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Electronics: Paul Ellis, Saul Stokes, Erik Wollo

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PAUL ELLIS: From Out of the Vast Comes Nearness (CD on Lotuspike)

This release from 2011 offers 74 minutes of gentle electronic music.

Melodic keys tempered with soft rhythmics produce sparkling tuneage.

Atmospheric texturals establish vast foundations for sweeping keyboards and carefully-fingered chords to luxuriate, formulating melodies of gentle sentiment. Twinkling riffs slide into play, conjuring twilight moments devoid of murkiness. Grand piano contributes a cerebral flair to some pieces.

A plethora of auxiliary electronics are utilized to flesh out the pieces, from gurgling diodes to swishing tonalities that swim in the background. These additional enhancements do more than function as peripheral elements, the sounds often end up playing vital roles in the evolution of the melodies by slipping from secondary vantages into prominent audio positions.

While some rhythmics are present, these percussives never achieve an intrusive level, remaining soft and immersed in the mix so that their presence enhances things instead of driving them.

There's a distinct optimism inherent in these compositions. The melodies uplift while sustaining a certain buoyancy, infecting the listener with their pleasant moods. The songs are unhurried, but do not fall into the slow-build mode; they start fully formed and progress from there to explore engaging variations. Some of the passages exhibit a tasty bounciness, seasoning the flow with a touch of pep. This music is aptly titles, for the vast realms evoked by the tunes tends to bring the listener closer to themselves and their immediate environs.

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SAUL STOKES: Sleek Nucleus (CD on Stokesmusic)

This release from 2011 offers 55 minutes of cheerful electronic music.

Assorted electronics and e-perc produce particularly lively tuneage.

The electronics are diverse, mostly high-end with traces of bass undercurrents, resulting in a crisp, very animated sound. Consequently the songs exude a distinctly jubilant mood with the slippery embellishment of the cheery chords. There is little use of background textures, the interweaving keyboards generate a lush enough substantiality.

While the structure of this music may seem to be sparse, the end product is by no means minimal. The manner in which Stokes layers each thread achieves a translucent density that is pleasantly delicious in its amiable weight. The overall flow moves more swiftly because of this, enhancing the music's buoyant quality.

A variety of e-perc provides snappy tempos, energizing the music to a point where it's almost dance material.

These compositions deliver a sprightly vitality with their fusion of crystalline keyboards and bouncy rhythms. Comparisons to early Harmonia would not be inaccurate. These jovial tunes convey an infectious sense of celebration.

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ERIK WOLLO: Silent Currents (double CD on Projekt)

This release from 2011 offers 104 minutes of dreamy electronic music.

The material on this release represents a pair of on-air radio concerts performed by Wollo on Star's End on WXPN in Philadelphia from 2002 and 2007.

Disc 1 (the 2002 performance) starts with luxuriant atmospherics, out of which emerge languid guitar sustains so steeped in treatments that they merge perfectly with the flowing texturals. For a while the electronic tonalities and the processed guitar undulate into a fusion of sinuous mien, finally separating to compliment each other from divergent vantages in the mix. Faux rainfall slides into play, providing a temperate backdrop for the guitar's crawl to dominance with its seesawing harmonics. Gradually, gentle bloops surface through the electronic fog and introduce a sparse melody to the ambience. This passage carries on for a bit, until the guitar musters a resurgence and generates a series of icy expressions of glistening charm. A winsome keyboard pattern enters the display, tempering things back to a dreamy character. A demonstrative passage evolves from this ethereal mist, as surging diodes cavort with delightful pulsations. Eventually, the music ebbs into a congenial finale of elongated guitar notes swimming in a soup of pleasant drones. Percussion makes a surprise appearance at the end, with echoing tempos of a haunting nature.

Disc 2 (the 2007 performance) offers an intro of tense tonalities and slippery guitar sustains, all of which gradually build in strength until they reach a fade-out, giving way to chittering effects and whirligig pulsations. The chittering attains a pronounced presence, revealing itself as strategic percussion pursuing an eccentric beat. Quite abruptly, the listener finds themselves immersed in a passage of fluid electronics and delicate guitar treatments, both herded close by a majestic electronic thread. This arrangement achieves a striking pinnacle that, while remaining soothing, reaches an ambrosial euphoria before melting into a languid glacier of glittering vapors. Then comes an appearance by actual conventional guitar chords, generally unprocessed and richly vibrating amid a swelling echo mist. Again, things change, and the music flows into a gaseous stretch punctuated by treated guitar twinkles. A regal guitar strumming emerges from the sonic clouds to call forth electronic sighs that herald the concert's wet conclusion.

An enjoyable selection of ambience with substance.

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