For many years, British synthesists David Wright and Robert Fox have been creating wondrous electronic music, individually and in unison.
DAVID WRIGHT: Walking with Ghosts (CD on AD Music Limited)
This CD from 2002 features 74 minutes of powerful electronic music.
Assisting Wright on this recording are Andy Lobban and Bill Kibby on guitar, Cionna Lee on violin, Dave Massey on rhythm programming, and a crew of people supplying voices (generally of a non-lyrical nature).
Luxurious melodies unfurl in displays of delicate-but-powerful keyboards. Multi-layered E-perc provides a host of engaging rhythms to the vibrant tuneage. Powerful guitars lend a tasty touch of lively pyrotechnics to the music, filling the air with their energetic riffs and lustrous trails.
In all fairness, not all the keyboards are gentle--some blaze with severe vigor, achieving a dizzying velocity and impressive complexity. While not painfully aggressive, these melodies possess a stamina that often seems quite inexhaustible, establishing frenzied harmonies that evoke a determined searching quality. This driving sensibility is exemplified by the sinuous rhythms and searing guitars.
But...that is not to say there's a deficiency of power among the album's more affable passages. Such calming keyboards describe moods of pensive deliberation, tempering the frantic wanderlust with mature contemplation.
Additional instruments flesh out the sound, producing a lush sparkle that attributes an exotic edge to the impressive tuneage. Vocal choirs lend a cathedral demeanor to some tracks, a grandeur that carries no theological message. Violin strains increase that heavenly air. A romantic elegance is accomplished with synthesized horns and woodwinds. There are points where the electric guitars adopt an ECM jazz resonance, propelling the melody to even loftier heights.
Whether in soft or enthusiastic mode, this music exhibits a stately grace that is rewarding on an auditory and an emotional basis.
ROBERT FOX & DAVID WRIGHT: Blue (4CD set on AD Music Limited)
This set features 4 CDs which display the solo and collaborative efforts of Fox and Wright.
ROBERT FOX: The Stuff of Dreams (56 minutes)
Majestic piano and heavenly electronics flourish under Fox's graceful direction, generating stately melodies that fill the listener's diaphragm with breaths held in anticipatory wonder. Comfortable percussives nudge the tuneage with quasi-classical rhythms. Electric guitar adds just the right hint of fiery passion. In contrast, such blazing guitar licks lead to passages of icy keyboards that wash away the fire with a refreshing rainfall and usher in marching tempos. A cathedral resonance overwhelms the tuneage, adding even more uplifting qualities to the stratospheric sonic nature. Just as the music achieves greater grandeur, peppier sentiments are introduced, transforming the astral ballet into a breathtakingly jubilant pirouette.
Through inspired compositional mastery, Fox propels the music far beyond conventional ecstasy to regions of dreamlike capacity. Not only quite compelling, the tuneage is emotionally versatile, easily adapting to whatever moods it generates in the audience.
DAVID WRIGHT: Hypnosis (70 minutes)
This disk was recorded live in concert in 1998 at Nottingham, Derby, and London. Also included is a 10 minute studio track. Dedicated to the memory of Carl Sagan, this music explores man's insatiable urge to regard the sky with wonder and intense curiosity.
Powerful keyboards dominate, creating lavish melodies that alternate between dynamic crescendos and delightfully sedate passages. laced with pensive piano. E-perc is employed to infuse the dreaminess with serpentine rhythms, while agile keyboards grow nimbler by the second, leading with seductive tendencies back to a moment of thoughtful calm. Flutish keys and lulling piano usher the listener into a realm of vocal enhancement and a reemergence of percussives for a particularly dramatic conclusion.
The studio track ("Sygyzy") continues this tone by slowbuilding from temperate pools of sound into a pulsating conjunction of powerful melody and enticing beats.
DAVID WRIGHT & ROBERT FOX: Blue (65 minutes)
This disk takes you not only on a cosmic sonic journey, but transcends time too, affording you glimpses of the collaborations of Wright and Fox spanning nearly a decade, with one track being live for BBC Soundscapes in 1993, a pair of previously unreleased pieces from an aborted charity CD project in 1994, and 24 minutes of new material from 2000 (being the title track, "Blue").
The 1993 track is soothing and peaceful, evoking a return to some childhood locale of fond remembrance.
The 1994 pieces display more authority, employing grander scope and an almost arctic disposition. There is a mounting tension that pays off nicely.
The title track exhibits a remarkable maturity, blending moody ambience with ascending spirits to produce tuneage that seethes with appealing drama. Using a variety of sounds besides conventional keyboards (E-perc, piano, guitar, choirs, flutes and horns) a lusher sonic impact is achieved, one that is put to skillful application. There are some very tasty peaks involving searing guitarwork.
CODE INDIGO: The Derby Concert (66 minutes)
Okay, Code Indigo is a band whose members include Wright and Fox. Also appearing are Vaughn Evans on additional keyboards, and Andy Lobban on guitar. The concert happened at the Derby Cathedral on October 19, 1998.
Code Indigo represents a more smoldering side of the creative juices belonging to Wright and Fox. Percussives are prominently utilized, generating a quasi-tribal demeanor to some of the tunes. The guitar wails with a spacey jazz edge, spiraling through the clouds like a pulsating meteor. Vocal samples lend a contemporary flair to the music. And of course, there is a plethora of electronics: winding keyboards and gurgling diodes and whispering zephyrs and rumbling choirs.
There is a certain vigor to this music, an adventurous quality that fills the sound with a revitalizing strength. At times, its distinctly transcendental jazz, dripping with molten licks and fusiony temper.
Featured are versions of tracks from Code Indigo's prior releases. To see reviews of them, go here.
ROBERT FOX: The Missing Albums 1989-90 (double CD on AD Music Limited)
This set contains a pair of lost albums by Fox which were never previously released:
Far Distant Soil (46 minutes recorded in 1990)
Keyboards of a regal disposition establish the basis for these engaging melodies. Rich with electronic wizardry, the synthesizers generate traditional keyboards along with a variety of haunting textures to achieve a lush range that conveys stately grace. While harpsichord attributes one song with a distinct Mediterranean flavor, flutish keys bestow another with a heavenly air. Many of the sounds are reminiscent of 80s Tangerine Dream, but Fox applies this sonic palette to his own sensibilities with an individual discipline. Despite their often-active nature, these compositions display soothing demeanor, nudging the listener's subconscious in relaxed directions.
The E-perc generally possesses a quasi-classical structure, often attaining a frigid timbre that reinforces the delicate intent behind these songs. Meanwhile, some tracks feature commanding electro-tribal percussion in a prominent role, cybernetic bongos that imbue the songs with a soft majesty.
This music has a melancholy edge that is excellently tempered with a promise of better days to come.
Voices from the Inner Ear (52 minutes recorded in 1989)
The nature of the keyboards and electronic percussion is similar to those on "Far Distant Soil", with regal chords and wheezing keys and atmospheric backdrops and sparkling tempos and nimble-fingered execution.
With a few somber exceptions, the melodies found on this release are livelier. These compositions exhibit more confidence, facing the moment with optimism and courage.
The keyboards establish an aerial presence that is pleasantly agitated by noble E-perc, creating soundtracks for daring voyages of inner-discovery, transforming the listener into an adventurer sailing across their own mind. Each sequenced riff becomes a surging wave, propelling the voyager nearer and nearer to the epiphany awaiting them.
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