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Electronics: Caul, Tim Gilbert, Robert Schroeder

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CAUL: Let the Stars Assume the Whole of Night (CD on Hypnos Recordings)

This CD from 2011 features 52 minutes of cerebral music.

Caul is Brett Smith.

A variety of instruments are employed in conjunction with electronics to generate soothing tuneage.

In one track, piano delineates passages of delicate resonance. In another, guitars establish a mildly bouncy mood. One piece flourishes with cerebral cellos, while another utilizes the darker timbre of bass in tandem with crisply twinkling keyboards to create a gentle flow. Another track combines soft violins with heavenly chorales to achieve a celestial demeanor. While another piece takes a dark turn with remote percussives, grinding guitar chords and ominous tonalities, all of which accomplish a pensive mood more than any sense of dread.

While electronics are definitely present (often in a subtle fashion that serves to mesh everything together) their presence is generally too subliminal to clearly detect.

Despite their versatility, these compositions share a common temperament of pensive melodies. The music is somber, but not dark; relaxed, but not drab. No matter what you want to classify it as, though, the end result is satisfying, rewarding the listener with a pleasant sonic environment. Since the tracks are all short, the type of pleasantness changes in definition but remains constant in its lilting result.

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TIM GILBERT: Elysium (DDL on Ambient Sound World Recordings)

This release from 2012 features 53 minutes of delicate electronic music.

Pleasant electronics are accompanied by snickety rhythms, resulting in a mildly energized dose of calming tuneage.

The electronics are often fragile and endearing, expressing a pastoral mood that serves to merge land and sky into an ephemeral luster. A congenial temperament characterizes these electronics, resulting in an airy mien, not unlike the passing of majestic clouds over a verdant valley.

Keyboards guide a majority of these sounds, crafting chords of delicate beauty that pleasantly linger and overlap consecutive chords. And when the music casts off its ambient attitude, the chords adopt a soft agility to create passages of nimble elegance. Few cycles are employed, and those that do occur are coaxed into patterns of subtle evolution.

Only a few pieces feature any percussives. These rhythms generally owe more kinship to ilbient glitches than any conventional drumming. Their structure, though, conforms to traditional tempos, lending a restrained locomotion to the overall flow.

These compositions sparkle with a studied tranquility. While certain tracks display an understated animation, the majority of tunes explore venues of alluring tranquility which succeed in establishing realms of bewitching sedation.

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ROBERT SCHROEDER: D.MO Volume 3 (CD on Spheric Music)

This release from 2012 features 64 minutes of classic electronic music.

This music was composed and recorded between 1981 and 1991, utilizing electronic equipment prevalent during that decade.

The electronics are diverse, yet fluid. The source sounds are programmed, not sampled from other instruments. Consequently, the sweeping tones and celestial resonance shimmer with a natural beauty found only in primordial synthesizer music.

Nimble-fingered chords unfurl with easy comfort, spreading into majestic keyboard riffs. Some of these riffs settle into roles as background textures, while others release their muster in the form of sultry lead sequences. The melodies are striking, often balancing their hypnotic nature with touches of grandeur.

E-perc plays an integral role in this tuneage, providing bouncy rhythms whose timbvre is rich with a natural sound, untinged by any mechanical characteristics. The beats adopt the sound of traditional drums, bongos, and there are even a few instances of tempos reminiscent of antique drum machines.

These compositions typify the electronic music of the Eighties: smoothly melodic structures with touches of ascendant puissance. It would be inaccurate to call this tuneage "retro," since it originated in a bygone era and was, in its time, thoroughly modern. Today, however, it affords the listener a rewarding glimpse at a selection of previously unreleased material by one of the musicians who helped to forge the Belin School of electronics. Fans of that genre will not be disappointed.

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