Aperus: Hinterland

by John Shanahan, Hypnagogue

Prior to receiving this CD in the mail, I was unfamiliar with the work of Aperus (secret identity: Brian McWilliams). Having experieced his music, I fully intend to rectify that as soon as possible. Listening to these five cuts, culled from alternate takes and portions of songs from his full length CD, "tumbleweed obfuscated by camera failure", has a simply narcotic effect--knowing what it's like leaves the listener needing more.

"Magnetism" opens the CD with uncomplicated piano melody and minimal electronic dressing,a piece lovely in its simplicity. We often talk about influences and cross-influences in ambient music; this is like genetically splicing George Winston and Brian Eno. It stands in nice contrast to the starker, percussion-driven tribalism of "Earth & Clay" and "Echo Canyon." The first rides in on a funky bass groove, while the latter slips into pure slow ambience with faint drums receding like night before dawn. The closing track, "Vanishing Terrain," pulls many of the elements of the other tracks together in a brooding, breathing piece that firmly underscores the idea that, yes, you need more Aperus.

There's only one mis-step here: "Kaskaskia Canyon." A solely atmospheric piece based on the sound of water dripping in a cave, it unfortunately (to these ears) sounded like it was recorded in a men's room...if you know what I'm saying.

But wait--there's more! Pop this enhanced disc into your CD-ROM and you'll find pictures and more music in MP3 format. You can check out the "experimental mix" of "Earth & Clay" and an edit of "All Good Things" from tumbleweed.

All in all, hinterland is either a fine introduction to the music of Aperus or a welcome addition to your Brian McWilliams/Remanence collection.