ANDREAS AKWARA: Synthetic Horizon (CD on AA Music, distributed by Groove Unlimited)
This release from 2005 features 73 minutes of optimistic electronic music.
Vibrant atmospherics unfurl, cascading across an open sky to merge with a tide of demonstrative melodies. Mechanical thunderheads roil as majestic riffs surface from the clouds. Synthetic strings provide a tantalizing embellishment, guiding the audience into denser passages where the music surges with renewed vigor. Sweeping tones rush to greet the listener, drenching everything with a sense of positive exuberance.
As the second track concludes, setting whale calls against a crashing tempest, the music demonstrates emphatically how all of nature exists as a single extension of expression. Humanity views this phenomenon not as an observer, but from a vantage deep within the global gestalt.
The music grows more potent, transforming the awesome pastiche into a rigorous panorama of melodic beauty.
Blending symphonic electronics with environmental samples, Akwara conjures a lavish excursion into a realm of optimistic sound. His fusion of ambience with dynamic chords achieves a delightful milieu that is filled with uplifting sentiments as well as drifting mesmerism.
With this music, Akwara seeks to combine mankind’s imaginative spirit with external reality, blurring the distinctions between the present and a glorious future in which science and philosophy merge to produce a unified theory of existence. We stand at the brink of this synthetic horizon, poised to embrace unrealized possibilities.
OPERA TO RELAX: Between Tomorrow (CD on Prudence Records)
This release from 2005 features 53 minutes of relaxing music.
Opera to Relax is: Martin Hoemberg and Veronika Langguth, with guests Rosko Gee (from Traffic and Can), Michael Kuettner, and Hugo Read.
Cafe style electronics flow throughout this music, establishing liquid textures and blending these fanciful soundscapes with easy-going keyboards designed to slide on ice despite the temperature. Twinkling keys produce a wintry edge to some of the tracks.
These sedative electronics are augmented by comfortable percussion. The rhythms unfurl with an unhurried pace, focusing on maintaining a tranquillity that excellently suits the languid tuneage. One is reminded of the hesitant drumming found in old jazz releases, where the beats are kept soft so that they do not intrude on the music’s fluidity.
Also present is mournful saxophone, which tastefully enhances the sound with its brassy resonance, injecting a remote ardor and increasing the music’s warmth.
Rosko Gee’s basslines throb with a particularly sinuous manner, generating an earthy undercurrent that is subtle but vivid.
Dreamy vocals use this music as a vehicle to coerce concentration and meditation upon the audience. Despite the lyrical message, Langguth’s voice conveys a smoothly sultry appeal that calms and lends relaxed vitality to her words.
RAINBOW SERPENT: The 8th Nerve (CD on Manikin Records)
This release from 2005 features 79 minutes of fabulous electronic music.
Rainbow Serpent is Gerd Wienekamp. Joining him on one track is Christoph Rinke on guitar.
Pleasantly rhythmic electronics are the keynote here, with emphasis on dreamy sequences and swimming embellishments of glorious luster. While computers generate lavish textures and keyboards expel chugging riffs, smooth tempos goad the harmonics with congenial propulsion. Atmospheric airs coalesce, gaining vigor as they blend with the ascendant melodies. Engaging tunes emerge with eager regularity, flourishing with cosmic charm amid the delicate notes and crystalline tonalities.
A taste of bongos and other conventional percussives adds a peppy touch to the surging tuneage. While periodic radio transmissions provide the audience with an earthly connection for the spacey music.
A sedate flair runs through this music. While never sinking to ambience, the tunes rarely explode with any aggression, preferring to regulate their power through effective delivery and appealing melodics. The result is intensely satisfying, a testament to vigor through elegance.
TEAM METLAY: Beneath Stars (CD on Atomic City Records)
This release from 2004 offers 71 minutes of cosmic electronic music.
This CD is broken into two parts: Badlands, a studio set from December 1996-January 1997; and Beneath Electric Stars, a live concert at the Fiske Planetarium at the University of Colorado on January 2, 1999.
For the Badlands set, Team Metlay is: DAC Crowell, Eirikur Hallgrimsson, Mike Metlay, John 3 Rossi, Nick Rothwell, William Sequeira, and David Turner. For the Beyond Electric Stars set, Team Metlay is: Darwin Grosse, Mike Metlay, John 3 Grossi, Nick Rothwell, and David Turner.
A progrock undercurrent runs through much of this music, marked by the performers’ inclination to pursue melody instead of a harmonic presence. The keyboard becomes the actual vehicle for the notes instead of a trigger for ulterior processing. Riffs cavort with creative intention. Chords are utilized to create pleasant passages of moderate vigor.
Meanwhile, other tracks embody a tapestry of textural drones to generate dreamy soundscapes of astral proportion. Other pieces explore a mild aimlessness of titillating tempos.
While the primary equipment is electronic, other sounds appear via synthetic applications, like bass and mechanical percussion.
Invariably, though, the tuneage returns to a melodic presence, pursuing bouncy strains of sparkling definition.
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