and jazzy hooks with a cinematic desert soundtrack sound, reverberate with this part of his musical persona, there is also a more subdued and serious side to this release as well. Infinite Plastic Creation is not all fun and games. Per a blurb on his website, the album was composed during a time of personal crisis and reflection, and the quieter pieces here do point toward a shift for Bone. For example, the opening “Ryder Adrift” could almost be described as sparse (if you enjoyed Bone’s Tales from the Incantina or Indium, this track should definitely appeal to you). Various electronic textures and layers of sound flow over, around, and though one another and there is an almost melancholic feel to the song.

Still, it’s not like Infinite Plastic Creation is aiming to be a downer. Songs like “Toward Amitaf” could almost be from a Shadowfax album, with myriad ethno-tribal hand percussion beats and an underlying sense of the ancient. For those Bone fans who grooved to his releases like Ascensionism, Disorient and The Reality Temples “(You Are) Essence of Diamond” offers up a mid-tempo rhythm-infused blending of piano and synths with subtle hints of world beat via some sampled hand percussion along with sweeping orchestral strings. If you preferred the neo-cyber jazz of Coxa or Electropica, there’s the shady slinky “The Last Soul of Sophia Sinn” and its sultry sensual marriage of sampled bodhran and moody piano. “Where Stars Await You” opens in a spacy drifting mood but soon becomes something more like slow-tempo electro-pop with ‘80s beats, haunting lead flute, and electronic textures in the background (comparisons might be the “lounge-ier” side of Jonn Serrie, e.g. Tingri or Lumia Nights). “Kharmacom” further develops Bone’s fascination with older analog synths which began a few recordings back on Saiyuji. Male chorals and theremin warblings waft over several layers of ambient textures.

The track that, for me, offers the most startling contrast to most of Bone’s previous recordings (admittedly, my collection, while large, has a few gaps in it) is the closing cut, “Indiga, Once Again” an almost nine-minute exploration of muted minimalism that could almost pass for Budd, Kevin Keller or James Johnson. Melancholic sparse piano wanders reflectively over a landscape of smoothly flowing synths. It’s amazingly beautiful, carrying you along in its calm yet evocative wake, drawing you in and putting you under its spell of repose and pensiveness. Talk about a great way to end an album!

Despite the somewhat split-personality nature of the Infinite Plastic Creation, it’s definitely cohesive and never fragmented. Bone has too much of a musical “signature” for that to happen. Instead, the variety of music allows the listener to explore the nooks and crannies present over repeated playings. This is one album which will not wear out its welcome in a hurry. While I’m sorry that Richard Bone had to go through some tough times before giving birth to this great recording, I hope he takes some solace in the knowledge that his pain and tribulation gave rise to a phoenix of sorts and what just may be his best music in years.

Bill Binkelman