Recording artists Tim Story and Dwight Ashley are known for creating introspective albums that probe the more shadowy side of the human psyche. But with their latest collaboration, Standing and Falling, the Ashley/Story perspective turns outward, exploring a curious, color-soaked soundscape replete with surprising twists and turns.
Produced over the span of eight years, Standing and Falling evokes a corresponding sense of time and space, like a slow, sonic ride on an otherworldly Orient Express, with scenery that grows more exotic from track to track. Real-world audio textures suggest a sense of place - but Ashley/Story's idiosyncratic electronic orchestration renders that place unlike any we've seen or visited.
Listeners familiar with Story's taut, haunting melodies or Ashley's dark, guitar-soaked drones may be surprised at a distinctly different element on this album: humor. Track titles like "Ohmen," "Chicken Pot Pie," and "The Curve of Spee" give clue to the listener that even the darker tracks on Standing and Falling are punctuated with witty compositional elements that give the album a wryly cheerful character.
Standing and Falling is an inventive collection of electronic tone poems, arguably the most programmatic Ashley/Story effort to date. Artifacts in a sonic curiosity shop… audio postcards from an alternate universe… pictures at an exhibition of subatomic worlds… whatever one sees in the mind's eye, Standing and Falling will take the listener on a richly textured voyage between the ears.