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Ricochet Gathering, Romania 2008

Each year, Ricochet Dream sponsors a Gathering that serves as a reason for notable EM artists from all over the globe to assemble to socialize and perform together in massive jam sessions. What makes these releases special (besides the superlative music) is the opportunity to hear diverse musicians improvising on the spot and collaborating with spontaneity. While many of these guys are meeting for the first time, their talents and mutual love of EM is a common bond that often serves to produce stunning tuneage.

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VARIOUS ARTISTS: Ricochet Gathering, Romania 2008 (limited edition 4 CD set on Ricochet Dream)

This release from 2009 offers a grand total of 3 hours and 17 minutes of wonderfully improvised electronic tuneage.

This Gathering happened in the Hungarian village of Miklosvar, Transylvania, Romania, on November 9-16, 2008.

Participating in this Ricochet Gathering are: Wolfram Spyra, Steve Schroyder (ex-Tangerine Dream), Indra, Paul Lawler (aka Arcane), Paul Nagle, Bill Fox, Yarek, Daniel Bloom, Wladyslaw Komendarek, and Conrad Gibbons.

Disc 1 (80 minutes):

The first track bubbles with vivacious effects. Choppy keyboard notes lead into a realm of astral guitar. The mounting flow slides into peppier terrain with the introduction of drums. And after a reprise of those liltingly choppy keyboard passages, the song ends with a stately piano finale.

The next piece adopts a darker tone that becomes seasoned with organ chords of an optimistic nature. Perky percussion is matched with blooping diodes, combining to generate a lively animation amid a sultry pastiche of slushy electronics with pensive basslines lending a funky undercurrent. At this point, everything meshes nicely as if the tune was cruising under a clear sky. Fanciful organ contributes the impression of the camera lifting off to track the cruise from an aerial vantage. This engaging excursion continues for a while, as previous elements converge into a stimulating groove.

The last track is a wonderfully epic piece (41 minutes long), and begins moodily as if the texturals are emerging from an ancient cavern into the light. Rising from this auspicious opening, a rhythmic intensity basks in the moonlight. The tune takes flight, spreading wings of keyboard sweeps. An urgency infects the melody, and drums help it gain altitude. Several distinct riffs appear and combat for dominance, ultimately compromising on a fusion which gives birth to a particularly scalding passage...which decays into a burbling cloudbank...and emerges as a sweet cafe piano accompanied by percussion and breathy sounds. With the introduction of horns, the music breaks free of the atmosphere and plunges through regions of celestial beauty. A cosmic celebration ensues with swaying electronics and sprightly beats. A spacey coda brings things down to an earthy guitar finale.

Disc 2 (79 minutes):

This disc starts with a bluesy guitar plucking away supported by diligent rhythms and buzzing bass and keyboards that gradually usurp the melody with their plopping chords. These swiftly evolve into sophisticated patterns that intertwine and produce a unison of crystalline delicacy. A rhythmic resurgence goads things into an ascendant majesty.

The next track offers a highly dramatic melody with powerful percussives. Flutish strains enter the mix, lending an airy counterpoint to the churning tension. The tempos grow progressively snappier, periodically wandering into sidereal echo chambers. The flute becomes insistent, piercing the flow of eloquent electronics with its winsome wail.

Again, the third track is a long one (52 minutes), and commences with cheerfully chugging electronics punctuated by bell-tone keys. Computerized rhythms establish a synergy with the swarming electronics, fostering new layers to slip into play. Slide guitar sashays into action, surfacing through the pulsating mist. A pensive stretch exerts sedating powers, transforming the upbeat milieu into a spooky realm of sweeping drones...that adopts a melancholic air with a guitar interlude of tender notes. The guitar soon slips into a looping echo of bewitching character, coaxing the keyboards into more spectral expressions. As the pingponging guitar chords mutate into twinkling keys, a host of auxiliary electronics swarm to usher in a dance beat. Xylophonic mannerisms bestow a festive edge to the sudden celebration. The music swings into a rich techno passage complete with urgent keyboard surges. Contemporary touches instill the melody with a righteous eminence. And the guitar breaks into a space anthem of inspirational scope, each searing note wailing like a dinosaur in heat. The intensity keeps increasing. The keyboards achieve a positively epic timbre. Delightfully, this heroic pinnacle lasts for a while, finally sinking from sight as vaporous chimes ooze in and engulf everything. The finale is brooding yet littered with sparkling embellishment.

Disc 3 (79 minutes):

On this disc, the first track is the epic one. After a barnyard intro mixed with railroad samples, a pensive pulsation ushers the listener into a serene terrain populated by remote chords wafting on breezy texturals. Languid electronics unfurl to flavor the auralscape with gentle melodies. The tuneage gradually gathers verve as additional melodic threads wander into the flow. Soft rhythmics emerge to boost the music toward a passage in which prog organ and vocal effects occupy center-stage. The flow takes a breath and returns with increased vitality: the e-perc bounces with engaging spunk, fresh electronics assert themselves with chugging zest, growling guitar lurks in the background. Keyboards adopt peppy chords and then set them running as loops. A mournful saxophone marks the next transition in this streaming tuneage. New riffs and rhythms ooze into coherency and establish a compelling passage of dramatic complexity. Numerous threads coexist and each one is afforded the opportunity to bask in the limelight before melting into the driving melody. Soon, things reach a tantalizing intensity that enjoyably endures for a while. But all good things come to an end, and this finale occurs amid a flurry of ascending electronic gurgles that convey everything upward and beyond the listenerís range. Angelic keyboards wrap it up, accompanied by an assortment of flittering and blooping effects.

The next piece is a gentle pastiche of drifting tonalities and harmonically meandering keyboards. Eventually a xylophonic riff summons forth quasi-tribal drums and the song goes rhythmic. A softly popping bassline bubbles along, providing a tasty bottom. A serious melody emerges with twangy guitar stylings. A lilting organ surfaces with temperate chords for the trackís conclusion.

The last song dives right into a cooking jam. Enthusiastic electronics and steadfast e-perc generate a thrilling expansion. Elusive vocal effects wander about deep in the mix, discernible every once in a while. The expansion continues with additional keyboard riffs, one of which slides into a remarkably shrill solo that lingers with satisfying results. A stately level of groove is achieved before the music sinks into a brooding abyss--the bottom of which is dominated by an aristocratic accordion.

Disc 4 (79 minutes):

There are no extra-lengthy tracks on this disc, instead the offerings balance between 8 and 18 minutes long.

In the first piece, ricocheting guitars and dreamy electronics establish an aerial voyage of spiraling scope that slides into a churning construction of glittering keyboard loops.

After an opening of hissing swoops, the second track explores spacey terrain by layering chugging keys into a latticework of elegant stature.

The next piece offers bubbling waters and airy textures providing a foundation for slippery key strokes and stoical percussion. Stridently choppy notes cavort in the foreground, while luxurious synthi chords unfurl across the sky. This tune progresses into an alluring stretch marked by delicate organ chords and punchy rhythms.

Track four employs numerous keyboard threads to create a lovely tune that moves from pensive brooding to a peppy jig that achieves a highly energized finale.

Faux whales provide a haunting intro for winsome keyboard loops in the next piece. Tempos rise in conjunction with pittering electronics, resulting in a tasty melody that smolders with sultry rhythms and compelling pulsations.

The last track employs stately electronics to bid farewell to the Count. Idyllic guitar establishes a mournful backdrop. For a while, a squealing keyboard expresses wistful regret, drawing forth other more lilting keyboards who contribute tender chords to the flow. Relaxed beats supply a sinuous propulsion. Ultimately, however, the piece winds down with electronic zephyrs.

This 4 CD set features a nicely balanced selection of contemporary electronic tuneage and quasi-techno pieces, often blending both genres to produce hours of entrancing entertainment.

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