Whose idea was it to take ambient music past ambient and into a less Yanni, more "drone" sound? Where can I sign up to thank them? The Niagara Falls split release with The Clear Spots is reason enough to do so. Niagara tends to find its groove pretty early and settle into it. However unlike some artists who find that groove and beat you with it, Niagara never does. The other things going on keep everything fresh and interesting enough. "Play Spiral Isles" is exactly enough and never too much or too little. The air/space in the songs is quite welcome. On "Notochord" the hollow sound of the chimes immediately transports the listener somewhere breezy and tropical, at times tribal. There is also something almost classical in the presentations of their songs. Perhaps the song structure; the way certain elements are used as refrains, or as a sort of foundation a la Canon style.
The Clear Spots, "Smokehouse Debris" is NOT drone and reminds me of a hometown two-piece called, The Photographic. The Photographic employs a similar heavy drum and guitar ideal. The Clear Spots remind me so much of them, a compliment for sure, except one thing. The Clear Spots break out of their riff to employ surf sounds, freestyle noise and bring it all back in the four movements of this piece titled, "Roach Beef Sandwich". Extremely tasty, they are. Overall this is one of the best pieces of instrumental work that I've heard in a while; Including Niagara's work. They are masters of their instruments; always in control of what sounds like a train that might derail. The piece is powerful and intense. I read the February 2007 Foxy D interview with Niagara Falls and they are right, The Clear Spots piece, "Roach Beef Sandwich" will rip your face off. 10/10 -- Erica Rucker (22 August, 2007)