Neutron 9000, "Lady Burning Sky"
Neutron 9000, "She Trails Flowers"
Neutron 9000, "Empire"
Neutron 9000, Lady Burning Sky
I hope everyone had a great weekend and enjoyed the Eagles bye week, resting up for the season ahead. To kick off a new week here at Pound for Pound, we've got the perfect follow-up to our recent look at Mysteries of Science's self-titled record. Dominic Woosey released another excellent ambient album that same year under his Neutron 9000 moniker; Lady Burning Sky came out on the seminal Rising High Records in 1994, exploring a similar spacey and spaced out music as Mysteries of Science. If the last one was a cosmic acid ambient work, this one feels like the acid and urgency has been turned down, leaving us drifting in vast sonic expanses that allow sounds to come and go at their pace and gave Woosey a space to experiment.
Most of the album's 6 tracks feature moments like the beginning of opener "Lady Burning Sky," which establishes this sense of being adrift in a large expanse through humming, wind-like drone gusts that quickly enshroud you. It's a space that will feel familiar to anyone who has listened to, say, Tangerine Dream's Zeit or any of the arctic house stuff we have discussed. Each track subsequently makes its mark by coming up with something new to come out of this haze. With "Lady Burning Sky," it's various plinks, clicks, bleeps, sirens and other types of keys that emerge and fade away. Those keys begin to get louder, more fleshed out and layered as time goes by, but somehow there is never quite a takeoff into the cosmos despite the track title and the cosmic vibes of the previous work. On the 18-minute "Talking Eyebrow," a spoken word poem comes out of the desolate, windy landscape, suggesting that the haze provided some cover to take chances. This one is definitely hit or miss, as I know vocals and poetry are not everyone's cup of tea; it definitely missed on my initial listenings, but ironically, when I had it on as background, it started to grow on me with its almost free-jazz-like instrumental freakouts (cavernous drums & synth squeals) and psychedelic weirdness (warped vocals & haunting organs) that happen beneath and in the gaps between the spoken word. Woosey's lyrics, voice and cadence remind me so much of Peter Blegvad's work on John Zorn's Locus Solus, it's crazy. That is an obscure and unhelpful reference, so I will just that Woosey mostly sing-speaks a kind of intense poem that tries a bit too hard at times. It's still a fascinating, weird trip that you need to hear.
However, the real star of the show comes one song earlier with "She Trails Flowers," the album's third track and one of the best things I have heard from the early 1990s ambient moment. Man, I want to be all smart and illuminating about this one, but I also just want to write OMG over and over in all caps with the heart eye emoji mixed in intermittently. This 10-minute slow burner again begins with swooshing gusts, which are soon cut through with lovely echo-y synth keys and a tick-tock bass. Slowly but surely the song becomes a swirling, writhing beast that feels like the sonic equivalent of a flower trails. It's an overused word, beautiful, but it's what comes to mind when I hear this soft cosmic acid track, which feels like a journey into the stars that reveals the sheer beauty of the universe. I need to hear this on a great system while laying down and you do too. While we work on making that happen, you should listen to this album and get ready for some more 90s masterpieces.