Robert Scott Thompson straddles the genres of electroacoustic (e.g., musique concrète composers such as Francis Dhomont and Tod Dockstader) and ambient (e.g., Klaus Schulze, Steve Roach, Brian Eno) musics. The result is often a rather unique juxtaposition of organized noise and synthesized washes. Thompson manages to refrain from the harsher electroacoustic sounds, while still capturing the tension inherent in that school. Combined with a modern ambient approach, his recordings often taken on pleasant overtones, albeit with darkness on the horizon.
Palimpsest is no exception. This release features synth textures accompanied by the rattling of found objects, bells and gongs, as well as wordless vocal overtones and shimmering soundscapes. The opening track, Rock Garden, evokes being in a pulsing cavern with pebbles falling around you, while Embellished Serenade includes discordant but spacious synth lines over sparse and subtle percussion. Intentional or not, parts of Palimpsest could easily find its way into a science-fiction or horror movie soundtrack. But this is more than just background music, because an active listener will hear something new upon each play.
Whether geological or interplanetary in nature, Thompson’s compositions combine sonic landscapes with intellectual rigor. While the components of his sound may be familiar at times, he is carving a singular niche that breathes life into two seasoned genres. Highly recommended.