Starting in 2000, electronic musicians with a fondness for the music of Tangerine Dream have gathered once a year to socialize and jam, exploring the combinations of their diverse talents. Recordings of these festivals have been released by European EM labels, culminating in the formation of a USA label, Ricochet Dream, to continue this earnest and delightful tradition.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Ricochet Gathering: Okefenokee 2000 (limited edition CD on Ricochet Dream)
This release from 2007 offers 76 minutes of music recorded live at the first Ricochet Gathering, which occurred at Stephen C. Foster State Park, in Fargo, Georgia on April 9-13, 2000.
Contributing musicians were Dave Brewer and Marcel Engels (from Free System Projekt).
In April 2000, the first Okefenokee gathering of Tangerine Dream fans took place in celebration of electronic swamp music. This sound derives its deepest roots in Tangerine Dream's "Stratosfear" release from 1976. For many Americans, this was their first exposure to T-Dream's music, brought about by the band's Encore tour of North America in 1976. Among EM performers, this sound would become a glorious staple whose influence persists even today.
Nimble-fingered keyboards produce a bevy of enticing riffs that flavor a dreamy backdrop of heavenly atmospherics. The electronics are vibrant and lush, superbly capturing the humid environment of the swamp while injecting a lively frivolity to an otherwise moody milieu.
Brewer and Engels take this steamy ambience and escalate things to a passionate fervor with rapid-fire sequencing of wondrous rapture. Alluring riffs are layered until the mix achieves a magnificent density that never abandons a dreamy undercurrent.
Some tracks feature passages of artificially induced space guitar which infuses the flowing tunes with searing punctuation.
Percussion is generally absent from this music. Rhythms are not only unnecessary with the swift delivery of notes, but tempos would simply get in the way of the surging melodies.
Structurally, these tunes employ a gradual sonic evolution, delivering cyclic patterns that unfold in languid passages of constant mutation. The looping melodies are immediately endearing and build to pinnacles of rewarding enthusiasm.
A few of the shorter pieces explore moodier sentiments, such as the ponderous menace of "In Search of the Big Alligator" and the slushy mechanical sound of "Robot Foraging at 3AM in the Okefenokee".
The strong influence of T-Dream is fairly obvious in this tuneage, from familiar sounds to reminiscent structures. That's where the similarity ends, however, as the musicians pursue innovative applications of those iconic elements, generating fresh material that is intrinsically satisfying.
A version of this performance was previously released on Groove Unlimited in 2000, but this new issue features 20 minutes of additional material.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: Ricochet Gathering: Okefenokee 2002 (limited edition CD on Ricochet Dream)
This release from 2007 features 80 minutes of music recorded live at the third Ricochet Gathering, which occurred at Stephen C. Foster State Park, in Fargo, Georgia on April 19-23, 2002.
Attending this Gathering were: Steve Schroyder (ex-Tangerine Dream), John Christian and Peter Ruczynski (from Airsculpture), Dave Brewer, Jens Zygar (from Star Sounds Orchestra), Bill Fox, Howard Moscovitz, and Greg Waltzer. These musicians jammed together to produce the music found on this CD.
Again, lavish keyboards produce outstanding electronics that strive to evoke not just the swamp mien but propel that sound to stratospheric heights. Delicate chords of crystalline fashion glimmer with mystic charm. Deeper tones establish a grounding effect, uniting soil and sky. Growling electronics introduce an organic presence that serves to energize the moody tuneage. Gurgling diodes accomplish a cosmic influence that hints at the vistas found beyond our atmosphere.
While the general tone is pacific, frequent whimsical passages energize the flow with delectably uptempo sensibilities. The mode never strays into techno, though, remaining firmly rooted in a contemporary flavor.
Doses of blazing space guitar provide ambrosial beacons of illumination.
Percussion is more prevalent here, but still remains an auxiliary contribution to the music. The rhythms are snappy and studiously dedicated to locomotion.
While most of the tracks explore dreamy terrain, several pieces take a bouncy approach with restrained hyperactivity and exotic flair.
The compositions are more modern this time, casting off the demonstrative T-Dream influences to indulge the individual styles of the musicians. The result is dazzling and enchanting, with tunes that simultaneously float and bop.
BROEKHUIS, KELLER, SCHÖNWÄLDER, FEATURING SPYRA & BILL FOX: Space Cowboys@Jelenia Gora (limited edition CD on Ricochet Dream)
This release from 2007 offers 76 minutes of music recorded live at the fourth Ricochet Gathering, which occurred in Poland in 2004. The music on this release was recorded live at Teatr Jeleniogorski, in Jelenia Gora, Poland, on September 11, 2004.
Contributing musicians at this performance were: Bas Broekhuis, Detlef Keller, Mario Schönwälder, Wolfram Spyra, and Bill Fox.
This music is far moodier than the above releases. The electronics are distinctly atmospheric and haunting--spacier, if you will. Alluring passages are established through slow-building accretion, with additional layers periodically entering the performance. There's always a fresh riff waiting to join the mix. Adroit sequencing generates a constant wealth of dreamy tonalities that provides an excellent counterpoint to the sinuously looping keyboard chords. Inventive embellishments surface, cavort and fade, consistently seasoning the music with delightful sidereal aspects.
The sounds blend spacious templates with classical airs and a darkly modern take. Masterful synthesized strings waft in conjunction with dense electronic tonalities. Grand piano coexists with buzzing effects. There's even a touch of theremin adding an eerie edge to one track.
E-perc plays a vital role, propelling the tuneage with often sedate rhythms that reliably swell in strength to become dramatically expansive. That piece with the theremin features some remarkably complex and engaging percussion that escalates into a rhythmic masterpiece.
Guitar is present, but often lost in the plethora of determined synthesizers.
Being generally improvised, this music exhibits a marvelous cohesion, but then these guys (with the exception of American Fox) have been recording together for a long time and working together on-stage has become somewhat second nature to them. This union is superb, resulting in slickly liquid tuneage of the highest quality.
A remarkably fulfilling performance by these guys.
There are notably less T-Dream influences found here, replaced by a respectful Klaus Schulze influence.
Reviews of other Ricochet Gathering releases can be found here)
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