Review ·

Text Adventure's quietest moments are its most memorable. Most of The Golden Portion is grounded in chimes, an occasional acoustic-guitar melody, laptop-processed beats and techie clicks, with an appearance of subtle, lofty vocals here and there. The Glasgow, Scotland-based duo rarely raises anything above a peep, though. It's as if the two are throwing a really quiet get-together between the walls of their aimlessly hovering lunar craft.

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David Roy wrote and recorded all the music for The Golden Portion, and Steven Scott dutifully held up his end, supplying the vocals for a handful of the ten tracks. Before now, the duo's work floated along in cyberspace on 2004's mp3-only Fantastic Disaster EP, which was available on the Web from Observatory, Skylab's Net-based sub-label. The majority of The Golden Portion is instrumental, and when the tracks don't bubble into soft, inoffensive electronic beats and Nintendo-like key tones ("Busted Cat Art" or "Let's Us Get Wrong Tonight"), Roy edges into delicate ambient scenery with an overhaul of chirping, stuttering chimes and programmed squeals ("Sunrise In The Silver Forest").

But on "Add Your Own Crackles," Scott's high-registering verses circle a melody and silly metaphors that tire quickly compared to the track's elaborate background of acoustic guitar and understated beats and chimes. When the going gets softer on these miniature experiments, Roy wins out with his wandering backdrops. He doesn't just lengthen the quieter times, which would be easy; rather, he knows where restraint is needed, and he's doing it well.

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"A Little Explosion" mp3

"Tide to the Oceans" mp3

Skylab Operations Web site

- 2005

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