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The Eclectic Electronic Music of Saul Stokes

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SAUL STOKES Metacollage (DDL on Stokes Music)

This release from 2008 features 46 minutes of dreamy electronic music.

StokesÕ style mainly employs non-keyboard electronics (sounds generated by twiddling dials and flipping switches). This results in an eerie sound, often relegated to ambient musicÑbut thatÕs not the case here. This music has body and oomph and melody.

These electronics shimmer and sparkle like lights twinkling in the dark. Eccentric otherworldliness flourishes in this music, but rather than achieving an outer space feeling, the goal is more quirky, off-center but grounded. Tones endure, while auxiliary tonalities sigh in ways that enlarge the basic theme. Smaller sounds shimmer in the background with delicate emphasis.

Okay, some keyboards are used, lending the music with a touch of fluidity.

These compositions convey a gentle mesmerization with their sweeping tones and blooping diodes. The real charm comes from the manner in which Stokes assembles the sounds. The melodies are smooth, unhurried, but possessing hints of a subtle urgency amid the overall pacific temperament adopted by this music.

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SAUL STOKES Formation (DDL on Stokes Music)

This release from 2012 offers 30 minutes of more energetic electronic music.

Here, keyboards contribute on an equal basis to the raw synthetics, producing gloriously lush tunes.

In track one, the interplay between key-driven chords and gritty electrical discharges works excellently, especially when accompanied by a rising tide of drama embodied in additional melodic key riffs.

The next piece adds e-perc to the mix, an almost unnecessary addition since much of the electronics are delivered in such a manner as to function as rhythms. Yet the combination works, creating a tune of agile demeanor...made even more appealing by the sultry keyboards that delineate the smooth melody.

Track three adopts a more somber disposition with ponderous tones. This darker mood is eventually counterbalanced by the introduction of lighter pulsations, but even these must fight off a resurgence of melodramatic electronics. By the end of the piece a tasty compromise is reached.

The last track delivers a more conventional song in which all the elements cooperate to produce a sweet melody tinged with mounting tension.

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SAUL STOKES Burning Igloo (DDL on Stokes Music)

This release (StokesÕ original demo tape from 1995) features 54 minutes of quirky electronic music.

While this music is presented in a pair of long pieces, each section actually features several distinct songs.

Knob-generated and keyboard-triggered electronics conspire to produce tuneage of a quirky nature. Generally melodic, these tunes combine aspects of contemporary EM and trance, styled in both abstract and straightforward models, often simultaneously.

Whether conventional or experimental, though, these sounds are marked by a pleasant luster. Their vibrations are applied to sinuous melodies whose charm conquers their inherent strangeness. Channeling these unnatural sounds through a keyboard results in engaging riffs.

Rhythms play a vital role in most of this tuneage; these tempos lend additional animation to the already surging, twitchy electronic threads. The percussion is artificial, fitting with the synthetic character of the music.

These compositions flaunt their weirdness; yet their fluid melodic demeanor counters that alienation, drawing the listener in with an allure of charismatic oddity. The sounds are weird, but the way Stokes handles them displays a sincere dedication to appealing resonance. Each tune exhibits a tasty flair. Surging flows coexist with growling diodes, resulting in pastiches of attractive loveliness.

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