Cold Electric Fire – “In Nights Dream We Are Ghosts” CD
Limited to 500 – Released July 2002 – Available

COLD ELECTRIC FIRE create a deeply personal and unique style of organic Dark Ambient. Using atypical sources and instrumentation to compose provocative excursions of contemplation and smoldering atmosphere. Sobering emotions writhe amid a well of black textures and delicate melodies, congealing into a monumental release of truly original dark electronics.

Audio Samples… Coming Soon


7/10 – I believe this is the proper full-length debut from this great experimental noise act out of North Carolina. The earlier material I’ve heard from the project was generally very smooth and clean dark ambient, but things start off a bit more sinister in this case with “Never to Alarm”, 9+ minutes of subtly churning distortion below eerie feedback tones that sway to and fro, eventually calming down to a soothing loop with ominous bass rumblings in the distance before ending out with a slightly manipulated snippet of melodic piano. From there things take a turn for the more minimal and bottom-heavy ambience that I was expecting, with the brief “The Last Time My Needle Kissed the Spoon”, and the 7+ minute title track. “Trials” is more along the lines of the opener with a busier, slightly frantic feel, and a few carefully placed areas that possess some sort of unusual melody. At nearly 10 minutes, “Along This Burning Sphere” is one of the strongest pieces herein, immediately jumping out from the pack with its ethereal sense of harmony and discernible, though harnessed, musical elements (piano, stylophone, and cymbals). Some of the source materials are very interesting. Each track’s source sounds are listed beneath its title in the booklet, and though almost always twisted beyond recognition it’s interesting to know that the final outcome is being drawn out of everything from violin and piano, to gravel and recordings from a construction site. “The Moon Makes These Mad White Horses Shine” even contains samples of rippling water taken from a rowboat, and the percussive use of a metal lampshade (thus making for one of the loudest and most chaotic tracks on the album, though not in the sense one would likely expect). The recording is quite good considering that most of the work was done using a 4-track, a micro cassette recorder, mono ½” reel to reels, and a minidisc. There’s a slight lo-fi edge to certain areas of the record, but for the most part things are incredibly dense and very well handled. There’s no hiss or lack of quality to the tones whatsoever. The layout is very minimal, using simple white text and abstract photographs throughout. I really like the photographs, especially the black and white texture used inside the booklet. The other photos are pretty abstract. They appear to be close-up shots of an instrument, probably the inner workings of a piano, as many of these tracks contain the heavily treated sounds of a piano, but it’s hard to say. It’s clear from the song titles that there is surely some thought at work, and some of them are quite curious: “The Last Time My Needle Kissed the Spoon”, “The Moon Makes These Mad White Horses Shine”, etc. This is another excellent record from the continually consistent (as far as the quality of the releases, not the actual sounds of the artists) Crionic Mind label, and the same can be said for Cold Electric Fire – a project that certainly deserves more attention at this point in time. Running time – 48:22, Tracks: 7 [Notable tracks: Never to Alarm, In Nights Dream We Are Ghosts, Along This Burning Sphere]

What is so fascinating about this CD that i listened to it more often than most other CDs before writing this review? first of all the music is regular dark ambient, additionally recorded on four tracks – there once was a time that was cool, but nowadays that is not an indication for impressive sound-experiences. on the other hand, there is this very dense atmosphere guys like Brian Lustmord have to go underground for (and for the horror appeal) to record the buzzing from bunkers and stuff – cold elecrtic fire simply use acoustic instruments (piano, strings, guitar) and fieldrecordings (train, row boat). and this is what makes it special: it’s not just deep drones, but at times there are glimpses of melodies and a certain warmth that reminds me of Cindytalk’s “The Wind Is Strong” or Tuxedomoon’s “The Ghost Sonata” – both masterpieces from two extraordinary bands. To put it in other words: c.e.f. didn’t keep stuck in musical puberty, but learned how to sound grown up.

From Something I hated to something Brilliant. Cold Electric Fire has amazingly bleak and dark artwork to the awe inspiring Drone Noise I’m hearing is a slice of Perfection. Maybe the Best things on Crionic Mind with Exsanguinate ever. Goddamn Dark Ambient Soundscapes like I haven’t heard in a long time. Gary Tedder is soon to be the next leader of the scene. I have nothing but pleasure listening to something this well thought out and created. I thought his CDR out last year was grand but this is truly leaps and bounds.

Previously unknown project to me, I was a bit wondering because of the title in the first place, but would have a tendency to believe Crionic Scott Candey’s Mind is opened to innovative quality stuff, so tried this one. I’m glad I did as this really is ethereal atmospheric with intensity the way I love it. There are quite some acoustic instruments used in here, especially audible in occasional passages with soft, I’d say naive melancholic melodic parts, which would be a problem with me usually, but fits perfectly in here. Piano, cymbals, violin, acoustic guitar, cello, stylophone, metal chain, gravel, train, electric lamp, sounds from a construction site, row boat, metal lampshade, feedback from stereo mic & voice mutator positioned into washing machine spin cycle (!) were used as sound sources into four track cassette, micro cassette, mini disc & mono half inch reel to reel recording devices. With Thomas Garrison (Misanthrope Studio, CONTROL, EXSANGUINATE) doing final mastering, as it’s often the case in these days. Sound is great all over the disc, tracks linked together without break. Last one “The moon makes these mad white horses shine” gets slightly more intense for it arises a global feel. Such quality stuff makes you regret CD is not longer, a little less than 50 minutes. Recommended.

The Sacred Sound roster seems to have proved a nice place to find interesting acts, and even if this label doesn’t exist anymore, most of the bands that started by releasing labels there are now signing CDs on various other labels. While Magwheels will soon have a CD released by Recycle Your Ears’s own Ad Noiseam label, here comes Cold Electric Fire, another one of these strange and deep project mixing noise and emotional guitars. And this doesn’t mean that Cold Electric Fire is a noise band covering The Cure. In fact, if I hadn’t been told these were guitars, used in conjunction with piano, violins, field recordings or cymbals, I wouldn’t have recognized them… The music on “In Nights dream we are ghosts” is a bass heavy, rumbling kind of ambient-ish noise, thick but not overdriven, ample but not loud, building up strong and room-filling atmosphere. On top of these droning low frequencies come a whole variety of other instruments, might it be the cracking noises and modest accoustic guitar of the opening track, the sonar beeps of the title one, or the muddy loops of “Trials”, sounding like weird railroad noises and cristalline echoes… Cold Electric Fire doesn’t belong to the kind of projects that generate epic, soundtrack oriented ambient music, and the lo-fi profile of this album doesn’t make of it the kind of CD for which you definitely need a huge stereo system (think Lustmord). On the other hand, here is some very introspect music, changing slowly but surely. The devil is in the details, and it is from the slow variations and harmonies that Cold Electric Fire takes its strength. This might not be minimal, but you will still to focus quite a lot on the tracks to witness the soul and emotions that lie in this album… It might be released on Crionic Mind, and it might draw some of its influence out of the dark / “evil” ambient american scene, “In nights dream we are ghosts” has a more personal approach, intimate and laid back. Heavy drones and well chosen, maybe partly improvised accoustic elements make a nice mix, which works well on this CD. Something to listen to alone and focused, this is a well done album that is richer than it might seem.

Cold Electric Fire is a project which I gotta thank jason crumer of Aluminum Noise that I learned a year or so about its existence. when during a trade he sent me extra cef’s debut cdr, which was a uniquely crafted ambient release that back then had really impressed me. now, a couple of months earlier via Crionic Mind gary tedder (aka mr. Cold Electric Fire) striked back w/ a new release titled “In Nights Dream we are Ghosts”, which since the time I listened to it, have to admit that immediately found its way to some of the best us projects releases for 2002. compared to his previous installment, a great progress in gary’s sound exploration can be heard, more obscure & dense layers of sound, or sometimes I can say more pictorial ambiences (that also thanks to the production) evoked me some really haunting moods. making it together w/ the Brutum Fulmen “Flesh of the Moon” cd on cip, as 2 of the most challenging releases to emerge from the us within the last few months in my opinion. a project which I believe that has much more flabbergasting experiences to offer us in the future too! a tip!

Coming from North Carolina Cold Electric Fire brings us something different and lo-fi sounding to the ears, but with a second and third listen before reviewing I find that it isnt lo-fi at all its just the way it appears. Recorded with a four track cassette recorder,micro cassette,mini disk, and a mono reel to reel recording devise it gives a somewaht lo-fi feel but with the materials used and how they were used you realise that everything is brilliantly layed. The first song titled “never to alarm” starts with a build up of dark harsh sounding noise with bursts of pounding echo working its way into a depressing piano peice. The only thing recorded to make this song was a piano, cymbals, and a violin. From what you hear, you would never believe those were the only elements at play. Track 4 titled “trials” using a train, electric lamp, acoustic guitar, and sounds from a construction site causes a somewhat “Lustmord” feel to the song. This track is ambient like the others but the more you listen the more you find melodies. The final and my favorite track on the album titled “the moon makes these mad white horses shine” uses a row boat,piano,metal lampshade, cymbals, and a stylophone. This track reminds me of “Labradford” with and array of sounds that melt together like snow. I think this is a very promising act that should get alot of recognition in the future. I think anyone could enjoy this release that Crionic Mind offers us.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s