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Country of origin:


Type of music generally:

Ethereal ectronica


Most recent release, vivid (2001)

See also:

AllMusic's info on Cooldown


Portishead, Lamb, Baxter, Suvome, Insides

Covers/own material:


General comments:

Cool yet sensual electronica, sometimes almost ambient with occasional nod to Portishead. (

Comments about live performance:

Cooldown, featuring vocalist Miss Benny, was the first act to hit the stage. And I have to admit I was a bit surprised by what they turned out to be. All the promo material I'd read had said how they're a real trip-hoppy band, drawing breathless parallels to acts like Portishead and Massive Attack. And so I was sort of expecting a trip-hop sound. Well, I didn't hear it. Not that I'm complaining, but I am left puzzling over the message of the promotional writeups—has the band's sound changed of late or something? When I heard them they were an elusive blend of styles and influences, but overall I'd say they had much too electric and funky a sound to be trip-hop. Certainly very high-energy and upbeat. They had a big chunk of the crowd dancing enthusiastically within moments.
     Miss Benny herself was a striking stage presence in a flowing red dress and long blonde hair. A powerful, unique voice and obviously the driving force behind the band itself, which was a sizeable collective of players. Individually the performers were very strong—the rhythm guitarist and bassist in particular seemed very tight. But the mix was a bit odd. I could hardly hear the percussionist and keyboardist, for example. Indeed, the fact that the only electronic instrument on stage was barely audible made the band's billing in an electronic gig seem somewhat curious.
     Unfortunately, beyond technical matters, I felt the band as a whole didn't quite mix either. There were times when parts of the band seemed to be pulling in different directions, as though they weren't entirely in consensus about what they wanted to do. I don't know if it's because they hadn't been playing together for that long or what, but I never felt I was listening to an entirely finished product. I feel a bit bad about saying that, because the band did put out some great high-energy music, and I had a good time (and two band members are friends of friends), but all the while there was a nagging feeling that, although there were some terrific pieces on the stage, they weren't quite coming together as a whole. (2/00,

Recommended first album:



ether ep

Release info:

1999—Map Music—Map 205-2


"Limited Edition Debut CD"

Ecto priority:


Group members:

Miss Benny—vocals
Greg Price—instruments

Guest artists:

Eric Balana—additional violin on one track
Tomis Perkovic—additional guitar

Produced by:

Greg Price


"Seductive". "Trance-inducing"...yes, this is rhythmic and graceful. Cool, ethereal and sensual vocals float over sound patterns both complex and tense; it is this contrast that provides most of the dynamic and interest in their music. The overall effect is chilled-out but not indifferent, unlike some (I'd say, most) ambient techno. This record would work well as background music, but it invites and rewards more involved listening.
     My favourites so far are the ethereal "Song for Wilf", enriched by subtle addition of guitar and violin, and instrumental "Funky Jam", for its dub ambience. The vocals on the first track remind me of Lamb, and throughout the whole EP there might be similarities to Swedish band Baxter or Australian Suvome and probably a number of American acts I'm not familiar with. And naturally, Portishead.... But for my money the true precursor of Cooldown was Insides; one of those obscure little projects that came out on 4.A.D way back in 1993 then vanished without a trace. I can only hope Cooldown will prove to have more staying power.
     A word of warning: their next record will apparently be more eclectic and upbeat, and Cooldown will grow from a duo to a full band. Which might not necessarily be a bad thing, but they will probably sound somewhat different. Frankly, I like them just fine the way they were.... (

I don't have too much to add to the above description other than Miss Benny's vocals are really lovely—high, clear, ethereal. I like the collection of tunes a lot, and will definitely track down their upcoming full-length—I, too will be fine with it if turning into a band doesn't change their sound much. This is great! (Neile)


Release info:

2001—Spark Records—SPK07630CD


A little hard to find—check Canadian music sources

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for ectronica fans

Group members:

Miss Benny—vocals, additional programming
Michael Balch—programming, keyboards

Guest artists:

Jason Filipchuk—additional keyboards, percussion
Cameron Hartl—guitar
Jessie Subot—strings
Adam Drake—drum programming on 1 track

Produced by:

Bob D'Eith, executive producer; Michael Balch, producer


An interesting growth from ether. For me the highlight is Miss Benny's powerful vocals. For the most part, this collection is more intense and driving than ether. "Several Independent Films" and "Amazonia" are both wonderful dreamy/dark opening tracks, then with "Tunnel Rat" it gets harder and faster and sometimes the beats are a little too predictable for my tastes. But then comes a track like "Dárya"—an especially powerful and beautiful song that sends shivers up my spine. (Neile)

Thanks to Andrew Fries for work on this entry.

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DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

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