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The Electronic Music of Magic Sound Fabric

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Magic Sound Fabric is Cameron Akhunaton. After several years of exploring ambient avenues in rural Virginia, this independent musician has experienced what he calls a sonic epiphany, resulting in a more charismatic sound that is spiced with a funky, uptempo attitude.

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Interview with Cameron Akhunaton

Q: Would you like to elucidate your transition from ambience to more melodic electronic music?

AHKUNATON: Although I love beatless ambient and will continue to experiment with it, I am finding it more interesting to work with creating rhythms and melodic grooves. Rhythm gives me a thrill and a rush that is very intoxicating. When I compose, I rework until the groove gives me a pleasant mind-altering experience. It’s a very good time. Sometimes it does get overwhelming with all the possibilities. Ambient music has such a huge experimental palette. I am writing for myself but also for the listeners. What would the people like to hear? Where would they like to go?

Q: Whose music would you say influenced your ambient origins?p>

AHKUNATON: I've always been fond of ambient elements in music as long as I can remember. As a teen I loved Pink Floyd's earlier works, especially "Meddle" and "Saucerful of Secrets". In college I subscribed to cable radio and my favorite radio show was Musical Starstreams. It introduced me to all types of music I had never heard before, Michael Stearns, John Serrie, Kitaro, to name a few. In the quest to find more electronic atmospheric music I stumbled upon the “Excursion in Ambience” compilation series by Astralwerks. Having been a fan of Acid House music after purchasing a few albums in London back in 1990, I was impressed by the way artists were slowing down the tempo of Acid House type music and adding more atmospheric qualities to it. I was sold. I bought anything I could find with the word “ambient” on it. My first twenty ambient CDs were all compilation albums.

Q: And who might be blamed for your evolution to your current style?

AHKUNATON: That's a tough question. Having been exposed to an amazing amount of music from internet radio to hundreds of CDs and an subscription, it’s difficult to point a finger. Thievery Corporation's retro mixdowns reintroduced me to lounge, while Waveform Records ambient dub releases have no doubt been an integral influence.

Q: What recent scientific discovery made you go "Wow!"?

AHKUNATON: The recent discovery that the poles of Mars are mostly frozen water is pretty cool. I think it’s entertaining to hear people's different ideas on what Mars is all about. If we keep exploring Mars, I’m sure we will find some jaw dropping discoveries. In my opinion, truth is much more interesting than fiction.

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MAGIC SOUND FABRIC: Uplift Drift (CD on Spiralight Recordings)

This CD from 2002 features 61 minutes of instrumental electronic music invigorated by a presence of pure funk.

Comfortable percussives establish an uptempo demeanor for these melodic electronics, while elegant keyboards dole out measures of pep laced with soothing attitudes. These percussives stem from traditional drums and bongos as well as crackling E-perc. Basslines inject a sultry undercurrent that is further enhanced by sneaky guitar licks that sizzle softly in the mix and create an ethereal excitement. Synthesized horns enliven a few passages with their regal warble, nicely counterparted by the pensive resonance of piano. Textures of sparkling consistency lurk beneath these vibrant elements, providing a tasty foundation of atmospheric quality for the music's refreshing and stimulating vitality.

This music excellently bridges galactic sensibilities with earthbound sentiments. The astral airs are grounded by the savory rhythms, rendering solid parallels between the outward urge and the security of familiar terrain. Expansive regions become compressed into regions that mirror the potential of the human mind.

These solid compositions exhibit an intriguing fusion of funk with ambience, resulting in a highly appealing sound that is exhilarating with peaceful grooves. While the general mode is easy-going, this relaxation is tempered with a pleasant power that churns and seethes, tantalizing the audience with rhythmic melodies that uplift while maintaining an amiable drift.

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MIND TRANSPORT TOOLS: Tone-Cone (CD on Spiralight Recordings)

Mind Transport Fabric is another name used by Cameron Akhunaton.

This release from 1999 offers 66 minutes of ambient soundscapes.

Tenuous organ drones mixed with environmental sounds (nocturnal insects, trickling waters, distant owls) set the sedate tone for this music. The electronics are passive and intended to elicit meditative states, whether filtered with softly vibrating, almost subliminal percussives or nudged by crisp keyboard minimalism. Sometimes the keyboards emerge as clearly defined piano, delicately floating amid gently grinding electronic textures. A few sounds reach a more demonstrative resonance, but even these instances are applied with languid intent, to flavor the ambience with a slight edginess. Overall, though, the music remains calm.

This release displays more of a harmonic flow than a melodic presence.

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MAGIC SOUND FABRIC: Unfold (CD on Spiralight Recordings)

This 1998 release features 71 minutes of melodic new age electronic music.

Peaceful electronics mix with leisurely percussion and synthesized horns, generating a mood of cosmic awakening. While the electronics are generally languid and soothing, some sounds possess a grittier presence, but these aspects are harnessed into liquid consistency that negates their guttural influence. The same can be noted in the rhythms: even snappier beats are utilized with delicate temperament so that the tempo remains solemn and serene.

Fragile guitar strumming adds an holistic edge that is reminiscent of communal philosophy, dragging hippyesque overtones into the modern age. Environmental sounds establish nature's presence in conjunction with the very humanistic sound of the melodies. Flute is used in one track to convey jubilation. Ambient textures provide a congenial backdrop which attributes an atmospheric perspective, as fanciful keyboards and mellow piano strains unfold with some command, achieving a muted grandeur in the lyrical flow.

Six of the twelve tracks possess dreamy vocals that enunciate Aquarian doctrines of unity and blissful potential. This music celebrates life and the joy of actuality apart from social strictures. Coexistence between self and the environment is the underlying dogma.

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