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Indie Electronics: Circulum Musicum, Ephemeral Mists, Dan Pound

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CIRCULUM MUSICUM: Phases (CD on Thar Records)

This release from 2008 features 71 minutes of melodic ambience.

A balance of soft and shrill electronics serve to generate a roiling ambience that persists in evolving into structured tuneage of enticing charm.

Fragile tones coexist with crisp electronics, mingling to establish harmonic streams of gaseous definition. Piano threads wind throughout, evoking a classical milieu immersed in subtle ilbient agitation. In fact, a plethora of unconventional sounds offer unexpected contributions to this material, snippets of additional instruments shouldering their way into the mix only to vanish into the pleasantly whisking flow.

There's literally no end to the surprises assembled here, as glitchy noises and keyboard sweeps rise and fall, mallet harpsichord and lively rhythms sway into view, grating cellos slice through riffs, shakers and wind tunnel breathing accompany vocal crooning.

These compositions merge diverse aspects with melodic definition, producing waves of gentle ambience tempered by the elusive flurry of strident elements. A sense of dreamy calm is generated, then seasoned by musical innuendoes that serve to escalate things with decisive results. Ambient passages swing into measures of demonstrative melody, flourishing into vivacious activity before sinking back into somnambulant auralscapes. The result would be downright perturbing if everything wasn't knit together so adroitly into bewitching compositions.

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EPHEMERAL MISTS: Moon Ritual (CD on Mythical Records)

This CD from 2008 offers 48 minutes of electronic music with strong Middle Eastern sensibilities.

Ephemeral Mists is Brett Branning.

Exotic Middle Eastern influences collide with contemporary EM. Sultry electronics with a subtle industrial edge are subjected to a dance temperament. Female chorales establish a sense of human grounding, while the rest of the music strives to liberate itself of gravity and soar to celestial altitudes.

Churning texturals generate a moody foundation which is then embellished with dreamy electronics. Many of the electronics possess softly industrial tinges, lending an edgy quality to the music; yet that edginess is meticulously subdued until it becomes a subliminal aspect.

A mixture of Western and Eastern percussion provide seductive layers of rhythms that interweave into an engaging complexity. The tempos are usually sedate, designed as accompaniment instead of a driving force.

An abundance of Asian instruments inject a Far Eastern flavor with languid strumming and starkly plucked strings.

While vocals make frequent appearances, their contributions are generally choral in nature, creating a haunting tapestry of sweetly resonant voices. In one instance, the choir adopts a cathedral demeanor, seasoning the tune with a deep reverence. For the title track, the voices are styled in extreme Middle Eastern fashion.

These compositions strive to bridge several genres, blending Middle Eastern harmonies with modern electronics crafted with subtle industrial hints, then imprinting a dance factor upon the flowing dreaminess.

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DAN POUND: Esoterica (CD on PoundSounds)

This CD from 2009 offers 72 minutes of dreamily bouncy electronic tuneage.

Normally, Pound's music is quite ambient and moody, and while this release features such moments, it achieves a lively level as the tunes progress, reaching a state of delightful pep. Passages of delicate electronics are seasoned by keyboards, amiable pulsations, and sultry rhythms.

Initially, while textural airs establish a cosmic tableau, leisurely keyboard riffs float like bubbles on a buoyant breeze, generating a softly melodic presence in the stately twilight. The pace gradually transforms from a dreamy state into some notably spry tuneage as the electronics engage in glistening loops, ushering heavenly voices and gurgling effects into a vivacious whirlpool of luscious depth. This bouncy mode continues in a rewarding and satisfying fashion...until the mood reverts to a regal somnambulance for the finale.

Some percussion is intermittently employed. While most of the beats are muffled, remote, almost celestial in character, the tempos achieve a vigorous level once the music slides into its energized phase.

Sustained flutes and breathy didgeridoo provide ethereal enhancements.

Throughout the course of the CD, these compositions progress from regal ambience to animated zest. The melodies penetrate deep into the audience's psyche where they stimulate a reverent awakening of the subconscious. Pound's mastery of evolving dreaminess into passages of vitalization is thoroughly engaging.

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