Spin (2/96, p.86) - 8 - Very Good - "...Howie B...and Japanese hip-hop DJs Tosh and Kudo...keep Ducasse from drifting into the void, adding psychedelic signposts and grooves your cerebral cortex can hold onto....as accomplished a record as any to come out of the U.K. club scene, a near-perfect balance of the manmade and the mechanical..."
Alternative Press (1/96, p.98) - "...seems like an exercise in record-collection rock rather than an honest homage. But despite these quibbles, #1 is a languid voyage through techno-educated psychedelia; it falls short of its references, but creates its own evolving universe..."
Mojo (Publisher) (1/95, p.108) - "...Their take on ambient trip-hop landscapes works on tracks like the breathtaking 'Seashell'..."
Skylab: Matt Ducasse, Howie Bernstein, Toshio Nakanishi, Kudo (vocals, acoustic & slide guitars, guitar, clarinet, birdcall, piano, Fender Rhodes, Hammond B-3 organ, Omnichord, synthesizers, bass, percussion, programming, samples, sound effects).
Additional personnel: Debbie Sanders, Jocelyn West (vocals); Nayuki Fujii (saxophone).
Producers: Howie B., Tosh, Kudo.
Personnel: Howie B. Kudo (programming).
Recording information: Major Force West; Milo Studios; Skylab.
Skylab is a collaboration between four individuals: Howie "B," a formidable engineer, producer, and remixer who has worked with everyone from Sinead O'Connor to Soul II Soul; Mat Ducasse, something of a freelance sample collector, and the Japanese DJ team of Toshi and Kudo. Musically, Skylab focus on ambient soundscapes that are often anchored to mid-tempo beats and layered with samples. When there are vocals, they are of the wordless variety.
All of the tracks are fascinating in some way or another. "Depart" features slippery, metallic beats, wobbly bass, and sort-of-country guitar. The samples in "Ghost Dance" suggest the ambient sounds of night in some otherworldly zoo and are set to a wiggling beat. The nine-plus-minute-long "Indigo" is an expanding, ambient/beat excursion grounded by a glittering acoustic guitar. "Ah Ee Mu" recalls the wordless, "tribal" vocals of Can and is set to a pulsating, dense piece of music that winds up sloshing around in a water pool (you've got to hear it). Incidentally, there are several different versions of this album, some with an alternate running order and some with several different tracks. Listening to this record is an extraordinary trip, whichever version you hear.