October 14 2008
Review by Harry Guerin
In the days of simple thrills on the Northside of Dublin in the late 1970s, the - for want of a better description - 'soundtrack test' had its enthusiasts. What it involved was getting a friend or sibling to sit in a totally darkened room at night with the soundtrack to 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind', 'Halloween' or 'Jaws' playing on the stereo. While they listened, those outside the room added their own sound effects and timed how long those on the inside could last. Had Alan Lambert been making records in the 1970s, he too would have featured on the nocturnal playlist. Alternately scary and uplifting, subtle and epic, catchy and difficult, 'Pteranodon' is two pieces of electronic music, each hitting the 20-minute mark. But don't let that put you off - the time goes by very quickly. The title track mixes militaristic drumming, swirling keyboards and Asian voices to create what feels like a travelogue through headphones. It is followed by 'A Bao A Qu (The Turning Step)', a piece which starts soothing, then ups the heart-rate by transforming into Arabian dance music before enveloping you in gloom.
With both, you return to pick out different things and try to figure out how it all sits together so well. And the more you listen, the more you expect more exciting times ahead.