For years, German synthesist Wolfram Spyra (aka Der Spyra) has been making music that spans the ethereal boundaries between contemporary EM and rave soundscapes. His compositions derive influences from classical structure and modern execution, producing music that defies classification while entertaining aficionados of both camps.
DER SPYRA: Future of the Past (CD on Manikin Records)
This release from 1997 offers 70 minutes of gently powerful electronic music.
A hesitancy preoccupies the beginning of this CD, as if the music is uncertain of its own definition. It need not worry, for once it gets moving, the audience is hooked by the lilting harmonics and the softly bubbling rhythms. What first seemed to be reluctance becomes a studied ballet as the music sways back and forth, courting the listener with teasing surges and seductive riffs that emerge from the flow to tickle the senses. Nimble fingers generate appealing keyboard melodies that swim amid pools of gleaming tonalities. This atmospheric environment serves as a birthing place for repeated harmonic entities who rise and display their stately magnificence before sinking away to be replaced by the next glorious specimen.
Whether approximating beguiling waterlogged grottos or manifesting as agitated spirals of sparkling radiance, these melodies exude a remarkable charm that easily captivates and mesmerizes all who hear them. Tunes may suddenly explode with dancefloor rhythms that accompany chirping electronic riffs designed to elicit intense curiosity. Or the melody could gradually establish an ambient mood that infects everyone with a drowsy satisfaction. Or Spyra might choose to construct a sculpture of wafting breezes that circle an arcane castle. Or the music may decide to get sprightly and crystalline.
Whatever the direction, these melodies are worthwhile and engrossing.A review of Spyra's "Home Listening is Killing Clubs" can be found here.
WOLFRAM SPYRA &CHRIS LANG: Actundsechzig 24, Live@Toskana-Therme (CD on Manikin Records)
This release from 2003 features 68 minutes of superbly crafted live electronics.
The first track (which occupies the bulk of this CD at 60 minutes) was performed live at Toskana-Therme in 2001 on minimal equipment. The second track (at eight minutes) was a studio rehearsal for the Weltglockengelaut 2003 event.
Despite the “minimal equipment” used to create the first track, this music displays a pronounced lavishness with drifting atmospherics peppered by dynamic surges and sweeping sequencing that evoke a grandly expansive realm of harmonic majesty. Wheezing electronics conjure stately assemblies of clouds as they gather and converge into monumental thunderheads that are pleasantly devoid of stormy elements. A spectacular delicateness embodies the result, as dancing keyboards approximate a tender rainfall of luminous quality. Elegant piano chords enter the mix, lending sober dimension to the melody and introducing a serious edge that excellently heralds the coming of astral aspects which swarm like spirits descending from the heavens. These elements take their time evolving before giving way to the emergence of faux strings which vibrate with romantic arousal. Nature sounds appear, as if attracted by the wonderful concert’s sonic depth. After a while, a sense of tension is introduced with masterful electronics filling the air. Gentle percussion urges the drama on to higher altitudes, while breathy keyboards help keep everything aloft. Choral voices welcome the audience to stratospheric heights, where the melody adopts a decidedly inspirational lift of the heart...before everything takes a spiraling plummet, returning to earth with gurgling synthis and pattering e-perc that becomes a loving homage to the classic Berlin School sound.
After this epic voyage, the second track serves as a grounding piece, with deliberate textures and languid rhythms evoking an inwardly driven meditative state.
SPYRA: Phonehead (CD on Fax Records)
Decidedly more energetic than most Fax releases, this CD from 1997 offers 72 minutes of techno-oriented electronics.
Keyboards share the sonic stage with a profusion of artificial beats, creating tuneage that is both dynamic and hypnotic. Effects abound here, filling ever crevice with pulsating sound that strives to (and excellently succeeds in) captivating anyone within hearing. Compulsive rhythms blend with surging electronics, generating passages of dazzling engagement.
Some tracks employ spoken vocal remarks interspliced with overt percussives swimming in a sea of bass and dreamy electronics. There is a tendency for busy threads coalescing into a momentous density here, yet the result is not overbearing, displaying instead professional discretion and superb versatility as the threads flicker and submerge to be replaced by fresh tangents of strong appeal.
Spyra's compositional aptitude is generously inexhaustive as he produces a plethora of alluring melodies that stir the soul as they motivate the feet.
More reviews of Spyra's music can be found here.
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