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Electronics: Alpha Wave Movement, Arc, Gert Emmens, Mark Jenkins

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ALPHA WAVE MOVEMENT: The Mystic & the Machine (CD on Harmonic Resonance Recordings)

This release from 2007 offers 48 minutes of electronic progrock.

Alpha Wave Movement is American synthesist Gregory Kyryluk. He is accompanied on four tracks by Steve Hillman on guitar.

Usually known for delicate electronic soundscapes, on this release AWM explores a decidedly more progrock direction with lively melodies drenched with fanciful keyboard riffs and crisp e-perc and astral guitar.

The electronics employ a wide range of sounds, coaxing shrill tones to passionate heights. Nimble-fingered keyboards provide extensive drama with mercurial passages. Sprightly melodies belt out with fervor and vitality, cavorting with jubilant abandon. The tone of the notes often adopts the pleasantly shrill demeanor that marks so many classic progrock recordings of the Seventies.

A distinctly pastoral sense is generated with the application of sampled flutes and strings. The flutes evoke a lush atmosphere of idyllic countrysides sprinkled with castles overgrown by vines. The strings lend a certain classical vitality to the tunes. Choral currents establish a heavenly radiance bathing the rest of the melodies.

The guitar lends a searing undercurrent with shimmering riffs that add blaze to the already mystical melodies. While softly plucked guitar-strings create a byronic edge that enhances the endearing character of a few tracks.

Percussion is present in only a few pieces. Those rhythms are powerful and contribute luscious propulsion with eloquent tempos.

While retaining a contemporary mien, these compositions pulsate with the airy romanticism of progressive rock sentiments. The melodies are complex and their delivery is emphatic. The tunes exhibit a strong ascending quality, uplifting with a vibrant sense of celestial optimism. The melodies are gripping and bewitching, tasty and very satisfying.

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ARC: Fracture (CD on DiN)

This release from 2007 offers 53 minutes of thrilling electronic music.

Arc is: Ian Boddy and Mark Shreeve. Both are accomplished veterans of the electronic genre; together they achieve dazzling new sonic heights. Nigel Mullaney contributes percussion loops for one piece.

A plethora of vibrant electronics provide an exciting palette of thrilling sounds. Haunting tonalities provide an astral panorama that acts as an excellent foundation for additional riffs to flourish. Fresh aspects appear with reliable resolve, continuing to increase each tune's vigorous rapture.

Agile keyboards generate a host of mesmerizing riffs. Sharply crafted sounds enter the mix on a regular basis, maintaining the music's enthralling character. These share the stage with tried-and-true classic stylings, creating a wondrous balance of familiarity and innovation.

Percussion is approximated through the use of cyclic artificial sounds. Gritty buzzes become alluring tempos that goad the tunes into sultry states of activity.

The CD's last track is a 23 minute opus of ethereal beauty. A nebulous opening leads to deeper voids replete with awe-inspiring atmospherics. This harmonic flow dives into a passage of expansive intensity seasoned with emphatic sequencing that builds to excruciating bliss with a high-velocity riff of sparkling definition. A coda of gentility serves as a majestic finale.

These compositions deliver unpretentious delight with their sprightly delivery. Bewitching chords are harnessed into fascinating patterns that continually evolve and diverge into pleasantly unexpected variations.

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GERT EMMENS: A Boy's World (CD on Groove Unlimited)

This release from 2007 features 79 minutes of inspired electronic music.

Crystalline electronics abound in this music, but so do deep-toned sonics and fanciful pulsations and vibrant keyboards. Stratospheric pinnacles are achieved with startling regularity, only to be outdistanced by the epic quality of the next passage. Emmens' creativity seems to harbor a limitless array of escalations, each more tantalizing that the last.

Sweeping textural flows stream across the sky, chased by majestic chords that coalesce into dazzling riffs. Inventive hooks are looped and left running as a backdrop, while fresh cycles blossom with abundance. Everything merges into a progression that ascends with breathtaking charm, delineating melodies that are lush and bewitching.

Layered into this demonstrative density are a constant series of nimble-fingered keyboard riffs that further expand the music's dramatic scope. The timbre of these riffs often adopt a celestial magnificence that blends shrill tones with heart-wrenching depth. Splendor radiates from every passage.

Percussion plays a vital role here. The rhythms not only lend gripping locomotion, but they attribute a lively vitality to the already-dynamic tuneage. Sometimes, the tempos generate an endearing tension to the music, bolstering the feeling of greater experiences lurking around the next turn.

These compositions embody a sense of wonder, capturing the awe experienced by a young boy as he views the modern world through eyes colored by a fertile imagination. Every track rings with grandeur and limitless promise, allowing the listener to partake of astounding nostalgic voyages beyond normalcy and deep into realms of fantastic caprice. A thrilling experience that refuses to pale with repetition.

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MARK JENKINS PRESENTS GHOSTS OF MARS: Something Dancing in the Darkness (CD available from Ricochet Dream)

This release from 2007 offers 52 minutes of lively electronic music.

Joining British synthesist Jenkins is Alquimia, who provides vocals for three tracks.

Bouncy electronics blend with dreamy backdrops to produce invigorating tuneage that floats. Engaging keyboard riffs interweave with hypnotic looping pulsations, establishing a lush panorama that meticulously evokes an alien landscape--but as perceived through human senses. Lacing a strange milieu with familiar aspects can be a tricky process, but Jenkins handles it with suave skill.

Although everything (except the guitars and Alquimia’s voice) is generated via computers, the sonic palette is nicely seasoned with traditional sounds. A horn section delightfully bolsters one track.

The guitars function in a sneaky manner, often disguising themselves through treatments so that they are unrecognizable as string instruments. At other times, however, the energetic strumming is distinct and vibrantly familiar.

Percussion is present throughout this release and results in steady propulsion for the electronic melodies. Snappy beats pitter away, supported by more sedate rhythms, eventuating a lively pace that restrains itself from dominating the compositions.

The three songs that feature Alquimia’s lyrical vocals possess a pleasantly organic quality that tends to nudge these tracks in a quasi-commercial direction.

Overall, the tuneage exhibits an eerie character that is congenially tempered by a rich sense of humanity. The catchy percussion abets this disposition by appealing to mankind’s inherent toe-tapping predilection.

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