Saul Stokes - The Zo Pilots hyp1807
1998. If machines could sing stories of the soul of a man... Stokes retains his recognizable sound even as he branches out into new sonic territory.
"Top 10 of 1998."
--Chuck VanZyl, Star's End Radio, WXPN, Philadelphia
"Top 30 of 1998."
--Eric Meece / Mystic Music / KKUP Radio
"Somehow I missed out on Stokes' debut CD and now I regret that. Building his own electronics and still being able to create a sonically fascinating world is something not many people can do. Yes, listeners... if the word 'world' comes around, it's ambient time again and I stated it before and here again: Hypnos are a strong label to release this music. Stokes is no different: a great talent of creating outerworld, outerlimit sounds that is dark. In comparision to the other recent Hypnos CD's, Stokes uses rhythms, not in a techno fashion, but much more in a machine like humming way. Spacey, yet down to earth. Highlights for me are the cosmic 'First Jump' and the laid back 'Fast Creatures.' But the other five are top too!"
--Frans DeWaard, Vital E-Zine, Staalplaat, The Netherlands
"A faint noise slowly gets louder and louder, almost like the approach of a propeller aircraft. When it is overhead lonesome synth pads join in one after the other in many different melancholy varieties. The sounds used are exquisite and ever changing. Just four minutes in and it becomes obvious why Saul Stokes seems an almost permanent feature on American Electronic Music radio shows, as far as sound sculpting goes this is high art. The first track might sound like a traditional ambient piece and it is but much of the album is in a much more modern ambient mode though without any dance beats, these being replaced by very laid back drum loops. The sounds used are perfectly crafted and combined to make sonic paintings of unique images and new colours that the eye can t usually see. It is these sounds which make Saul s music stand out from the crowd. Sure, the music is also perfectly crafted but it is the sounds that hit home and to me, as I have said many times before, it is these unique possibilities that makes Electronic Music so appealing. On the second part of "Altitude and Architecture" we get the introduction of a looped four note sequence and the addition of a rhythm, if it can be called that. It is more like a deep space rumble. "First Jump" isn t a million miles away from what you would have found on the recently released Morbius album. The hypnotic pulsations are exquisite, I just wish it had lasted longer than six minutes. Different drum sounds are used on "Downtown Inaka" but they are again low in the mix, the searing synth pads grabbing most of the attention. "Open Your Eyes Maitreta" is another floater, again very descriptive and though probably encouraged by the title it makes me think of being unconscious and struggling to wakefulness. "Wire Light Hills" is a mesmerizing chugger with synth detail flickering in and out of the rhythm, swooping pads diving low before blasting back off into space. We finish with the title track and what sounds like an alien craft coming in to land, we then enter the vehicle and all sorts of other futuristic sounds can be heard. This would have been great music to use in a sci fi film. No rhythm at all is present though non is needed as we return to the standard of descriptive music found on the opener."
-- Neu Harmony, UK