Sonic Boom seems to have disappeared from the general public eye since the demise of his seminal band Spacemen 3 over a decade ago. His musical excursions have become increasingly more withdrawn into a private electronic landscape via his projects Experimental Audio Research and Spectrum. On EAR's latest release, Vibrations EP (which manages to clock in at 42 minutes) we find Sonic appearing out of the ether, if only a little bit. He takes full advantage of his many synthesizers and a Boss SP 202 Dr.Sample by twisting strange landscapes out of them. Layers of pulsing synthesizers morph in and out of each other, creating vague melodies and weird harmonics. Effected loops of African percussion provide a rhythmic bed that is as equally subtle as it is interesting. After about the third listen I realized that the "songs" actually had structure to them. While many people find EAR unlistenable, I think that Sonic Boom brings to light something that's often easy to overlook when you are in the throes of recording: Ignore your manuals and don't use things the way they are supposed to be used. Nothing new is ever discovered that way. The next time your tracks fall flat, you just might put on the Vibrations and perhaps a new light bulb will go off that you never even knew you had. (Rocket Girl)

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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