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The Electronic Music of: Robert Carty, Eric Snelders, and Synthetic Block

Three electronic composers, three different approaches to electronic music.

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ROBERT CARTY: The Inexplicable (CD on Deep Sky Music)

This 60 minute CD sports a peaceful form of electronic music.

Sedate tonalities drift in a brooding darkness that is tinted with melodic pleasantries. Although never hostile, the music has a distinct feeling of mystery oozing from these long compositions. The pace remains in slowburn mode, but a tension grows as the pieces continue, transforming into a sense of shared awe.

The presence of rattling (shakers) lends an unearthly element to the floating music, which passes as the haunting soundscape moves into the desert. Here, the ambient electronics are accompanied by rain and crickets.

As the flow soars into a more uptempo passage with soft E-perc, synthesized flute strains appear to cavort in the aerial mix. Things are building now, and the reemergence of the shakers adds sparkle to the velocity. Crashing thunder marks a dramatic peak, and the soundscapes commence their return, spiraling earthward.

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ROBERT CARTY: Serotonin Ashram (CD on Deep Sky Music)

This 59 minute CD features more of Carty's peaceful electronics; and in these six compositions there is music for the brain:

A chugging E-perc presence adds liveliness to the dreamy synthesizers.

Seesawing effects urge a drifting soundscape to bubble with exuberance.

The return of E-perc goes well with echoing keyboard sweeps. The listener is moved carefully the sonic shrubbery under the scrutiny of faces hidden in the electronic forest.

Extreme ambience is littered with distant spirits. This will evolve a tribal percussive element to counterpoint the storm.

A return to placid ambience slyly evolves a majestic quality with romantic tonalities and the illusion of water spilling over insects.

For the final piece, there is a fusion of soft-but-insistent E-perc and swooshing electronics, generating a gently uptempo voyage through reedy tones.

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ERIC SNELDERS: Looking through the Eyes of the Overworld (CD on Quantum Records)

This 53 minute CD explores a different mode of electronic music: one rooted in the classic Berlin School.

Multilayered sequencers and fanciful keyboard rushes conspire with bass-tinted E-perc to produce melodies that are thick with drama and appealing riffs. Various other instruments (albeit sampled, like harpsichord, ethnic strings, and vocal effects) cavort against a shimmering tapestry of crystal tones.

The music has a strongly uplifting quality, driving the harmonies skyward with epic passages that resound amid the stately cloudbanks. Gleaming chords capture the melodies at these heights, exhibiting their musical splendor for the appreciation of all.

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ERIC SNELDERS: The Source of Scarlet Dreams (CD on Quantum Records)

This CD delivers 63 minutes of Snelder's energetic electronic music.

Delicate keyboards are almost swamped by the might of demonstrative electronic rhythms and rushes. The synthetics are versatile and creative, drawing upon traditional synthesized sounds and exploring new noises with equal dedication.

Strongly melodic in a dramatic way, the music fills the listener with expectant bliss, the promise of vaster horizons and unlimited possibilities. The tunes possess a charisma that is rooted in their playful harmonies. There is a profusion of epic crescendos lurking among these dynamic songs.

A few tracks feature operatic female vocals (of a non-lyrical nature) which generate a classical flair for these indefatigable pieces.

Snelders' music harks back to the early 80s, drawing some comparisons to Tangerine Dream's style (circa "Tangram"), but he has infused an inordinate amount of grandeur to this sound, propelling the music far beyond the earthly stratosphere.

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SYNTHETIC BLOCK: Synthetic Block (CD on Mindspore Records)

Synthetic Block is Jonathan Block. His style of electronic music involves dense melodies with slight percussive propulsion. For 68 minutes, Block takes the listener on a sonic journey into realms of synthetic sounds dedicated to sinuous tuneage.

Keyboard threads wind with evolving riffs amid a cloud of counterparting tones. These clouds contain a hint of rhythmic presence, languid E-perc patterns that chitter at the edges of the melody. The heart of this music is the electronics though.

Block mixes ambient tonalities with lively synthesizers, producing a strongly dramatic impression with his serpentine compositions. His blend of harsh and soft electronics generates a lush soundscape that plays to every emotional extreme.

These compositions are quite refined, employing solid melodies that are rich with lavish appeal. Unhurried, but hardly longwinded, this music has a dynamic quotient that has a tendency to creep up from behind to snare the listener with its building intensity.

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SYNTHETIC BLOCK: The Opposite of Staring into Space (CD on Ironing Board Recordings)

Block returns with 73 minutes of significant electronic music.

Synthesizers swarm to fill the air with lustrous sounds. Keyboard riffs add authoritative motivation to the flow, further injected with power by E-perc strains. Each aspect of the mix responds in sinuous patterns to each other, generating intricate melodies. Those melodies are rather dramatic and entertaining.

This music constantly urges toward loftier heights, resounding with epic stature and charming harmonics. There is a definite soft command going on, but the tuneage attracts through enticing riffs and melodics rather than by any forceful compulsion.

It is an attraction that is hard to avoid. The music rumbles with alien strangeness, while enthusiastic rhythms bestow a catchy allure to the surging electronics. Block's style tends toward compositions of slowbuilding grandeur, overlaying riffs that are striving to evolve to greatness.

There are some atmospheric moments, but even these sedate passages are shot through with a quivering tension, as if rallying anticipation for the next riff. These stately lulls provide recuperative points, energizing the audience for the inevitable wave of uplifting electronics that lurks only seconds away.

Block's music is thoroughly stimulating and eminently rewarding.

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