For as much as E.A.R. first got described to the public as a collaborative effort -- the liner notes even mention Shields, Prevost, and Martin as Sonic Boom's fellow sound makers -- Mesmerised consists of Boom on his own, understandable considering that the group would become his primary mode of post-Spacemen 3 solo expression. As a debut for the continuing project, it's a total winner; a winning collage of drones, tones, and endless atmospheric washes that becomes a logical extension of his earlier work into realms of complete psychedelic haze. Unlike many other '90s explorations into post/space rock, the key thing that comes across from Mesmerised is warmth -- though mysterious, to be sure, it's all a beautiful roil of sound, no formal melodies beyond a brief two note hook or two, just cascading gentility. Drum sounds get run through the tape machines backwards, many guitar notes are removed but the echoing feedback remains, and the amount of total oscillation employed must rival even the Silver Apples in their heyday. The snarkily titled "DMT Symphony" sets the initial mood with all these elements and more, while "Mesmerise 2601," the longest track at nearly half an hour, revolves around a central keyboard motif the entire time without ever getting boring, a seemingly endless dream. Straightforward guitar appears here as well, though heavily overdubbed and treated, soft chiming that ends up echoing back on itself in ways that only increase the beautiful, narcotic flow. "California Nocturne" continues the overall backgrounds while introducing what actually sounds like something of a Scottish/Irish pipe figure rather than anything West Coast, while still suiting the piece perfectly. "Guitar Feedback Manipulation," meanwhile, is just that, steering clear of huge, epic drone crunch in favor of equally powerful but still somehow gentler zone that fits in with the feeling of the rest of the album, and brings it to close just so.

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