It's all in the groove, and the groove is in the heart, so what on earth is this? The sound of what the future used to sound like from where we used to be, Spore recalls a number of obscure names (Chris and Cosey, anybody? Coil, maybe? Muslimgauze?) in its relentless quest to construct a sort of world music wholly stripped of those touchy-feely good-time hackysack vibes that give world music a bad name. It's the work of a guy from Belgium who spells his name real funny, and people will call it "ambient" if pressed to categorize it, but don't be fooled by the label: If you tried to play this stuff over the airport PA, half the people in the terminal would be in therapy before your employers had finished turning you over to the feds.
Spore's driving rhythms manage to come off both tribal and entirely synthetic, its keyboards cold and icy, and the wind instruments, which are the dank glue holding everything together, sound as if they must have originated in some cavern far beneath the surface of the earth. It's lush and luxuriant in a very alienating way, and it would make a good soundtrack to a movie you wouldn't let your kids watch: Sixty-odd minutes in, there's a moment when the title track breaks free from its already slight rhythm, and it's so dark and lonely that it'll make you want to put on your hat and gloves and just go home. Except that, in all likelihood, you're home already, and here's nowhere else to go -- which is exactly what the album has been driving at all along. Nice.