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

2018-05-14
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more

2018-04-05
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more

2018-04-04
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more

2018-03-01
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 and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

2018-02-26
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


Previously in Exposé...

Ron E. Carter - Play Hendrix – Covering the Jimi Hendrix catalogue requires skill as well as thought about which arrangements to interpret and which ones not to disturb. Stevie Ray Vaughn’s cover of “Voodoo Chile -...  (2002) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues