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Electronics: Jerome Froese, Jeffrey Koepper, Picture Palace Music

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JEROME FROESE: The Speed of Snow (limited edition CD EP on Moonpop and Ricochet Dream in USA)

This release from 2009 offers 18 minutes of sparkling electronic tuneage.

Jerome Froese (an alumni of Tangerine Dream) plays: programming, electric and acoustic guitars, guitar FX, bass, and glockenspiel.

The first track offers twinkling keyboards conspiring with twangy guitars and quirky percussives to produce a wintry flair that is rich with enjoyable sentiments. A buoyant mood is created that slides into a jubilant phase. A touch of marching drums bestows the end with an amusing toyland attitude.

The next piece takes a more somber approach with the strumming of frigid guitars blending with majestic keyboards. A feeling of pacific calm is laced with eccentric effects and wavery almost-liquid guitar chords, resulting in an eerie fascination. A celestial guitar riff emerges to shine and cavort amid a shimmering foundation of glacial properties.

The last song explores a dreamy territory where glittering guitar chords slide across a surface of surging characteristics. Rhythms emerge to provide tasty propulsion. Bouncy keys manifest a pastoral sparkle that gradually merges with acoustic guitars and understated steel guitar enunciation.

These compositions flourish with an arctic flavor that expresses a chilly environment with joy and celebratory demeanor. Itís refreshing to hear winter music that resounds with festive mien without resorting to holiday sentiments.

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JEFFREY KOEPPER: Quadranteon (CD on Air Space Records)

This release from 2009 features 72 minutes of dreamy electronic music.

Koepper plays a diverse selection of synthesizers and electronic equipment.

Dreamy atmospherics unfurl with cosmic stature, while each piece comfortably evolves into lustrous passages that glitter with keyboard embellishment.

Koepper establishes pacific backdrops, then stretches things out into elegantly extended intros. New layers are gradually accrued. Cyclic keyboards emerge with subsidiary harmonics. Spacey chords breathe into action and keep on coming. These various threads intertwine, producing a panorama of pulsations designed to separate the listener from reality.

Thereís a delicate density here that manages to remain ethereal despite its understated puissance. Pleasant harmonics transform into melodic currents of mesmerizing charm. A delightful level of sonic enthusiasm is achieved and maintained.

While no percussion is utilized. When a rhythmic presence is achieved, it is done so through the application of repetitive keyboard strikes. This style maintains a sneaky manner of locomotion in the otherwise flowing music.

These are long-form compositions in which things progress slowly (but diligently), building from vaporous openings to enthralling passages rich with supernal characteristics, penultimately reaching cerebrally stimulating pinnacles which then recede into gentle outros. Koepper has an excellent command of this methodology.

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PICTURE PALACE MUSIC: Curriculum vitae 1: The Aside Ones (CD on Ricochet Dream)

This CD from 2009 offers 78 minutes of stately electronic tuneage.

Picture Palace Music is: Thorsten Quaeschning (from Tangerine Dream), Sascha Beator, Thorsten Spiller, Vincent Quiram, and Don.

Luscious textures abound here, with a wide range of auxiliary electronics fleshing things out into bewitching tuneage. These versatile electronics generate lavish harmonic flow that are punctuated by additional keyboards and guitar and percussion.

While generally soft, the electronics display a regal demeanor. Sinuous atmospherics provide delicate backdrops. Looped effects are inventively distorted. Growling diodes are given a more cultured resonance.

Piano and other similarly obvious keyboards slither through the mix, injecting stately airs (in the case of the piano) and astral characteristics (in the case of the spacier sounds), and thereís even a few touches of progressive keys that season the tunes with a crystalline undercurrent.

The guitar tends to luxuriate in the rockout space guitar realm, producing complex and nimble-fingered riffs of understated but majestic pyrotechnics. At other times, the riffs are more remote and almost stifled, yet they retain a demonstrable degree of intensity as the notes squeal in an upward fashion.

In some tracks the percussion is suitably relaxed, lending an appropriate level of propulsion without becoming too obtrusive. But a majority of the pieces feature very snappy rhythms, beats that churn the melodies into bewitching agitation.

A nice balance exists here of contemplative material and lively material, some of the latter coming awfully close to electronic rock.

These compositions are dynamic and gripping without resorting to flamboyance. Initial impressions attribute the music with a sagacious calm, but closer examination reveals a carefully applied sense of intensity that is deftly disguised by placing the crescendos deep within the sultry mix.

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