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outer space (john elliott) - Akashic Record (Events: 1986-1990)
Old-school synthesiser science fiction on Spectrum Spools, this time from label curator John Elliott's aptly named Outer Space, an Ohio-centered group with a rotating cast of members - this time numbering Philip Whiteside (Wavehead), Drew McDowall (Coil, Mirror Eye) and Jeff Hatfield (Fragments). Following on from their self-titled Arbor album from a couple of years back, Akashic Record sees Elliott and friends continuing their investigations into "synthesiser experimentation and its esoteric relations" - 'Ellipse' sets the tone, coming over like Cluster fired into planetary orbit with nothing but oxygen and LSD for company, while '11:38' could be the soundtrack to a Michael Mann-style cop thriller set in 2040, and 'The Fifth Column' puts us in mind of Carl Craig exploring his most fevered fantasies of Tangerine Dream-aping - you half expect a thunderous kickdrum to arrive at some point, but of course it never does. For us, it's the two live recordings closing out the set that have the most power and actually live up to album's spiritual/religious rhetoric - pay particular attention to 'February 8th, 1990 - Ashland Ohio', wherein those tried and tested arpeggios play second fiddle to string pads arranged in patterns of orchestral grandeur.