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Electronics: Broekhuis/Keller/Schönwälder, Rob Essers, Synrise, Thought Guild

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BROEKHUIS, KELLER, & SCHÖNWÄLDER: Wolfsburg (CD on Manikin Records)

This 2002 CD offers a superb dose of powerful electronic music cut with lavish loyalty in the Berlin School style.

Stately synthesizers generate elegant passages of dreamy substance. The electronics shimmer with chill-out predilection, slowbuilding structures of sound that spiral into dizzying heights as they cast off ingenious riffs and cosmic textures. Each passage leads to a higher level, further ecstatic sonic plateaus that reveal even loftier altitudes ahead. Hints of synthesized cello and violin often overtake the liquid keyboard pastiche, attributing somber flavors to the heavenly ascent.

A solid presence of lively E-perc accompanies these mesmerizing electronic melodies, injecting pep and propulsion to the flowing pulsations. Intricate and complimentary, these rhythms ingratiate themselves with the harmonic physiology. There are occasions where the percussion adopts a commanding control of the composition, plunging everything into a desperate realm of extreme gravity comparable to immense mountains in penultimate collision.

This CD's 71 minutes are divided into three tracks (a pair of 28-minute pieces, and a single one measuring just over 13 minutes), allowing the music to unfold gradually, accreting demonstrative layers that combine with remarkable force to achieve head-spinning crescendos with numerous transcendent peaks along the way.

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ROB ESSERS: Raincolors (CD on Groove Unlimited)

Employing impressive sound technology (analog synths like the PPG Wave Computer, the Sequential Circuits T8, and an Oberheim Expander), Essers produces delightful electronic music, rich with dynamic melody and resounding in a style comparable to Tangerine Dream during the early Eighties, tinged with the sedate drama of epic Vangelis compositions.

This music is not meditative; it's celebratory and exhilarating, lifting spirits as it elevates the audience to dreamy cloudbanks about to explode and vent rain across the landscape. The complex melodies do not analyze the chromatic qualities of falling droplets, instead they glorify these drops, rejoicing in their uniqueness and conveying the sheer thrill of plummeting through the atmosphere. These airborne particles flitter along with the vibrant tuneage, companions that have become part of the melodies they inspired.

Essers' compositional style is enthralling and breathtaking. The positive overtones of his music are impossible to avoid. The sprightly melodies banish boredom with their commanding animation, instilling a wide-eyed appreciation with their electronic ebullience.

The bonus tracks come from the same period as the rest of the music, elaborating the invigorating "Raincolors" experience with their presence.

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SYNRISE: Fade In (CD on Syngate)

This release from 2001 offers 57 minutes of uptempo electronic tuneage.

Synrise is Stephan Dargel.

Intricate and playful E-perc assists a bevy of electronics in generating lavish melodies that cavort amid the artificial dawn, rising from the nether mists to coalesce into majestic compositions of solid stamina and animated influence. Power and melody conspire to bring forth tuneage that vibrates with the promise of a never-ending better day.

The electronics are quite versatile, drawing upon delicate sounds and harnessing such sparkling tones into vibrant utilization. While mainly driven by sweeping keyboard riffs that scamper with celebratory passion, entwining like insubstantial lovers, there are also subtextural layers of dreamily atmospheric drones that establish a seething undercurrent for the decidedly energetic music, balancing the frolic with a no-nonsense demeanor.

The E-perc lends compelling rhythms to the tuneage, whether with breathlessly frenzied tempos or expressing grander, more momentous beats that resound with pleasant authority.

There is a definite urgency to this music, propelling the audience toward realms of cosmic promise. The blend of vigorous electronics and engaging percussives produces an enthralling selection of sonic epiphanies that will keep the listener longing for the synthetic dawn to continue forever.

The tracks are rather brief, compressing all these elements into focused gems of glistening puissance.

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THOUGHT GUILD: Context (CD on Harmonic Resonance Recordings)

This release from the end of 2002 features 56 minutes of rhythmic electronic collaborations by Gregory Kyryluk (aka Alpha Wave Movement) and Christopher Cameron. Also appearing is Johannes Neuer on guitar on one track.

Delicate electronics establish an atmospheric realm (a "context", so to speak). Electronics of more rhythmic constitution embellish this foundation with pulsation tempos. Sinuous keyboards and clever sequencing generate winding melodies that fill the sky with peppy threads of shimmering sound. While the ambient background seethes with breathing nebulas, the intertwining riffs elevate the sonic configuration to a more nimble state. Pleasant melodies unfurl with sparkling quality, driven by softly thumping E-perc. Even the passive tracks that lack percussive beats retain a sonic strength hiding in their ambience. These pieces convey a subtle but invigorating sentiment, achieved through the delicate manipulation of day-lit electronics. Darkness and ignorance are banished, replaced by a softly purring sense of awe and wonder.

This tuneage is crafted in the old Berlin School of electronics, but the music is fairly tempered with ambient sensibilities, lending a tranquillity to the spacey excursions into cosmic mystery. There is a distinct optimism to the music that reverberates among the crystalline notes and turns the songs into agents of cerebral rejuvenation.

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