Download-only, Artificial Music Machine, 2007
The possibility of the existence of the thin line between ambient, new age, folk and experimental soundscaping is being researched by the Austin, Texas collective, Book of Shadows. This fifth album by the couple Carlton and Sharon Crutcher (with selected friends joining them) numbers five tracks that are an impressive mixture of the above-mentioned styles.
The five tracks on “Innerworld” consist of two short ones of around five minutes each and three longer ones circling the ten-minute mark. Improvisation, guitars and the voice of Sharon should be considered keywords when describing the music. At some point the vocals might even remind you of Rose McDowall’s addition to, for example, Current 93, or her work with Boyd Rice. Hands down, the best track on the album is “Energy Follows Thought,” because of the use of singing bowls – up to the edge of shooting into a feedback loop – guitars and a lot of noisy sounds.
Even though none of the tracks are bad when listened to separately, the overall conclusion can’t be anything different than that. As a result of the experiments and the aim of combining several styles, the CD as a whole lacks the solidity to be considered a finished product.
A final addition to this album is that there won’t be a CD. “Innerworld” will only be available in MP3 and FLAC-format, first via the label’s website, and later also through the ‘usual channels’ (such as eMusic, iTunes and related download sites). It might well be worth a try…
— Bauke van der Wal