Exposé Online banner

Stephen Phillips — Cycles 4
(Dark Duck DDR 134, 2002, CD)

by Phil Derby, Published 2002-09-01

Cycles 4 Cover art

There is ambient, and then there is ambient. This is true ambient, for fans of completely tuneless, minimalist drones and occasional other sounds electronic. For example, after a couple of minutes, muted reverberant drones are met by the slow bleep-bleep-bleep sounds of sonar on a submarine. They resurface occasionally at unpredictable intervals throughout the single hour-long track that comprises the entire disc. Something resembling discrete notes moves through from time to time, giving the listener a little bit to grab onto. Though this is extremely minimalist, there are distinct musical movements. However, depending on your state of mind while listening, you may not be consciously aware of it. Though this may be sonic wallpaper for some, for others it could very well be pure elixir. I think that meditation enthusiasts will be in heaven, or any other place or state of their choosing. It is mostly shades of dark, but there are lighter passages that are quite beautiful as well. Occasionally, a more rapid pulse appears, but disappears quickly, leaving mostly the feeling of deep space, devoid of companionship but also bereft of distractions from the world left behind. A total trance trip, built for one. Come back safely.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 25, 2002 releases

Related artist(s): Stephen Philips

Latest news

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Noetra - Neuf Songes – This is fabulous, very intricate and occasionally dark, somewhat Canterburyish kind of stuff. The pieces are mellow and rolling as well as intense and energetic, the writing is excellent, and there...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues