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Reviewed by - Dw Dunphy

Chroma Key
You Go Now
Kevin Moore
Ghost Book
I really liked Kevin Moore’s most recent high-profiled offering, 2003’s supergroup O.S.I., but felt it had one major problem running against it; it sometimes was swallowed up by its own bigness. Such huge walls of production shouldn’t dwarf very simple, straightforward lyrics, sung in a monotone for the most part because it is exactly like sticking a white handkerchief in the middle of an all black room. Try missing it… I dare you.

So it is with relief that Moore ’s steady band Chroma Key and his first foray into film scoring both strike natural balances. “You Go Now”, as well as most of the material on that disc, use looped sounds and atmospheres like O.S.I. did but it is scaled back enough so that the spirit of the lyrics aren’t drowned out; good thing too, because the wit that was lost in the shuffle then is allowed to breathe now. Take, for instance, this set of lyrics from “Get Back In The Car”:

“So the man was tired and the car was starved / and the sun was setting / No, the moon was tired and the cow was carved / I remember every second”

Bizarre? Yes, but there’s some clever wordplay going on here, and that sense of wit and playtime can be found all through the release, put out by Moore’s indie label Fight Evil Records. Consisting of Moore primarily, with David Iscove providing guitars (with Steve Tushar contributing guitar on the track “Another Permanent Address”), the project is focused and doesn’t get trapped inside overly opaque language, and is sometimes humorous too, in that sideways-leaning, early Brian Eno manner.

Which brings us to the mostly instrumental score for the film “Okul”, retitled for the soundtrack release as “Ghost Book”. Here is where the Eno influence is clearly drawn, specifically from his latter ambient experiments, as well as a slight feeling of the “28 Days Later” soundtrack. Moore comes up with short but effective punctuations, more interested in creating a contemporary understatement of mood rather than some overarching motif scheme.

My favorite cut was the chanted “Far Fara” (that instrumental exception I mentioned) that started to tip me off that the tone of the music would be heading somewhere else from where it started. And that is the main charm of “Ghost Book”, in that the music does wind around moods, dropping in and out, emphasizing points just as any good score should, without the grandiose aspirations some scores just don’t need. Moore , again, keeps it simple in many ways and the result is better than had he slopped on tons of orchestral patches. There are also lines of dialogue threading the tracks together, but since I don’t understand the language (Turkish, I think) I couldn’t begin to tell you what they’re saying. In a way, that foreignness works advantageously. If there is a drawback to “Ghost Book”, it is that you must remind yourself it is not a conventional recording. Scores are meant to service the visuals and tone of a movie. Taken from context, a score without visuals is like a movie with the volume turned down. You can still appreciate it if the remaining ingredients are well incorporated, but you’re not getting the whole experience.

That aside, both discs from Kevin Moore are welcoming and are filled with controlled energy, a bit of fun and a lot of fresh air; recommended for adventurous types tired of much too much.

Release Date: November 14, 2000 - Chroma Key
Tracks: 9 - Time: 44:21
Produced by: Kevin Moore & Steve Tushar
Format: CD
Website: www.chromakey.com

Release Date: June 29, 2004 - Kevin Moore
Tracks: 18 - Time: 44:50
Produced by: Kevin Moore
Format: CD
Website: www.chromakey.com

Track Listing (Chroma Key - You Go Now):

Get Back in the Car / Another Permanent Address / Nice to Know / Lunar / When You Drive / Subway / Please Hang Up / Astronaut Down / You Go Now.

Track Listing (Kevin Moore - Ghost Book):

Rhodes Song / Prayer Call / Piano Theme / Roof Access (day) / Far Fara / P.S. / Libary Noise / Overheard / Romantik / The Hecklers / Mirrors and Phones / Shall We Jump / Cowbloke/ Erotik / Roof Access (night) / Hallways and Light / Afterschool / Sad sad Movie.

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