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Album Review

Sonic Boom's further adventures in sound as E.A.R., indeed, continue with this album, packaged in one of the most eye-catching designs yet — a multicolored clear CD case with all technical information printed directly on the front and back cover. Musically, with a full CD's worth of compositions, Continuum is one of Sonic's most exploratory releases, and also one of his most chilly. It's not that Sonic hasn't ventured down this path before. Nearly a decade on from the enveloping warmth of Mesmerised, though, hearing the near Main-like cold drones on "Submarine," spiked as they are with blips and beeps that call Data Rape to mind, is almost something of a shock. While Continuum as a whole doesn't have that as the sole feeling, it is something of a dominant one, with moments like the calm but still sprightly bell tones on "Swing" or the quirky hums and bursts on "Whisper Incantor" a gentle exception. The feeling of empty, almost blasted space also suggests the work of a past E.A.R. producer, Thomas Köner, as the stripped-down "Shimmer" readily shows, while "Echo Gull" almost isn't there at all, the core being a quiet, ever-shifting keyboard part sounding like it's floating around in a vast cavern. The dark, bubbling "See-Saw," the disc's closer, actually combines the elements of enveloping warmth and dark brooding best of all, a series of rhythmically arranged keyboard parts that achieves a certain peaceful grace. One of the most pleasant surprises on the disc is "Buzz," which with its high trebly loop of sparkling synth distortion immediately calls to mind erstwhile E.A.R. collaborator Kevin Shields while still being very much a Sonic Boom composition.


Formed: 1993

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Experimental Audio Research -- E.A.R. for short -- was a loosely affiliated assembly of performers primarily spearheaded by Spectrum frontman Sonic Boom; from time to time, the group also included, among others, My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields, God's Kevin Martin, and AMM's Eddie Prevost. As a revolving exercise in guitar-based noise, each E.A.R. release radically differed from the ones preceding it, spanning the divide between weightless ambience and dense sheets of feedback; the project was...
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Continuum, Experimental Audio Research
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