Artist: The Irresistible Force
Title: Global Chillage
Label: Astralwerks, Rising High
Format: CD. LP
The second of three albums, this ambient obscurity came out in ’95 alongside one vinyl single stateside. It’s not as well-known as the third LP, “Is It Tomorrow Already?” though not as rare as the debut album for this project, “Flying High.” Still, sealed copies of even the US release have been priced between $25 and $110. I was lucky to find my copy in the electronic section of a very sloppy/disorganized record store just north of Rochester for $10.
Recorded in 1994 by music maven Mixmaster Morris, this album rode well on the success of the ambient movement that had peaked between ’92 and ’94. It’s spelled out on the back panel: “This record is dedicated to the global ambient underground. It’s time to lie down and be counted.” However, I don’t believe that this album was designed to cash in on the popularity of the genre and the scene that surrounded it. If it did, the music would be lackluster and flat. Rather, everything on this album is well composed, constructed properly and quite pleasing to the ear. Granted, it’s typical for Morris’s ambient project, but it certainly holds its own.
The album itself opens with the four ambient music staples from the time period: flowing synth, defined yet mellow synth pads, fitting vocal samples and gentle beats. This isn’t a bad thing; many of the great ambient classics from the early 90s used this formula and despite how common it was, made it uniquely their own. To top it off, “Global Chillage” features mostly long form tracks, most of which clock in between nine minutes and fourteen minutes.
The opening track is a swooshing synth exploration that shimmers and hums along for a good long while. It’s pockmarked with vocal samples, giving it depth and a touch of intrigue. As we advance into the second track, the focus shifts more onto mild chimes and repetitive synth textures while still keeping the many swooshes at hand. This track is entrancing partly due to its repetitive nature but it doesn’t overstay its welcome.
Things move in a more astrological direction with the third track, “Moonrise.” And as such, it does barrow a lot from the space ambient side of the genre. The synth is used a lot more for affects rather than for melodies, gently chirping over a low pitched hum. Things get pretty cosmic on the album from here on out. “Sunstroke” and “Snowstorm” reflect this very well.
“Waveform” brings us back to Earth with an odd little vocal sample about oral sex, which was hilarious. The ambience quickly takes over, layering the listener in piles of synth, more half-heard vocal samples and electronic swooshes and beeps. So far, the track is the most complex. The synth evolves into a warm and rhythmic …throbbing? It ends with some odd vocal samples before trailing off into the final track, “Manifesto.” This is the shortest track, clocking in at just a little over two minutes. The vocal sample is heavily vocoded, creating the melody that the synth builds itself around. Eventually, the vocals become so distorted that they resemble a pipe organ more than anything else. And as this occurs, the track fades out and the album is over.
Final thoughts? This is a fairly decent album. It stays true to the styles that made the first and third albums from the Irresistible Force project what they are without being too redundant. As I mentioned earlier, this album followed a particular formula that a lot of ambient records took to around ’94 and ’95, and one can draw some comparisons to certain releases from the Fax label, or maybe Spacetime Continuum. Some folks may find that a bit dated but there’s still a huge fan base surrounding records of this kind. It’s definitely an album worth checking out. It’s pure ambient bliss!
4.7 out of 5.