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Indie Music: John Lyell, Stephen Strange, Timothy Wenzel

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JOHN LYELL Reflection of Time (CD on John Lyell Music)

This release from 2014 features 59 minutes of electronic ambient music.

Delicate electronics and keyboards produce soothing ambience.

Texturals play a vital role in this music, establishing luxurious vapors which are then elaborated on by additional tonalities, resulting in lush vistas of atmospheric definition.

Auxiliary electronics in the form of subtle effects pepper the mix, lending instances that mildly deviate from the even sonic constancy, flavoring things with an element of variance.

Keyboards contribute gentle embellishments to this flow. The chords are soft and unhurried, unfurling into threads that help tinge this harmonic tuneage with touches of melody. Frequently the keyboards adopt a twinkling persona, enhancing the music's shimmering demeanor.

Percussion would only interfere with Lyell's flowing structures, so no rhythms are found in this music.

These compositions are reflective and relaxing in their influence. The tunes evoke a journey that unifies the listener with streams of light undergoing environmental treatments, twisting, separating, spiraling, blossoming into tender shimmers as the soundscapes undergo subtle evolution.

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STEPHEN SAVAGE Future Memory (CD on Savage Music)

This CD from 2013 features 54 minutes of pleasantly soft modern jazz music.

Stephen Savage plays keyboards, guitar, synthesizers, and drum programming. He is joined on several tracks by Michael O.Connell on drums and percussion.

Pleasant tuneage is presented, ranging from dreamy vistas to mildly energized songs.

The electronics are gentle, tender riffs adrift on their own resonance. In these soft instances, piano delivers a cerebral taste with serious chords that roll forth with intimate intonations. The keyboards are often imbued with an emotional quality that supercedes their understated presence.

In other pieces, the temperament boosts to a more animated stage, as percussion turns lively, keyboards deliver peppy passages and guitar snarls with modern jazz overtones.

These compositions are mixed. The softer tunes denote a whimsical gentility, while other songs explore a realm of modern jazz with spry disposition and an appealing buoyancy. Both genres are treated with respect and convey an earnest delicacy.

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TIMOTHY WENZEL River Serene (CD on Coyote Floe Music)

This release from 2013 features 49 minutes of gentle easy-listening music.

Serene electronics blend with acoustic instruments to produce an engaging dose of pleasant tuneage.

These electronics are pleasant and gentle, in both their sound and their delivery. While textures are present, the gist of each song relies more on the lead threads which delineate the melodies with easygoing confidence.

Keyboards contribute strong riffs that often propel some of the songs into emotional territory with their cerebral touch.

Strings contribute layers of quasi-classical influence throughout this music, in the form of airy violins, calmly strummed acoustic guitar, and gently plucked harp.

Flute strains waft through the melodies, evoking a pastoral temperament. Their fragile resonance fits perfectly with the music's overall tenderness.

Some percussion is present, but only occasionally and the rhythms are always relegated to the background as a contributor rather than a driving force.

These compositions are calming without inducing sedation. There's just the apt amount of animation to the tunes, lifting them from ambience into a genre of contemporary easy-listening tuneage.

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