M A S (aka Makram Abu-Shakra) and Travis McAlister are two musicians who used to play in various improv bands together during the early 90's in Southern California. Roughly a decade after they went their separate ways, a visit to Travis' home in Portland, Oregon led to a recording of mostly improvised music, which was to serve as the raw material for a project of careful craftsmanship that took three years to complete.
The result is an exploration of the warm, organic, and faulty sounds of vintage instruments, as well as an attempt to seek out (or invent?) an ambient side of early music genres such as old school jazz and the dream-like reverie of early black and white cinema. This is done from a minimalist musician's perspective which repeatedly strives to return to a core, abstract expression. As such, there is a dynamic interplay between structured melody and pure sound textures.
One has a sense of layers being peeled back to reveal deeper meaning, underscored by a recurring tendency towards sonic diminution and the fading out to silence. Hence, the name "The Fade Out Room".
The exploration of varying musical styles gives a sense of transparency to the album or an unfolding of dimensions, the shifts in the music at times resembling the soft peeling or shedding of layers to reveal more essential expressions.
The instruments played in The Fade Out Room include an optigan, an assortment of bells, various synths, a music box, and a plastic trumpet.
Makram Abu-Shakra was born in Lebanon and is now based in San Francisco. He is also an artist and a writer. Most of his work can be found here. Look for his first book to be published sometime in the next six months.
Travis McAlister was born in California and frequently performs live in Portland, Oregon. He is a member of Nequaquam Vacuum and The Krebsic Orkestar. He has earned a reputation of being a multi-instrumentalist and he also builds his own musical instruments.»
"A hauntingly rough ambient album...outrageously strong and should not be missed." - David Nemeth, actsofsilence.com
"It's like a well kept secret. When cracked, you'll want to hit repeat and apply what you know in order to discover more." - Diabolical Claptrap, My Latest Music Discoveries
"The latest release from the ever-excellent Test Tube netlabel, stands out from the pack by embracing a range of sounds and sonic expressions quite different from most of their peers...The opening track ‘The Room Lies Still During Twilight’ is one of the most unsettling pieces of music I’ve heard all year..." - Daniel Auty, netlabelism.com
"...a hypnotic experience passing through the different eras of (experimental) music searching for elusive redemption and vast synergy." - Borealiscape, agier.blogspot.com
"Quant à "The Fade Out Room" je peux te dire que c'est l'un des disques les plus émouvants, de part l'énorme sensibilité et délicatesse, que j'ai eu occasion d'écouter ces derniers temps. Toutes les émotions y sont profondes et suggestives et passent finement à travers une épidermis très nuancée, des peaux ou des surfaces presque translucides extrêmement fragiles, douloureuses même. J'aime beaucoup aussi l'usage qui est fait des silences, puis également la présence de sons et d'intonations mélodiques liés au passé, qui soulignent un aspect nostalgique de condamnation ou d'extinction. Je vous félicite pour le travail sonore élégant et très sensible qui dégage une mystérieuse poésie." - Sarah Vacher, Luscinia Discos
"To say this album is like the moment between falling asleep and being asleep is a great understatement..." - thismusicisfree.blogspot.com
"This is equal parts music production and sound design as the tracks invoke melancholic moods, while painting an aural portrait of empty rooms, jangling cans, flooded basements, peeling wallpaper, and faulty film projectors...a beautifully crafted piece that is haunting - both literally and figuratively." - AudioStylites, audiostylites.wordpress.com
"Questo si è materializzato in un'approfondita analisi del suono di vecchi strumenti musicali, che ricompaiono in questo nuovo lavoro con prepotenza e creano un'opera davvero unica e straordinaria, frutto di 3 anni di sperimentazioni con molteplici strumenti non convenzionali. " - Rosa Selvaggia
"Wonderful spooky stuff here...filmic, creaky, dusty and very odd." - Richard Sanderson, bagrec.blogspot.com