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Serpentine jazz/rock synths and atmospherics groove on enigmatic LA nights. Score reaches a new plateau in Haslinger's creative evolution. As he did with World Without Rules (1996) and his solo debut Future Primitive (1994), Paul Haslinger reaches well into the next century to find a world where global musics peaceably conjoin on the same palette. Accessible to many audiences without sacrificing artistic integrity, this music of the future not only blurs, but utterly obliterates the boundaries that typically prevent such thorough mixing of styles.
As stylistically varied as it is thematically focused, Score is both devilishly intense and hauntingly sublime. Like a melding of Barbara Gogan and King Crimson in their more reflective moments, "When Worlds Collide" featuring JULIANNA RAYE's sultry vocals verges on a track to make love to. "Infinite Jest" is a polyrhythmic, worm-hole journey from a Japanese street performance to a ballroom dance contest in the 21st century to a virgin sacrifice in Times Square.
"Bumi Fian" serves as medium for the spirit of Miles Davis on the serpentine jazz/rock of "Accidental Measures in Cool." Fian's trumpet, plus Haslinger's strings, languid percussion synths and atmospherics set the stage for "Fantastic Voyage," an enigmatic journey through a mysterious realm of dreams and nocturnal visions. In a similar vein but with even greater subtlety, Inbetween Nowhere softly and eerily evokes the silence of a haunted temple where desperate ghosts forever seek solitude in the eternal void.
Using singers from the Kikuyu tribe of Eastern Africa as a springboard, "Magheda" suggests dusk over Kenya at a time of celebration, and respect for the gifts of life and nature. In the guise of an ethno-rock number, "The Real Question (Is...)" essentially defines the cultural make-up of the entire album with fierce African and East Indian vocals, guitar, keyboards, tablas and helicopters. "New India" is the most East Indian in flavor with traditional instruments and vocals, strings and CHARLIE CAMPAGNA on guitar.
Demonstrating mature, Brazilian flair, "Life, Lounge and Lesser Evils" is contemplative, jazzy and sexy, while "This Station" is a funky chunk of brash hip hop rife with bass-heavy dubs and stark, urban samples. The rap inflections in the otherwise instrumental "Hardboiled Wonderland" are right at home in this Jon Hassell/Bill Laswell/George Duke soup of danceable '70s fusion.
No stranger to film music (Haslinger was with Tangerine Dream when the group scored such films as Near Dark, Miracle Mile, and Shy People and now works with Graeme Revell on Front Line features,) Score is the most cinematic of Haslinger's solo releases. "War in the Heart of Eden" is an especially moving, widescreen indictment of the effects of mortal conflict within the walls of paradise.
His studio prowess is estimable and as founder of The Assembly Room, a virtual laboratory and library for the research, development and cataloging of sounds and samples, Haslinger shapes this musical stew as he sees fit, never submitting to the mundane dictates of the expected. With classical music training at the Academy in Vienna, a masters degree in musicology, four years with Tangerine Dream, two collaborations with LIGHTWAVE (available on Fathom), and numerous multi-media projects to his credit, Haslinger is well-equipped to bring his ideas to fruition.
Fans of World Without Rules will likely find Score even more to their liking, and those discovering Paul Haslinger for the first time will be coming aboard just as he reaches a new plateau in his creative evolution. Paul Haslinger is one of the more unique artists working today, and Score more than lives up to the expectations of those who have waited two years for its release.