The Toronto Star - February 4, 1999
"We're just trying to space people out."
Yes, it's a noble mission indeed upon which ambient-electronic experimentalists Jamie Todd and Scott McGregor Moore have embarked. As dreamSTATE, the pair blends impressionistic synthesizer improvisation with the everyday ambience of nature and technology to create amorphous, all-engulfing soundtracks to the subconscious.
Todd, ever mindful of the evil (and entirely inaccurate) "New Age" tag, likes to think of the creation as "urban relaxation music." It's as good a description as any - this is supreme tune-out fodder, outwardly formless whorls of pure sound that evoke the familiar, urban hum of machinery and electricity even as they allow inward escape from it. The ultimate effect, as the title of dreamSTATE's first CD suggests, is to send the listener drifting Between Realities.
Todd and Moore may laughingly refer to themselves as "space cadets," but there's an ambitious method to their madness. The dreamSTATE project arose out of waveforms, an involved "ambient soundscape experiment" the two created for The H5 Project, a holographic gallery in the Beaches, in 1996.
The installation was an exercise in competing stereo fields driven by three MiniDisc players, each piping random snippets of dreamSTATE's ambient composition through a quadrophonic sound system. The music was all recorded in the same key, and thus could eddy together in ever-changing variations. "We're very (Brian) Eno-esque in our thinking sometimes," confesses Todd. "We love installations."
Between Realities - which can be ordered online at www.dreamstate.to - contains just a one-hour sample of the experiment, which played at the gallery for eight months, until it shut down in July 1997. "This is just one little slice of it," says Moore, "It was designed to be infinite and never repeat."
The live dreamSTATE experience has thus far been confined mainly to early-morning sets in rave chill-out rooms. But the next performance comes tonight at Clinton's, as part of the two-night third anniversary party for Feedback Monitor, DJ Greg Clow's weekly CIUT radio show devoted to experimental and electronic music.