Reviews – SOUNDICIAN (2000)


SOUNDICIAN Soundician (CD-R of Liquid Audio tracks on the artist’s website) (2000) Mixing up various forms of electronic music, e.g. dark-flavored ambient dub, noir-ish electronica, beat-oriented space music and melodic yet still atmospheric soundscapes, the duo that call themselves Soundician have fashioned music that is imminently listenable yet also challenging enough so as to not be merely the latest ear candy. What’s just as unusual as the music is that this is not available as a CD, per se. It’s (the music, that is) stored on their website as Liquid Audio. [note: the tracks reviewed here are now readily available on the artist’s site as 2 different DAM CDs] However, since reviewing music requires ready access to it, one song at a time, I convinced them to send me a one-off CD-R. And boy, am I glad I did. This is some tasty stuff, brimming with shadowy darkness, sexy rhythms, and a velvet smooth assortment of sensuous synths. Since the music on the site is not in “album” format, there is no point in talking about “opening” or “closing” cuts. So, I’ll just randomly comment on my favorite songs. “Anniversary” features a snaky series of beats, midtempo in speed and smoky synths, while piano carries the melancholic melody line. “Aegean Blue,” fittingly, has a floating series of synths and ultra-lush strings riding lazily over a kinetic bass rhythm. Again a piano carries the refrain, but it’s matched by some cool echo-effect spacy synth effects. While there is a light feel to the song, somehow this comes across more as a cyber-romantic cut than as dripping wet melodrama. Now, on “Obsidian” the tone becomes decidedly darker, as the song opens with drone-buzz synths which are soon joined by a really eerie beat, almost sounding like some kind of beast dragging its feet on metallic ground. Disturbing but in a hip and cool way. “Curtain” explores spacy territory with cascading arrhythmic synths, Liquid Mind-like synth choruses, and other keyboard washes and effects. “Sleepwalker” is surprisingly cheery, with warm analog synth notes bubbling on top of billowy soft synth washes. Definitely a bit retro at times, the song is sincere and friendly. Here again, the duo (Kit and Odette) show a wonderful knack for fusing piano lead lines with three, four, and even five different electronic keyboard layers. Most impressive. “Dark Water” starts off with the slow sound of drops falling into a pool of subterranean water (that’s a solid guess, I think, as you’ll doubtless agree when you hear it). Minimal synths weave vague fog-clouds of chords and sparse piano notes play out a sad and reflective song laced with regret. There were a few more songs on the CD-R too, but as I said, reviewing this as an “album” seems somewhat ill-advised. What I can tell you with certainty, though, is that Soundician’s music is first-rate EM. Engineering is excellent – the mix is well-done and the production is full of nice touches that make it hard to believe this is their first stab at music (they only started creating music in September of 1999). Their songs are both beautiful and moody, filled with music that is visual and evocative. I don’t know exactly how the whole Liquid Audio thing works, except that you download the songs from their website (see above).Kit wrote to me that they are open to producing “hard copy” (his choice of words) CDs if asked to do so. I’m willing to bet that if you listen to even a few minutes of their music, you’ll want to either download it all or else ask for a CD-R. If you’re a fan of spacy yet melodic dub, ambient noir (on the lighter side of dark) with sensual beats, or just a lover of way cool EM, you’re gonna love Soundician. These two have a lot to offer the genre. I urge you to support them in any way you can.
Bill Binkleman – Wind and Wire – SOUNDICIAN (2000)

Soundician Soundician 2,5 stars CD-R Self-released 2000 Soundician are Odette and Kit Johnson from Northern England, who started the band back in 1999. Odette writes the music and plays all instruments while Kit mixes and produces the outcome. Soundician (whose motto is: “remember, it is better to miss a beat than to miss the point”) doesn’t characterize their music, but say its “an eclectic blend of electronic minimalist / classical music, with a touch of ambient -space and lush melodic EM”. The same-titled album is their debut and the 45 minutes of instrumental music indeed doesn’t make it easy to classify, although listening to it several times does result in a typical Soundician-sound. Their style ranges from electronic minimalism to dreamy and space/ambient, although a few experimental/classic angles also can be noticed. Back to the album I would say “Jewel” and “Hironi” to be moody cosmic while “Curtain” en “Lament” get into the experiment. The closing track “Archangel” gets nice dash of symphonic elements to it. In all, this is not that easy music, but keep in mind that magic starts to work as you give this disc some more spins. Currently, the band has remastered the first album. Bert Strolenberg

Bert Strolenberge-dition 2004 / SOUNDICIAN

SOUNDICIAN CDR Soundician is Odette and Kit Johnson, a duo recording instrumental electronic music from a little back room in the north of England, “trying to bring some sense to Our world via the medium of sound”. This CDR is a completely homemade production, and collects a series of tracks that are also available as Liquid Audio files from their website. Odette composes and performs the music, while Kit does the mixing and production work. The music most often takes the form of gentle ambient-electronic music (often with strong old-school Eno-esque leanings), probably made exclusively with analogue synths. Textures range from smooth waves of sound to more rough patches, melodies are sometimes quirky and at others are mellow or meditative. The tracks do cross over a number of musical territories, yet still they never branch off far enough so as to make Soundician’s compositional voice unrecognisable. Smooth waves of sound and a gentle percussive rhythm makes “Obsidian” one of my favourites here, along with the circular melody of “Sleepwalker”. Soundician’s debut is a charming record of inspired and inspirational music, clearly a labour of love and the result of a great admiration of retro-ambient music. [Richard di Santo]

Richard di Santo – Incursion Music Review Issue 15 – SOUNDICIAN (2000)

Soundician is Odette Johnson and Kit Johnson. Soundician is also their debut CD and it is “out there,” so to speak! There are no rules so Odette and Kit follow no rules. Their motto is “… remember, it’s better to miss a beat than to miss the point …”. They classify this music as “eclectic” and that is appropriate. It has elements of minimalism, space music, trip hop and experimental music. it is electronic and it is deep. They are, quite literally, inviting listeners to enter their journey and their world as they try to bring sense to it. The music does that. It is relaxing eclectica and listeners entering their soundworld are free to roam or to follow Odette and Kit. This is a worthy adventure and a viable candidate for top newcomer.
Jim Brenholts – Ambient Visions – SOUNDICIAN (2002)



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