Sometimes there’s no disturbance like that of daydreams passing, forever awash into the streams of streets and cars, melting into power lines that draw a deeply psychological landscape into being. Ambient, as well-meaning as it is, often obviates these projections of self unto the world, inadvertently hiding its resistance, all those strange moments of sudden interruptions that signal not a reflection of mood but something alien, something that is always on the verge of breaking any headlong dive into the normalcy of (mentally) organized sound. /// is an album of droning backlash, of a tranquil afternoon ambient stroll that slowly deviates into the dark-red territory of non-control, a confrontation with the world as much more than the exploration of a happy balance of nature; it continually questions any and all certainty of what is perceived: it is the daytime movement of the city to ambient’s meadows and still urban settings… it’s noise, in yet another form.
What most people who like these kinds of musics (I’m sure!) know and are is cosmopolitan – ambient will forever remain a well-kept garden walled against something much larger and unpredictable. Whatever measure of control we feel we have as we determine the layers of sounds imprinted with our mood is easily lost upon the thousand accidents of varying degrees that make up the rhythm of the city, making us wake up time and again to realize we need to stop or start once more whatever daydreams were blurring our consciousness. This album reflects those very moments of awareness mixed with longing, an apprehensiveness that looks inside and outside at the same time, erasing all thoughts in the passing of a second.
Sometimes such moments are crafted through the use of obvious field recordings, like the train sounds of “A Train In My Heart”, surrounded as it is by electronic open-endedness, a machine that tends towards the infinite, as well as non-obvious ones such as the crackling in “Dedham Valley”, like an old recording of a roaring wind. Technology, representative of our projections, of our fantasies of control, becomes tainted by nature, breaking suddenly apart into the indeterminate. Like other noise artists out there, particularly Mike Shiflet, Linear Bells seems to attempt to merge the delicate expressions of ambient with the wild incisiveness of drone, creating a kind of music that apparently aims at the throat of the ‘use’ of sounds as psychological gauges and levers, revealing the illusion, letting us know that the soliloquy of mood can and must be undone.
/// is a question in the midst of certainty, an interruption that leads to unknown paths and strange reactions. It’s not that easy to categorize or describe, and that’s exactly what makes it interesting, and what will make any listener with an inclination for ambient and/or drone probably happy to give it a spin or two. Yet, it’s also something Linear Bells is turning into habit, and any subversion that wishes to remain so must eventually configure itself differently. This listener hopes the artist will find perfection and then move on, in order to not become an icon for sameness. (David Murrieta)