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David Wright: Dramatic Electronic Music

A foremost British electronic musician during the Nineties, David Wright's style has evolved over the years, moving from long textural pieces to shorter, more dramatic compositions on his later releases. Although his early works display the customary Berlin School influences, Wright has evolved his own style from these inspirations, taking the genre into distinctly classical territory.

Wright is also a co-founder of the exciting band Code Indigo, which employs a more traditional range of instruments to achieve a lush and emotional electronic sound.

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DAVID WRIGHT: Live at the London Planetarium (CD on AD Music Limited)

As its title indicates, this 77 minute CD features a live performance by Wright (accompanied by Nik Smith, who is another member of Code Indigo) from 1995.

A dense beginning heralds more spaciness ahead. Growling electronics lead into an orchestral overtone that hints at majestic importance with swelling drama. With gurgling synthesizers and regal belltones, the music creeps into a mystical mood. Guitar pyrotechnics wail in the distance like some monster kept at bay by the delicacy of the melody. And that's just the beginning.

This music is masterfully crafted and superbly performed, a wondrous example of modern electronic music cut in the British mold. The pieces exhibit multilayered harmonies that interplay with emotional result. Lush keyboards riffs are not uncommon here, as are programmed E-perc rhythms whose predictable intricacy fits nicely with the ongoing textures. Wicked guitarwork threads throughout the mix, delivering an animal level of passion.

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DAVID WRIGHT: ThreeSixZero (CD on AD Music Limited)

This 1998 release sports 79 minutes of shorter pieces by Wright, joined again by Nik Smith on guitar. Also featured are vocalists and some violin.

The tone is considerably livelier here, with powerful E-perc undulations and textural choral accompaniment elevating the music from atmospheric to truly dynamic levels. And yet, for all its dynamics, the music retains a dreamy and unaggressive mode.

While the keyboards unleash complex chord patterns, the periodic resonance of violin lends a particular grandeur to these passages. Yet, despite the application of somber violin, a positiveness pervades the mix.

Electronics still command the majority of the sonic palette, with keyboard driven harmonies swimming in a pool of twinkling synthesizer touches. Although some cyclic structure is used, the melodies generally consist of active compositions in a classical venue. The consonance of these structures produces quite an invigorating effect, with the ever-spiraling music persisting in an upward mobility inside the listener's head.

Several tracks on this CD display Middle Eastern influences with warbling prayer chant and haunting ethnic instrumentation. Keep in mind, these "influences" are quite immersed in Wright's electronics, delivering a modern sensibility laced with exotic appeal.

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CODE INDIGO: For Whom the Bell (CD on AD Music Limited)

This 1996 release features 72 minutes of ambience by Robert Fox, David Wright, Nik Smith, and Vaughn Evans.

Frankly, this music contains far too much density and considerable structure to be accepted as "ambience". But then, despite its sonic presence, the music is restrained, never rising to shrill proportions, but neither sinking to soundscape level.

Tempered with percussives, the powerful electronics are accompanied by strident guitar, grand piano, and even horns. The electronics are frequently bass-heavy and portentous, creating an edginess that oozes around the other instruments with elemental ease. The percussives define rhythm, but never in a demonstrative manner. Although the guitar displays astral energies, these outbursts are intended to flavor rather than blaze.

The proverbial "bell" (tubular in nature) is evident throughout, punctuating the commanding calm with its echoing resound. Snatches of schoolyard sampling flow in the background, lending a coming-of-age mood to the rather inspirational melodies.

While there are 18 tracks here, the music flows in a union that carries the listener without major disruption for the full 72 minutes. A sense of drama permeates the tuneage, subdued but retaining quite an attractive appeal that tickles far beyond simple "ambience".

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CODE INDIGO: Uforia (CD on AD Music Limited)

This time, the band is Fox, Wright, and Smith, with additional personnel supplying vocals and saxophone. This 1999 release contains 59 minutes of euphoric electronic music.

Here, the tracks are longer, functioning as individual sonic entities.

The versatile electronics are laced with romantic piano, guitar, horns, and a prominent vocal presence. Those vocals are confined, however, to non-lyrical chants, lending the music a cathedral demeanor. These quasi-religious overtones are counterbalanced by sampled snippets of NASA broadcasts, flinging open the church doors to allow the promise of space-age grandeur to seep in.

Traditional drumming attributes a considerable oomph to some of this tuneage, propelling those melodies with relaxed drive. Snappy guitar delivers a funky presence amid a hornets nest of sampled snippets regaling the audience with commentaries on 21st Century technologies supplanted into the 20th.

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DAVID WRIGHT: Marilynmba (CD on AD Music Limited)

This 1991 release by Wright delivers 72 minutes of ethereal electronic music.

While some of the tracks are brief (from 4 to 7 minutes long), the bulk of this release centers in a pair of 20 minute compositions that superbly exemplify Wright's slowburn style. The music in these long pieces are relaxed and pleasant, combining breathy tonalities with melodic keyboards to produce sedate excursions that skirt the atmosphere, plunging into a peaceful realm of mildly playful synthesized strings.

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DAVID WRIGHT: Between Realities (CD on AD Music Limited)

This 1992 release by Wright features 78 minutes of electronic music possessing earthier roots.

These compositions contain predominant American Indian influences, with the presence of soft tribal percussion and synthesized strings capturing the mood of outings along rolling hillocks populated by native wildlife. Amid these plains airs, Wright's electronics warble and coo via direct chords rather than layered textures.

This fusion of Amerindian sensibilities and modern electronic melodies generates a distinct juncture of two separate realities.

A pair of the tracks (totaling 40 minutes) are recorded live.

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