Richard Bone
AD MUSIC 02.11.06

I have to admit to struggling sometimes with what to make of some of the ambient releases from AD Music so bear with me while I take you through my thoughts on this one…..

Richard Bone has been around a while and this new release focuses on the inspiration he gets from teeny tiny creatures. With titles like ‘The Seduction Of Dr Pasteur’, ‘Protozoa, Mon Amour’ and ‘Thermatoga’, you’ll see this is not a man scared of pretension. Although categorised by the press release as ambient / electronic and down tempo chill-out, I’d take issue with the last – this is quite heavy-duty stuff and liable to give you a headache if you leave it on as background. Reminding me of the sort of thing I might get played to me in a darkened room at Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Serene Lives Of Microbes is composed through with purpose but also an eye to impressive sounds – bass frequencies figure strongly here for that vibrating speaker effect.

The set opens up with the sounds of a storm and dripping water close at hand (just what I need on a November day….) before droning synths come in. The mood deepens and darkens and some acoustic sounds appear, bending notes. Patterns come and go (that’s patterns, not tunes, folks), building then dissipating. Sometimes a big sweep of sound comes and is accompanied by blips and beeps. The more cyclic pieces put me in mind of Glass or Reich played at the speed of continental drift, others are a wash of colour. The set winds down with the dampening effect of ‘Going Dormant’. I can’t see this piece of programme music becoming a regular in the CD player but a concentrated listen was rather more rewarding than I expected.

Ross McGibbon