1. Leak 11:12
2. Android Cat Dreams Of Mice 13:51
3. Starry Night 12:03
4. Painting Earthtones In Orbit 9:16
5. Bullet Train 1:03
6. Nightshift At The Baby Mecha Nursery 5:23
Performed, Recorded, and Produced by Jim Combs
All synthesizers, sounds, and percussion by Jim Combs except saxophone on 3 & 4 by Brian Good
Logo by Eleanor Grosch/pushmepullyoudesign.com
CD package designed by Jim Combs
Bullet Train was composed in 1996 and recorded in 2000. Nightshift At The Baby Mecha Nursery composed live at Waldorf Coffee House 10/8/05. Android Cat Dreams Of Mice composed live at Common Sound Studios 12/4/05. Painting Earthtones In Orbit composed live at Aurora Coffee 3/17/06. Starry Night composed live at East Lake Commons Benefit 5/6/06. Leak composed live at Aurora Coffee 5/17/06. All songs arranged, mixed, and mastered at Common Sound Studio Jan-June 2006 by JC.
Awards: Atlanta Creative Loafing's Best of 2007 Readers' Poll awards Sensitive Chaos as "Best Local Electronic Act".
KSBR 88.5FM Morning Breeze show in Mission Viejo, CA played "Android Cat Dreams of Mice" on January 1, 2017, "Android Cat Dreams of Mice on February 8, 2015, June 24, 2012, "Nightshift At The Baby Mecha Nursery" on March 11, 2012, "Android Cat Dreams of Mice", "Starry Night", Nighshift At The Baby Mechoa Nursery", Bullet Train", Painting Earthtones In Orbit" on February 12, 2012, "Android Cat Dreams of Mice" on February 5, 2012, "Android Cat Dreams of Mice" on January 21, 2012, "Nightshift at the Baby Mecha Nursery" on December 4, 2011, "Android Cat Dreams of Mice" and "Starry Night" on November 27, 2011, "Android Cat Dreams of Mice" on November 26, 2011, November 20, 2011, November 6, 2011, October 30, 2011 and October 23, 2011, and "Painting Earthtones in Orbit"" on October 23, 2011. Leak is listed at #10 for November 2013.
WWUH 91.3FM Ambience radio show in West Hartford, CT played "Leak" on June 20, 2016.
WMUH 91.7FM Thought Radio radio show in Allentown, Pennsylvania played "Leak" on April 4, 2015.
WDIY 88.1FM Galactic Travels radio show in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania played the 'Leak' album on April 2, 2015.
WYSO Alpha Rhythms played "Nightshift At The Baby Mecha Nursery" on September 8, 2014.
Space Station Soma FM (spaced out ambient and midtempo electronica format)- "Android Cat Dreams Of Mice," from Leak constantly played from November 6, 2006 through present. Soma FM cliqhop idm is playing "Nightshift At The Baby Mecha Nursery" in the same timeframe.
WMSE 91.7FM's Instrumental Saturdays with Mary Bartlein show in Milwaukee, WI played "Nightshift At the Baby Mecha Nursery" on November 30, 2013.
HFM Radio 102.3FM Night Hawke show in Market Harborough, South Leicestershire and North Northamptonshire, UK played "Android Cat Dreams of Mice" on March 9, 2013 and January 28/29, 2012.
WTUL 91.5 FM played "Android Cat Dreams of Mice" on January 28, 2013, and the Poptart Show, New Orleans, LA (college alternative format)- "Nightshift At The Baby Mecha Nursery" played on on December 1, 2006, just before Robyn Hitchcock and Animal Collective.
KRSC FM 91.3 InnerVisions radio show (Tulsa, OK) ranks "Leak" from Leak #15 for their Top-20 for May 2011.
"Nightshift at the Baby Mecha Nursery" is featured in the Hypnagogue Reviews podcast #50.
StillStream.com (ambient format)- Leak is #18 on Mystic Music show for January 2011. Sensitive Chaos is artist of the month for April 2010. Has both Leak CD release and unreleased live tracks in heavy rotation in 2010, 2009, and August-December 2008. "Seeker After Patterns was played on May 2, 2009 Zen Caffeine show. "Ides Of March" was played on March 21, 2009. "Starry Night" was played on Zen Caffeine show, July 5, 2008. "Marienplatz Glockenspiel" and "Leak" was played on Zen Caffeine show, June 28, 2008. "The Life and Times of Mr. Water Vapor" was played on Zen Caffeine show, June 22, 2008. The entire Leak CD played on the Ambitar Radio show on June 20, 2008. Leak tracks "Painting Earthtones In Orbit" and "Nightshift At The Baby Mecha Nursery" plus live tracks "Trees Of Tropica Island", "Leaving Las Hangri", "The Life and Times of Mr. Water Vapor", "Fireflies In A Jar", and "Marienplatz Glockenspiel" played on Blue Water Drift Dive show, April 7 & 8, 2007. Leak tracks "Painting Earthtones In Orbit" and "Nightshift At The Baby Mecha Nursery" played on Blue Water Drift Dive show, September 23, 2006 and September 30, 2006.
Hypnagogue Podcast featured "Painting Earthtones In Orbit" on their 15th podcast on November 27, 2009.
KRFC-RadioFreeColorado (freeform, indie pop) - "Android Cat Dreams Of Mice," from Leak played May 26, 2007 - January 31, 2009.
KEVL FM 89.9 Audio Exotika radio show (Memphis, TN) plays " Starry Night" from the electro-music 2008 sample CD on August 24, 2008 and "Android Cat Dreams of Mice" from Leak on August 31, 2008.
KKUP 91.5 FM Mystic Music (new age, ambient, space, organ), Cupertino, CA, played selections from Leak during May 2008, December 2007 (including the Top 30 "Best Visionary Music of 2007" show on December 30), November 16, 2007, and on August 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31, 2007.
NPR member station WDIY 88.1 FM, Allentown and Bethlehem, PA, 93.9 FM in Easton, PA and Phillipsburg, NJ, 93.7 FM in Fogelsville and Trexlertown, 92.9 FM on Service Electric Cable (electronic/ambient/space format)- Leak track "Leak" played on Galactic Travels show, May 1, 2008, and "Bullet Train" played on Galactic Travels show, September 21, 2006.
WREK 91.1 FM Electronic Music Sunday Special show, Atlanta, GA, played "Android Cat Dreams Of Mice" on April 27, 2008.
WFIT 89.5 FM Future Echoes show, Palm Bay, FL, played "Android Cat Dreams Of Mice" on February 17, 2008, and "Leak" and "Nighshift At The Baby Mecha Nursery" on February 10, 2008.
Music From Beyond the Lakes on WDBX 91.1 FM, Carbondale, Illinois (ambient, electronic, jazz) (www.wdbx.org), included "Starry Night" on its February 10, 2008 and February 4, 2007 Cold Nights, Warm Hearts show, just before a Roger Eno tune and included "Leak" on its November 12, 2006 Abandoned Cities show. February 2007 Top 20, as reported to New Age Reporter, lists at number 13. Sensitive Chaos - Leak - Subsequent Records.
Radio Despi 107.1 FM in Barcelona, Spain, La Otra Orilla show, December 3, 2007, plays "Painting Earthones In Orbit" and March 19, 2007, plays "Android Cat Dreams Of Mice".
WXDU 88.7 FM New Frontiers (new age, ambient, smooth jazz, world music, college), Durham, NC, played "Painting Earthtones In Orbit" on September 1, 2007 and August 11, 2007, "Starry Night" on August 4, 2007, "Leak" on July 28, 2007, "Painting Earthtones In Orbit" on July 14, 2007 and "Nightshift At The Baby Mecha Nursery" on July 7, 2007.
Echoes (acoustic to electronic, jazz to space music, the avant-garde to rock format)- Echoes, the daily two-hour music soundscape, distributed by Public Radio International and broadcast on over 145 radio stations from Maine to California, has been playing the title track "Leak" from Sensitive Chaos Leak on their Tuesday, January 16, 2007 & Sunday, January 21, 2007 playlist, Tuesday, January 23, 2007 & Sunday, January 28, 2007 playlist, Tuesday, February 13, 2007 & Sunday February 18, 2007 playlist, Wednesday, February 28, 2007 & Sunday March 4, 2007 playlist, Wednesday, March 21, 2007 & Sunday March 25, 2007 playlist, Thursday, March 29, 2007, Friday, April 27, 2007, Tuesday, August 28, 2007 and Sunday, September 2nd, 2007, and "Android Cat Dreams Of Mice" to the Monday, January 29, 2007 & Sunday, February 4, 2007 playlist, Tuesday, February 6, 2007 & Sunday, February 11th playlist, Friday, April 13, 2007, and Wednesday, April 25, 2007 and Sunday, April 29, 2007.
WWSP 90 FM Ambient Aether/Space Continuum (new age, ambient, smooth jazz, world music, college), Stevens Point, WI, played "Bullet Train" on August 26, 2007, "Nightshift At The Baby Mecha Nursery" on August 19, 2007, "Leak" on July 22/2007, "Painting Earthtones In Orbit" on July 15, 2007, "Starry Night" on July 8, 2007 and "Android Cat Dreams Of Mice" on July 1, 2007.
CoolStreams Ambient Caverns (ambient) features "Leak", "Android Cat Dreams Of Mice", "Nightshift At the Baby Mecha Nursery", "Bullet Train", "Starry Night", and "Painting Earthtones In Orbit" from October 22 - November 18, 2006, January 7 - February 3, 2007, February 18 - March 3, 2007, March 19 - 31, 2007, April 1 - 14, 2007, April 15 - 28, 2007, April 29 - May 12, 2007, May 27 - June 9, 2007, and June 10 - July 7, 2007. (Ambient Caverns continues to play the Leak CD, but is not publishing playlists)
WUSM 88.5 FM Soundwaves (new age, ambient, smooth jazz, world music, classical, college), Hattiesburg, MS, played "Android Cat Dreams Of Mice" on June 26, 2007.
WTUL 91.5 FM Cheezmuzik show (new age, ambient, soft jazz, world & exotic music, college), New Orleans, LA, played "Painting Earthtones In Orbit" on June 24, 2007.
AMBiENT PiNG RADiO (ambient/chill/downtempo format)- Live unreleased recordings "Thoughts Of Home In A Sandstorm" and "Between Aurora And A Nice Hot Cup Of Joe" were played on the Almost Live show on June 4, 2007. Live unreleased recordings "The Life And Times Of Mr. Water Vapor," "Leaving Las Hangri," and "Marionplatz Glockenspiel" were played on the Almost Live show on December 11, 2006. "Android Cat Dreams Of Mice," "Painting Earthtones In Orbit," and "Nightshift At The Baby Mecha Nursery" from Leak were added and featured the week of October 22, 2006.
106.7 FM WETX (Freeform, Various, College), Johnson City, TN, The ETSU DeTour Randomization show played "Android Cat Dreams Of Mice" on April 7, 2007 through May 20, 2007.
WVKR-FM, Poughkeepsie, NY, Secret Music Playlist, April 15, 2007, features "Painting Earthtones In Orbit" from Sensitive Chaos Leak CD, which is also in Secret Music's Top 20 for the month of April, 2007. "Leak" is played on April 1, 2007.
YLE Radio 1 - Space Junk Finnish Broadcasting Company radio station (electronic/ambient/space format)- played "Nightshift At The Baby Mecha Nursery" on their January 14, 2007 show in between songs by Radio Massacre International and Centrozoon, and on their September 10, 2006 show in between songs by Radio Massacre International and Paul Ellis.
Aural Innovations Radio (electronic/ambient/space format)- "Painting Earthtones In Orbit" added October 1, 2006 to The Electronic Cottage show playlist.
KTUH FM 90.3 FM Honolulu (college alternative format)- Leak added week of September 11, 2006 to RPM rotation (playing along side of Board Of Canada, Four Tet, DJ Logic, Basement Jaxx, Zero 7, and Cut Chemist).
Phil Derby, Electroambient Space, March 2008 issue
The title track of Leak begins simply, cleanly. Very slowly the sound evolves, first one layer for a couple of minutes, and then another; those two tones explore and dance around each other before soft drums arrive. Then a saxophone plays over the top as the rhythm becomes more prominent. Somewhere along the line, it becomes a unique blend of jazz and electronics. It is relaxed and comfortable.
"Android Cat Dreams of Mice" starts with wood xylophone and bright bell-like sounds. Percussion is again restrained and highly effective in helping to set the mood. I play most of my electronic music at night, but Leak seems better suited for a lazy Saturday morning as you ease into the day. The playful bass line is overly cute, but is reflective of the cat-and-mouse theme.
"Starry Night" goes back to the EM-meets-jazz mode of the title track, though it seems to delve further into smooth jazz realms.
"Painting Earthtones In Orbit" is more electronic but continues along a bouncy path, as do the last two tracks.
If you like both EM and jazz and like your music on the bright side, Leak may just fill the bill.
Southeast Performer Magazine, NEWSATLANTA, December 2007 issue
The In The News column mentions Jim's Sensitive Chaos ASCAPlus and Creative Loafing Best of 2007 awards on page 8 (NEWSATLANTA) of their December 2007 issue.
Atlanta Creative Loafing, Best of 2007 Awards, September 26, 2007 issue
Atlanta Creative Loafing's Readers' Poll awards Sensitive Chaos as "Best Local Electronic Act". Critics pick in the same category was Damon "Habersham" Fonooni. This is the second win for Jim Combs of Sensitive Chaos, who also won the same category in 2005 as part of the electronic duo TouchXtone with Michael Thomas Roe.
John Shanahan, Hypnagogue Ambient Music News & Reviews, May 2007
I like being pleasantly surprised by the music I receive to review. Often that surprise comes because the music belies the presentation. That is to say, the packaging, which is part of the overall experience of any CD, doesn't raise my hopes for what's inside. Without meaning to be insulting, I have to say that this was true of Sensitive Chaos' new CD, Leak. The cover logo, at first glance, looks like it was roughed out on an Etch-A-Sketch—quickly. So when I reluctantly loaded the disk hoping for the best, the effect of the music was, to pun, amplified, and in a very good way.
On Leak Jim Combs delivers a package of equal parts funk, world beats and jazz influences wrapped around a solid electronic core. The title track plods in, quaintly uncertain aboard an ungainly rhythm that slowly gains support from a quiet melody rising beneath it. These meld and smooth; shuffling percussion eases in; and then, from a distance comes Brian Good’s flowing saxophone line, elevating the piece to a feel reminiscent of Shadowfax. It does take the track six minutes to get to this point, but listening to it is like watching a building go up in time lapse. And once it’s there, it’s elegant.
The ride continues with “Android Cat Dreams of Mice,” a nice fusion of jazz and hypnosis that gets a lift from a thick, funk-inspired bass line. Good comes back on “Starry Night,” which is as close to a straight-up jazz tune as you get on Leak. It’s a sweet listen, gliding along on that sax and a bouncing beat backed with hiccuppy electronic augmentation. A distorted computer voice welcomes listeners to the upbeat, lilting track, “Painting Earthtones in Orbit.” The voice returns at the end of “Nightshift at the Baby Mecha Nursery,” a fun piece working from a tinkling melody upward into a nicely interwoven construct that subsequently unwinds itself back toward simplicity. (Whereupon we get the voice again, speaking as if to one of the robot babies—a very nice touch).
Each track is fairly long, giving Combs ample time to fully explore his ideas and possibilities. And he spends the time wisely. Leak is a very pleasant surprise and will definitely garner repeat listens.
Scott Raymond, Secret Music, WVKR-FM, April 2007
"Sensitive Chaos is a project of Jim Combs, of TouchXTone. Kinda jazzy in spots, and a really fun album."
Sequences Music Magazine (UK), Issue No. 32, April 2007
Sequences includes "Starry Night" on their 10-song audio sampler disc accompanying issue no. 32. "Jim Combs' rhythmic ambient music from the States."
Sylvain "Phaedream" Lupari, Guts Of Darkness (French), January 2007
Leak de Sensitive Chaos, est la fusion des atmosphères.
Sur la pièce titre, un synthé nonchalant traîne ses notes de guitares virtuelles qui résonnent dans une atmosphère vide. Graduellement, ces accords sont rejoints par un sax isolé et des percussions qui deviennent plus présentes, dans une ambiance de soft jazz abstrait.
Sensitive Chaos, c’est Jim Combs, la moitié de duo américain très expérimental TouchXtone. En Leak, il nous présente des compositions écrites, et enregistrées en direct, au cours des 2 dernières années. Très expérimental, avec une approche bien personnelle, le style de Sensitive Chaos reflète son identité, du chaos sensible.
Prenons Android Cat Dreams Of Mice. Des percussions, style bouteilles, carillonnent dans une ambiance placide. Doucement, un synthé s’amène avec ses notes douces et caressantes. Graduellement tout devient plus intense ; d’étranges ronflements se mélangent aux notes basses et rauques, sur un beat des îles au mouvement très sensuel. Une belle structure aux modulations bouclées, qui reviennent sur le même sentier harmonieux, ajoutant toujours un élément musical nouveau, montrant d’un cran l’attente et la curiosité. Et l’attente vaut le coup.
Une belle mélodie, aux faibles carillons, émerge d’une nuit bercée par les souffles du sax de Brian Good. Starry Night est un superbe titre qui monte en crescendo avec de puissantes percussions. Superbe, le sax se lamente sur un rythme hachuré, par un beau jeu de percussions et des strates discrètes qui entrecroisent ce mouvement envoûtant, où la petite mélodie carillonnée flotte toujours dans l’air ambiante d’une nuit que l’on souhaiterait tous les jours.
Le début de Painting Earthtones In Orbit exploite les notes carillonnées avec des voix synthétiques inaudibles. Le rythme se dessine en boucle sur des percussions feutrées et une bonne ligne de basse. La cadence augmente sur des nappes synthétiques qui semblent se chercher, mais les percussions tablas martèlent le pas sur un rythme confus, plus près d’une atmosphère statique que d’une évolution séquencée.
Court, mais fort réussi Bullet Train aurait pu faire l’intro d’émissions d’aventures et policières de ma jeunesse. Les percussions sont incroyablement mordantes. Une petite minute qui passe bien.
Nightshift At The Baby Mecha Nursery est le seul titre studio de Leak et termine dans la même atmosphère harmonieuse et carillonnée qui a fait le charme de ce premier effort de Sensitive Chaos.
Leak de Sensitive Chaos est un album de MÉ expérimental. Les rythmes se balancent entre les notes d’un clavier carillonné et des percussions aux essences et provenances variées. Avec une structure nettement plus abstraite que la MÉ conventionnelle, Sensitive Chaos parvient à maintenir un niveau harmonieux qui captive l’attention. Et un titre comme Starry Night n’est pas à la portée de n’importe quelle plume. Un très beau titre, dans un album qui se dompte assez aisément. Pour amateurs de musique expérimentale, avec un côté très harmonieux.
Matt Howarth, Sonic Curiosity, January 2007
This release from 2006 features 53 minutes of pleasant electronic music.
Sensitive Chaos is Jim Combs, who is joined on two tracks by Brian Good on saxophone.
The first track is a lazy voyage of minimal keyboards that resonate in a delicate fog. Gradually, auxiliary sounds enter the mix: hesitant percussion and xylophonic notes and distant sax. As the piece progresses, mass is slowly accreted, but the density remains relatively sparse. A distinctly soft jazz flair is achieved.
With the second track, ponging leads into a stately dreamstate in which mild e-perc lends a modicum of oomph, and lilting electronics provide a pleasant tapestry for the tune to evolve into a tasty composition. Bass tones enter, adding some body to the crystalline nature of the piece.
The next song explores a nocturnal milieu with atmospheric ambience punctuated by hissing stars and sedate sax. Emerging from remote vistas, tasty rhythms provide a serene beat to the open expanse. The studied escalation is not hurried, nor do things ever grow corpulent. This relaxed progression from minimal to ambient is quite rewarding.
The fourth piece adopts a stratospheric perspective, drifting through high altitudes and looking down on a tranquil landscape. Mildly energetic riffs and soft tempos unfurl in a layer of airy textures. As is apparent by now, Combs' style of gradual evolution produces a pleasing development that culminates with a vaporous dissolution after a peaceful pinnacle has been accomplished.
The next piece is very brief and noticeably crisper than the rest of the compositions. There's no slowbuild here, it's right into a nest of lively twinkling notes and sweeping chords...and then it's done.
The last track combines the sharpness of the previous piece with the overall patient accretion exhibited throughout this release. The melodies quickly establish themselves, then meander through progressions designed to calmly stimulate the mind.
Jerry Nelms, Music Beyond The Lake, WDBX, November 2006
"Richly nuanced, urban-sounding music"
Bill Binkelman, New Age Reporter, December 2006
Leak is one of those maddeningly difficult to categorize/describe CDs that drive me nuts. I want to scream out loud how good it is, but after writing those words the details are tough to articulate! The reason that the music presents difficulties in describing it is, of course, indicative of how much talent the man behind Sensitive Chaos (Jim Combs) brings to this venture. Wielding a vast array of electronic keyboards and synths, he weaves heady and adventurous (yet from my perspective wholly accessible) ambient/electronica that crosses over into jazz fusion at times and also has some pronounced elements of retro EM as well. The music can be warm and friendly, even whimsical, or shadowy and shrouded in textural mystery. Four of the six album cuts are over nine minutes long which allows the music to take its time getting where it’s going. To add further intrigue and pique your interest, a large amount of the music was composed on the fly at various live appearances (coffee houses, mostly). So, there is an element of improvisation here as well, although Combs always took the original live composition back home and tweaked it before considering it a finished track.
Two songs, the title track and “Starry Night,” feature the über-cool sax playing of Brian Good, and its his deft soloing, snaking amongst layers of keyboards and synths, that sometimes migrates the music over into progressive jazz fusion territory (although Combs’ assorted synths still anchor each track’s aesthetic in ambient or electronica). Ambient fans who loathe sax are urged to not prejudge this CD as it would be a mistake.
At times, Leak (e.g. the track “Android Cat Dreams Of Mice”) reminded me of the Eien’s (Andrew Mays) Dandelion Dreamer. Like Eien, Combs concentrates less on the traditional ambient tools (synth pads, chords, washes, and drones) opting instead for layering notes and tones amidst his programmed beats. The sonic difference can’t be missed and lends the music a pronounced air of “fun.” On the “Android Cat…” track, the assortment of retro/contemporary bloops, bleeps, shimmering notes and tones, and thumping snapping drums build up slowly, speaking of the number of instruments and a corresponding volume level, too. All these different “things” going on form a cohesive “whole” which energizes the listener, but never too much so. Some retro synths in the track also compare to pioneering artists such as Beaver and Krause and Patrick Gleeson.
“Starry Night,” the second “sax” number, goes in a different direction, opening with classic spacemusic washes. When Good’s sax floats lazily into the scene, the music takes on a sensual aspect, only to have programmed drums and reverberating bells slowly fold into the mix. The undercurrent of floating spacemusic is still there but the beats and sax once again sway the overall feel over to that of progressive fusion. This is opposed to the title track, on which the sax has a more exotic wafting sound and the reverberating tones, plonking percussion and hand drum rhythms call to mind Robert Rich’s Gaudi.
Other tracks include the bouncy trippy “Painting Earthtones in Orbit” which abounds with tons of retro synthesizers in the latter half of the cut and the closing “Nightshift At The Baby Mecha Nursery,” another excursion into electronic whimsy, playful and lighthearted with lots of twinkling bells offset by a pleasant bass rhythm.
Leak is a thoroughly enjoyable album. Combs consistently impresses with how he blends his melodic and rhythmic synths, always maintaining a coherent vision and never allowing the improvisatory nature of his music to overwhelm its sense of purpose. I highly recommend Leak for its inventiveness, its beat-happy effervescence, and its thorough lack of pretension, not to mention it’s just a flat out fun album from start to finish.
Dene Bebbington, Melliflua (U.K.), November 2006
Sensitive Chaos is actually Jim Combs, otherwise known as one half of the duo TouchXtone. This solo album contains six explorations into ambient rhythm in a style that is partially recognisable from some parts of TouchXtone's works. All the tracks were recorded in the last couple of years apart from the shortest piece “Bullet Train” which was composed in 1996 and later recorded in 2000.
The tracks on this album while all involving rhythm fall into two types. There are those that begin with formless ambience or nascent rhythms and build up to the main event, and the others go straight into the rhythmic passage.
A longish (over eleven minutes) intro to the album is the title track “Leak”. Springy notes play out sparingly creating a sense of strangeness or mystery. Other notes like a glass being gently tapped come in and then slow percussion and assorted rhythmic elements start unobtrusively then increase in presence. Gradually everything becomes more intense; snatches of humming intermingle with bass notes, and a snaky sax like melody adds a touch of the exotic.
My favourite is “Starry Night” which opens with washes like smoothed out insect chirping and lovely reverbing tones plus gentle bell tinkles, and somewhere in the background is what could be burbling water. This leads into a bouncy and funky rhythm with a free and easy sax melody complementing the atmosphere. Another space oriented piece is “Painting Earthtones in Orbit” where dim and distant bell tones create a rhythm and reverbing washes. A synthesised voice reads out somewhat difficult to discern words and in the by now usual fashion percussion and other effects raise their voice driving the piece along to a climax then a peaceful conclusion.
After initially being unsure what to think about Leak it has started to grow on me. There's something about Jim's rhythms that are simple yet intriguing, and the spacey passages make this a well rounded album.
Rik MacLean, Ping Things (Canada), November 2006
Regular vistors to the ping things site will probably already be familiar with Jim Combs work as part of ambient duo TouchXtone. The Atlanta based project has been performing and releasing music for the last few years and have gained quite an impressive following and a number of local awards. In addition to his work with TouchXtone, Combs has also been presenting a regular improvisational performance event where he's been composing music on the fly, exploring new roads and leading his audience down new pathways.
The results of this musical journey can be heard on the debut disc Leak by his side project Sensitive Chaos. Composed for the most part in spontaneous live performance, Leak is a fascinating and enjoyable disc with much to offer the listener.
The disc opens with "Leak", a slowly building track where minimalist melodies intertwine with eachother, ultimately forming a rather intricate tapestry of sounds. It's a beautiful piece, and a fine example of the idea that sometimes the most complicated things can be the most simple.
Track two, "Android Cat Dreams of Mice", features an array of percolating bell-like tones and assorted other like minded instruments creating a nice rythmic pattern that shifts and evolves over the tracks nearly fourteen minute length. There's a playfulness to this track, a sense of frivolity and fun paired with a strong display of musicality and arrangement. Nicely done.
"Starry Night" follows, a twinkling and delicate piece that perfectly captures the beauty of it's title. A sublime sax line from guest Brian Good adds a nice organicism to the piece, playing along masterfully with a lovely percussive pattern that grows throughout the length of the track.
Vocoder and slight arpeggios feature prominently in "Painting Earthtones in Orbit", a track that continues the space-y themes established previously and expanding on them, turning them into something almost celebratory and joyful. A really nice piece that particularly stands out on a really nice disc.
"Bullet Train" has a very slick and metropolitan feel to it, like life in the big city, blink and you'll miss it, but keep your eyes open and you'll be in for a treat.
"Nightshift at the Baby Mecha Nursery" closes the disc, a track that captures a childlike innocence and wonder, while still maintaining a feeling of wisdom and maturity. Simultaneously delightful and thoughtful.
There's no doubt that with Leak, Combs has cemented his reputation as a gifted improvisor and further, has established his solo work as a distinct entity from TouchXtone. I look forward to hearing more from this project, and I'm very interested in exploring any new pathways that Combs leads us down with future releases.
Scott Ericson, CoolStreams Ambient Caverns, October 22, 2006
Sensitive Chaos slowly leaks out six songs (most between 9-14 minutes) spanning 53 minutes of music crafted and performed by Jim Combs, aka Sensitive Chaos. Jim develops catchy electronica / spacey "rhythms," with the title track (which includes Brian Good on soprano saxophone) perhaps a bit like Tangerine Dream meets Trad Jazz, but with pleasing effect (since that sounds flippant or counterintuitive). My favorite is last, "Android Cat Dreams Of Mice," which develops more of that drums'n'bass sound (but slow!) as it progresses. It's a little different than our norm, a cool trip into a different edge of the ambient universe.
Jeff Clark, Stomp and Stammer Magazine, October 2006 issue
"Jim Combs alternates with Brad Jones as host of the weekly Saturday evening free music series at Aurora Coffee's Virginia-Highland outlet. Sensitive Chaos is Combs' solo electronic music project, debuting with Leak, a six-cut CD of somnambulant ambient pieces that kinda creep me out a bit, if you wanna know the truth. I suppose that means they're pretty good."