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Electronics: Ian Boddy, Ron Boots, Peter Mergener & Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock, Sunya Beat

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IAN BODDY: Elemental (CD on DiN)

This release from 2006 offers 52 minutes of versatile electronic music.

Joining Boddy on this CD are: Markus Reuter on Warr guitar loop, Stefan Bojczuk on analogue sequencing assist, and Mark Shreeve (from Redshift) on moog and Doepfer analogue bass samples.

The first track is a delicate tune of shifting textures and twinkling effects swimming in a symphonic fog.

The next piece captures an imminent tempest with sparkling keyboards and pensive e-perc possessing an engagingly fuzzy quality. The melody is dreamy and contagious.

Past the rain comes a track that builds slowly with atmospheric tones punctuated by dripping sounds that evolve into liquid swirlings. Quite an ambient composition.

A sharper sonic palette marks the next piece with more demonstrative demeanor as pulsations share the stage with quivering metallic percussives. Tension mounts as the electronics spread with an oozing pace to encompass a bouncy terrain of ricocheting riffs.

The next track (the longest on the CD at nearly ten minutes length) features hesitant effects that gradually accrete cohesion and slide into a heavenly harmonic seasoned with languid e-perc. Vitality builds here, and although the pace remains sedate, the piece's potency is glaring by its crescendo.

A winding path of vibrating beats and astral strings commands the next piece. This fragile composition exhibits a severely serene mien.

The next track crawls out of that tranquil territory with growling tempos and novel effects that spin and whirl with cybernetic character. A fanciful melody emerges which engages the audience with complex keyboard riffs.

The last piece employs crystalline synthesizers to counterpoint a nest of shuddering effects. Conventional beats join forces with rhythmic keyboards to achieve a powerful finale.

While the compositions vary from dynamic to ambient to abstract, a central theme of fundamental drives exists in this tuneage. Boddy's excursion through these natural forces demonstrates complex versatility and a dedication to dreamy tunes laced with infectious rhythms.

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RON BOOTS: Acoustic Shadows (CD on Groove Unlimited)

This CD from 2006 features 71 minutes of dramatic electronic music.

Joining Boots is Kees Aerts who contributes additional effects on the first track.

This music possesses a strong theme, that being a sonic appraisal of war as seen from a historical perspective. The tunes are salutes to all the soldiers who have lost their lives on the battlefields of the world. Although not a cheerful subject, Boots' music is far from dark or cynical. His compositions serve as a tribute to courage and determination. The sentiment that war is abhorrent and should be globally abolished is quite evident.

Lofty electronics collaborate with sparkling rhythms to produce music of a highly dramatic nature. Sweeping textures generate shadowy mien for a bevy of nimble-fingered riffs and seething sequences, all of which blend to form a grand presence. Melodies evolve and undulate with stately mannerisms, standing tall and exuding confidence. Shimmering fogs thick with auspicious sentiments waft through the tunes, lending a grim reality to the somber pieces. Cycles are born that breed tension with crafty application, instilling an air of mounting vitality.

Boots flavors his music with dynamic percussive, but he also creates lavish rhythms through the compressed looping of electronic noises, producing sinuous tempos of non-impact character. This tends to imbue the melodies with additional verve.

Battle sounds and radio newscasts pepper the pieces, helping to establish the context for these moody compositions. Drama runs high in these tunes, while melodies reach for stratospheric heights littered with sincere hope.

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PETER MERGENER & KLAUS HOFFMANN-HOOCK: Visions of Asia (CD on Prudence Music)

This release from 2006 offers 53 minutes of seductive electronic music.

As one would expect, this music is highly flavored with Far Eastern influences, resulting in a tender, exotic sound that is pastoral with pleasantly bright colors. The electronics shimmer with high altitude resonance, laced with flutish strains that wander from shrill expressions to understated seasonings. Chiming notes sparkle like reflections on an expansive lake of crystalline tonalities. The textural flow is often sedate and congenial, establishing an airy disposition that oscillates with comfortable intentions. Keyboard chords chug and sway along with fragile demeanor, producing riffs that generate a lavish terrain beneath a sky of idyllic temperament.

Percussion plays a vital but softly defined role in this music. Rhythms are sultry and often bouncy, but often gentle in their presence. Conventional beats blend with synthetic tempos to achieve a well-rounded platform of affable locomotion. For certain tracks, the percussion adopts a stronger Far Eastern character, lazily defining rhythms that exude a mountaintop mien. One piece displays more lively tempos of almost techno proportion.

Space guitar provides a celestial punctuation for one track, lifting the peaceful tune to an exalted dignity. Other pieces are seasoned by lilting harp strings that infuse the harmonic atmosphere with a delicate majesty.

The compositions are slick and charming, evoking distant lands thick with exotic flavor. Many of the tracks possess a calming quality despite their complex structure, applying their dreamy melodies to inspire a sense of epic scope.

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SUNYA BEAT: Comin' Soon (CD on Herzberg Verlags-GmbH)

This CD from 2006 features 77 minutes of dynamic electronic music culled from live performances from 2001 through 2003 at Burg Herzberg Festival, Ricochet Gathering Poland, and E-live Eindhoven.

Sunya Beat is: Axel Manrico Heilhecker on guitar and loops, Harold Grosskopf on drums, and Steve Baltes on keyboards and loops. Grosskopf and Baltes have both played extensively with Manuel Gottsching in Ashra.

Energy runs very high in this music, with its pounding velocity and rollicking delivery. The band is tight, and the tuneage is ecstatic in scope.

The guitar is hyperactive and acrobatic, generating riffs of blinding intensity and sequences of shimmering delicacy. Nimble-fingers achieve chords of engaging complexity that cavort with serpentine agility. Shrill passages achieve an astral quality, while at other times the riffs attain an elated rock-out demeanor that is breathtaking.

The percussion is masterful, bursting with sultry rhythms of cosmic rapture. Beats explode with dynamic disposition, accomplishing tempos of mesmerizing appeal. Besides providing propulsion for the tunes, the rhythms become a living force that seeps into the subconscious and imprints itself on the audience's genetic code, leaving a glorious lasting impression.

The keyboards establish lavish tapestries of ethereal substance, then pepper the mix with melodious sweeps of endearing character. Dreamy passages are created with ease, streaming like honey and bonding the music's aspects into a surging fluidity. The electronics are sinuous and sneaky, lurking between notes like a supernatural force.

These compositions display acute perfection, exuding a demonstrative entertainment factor that is superbly infectious. The elegant fusion of trance and high energy is wondrous to behold.

One of the CD's most delightful tracks is "Bond's Off" in which the band toys and twists with the James Bond theme, producing a dazzlingly snappy version full of captivating beats and bewitching guitar licks.

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