(Relapse Records, 1997)

Amoeba is the duo of Robert Rich (vocals, percussion, synthesizer, steel guitar and winds) and Rick Davies (guitar and bass). Guest artists provide additional sounds, including cello, sax, percussion and extra vocals.

Watchful is a CD of dark and dreamlike ambient music, something for which Robert Rich is well known. Most all of Watchful is dark, brooding and melancholy, wherein lies its weakness in my opinion. Although there are eleven tracks on Watchful -- with titles such as "Skin," "Origami," "Footless," "Ignoring Gravity," "Water Vapor" and "Any Other Sky" -- all the songs seem much the same. The vocals, while competent, are certainly nothing to be excited about, echo-phasing notwithstanding.

If one is in the mood for melancholy, atmospheric background music Watchful by Amoeba would certainly not be a bad choice.

[ by Robert Buck ]

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