All Music Guide review: Sonicism

This double CD is not necessarily more impressive than Dimuzio's earlier and stellar Headlock (which was reissued in 1997), but in spite of its increased length, it is probably the more focused and coherent work of the two. Headlock had a bit of a kid-in-a-candy-store quality to it ("so many sonic possibilities, so little time"), while Sonicism is quite clearly in the ambient/industrial camp almost from start to finish, with a preponderance of long, muted drones -- some quite ethereal ("lift and spier," "happenstance," "resound") and others more abrasive ("contrition") and even occasionally confrontational ("vent"). What is remarkable about this overall body of work, though, is the attention to detail, and the fact that Dimuzio manages to get so much mileage out of superficially static sonic environments. Very little on either Sonicism disc is going to pick you up by the scruff of the neck and shake you, but Dimuzio's soundscapes invariably have a strongly organic, elemental quality to them, and they can be very compelling in their own fashion. Among other things, Dimuzio is a master at creating and sustaining tension, with several long tracks suggesting the agonizingly slow arrival of some inscrutable alien force, and another track whose uncharacteristically pure, ringing tones seem to trace the slow and momentous approach of a celestial host (without ever getting even remotely new-agey about it). Occasionally, Dimuzio gets a little cute; a few of the tracks on the second disc start at such a low level that it takes over a minute to confirm that your stereo system is still functioning. But for the most part, this release showcases a true sonic wizard at work. (4.5 stars) —William Tilland