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Electronics on Groove Unlimited: Hemisphere, Nattefrost, Johan Timman, Wavestar

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HEMISPHERE: Destination Infinity (CD on Groove Unlimited)

This release from 2006 offers 80 minutes of sultry electronic music. It is a re-issue of Hemisphere's second album from 1992, and features a bonus track.

Hemisphere is the late Ralf Knappe-Heinbockel.

Stately chords unfurl with regal disposition, establishing an engaging platform of heavenly electronics for auxiliary patterns that thicken the mix with their liquid cycles. While loops are generated and allowed to run, evolving subtly as the music progresses, embellishing strains are introduced which interweave and produce a tasty density that resonates with endearing majesty.

At times, ambient tonalities are stretched into lavish sonic panoramas, then peppered with deeper tones to give the soundscapes an earth depth. Other times, fragile keyboard chords provide a lush, pastoral flair to the atmospheric tunes.

Invigorating e-perc provides propulsion to several of the tracks, tracing thrilling beats into complex rhythmic structures which flow excellently with the slippery keyboards and slithering astral textures. Snappy exchanges deliver rewarding tempos to the dreamy tunes.

The compositions are relaxed, yet steeped with a solid passion that conveys great expanses of humbling proportion. The title track embodies a descent into a cosmic realm where machines conspire with spiritual fancies to produce a cohesion that transcends commonality and generates a vista of immense promise.

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NATTEFROST: Absorbed in Dreams and Yearning (CD on Groove Unlimited)

This release from 2006 offers 59 minutes of pleasant electronic music.

Nattefrost is: Bjorn Jeppesen, with vocalist Ute Stemmann on one track.

Languid textures provide a seething backdrop for more energetic electronics that flow with liquid character in a fashion that is very rewarding. Keyboards generate pulsating riffs which spin and swoop amidst auxiliary harmonics. The tones are crystalline and crisp, with a suitable undercurrent tinged with a hint of gritty bass, establishing a lush range for the dramatic compositions.

E-perc is present, but used to accent rather than to drive the melodies. The core of each piece rests in the vibrant electronics which throb with lively energy. Cyclic patterns unfurl with a constant evolution, subtly maturing as each tune progresses, producing complexity that is never over-dense. Ricocheting notes create a blurred fog of glittering quality that serves as a superb milieu for the front melodies.

The style of compositions is often relaxed, infused with a delicate trace of dynamics that remains craftily evident. One can sense the power yearning to burst free, but the musician keeps this tendency under meticulous control. Still, several tracks display an enthusiastic vigor with bouncy melodies and nattering rhythms.

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JOHAN TIMMAN: Trip into the Body (CD on Groove Unlimited)

This release from 2006 offers 50 minutes of electronic rock.

Timman conducts the listener on a voyage deep into the human anatomy with growling tones and sweeping keyboards and e-perc that injects just the right amount of pep to achieve a lively disposition. The style is almost old-school-progressive in its resolution to melody over cycles. The keyboards tremble with imperial vitality, delivering chords that are piercing yet fluffy, as the notes cavort up and down the scale in their jubilant quest for drama. As the riffs rise, they bolster the audience to high altitudes and frequently give the impression of flinging the listeners to additional heights when they reach the pinnacle of their lift.

The percussion is often demonstrative and commanding, driving the melodies with sternly insistent rhythms. In fact, the beats often convey a distinctly rock'n'roll flavor to the electronic compositions.

There are incidents of vocals, but these mainly consist of heavily treated utterances that name the parts of the body currently being explored by the jovial tuneage. One track has conventional lyrics, although the words are filtered through treatments that bestow a computerized demeanor on them.

One piece is a live version of another track on the album; it was recorded at the Berkeley Community Theatre on July 21, 1982.

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WAVESTAR: Mindjourney (CD on Groove Unlimited)

Originally a cassette tape in 1984, Groove Unlimited has reissued this classic EM release on CD in 2006. A bonus track (live at France Electronica on July 24, 1988) has been added, fleshing the total time out to 73 minutes long.

Wavestar is: John Dyson (on guitar and keyboards) and Dave Ward-Hunt (on sequencing and keyboards).

Airy textures dance a sinuous ballet as additional keys lace these clouds with deeper-throated electronic riffs. The auxiliary cycles roll with crisp determination, bubbling and soaring, providing tasty enhancement to the steadfast atmospheric foundation. Several passages swell with lively stretches of nimble-fingered keys, often displaying earthy timbre contrasted with chords that glisten with delicate resonance.

This dreamy tuneage is seasoned with fanciful keyboard chords, achieving a winsome appeal as a distinctly pastoral character mixes with spacey realms.

The guitar is well hidden, masquerading as synth electronics for the most part.

Bouncy e-perc is present in one track, imbuing the melody with whimsical pep. While another piece features more sedate rhythms supporting a nest of spiraling effects of stratospheric design.

After a lighthearted opening, the live track explodes with dense percussion and high-end sequencing delivered at a frantic velocity.

The compositions are fragile and pleasant, featuring periodic boosts of understated drama.

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