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Collaborative Electronics: Ideation, Marcus Reuter & Ian Boddy, Frank van Bogaert & Erik Wollo

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IDEATION: Adrift (limited edition CD on Ricochet Dream)

This release from 2009 offers 58 minutes of sprightly electronic tuneage.

Ideation is Paul Nagle and Pete Ruczynski (from Airsculpture), with Phil Smillie (on guitar on two tracks).

Sinuous tunes are crafted by a diverse array of electronics with e-perc lending appropriate oomph.

The electronics are extremely diverse. Texturals, keyboards, and inventive effects all contribute to the music. Instead of functioning as backdrops, the tonalities often take up vital positions amid the more substantial elements. The keyboards establish strong riffs that are then cycled to scamper through the busy mix while effects glitter all over the place. Additional riffs are introduced to the mix, resulting in a steadfast stream of bewitching aspects. The gestalt forms melodies of attractive complexity.

The melodies are busy, but maintain a gentle attitude despite the hyperactivity displayed by their individual sonic components. This contrast of spry elements generating pacific tuneage is quite enthralling.

While some e-perc is employed, the majority of rhythms are produced by the swift application of electronic sounds, creating tempos of a non-impact nature. These artificial rhythms enliven the music with constant animation.

While some vocal effects are featured here and there, thereís no lyrical content. The voices serve as clever punctuations.

The compositions are pleasant and thoroughly enjoyable. Serpentine melodies flourish with a congenial buoyancy seasoned by hordes of engaging embellishments. Thereís a subtle psychedelic character to this music.

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MARKUS REUTER & IAN BODDY: Dervish (CD on DiN)

This release from 2009 offers 52 minutes of experimental tension.

Reuter plays touch guitars and electronics. Boddy plays programming, sampler, and synthesizers. Joining them on a few tracks are: King Crimson drummer Pat Mastelotto (on traps and buttons), Ulrich Pollmann (on recorders), SiRenee (on voice), and a string quartet comprised of Karina Bellmann and Uta Maria Lempert (on violins), Wiebke Tschöpe (on viola), and Juliane Gilbert (on cello).

This release offers a surprisingly aggressive outing for this duo, whose previous work (separately and together) have tended to be dreamy-to-ambient. Here, the music is hard-edged and full of cerebral teeth. With the searing guitar complexity and intensity going on, comparisons to King Crimson are unavoidable.

In the first track, Reuterís nimble-fingers fly up and down the guitar fret, belting out sinuous chords of contrasting-yet-melodic ferocity. Crisp e-beats abound, establishing snappy rhythms that engage in whimsically variant time signatures. Versatile electronics chitter at the edges, striving to keep up with the brisk pace of everything. A sudden string passage occurs, bringing about a passively moody conclusion.

Next, hesitant notes pitter at each other, generating a tension that is dogged by longhair woodwinds. The piece achieves a sideways escalation as the pittering slides into a stretch of sneaky diversions.

The next track begins with airy brooding that takes on sidereal enhancement with faint-yet-contentious percussives. A swelling of ominous proportion creeps in, darkening the mix with imminent danger. Anxiety increases as the various elements strain just shy of squealing.

In the fourth piece, a rock motif is held just out of reach as guitar and drums indulge in a gritty ballet, while electronics inject mysterious airs in tandem with the string quartet. The quirky melody strives for release but is held in an alluring stasis of unrequited unease.

Next, glitchy sounds burble in a textural pool, while languid guitar chords are elongated into melancholic sustains. A guttural pulsation establishes a poignant heartbeat, marking a progression through this field of piercing glimmers, ultimately reaching a haunting exit strategy.

Then, angst is explored with twittering glitches and freeform drum impacts. The guitar enters with stern advice, which is promptly advocated by the string quartet. An urgency grows as the instruments strive to convince the listener to cast off desolation.

In the final piece, atmospheric palpitations swarm, punctuated by dreamy guitar stylings. An edgy ambience is achieved, then violated with shrill notes that evolve into endearing sustain chords capable of searing the paint off metal. A reprise of moody vapors is experienced, evoking desperate aspirations of ascension as the textural medium becomes populated by divine glimmers, culminating in a winsome epiphany.

A wildly entertaining album, no matter what your expectations might have been.

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FRANK VON BOGAERT & ERIK WOLLO: Air Machine (CD on Ace Studio)

This release from 2009 offers 50 minutes of stately electronic music.

Van Bogaert plays: grand piano, electric piano, synthesizers, string arrangements, bass, percussion, drum programming, and vocals on one track. Wollo plays: electric and acoustic guitars, and guitar synthesizer. They are joined on this recording by: Marcus Weymaere (on drums), Walter Mets (on percussion), and Rudy Vander Veken (on additional guitar on one track).

Stately electronics and astral guitars create inspired tuneage supported by sinuous rhythms.

Textural flows establish shimmering auralscapes that serve as backdrops for lush electronics. Keyboards delineate majestic melodies of expansive properties. A blend of synthesizers and piano evokes a well-rounded sound, contrasting cosmic airs with organic flairs. The keyboards generally display a rich emotional power, but there are also instances of gentle contemplation in which delicate passages instill a soothing luminosity.

The guitars inject a searing nature that brims with unrestrained puissance. Emphatic guitar passages lift the music to stratospheric altitudes with their nimble pyrotechnics. This ebullience is tempered by the occasional appearance of acoustic guitars, lending an earthy touch to the overall grandeur.

The percussion bolsters the noble music with motivational locomotion, providing rhythms that are tastefully immersed in the mix instead of overwhelming things.

One track features vocals.

These compositions tell the tale of a geological machine (our planet) whose atmospheric production is threatened by age and abuse. This fragility is communicated by the music, but each tune mixes objective concern with a very human optimism that a curative solution is within reach, conveying dire anxiety seasoned by hopeful outcomes. Each track urges the listener to embrace their reliance on the planet and act to save their home from self-induced failure. The uplifting music is flavored with a touch of melancholic unease, stimulating a sense of hopeful sympathy for the endangered environment.

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