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Electronics: Dan Pound, Rainbow Serpent, Fanger & Schönwälder

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DAN POUND: Living Planet (CD on PoundSounds)

This CD from 2009 offers 72 minutes of pensive electronic music.

Moody textures generate a dense presence that is thickened by additional tonal layers. Ponderous keyboards introduce melodies, while chants and tribal percussion lend a rhythmic demeanor. Flutes soften the basic intensity with their sighing influence

A deep resonance dominates the electronics, evoking an impenetrable darkness throughout the album. Alternate tonalities seep into play, seasoning the flow with their portentous pulsations. Keyboards provide melodic enhancement for these inky harmonics, flavoring the stygian gloom with dreamy threads. These intonations manage to mirror the aural moodiness.

A tribal presence is prominently featured in this music. Guttural voices evolve into nocturnal chants, chronicling mankindís gradual development.

Percussives vitally contribute to this tribal milieu. Primeval rhythms are a constant fixture, providing reverent animation with their pittering and rattling in the background. Despite this immersion, the tempos seethe with emotion.

The breathy droning of flutes generates a winsome sentiment for the ceremonial soundtrack. Their euphony is haunting. Didgeridoo offers a deeper woodwind voice, delineating a spiritual presence attending the ritual.

A fundamental density remains constant throughout the album, as each composition elaborates on the thematic flow. From a geological opening through stages of human emergence into the sonic landscape, a thick drama unfurls and coalesces into an entrancing intensity. Each moment is imbued with a grandiose vitality.

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RAINBOW SERPENT/FANGER & SCHÖNWÄLDER : Elektrik Cowboys (limited edition CD on Ricochet Dream)

This release from 2009 offers 63 minutes of awesome electronic tuneage recorded live at the Ricochet Gathering in Montana in August 2007.

What you get here are two tracks by Rainbow Serpent (Gerd Wienekamp and Frank Specht), and a nice long piece by Thomas Fanger & Mario Schönwälder.

The first Rainbow Serpent track launches from railroad tracks into a guitarsy intro that eventually leads to a stretch of twinkling bell-like keys playing over a sunset-seasoned layer of moody atmospherics. Blooping e-perc slides into play, engaging in languid rhythms that evoke expansive qualities. The electronics swell into place to communicate dreamy melodies of a sinuous nature. Everything goes somber for a sedate finale.

The next Rainbow Serpent piece starts in orbit, luxuriating in astral spaciness before diving into a pastiche of surging rhythmic pulsations. Horizontal motion is conveyed as the electronic cycles plunge across prairielands at high acceleration. The astral texturals persist overhead, providing a tasty contrast for the traveling tuneage. This spry transit continues for a while with increasing urgency, finally vaporizing as things achieve escape velocity and return to the stratospheric void.

The Fanger & Schönwälder piece picks up from that vertiginous altitude and indulges in some cosmic meandering before the harmonics settle down to earth and engage in an enchanted voyage through majestic mountains. The dreamy electronics excellently capture these snow-capped heights, then switch into a bouncy motif of choppy keyboard riffs accompanied by snappy e-perc saturated by sweeping textural flows that rapidly achieve a heavenly demeanor. Suddenly everything undergoes an escalation. The rhythms become eccentric with vibrating variants. The texturals sway to and fro as a backdrop. The choppy keys evolve into celestial riffs. Deeper-voiced electronics enter the mix, enhancing the upward progression with their stately timbre. Thereís a long passage during which these element play off each other, reaching a state of delightfully blissful divinity. Eventually, a deceleration occurs as the electronics enter a heavenly stage and things settle down into a calming excursion across a peaceful night sky. The keyboards change their sound, adopting soothing tones in tandem with a rise of moody lateral motion. The piece culminates in a celestial fade into the distance.

These compositions (which are technically live improvs) illustrate the influence of Western America on these German musicians. These impressions flavor the electronic performances with an open majesty tinged with arid characteristics.

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