NNW

So cool and forgotten. Very little is explored from such an integral member of the Art of Noise, that’s what makes this work enticing and exciting. Anne Dudley’s bite-sized background music for audio visual, television, radio, films, jingles, slide presentations, and advertising – part of a larger, less interesting “muzak” series – achieves exactly what it states on the cover: provide Melodic Lightly Rhythmic Underlays. More a collection of really fascinating snack size ambient, minimal, and New Age music, than background music, somehow Anne’s musicality takes what could be a very boring and injects it her own awfully pretty sentimentality and emotion.

Largely synthesizer led, these musical miniatures – 16 in total – are a treat to all of those who think such attention to detail, for such bite-sized form music, renders what Anne was presenting far deeper than the quaint title of this album leads on. I imagine Amphonic Music must have heard all these precious melodies and let the underlays business take a backseat for awhile to let Anne truly stage the album for its intended market.

So, what’s here? Tons of highlights. Songs on the A-side just breeze by like “Lost For Words” (very Asian-influenced and minimal), ditto for “Pan Piper”, obvious highlights like “Catamaran” (quite possibly out-Waveying any pretenders to such a chill throne), “Act Fast” (another slice of sweet minimalism). Slightly sentimental tracks like “Follow Me”, “Turning and Turning” that end the side linger long enough to let you luxuriate in some sublime melancholia. Closing this side with the magic sentimentality of “Rolling River” brings to mind the serene beauty of Yoshio Suzuki’s music.

The B-side holds songs like “Granite” that show inklings of the askew urban music the Art Of Noise would create just two years later. Again, some wonderfully staged electro-acoustic music that has such richness in ideas and melody that you forget this is high-minded background music. “Steel City” another Yoshio-like classy set of minimalism that picks up its own steam with gorgeous aplomb. Then when she titles something like “Somechimes”, Anne delivers something small but wonderful using…just chimes. What else can I say? The proof is in the pudding, man. Check out the title and get back to me 40-odd minutes to see if it’s wrong.

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