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Album Review

The early 21st century certainly wasn't as fertile a period for ambient music as, say, the '80s were. But there are a few exceptions, such as Toronto by way of New York composer/producer/guitarist, Michael Brook. Although not as dedicated to the ambient genre as say, Brian Eno once was, Brook's 2006 release, RockPaperScissors, manages to combine elements of the aforementioned genre with more traditional pop. Schooled by the likes of Daniel Lanois (Brook once worked as an engineer at Lanois' studio) and none other than Eno himself — both appeared on Brook's 1985 debut, Hybrid — RockPaperScissors shows that Brook obviously picked up a thing or two stylistically from his mentors. Included is a guest vocal by Lisa Germano on the airy "Want," as well as a posthumous contribution by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan on the track "Pond" (Brook utilized some outtake vocals from the late Pakistani singer — Brook produced Khan's 1994 release, The Last Prophet). Teetering between ambient and new age at times, RockPaperScissors sounds like the perfect background soundtrack for an art gallery opening.


Born: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The innovative guitarist and producer Michael Brook was born and raised in Toronto. While studying electronic music and the arts at the University of Toronto, he met trumpeter Jon Hassell, with whom he later toured; through Hassell, Brook also was introduced to minimalist composer LaMonte Young, under whom he studied Indian music. A period working as the house engineer at producer Daniel Lanois' famed Grant Avenue recording studio led to a tenure playing guitar with the Canadian pop band Martha &...
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RockPaperScissors, Michael Brook
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