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Liquid Electronics by Manikin Musicians

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In April 2002, the Berlin based electronic label Manikin Records celebrated its 10th anniversary with an underwater marathon concert. Eighteen musicians performed floating music to an audience immersed in a pool of water. "Liquid Sound, Volume 2" documents the finest recordings from this event.

Manikin Records also released a double CD of new electronic music to commemorate this anniversary. To read a review of that, go here.

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VARIOUS ARTISTS: Liquid Sound, Volume 2 (double CD on Manikin Records)

This release from 2003 offers 151 minutes of severely worthwhile electronic music. All live, all new.

Project (Bernd Braun, Bas Broekhuis, Detlef Keller, and Mario Schönwälder): Synthesizers galore joined by space guitar and sedate percussion create a lavish trance state laced with heavenly sequencing.

Tom van Draft (aka Thomas Fanger): Agile keyboards and e-perc produce an elegant underwater excursion dominated by tasty melodics.

Arcanum & Otarion (Bernd Braun and Rainer Klein, with Bas Broekhuis): Two bands conduct a congenial sonic duel with Broekhuis' drums acting as referee. Nineteen minute track affords the music ample opportunity to build to multiple pinnacles, achieving grand proportion for languid drama.

Fanger & Schönwälder: Analog overdose partners generate long-form slow-burn electronic symphony that reaches cosmic heights with dazzling effect.

Electric Orange (Dirk Jan Müller and Dirk Bittner): Another long-form composition, this one employs high velocity rhythmics with astral electronics, achieving breathtaking euphony that sparkles with high-energized trance.

Wolfram Spyra & Chris Lang: Atmospheric electronics and soothing e-perc produce superbly contemplative soundscape tinged with engaging pep.

Fanger & Kirsten: Very liquid piece uses synthesizers and e-perc to generate electronic cafe sound.

Rainbow Serpent (Gerd Wienekamp): Stratospheric moods dominate this long-form immersion into a realm of fluid harmonics littered with dramatic punctuations and heavenly airs.

Air Sculpture (Adrian Beasley, John Christian, and Peter Ruczynski): Special UK guests shine with their cloud-like contribution. Pensive disposition mixed with elevated embellishment.

Keller & Schönwälder: Grand electronics blend the majesty of dawn with an underwater allure to produce a stunning finale. Sedate sequencing builds to shimmering pinnacle.

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VARIOUS ARTISTS: Liquid Sound, Volume 1 (CD on Liquid Sound Music )

This 71 minute CD from 2002 is the original volume documenting the union of electronic music with an underwater environment. It features performances by musicians at Berlin's Liquidrom.

Those musicians include: Ohm-G, Opera to Relax, Der Spyra, Orbient, Nature's Element, Jessica, Hippiehaus, Schönwälder and Friends, Star Sounds Orchestra, Kookoon, Pangea, and Jim Nollman.

Some of these bands feature vocalists accompanying sedate electronic compositions, which tends to alter the mood drastically from the music found on “Volume 2”. Here, there is more of a cafe ambiance, and one can almost feel the audience drifting in the water with their eyes and ears fixed attentively on the performers. Most of those performers (Der Spyra, Nature’s Element, Hippiehaus, Schönwälder and Friends, Star Sounds Orchestra, Kookoon, Pangea, and Jim Nollman) deliver purely instrumental music, though, which more integrally accomplishes a merger between sound and the liquid environment. These tracks restrict themselves to languid melodies, exploring soothing expressions of electronic resonance.

The second contribution by Ohm-G fulfills this fluid promise with a mixture of ambient tonalities and pleasant female that does superb justice to the intended union of sound and water.

The CD's final track (by Jim Nollman) was actually recorded aboard a boat in the North Pacific somewhere off the coast of British Columbia, Canada, and consists of spontaneous sonic interactions between space guitar and live whale songs.

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KELLER, SCÖNWÄLDER, & FRIENDS: Eintrittskarte (CD on Manikin Records)

This release from 2004 offers 79 minutes of live electronic music by a variety of Manikin recording artists.

Featured musicians include: Bas Broekhuis, Detlef Keller, Mario Schönwälder, Thomas Fanger, Arcanum, Cosmic Hoffmann, Der Laborant, and Wolfram Spyra. Different tracks offer recombinations of these musicians, sometimes solo, other times in collaboration with each other.

The only constant here is quality, the same uncompromising dedication to cutting edge electronic music that one has come to expect from Manikin and their artists. Nimble-fingered manipulation of insistent synthesizers and riveting e-perc rhythms spill out with glorious passion--to the delight of all.

Although this disc was primarily distributed at a concert at Berlin's Planetarium at Munsterdamn on September 24, 2004 (apparently as the admission ticket to that performance), copies of it can be obtained from various online music sources. See list below for links.

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People interested in obtaining copies of “Liquid Sound, Volume 1” and “Eintrittskarte” should direct inquiries to the following music sources (who might still have copies available): Synth Music Direct, Cue Records.

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