Sonic Curiosity Logo

Indie Electronics: Antherius, Stefan Erbe, Gen Ken Montgomery, Sleepwalker

decorative rule

ANTHERIUS: 2008-03 (CD on Decursus Media)

This CD from 2008 offers 46 minutes of lighthearted electronic music.

Injecting pop, rock and techno sensibilities into an EM foundation, this music possesses a delightful bouncy quality even when the tunes are designed for an ambient effect.

Dreamy electronics flow with soothing distinction, employing subdued percussion and bass tones to flesh out the pieces. Instances of piano, harpsichord and woodwinds provide additional substance without getting bogged down in any ethnic flair, leaving the tunes to shine with a new age purism.

The electronics are pleasant and amiable, establishing an easygoing mood with twinkling keys and churning atmospheric backdrops. Swaying tonalities achieve a chilly mien with their holistic infiltration. Even when a growly edge is utilized, the sound retains a congenial nature.

The percussion is understated, existing to goad rather than to drive the melodies. Conventional drums lend an earthy touch to some songs.

These compositions exhibit a complacent cheeriness that can be quite infectious. The tunes are delicate and heartfelt, touching the soul with their balmy charisma. The pop, rock and techno influences are often submerged by an overall calm that gives this music a commercial character.

decorative rule

STEFAN ERBE: Speed of Life (CD on ErbeMusic)

This release from 2008 features 54 minutes of bouncy electronic music.

Joining German synthesist Erbe on one track is Bernhard Woestheinrich.

Erbe’s electronics are crisp and breezy, exuding a sense of sparkling optimism that is impossible to ignore. Most of the notes display a crystalline buzz that combines nicely with the breezy auxiliary chords used to establish a cheery secondary layer within the music. A touch of synthesized orchestral airs assists a few passages to achieve a very atmospheric disposition.

While deeper bass tones are featured, even these possess a distinct buoyancy that banishes all darkness and any hint of gloom. This dedication to uplifting tuneage is integral to Erbe’s music, producing a deliberate jubilation that is highly infectious.

A peppering of e-perc provides lively propulsion that often borders on outright techno. Some tracks avoid obvious percussion, instead utilizing sharply defined electronic noises in rapid sequences to approximate rhythms buried in the mix. Despite these techno allusions, the beats are far from relentless, but carefully organized to enhance the songs instead of overwhelming them with exhausting tempos.

The song with Woestheinrich featured treated cybernetic vocals amid twinkling notes and quirkily shifting chords.

These compositions exemplify a joyous celebration of life in union with technology. The melodies are appealing and energetic as they sashay along bouncy paths designed to mesmerize while stimulating all of the listener’s nervous energy into a dance ethic.

decorative rule

GEN KEN MONTGOMERY: Drilling Holes in the Wall (CD on Monochrome Vision)

This CD from 2007 features 75 minutes of experimental industrial music.

Track one was originally released on cassette in 1990. Clocking in at 29 minutes long, this industrial epic embodies a grating penetration the psyche through abrasive (often painful) means. Power tools blend with harsh cybernetic tonalities, producing an atonal excursion into desolate and hostile regions. The piece is relentless in its efforts to test human tolerance, but manages to retain a mechanical charm.

The second and third pieces were originally release on Montgomery’s “Beyond my Ken” album in 1989. Both employ a plethora of sounds and moods, mixing electronic explosions with pensive incidents of less intensity to generate strong doses of relentless tension. The second of the two features hints of melody, albeit crunched underneath a host of aggressive electronic noises.

The last two pieces are previously unreleased. Track four explores a realm of vicious impacts and tearing metal sounds. Track five (an excerpt from a live performance at the DDR in Eoserkirche in 1986) features some spoken bits buried amid a constant tone of bellicose character, which eventually gives way to a flood of grinding rotary sounds and nasty pulsations.

Overall, a particularly fierce selection designed for maximum agitation.

decorative rule

SLEEPWALKER: Amenti (CD on Sleepwalker Music)

This release from 2007 offers 64 minutes of stately music.

Electronics are hardly the dominant instrument here; percussion and strings (both orchestral and guitar) provide integral support to the tuneage. While the music is generally comfortable, a certain pep is present, elevating the songs with a regal power.

The electronics generate atmospheric textures that serve as an excellent foundation for more melodic keyboards. Riffs drift with delicate character, communicating an emotional puissance that stirs the heart while mesmerizing the ears.

The percussion is relaxed and understated, yet conveys a buoyancy to the tunes with pittering bongos and sinuous drum beats.

A bevy of other instruments appear--melancholic flutes, rumbling bass, romantic guitar, pensive orchestral elements--each contributing an embellishment that expands the basic melodies with lavish seasoning. Their augmentation frequently defines each song’s personality.

Female vocals lend a classical edge to this music. A few tracks feature masculine vocals, exploring a realm that celebrates life.

These compositions strive to deliver contemporary electronic music to a more accessible venue with the addition of familiar instruments. The electronics become simply an aspect instead of the dominant factor. This full range of sound bestows a universal appeal on the tuneage, bridging modern and ancestral influences with bewitching charm.

decorative rule
Entire page © 2008 Matt Howarth.
All rights reserved.
Webpage design by Stasy