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Various Electronic Music

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RUDY ADRIAN: Iridescence (Sequencer Sketches Vol. 2) (CD on Groove Unlimited)

Hailing from New Zealand, Rudy Adrian delivers 53 minutes of ambient electronic music with this 2001 CD (a follow-up to his very popular "Kinetic Flow" release).

Fusing Berlin School sentiments with modern technology, Adrian produces a lush trance that is peppered with sequenced liveliness. Although the music is highly rhythmic, hardly any E-perc is utilized, tempos being comprised of applied surges and cyclic keyboard riffs. Adrian's style blends rapid sequencing with languid ambience, injecting power and grandeur to what is normally considered a background presence. The result is peppy electronic music that exudes an atmospheric quality.

At nearly 17 minutes, "Song of the North" is the CD's longest piece. It starts with a traditional-sounding Vangelis-esque synthesizer intro that soon gives way to a delicate fairie-land soundtrack of twinkling notes and crystalline chords, evoking a chilly but pleasant soundscape. Denser sequencing gradually slides into the mix, lending the flow muscle and a more predominate melody. Soon, these textures explode with fanciful velocity and vibrant force, filling the icy sonic sky with cavorting spirits of an inspiring nature.

The compositions display a fusion of energetic passages undulating against a curtain of glimmering sonic softness. These tracks create a rich feeling of aerial passage through regions of sparkling light. While disdaining overtly demonstrative expressions of volume, Adrian achieves a majestic command of the listener's attention through engaging melodies laced in drifting structures.

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ASANA: Shrine (CD on Neu Harmony)

Asana is David Barker. This 71 minute CD features a tasty selection of spacey electronic music that is infected with catchy rhythms and flowing melodies.

The electronics are lush and versatile, delving equally into energetic turf and ambient strains. The enticing melodics achieve a steadfast upwardly mobile quality, lifting the listeners from their earthly domiciles, plunging them through the thinning atmosphere and into the harsh but glorious splendors of outer space. Rushing past alien worlds, the music easily captures the flavor of these cosmic mysteries.

Mix in synergetic E-perc, some heavenly chorales and periodic sampled vocal snippets, and the astral soundscapes adopt a peppier nature, one guaranteed to appeal to a human's need to move with the music.

This 1994 release capably bridges the gap between ethereal electronics and dance sensibilities.

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ASANA: Trikuti (CD on Neu Harmony)

With this 61 minute release from 1996, Asana investigates the origins of the universe "as we know it now" with techno-edged ambience of a lively nature. Brisk and enchanting, this tuneage sparkles with inspired rhythms and complex keyboard riffs.

Sinuous E-perc and vocal snippets are present in the sheets of shimmering synthesizers, urging the pleasant melodies to snappier time signatures. Building from sedate tones, the melodies accrete rhythms and riffs until they are thick, surging sonic masses pulsating with alien-sounding noises and swooping keyboard patterns. The synthetic percussion acts like a melody-shepherd, guiding the music with agreeable tempos.

The vocal samples attribute each song with hints of meaning, alluding to hidden cosmic knowledge, distant interstellar civilizations, and the aliens who live among us. These voice snippets are not lyrical, appearing only minimally.

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STEFAN ERBE: Intermediate (CD on Erbemusic)

This 64 minute CD from 1998 features some highly engaging contemporary electronics by Erbe.

Lively synthesizers wind along pleasant paths accompanied by relaxed E-perc and buzzing effects. Erbe achieves a fanciful and entertaining sound with a versatile sonic palette combined with a clever sense of composition. His harmonic excursions are lush without being dense or hyper. This music excels at bestowing character on a futurist template.

Cyclic sequencing is decently enhanced by an ample presence of interesting keyboard riffs. A distinct sense of humanity lives in this music as Erbe conveys subtle whimsy that softens the emotional content without defusing the passion. In some pieces, synthesized strings add a pastoral flair, while other tracks exhibit a deeply classical mood. Overall, this serious music is tickled with personality, flavoring its cerebral roots with sprightly sensibilities.

While these melodies are soothing, they possess a degree of enjoyable vitality: invigorating and mesmerizing. Enticing diversions flourish among the music, as riffs swarm around their core themes, embellishing the tunes with gorgeous aspects. The result is a thoroughly captivating dose of contemporary electronic music, blending old school influences with a modern approach and gentle style.

A single brief track with vocals displays a predominant dance factor that is a charming deviation from the otherwise introspective instrumental music.

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HEMISPHERE: Now (CD on Groove Unlimited)

This 2001 CD features 73 minutes of soothing electronic music with hints of energetic peaceful power.

Hemisphere is: Ralf Knappe-Heinbockel and Thorsten Reinhardt, with Petia Huschle on minimal vocals.

Against an atmospheric foundation, denser-but-still-pleasant electronics seethe, heralding the appearance of languid E-perc that establishes rhythmic guidance. Peaceful strains of guitar weave through the sinuous mix, attributing an earthiness to the gentle music. A few tracks exhibit a more demonstrative presence, while retaining a sense of calm. During these peppier compositions, the E-perc rouses with vigorous tempos and the guitar adopts a sedate growl.

Most songs here average between five and eight minutes long, except for one 30 minute track, during which Hemisphere moves from an explosive opening to soar beyond the stratosphere and enter a grittier region of astral sound. Here, the music continues to expand, encountering passages of quasi-industrial noise immersed in a fervently ambient state of sonic agitation. Cycles and loops cascade lazily with expectancy, slipping from one spacey edge to another, finally building to a rhythmic coda.

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DETLEF KELLER & MARIO SCHÖNWÄLDER: The Reason Why...Part Two (CD on Manikin Records)

This 73 minute CD is a continuation of one of the CDs contained in the "Vier-Drie-Zwei" triple CD box set by Broekhuis, Schönwälder, Keller, and Braun. For this release, only Keller ad Schönwälder are featured. The music is all live electronic improvisations from concerts at the Jodrel Bank, Ludenscheid, and Kassel 1997-2000.

Delicate beginnings give way to slowbuilding structures, layers of synthesized chords and electronic ambience overlapping to become lush and resplendent pastiches of dynamic energy. Sequenced cycles blend with keyboard riffs amid drifting atmospheric tones to produce relaxing melodies mounting toward climactic explosions of passionate power. As the cycles and loops emerge and evolve, melodies manifest, mutating as the tracks continue, drawing intensity from their ascendent nature. Beats, electronic and crisp, surface to goad the tuneage along, attributing uptempo elements that infect the electronics, inspiring the melodies to more turgid expressions.

Given that this CD features only three tracks (the shortest being 19 minutes, the longest being 31 minutes) the music is afforded ample opportunity to expand from languid soundscapes into energetic and vivacous melodies that are almost too busy with their density.

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