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'Ramp: Dark Electronics

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'Ramp (comprising Stephen Parsick and Frank Makowski) has been producing electronic music for nearly a decade. Exploring a decidedly darker form of ambience than anyone out there, the band has found a way to fuse those ominous soundscapes with a retro sound that achieves a unique tasty style of EM.

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'RAMP: Looking Back in Anger (A Decade of Misfits) (CD on Doombient Music)

This release from 2006 offers 78 minutes of powerful electronic music.

The tracks on this CD span the band's ten year career, exemplifying tuneage of unique quality. They are all previously unreleased. Parsick and Makowski are joined on some of these pieces by guests: Lamert Ringlage, Stefan Kraft, Martina Beine, Jens Peschke, and Marcus Reuter.

Be warned: many of these tracks possess distinctly more kick and rhythmic oomph than 'Ramp's normal fare. Nevertheless, a certain shadowy flavor remains, seasoning the uptempo melodies with an undercurrent of foreboding.

Lavish keyboards generate sweeping chords that blend nicely with the band's ever-present moody tonalities. Riffs are borne aloft on the crest of a sea of surging drones, swaying and resounding with frenetic energy. Heavenly waves frequently drench the music's lively nucleus, ascribing the melodies with an alluring fusion of salvation and doom. Snarling notes lend a puissant presence that pierces the murkiness with a glare of creative brilliance.

E-perc plays a vital role here, boosting the tunes with urgent tempos. Sometimes the rhythms are propulsionary, other times the percussion explores abstract venues with unearthly timbre.

Compositionally, these songs glisten with vibrant appeal. Their nimble disposition is charismatic, made all the more bewitching by their haunting embellishments. In contrast to most of 'Ramp's slowburn output, these tracks are compact, delivering strong melodies right away and working to enhance the intensity of each composition.

This release displays 'Ramp's potential to exceed accepted styles of EM and forge tuneage that pushes the envelope with remarkably satisfying accomplishments.

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'RAMP & MARCUS REUTER: Ceasing to Exist (CD on Doombient Music)

This CD from 2007 features 63 minutes of moody electronic music.

On this release, 'Ramp is joined by Marcus Reuter (from Centrazoon) whose treatments derived from touch guitar improvisations possesses a haunting character on its own. Combined with 'Ramp's doombient style, this recording is a moody milestone.

Textural sounds dominate this music. Already elongated into near-infinite structures, these harmonic flows are interweaved with each other to produce pastiches of eerie proportion. Scale is a key factor in this music, as melodies achieve immense scale, filling space with effortless ease, yet establishing a certain claustrophobic quality. Yeah, sounds like an oxymoron: actualizing compression through expansion, but that's what's going on here. Don't worry; there's a lot about quantum physics that defies comfortable understanding. Fortunately, lack of comprehension shouldn't impair your appreciation of music like this.

Let's try to dissect the music and examine the individual threads of this sonic conundrum. Astral waves waft with languid movement, utilizing subtle ripples to generate placid pulsations of evocative demeanor. Electronic drones are coaxed into gentle oscillations that fill every available space between molecules. Low frequency tonalities are goaded into restless expressions until the air is thick with barely perceived vibrations. Some of these sounds can be likened to the growling of distant machinery, barely heard but making an indelible impression on the listener's psyche. Layering these aspects results in a dense shroud of vaporous character that is inescapable.

Reuter's contributions to this dark pool are equally as shadowy. Although his performance stems from guitar strings, no similarity remains in the output. His murky harmonies cascade through 'Ramp's input, augmenting these sedate tones with expert compatibility.

Where most ambient music is created with the intention of peacefully mollifying the audience, the tunes found on this CD seek edgy pacification, retaining a subtle disquiet that keeps the mind alert and wary.

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