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Electronics: Mark Dwane, Jozef Skrzek/Paul Lawler/Steve Schroyder, Uriel

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MARK DWANE: Other Worlds (CD on Trondant Music)

This release from 2009 offers 49 minutes of astral electronic music.

While electronics and percussion are used with adroit expertise, Dwane's instrument of choice is the guitar.

Dreamy auras are generated, then laced with glimmering enhancement in the form a astral guitar.

Searing riffs soar to stratospheric altitudes where they twirl and cavort with ebullient zest. Each chord glistens with cosmic allure, yet these celestial airs are rich with human emotion. And when the guitar isn't striving for interstellar freedom, it's creating congenial riffs seasoned with an endearing romantic edge. (The romance alluded to isn't of an organic nature, but pertains to an expansive love of the world at large and the mysterious vistas that exist beyond its known parameters.) The notes cascade with great ease, establishing beautiful melodies with their relaxed definition.

Electronics provide vaporous panoramas that serve as ethereal foundations. Lavish textures drift on high, while additional tonalities wind through the air directly overhead, establishing slippery adhesion for the shimmering guitarwork.

Percussion contributes a bouncy animation to the tunes. The rhythms are gentle, yet buoyant, supporting ascension with each tender beat.

These compositions tastily blend pleasant sentiments with guitar intensity, resulting in music that glides on high breezes while retaining a direct connection to the human soul--effectively providing a tangible link between man and divinity.

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JOZEF SKRZEK/PAUL LAWLER/STEVE SCHROYDER: Ricochet Gathering Trilogy (CD on Ricochet Dream)

This release from 2009 features 79 minutes of live improvised electronic music.

Each year, like-minded electronic musicians congregate at Ricochet Gatherings. These events are held at different global locations each year. The material on this CD is culled from improvised performances (from: Gomera in 2005, Rubycon in 2006, and Yellowstone in 2007) by Skrzek, Lawler (aka Arcane) and Schroyder (ex-Tangerine Dream). Joining them on the tracks are: Bill Fox, Ololiuqui, Paul Nagle, Jens Zygar, and Daniel Bloom.

Track one possesses an interesting underwater background element. The foreground consists of layered temperate electronics which gradually accrete into a stately pastiche of keyboard sweeps. The complimentary sweeps interact with each other, gradually evolving into an introspective melody of regal character, enhanced by the ongoing aquatic gurgling.

In the next piece, the temperate mood continues, seasoned by pulsating rhythmics, churning diodes, celebratory vocal effects, and keyboard threads that slowly unify to produce an ascension of comfortable authority. Softly assertive chords emerge from the mix to spiral toward greater heights.

Next, a sequence of nimble-fingered riffs coexist with a chugging bass tempo. The riffs express spry variations as the piece builds to a passionate pinnacle, then a hesitant lull, followed by a laborious reclamation of complexity. The finale exhibits a delicate crystalline personality.

The fourth track employs pleasantly surging electronic waves to approximate a magnificent sunset. A moderately strident e-perc track maintains a nucleus for these waves to circle and mate with each other. The mesh amasses density, but retains a calm deportment, peppered by sparkling sidereal effects.

A series of snappy rhythms usher in the next piece, establishing a durable core for electronic embellishments that swoop in from all sides to generate a conglomeration of insistent riffs. As the track progresses, the rhythms adopt a more sprightly complexity, while the electronic components adopt a buoyancy which gradually musters a hissing undercurrent. Soon everything is whirling in tandem with the central beat.

The last track features skyward bound electronics pingponging off each other. A slushy percussion thread lends a wobbly propulsion for this steadfast ascension. Meanwhile, the electronics diverge back into individual threads to pursue idiosyncratic riffs that flow together despite their eccentric paths. A unified conclusion of delightful majesty is achieved.

The Ricochet Gatherings assemble diverse electronic musicians for jam sessions of an improvised nature. The listeners profit by getting to hear musicians play together for the first time as they explore collaborations born of the moment.

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URIEL: Culture Shift (CD on AD Music)

This CD from 2008 offers 61 minutes of exotic electronic music.

Uriel is: Uriel Yehezkel (on keyboards, drum programming, electric and acoustic guitar, and darbuka). He is joined on some tracks by: Tom Hornik (on bass), Orit Admon (on vocals), and Ariel Ragimov (on nay flute and Kamencheh violin).

Moody atmospherics are livened by more demonstrative electronics, percussion, and a variety of other instruments.

The electronics are versatile, yet speak with a personal vision that is quite exotic. Delicate tones are used in tandem with denser electronics, producing a well-fleshed-out depth of resonance. A cinematic sound is achieved, then enriched with ethnic flavor and elevated through the application of western chillout synthetics.

The percussion provides sultry locomotion with undulant rhythms which nicely capture tribal desert cultures while seasoning those tempos with an urban flavor. Many times, the rhythmics become a song's most appealing aspect.

A diverse range of guitar styles are featured. Acoustic strings provide languid passion, while electric guitar resounds with pop fervor. Ethnic edgings are present too as the guitar pursues some inventive riffs tinged with a Middle Eastern demeanor.

The violin lends a casually romantic flair to the music. While flutes introduce a pastoral flow into the mix.

The vocals are textural (non-lyrical) and fit nicely with the flowing melody on one piece.

These compositions combine soundtrack sensibilities with the oomph of contemporary EM, and inject a Middle Eastern influence for extra appeal. The tunes possess a luxuriant strength that is constantly evident; yet that command is not afraid to apply itself to dreamy passages.

Pretty impressive for a debut effort.

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