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Interstellar Electronics: Art of Infinity, Callisto, VoLt, Joe Weineck

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Often, electronic music is erroneously classified as "space music," allowing to its otherworldly nature.

Here, however, we have a selection of musicians who enthusiastically embrace the topic of galactic realms as the subject of their musical expressions.

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ART OF INFINITY: Dimension Universe (CD on Prudence Records)

This release from 2004 features 53 minutes of space music.

Art of Infinity is: Thorsten Sudler-Manz and Thorsten Rentsch.

Astral electronics establish an interstellar backdrop for languid melodies comprised of stately keyboards, prairie guitar, and soft percussives. Vocals are prevalent in a few tracks, adding specific definition to the sonic dimensions.

There are sedate pieces, full of drifting ether and distantly twinkling stars, but some of the songs exhibit a rhythmic presence with congenial, uptempo beats and reasonably peppy keyboard riffs. There are even passages of dramatic percussive demeanor, embellished by a searing space guitar that bends notes with infinite sustains to achieve a truly cosmic tableau. In other instances, the guitar relegates its outcry to soothing slide-manifestations or romantic strumming, portraying a luxurious sky of atmospheric disposition. Saxophone appears in three songs, adding some humanistic touches to the intergalactic mood. Effects are sprinkled throughout, enhancing the music's otherworldly flair.

With song titles like "Cosmic Rain", "Passing the Pulsar", and "Supernova", extrastellar excursions are insured for the audience.

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CALLISTO: Signal to the Stars (CD on AD Music)

This CD from 2004 features 70 minutes of majestic space music.

Callisto is David Wright and Dave Massey, two British electronic maestros combining their genius for this sonic exploration of the great beyond.

Surging pulsations wash through a region of atmospheric tonalities, injecting engaging substance to the ambient foundation. These dreamy fields of drone are transformed into swaying harmonies that vibrate with promise and deliver with emphatic passion. This sonic fog becomes a thrilling medium for keyboards and percussion that produce stately resonance that penetrates the Earth's gaseous veil and reaches for distant stars with their very human expressions. Elegant electronics unfurl into lavish harmonics which are further embellished until they formulate gripping melodies that caress the soul and ears of the audience.

Relaxing melodies swirl and congeal, sheathing the listener in an affable milieu of exotic tones harnessed into pleasant structures. The percussion acts as a soothing energizer, propelling the music with rhythms of gregarious essence. Cyclic sequencers are peppered with heavenly airs and breathy chords. Basic melodies are elaborated into configurations of generous proportion. The scope of this music becomes an ever growing perspective, relentlessly expanding without hurry or force until the tunes achieve pinnacles of tender grandeur that infect the heart with similar expansion.

The tone of these compositions is sobering yet inspirational. The listener is more than transported to far-flung galactic regions, this music imparts a determined reverence for these unknown realms, rendering remote star systems with a congenial disposition that reminds us that distance cannot change life and existence. The demeanor of interstellar worlds is no different from our own native soil. And Callisto's music becomes the bridge between home and beyond.

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VOLT: Star Compass (CD on Groove Unlimited)

This release from 2004 features 66 minutes of enthralling retro electronic music.

VoLt is: Michael Shipway and Steve Smith.

Crystalline keyboards cavort and sparkle amid a host of heavenly textures. Sequencers provide a luscious panorama of surging ether, mimicking the interstellar medium with remarkable ease and illustrious serenity. But this music does not stop there, delving deeper into the void with mysterious tones and portentous harmonies. VoLt pursue the path directed by Star Compass, applying astute energetics to this ambient motif and producing tuneage that infuses a softly vivacious presence to the nebulous vacuum.

Lively electronics simulate rhythms, spurring the melodies to greater appeal and seasoning the skyscape with tempos that flow between the masterful tonalities. The result is music that emerges from the darkness to glisten with demonstrative assurance. With each passing moment, the promise of grandeur is realized, manifesting and expanding with skillful delivery. The melodies grow to momentous proportion, evoking positive awareness and banishing tedium with their inviting call. Mundanity evaporates before this torrent, and VoLt's music recharges the audience with a vitality born of inventive synthesis and discerning performance.

This optimistic accretion is aided by the band's preference for long-form compositions; two of the CD's four tracks exceed twenty minutes in length. Riffs are allowed (indeed, urged) to evolve into vivid complexity. The result is an extended excursion into slow-building majesty as harmonies gradually mature into sonic offspring of discriminating value.

The Star Compass has not led VoLt astray, and it's sonic path with reward the audience with enduring enjoyment.

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JOE WEINECK: From Jungle to Galaxy (CD on Prudence Records)

This release from 2004 features 72 minutes of deep space lounge electronic music.

Joel Weineck is perhaps best known as a documentary film producer, although he has been recording electronic music since 1995.

Joining Weineck on this release are: Mani Neumeier on percussion, Bernd Windisch on bass, Adax Dorsam on guitar, Mathias Dorsam on saxophone and flute, Rolf Ellmer on bass, with Neil Armstrong and other NASA personnel on sampled ambiance. Besides radio transmissions, the voices of other planets (and even the static growl of a distant black hole) are employed to flesh out the otherworldly edge of this music.

Earnest keyboards blend with ethereal electronics here to produce an delicious meeting of earth and sky. Spacey effects coexist with cafe piano. Liquid bass slithers amidst this cosmic terrain. Uplifting sax lends a human fervor to the mix. Energetic guitar provides a touch of fiery passion, while percussion goads the melodies into lively realms that sparkle with relaxing enthusiasm.

The core appeal of this music lies in its tendency to fuse terrestrial sentiments with a yearning to explore the great mysteries of the galactic frontier. The music is rooted in a comfortable cafe jazz style, impressing hard science applications and a futurist demeanor on those easy-going harmonies. One can almost feel the coffeehouse walls melting away to be replaced by vistas of majestic nebulas and twinkling starscapes of awesome scope. This amalgamation of jazz and space music is refreshing and full of tasty hooks and satisfying passages. The combination of cooking tuneage with astral excursions is delightful and rewarding on an esthetic and psychological front.

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