To the Ministry's main lobby The Ministry Blog
concert setlists

30 December, 2003

Review: Dead Air For Radios (Chroma Key, 1998)

After hearing the excellent 'Office of Strategic Influence' album by OSI, I was interested in the music of each of that project's members.  I'd already tried, and not particularly liked, Dream Theater, and came to much the same conclusion when I finally heard a couple of Fates Warning concert recordings, but Kevin Moore's 'Chroma Key' was a real find.  'Dead Air For Radios' (1998) is now one of my favourite albums.

On 'OSI', KM provided vocals, keyboards, sample programming and almost all of the lyrics, so 'Dead Air For Radios' naturally has a similar sound, only lacking the almost 'metal' weight of guitars and drums on 'OSI'. I like KM's voice and vocal style; his words aren't simply overlaid onto the music, their rhythm substantially adds to the overall composition. Though not phrased as richly as Ian Anderson's, some of the lyrics of 'Dead Air For Radios' are as thought-provoking as a Tull album; quietly profound without being 'in-your-face' clever. 'America The Video' is a highlight in that regard.
The use of sampled interviews, etc. in some songs is interesting, adding a little contrast to KM's vocals and accompaniment to otherwise instrumental tracks. A couple are less compelling on repeated listening; each time I play the album, I tend to actually play it twice (or more times!), but I've found myself fast-forwarding past the 'counting station' shortwave broadcast (Porcupine Tree used a similar sample on 'Stupid Dream' in 1999) intro/outro of 'Even The Waves' and skipping 'Camera 4' on repeat plays. There are no bad tracks on the album, but for me these elements are the weakest.

Though it doesn't 'blow me away' to the same extent, the second Chroma Key album, 'You Go Now' (2000) is still very good. More overtly keyboard-led and laid-back than its predecessor, with programmed percussion and minimal guitar fills, the result is somewhat gentler, though wonderfully fitting the theme of putting a brave face on loneliness.

Site Home Tull Tour History Annotated Passion Play
Day in the life... Page design and original graphics © NRT, 2003