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Collaborative Electronics: Broekhuis, Keller & Schönwälder; Code Indigo; Dave Fulton & Giles Reaves; Hoffmann-Hoock & Wöstheinrich

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BROEKHUIS, KELLER & SCHÖNWÄLDER: Orange (CD on Manikin Records)

This release from 2007 offers 72 minutes of slow-burn live electronic music.

European synthesists Bas Broekuis, Detlef Keller and Mario Schönwälder have been recording music (solo and together) for several years.

These guys like to take their time establishing a melody. Oblique chords of vaporous character amble along, peppered with sonic hints of rhythm and additional electronics, until eventually these various aspects are operating on equal footing. Now is the time for keyboards to enter the nonchalant mix, livening things with cyclic loops and playful chords. As the tunes progress, more riffs are generated and layered until the music becomes a vibrant complexity.

The electronics are crystalline and delicate, laced with heavenly airs and celestial demeanor. Patterns are introduced, looped, and left to twirl, while attention is diverted to establishing subsequent riffs, constantly layering things until a lush density is achieved. The overall pace continues to increase with each passing moment, periodically abated by rest stops during which synthesized violins have their say, and then the flow resumes its glorious ascension once again, this time employing fresh elements to strive for sonic altitude.

All the while, atmospheric tones fill the background, bestowing the tuneage with an lofty quality.

For the first track, the percussion consists of synthesized bongos. Later pieces exhibit more conventional e-perc: snappy tempos that instill the music with a sense of urgency.

The unhurried nature of this music is granted full reign by the musicians. With three tracks on this CD (clocking in at 21, 40 and 10 minutes), ample opportunity is afforded each improvised composition to evolve and explore its attendant structure.

The last piece abandons the slow-burn progression for an abstract structure that ultimately falls prey to its own inherent melody.

The tunes were respectively recorded live: at het oude Stadhuis in Culemborg, the Netherlands, on November 5, 2005; at E-live Festival 2002 in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, on September 21, 2002; and at Bas' studio during the rehearsal for the E-live concert.

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CODE INDIGO: In Concert (double CD on AD Music)

This release from 2007 offers 152 minutes of noble electronic music recorded live at performances between April 2004 and November 2006 in England and Europe.

Code Indigo is: David Wright on synths and keyboards, Robert Fox on synths and keyboards, Andy Lobban on guitar, Nigel Turner-Heffer on bass, guitar and keyboards, Dave Massey on rhythm programming, and Louise Eggerton on vocals and keyboards. Both Wright and Fox enjoy prolific solo careers.

A host of background atmospherics and more demonstrative electronics provide a lush foundation for searing guitar and resolute percussion. The combination results in a sinuous sound that stands with one foot in contemporary EM and the other dabbling in techno rave territory. This union of genres generates enticing and energetic tuneage.

The electronics employ a striking contrast of dreamy airs with sweeping chords and nimble effects. Layers cascade with relaxed beauty, creating a density that is simultaneously gaseous. Clouds of sound swirl, adopting physicality in the form of articulated keyboard expressions.

The guitars frequently explode with cosmic fervor, belting out incandescent riffs of dazzling fury and heavy passion. At other times, their wail is melancholic, almost mournful, lending a romantic yearning to the ascendant music.

The percussion often approximates traditional drums, achieving a solid rock locomotion that is further embellished by highly inventive synthetics. The pace is a restrained one, keeping the tempos sultry to enhance the music's overall flow. Even the peppier tempos maintain a strenuous restraint.

Sampled voices and lilting vocals are present but not constant, acting as punctuating statements rather than any lyrical content.

Tight and vivid, these compositions deliver powerful melodies that often test the limits of conventional EM with emphatic outbursts of guitar. The band has a bewitching inclination for establishing long mesmerizing soundscapes that veer into pinnacles of euphoric intensity.

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DAVE FULTON & GILES REAVES: The Range (CD on Hypnos/Binary)

This release from 2007 offers 60 minutes of eloquent electronic music.

Fulton used to be with Dweller at the Threshold; Reaves used to play with Spacecraft. Joining them on this recording are: John Duval on keyboards and Jonathon Shults on Tele guitar.

Stately structured keyboards function in tandem with growling synthesizers, creating a tasty counterpoint of classical and technological miens to comprise this distinctly modern compositions. Lavish soundscapes are set in motion as backdrops for more focused demonstrations of electronic wizardry. Eloquent chords swim in seas of gentle drones, describing uplifting motion with remarkable dexterity.

E-perc provides a studious rhythmic presence. As things progress, the beats take on more command, establishing sinuously alluring tempos that eventually recede to allow the vaporous electronics to dominate the mix. While a subtle tribal edge can be detected in the rhythms, they generate a wholly contemporary charm.

Although making infrequent appearances, the guitar contributes a serpentine nature to the music. Softly snarling riffs slither amidst the swelling atmospherics and pattering tempos.

An exotic flavor lurks in these songs, accomplished by periodic finger cymbals and an arid temperament that resurfaces to ground the music's generally aerial flow.

The compositions weave delicate atmospherics with forcefully surging electronics, producing tuneage that is engaging and dreamy at the same time. Calm and power coexist, achieving a comfortable covenant that shines with the best of both states: soothing passages that reek of a congenial vitality.

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This release from 2007 offers 57 minutes of dreamy electronic music.

This recording unites two notable artists: Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock (from Mind over Matter and Cosmic Hoffmann) on guitar and electric sitar, and Bernhard Wöstheinrich (from Centrazoon and Subsonic Experience) on synthesizers and sequencing. Joining them are: Ian Boddy and Marcus Reuter (on drum programming and additional sequences, with Reuter providing guitar bellscape on one track), and SiRenee (on vocals on one track).

Initially, luxurious passages of softly grinding electronics are given tasty propulsion by undulant rhythms. Guitar effects ooze through the mix like expressive honey.

With the second track, the guitar comes forward to generate a celestial disposition with fluently bowed sustains. Rising to assist, insectoid electronics and chugging tempos inspire the guitar to adopt even more cosmic definition.

Airy tonalities provide the title song with a calming foundation in support of dreamily treated vocal effects that spiral through the harmonics. Percussives emerge, flavored eastern to enhance the song's lazy dervish.

Track four utilizes hesitant rhythms in conjunction with electronic drones to achieve a state of frozen transition, as if a traveler has become trapped half in one world, half in another. Passage through these pandimensional barriers becomes possible through the introduction of seemingly erratic guitar effects that eventually coalesce into stratospheric chords.

The next piece begins with a gentle soundscape of twinkling notes adrift in a pool of tenuous tonalities. Snappy tempos arrive, accompanied by chugging electronics. The pace remains relaxed, but the audience is teased with a touch of intensity that playfully remains in the future tense.

Track six layers some almost conventional guitar sounds with a pastoral atmosphere of fragile electronics, producing a soundscape of dreamy scope.

The last piece has a decidedly twilight mood to it, with elongated guitar notes floating in clouds of shimmering tones.

The general nature of these compositions is ambient. Slight touches of pep are deceptive, for while hinting at activity, they remain understated, communicating a subliminally energized state.

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