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Review: Finger/Plotkin/Zabelka – Pleasure-Voltage

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Pleasure-Voltage is a record that manages to balance the most relaxing aspects of ambient music along with the most psychedelic. The collaboration composed and performed by Benjamin Finger, James Plotkin, and Mia Zabelka engages the listener without coming on too strong. Too often in ambient records, I’ll hear sudden bursts of noise, drone, or what have you, which I feel disrupts the flow of an otherwise cool concept. Music like that can succeed in certain scenarios, but what makes Pleasure-Voltage such an enjoyable record is the way it mirrors the sounds of nature and the psychedelic experience.

The music on Pleasure-Voltage ebbs and flows not unlike a soothing river. Occasionally it’ll build up to a very psychedelic dynamic, but it never gets freaky to the point of being sonically alienating. Somehow, Finger, Plotkin, and Zabelka reign their work in right before it reaches the point of you took too much, and the music decrescendos, if only a bit to give the listener some breathing room. One can hear that these musicians are technically skilled, and despite the beauty of punk and its ethos, it really can make a difference with an LP when highly skilled instrumentalists decide to veer off into territory as experimental as this. Between “Hostile Structures” and “Kaleidoscopic Nerves,” I preferred the former slightly, but “Kaleidoscopic Nerves” certainly doesn’t pale in comparison. The album really sounds like one long song, a testament to its flow. I really enjoyed Pleasure-Voltage, and think if you’re a fan of ambient music, then you will too.


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Author: Sam Wade

Classical violinist and piano player. Mostly self-taught guitarist took lessons with Vic Juris who was sampled for Gang Starr's Mass Appeal hit. Appeared in Music of the Heart with Meryl Streep (d. by Wes Craven.) Long-time home-recording artist.

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