Originally released in 2006 as a mini-CDr in a limited edition of 300 signed and numbered copies, this immersive selection of solo recordings by Savage Republic, Scenic and Independent Project Records founder Bruce Licher now gets the expanded reissue treatment. The three original tracks—recorded in the summer of '97 on a cassette 4-track—are now accompanied by a fourth instrumental that ventures into atmospheric electronic territory. The 26-minute bonus track was composed on an old Roland synthesizer Licher found while living in Arizona; it is, rather fittingly, named Number 09 — an homage to the Beatles' most adventurous piece of experimentation. Exploratorium reclaims equal fondness for the natural and the industrial — Licher’s mission is an exploration of sound that feels scientific and transcendental at the same time. This thoroughly inquisitive approach is made all the more clear (and intriguing) by the unexpected pairing of the original three tracks with Number 09. Whereas Peak, Going Home and The Penstemon Field eagerly play with stretching the role of guitars and bass, Number 09 takes its cue from the hypnotic synths of the Human League's 12" from 1979 The Dignity of Labour and sets off for an unconstrained sonic trip that goes from the jarring to the meditative. Together, these four instrumentals make for a most entrancing experience. The music of Exploratorium blurs the boundaries between Licher's cinematic work with Scenic and the early recordings of his UCLA days, which led him to start the Independent Project Records label in 1980. It's a mesmerizing blend of ambient and post-rock, noisy shoegaze and pastoral melodic structures, droning avant-garde and soundtracks at their most sparse and yearning.
Now available on vinyl and a special edition compact disc.