Sferics (release 1998)
Fax records / LC 62 69/ PS 8 / 91
Cover Graphics: Sebastian "HAL 9000" Fries
1 Mechanic Piano 3:06  
2 Sferics 7:35 lo-fi
3 InterZen 11:59 lo-fi | hi-fi
4 10-12 Meters 10:45  
5 Gentle Machines 11:59 lo-fi | hi-fi
6 Crossing the Channel 16:06 lo-fi | hi-fi
7 Vinyl vs. Cards 9:17  
8 Voltage Controlled Piano 3:10  
cover artwork
review: Schalldruck
Für SPYRA gilt wohl: je schlichter die Covergestaltung, umso üppiger die Musik-. Die neue CD "Sferics" trifft genau ins Schwarze. Ein gelungenes Werk, in dem sich Radiowellensalat wie ein roter Faden durch das gesamte Album zieht.
Es beginnt zur Einstimmung mit "Mechanic Piano", wechselt über in das weiche, harmonische Titelstück "Sferics" und schreitet voran in wahre Leckerbissen der Elektronischen Musik des Jahres 1998 ... das abwechslungsreiche, bassbetonte "InterZen"... das schräge, perkussive" 10 high -12 meters"... das fulminante, tanzbare "Gentle Machines", das geniale, 16-minütige "Crossing the Channel" ... das abgedrehte "Vinyl vs. Cards" mit verzerrtem Sprechgesang ... und zu guter Letzt wieder das melancholische "ElectricPiano".
Der Spyra zeigt mit Sferics einmal mehr, dass man coole Elektronische Musik mit Atmosphäre wie Naturgeräusche, Stimmen oder Radiogequietsche versehen darf, völlig unkitschig, einfach gut, weiter so.
Wilhelm Lücken, Schalldruck, 12 / 1998
review: Warren Lapham
I got _Sferics_ and _Phonehead_ at the same time, and I've only listened to _Phonehead_ twice. _Sferics_, however, has been a regular, and I think it's one of the better recent FAX releases, with the title track alone being enough to warrant seeking this one out, with its downtempo shuffle beat and organ...is that a live drummer?
The rest of the disc varies between downtempo and somewhat more energetic stuff, with some Dub and Reggae(!) flavor cropping up, yet the FAXian roots of the disc never disappear...what would a FAX disc be without lush synths?
Warren Lapham
review: Damon Capehart
Quite good. I'll have to disagree with Warren, though. I think I'll be playing Phonehead more often than Sferics, but barely.
1. Mechanic Piano - Solo Piano. Goes better here at the beginning than at the end (as it is on Phonehead). My theory, then, is that if you put whatever song that is most out of place at the beginning of an album, it doesn't seem quite as odd as it would following the more uniform music. In addition, you can also take away the out-of-placeness of the last piece by putting basically the same thing at the beginning (as done here on Sferics).
2. Sferics - The static makes its debut in this very mellow smooth jazz-ish song. To be honest, I think the sferics themselves interfere with the song; in particular, right around 1:00 and 5:15 it actually hurts, like tuning an AM radio to static and cranking it up. Other than that, I really like the song. Female vocals "ooh" their way across the sonic landscape.
3. Interzen - Nice, mellow meditative ambient until about 3:30, when the marimba makes it a bit more active. At around 5:00, we are reduced to bass, drums, and a few twitters. At 6:15, we return to our meditative state.
4. 10-12 Meters - Starts out VERY nice and spacy. At around 2:30, we get a robotic trance club late 80's thing plus a hammond organ sample. It's alright, though a bit formulaic.
5. Gentle Machines - Again starts out ambient, but enters into a sort of late-Soft Machine / Carl Jenkins lite-groove. Very mellow. At around 7:00, an almost reggae-Orb feel (minus the extreme reverb), but that quickly fades into the background. The song fades about as delicately as it started.
6. Crossing the Channel - DEEP. Choral synth introduces the song, which eventually evolves into an old-school analog BLISS-OUT.
7. Vinyl vs. Cards - The static returns, though not as much and only at the beginning. Very gradual. It isn't until about 5:30 that the beats really kick in. Meanwhile, a woman says something about reel-to-reel.
8. V.C. Piano - The aforementioned bookend. Like the first track, but with a mellow Kraftwerkian bass line underneath.
OK... Since Phonehead got a 9.5, I guess this one gets a 9.0 (only because of that annoying static). He's still my second-favorite FAX artist. :-)
Damon Capehart
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