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International Electronics: Raviv Gazit, Piero Milesi, Radio Chongching, Dom F. Scab, Symptoms

It's a big world, and the lure of electronic music knows no nationalist boundaries, although such international roots have a way of flavoring the melodies produced by these scattered musicians.

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RAVIV GAZIT: Shape Shifter (CD on AD Music Limited)

This CD from 1999 features 52 minutes of by Isreali electronic composer Raviv Gazit.

Gazit's style tends to be quite modern, infecting his music with uptempo BPMs and an urgent sense of composition amid the Middle Eastern airs lurking herein. With these 14 tracks averaging between 2 and 5 minutes long, the melodies are direct and forthright and highly entertaining.

Haunting electronics share the sonic stage with intricate E-perc, punctuated by playful keyboard riffs. A variety of strange effects can be detected swimming in the mix, attributing a lively strangeness to the whole. This analysis of components does scarce justice to the wondrous lushness and allure of Gazit's music though.

The songs maintain an aerial stance as they contort and undulate to the inviting rhythms that animate the riffs. Lighthearted electronics are as predominant as the darkzone tremblings utliziled by Gazit, with tranquility and agitation entwined to generate an amiable tension that glows with a determined and relentless charisma.

This music is highly energized, fusing ethnic and urban sensibilities to produce tuneage that will appeal equally to electronic music purists and fans of the techno genre.

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PIERO MILESI: Within Himself (CD on Cuneiform Records)

This CD from 2000 features 50 minutes of esoteric classical music by Italian composer Milesi. The tracks contained herein originate from 1987 through 1999, being music for films, installations, water, and fireworks.

Milesi's brand of electronics are keyboard oriented with programming enhancement. Other instruments (like cello, fretless bass, horns, and percussion) can be heard too, driving the passively energetic compositions into more traditional classical airs. Snippets of spoken words bestow one track's trainyard motif with the impression of traveling urgency.

While the compositions often seem abstract, the romantic and sobering melodies rein in these experimental tendencies, attributing humanity in severe doses to the flowing tuneage. The tone is generally peaceful, with the dramatic surges coasting in on calm riffs. Whether utilizing grand piano or breathy chords, Milesi's music has a very soothing effect.

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RADIO CHONGCHING: Radio Chongching (CD on First World Music)

Seattle-based, Radio Chongching is: Greg Gilmore on drums, George Soler on stick, and Lesli Dalaba on trumpet. The music they produce on this 50 minute CD is deeply immersed in Chinese history and the traditional sounds inherent in such districts of the timeline.

Although traditional electronics are not employed, the sonic palette produced by Radio Chongching is nevertheless ethereal and oozing with the charm of synthetics. Face it, the Chapman stick is no simple instrument, it is capable of just as much versatility of sound as any top-notch synthesizer. While, played a certain way, the trumpet can rival any electronics for unearthly strangeness.

As intimated above, the stick is lush and chameleon-like, rendering shimmering tonalities that run the gamut from bass-thump to atmospheric tremors.

The trumpet is extremely spectral, resounding with a ghostly passion that is as melancholy as it is demanding.

The percussives are very tribal, softly rolling in rhythms of sedate guidance.

Despite the Chinese mask worn by this music, these tracks display sincerely modern sensibilities, stretching urban jazz into a futurist foundation laced with sinuous ethnicity.

If you've wondered what Steve Roach's tribal ambience might sound like if merged with a mournful horn presence, this is the place to find out.

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DOM F. SCAB: Binary Secrets (CD on Groove Unlimited)

This 2001 release delivers 58 minutes of strong electronic music from Spain. Coming from the group AT-Mooss, Scab has also worked with John Lakveet and Albert Gimenez.

Scab's style of electronic music owes deep roots to that of Tangerine Dream and Vangelis, but he has forged ahead, molding these retro traditions into a modern and melodic sound that is simultaneously mellow and energetic.

Sequencer rolls combine with languid E-perc (often with densely synthesized notes functioning as the percussive impact) to produce tuneage that shimmers with lively keyboard riffs and intricate textures. While twinkling electronics establish a foundation of cosmic definition, atmospheric tones give way to pulsing chords that build into dynamic (but not aggressive) passages of celestial grandeur.

The melodic nature found here is quite engaging. Tracks are not overly long, resulting in a compression that increases the appeal of each composition.

Encompassing organic and hard science inspiration, this music celebrates a union of these elements. As shown on the cover art, a tree leaf hooked up to microcircuitry can reveal commonality between these two realms, presenting our worldview into a unified sonic expression.

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SYMPTOMS: Symptoms (CD on Swim Records)

Symptoms is German synthesist Klaus Ammtzboll, who delivers 51 minutes of dense and experimental electronic music on this debut CD.

Moving beyond the expectations inherent in his German origins, Ammtzboll's compositions are driven more by abstract influences than any Berlin School of Electronics. Indeed, his guitar-thick music is fairly reminiscent of Wire's ambitious experiments.

Utilizing a pulsating choppiness, this music flows like luminous vapors. Hidden in these misty waves are growling guitars and sinuous E-perc. These sonic clouds do not remain languid for long, though, exploding with harsh guitar tortures and scraping electronic teeth.

Take all this and force the sonic beast to conform to phase-shifting melodies that are equally as mesmerizing as they are intense.

Some pieces restain their seething fury to simmer with hissing tonalities and traditional drumming, producing ambience with an non-mechanoid industrial flavor. Some pieces even restrict themselves to solo piano with a subliminal undercurrent of acoustic guitar. But, abrasive or heavenly, the result is always riveting.

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