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I.E.M. - Arcadia Son CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.43 | 42 ratings

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Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
3 stars I.E.M. (Incredible Expanding Mindfuck) is a project of Steven Wilson which mostly deals with instrumental music, specifically Krautrock, experimental and sometimes very strange. Wilson has said that he is not the only contributor to the music, but none of the albums have any listing as to who else is involved in the project.

This album, released in 2001, very retro sounding while utilizing updated recording techniques and etc. This was released sometime after Porcupine Tree's 'Lightbulb Sun' to give you an idea of where SW was with his most popular project. The music is very psychedelic and improvisational, sort of like Porcupine Tree's earlier instrumental works like 'Sky Moves Sideways' and 'Voyage 34', but more experimental and less polished. Wilson wanted to make music that was inspired by psychedelic and krautrock music from the 60s and 70s while trying to sound current.

The music on this album is made up of all instrumentals with vocal field recordings interspersed throughout. It starts out with a few short tracks of improvisational noise, and then finally lapses into a longer instrumental called 'We Are Not Alone' with a lot of flute and vocal samples. The topic seems to be the supernatural, ghost and alien related material. This is followed by 'Cicadian Haze' which is more experimental improvisation, with some interesting noises thrown in giving it that hazy feel.

'Politician' is a short track with psychedelic meandering under what sounds like moans of ecstasy from a female subject. Thank goodness this is short. The title track comes next. This one starts off in the same manner, but with nature sounds. A nice guitar solo comes in later and there are also many other processed sounds.

There is another short spoken vocal followed by 'Shadow of a Twisted Hand Across My House' which is a 20 minute track of instrumental music with a nice beat but some spooky psychedelic sounds going on around improvised instruments. There is a nice solo by what seems to be either a sax or alto sax under-layered by the persistent percussion and processed guitar drones. The brass drops out at about the 5 minute mark and the beat continues with more psychedelic meandering until a loud processed guitar interrupts everything and then the beat fades out so you are left with ambient tones and sounds. Things get a little more structured as a keyboard of some kind takes over the spotlight. This sounds is somewhere between a mellotron and an organ, but spookier, with drones going on underneath and percussive sound effects under all of it. Now we are souding less like Porcupine Tree and more like early Bass Communion. This style continues for the rest of the track, and it is quite a nice psychedelic and electronic style track with changing moods and textures throughout its duration.

The album is not the best put out by I.E.M., with only two strong tracks, however, these tracks do take up most of the album, so that is a saving grace. If you love electronic prog and krautrock, you will love this album. Also, if you like the early improvised music by Porcupine Tree, you will probably like this too. It's not for everyone, but it is still a good album, especially the title track and the long 'Shadow'' track. This is not SW's best recording either, but it is good enough for 3 stars at least.

TCat | 3/5 |


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