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Sound The All-Clear

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Audio CD, July 27, 2010
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$7.77 $6.66

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Sleepless Nights 3:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Sunface Streams Moonface 3:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. All-Clear (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) 9:10Album Only
listen  4. Interlude 1 1:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. North Wind 4:46$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Diamond Marimba 1:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Imago10:53Album Only
listen  8. Interlude 2 1:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Shining Furrows 3:51$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Ritual Waking, Ritual Sleepwalking10:39Album Only
listen11. Home 3:36$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Capping Verse 1:33$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Conductor: Christopher Campbell
  • Composer: Christopher Campbell
  • Audio CD (July 27, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Innova
  • ASIN: B003NEQAQ8
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #556,988 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Sound the All-Clear is the first album by composer/film-maker Campbell and his visual sense bleeds through every imaginary sound-space. The 'all-clear' is a traditional signal in time of strife or tempest that the danger has passed and peace has returned to the land. The music on these 12 tracks seems to breathe post-apocalyptic relief as it cycles and settles, expands and contracts.

The unlikely ensemble brought together for the project features a dozen top pros (such as Todd Hammes, Susie Ibarra, Michelle Kinney and others) and enthusiastic friends happy to sing, fidget and groove to realize Campbell's cunningly-contrapuntal, architecturally-planned score. With its audiophile production quality every tinkle, chime and plunk sounds golden.


Christopher Campbell may be a composer first and foremost, but years of film training at Sarah Lawrence clearly had an impact on his work. The young Minnesotan's debut album, Sound the All-Clear, guides the listener through a 12-movement adventure that demands to be imagined as much as heard.

This album of travel begins, fittingly, with leaving home. Above a crackly bed of popping vinyl, a choir chants farewell: 'Foreign pipes play so lowly and sad, home is miles away. All through the night the rain falls down; the sound of silver waves.' A sparrow colony, recorded in a bush near Campbell's house, twitters. Elsewhere, an array of guitars, chimes, strings, harp and more is whimsically transformed into wind howling down icy streets, a breezy bean field in Iowa, insects in South Dakota. Terse accompanying texts function as a kind of I Ching guidebook. ('Parts of this music is what a cicada the size of a Ford truck would make,' the composer writes in the booklet.)

Campbell's modern sound experimentation oscillates between the comforting and the exotic, with occasional creepy moments. A calm pastoral scene is set, and suddenly you're thrown into a room with bells strewn across the floor. Sounds leap from the stereo, as the composer's abstract orchestration seems more intent on audiophilic sculpture than melody. But this mini adventure has its rewards. By the time the warm textures of 'Home' roll around, you feel renewed and ready for another trek. --Time Out Chicago, Mia Clarke

Christopher Campbell s Sound the All-Clear starts off with an amusing trompe l'oeil effect for the ear - a choral folksong seemingly taken from a beat-up LP complete with surface noise and even a needle stuck in the groove. Next comes a droning squeeze-box overlaid with noisy mechanical squeaking and twitters, then a tessellation of jangling strings, long-held chimes, boinking glissandos, low sustained piano notes, and one lonely human cry marooned above the aboriginal landscape.

And on it goes, like an aural Quay Brothers movie or a Guy Maddin soundtrack--one jerry-built mechanism or electronic birdsong or tribal ceremony after another, meandering along, sometimes by itself and sometimes cunningly layered, until gradually, or suddenly, replaced by another. Annotator (and Campbell's teacher) George Tsontakis describes the work as a movie-like sequence of sound poems distilled from blended essences , which is probably a fancy way of saying it s a sonic collage. Collage, however well it mimics the play of mind and memory, isn't the kind of thing I usually enjoy. I m not sure it even fits my definition of music. It seems too arbitrary, too easy, too detached, at once too silly and too arty. But dang if Campbell (who is also a film-maker) doesn't somehow manage to keep the proceedings not only interesting, but suspenseful. What will come next, the listener keeps wondering, and what does come next is, miraculously, never disappointing.

Sound sources--some modified into drones, some rattling along as looped ostinatos, some distorted or cut-and-pasted--include voices, piano, electric piano, music boxes, sheng, prepared koto, strings, electric guitar, PVC flutes, balloon bassoons, Aeolian harps, toys, and lithophones (whatever they are), and who knows what else. Each is presented with exceptional clarity; even the more involved sections seem uncluttered and airy. And despite so much timbral variety the mood is sustained and consistent: droll, cheery, gentle, wistful. As the title suggests: the danger is past. Let's take a stroll, whether down memory lane or across the meadow. The whole world beckons, and we're free to ramble as we will.

Innova's sonics are flat-out spectacular. The release is available both as a CD and as a three-sided, two-disc LP set. I played the LPs at the home of an audiophile friend with a quarter-million-dollar stereo system and the result was absolutely holographic in its immediacy and presence. It sounded great on my much more modest record player, too. Among its other attractions, Sound the All-Clear is destined to become an audiophile demonstration-disc classic. --American Record Guide, Mark Lehman

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By I Care if You Listen (.com) on September 26, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Other evils there are that may come; for Sauron is himself but a servant or emissary.
-Gandalf, The Return of the King

The all-clear is a lie.

While the expression "all-clear" dates back to the early 20th century,1 it is perhaps most associated with the all-clear sirens that were developed during WWII and similar sirens that became pervasive during the cold war. In the UK, which faced heavy German bombardment, the all-clear siren was marked by a single, continuous tone, unlike the air raid siren which fluctuated in pitch. In many ways this seems fitting, that after the fear and danger of the bombing passed, one note would sing above the fray, clear and steady to let everyone know that all was well.

But all was not well.

The problem with the term all-clear is the "all" part. The skies may have been free from German bombers, but it was only a matter of time before the air raid sirens would sound again. Life would return to normal, but only assuming that your version of normal included knowing what to do in the event of bombs being dropped in your general direction. An all-clear is therefore wrought with tension. It may signal that danger has passed, but it cannot guarantee that it won't return.

In this sense, Christopher Campbell has masterfully titled his first album, for therein lies a tension between a beautiful sense of peace and a fear of impending doom that will not quickly fade. Even the description on Innova's website reads simply, "Apocalypse averted." This music does not use tension and relaxation to create expectation and drama for the listener, but rather seems to explore what happens when the two co-exist.
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Format: Audio CD
Chris Campbell Sound he All-Clear Innova
This CD doesn't just fall into the itchy-scratchy school of electro-acoustic music or sound sculpture, (always masterfully produced by the French or French Canadians), but plunks into a much broader context. First of all, there is a mischievous gothic quality--like an upside down Marilyn Manson /Trent Reznor of electro-acoustics, leading to an even broader historical framework including Partch and Crumb, to finally the biggest frame including Bartok's night music or Messiaen's slow dream movements. Also, As Campbell is a filmmaker, there is a strong surreal, visual allegory going on, similar to the work of Czech film maker Jan Svankmaier or a must lighter, less threatening Hieronymus Bosch. One has a sense of a camera panning over a large fresco or canvas focusing on one hyper-zoomed section then moving to the next.
Let me give you a brief overview of what's going on with the major pieces.
1. Sleepless Night
Right away, cool polyrhythms are created by a language that I could call `hanpster treadmill' music--mechanical, motion artifacts moving at different rates. It's like a Rauschenberg painting coming alive on your wall.
2. Sunface Streams Moon Face
Here Campbell is riffing on piano strings with excellent unifying use of pitch not unlike Varese or Partch. This pitched content is always dreamlike and unassuming. over the ever present `itchy-scratchy' frame. Also, reverb, different room miking, and panning are lavishly utilized.
3. All -Clear
This piece has a more delicate balance between pitch and noise, very reminiscent of Lachenmann string quartets yet without the austerity. The music is generous, lush, kaleidoscopic full of whimsy, without indulgence.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ginger on September 25, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Purchased the CD and enjoyed the unique sounds and moods so much that I came back and bought a vinyl copy also. This is a product for anyone who really enjoys sitting down and listening to music. Each time I listen to it, I encounter something new and more wonderful. Hope this young and very talented artist releases another album soon.
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