'Nakatomi Plaza' is an experience. It is a sonic adventure full of depth, maturity and precision. It's something to dedicate time to, to become involved with for its entire duration, which stands at a whopping 74 minutes or so, and to appreciate fully with loud speakers, a good amp, well-balanced equaliser and a room with good acoustics.
Coming in with 'Hope Descends' it starts slowly, creating an ambient atmosphere that's completely paralysing, very similar to the start of 'Echoes' by Pink Floyd; slowly the whole thing builds and builds and the melange of sound that's left is just encapsulating. It rockets into 'To Touch' and from there to 'Souls', the whole opus shifting shape and contorting to become what is at times a dark and ambient mood and other points an all-out Aphex-tinged spasmodic cacophony of beats and noise.
The three tracks thereafter, that seem loosely linked to each other both in titles and musical style: 'Our', Eyes' and 'Cry', are a trilogy of masterful craftsmanship, very clever. They create something; something that evolves, something that deconstructs and rebuilds, an anatomy of music, the process presented of making sound, and at the same time it's an absolute joy to listen to. At its barest and most minimal you feel a part of the scaffolding that the songs hang upon; at its most busy and complex you're left in awe at its magnitude, yet still completely tuned in.
'A capitalist icon invaded by love' is what it's been described as, and arguing with that would be an exercise in futility, its sound is as if a great and powerful dark institution was being torn apart by a flower-power revolution. Underlying the soundscapes are great whooshes of bass, evil lurking low notes that spin and swell and haunt, and above comes light, airy runs through tuneful scales, positive-thinking notes slotted in at all the right places, and looped set-pieces that enrich the soul.
It's something to behold, it's beyond words in many ways, because it is sound, it is a man that cares a great deal for sound, for shaping sound, for understanding what sound can do and what can be done to sound, it is Stephen Woolridge becoming one with the spirituality of sound and of noise and becoming the master to reign over it and to steer it where he wants.
This is not your average dance-like album from someone with a computer, this is in-depth, thought and slaved-over, original material, an innovation in sound. Es Waves combines the likes of Kraftwerk, Emperium, Underworld, and makes something new and otherworldly, that is until the rest of the world catches up.