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Electronics: Delago, Drum'n'Space, Sleepwalker Project

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DELAGO: Trance Alpin (CD on Prudence Records)

This release from 2004 features 40 minutes of woodwind dominated electronic music.

Joining multi-instrumentalist Herman Delago on this release are: Marcus Geyr on keyboards, Haller Stadtpfeifer on horns, and members of the Brass Connection Tirol.

Primarily, Delago blends ethnic woodwinds (from didgeridoo to alphorn to American Indian flute) with contemporary electronics, resulting in music that defies classification as effortlessly as it mesmerizes the most stoic urbanite. Breathy strains filter amongst fogs of atmospheric electronics, punctuated by vocal drones and textural mutations that fuse each individual instrument into a flowing gestalt of soothing disposition. Frolicsome horns conspire to inject edge to this seething morass, disrupting the ethereal nature with their insistent outcries.

The periodic application of percussives lifts the music from a foggy realm, injecting a pep that infects the music's sedate manner for a while. But the general tone of this release, whether achieved by drones or hypnotic patterns, is one of trance. A World Beat flavor is accomplished by moving the trance from country to country, exploring high altitude meditation with delightful results.

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DRUM'N'SPACE: Drum'n'Space (CD on Prudence Records)

This release from 1998 features 53 minutes of electronic rock.

Drum'n'Space is Harold Kumpfel. Joining him on this recording are: Manuel Lopez, Uli Kumpfel, Michael Ruff, and Mark Polscher.

As one might assume, drums play a central role in this music. But the tunes are hardly drums-only. Electronics, guitar, bass, keyboards and vocals contribute heavily to create a lush sound that is highly engaging.

Pounding rhythms define complex patterns that sometimes hypnotize and at other times motivate the feet to uncontrollable stomping. Traditional drums are often augmented by electronic beats, producing lavish tempos of attractive quality.

Seductive keyboards add texture and sweeping panorama. Versatile guitars provide searing riffs that guide the tunes into astral territory, while rumbling basslines generate a durable undercurrent for this music. The compact meshing of these sonic elements results in tuneage of sparkling glamour.

Each track tends to explore a different genre, from funk to rock to jazz to electro-pop, but at the core remains an inventive signature sound that dazzles as it converts these differences into a coherent theme of beat-driven tuneage. Whether exploring the tribes of Manhattan or observing carrion fighting over garbage, this music seethes with a vibrant appeal. The melodies are sultry and the rhythms are seductive.

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SLEEPWALKER : Flower of Life (CD on Sleepwalker Project)

This release from 2003 offers 48 minutes of sanguine electronic music.

Sleepwalker is the brainchild of Bulgarian musician Lyubomir Yordanov on synthesizers. He is joined by: Ivan Boev Acoustiv on guitar and bass, Dimo Vantchev on native American walnut flutes, and Antonia Malcheva on violin.

Lazily pensive violins and airborne flutes generate a pastoral atmosphere that is given body and energized by Yordanov's versatile electronics. Airy textures interweave with pristine piano chords and astral sweeps, fleshing out the sound until a soothing majestic milieu is achieved. The electronics nicely function as a component of the entire ensemble, never overwhelming the music, allowing the rest of the instruments ample opportunity to carry equal weight in the heartening compositions.

Tender guitar adds a romantic edge that becomes quite infectious, lacing the songs with seductive riffs that waft on sonic breezes of calming disposition. Even when the guitar turns overtly electronic for a few robust expressions, its invigorating power is conveyed through a sedate application of these chords.

The patter of bongos and soft percussion inject a sultry pep to the tuneage, but the music earnestly retains a dreamy quality that confidently celebrates life.

Periodically, operatic voices filter into the mix, establishing a haunting importance to those passages.

This release offers a dose of substantive new age compositions that is wholly worthy of deeper attention.

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