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Electronics: Easy & Lucky, Fanger & Schönwälder, Mindspiral, Ololiuqwi

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EASY & LUCKY: Hookahs (CD on Ampoule Records)

This release from 2006 offers 69 minutes of pleasant electronic music.Delicate patterns are generated by cheery keyboards. Additional electronics cluster around these riffs with congenial fervor. These sounds often exhibit a bashful disposition, as if reluctant to achieve a demonstrative presence. This latent hesitancy bestows the tuneage with a charming luster that burns like a welcome beacon in a tempest. Rather than embellishing a foundational texture with auxiliary harmonics, a series of complementary riffs are employed to generate the body of the melodies. This structure produces a novel flow full of attractive aspects.

Synthetic percussion provides locomotion for the crystalline melodies. While rarely becoming overt or overwhelming the mix, these rhythms are integral and inject a relaxed pep to the dreamy tunes. Complexity comes and goes among the tempos, maintaining a pastoral demeanor that is quite alluring.

Some of the tracks display a hint of dance ethics, mixing glitchy sounds with the sultry electronics. While the velocity never grows excessive, a lively mood is achieved.

These compositions exemplify the state of contemporary electronic music, pursuing that milieu with delightful results. Bouncy rhythms infuse the tunes with a sense of mortal promise that is highly endearing. A touch of illbience lurks in the mix, providing a silky edginess that almost goes unnoticed in its subtlety.

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FANGER & SCHÖNWÄLDER: Anaolg Overdose 0.9 (CD on Manikin Records)

This release from 2006 offers 78 minutes of stately music. This latest release in the "Analog Overdose" series features a selection of material from various live performances and studio rehearsals in 2001.

These tracks are noticeably shorter than usual AO pieces (which tend to be extremely long slow-building structures). Some are around fifteen minutes in duration, but there are actually more than a few that aren't even two minutes long. This means there's more focus going on here; the compositions speedily get to the point and strut their flash.

Keyboard cycles are generated, spiraling around each other with languid beauty. Patterns evolve and the interactions change accordingly. Heavenly textures descend to cloud the melodies with their regal demeanor. Airy tones waft into play, and keyboard chords spin out from numerous directions, creating a lavish tapestry of intertwining riffs. Churning diodes goad inventive harmonics to spill forth and join the mix.

E-perc plays a subtle role in this music--present but often understated. Delicate rhythms are the outcome, tempos that nudge without being too forceful.

Compositionally, the short pieces act as somber interludes framing the longer, more active tracks. This arrangement gives the album a flowing structure, with meditative lulls leading to more urgent melodies that build to gripping pinnacles. A few of the pieces employ a bounciness that fits nicely amid the vaporous milieu.

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MINDSPIRAL: The 1 Is Silent (CD on Atomic City)

This release from 2005 offers 49 minutes of engaging electronic music culled from live performances at the Fiske Planetarium, Colorado, on April 2 and 3, 2005.Mindspiral is: John Duval (on guitar, looper, and treatments), Darwin Grosse (on pad sequencer, rhythms, and samplers), Giles Reaves (on keyboards and pro tools), and Mike Metlay (on keyboards and reverbs).

Dense cybernetic textures (generated on Fist of God, the world's largest Serge modular synthesizer at the time) establish a cosmic opening that slides into a dose of pastoral guitar chords conspiring with gentle keyboards to produce a soothing woodland excursion.

Languid slide guitar takes over with the second track, providing an arid setting for the gradual introduction of subliminal electronics and sedate e-perc. Pensive keyboards show up before the piece's conclusion.

The next track is dominated by stately piano-style keyboards, which create a concert hall atmosphere punctuated by particularly Pink Floydish space guitar sustains.

Additional Fist of God pastiches serve as a haunting intro and a gritty outro for track four. The piece itself is strong with sultry rhythms, cascading melodics, and sidereal effects that embellish the sonic nucleus from every direction.

Track five involves an undulating nest of clockwork tempos serving as a backdrop for the recitation of a poem.

Drama takes center stage with the next track, as terse e-perc blends with growling electronics to induce a stratospheric ascension.

For the final track, the musicians tackle a pop motif with drawling guitar notes, cloppity beats and sparkling harmonics that serves as an uplifting finale.

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OLOLIUQUI: Other Side of Odra (limited edition CD on Ricochet Dream)

This release from 2006 offers 59 minutes of enticing music recorded live at the Ricochet Gathering in Poland on September 11, 2004.Ololiuqui is: Volker Keonig (on keyboards) with Jozef Skrzek (on minimoog), Jens Zygar (on electronic percussion), Bill Fox (on guitar and slide), and Conrad Gibbons (on additional keyboards).

Dreamy electronics and languid e-perc generate an engaging selection of tuneage that will appeal to fans of contemporary EM. While some synths provide a lavish textural foundation of rumbling pulsations, other equipment provide a sinuous array of undulating harmonics that congeal to achieve bewitching melodies. As certain threads cycle, additional patterns emerge with diverse intentions, dithering and elaborating on themselves until a thick nest of synthetic sounds have swarmed to fill the stage with their novel presence.

Rhythms are integral and enthralling in this music. Sultry tempos unfurl to provide the tunes with tasty locomotion, often boosting the melodies into a semi-dance mode that is quite delicious. While rarely overly complex, the percussion reaches a level of attractive compulsion that suitably matches the liquid nature embodied by the music's keyboard nucleus. Gritty impacts are harnessed and put to superb application to establish an edgy disposition.

One track features haunting vocals that evoke a distinct Eighties synth-pop flair. A few other tracks utilize highly treated vocals and sampled lyrics.

The compositions are a satisfying blend of modern EM with retro pop sensibilities, resulting in gregarious melodies with just the right degree of pep. The electronics merge with the rhythms in an alluring manner, generating a rewardingly fluid sound. Some of the tracks take this dance factor to extremes, rivaling techno templates with their bouncy aptitude.

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