Dots by Dots

When are Dots not Dots. When those Dots are in fact Atom™ (how do you pronounce that by the way?). Astral Industries issue this 1994 album of charming pointillist ambience. Sounds like a music box playing a lullaby in a rainstorm. That kind of thing that makes you forget where you are, even for a moment.

Vinyl Double LP £19.99 AI-14

2LP on Astral Industries aka Atom™.

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Dots by Dots
1 review. Write a review for us »
8/10 Ant 10 July 2019

Uwe Schmidt AKA Atom™, Atom Heart, Señor Coconut and a zillion other aliases has a fathomless discography within electronic music - from bangin' techno/electro/acid and beyond. He's also proved to be something of a wizard when it comes to ambient music. In 1994 he released his sole work under the Dots handle on his own Rather Interesting label. Now Astral Industries re-introduce it with a fine vinyl edition, and I have to say it's aged like a fine wine. 

I've always prefered this deep electronic style of ambient rooted in the 90s as opposed to the more organic stuff that gets labelled as ambient these days. Probably cuz I was a techno freak back then and this is exactly the sorta stuff that would get played post-club at 5:00 am. The weird thing is, I never came across the album until now! I've been compensating by literally sleeping with it - since I got the digital files it's been on my phone and pumping into my brain receptors on headphones - the idea being it's literally perfect music to zone out to in the dark, and I could absorb it before writing these words - the trouble is, I never got past the third track before it completely hypnotized/tranquillized me into snoozeville. This is, of course, a positive thing in some aspects but not conducive to my task of blathering on here... 

So... opening track ‘Friendly Cortex’ is utterly sublime - it has the atmosphere from Kraftwerk's 'Radioactivity' album where you can imagine dancing particles - a sound also reminiscent of Gerald Donald's work as Arpanet and Der Zyklus. Such a sweet and pretty tune with gorgeous twinkling, glassy sounds that just lure you in. 'Dots' veers into darker terrain - the mesmerizing looping sonar bleeping like being lost in space or deep sea and recalls early works by Mika Vainio on Sähkö - a label Atom™ would go on to release his 'Cold Memories' album through. As the track evolves lots of subtle sounds creep in and kinda reminds me a wee bit of the vibe on Joey Beltram’s ‘Aonox’ album. ‘Seaweed’ floats slightly discordant jazzy melodies over dubby subs to sublime effect, while ‘Spinout Segment’ is like submerging into a glowing, radiant neon pink ocean and hanging out and communicating with dolphins and other alien-like aquatic lifeforms. ‘Stain (Dot)’ is tantalizingly mysterious -  like some frogs sneaked into a hut in Java for a late-night Gamelan session. ‘Dense’ is like wearing psilocybin goggles, peeling back the layers and being able to see things beyond normal perception - like looking out into the room and seeing infrared, radio waves, wi-fi etc. all pinging around the room, turning around to see your mate looks like an Alex Grey painting - so yeah, trippy. Closing track ‘Tonic Edge’ returns to the shimmering mood where the album first began but wanders down a more introspective, heady and relentlessly deep trajectory.

Of all the albums Astral Industries have reissued - I think this is the one that’ll live with me for the longest - there’s a wonderful flow and continuity to the tracks which demands to be consumed whole. Feels like discovering a lost classic that’s CD case woulda been skinned up on alongside early Black Dog, Aphex, the Artificial Intelligence comps, KLFs ‘Chillout’, classic Namlook/Fax etc.


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