Sep 2011 26

Gnome & Spybey - At Willie's PlaceGnome & Spybey
Category: Ambient / Experimental
Album: At Willie’s Place
Stars: 3
Blurb: Organic manipulations of sound combined with synthesized ambience making for a good night of deep listening.


Mark Spybey is no stranger to the annals of experimental ambient music, having been involved in a diverse range of projects such as Download, Zoviet France, Beehatch, and most famously Dead Voices on Air. Tony D’Oporto is another musical veteran, though his talents have been more in the beat-driven genres of danceable industrial, synthpop, and breakbeat-infused ambient music. Together, these two masters of atmospheric craft form Gnome & Spybey, and with their debut album, At Willie’s Place, listeners are treated to a cornucopia of soothing, electrified psychedelia that as any good collaboration should retains the best elements of both artists’ styles.

“The False Prophets” begins At Willie’s Place rather beautifully with a spacious array of twinkling synthesizer treatments, distant manipulated samples, and wave upon wave of hollow ambience that immediately instills a sensation akin to drifting in interstellar space. It’s almost whimsical in its simplicity, but it sets the tone of the album perfectly. As the album progresses, the atmospheres become slightly more discordant as on “Gnome Entrance,” which begins with an almost bluesy keyboard refrain that hints at some trip-hop, but it’s a fake out as the song immediately shifts to a range of ever oscillating tones that grow more and more dissonant. Other tracks like “Knoll Exit,” “Middle Roads,” and “Quiet Noise” are even more sonically divergent, balancing contemplative and off-key tones that are as beautiful as they are disturbing, while “Spacelec,” “Tetsusaygo,” and “In the Colour of the Red Bull” retain the spacey simplicity of “The False Prophets,” albeit with both tracks eventually incorporating down-tempo rhythms. “Gold to Water” stands out on the album with its frigid vocal melodies immersed in a grating sound collage akin to chirping insects, running water, and harsh winds all rolled together.

The juxtaposition of Spybey’s more organic manipulations with D’Oporto’s synthesized sonic habitats makes for an enticing collaboration, making At Willie’s Place an album best suited for quiet contemplation and deep listening. While hardly the most impressive outing by either artist, Gnome & Spybey is at least an appealing mixture that will give fans of both artists something to enjoy should they need a soundtrack to a rainy evening.

Track list:

  1. The False Prophets
  2. In the Colour of the Red Bull
  3. Gold to Water
  4. Tetsusaygo
  5. Spacelec
  6. Gnome Entrance
  7. Knoll Exit
  8. Middle Roads
  9. Quiet Noise
  10. Tonycango

Gnome & Spybey Facebook
Gnome & Spybey SoundCloud
Tourette Records Website
Tourette Records MySpace

Purchase at:
Amazon CD (Limited Edition)
Amazon MP3


Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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