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Electronics: Frank Klare, Newagehillbilly, Psicodreamics, Saul Stokes, Synthetic Block

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FRANK KLARE: Berlin Parks (CDR on Syngate)

This release from 2003 features 71 minutes of gentle electronic music.

Cyclic electronics generate a hypnotic pathway that leads to fanciful harmonics. Synthetic percussion provides suitable rhythms, launching the flowing melodies into higher orbit with their applied tempos. While the chords and beats tend to be simplistic, their smoothly looping repetition achieves an evolution that is gregarious and rewarding. The tuneage is uncluttered by density, exploring an airy expression that remains loyal to its fundamental contours.

Traditional piano is utilized at one point to implicate a majesty that touches the soul with a classical vigor.

Overall, though, the electronics are jovial, conveying a congenial mood that incites relaxation.

This music is quite friendly, fusing energetic structure with optimistic melodics. Pastoral in nature, these compositions rise above urban constraints, interpreting a meeting place for man and his environment. The songs are quite literally meant to be a sonic homage to the many parks found in Berlin.

Generally, these pieces are long-form compositions, granting the melodies full opportunity to mesmerize the audience with the atmospheric impact of their seemingly infinite scope. This is exemplified in the CD's last track, where the mood becomes considerably peppier but still retains a hypnotic flux for almost 20 minutes.

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NEWAGEHILLBILLY: Familiar Puzzle (CDR on MT6 Records)

This CDR from 2004 features 51 minutes of experimental electronic music.

Newagehillbilly is Alex Strama.

This music is hardly new age, stemming more from musique concrete roots than from any holistic ambient foundation.

Harsh electronics are a keynote here, with rasping diodes and snickering relays providing a gritty sonic disposition. While the music is not in-your-face aggressive, neither is it passive or mellow. Artificial and traditional percussion bestow pep through quirky rhythms. A variety of conventional instruments (like guitar and trumpet) contribute to the morass of electronics, fleshing out the sound and generating a homey feel to the instrumental tuneage. The result is an engaging (but often unsettling) minimalism violated by pleasant melodies and adventurous structure.

This music evokes the dedication of an apprentice who has cast off the advice of their mentor to seek a more individual mode of expression, exploring means of fusing primitive technology with modern sensibilities. Once the audience abandons their own preconceived notions, these crude compositions adopt an inventive slickness that conveys the spirit of a struggling indie out to incorporate a regressive demeanor with a predilection for futurist ambitions.

Imagine if Stockhausen were of Appalachian ancestry.

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PSICODREAMICS: The Garden (CDR on Syngate)

This release from 2003 features 65 minutes of spiritual electronic music.

Psicodreamics is Salva Moreno.

After an ambient opening, charismatic electronics and E-perc emerge to entertain the audience with engaging melodies that blend modern dispositions with a cathedral influence. Languid keyboards establish an earthiness that is pleasantly counterpointed by other, more heavenly aspects. Piano features prominently in these pieces, attributing a stately grandeur that fortifies the spiritual nature of the tunes. A contemplative mood is fostered by the gentle compositions, as new age strains wrap the audience in a protective cocoon, isolating the listener from the outside world. Flutish keyboards evoke a soft Celtic air that fits nicely with the music's elevated perspective, creating the feeling of a modern Age of European Romance. The harmonies transport the audience to a humble Italian villa where fields of ripening grapes herald an imminent celebration.

Spoken words and choral threads accompany a few of the pieces, giving reverence to the synthetic pastiche.

A dreaminess governs this music, delivering the listener from the real world to a realm where unreality coexists with substance.

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SAUL STOKES: Radiate (CD on Databloem)

This release from 2003 features 70 minutes of electronic music performed live in San Francisco in 2003.

Stokes has an affinity with fundamentally harsh and unfriendly sounds, crafting these abrasive noises into remarkably cordial soundscapes that achieve a mesmerizing gentility.

Whirring textures blend with spinning sonic razors, generating an atmosphere of synthetic insects. These swarms pursue a lattice of celestial clouds punctuated by pleasantly soft E-perc. Grinding gears are subdued until they produce a subliminal blur that acts as a foundation for ascendant tonalities. As they rise from a glittering pool of penultimately sustained notes, these electronic stylings unfurl into tapestries of sound that glow with an inner light of their own making. Tiny squeals and squeaking diodes sneak into the mix, embellishing the drifting sonic fog with their robotic declarations.

While maintaining an overall dreaminess of spectral machinery, subtle rhythmics infuse the ambience with nonintrusive tempos that goad the music into engaging liveliness. What starts out as abstractly atonal structure gradually flows into a harmonic presence that is quite soothing.

Fans of Conrad Schnitzler will delight to Stokes' modern fusion of musique concrete and contemporary electronics.

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SYNTHETIC BLOCK: Sonic Approach (CD on Binary)

This release from 2003 offers 59 minutes of cosmic electronic music.

Synthetic Block is Jonathan Block. Block is assisted on two tracks by Dave Fulton.

Vibrant melodies are defined on this CD by lively electronics: swirling chords and luminous textures and growling undercurrents and piercing embellishments, all guided by nimble fingers and a sagacious dedication for blending densely moody atmospherics with dynamic structure. Periods of nebulous viscosity bridge together passages of outstanding vigor that glisten with stellar luster. Ignoring gravity and inertia, these tracks soar and undulate with intellectual supervision.

The melodies, stalwart yet spectral, evoke a deep emotional bond between the audience and a province of unrealized potential. Imagination is stimulated by the pulsating tuneage, goaded to embrace the future with a sense of awe and hope.

In the absence of conventional percussion, Block utilizes synthetic sounds bearing no semblance to impacts in a rhythmic mode, generating engaging beats that function as tempos while remaining part of the electronic flow. This produces a softness to the music, allowing the melodies to unfurl unbroken by harsh punctuation. These artificially induced tempos lend the music a gurgling quality that goes far beyond any liquid demeanor, mimicking a supercharged state not unlike the resonance of colliding molecules in a particle accelerator.

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