by: Zero One
PROTOTYPE 2 delves further into the terrain staked out on Zero One's self-titled 1998 release. Steeped in the style of first-wave electronica a la Tangerine Dream, Zero One conjure sound worlds that are at once evocative of classic ambient yet decidedly modern. This updating is done primarily through a superb selection of beats that add pulse and body to the compositions, yet never define or overpower them (as the beats in electronica genres like house and techno often do). Instead, Zero One concentrate on grooves that are evocative and light, and seem to float through the gauzy washes of synthesizer, flange-like effects, jazzy accents, and spacey textures. "Search," for example, is based on a fugue-like keyboard melody that percolates over a subtle drum pattern and a minimal, surging bass line. The overall effect is mesmerizing, and pleasing both to the rhythm-hungry body and the travel-seeking mind.