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Electronics: Andreas Akwara & Bjorn Lutz, Vic Hennegan, Gustavo Jobim, Remy

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ANDREAS AKWARA & BJORN LUTZ: Ambush (CD on AA Music, distributed by Groove Unlimited)

This release from 2004 features 47 minutes of bewitching electronic music.

Pleasant electronics blend with an undercurrent of sampled voices, creating an earnest harmonic sense that is amply assisted by spacey keyboards and gently applied rhythmics. Astral passages become grounded by appealing tempos that grow into lavish gestalts of land and sky. A terrain of hypnotic melodies is invaded by organic sincerity, producing a sonic landscape that blossoms with optimism and inviting tuneage.

An overwhelming warmth permeates this music, capturing human emotion and transforming cosmic aspirations into earthy sentiments. Catchy riffs filter through an insistent mist of ambience. Generally nebulous passages are invigorated by clever harmonics and attractive beats, bestowing body on that ambience and elevating the tunes to more substantial proportion.

Some tracks explore global politics with sampled voices memorializing significant international events.

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VIC HENNEGAN: Pure Creative Spirit (CD on Alien Tribes Music)

This release from 2004 features 48 minutes of lively electronic music.

Hennegan laces his electronic music with vibrant percussion and the occasional vocal snippets. There's also a strong energy to the songs, carrying them way beyond conventional EM into pop terrain.

Pensive tones blend with fanciful chords, while a cloud of crystalline notes generate a sparkling fog enlivening everything with their jubilant outcry. Surging synthesizers coexist with soothing chords, accomplishing a lush dynamic that relentlessly strives to entertain. Hennegan's creative spirit seems indefatigable as he elucidates a plethora of engaging moods with insistent, uptempo melodies. Clever effects abound, injecting even more animation.

E-perc only serves to add more pep to the already bouncing tuneage. The beats are crisp and unbridled, endowing the songs with a mounting celebratory fervor. Tempos grow increasingly intricate, but these rhythms never overwhelm the piece, acting to garnish rather than exaggerate.

Vocal snippets are utilized as additional instruments, providing organic riffs rather than lyrical content; these riffs are often reminiscent of chants that waft in and out of the melody, goading the music to delightful emotional pinnacles and often lending a world beat edge to the tracks. Ethnic strains are incorporated with sneaky subtlety, further expanding the music's charisma.

One piece features spoken lyrics as a sultry female voice describes her inclination to submit herself to the frolicking music.

This release marks the emergence of a talented new composer who is destined to grace the EM genre with accessibility and dance allure.

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GUSTAVO JOBIM: Round Mi (CD on Som Interior)

This release from 2002 features 73 minutes of versatile electronic music.

Peppy pulsations mark this CD's opening track, achieving a tasty melody that floats with a distinct vigor. This leads to an atmospheric mood that is generated by ethereal textures, while piano and sampled rainfall provide a touch of humanity. After a passage laced with funereal percussion counterbalanced by serious harpsichord, the pace picks up with lively keyboards that evoke an ascending motion with woodwindish embellishments. As the piece reaches its conclusion, prior elements converge with majestic poise.

The next composition clocks in at over thirty minutes length, allowing Jobim to explore a long-form structure employing electronics mixed with synthetic orchestral touches. While ambience becomes the temperament here, subtle rhythms emerge as pulsations ricochet to contribute an edgy melody to the misty harmonics. This soft tempo leads to a stretch of soothing electronic serenity, but this serenity seethes with the promise of livelier material, which arrives in the form of rapidly pattering cycles as the pulsations pursue an engaging structure of mounting (but still serene) tension. The music unfurls hypnotic qualities as the looping keyboard chords increase velocity, reaching an urgency that is nicely tempered by a rising tide of heavenly harmonies.

The third track applies an energetic arrangement to looping aspects, augmenting the growling cybernetic cycles with delicate keyboards. Sedate postures are invigorated by this blend as complex keys overwhelm the mixture while retaining a comfortable ease. Auxiliary effects assemble, picking at the core melody with fanciful results.

Jobim's music displays a softly symphonic undercurrent that is congenial and uplifting, enhancing the drifting electronics with traditional substance. His tendency to inject lively elements makes for a satisfying listen.

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REMY: Different Shades of Dust (CD on Akh Records)

This release from 2004 features 61 minutes of riveting long-form electronic compositions.

Three tracks comprise this release, granting each piece adequate time to churn from tranquillity into powerful structures of epic disposition. Stately sequencing generates a lavish but mounting mood of careful consideration; each newly added layer provides greater depth to the gradually ballooning sense of majesty. Minor e-perc enters the mix, lending a peppiness to the drifting cloud of sincere sonics. This fusion of serious and jocular gives the tuneage an appealing sentiment that is unavoidably infectious. The audience’s smile is tempered with the knowledge that momentous passages are in store. These entry chords are wondrous, but they foreshadow harmonics of impending virtue.

Auxiliary riffs rise to prominence, blending with the stirring foundations to create resonance of considerable significance. Patterns diffuse and then coalesce, forming variations that sparkle with exceptional promise as they expand and capture the flow. Melodic stretches unfurl, revealing emotional content that grows more contagious with each passing moment. Gurgling effects embellish the core of this music, enthralling and delightful.

While percussion, often snappily pattering at the sonic peripheries, plays an integral role in this music, the tempos remain tastefully submerged in the bewitching melodies. The electronics wash like a refreshing waterfall, pooling in a grotto that enhances their lingering vibrations with subtle reverberations. The melody of a moment ago becomes seasoned with novel modifications that carry the tune along to more corpulent passages.

A rewarding dose of Berlin School EM that is fondly tempered with modern attitudes.

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