Sonic Curiosity Logo

Collaborative Electronics: Fanger & Kersten, Craig Padilla & Skip Murphy, Michael Thomas Roe & Conrad Schnitzler

decorative rule

FANGER & KERSTEN: Elektrik Massage (CD on Ricochet Dream)

This CD from 2008 by Thomas Fanger and Michael Kersten features 78 minutes of lively electronic tuneage. There are two tracks recorded live at Bad Sulza, Toskana Therme, April 6, 2002, one track from studio sessions circa 2001, and the last track was recorded live at Petrus Church in Berlin, November 11, 2000.

In the first piece, lush textures establish a dreamy panorama that persists in this somnambulant state as additional tonalities (comprising sweetly shrill pitches and sighing tonal sweeps) sway into the languid mix. Sedate beats enter the flow halfway, but serve purely as punctuation, adding no rhythms. Keyboards surface soon after, introducing melodies to the tenuous soundscape with stately piano and chirping effects.

With the second track, the pace steps up to nimble as pulsating chords brush aside an intro of gurgling water. With swift accretion, the melody becomes a lush tapestry of complimentary electronic sequences. Strident loops mingle with a steadfast beat, while muted effects and a crisper rhythm track oozes into place. As the song progresses, all of these elements enjoy an ascension culminating in a glorious crescendo which then recedes, washed away by an oceanic surf.

The next piece maintains this energetic mode with churning cycles bathed in an evolving stream of additional sounds. Sustained keyboard chords flow through the mix, while catches of snappy e-perc rise and ebb and gradually coalesce into a captivating rhythm.

The last track is the longest (39 minutes) and affords the musicians ample opportunity to experiment with engaging layers and urgent loops. Several abstract passages serve as a meandering opening. When cohesion sets in, the music adopts an invigoratingly dreamy character seasoned with bewitching tempos. Blooping notes cascade like a swarm of fireflies through an uplifting soundscape of pleasant drones. Laudatory riffs slide into place with regularity, perpetually enhancing the already attractive piece and building toward an ecstatic pinnacle.

These compositions are an alluring blend of atmospheric moods peppered with lively embellishments.

decorative rule

CRAIG PADILLA & SKIP MURPHY: Analog Destination (CD on Groove Unlimited)

This release from 2008 offers 76 minutes of lush electronic tuneage. Three of the tracks were recorded live at Dancing Astronaut Studio throughout 2007, while the fourth piece, recorded at the Sundial Bridge in California on August 23, 2007, is a live version of a song from their “Phantasma” album.

The first track embodies a compression of airy electronic layers which achieve a ponderous density as they coexist. Lavish sequences are utilized as backdrops for more demonstrative passages, producing a startling magnitude that is often heavy-handed. Styled in bass-thick fashion, these electronics reach a relentless frenzy with ease and maintain that bulk throughout the song. A strata of urgent percussion lies buried in the mix.

The next piece is lighter in character with atmospheric tones wafting in relaxed breezes. Bubbling electronics serve as a sprightly seasoning for this heavenly excursion into dizzying heights. Eventually, growling synthesizers and steady e-perc rise into dominance and hold sway for the duration of the 28 minute composition. The piece employs a sedative downswing for its sparkling conclusion.

The third track adopts an almost ambient demeanor with expansive tonalities overlapping to form a dreamy flow. Embellishments of soft punctuation and rolling keyboard cycles gradually breathe more vitality into the piece while maintaining an understated mien.

The final piece injects a somber mood into the dreamy-moving-into-uptempo flow. Luxurious electronics swell with authority, while chugging e-perc provides a serpentine locomotion. Everything accrues vitality and strength until the tune seethes with boisterous stamina.

decorative rule


This CD from 2007 offers 69 minutes of sedate electronic tuneage.

A series of laconic synthetic rhythms flow through an environment of undulant electronics with a backdrop of vocal effects.

The electronics are diverse, sometimes churning with blurry rotary vibrations, other times twinkling like keyboard-triggered celestial bodies. Distinct notes are muffled as they coalesce into streaming chords. Whispering atmospherics generate an expansive feeling that only enhances the music’s overall remote character. Even when the electronics pursue intentionally glistening ambitions, their sparkle is muted by growling embellishments.

Percussion is integral to many of these tunes, but the slippery beats are often subdued in volume, contributing a hushed locomotion that rarely leads, seemingly content to coexist with the dreamy melodies.

Throughout it all, muttering voices provide an organic presence. They are not lyrical in nature, instead they capture a sense of peripheral humanity, not unlike conversations captured from next door. Instead of intruding on the harmonies, these utterances infiltrate the flow, becoming an auxiliary pulsation of tantalizing disposition


The compositions are meticulous structures comprised of distant sounds that conspire to achieve prominence through unity instead of dominance. This far off quality establishes a spatial detachment that makes the music deliciously elusive.

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