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Indie Electronics: Aetopus, Antherius, Digital Samsura, Dereck Higgins

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AETOPUS: Tempula (CD on 12 Ton Productions)

This release from 2006 offers 62 minutes of delightfully pleasant electronic music.

Aetopus is Bryan Tewell Hughes.

Pleasant electronics are accompanied by congenial percussives to produce tuneage that is both engaging and stimulating. Keyboards blend with ethereal tonalities and a touch of guitars, fleshing out the mix with gentle patterns and sweetly ascendant sentiments. While cycles are employed, most of the instrumentation pursues livelier expressions, nimble-fingered applications that generate spry structures of optimistic demeanor. Pattering rhythms lend further invigoration, injecting a mildly peppy taste to the songs.

The compositions are intricate and well thought out, exhibiting cerebral moods that stimulate brain activity. The constant presence of appealing beats expands the music's effects with toe-tapping delight, but never lowers the bar to vacant dance appeal. In fact, while never stooping to a tribal disposition, the rhythms possess a distinct reverence that appropriately fits with the CD's title. (According to the liner notes, a "tempula" is consecrated terrain or partitions of sky through which humans may interact with deities.) This lends clarity to the music's intentions, transforming each song into a resonant prayer that enables the audience to commune with higher powers, whether those higher powers be divine or located at the core of the soul.

Averaging five minutes in length, these tracks offer a diverse dose of tuneage. Aetopus capably crafts each song with diverse demeanors and elegant riffs, producing an assortment of tunes that are linked with common intentions but employ wholly different characteristics.

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ANTHERIUS: 2006-01 (CD on Decursus Media)

This release from 2006 offers 41 minutes of pleasant tuneage.

An airy mood dominates this tuneage, as atmospheric electronics combine with bass tones and spiraling delineations and delicate percussion. Sparkling chords lift the resonance in a constantly upward mobility.

As the music progresses, power and vigor emerge. The percussion accretes strength and depth. The lilting tonalities adopt more fanciful patterns, entering into aerial gyrations that goad engaging melodies into being. Agitation surfaces, only to be conscripted into cohesion by demonstrative riffs and swelling vitality. Chiming keyboards establish pleasant melodies in conjunction with pulsating drums. Quirky surges swamp the music, immersing pattering piano and quick-tempoed beats with an urgency.

As the CD continues, the music grows more conventional, even trying its hand at new age pastiches laced with modern jazz tinges. This versatility is handled with relaxed delivery. The flow is steadfast, but tempered with loving performances. Graceful quasi-orchestral sweeps unfurl with the same resolve as peppy passages of choppy keyboards. Determined percussion serves to unify these styles into an engaging stability.

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DIGITAL SAMSARA: Blue Beryll (CD on Digital Samsara)

This release from 2006 offers 53 minutes of dreamy trance music.

Digital Samsara is: Shani Ben-Canar, Dirk Kanesh, and Shanar Kaufman.

Middle Eastern styles conspire with modern technology, resulting in a serene dose of electronic trance music. Strong percussion supports a nest of undulating electronics with stately guitar lingering around the rippling edges. Mournful trumpet lends a strident proclamation to the lazily flowing melodies.

The electronics gurgle and bubble with sedate character, oozing slyly through the mix and evoking tenuous substance.

Western guitar provides an eloquent way station to the real world, establishing heart in a sea of atmospheric demeanor. These strings act like an anchor, tethering the soul to the body while the music draws the mind forth to wander ectoplasmic realms.

Luxuriant percussion applies itself to stable rhythms as well as tentative beats, dependably enhancing the daze without disturbing the dreamer.

In one instance, vocal strains provide an ethereal presence, like a holy man calling out in the nocturnal distance.

While often exhibiting substantial body, the overall flair of this music is serene and introspective.

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DERECK HIGGINS: Way Stasis (CDR on DVH Recordings)

This release from 2006 offers 43 minutes of stimulating abstract music.

Electronics blend with manipulated environmental samples, creating an edgy soundscape of haunting disposition. Percussives are frequently employed, sometimes in rhythmic mode, sometimes as chaotic punctuation. Voices are looped and treated, then sliced into the harmonic flow as auxiliary instruments.

Sounds abstract, but the actual result is wholly fluid. Higgins has a way of combining elements to produce tunes of engaging ambience. His sense of calm, however, is peppered with tension and crafted to achieve a disturbing tranquillity. Often more harmonic than melodic, these compositions epitomize detached transition, capturing movement from one frozen instant to another. Nebulous regions seethe and roil, clouds clustering and parting to reveal more clouds. Agitated water spills over creaky hinges while wheezing woodwinds flow into cyclic standing waves. Abstract structures coalesce into definition, only to reveal more mysterious abstruse passages.

Whether working with growling electronics or crystalline tones, Higgins has a way of drawing immense depth from shallow sounds. Musique concrete collides with ambience, producing tuneage of twitchy sedation, a collection of eerie soundtracks for moments alone in the closet.

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