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Electronics: Andreas Akwara, Ian Boddy/David Wright, Ron Boots, Broekhuis/Keller/Schönwälder, Stefan Erbe

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ANDREAS AKWARA: Quantum (CD on AA Music, distributed by Groove Unlimited)

This release from 2009 offers 58 minutes of harmonic electronic music.

Vibrant electronics and rhythms generate melodies of grand proportion, rich with emotion and full of epic inspiration.

Some tracks pursue abstract structure, toying with layers of moody atmospherics that establish a soaring demeanor. Other tracks transform this whimsical meandering into masterful accretions which reach a delightful harmonic density.

Much of the electronics possess a grandiose stature that lends colossal impact to the riffs. Deeply toned texturals sweep across the sky, sprinkling the landscape with auxiliary electronics of inventive definition. Swishing waves, buzzing diodes, twinkling keys, growling tonalities, sparkling glitters, piercing punctations--all contribute to flavor the flow as that nucleus musters stamina and puissance, ultimately achieving a demonstrative presence of sonic euphoria.

While most of the pieces explore celestial wonder with churning ambience, a few tracks exhibit compelling melodic substance. Cyclic chords skate across pensive foundations, creating a mounting tension that communicates a sense of accomplishment.

Percussion contributes to some of these tunes, with subtle fashion in most applications, with authoritative nobility in some choice instances.

An earnest grandeur marks these compositions. While many of the songs display an initial sense of delicacy, things invariably evolve into expressions of vibrant depth.

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IAN BODDY & DAVID WRIGHT: Shifting Sands (CD on AD Music)

This release from 2009 features 63 minutes of dreamy electronic music with rhythmic support.

Boddy and Wright are assisted by Dave Massey on this recording.

With most tracks being between 12 to 15 minutes long, the music is allowed suitable opportunity to mold itself and evolve into works of alluring beauty.

Track one blends gently searing guitars with dreamy electronics, while pacific rhythms contribute a tasty oomph to the floating pastiche of sinuous tonalities. Keyboards establish comfortable cycles that transport the listener to breezy heights, where the tempos generate an understated propulsion.

The second piece juxtaposes traditional piano with quirky electronic effects, creating an innovative foundation for the textural flows to expand in conjunction with languid-to-peppy rhythms. While generally moody and atmospheric, the song features mildly bouncy traits lurking in the mix. As the track progresses, the highly stylized beats muster dominance and the tune slides into a pleasant mobility peppered with engaging keyboard riffs.

The third track introduces thereminesque sounds to a bewitching blend of beats and loops, bestowing an eerie haunting edge to the cosmic milieu. While a constant feature, the rhythms adopt a suppressed presence, producing tempos that ripple along with the streaming pulsations. The electronics strive for a state of animation, with choppy keyboard riffs burrowing through the airy theremin strains. As the piece continues, the rhythms surge in puissance, but never become overwhelming, happy to remain a contributor rather than a driving force in the melody.The next piece sees a more prominent return of grand piano ushering in the gently bouncy beats and equally sprightly electronics. Heavenly textures establish a lovely backdrop. The nucleus of the music is comprised of keyboard expressions that convey a softly inspiring mood of ascension. As the song progresses, a vertiginous vantage is achieved with dramatic chords and snappy tempos, all kept aloft by the divine atmospherics...until the piano resumes control for the sober conclusion.

The final track is a short one (at 6 minutes), and the temperament becomes somewhat frenetic. Surging pulsations establish an edgy velocity while auxiliary effects swarm to coalesce into a driving force. Upbeat rhythms complete the animated demeanor. A sense of mature urgency is accomplished as a keyboard riff sweeps into play.

Both Boddy and Wright are talented veterans of the EM field, and this collaboration is an excellent meshing of those talents. These compositions fully display Wright’s majestic predilections seasoned by Boddy’s rhythmic sensibilities and his inventive approach of fusing futurist stylings with contemporary electronic motifs. The result is tuneage possessed of a gentle grandeur tempered with spry elements.

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RON BOOTS: Derby! (CD on Groove Unlimited)

This release from 2009 features 79 minutes of dazzling electronic music recorded live in Derby. England, on September 5, 2009.

Boots (playing Roland SE 20, Moog Voyager, Korg M3 & Koassilator, Nord Electro 3, DSI Prophet 8, and a Waldorf Blofeld) is joined on-stage by Frank Dorittke (playing Line 6 Pod Pro with two guitars), and Harold van der Heijden (playing a Heart Dynamics Drum kit with a Roland TD 20).

Lively electronics are joined by blazing guitar and urgent percussion, producing enthralling music.

The electronics are a versatile offering, ranging from sweeping atmospheric texturals to dreamy keyboard pastiches to animated riffs that will grab your ears with their captivating melodies. Majestic chords are crafted into mesmerizing passages that persist in accruing energy until breathless pinnacles are achieved and maintained. Boots has a way of compressing an entire orchestra into his equipment and channeling it out in an inventive fusion that often defies codification, warping horns into a rich resonance that grips the soul with each passing moment.

Guitarwork features heavily in this music. Searing riffs are delivered with pyrotechnic fervor that threatens to blister the paint from the walls. Impassioned riffs are delivered with ease, elevating the tunes to a level of glorious vigor.

The percussion is snappy and slick, lending bewitching tempos to the music and propelling things into an engaging state of peppy euphoria. The rhythms are complex and generate a relentless state of locomotion, the type of agitation that overcomes the listener’s restraint and starts the head bobbing and the feet tapping.

While the electronics bestow a sense of ascendant buoyancy to the audience, the guitar flogs away with delightful celestial fury, and the rhythms provide such an abundance of spellbinding beats that the music is often as much rock as it is contemporary electronics.

There are dreamy occasions on this album, but the majority of the tunes achieve a boisterous beauty that ranks very high in intensity. The performance features a plethora of invigoration of the highest caliber, combining teeth-gritting severity with swooning vitality that lasts a long time after the disc has stopped playing.

Performances of several songs from Boots’ Acoustic Shadows album are included here, along with a truncated rendition of a piece from his See Beyond Times, Look Beyond Words album.

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BROEKHUIS, KELLER & SCHÖNWÄLDER : Blue (CD on Manikin Records)

This release from 2009 features 74 minutes of highly majestic electronic music.

Bas Broekhuis, Detlef Keller, and Mario Schönwälder have once again joined forces to present a tasty selection of electronic music recorded live during concerts scattered throughout 2007 and 2008.

On this release there are three long tracks, respectively 23, 27, and 23 minutes in length.

The first track begins with twinkling pulsations with ponderous tones lurking in the mix and delicate heavenly quasi-violin chords surfacing from the glittering pastiche. Engaging bongo rhythms emerge in tandem with synthetic cello strains, the latter devolving into violin embellishments. Fluid tones seep forth and coalesce into a tapestry of undulant threads. Sampled flutes lend a fanciful touch to the majestic music. Those bongo rhythms are still going, establishing a churning propulsion for the overall flow. The melody engages in several subtle variations during its progression, ultimately settling down for a burbling finale...that actually cascades into the next song.

The second piece employs chugging locomotive beats as an intro element while orchestral strings are sustained in a holding pattern of rather intense scope. Liquid sounds emerge, summoning forth whistling keyboards and breezy tonalities to commandeer the tune. Things slide into a congenial passage of sashaying harmonics underscored by tempos comprising refined locomotive beats. Keyboard riffs (among them strident piano keys) commence to capture the flow and goad the tuneage into a pulsating vitality. By this point, the rhythms have cast off simulated railroad aspirations and settle down into more conventional drum beats to add velocity to the music. As the tune progresses, the beats become more erratic (but bewitchingly so) and the piano is allowed to convey a certain grandeur amid the other floating keyboard cycles. The pace and density dwindle for a flutish conclusion...which invariably leads into the last track.

Here, things start off with sparse atmospherics and remote metallic impacts that tastily reverberate. Fragile keyboard chords drift into being, while hints of cacophony wax and wane, eventually coalescing into an alluring cohesion of celestial riffs and snappy tempos that dominate the track for a while, exploring variations as things build to a momentous euphoria. The electronics flourish with stately elegance. The rhythms slide into a sinuous stature with intricately interwoven tempos. Sidereal effects contribute lovely diversions and gradually are sucked into the mix to become full-fledged riffs of their own. Things settle down for a passive ending with sighing keyboards and fading tempos.

While a slow-building structure is still keynote in these compositions, the difference here would be that instead of starting with languid intros, gutsier passages are reached swifter and coaxed to escalate to wondrous complexity.

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STEFAN ERBE: Driver (CD on Erbe Music)

This release from 2009 offers 59 minutes of high-velocity electronic music.

Dynamic electronics and compelling rhythms conspire to produce tuneage of hyperactive allure.

The electronics employ a twinkling edge to achieve a sense of twilight glory. Urgent chords are delivered on keyboards, then looped to run while additional riffs explode into the mix. A bevy of snappy effects are constant companions through each song, increasing the complexity and boosting the urgency. There’s even few instances of traditional piano to offset the synthesizer barrage.

A sparkling quality lurks within this music as the electronics churn out an exhausting selection of crisp fast notes. Even the infrequent lulls seethe with an generosity of restrained puissance. A high-speed pace is set and maintained--to wonderful results, as the tunes thrash with unbridled vitality.

The rhythms just don’t quit or take a breather here. Relentless beats convey a delightful bounciness that continues to escalate. The tempos are intricate, too, generating a frantic temperament. A suitable degree of quasi-normal drums are buried in the e-perc profusion.

These compositions are perfect for late night drives in which one can let loose and pump the accelerator until the scenery is flashing by at supersonic velocity. The tunes are excellent dance pieces, the type that threaten to pull muscles of even well-seasoned fans of techno music.

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