Mike Prete    3-November-2001 Pacifica

I always find it an ominous sign when I see an album that was made by a single individual. The first thing that pops into my head is that it is going to be some cheesy thing made in someone's basement on a Casio, or I imagine my friend with his Roland sampler making things with non-stop 4/4 back beats. I am very happy to report that is not the case with Pacifica. Hughes Hall has composed music that has appeared in over 100 films, most notably the scores for: Dark City, Blade, An American Werewolf in Paris, Seven, Arlington Rd., and City of Angels. He has also written a film production music library. Needless to say, he is a professional.

The music encompasses a wide variety of styles and influences, Ozric Tentacles, Steve Hillage, plus ambient and some jazz. There is an electronic feel throughout, but it is very organic and doesn't feel computerized or overly digital. The album is entirely instrumental with the exception of some wordless vocals, and is quite reminiscent of Camel in its lyrical flow. The pieces are inspired by journeys through the central coast area of California and work successfully to convey that image with floating soundscapes and undulating synths.

While this is something that I wouldn't usually seek out, I found myself enjoying it quite a bit. My one reservation is that it can be fairly light, almost new agey at times, although it does have some moments of power, like the quick keyboard arpeggios and soaring guitar in "Big Sky". There are plenty of dynamic contrasts throughout to keep it interesting.

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