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Electronics: Create, Mark Dwane, Robert Fox, Radio Massacre International

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CREATE: Kindred Spirits (CD on Create Music)

This release from 2007 offers 67 minutes of live electronic music.

Create is Stephen Humphries.

The first track was recorded at Create's E-Live performance in the Netherlands on October 15, 2005. At 46 minutes in length, it occupies the bulk of this CD. The music is a masterful structure of slow-building textures laced with melodic aspects which combine to generate a haunting journey through ethereal realms of glistening electronics. Airy tonalities serve as an evolving backdrop for a host of effects that gradually achieve critical mass and explode with demonstrative presence. A series of divergent keyboard riffs cascade with urgency, immersing the audience in appealing passages of high drama. Some e-perc is utilized near the piece's end; otherwise rhythms are accomplished through the application of cyclic electronic patterns. Energetic sentiments generally dominate this composition.

Also featured is a 14 minute track culled from Create's Awakenings performance in Leeds, UK, on August 12, 2005. This piece is slightly more aggressive in its use of piercing pitches swimming in moody textures. When things get going, the music is shrill, the melody insistent and captivating. (A much longer version of this song can be found on Create's "Biospherical Imagery" CD on Groove Unlimited. Go here for a review of that album.)

This release concludes with a 6 minute studio track that explores more somber terrain with twinkling notes bobbing about in a pool of pensive tones. These elements achieve a stately crescendo.

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MARK DWANE: 2012 (CD on Trondant/Orbian Music)

This release from 2007 offers 46 minutes of dreamy electronic music.

Lavish tonalities gather with dramatic intent, providing a dreamy foundation for Dwane's central themes and delicate embellishment. These airy passages establish a lush backdrop for Dwane's sultry guitarwork.

Guitars (MIDI and conventional electric axes) supply a host of ethereal sounds that undulate and pulsate in the tuneage. Nimble fingers generate riffs of sparkling character, from strummed chords to ricocheting melodies to searing pyrotechnics, all combining in a slick mix to form beautiful melodies that seethe with vitality and spiritual potency. Harmonic elements blend with energetic melodies to generate sensuous tuneage that touches the soul with the same power that it stimulates the mind. The riffs intertwine and cavort with a relaxed vibrancy that achieves a heart-stirring cadence.

There's some percussion, but many of the rhythms are created through guitar patterns that bounce with lively tempos. What e-perc there is resounds with soft impacts which somehow blaze with major passion despite their gentle presence.

The compositions exhibit immense humanity with melodies that combine an atmospheric quality with a distinct strength. This fusion of vigor and dreaminess is quite remarkable and thoroughly satisfying. While inducing introspection and leisure, the tunes are equally capable of stimulating expansive elation and thrilling exultation.

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ROBERT FOX: Touching the Serpent's Tail (CD on AD Music)

This release from 2007 offers 66 minutes of astral electronic music.

Tense yet atmospheric textures coalesce, lifting the audience from the ground to hang free in space, surrounded by roiling clouds of portentous sound. Now that the intro has divorced the listener from their mortal roots, the celestial journey begins.

Keyboards produce endearing melodies backed by pattering e-perc rhythms of a luxuriant nature. The mood is dreamy, mesmerizing. The pace is languid, relaxed. A regal touch enters with stratospheric timbre, driving the harmony higher into a territory of sparkling night. At the core spins a lovely riff that elicits empathic sympathy for the vertiginous environment. Bell-tones enter the mix, injecting a tremulous quality to the airy tonalities. The music's ethereal temperament persists, drenching the audience with soothing notes.

A sense of introspective drama accompanies each gentle harmony. Even the rhythms are designed to sedate, to free the mind of stress, to ready the soul for meeting itself. The music does not goad or coerce, but rather liberates the listener from their material concerns, opening the synaptic paths for new thoughts. The tunes point the listener in an upward direction, leaving subsequent movement up to subjective guidance.

This skillful blending of heavenly electronics, opulent soundscapes and pacific tempos propagates compositions of masterful majesty. Transcendental qualities abound in this music.

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This release from 2006 offers 56 minutes of haunting electronic music.

Radio Massacre International is: Steve Dinsdale, Duncan Goddard, and Gary Houghton. Joining them on this release is Ian Boddy, who contributes additional synthetic percussion and editing, arrangement and mixing.

From the album's first note, a degree of tension is generated and maintained throughout. Surging electronics establish an aura of imminence with moody textures and pensive auxiliary harmonics. Keyboards contribute a sweeping presence that bestows an expansive grandeur to the music.

E-perc and the rhythmic application of bass tones furnish a demonstrative mien of dire yet understated tempos that increase the tuneage's essence of mysterious intensity. While RMI has frequently used percussives in their music, the beat application on this release bears a wholly new edge, that is often haunting, even unearthly, perhaps attributable to Boddy's rhythmic input. These differences are so pronounced that one might literally consider this album to be a collaboration between RMI and Boddy.

While space guitar is often a pronounced aspect of RMI's sound, here such embellishment is subdued, almost hidden in the vibrant mix. While not wailing away in prominence, the guitar is definitely supplying a layer of integral presence in the form of glistening sustains and novel effects.

The compositions are slick, alluring in their crafty structure, and designed to instigate a sense of subtle melodrama to the already anxious music. An air of nervous anticipation is generated by these pieces, whether it be overt in the case of the crescendo moments or the eeriness that saturates the atmospheric passages. The resultant tension produces a tingling expectation--one that the band satisfies with the tremendous sonic payoff contained in each tune.

This release features a tasty new sound for the band, one that is thoroughly captivating and attractive. Bands are always striving to evolve, and it's particularly pleasing when that evolution is as satisfying to the audience as it is fulfilling to the performers.

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