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  Artist: Xn
Title: Ideas Without Numbers
Label : Sounds Are Active 
Tracks / Time: 15 / 46:07

The original five songs on the recording _Ideas Without Numbers_ by electronic noise-art outfit Xn clock in at under ten minutes total, or approximately half of the length of the LP version of Iron Butterfly's psychedelic classic, "Inagadadavida." So Chris Schlarb, the man behind the machine known as Xn, contacted several industrial recording artists to see how they would spin the pieces. The result is the project as it now exists: 15 songs at 46 minutes. The original five songs remain intact as the first five tracks on the album. The next ten tracks are others' interpretations and remixes of Schlarbs original pieces.

The original songs are all instrumental pieces, using guitar plucks, ambient washes, and heavy effects to make soundscapes. Xn uses the method of running sounds backwards often in these pieces; perhaps too often. The result is ethereal, atmospheric and moody noises that evoke images of space, sea life, and many things in between.

The remixes, featuring artists such as Omid, Outputmessage, and Siamese Sisters, drift less and have more texture. They don't flow as seamlessly from track to track as the originals, and often the original tracks are used as another instrument or element in the song, as opposed to a base for which the song to follow.

Overall, Ideas Without Numbers features lots of interesting sounds and clever ideas, but doesn't have much direction. The 15 cuts are soundscapes as opposed to songs. While fans of Xn and of the guest artists will most likely enjoy the disc, it does fall in danger of becoming background noise to the uninitiated.

Dave Kerschbaum  4/30/2005



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