Black Unicorn: Traced Landscapes
Traced Landscapes presents forty-one cosmic minutes of deep synthesizer explorations piloted by Akron, Ohio-based Curt Brown (Cane Swords, Rubber City Noise) under the Black Unicorn name—imagine some freewheeling modern-day spawn of Tangerine Dream and Cluster and you're on the right track. Generated from analogue and digital synthesizers, sequencers, and effects, Brown's sunblinded material is very much in the tradition but pleasurable nonetheless, especially when he generally eschews noisemaking for tracks that are melodious and harmonious in equal measure.
As soothing as certain tracks are, others veer into more turbulent corners of the galaxy. Though an old-school drum machine pattern is on hand to stabilize matters, “Temporal Immensities” otherwise plunges full-on into a hot-wired zone, after which “The Groutless Interstices” spins out of control, though only for twenty-one seconds; the later “Magnetic Trap Type 77-B” and “Magnetic Trap Type 77-C” likewise document the project's wilder side. Traced Landscapes hits its stride with the arrival of “Trans-Dimensional Railway” halfway through the recording, with the setting's sequencer patterns a pulsing ground for trippy swirls and flourishes, and the melancholy meditation “Petrified Lightning.” Still, if one had to choose a single track as the release's peak, it would probably be “Celetal Supersanity,” a near ten-minute slow-builder whose organ-like shimmer swells in strength and intensity as the seconds tick by.
Track titles such as “Seafowl In Silhouette” and “Celetal Supersanity” show that Brown has an imaginative bent, to be sure, but it's the ten settings that are the release's primary drawing card. Synthesizer music fiends with an insatiable appetite for space drones and interplanetary explorations should find much to admire about Traced Landscapes.