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Electronics: Aetopus, Centrozoon, Erik Seifert

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AETOPUS: Between Empires (CD on 12 Ton Productions)

This CD from 2012 offers 65 minutes of electronic music flavored with a classical mien.

Aetopus is Bryan Tewell Hughes.

Sprightly electronics and nimble rhythms create engaging tuneage.

The electronics are crisp and sultry. While some texturals are utilized, the gist of the electronics embody a more substantial presence, with keyboards delineating pensive chords.

Keyboards are prominent in guiding the electronics, establishing animated riffs of crystalline luster. The keys muster a pronounced chamber music attitude, like a chamberlain or xylophone, sprinkling things with a spry embellishment. The pleasant interplay of various delicate riffs produces a shimmering illumination.

Percussion plays an integral role here, providing gentle rhythms which often possess a serious mood rather than any sense of locomotion.

Other instrumentation serves to flavor the music with quasi-classical airs, yet their application is filtered through a modern milieu, resulting in a nicely fleshed out sound. Strings and cello inject a cerebral disposition to the flowing tuneage. Guitars introduce a restrained Celtic influence that becomes overwhelmed by a cosmic temperament peppered by regal bells. Horns (possibly synthesized) lend the pieces a stately posture.

These compositions exemplify a calm example of contemporary electronic music with a progressive undercurrent. There's almost a fairy quality to the songs, light buoyancy tempered by an endearing sparkle. Hughes has a winning skill for blending classical elements with his modern electronic sensibilities, resulting in tuneage of a highly bewitching nature.

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CENTOZOON: Boner (CD on Unsung Records)

This release from 2012 features 61 minutes of edgy electronic music.

Centrozoon is: Bernhard Wostheinrich (on synths. programming, and vocals), Markus Reuter (on touch guitar and electronics), and Tobias Reber (on electronics, field recordings, programming, synths. misheard lyrics, and touch guitar on one song).

Eccentric structure abounds on this selection of electronic tuneage.

The electronics are diverse and often harsh, combining to achieve a terse presence which easily evokes unease while seeking to sedate the listener. Sustained tones provide bridges between these outbursts of controlled chaos, lacing things with brooding atmospherics.

For all intents, the touch guitar contributes additional conceptual sounds which blend with the electronic distillations and become lost in the restrained aural maelstrom.

While no conventional percussion provides rhythms, an assortment of random impacts (and sometimes sharp electronic stabs) serve to punctuate the songs with unexpected beats. At times, bells manifest erratic tempos which become summarily swamped by the rallied discordant elements.

Treated vocals appear in a few tracks, lending a human presence amid the roiling sheets of conflicting noise.

These compositions skirt the boundary of melodics and abstract soundscapes, utilizing a touch of ilbience to bestow edginess on the tunes. Flows are established, only to be swiftly disrupted by moody sonic expressions of a brusque demeanor. Yet, for all its unusual structure, this music exhibits an elusive melodic undercurrent that cancels any classification as musique concrete.

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ERIK SEIFERT: Astronomical Unit (CD on Spheric Music)

This CD from 2008 offers 56 minutes of cosmic electronic music from a live performance at the Planetarium Bochum in November 2006.

An "astronomical unit" is the length of the distance from the Earth to the Sun (roughly 93 million miles). This datum and other planetary measurements are included in the album's prologue, so you can expect this to be space music.

But don't expect passive auralscapes. This music brims with bounce and lively riffs. While some texturals are employed, the majority of the electronics are constantly agile, producing rapid-fire sequences in tandem with moodier melodies. Cycles are established and set to run while additional electronics swing into play--until the mix is thick with complimentary layers.

A lot of these keyboard-generated riffs display a pleasantly celestial resonance.

A diverse rhythmic selection is featured, albeit synthetically generated. These tempos remain nicely swaddled by the rest of the sonic activity, so are not overt. They do, however, contribute a certain amount of animation to the tuneage. Seifert had devised an interesting repertoire of electronic percussive sounds, all of which serve to heighten the appeal of those rhythms.

The songs are bridged together by passages of extreme astral character. Here, the background tones become littered with twinkling diodes and other sounds which evoke the vastness of interplanetary space.

As in the prologue, spoken recitations and radio broadcasts concerning space travel can be found in a few tracks.

While these compositions do possess a spacey quality, their high energy is by far the music's most dominant aspect. The buoyancy of these tunes is quite enjoyable, and tastily balanced by the splendidly crafted cosmic passages scattered throughout the set.

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