Frozen Paint on Boiling Canvas (ncb Teosto)
Prod: Otso Pakarinen
- The Sprawl (4:06)
- We Are All Carrying The Burden Of Our Future (6:01)
- Limping Alien (3:23)
- Freudian Sleep (3:20)
- They Are Finally Starting To Come (4:52)
- Edgewood (6:15)
- Spring Theory (6:54)
- From A To B (4:26)
- Sometimes It Is Not As Always (6:05)
- Whatever Happened To The Emperor’s Old Clothes? (6:59)
- Otso Pakarinen – Synthesizers, percussion and found sounds
- Tim Walters – Recorder, dulcimer and percussion on “Edgwood”, “Spring Theory” and “Sometimes is Not as Always”
- Esa Hyvönen – Percussions in “Sometimes is Not as Always”
To describe Ozone Player’s album, Frozen Paint On Boiling Canvas, we must start by mentioning that this album has almost nothing to do with current electronica’s offerings. Its style is clearly purist, if one may say so about such a genre, mainly because it adheres to the conventions followed by the pioneers of electronic music in what may be mistakenly called the golden age of electronic music, an age of geniuses with strong academic, musical and engineering credentials.
In this slow starting album, it really doesn’t pick up but until at the sixth piece, after a somewhat insipid first track, We are all carrying the burden of future tries to pick up the pace as expected of a second track but we get lost in what turns out to be a repetitive track but maybe what makes it seem lackluster is the fact that it gives off the feeling of listening to something dated, considering it is a 2004 recording. The first reminiscence of the greats comes early in the fourth track, Freudian Sleep, it vaguely resembles Vangelis’s Blade Runner Soundtrack, but be wary, I have to stress the vaguely part.
In Edgewood the album steers into a whole different realm with something that across the middle section of the track reminded me of Mike Oldfield’s Ommadawn. The song starts with a tacky pan flute, hence the world music reference, then it actually becomes enjoyable as it drifts to the end and the tribal sounding pan flute reappears, and it is great in the pure spirit of world music and late period new age.
Spring Theory, the album’s greatest moment we listen to nice synthesizer voices at the beginning and some simple yet pleasant piano loops. I specially enjoyed the loop arrangements behind the piano as they transcend to tubular bells, then the pan flute rears its ugly head again and we’re back at Mike Oldfield’s territory, but almost not there, in a refreshing way, and this may be the greatest achievement of the record, to carry in the tradition of Oldfield or Jarre but to drift from their current offerings by remaining essentially on the same territory without bringing the “rave scene” elements that both of these artists have tainted their work with, and this coming from a fan of both musical styles. Spring theory could be the jewel of the record. A somewhat marauding sort of creation, but with a good balance of electronic as well as traditional music elements to appease the mature electronica audience and those with an affinity for world or new age music.
From A to B seems an exercise in delay management, I wonder if it was digital or analog. And then Sometimes is not always, this is the more Jarresque of the tracks. With clever twists in the melody and a rhapsody of bells, bells cling-clanging in the most pure style of the French author. The last track is Tangerine Dream from the softer side of their new age phase in the eighties but with Indian or eastern tinges instead of native American infatuation the Germans displayed at the time.
I have to apologize for all the references to other bands and musicians in order to describe this Finnish work, but as I stated earlier, if one decides to delve in a classical style one runs the risk of being compared to the classics, perhaps something that can be spared for electronica’s experimentalists.
Overall it is a good album for the old electronica fans but not for those looking for something different or revolutionary.