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The Enthralling Dance Music of System 7

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During the Nineties, System 7 established itself as a foundational force in the genre of techno/rave music. Comprised of Steve Hillage and Miquette Giraudy, System 7 operated in collaboration with a host of other notables in that field of electronic music, including Dr. Alex Paterson (aka the Orb), Richie Hawtin (aka Plastikman), Youth (from Killing Joke), Derrick May, Paul Oakenfold, Andy Falconer, Kris Weston, Carl Craig, Talvin Singh, and more. Hillage and Giraudy (who themselves were integral members of Gong during that band's pinnacle releases during the Seventies) were among the first to openly acknowledge the debt "techno rave" music owed to the German electronics of that same decade, accrediting Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother as co-composers when System 7 sampled signature riffs from Neu's music in their "Interstate" song in 1995.

One of aspects that differentiates System 7's music from most techno is the band's heavy use of guitar (and the ricochet effects thereof) in their sonic repertoire.

Often known under the identity "777" in the USA because of obvious name conflicts with certain computer operating systems, System 7 is still going strong, pushing the electronic envelope with their latest releases.

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SYSTEM 7: Alpha Wave (12-inch EP on A-Wave Records)

This 12-inch vinyl (yup--"vinyl"!) release from 2000 features over 35 minutes of remixes of this song from the band's "Fire/Water" double CD from 1994. This EP marked the band's first release on their own A-Wave Records label.

Expect surging pulsations punctuated with snappy E-perc rhythms. Electronic patterns combat with innovative effects, conspiring to elevate the basic melody into more strenuous territory with each passing moment. As these intricate layers cycle into a frenzy, the E-perc grows lusher and more intricate, delineating the melody with forceful tempos. Trance elements get left in the sonic dust as the music joyfully expands into cosmic realms with driving ambition. Keyboard-triggered electronics abound, generating novel riffs that evolve during their endless repetition, resulting in dance music of a truly insistent nature. Despite the looping qualities of these riffs, there's never a dull moment.

Included on this release are: the twenty minute "Plastikman Remix" (originally found on the "Alpha Wave" CD EP from 1995); "System 7 2000 Remix", and the lively "Bananadance Remix".

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SYSTEM 7: High Plains Drifter (12-inch EP on A-Wave Records)

This 12-inch vinyl release from 2001 features several remixes of this song from their "Seventhwave" CD from 2001.

The BPMs run emphatically high in this music. While these E-perc tempos are bouncing all over the place, the electronics set a pace and pursue their ultimate target with entertaining results. After an entrance passage of playful sensibilities, the main melody emerges with dynamic riffs, fusing electronics and heavily treated guitar so brilliantly as to defy dissection. This gestalt becomes secondary as the tuneage explodes with its own diversions, refining the rhythms and expounding on the central theme with relentless emotion and dancefloor sentiment.

In its basic form, "High Plains Drifter" is a thoroughly engaging tune, stimulating the mind and feet with its fluid harmony and commanding rhythms. Placed in the remixological hands of Voyager and Purple, this tune becomes even more dazzling, deviating into enhanced directions with unpredictable frequency.

Air Force communication snippets (dealing with several pilots' unwillingness to "report a UFO") add a wry touch to the Voyager remix.

Included on this EP are: the "Voyager Remix", the "Original Mix" (from the "Seventhwave" CD), and "Purple's 24/7 Remix".

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SYSTEM 7: Seventhwave (CD on A-Wave Records)

You will find 70 minutes of outstanding rhythmic electronic music on this CD release from 2001.

It begins with: languid keyboard washes that swiftly give way to ultra-vibratory tones resounding like a pipe organ submerged in the ocean. E-perc rhythms enter, cavorting amidst a bevy of manic pulsations. Guitar appears, multitracked into a ricocheting loop that sways into the air, rising with each curvilinear arc to pierce the clouds. Those clouds spill forth a cascade of electronic effects, twinkling as they descend and mutate into unearthly jew-harp-esque patterns. The guitar returns, slippery with sparkling liquid and bouncing from ear to ear like a cybernetic ping-pong ball. Fluidic qualities commence oozing into each sound, transforming the squeaky melody into an aquatic playground of catchy tempos and sinuous riffs./p>

And that's just the first of eight tracks. The remaining seven songs glisten with equally miraculous power and electronic verve. This music raises the bar for the rave genre, gene-splicing inspirational melodies with soul-aching riffs and aerial-dwelling guitar pyrotechnics. No matter how many tomorrows come and go, this music will always be rooted in the future, drawing the listener ever forward toward the brilliant blue light of vibrant promise.

In some distance universe, there's a dance club located at the bottom of the deepest oceanic trench. Gathered there are creatures with the most discriminating tastes. This audience has journeyed far, some by ethereal means, others riding a surf that never rests. Their pilgrimage has been motivated by a genetic desire to immerse themselves in the pure and luxurious tuneage offered by this underwater rave. For here, in accord with the wisdom of cosmic deities, only System 7's music is played. If you can't find your way there, take the easier route by tracking down the band's wholly worthwhile "Seventhwave" release.

Joining Hillage and Giraudy on three tracks are: Bruno Catala (on two) and Alex Paterson (on one).

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