Spacetime Continuum - Double Fine Zone

Year of Release: 1999
Label: Astralwerks
Catalog Number: ASW6238
Format: CD
Total Time: 63:24:00

Combining elements of cool and sultry jazz and techno and ambient, Spacetime Continuum (Jonas Sharp) have created an eclectic mix of moods. Sax is featured on many of the tracks, courtesy of both Brain Iddenden and Damien Masterson. It is this sax that gives the opening track "The Ring" a very warm feel. On "Microjam," the (hi-hat?) cymbals are just audible, and yet have a tinny sound ... an echo ... that a basketball makes upon contact with ground, and now, of course, I have this visual of a fixed camera on a basketball net, watching a balls fly through the air, some swishing in, some bouncing off the backboard ricoheting everywhichway. (The cymbals reappear on "Biscuit Face"). Here Masterson also supplies harmonica, creating a tone not unlike that associated with Steve Wonder. The rest of the drum kit keeps time with a beat that you can't help but find yourself matching.

There are so many layers on Double Fine Zone, that each listen reveals something new. While so much processed music seems cold and remote, here even the tone of the synthesized instruments are warm; the notes are rounded, smooth at the edges making for a most appealing sound. And yet, there is this underlying sense of energy, where you feel, if given the chance, the tracks would really take off.

Jazz fans will enjoy this mix. Though I'm not a well versed Miles Davis fan, I'd like to imagine that'd he'd appreciate some of the paths these two saxophonists have taken. This isn't sax as a replacement for vocals, a la Kenny G. or other smooth jazz artists. I hear a more improvizational ethic at work here, where the sax takes lead.

On those sax-less tracks, the intensity doesn't let up. Close your eyes, listen, and imagine your own digital dreams. "Bisquit Face" is all syncopated rhythms, percussive keys, accompanied by other percussion, including the above mentioned cymbals.

"Beveled Edge" is bleats and burps of flatulant keys over thumping drums, and thrumbing bursts of sound. There is a feeling of confined chaos ... as if this little bubble is abustle with activity while the rest of the world strolls by. Actually, what I "see" is this crowded skyport, small personal vessels darting in and out, weaving to and fro, ... I see a Blade Runner universe before it became dark, wet, and cold. This future brand spanking new.

Your images may vary, of course. That's the beauty of this kind of music. The titles are only guides by which to identify tracks, he just as easily could have named them liked Emily Dickenson did her poems, with numbers. But, on the other hand, the titles really do express one of the thousand interpretations one can have.

There are bell like sounds that brought Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon to mind, I'm thinking particularly of "Time." Oh, and there's this sound that sounds like many an electronic video game ("Spin Out"), most particularly the Game Over sound (and, given that Sharp uses samples, it may actually be that sound reproduced here). Sharp, too, plays a Rhodes, and boy if that doesn't give this yet another jazz-like flavour.

I could play the word imagery idea out through each track, but that would only tell you my reaction to it, not whether I find it worth others seeking out.

I like this album a lot, and as an example of jazz meeting technoambient, it serves as a good example. Spacetime Continuum's sonic explorations are worth checking out.

The Ring (3:44) / Mircojam (7:04) / Freezone (5:27) / Biscuit Face (5:42) / Beveled Edge (5:45) / Compound (4:48) / Spin Out (6:35) / One At A Day (5:18) / Manaka (6:24) / Different Bend (4:56) / Further Down The Road (7:41)

Jonah Sharp - synths, sampler, drums and Rhodes
Brian Iddenden - saxaphones (2, 3, 4 and 8)
Damien Masterson - saxaphone (11) and harmonica

Flurescence EP (1993)
Alien Dreamtime (1993)
Sea Biscuit (1994)
Emit Ecaps (1996)
Double Fine Zone (1999)

Genre: Electronic

Origin US

Added: August 1st 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1072
Language: english


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