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Michael Thomas Roe's Electronic Collaborations

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This release from 2004 features 61 minutes of hyperactive riffs floating in an ambient milieu.

On one hand, Conrad Schnitzler is an electronic legend, having generated a vast catalog of releases that explore the endless potential of electronic compositions. On the other hand, Michael Thomas Roe is a relative newcomer to the EM genre. This collaboration displays what can happen when old school meets new school.

Edgy electronics cascade with wild abandon, bubbling and gurgling like computers with a charming sense of mirth. Frequently possessing rhythmic qualities, this music is wrapped in atmospheric mannerisms that augment rather than mute those eccentric dispositions.

This release comprises a selection of short pieces clustered around two long compositions. The short tracks exhibit lively sensibilities in a compressed template, while the longer tracks mirror those traits but allow the compositions adequate duration to explore variations of a playful nature.

Sharply executed outbursts of a cybernetic nature are immersed in an atmospheric pool of languid textures and dreamy tones. While the foundation sways and drifts according to cloudlike behavior, the outbursts present an energetic counterpoint of diverse scope.

Schnitzler's normally quirky style of electronics is evenly tempered here by Roe's ambient contributions, resulting in melodic tuneage that fuses both fashions into an engaging sonic entity of definite appeal.

Parties interested in Schnitzler's vast catalog of solo music are directed to visit him here.

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TOUCHXTONE: One (CD on TouchXTone )

This release from 2003 features 53 minutes of MIDI chill-out.

TouchXtone is: Michael Thomas Roe and Jim Combs.

While this music is presented as one long track, sweeping riffs wander in, do their thing, then recede, allowing the next diversion to flourish. Foundational drones provide the thematic links that cement everything together into a chill-out ambience. This soothing structure frequently exhibits oomph as the progression reaches spacier, then harsher terrain. A unifying temperament of calm dominates in the end.

Languid e-perc pitters in a hollow valley, bolstering a rising tide of synthetic trumpet. Sultry electronic textures dwell at the fringes, seeping in to saturate the mix with a bevy of engaging harmonics. Piano lends a stately touch, while lilting loops infect the flow with an Eastern flavor. Gurgling diodes and chugging clockwork contribute a mechanical interlude which retains a distinct humanity.

While the overall demeanor is sedate, a sense of yearning gradually emerges in this music, expressing the need for a better tomorrow and emphasizing that attaining that utopia is narrowly within reach.

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TOUCHXTONE: Two (CD on TouchXTone)

This release from 2003 features 68 minutes of atmospheric electronic music.

This time, an assortment of instruments are employed (or synthesized) in conjunction with the versatile electronics, including: harpsichord, flutes, and mandolin.

Electronic textures work in tandem with more pronounced effects, resulting in a charged tapestry that is peppered with keyboard chords and looping sequences. In the beginning gentle e-perc provides a languid propulsion, pittering away from an immersed vantage, goading the tuneage from within rather than creating stand-alone tempos. As the track continues (while broken into different compositions, the music flows as a single unified piece), a wistful romantic flair surfaces using a blend of deep tones with airy tonalities to define the exotic topic. Sampled chants are muted and placed at a great distance to achieve an overview, as if the audience hovers at a high altitude and the music unfurls at ground level. Deeper into the track, demonstrative percussion contributes, still from a remote distance. The chants return, mixing with the authoritative beats to evoke an imperial ceremonial mien. Piano increases this stately mood, while heavenly drones swell and expand, generating a sense of magnitude.

This touch of cultural weight remains constant throughout the music, whether the tune descends with subterranean rumbling or soars high on breezy wings.

The theme this time is China, yet the music sparingly utilizes Far Eastern sounds, choosing instead to apply more conventional Western resonance to the sonic observations.

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