Aeroc (aka Geoff White) is very technically proficient. If I'm understanding correctly, the only thing he uses throughout "Viscous Solid" is his guitar, pulling strange and intriguing sounds out of it that one doesn't really expect from a guitar. Though at times I'm almost sure that he is employing some sort of drum machine to set the beat. Thus, "Viscous Solid" is a study of layer upon layer upon layer of delicately interlocking sounds.
But there is something missing: emotion. Maybe there are emotions in it and they simply aren't something I ever feel, but I have to think that they are missing entirely. It's like reading a story written by someone who has very limited life experience. The lack of insight and almost forced, grandiose emotions reveal them as false. Or maybe it isn't even that it is missing, necessarily, but it seems to be a sort of afterthought. Sometimes I find it, but most of the time, I just imagine a guy in his bedroom fiddling with his guitar and trying to find the most interesting sounds without bothering to match them to a corresponding emotion. This is cold music. Perhaps that's just the nature of music limited to one instrument, but the source of an omission does little to redeem the end product.
At the same time, it should be obvious that I don't want to just tear White's work apart. It isn't awful music, and there are plenty of times that I find myself very interested in it. But I hold a firm belief that truly good music should inspire feeling in the listener, and this album is too reserved to do that the whole time. The few times that he really cuts loose, I feel like I'm finally going to get a glimpse into his soul, but it is machinery one sees there, rather than the strange workings of a real human. There is movement and intersection, but there is no heartbeat. I keep hoping that all of these veins and tissues that he lays out with his music will spring to life, yet only rarely am I not disappointed.
Those times when that warmth arrives, it is unexpected. It seeps into the music from some far away place, like water running through the undergrowth of an old forest. It is a delightful surprise that leaves me feeling safe and mellow. As soothing as a mother's arms, as tender as the perfect day with your lover, these moments showcase White's true potential. When the distant, naked tunes dash it as easily as a splash breaks the reflective surface of a pond, it's almost like a slap in the face.
When I first searched for information on Aeroc, I came across an Estonian company by the same name that makes "autoclaved aerated concrete products." One of the websites even proclaimed, "Light as air, hard as a rock." At the time, I thought it was a little strange that White would assume the same name as a company that forms the dull basis for many buildings. But now that I've given "Viscous Solid" a thorough listen, I realize that they have something in common. Function takes precedence over form; how the products are created is almost more important than how one perceives them. 5/10 -- Eden Hemming Rose (25 May, 2005)