CD Review

As half of instrumental duo Zombi, Steve Moore has turned indie kids on to the pleasures of low-rent Tangerine Dream freakouts for half a decade. But on his own, free to roam in the studio, where a keyboard sound is as direct as the three-quarter-inch cord he plugs into his mixing board, Moore seems even more in his own element, crafting free-range synth meditations that know no boundaries—genre-wise, tone-wise, time-wise. Especially time-wise. With just five tracks totaling 45 minutes, The Henge is an indulgence both for Moore and the listener. Throughout the disc, he celebrates in glacially paced epics the bloated keyboard tones that indie rockers usually sneer at.

Moore's real talent is embracing a languid pace without getting too chilled-out. “Cepheid” features some of those twinkling Jan Hammer strings Moby bit for “God Moving Over the Face of the Waters,” only here recast in purer tonal form as a lilting melodrama of arpeggios made into billowy mantras, complete with angelic voices. In the infinitely evocative deadpan of keyboard sounds, it comes off like Manuel Göttsching's E2-E4 by way of the Who's “Won't Get Fooled Again,” even if takes more than eight minutes to get there.

“The Henge/Ascension” is a Metallica-like pins-'n'-needles riff slowed down and smoothed out, ascending to a coda of distorted bass drops that hang uneasily in the vastness. It's this kind of time-stretching that makes The Henge, as Bowie once said, “a crash course for the ravers.” Only here, it's on the ins and outs and out-theres of Philip Glass, Seefeel and DBX megaplex sounds filtered through metal's math, prog-rock's quantum physics and a soundtrack's seismic sustain. What's not to like? With tracks that average nine-plus minutes, if you've listened that long, you gave up that choice five minutes ago.

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