Exposé Online banner

AeTopus — When
(Bandcamp no#, 2015, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2016-11-20

When Cover art

Washington-based musician Brian Tewell Hughes is back with a full-length follow up to his 2012 EP, Angels and Machines. The good news is that the promise of that earlier offering has been generously fulfilled here. These 12 tracks fall loosely within the category of electro-acoustic instrumental music, but Hughes doesn’t succumb to the sort of stylistic straightjacket that can sometimes plague the genre. For starters, he has a great sense for rhythm and percussive textures, giving pieces like “Apostasy” and “Quietus Est” a tribal earthiness and others like “Sashay” a satisfyingly electronic pulse. Hughes acknowledges his debt to German electronic pioneers — and he’s a kindred spirit to current practitioners like Robert Schroeder — but he seems more interested in putting his gear to work creating sonic landscapes (without resorting to cliché exoticisms) that should satisfy fans of Ray Lynch or Kit Watkins. He clearly knows his way around a studio and all the sequencers, programming, loops, and other tricks of the EM trade, but where he distinguishes himself is the incorporation of more organic, natural elements. Some of these are derived from field recordings and some he invents himself. But whether it’s the acoustic bass in “Gather” or the harpsichord in “Neverwheel,” he’s always on the lookout for sounds that make the piece distinctive. This is the sort of music one can really curl up with, full of beguiling melodies and delicately constructed arrangements that send the mind down many pathways, usually full of mystery and the promise of adventure. Recommended.

Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): AeTopus

Latest news

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Ground Zero - Consume Red – One could say without stretching the truth too far, that Consume Red (part one of the three part Project Consume) is basically an hour of pure thrash / noise experimentation, delivered piping hot by...  (1999) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues