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rik maclean's *ping things* CD Reviews (Excerpt)

"PiNG AMBiENCE 3: STRiNG THiNGS" by Various Artists

THE AMBiENT PiNG has gained a lot of attention over the last six years, a reputation as a nurturing and supportive environment where like-minded artists can interact and develop their craft. And while it originally started as a local community, it's quickly grown into a larger entity, with support and interaction from a variety of North American cities and around the world. Truly it's become a
significant global presence in the ambient/electronic music scene. And now with the release of "PiNG AMBiENCE 3: STRiNG THiNGS", THE AMBiENT PiNG is poised to make an even greater impact. The third compilation issued by the PiNG, PA3 features a fantastic collection of guitar based work from some of the leading artists in today's ambient scene.

The disc begins with Phil Ogison's track "Aftaglidder", a lovely looping work where themes and phrases spiral around each other, floating. It's a wonderful way to start the disc, setting the mood for what's to come.

Undoubtedly PiNG AMBiENCE 3 offers some of the best
artists in today's ambient music scene. With thirteen
tracks of guitar-based work that showcase a number of
artists who regularly play the PiNG along with assorted
PiNG supporters from farther afield, PA3 is truly a
testimony to the talent associated with THE AMBiENT PiNG.

rik maclean -

The Devil in the Design "Cloudface"

The latest release from The Devil in the Design featuring six improvisational guitar pieces and artwork by Menno Krant.
The latest from Phil Ogison's project The Devil in the Design, "Cloudface" is a disc that brilliantly captures the treated and processed guitar magic that Phil has become known for. Based around the idea that the sky surrounds us in a state of constant flux, Phil has crafted a powerful piece of ambient work performed entirely live without the use of synthesizers. Featuring cover art by the very talented Menno Krant, "Cloudface" is a remarkable work.

With the lulling and hypnotic repeated phrases of opening track "Cloudface", the tone of the album is set, drawing the listener into a sense of calm relaxation. Track two, "Clouds Days Thoughts Cares Happy Sad Come Go" continues in a similar vein expanding upon the ideas established previously and adding minimal melodic elements. Low drones circle around and gain strength with the passing of time, developing greater definition and clarity, ultimately bringing to mind the ideal of all of the words in the title.

"Space Night Dreams Fears Stars Moon Empty Full" is a similarly evocative piece, this time playing out in a darker vein with deep drones and a more imposing sense of space. Where previously there had been subtlety and nuance, there's now a more palpable feeling to the disc. A truly wonderful instance of dark ambience.

The fourth track "Crepuscule" returns to a lighter territory, with softly evolving guitar textures playing throughout. Echoing patterns slowly give way to new forms, a slight shift suggesting organicism and life.

"Shadow Sun Hiding Seeking Stormclouds on the Run" brings together low drone forms with echoing phrases and accelerating chords. There's a certain feeling of energy in this one, the idea of discovery. Beautiful.

"Cloudface (Finale)" closes the disc, taking elements from everything before and wrapping it all in a clear and consice package. Tones flow all around the soundfield and somehow everything beautiful from the earlier tracks is made more apparent, shiny.

Phil's work has always impressed me, always been something that I've enjoyed. With the release of "Cloudface", he has created an album that stands up with his best work, a piece of great beauty and wonder that deserves further notice and discovery. I strongly recommend this disc.

rik maclean - ping things

The Devil In The Design
Ouput 2003
Worthy Records

The Devil in the Design is Toronto based electronic sound artist Phil Ogison. Mr. Ogison has been working with electronics since 1966, using draw organs, frequency generators and tape loops. In the 70's, he began experimenting with early Roland and Arp synthesizers and has since begun to incorporate the sum of all his electronic learnings with the sounds of acoustic instruments like guitar and fretless bass. Over the years Mr. Ogison has developed a unique organic-industrial-electro-acoustic sound that always manages to comes across sounding human and sincere, an accomplishment that many electronic artists fail to ever achieve.

Output 2003 is an mp3 compilation/collection of three 2003 The Devil In The Design recordings organized into 3 separate folders/albums. The first folder on the CD is Alone On The Beach, and it is three tracks of mellow serial composition which was inspired by a stroll on a North Carolina beach. This record is a slow-evolving ambient landscape piece that bubbles and oscillates beneath the listener's skin. The sounds on Alone On The Beach are soothing, shimmering and they wash over you and into your ears as you lie beside the magnificent ocean. The lead track in this folder is a beautiful introduction to the entire collection of music contained on this CD.

The second folder of this compilation disc is An Elemental In Nirvana. The first seven tracks in this folder are cut-up segues of found sounds and field recordings, interspersed with samples of vintage beat boxes. The pieces sound mechanical, but real - like composed coincidences happening in rhythmic and non-rhythmic patterns. The Wandering Demons is a hissy, rustling lo-fi track that documents the sounds of someone's movements. Don't Follow, Just Let It Go Away is an underground subway ride that rumbles an awesome subtle rhythm accentuated by electronic squirts and squiggles.

Tracks eight to fourteen in the An Elemental In Nirvana folder were realized using additive and subtractive and graintable synthesis. These compositions sound more electronic and synthesizer based than anything else on the Output2003 compilation. These tracks are repetitive blips and clips punctuated by choppy synth-strings and cinematic drones. Songs like Cotton Nirvana weave repetitive electric piano lines with squirmy synthesizer noises to create a beautiful contrast in sounds, which meld together and then un-meld from each other, all in the same breath.

The third folder of this mp3 collection is entitled Regard Disregard, which is comprised of 10 tracks wherein a pattern is established, with the first track, and that is used as the basis for the second, and the third is based on the addition of three to one and two, and so on.... These tracks flow into one another as you listen to them, they build up a musical collective unconsciousness as they evolve and de-evolve into one another. Every song feels like you are hearing a mirror image of the previous track, but every time a new layer exposes itself, revealing a greater musical depth. An interesting experiment in wallpapering tracks. The results are a joy to listen to. The sound of the music contained in the Regard Disregard folder is the perfect book end finale to the Output2003 compilation. The Devil In The Design has carefully choreographed an extensive mp3 collection that plays to the listeners ears and resulting moods. Definitely a joy to listen to all the way through or in little tiny pieces. The Devil In The Design is intelligent music filtered through
years of experience and untold wisdom.

To find out more - and and

By L Pounds
May 3, 2004

The Devil In The Design
In The Vale Of The New Year


In The Vale of The New Year is one of those incredible records you've never heard of. The Devil In The Design is Toronto-based artist Phil Ogison (A Pretty Sonic Splatter, Psychosomatic Sound Machine, Subduction Current) and this

release, as do most other DITD releases, sounds nothing like any of his previously released material. From the opening track, A Plunge of Angels, with its' rompy off kilter arrangement of synths, tribal percussion, drum

machines, classical instrumentation and twittering electronics, one thing becomes immediately apparent: this is heavy music made by someone who knows how to properly play with music. At times this record sounds like a progressive rock record, others it sounds like a soundtrack to a Nightmare on Elm Street or Halloween, and in some places it sounds like IDM dressed up in goth. No Chance

Meetings sounds like something bad is about to happen, really, really soon. Possibly around the next corner. On 8 Legs Hence I Always Go, sounds like Frank Zappa conducting an industrial music orchestra made up of musicians from

Jabba the Hut's band. The Blank Cathedral is a cut & paste, techno-glitch piece that keeps going under water and then coming back up for air, choppy, discombobulating and mesmerizing. Trickle Down Effect could easily be the

soundtrack to some nature show that is showing slo-mo time elapsed footage of honey bees collecting pollen or flowers slowly uncurling an waking up to the morning sun, and I Flail My Tail Through The West End sounds like an

electronic whirlwind of sounds skilfully pasted and meshed together into a seamless cacaphony of micro melodies that goes from jazz to glitch, to industrial to classical against a boomy beat. Like I said in the opening lines of this review, this is the best record you've never heard. It's all over the place!

Do yourself a favour and search out anything by the Devil In The Design.

Here's a good place to start:

By L Pounds

Jan 17, 2005
Earshot Magazine Online