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act 169 á l'ombre á simulations 2.0 á cd

relax it's digital, city speak, subway tunnel advertising, jackhammer blues, no referent, vanishing point, relax it's digital [ab ovo remix], urban estate [enduser remix], reality loop [hysteria jive by hecq], interlocultion [mimetic remix], city speak [displacer remix], off course [s:cage remix], reality loop [hecqs echo implant], world of strangers.

ant-zen presents stephen sawyer's follow-up to last years 'simulations 1.0'. once again, the listener dives into a strange parallel universe that is populated by dark ambiences, paralyzing sub-basses and cold-sounding rhythms. the rhythmic part of l'ombres' work has also increased and on 'simulations 2.0' you can find unusual references - such as slow dark hop oriented beats and loops that are overlaid with smooth synth soundscapes, soundtrackish samples and filter manipulations.

a perusal of the 7 remixes reveals reverberated distorted beats (s:cage), drum'n'bass / breakbeats (enduser) or straight ambient polyrhythmic percussion/synth lines (hecq) - adding a stylistic diversity to l'ombres 'simulations 1.0 and 2.0.

packaging: gatefold sleeve w/ metallic paper

discography l'ombre 10.2k4:
2004. cd. simulations 2.0. ant-zen act169
2003. cd. simulations 1.0. ant-zen act149
2002. cd. medicine for the meaningless. ant-zen act129

l'ombre website: www.antimattermedia.com/lombre

remixers' sites:
ab ovo abovo.free.fr
enduser enduser.sonicterror.net
hecq www.hecq.de
mimetic www.darksite.ch/mimetic/entete.htm
displacer www.dsplcr.com
s:cage www.splintercage.com


sehr feines neues album von lÕombre, der gleich noch ein paar remixer einlŠdt, um seine sehr eigenen tracks noch von anderen seiten beleuchten zu lassen. lÕombre hei§t: darke soundscapes und komisch stolpernde rhythmen, direkt aus einem zuckenden jazzkeller, der aber bis oben hin so voll mit illegalem ist, dass man eh nicht mehr richtig gucken kann. wir stehen total auf solche sachen, klar, und schnippen mit, vor allem, wenn dann noch schleppender house rausgeholt wird. die remixe (ab ovo, hecq, enduser, displacer und s:cage) betonen den nicht ausgesprochenen charakter der tracks dann umso stŠrker und so ist Òsimulations 2.0Ó vorsichtig gesagt unwiderstehlich. darkness muss nicht aufdringlich sein. (thaddi)

vital weekly
last year stephen sawyer (a.k.a. l'ombre) released his debut album titled "simulations 1.0" on ant zen recordings. it was a pleasant journey into sonic spheres of melodic ambient and bent-out-of-shape breakbeats. just a year later the follow-up, bearing the logic title "simulations 2.0" has hit the streets. and the recipe of the debut is neatly followed. this time the result is even better! the album is still focused on atmospheres of melodic fragility but the rhythmic part of l'ombre works better on "simulations 2.0", still with the nice mixture of dark hop oriented beats and laid back breakbeat textures. even though the rhythmic section of the album isn't suppressed in the overall sound picture, the rhythms never disrupt the chill-out feeling. rather it helps accomplishing the laid back atmosphere of the album in the best possible way. samples of soundtracks and looped vocal effects gives a fresh feeling, just like the funky guitar riff-samples first of all appearing on opening track "relax, it's digital". the total playing time of the main album is only 27 minutes, but the cd contains seven pleasant remixes of tracks from the album by other sound artists. the quality of the remixes is high. despite the fact that each remix carries its own personal expression by the remixing artist, the remixes generally stay true to the original expression of l'ombre. thus the unattended listener wouldn't even realise that the main album had ended and the remixes had taken over. so there we go: 70 minutes of excellent chill out! (nmp)

a review in russian language by valentin laboda:

picking up where his 2003 release, simulations 1.0, left off, simulations 2.0 continues sawyer's evolution from a cold and ghostly dark ambient player to a cinematic isolationist with a machine-driven heartbeat that thrums steadily beneath his capacious soundtracks. split equally between new material and remixes (seven of them supplied by similarly-thinking artists like enduser, mimetic, ab ovo, hecq, displacer and s:cage), simulations 2.0 is more than a simple variation of l'ombre's oeuvre: it's a whole new iteration of sawyer's cinematic polish, lit by neon reflections and polished chrome and cut by an subterranean undercurrent of dark beats. "jackhammer blues" and "subway tunnel advertising" bristle with dark beats, dark marching rhythms that lurch with an urban insouciance. "city speak" echoes with the hollow reverberation of drums rumbling through a tactile fog of noisome static. sawyer isn't building metropolitan pastoral symphonies any more; his soundtracks have a gritty, urban drive to them and sound like they could very easily be adapted as themes and leitmotifs for a remake of walter hill's the warriors. in "relax it's digital" and "no referent," sawyer's ambience is filled with the leaking hum of the downtempo jazz club and the glitch chatter from a thousand difference electronic sources. even "vanishing point," which sounds as if it escaped from a loscil record, is accompanied by a bass drum and metallic drum kit. the remixers, for the most part, accentuate the existing thematic thrust of their individual tracks. ab ovo's remix of "relax it's digital" is simply more digital than the original -- neither faster nor slower, just filled with more digital processing and crackling synthesis while displacer's remix of "city speak" focuses on the drums, bringing them closer in the mix. enduser's remix of "urban estate" snares the same luscious drone of "vanishing point" and demolishes it in a broken cataclysm of drum 'n' bass and sub-sonic rumblings. hecq's two remixes of "reality loop" vanish in either direction, the "hysteria jive" mix shuttling off to an uptown dance club while the "echo implant" mix dissolves into the slow water running down the streets and vanishing into the storm drains. s:cage brings the rhythmic noise train hard into the station for "off course," and mimetic's remix of "interlocution" is a stellar conglomeration of the l'ombre aesthetic: a self-contained five-minute soundtrack that moves from the ghostly ambience of l'ombre's medicine for the meaningless to the dark hop beats that permeate simulations 2.0 with the added bonus of the orchestral flair that suffuses mimetic's work. i'm continually impressed with stephen sawyer's work; each of his records as l'ombre have distinct personalities and demonstrate sawyer's continued growth as an artist. simulations 2.0 is just the next iteration in that evolution, adding propulsive beats and gritty urban sizzle to his already immaculately constructed static-laced ambience. bravo. (mark teppo)

l'allemand stefan alt n'a pas abandonnŽ les musiques Žlectroniques pour l'Žlectro-rock, lui ! le boss de ant zen et sa sous-division electronica groove n' break dŽviant, hymen, continu de produire des disques inattendus dans le domaine de l'Žlectronique pure, tout en lui donnant une dimension toujours plus organique et cinŽmatique - ˆ l'image des sublimes pochettes digipack du label qu'il rŽalise lui-mme. exemple avec cet opus de l'ombre alias stephen sawyer, de l'electronica futuriste, comme on aime ˆ en produire chez ant-zen. simulation 2.0 est le deuxime volet d'une sŽrie (?) initiŽe l'an dernier. notons Žgalement que ce producteur mystŽrieux nous avait gratifiŽs, il y a deux ans, d'un medecine for the meaningless. premier album des plus envožtant, dans le genre ambiant-electronica glacŽ tout juste recouvert d'un givre de piano, dont les rŽsonances mŽlancoliques n'Žtaient pas sans rappeler erik satie rencontrant un squarepusher assagie. simulations 1.0, "prequelle" de l'album ici chroniquŽ, se voulait beaucoup plus accessible. stephen sawyer y abandonnait l'ambiant anorexique un rien rigoriste de medecineÉ pour des constructions limpides soutenues par une rythmique imparable tout en restant ambiant. c™tŽ dŽcors, il dŽcidait de laisser tomber les grands espaces dŽsertiques, pour plonger dans le grouillement de la matrice cybernŽtique et explorer les fantasmes urbains qui l'accompagnent. un revirement de fond, qui se fait encore sentir aujourd'hui dans simulation 2.0. une initiative que nous ne pouvons que saluer, tant le rŽsultat en vaut la peine. en effet, les deux albums Ð qui peuvent tre pris ensemble comme sŽparŽment - marque le prolongement des travaux de sawyer sur le rythme. lˆ o simulation 1.0 Žtait une longue promenade virtuelle o downtempo implacables et montŽes paroxystiques se c™toyaient dans une profusion d'atmosphres, simulation 2.0 Žvoque plut™t un croisement entre dancefloor extraterrestre et musiques cinŽmatiques. tout comme son comparse de label, jeff mcilwain de lusine icl, sawyer s'illustre rŽellement, dans ce genre de musique narrative. ses albums Žvoquant tout autant la science-fiction d'un blade runner, que les brusques montŽes de tension de la techno post-industrielle la plus rigide. c'est donc avec curiositŽ que l'on aborde cette version 2.0 de simulation o le jeune producteur semble avoir encore repoussŽ les limites de son art en proposant des ambiances plus que variŽes, puisqu'il s'entoure ici de nombreux compagnons d'armes. sont invitŽs, s.cage, abe ovo, hecq, enduser, soit la crme de l'electronica post-industrielle chre ˆ ant zen. autant dire que l'album est une rŽussite d'autant plus Žclatante que les tracks de sawyer gagnent en puissance et en lisibilitŽ au fil des remixes. 7 nouveaux morceaux dans la veine breakbeat urbain et electronica qu'il affectionne, grosses rythmiques et glitch ˆ l'avenant et 6 remixes, entre ambiant et drill'n'bass, de quoi enthousiasmer les plus gourmands Ð et les plus curieux - d'entre vous. (maxence grugier)

wreck this mess
pas tout ˆ fait la suite, ni tout ˆ fait autre chose, cette deuxime "simulation" met en Ïuvre des rythmes chaotiques qui investissent l'espace ˆ une cadence mesurŽe. quelques stimuli Žlectroniques, une ligne de basse marquŽe et un clavier habillant cette structure rythmique plombŽe qui n'est pas sans prŽsenter des analogies avec scorn et certaines productions du label wordsound (cf. "city speak", "jackhammer blues", etc.). ou du moins de ce que l'on peut faire aprsÉ car stephen sawyer multiplie les approches et les tonalitŽs, passant d'une construction abstraite ("no referent") ˆ une ambiance plus aŽrienne ou, au contraire, plus tendue. une poignŽe de remixes signŽs par displacer, hecq, ab ovo, mimetic et s:cage ajoutent ˆ la confusion des genres; donnant ainsi une singularitŽ supplŽmentaire ˆ cette "terre d'ombre"É (ld)

filigrane electronica im hip-hop tauchbad. lÕombre watet auf seiner durch viele remixe auf albumlŠnge aufgeblŠhten ep durch herrlich angejazzte laptopia, dichte soundfelder, meat beat manifesto ekklektik und technoide bedrohlichkeit. derr kanadier entwickelt sich und etnwickelt sich und entwickelt sichÉ abwechslungsreich, mit einigen stilfinten, bleibt es bei allem bekannten immer noch frisch. die wuchtige hip-hop-entschleunigung hat ihm besonders gut getan. da fŸllen die soundschnipsel die lŸcken zwischen den beats besonders prominent aus. da entfernt er sich am besten von der electronica flŠchenbruchstŸckbeliebigkeit, in die man schnell fallen kann, egal wie gut gesetzt. ich bin beeindruckt. trotz remixwahn entsteht letzendlich ein ganzes album, denn die gastumbauer (enduser, hecq, ab ovo, displacer, mimetic, s:cage) haben gut mit den vorgefundenen elementen gespielt. viel material, ein quentchen zu viel vielleicht, aber immer schšn. (t™)

sawyer follows up last year's simulations with another album of pulsating breakbeats, backed by fragile soundtrack-style backgrounds. the album is further heightened by the inclusion of 7 remixes from the likes of ab ovo, enduser, hecq, displacer and s:cage. simulations 2.0 begins with the contemplative ambience of relax, it's digital; a startling universe of squelching beats, brief funky guitar samples and distant vocal effects. it's beautifully and imaginatively put together, and a fine example of how to make a big impact using relatively few sounds. city speak references the first album by dropping in a big percussive dark-hop beat and allowing soft rhythms to swan around it, leaving plenty of room for the odd expressive synth line or sample. jackhammer blues takes things further, with a corking break beat that's so hypnotic that the song barely needs any further accompinament. no referent is similar, as yet again sawyer works miracles by producing genuinely fascinating processed break beats and adding the smallest dose of sound manipulation to give the track, on this occasion, an authentic, off-the-wall techno flavour. the remixes kick in on track seven, and simulations 2.0 is really perfect material to remix, as there's so much room to improvise over the pulsating breakbeats and minimalist layers of sound. ab ovo's brilliant mix of the aforementioned relax, it's digital provides immediate, irrefutable proof of this - as it carves it own style over and above the foundations of the original track. this is experimental ambient music at its best. of the other mixes, s:cage version of the track off course is the only one that stands out as being and over-ambitious; with its muddy production, yet most of the other remixes are consistently listenable, keeping the high standard of the album ticking over nicely, although things do slightly tail off towards the end. simulations 2.0 improves over its predecessor by adding more attitude, and an altogether more interconnected and approachable vibe. once again the ant-zen label comes up trumps, we never seem to have to wait very long.

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