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European Electronics: Andreas Akwara, Broekhuis/Keller/Schönwälder, Nemesis, Spyra & Lang, David Wright

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ANDREAS AKWARA: Erwachet (CD on AA Music )

This release from 2010 offers 63 minutes of majestic electronic music.

The term "erwachet" refers to the evolution of the mind to a state of spiritual awakening.

Regal electronics are keynote in this recording. From stately atmospheric backdrops to sweeping thematic electronics to expressive keyboards, Akwara displays an inspired mastery for creating electronic music that is enthralling and quite epic in stature.

The electronics are rich with soul-stirring depth. Deeply resonant textures unfurl to fill the air with their velvet presence. Impelling tonalities rise into play, flooding the music with a sense of portentous grandeur. Galvanized pulsations emerge to temper the flow with dogmatic sentiments.

Keyboards produce bewitching riffs, usually of a sedate nature, lingering through sustained extensions to smolder with magnificent results. The layering of these insightful riffs achieves a mesmerizing rapture. Auxiliary effects provide constant enhancement, preventing the riffs from becoming staid or predictible.

While percussive elements are employed, their appearance is strategically positioned to heighten the music's eminence. These rhythms never achieve an in-your-face definition, preferring to churn deep within the mix where their influence is often subliminal.

These compositions are dedicated to aiding the listener unlock their inherent psychological potential. Harmonic passages instill a tantalizing expectancy, one that amply pays off in the ensuing melodic structures that follow.

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BROEKHUIS, KELLER & SCHÖNWÄLDER: Repelen 3 (CD on Manikin Records)

This release from 2010 offers 72 minutes of highly engaging electronic music.

Bas Broekhuis, Detlef Keller and Mario Schönwälder play electronics. They are joined by Raughi Ebert (on guitar) and Thomas Kagermann (on violin). One track features the Höseler Madrigalchor, conducted by Kerstin Gennet.

A host of electronics flourish here, generating lavish moods with expansive sweeps. Sparkling keyboards delineate riffs that are spry and engaging. While loops are established and left running, other riffs are instigated and coaxed into diligent diversions. Piano passages lend a stately disposition.

Percussion is integral, providing relaxing locomotion throughout the music. There's a tasty versatility in the timbre of the percussion, snappy and sharp in one instance, muffled yet determined in another case, bouncy bongo beats elsewhere.

The violin introduces a dreamy majesty to the flow, tempering things with a gentle buzz that evokes a celestial essence. The notes are elongated and gentle rather than frenzied sawing.

The guitar often adopts an acoustic sound that bestows a romantic flavor to some songs. When the guitar goes electric, it delivers softly searing threads of the type designed to enthrall and uplift.

A marked difference in these compositions lies in their short length, from 5 to 14 minutes, unlike the ultra-long pieces usually produced by the band. As a result, the songs lack any slow-build progression and dive right into their sonic gist. Another novel aspect is that these songs were recorded in a studio instead of in live concerts. The consequences display the band's interest in growth as they explore new territories. A few of the tracks are so energized that they actually exhibit pop influences.

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NEMESIS: Gigahertz (CD on Origo Sound)

This release from 2010 offers 77 minutes of glittering electronic music.

Nemesis is: Ami Hassinen (on synths, keyboards, guitar, bass, and sound effects) and Jyrki Kastman (on synths, keyboards, and sound effects).

Ambience is infused with vivacious touches, resulting in stately electronic music that glistens with carefully understated vitality.

The electronics possess a glacial demeanor, shimmering yet crisp. Textures establish a chilly firmament, while nimble-fingered keyboards provide lead riffs of alluring verve. A wide range of sounds are utilized, from bass intonations to crystalline sweeps to spry chords that exhibit a tasty degree of zip. There are even growling passages of ominous character whose darkness tends to be alleviated by their context.

Searing space riffs are provided by the guitar. These gutsy expressions seethe amid the twinkling keyboards, generating stunning ascensions of cosmic beauty.

E-perc generates suitable propulsion that generally remains properly subdued, often submerged in the icy electronics.

The last half of this release comprises "Evolution Suite," an epic 32 minute excursion into energized ambience divided into 9 tracks. The piece begins with an eerie pastiche of drifting tones that develops an aquatic presence gurgling beneath a fog of fertile atmospherics. A pacific melody emerges from the vapor, attended by clopping beats which soon attract quirky effects tinged with an anticipatory tension. A period of dreamy electronics ensue, ebbing and flowing, giving birth to a stretch of cosmic ambience. Sultry rhythms rise from the textural humidity, accompanied by peppier electronics that coalesce into a soothingly energetic melody of engaging properties. Tribal tempos push their way through the mist. Things grow harsher as aerial sweeps gain intensity and a throbbing presence shambles into view...only to be swamped by a celestial sea as the track seeps to a peaceful conclusion.

A version of this album was released in 2003 as a digital download. This new edition has been expanded with new material.

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SPYRA & LANG: SeQuest (CD on Ricochet Dream)

This release from 2010 offers 66 minutes of rousing electronic music.

Inventive electronics are utilized by Wolfram Spyra and Chris Lang in conjunction with fascinating compositions.

The first track is a long one (almost 30 minutes long) and combines an airy mode with sprightly aspects. Delicate texturals establish a crystalline foundation that is gradually handed over to bouncy riffs and animated e-perc. The more demonstrative electronics are crisp and evocative. Keyboards guide things with delightfully shrill definition, achieving passages that soar with powerful buoyancy. As the composition progresses, drastic variations are realized. The agile stretch gives way to a section that is rich with drama and piercing keyboard riffs of a glorious nature. Here, the rhythms adopt a more steadfast model, allowing the keyboards to engage in some ambrosial expressions. Everything culminates in a gripping finale that is augmented by heavenly chorales.

The next piece employs a synthesized clarinet-like opening counterpointed by choppy keyboards. Rhythms emerge, coaxing the tune into a dignified pep. Then a whistling resonance prompts an escalation of all elements. The choppy keyboards increase their velocity and indulge in some lovely modifications. Traditional drum-kit beats briefly pitter at the edges. Meanwhile a reprise of the whistling airs lends a carefree mood to the accreting density. The song enters a more tranquil demeanor for its wrap-up.

Track three experiments with rumbling bass notes, brassy riffs, and breathy textures. Even the percussion adopts a cafe flair that features a distinctly jazzy temperament. The music grows introspective but retains a understated vigor. In the end, the moodiness overwhelms the music, driving it into a sparse realm dominated by grinding cadence.

The last piece is by Spyra alone. Its blend of delicate keyboards and mildly thumping tempos is tastefully seasoned by a sense of awe that slowly swells to drench everything, turning the congenial melody into an excursion into murky depths. A touch of angelic chorales endeavors to keep things from becoming too dire, but the tune falls prey to a minimalist passage sonorous with tension...before assertive keyboards return in force for an optimistic conclusion.

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SPYRA: ADSR Remixed (limited edition CD EP on Ricochet Dream)

This release from 2010 offers 25 minutes of bouncy techno music.

There are four remixes contained on this EP. Three are crafted by Wolfram Spyra (the composer), one by Steve Baltes (a longtime collaborator with Manuel Göttsching and Harold Grosskopf).

The basic track is a bouncy outing that blends dance motifs with contemporary EM. The melody is energetic and attractive, and the remixes put this template through engaging variations.

The electronics are sinuous and crisp, blending spacy stylings with a techno delivery that results in a high satisfaction quotient. Nimble-fingered keyboards generate a central thread that strives to match the hyperactivity of the beats.

Synthetic rhythms are given natural touches. The tempos chug along with carefree abandon. There are several beat explosions to astound the listener. The BPMs (beats per minute) clock in between 132 and 136 for maximum animation, with the last remix taking a slightly more relaxed pace of 95 BPM.

Each take on the basic theme is rich with individual character.

The Baltes remix injects a gritty demeanor with surging pulsations and blooping punctuations. The song’s sense of whimsy is enhanced and put through slushy calisthenics that are quite delightful.

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DAVID WRIGHT: Sines of Life, Volume 1 (CD on AD Music )

This release from 2009 offers 79 minutes of masterful electronic music.

A collection album featurings rare and live tracks...

"September Dawn" a studio track that serves as a dreamy opening for the next track. The melody is lilting, the execution exotic.

"Cassini" live at the Gatherings in Philadelphia, a lively piece combining peppy e-perc with spiraling electronics. Several delightful threads run concurrently, each contributing to this song's enticing complexity. The bouncy rhythms bestow a lovely degree of oomph to the inventive pulsations and sweeping ketboards.

"Walking with Ghosts" live at the AD Music festival in Derby, UK, in September 2009, with guests Ian Boddy (on synths) and Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock (on M-Tron and guitar). An extended pensive piano intro leads to a dose of stunning of space guitar counterpointed by celestial electronics. A selection of novel effects are featured as peripheral embellishments, all of which excellently fit with the piano as that instrument turns romantic with heartfelt chords.

"Beyond Paradise" live at the Fisher Theatre in Bungay, UK, 2008, with guest Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock (on electric sitar). Eerie tones conspire with cosmic sitar stylings for a floating excursion that culminates with some tasty synth-saxophone amid a pastiche of languid beats and luscious textural layers.

"Just an Illusion" live at the Fisher Theatre in Bungay, UK, 2008, with guest Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock (on lead guitar). Some outstanding space guitarwork highlights this dose of serpentine electronics flavored with sinuous rhythms.

"Sines of Life" a studio track that adopts a softer, more introspective temperament with tender piano, auxiliary electronics, and velvety percussion.

"State of Bliss" another live track from the Bungay 2008 concert, with Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock (on guitar). A more sedate piece featuring softly scorching guitar, endearing sustains, and inventive electronics. Chorals and gentle piano season this mix, attributing a wonderful heavenly flair to the opening, which then slides into a sultry disposition replete with writhing rhythms and more prominent guitar. A touch of synthetic strings lends a smooth grandeur to the climax.

"3 A.M." an unreleased live track from a Code Indigo session circa 2006, with Robert Fox (on keyboards) and Nigel Turner-Heffer (on guitar). Post-midnight airs are dreamily captured by majestic keyboards and meticulous guitar.

"All Good Things..." a studio track that serves as a superb wrap-up for this wondrous collection. Bouncy e-perc and expansive electronics provide a suitable foundation for Wright's signature keyboards to establish a milieu of inspirational optimism.

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