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The Exotic Ambience of Nemesis

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Nemesis is an electronic band who hail from Finland. Their line-up is: Jyrki Kastman, Ami Hassinen, and Joni Virtanen.

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NEMESIS 1.9.4 (DDL on Retroduction )

This release from 2010 features 78 minutes of slightly agitated ambience.

A series of long compositions establish an inventive panorama of ambience, followed by a pair of shorter, livelier pieces.

Track one (which is 24 minutes long) begins with fragile texturals generating a placid auralscape that gradually turns dark with deep bass tones and wobbly pulsations lending the murk a distinctive character. Lighter electronics enter the flow, returning things to a safer gentility and buoying the listener into a realm of relaxation. Auxiliary electronics season this zone with periodic instances of soft excitation, but the generally passive drone persists as the mainstay with sedate organ tones pursuing a tender melody. As the piece progresses, the organ is replaced by airier keys and the melody evolves into a lightly sprightful composition punctuated by crystalline embellishments.

The second piece (at 22 minutes long) has a more sparkly opening with glittering electronics that evoke a less pensive temperament. The introduction of gritty oscillations agitates this cheery flow, darkening things, but not in an ominous manner. Spinning rotary sounds emerge amid a bubbling refrain, injecting a novel character to the composition. Despite these potentially harsh incursions, though, a mood of calm is maintained. A variety of additional electronics emerge to influence the atmospheric tapestry, some sinuously vaporous, others carrying a promise of mechanical dominance. Eventually, heavenly chorales shoulder their way past creaky punctuations to conquer the ambience.

The next track (at 18 minutes long) pursues a mood of mild tension with understated grinding electronics mounting in intensity until this tension switches mode with the introduction of portentous chittering laced with an undercurrent of eerie tones. The composition eventually slides into more cosmic territory with whispering oscillations accompanied by the emergence of droney keyboard sustains. Crackling mechanics stutter into play, coaxing things into a sedate conclusion.

At just over six minutes long, track four is the album's shortest song. It combines gurgling electronics with sashaying tones, achieving a more substantial melodic presence than the previous songs. An artificial wind serves to elevate the ongoing sighing keys.

The last song (middling short at 8 minutes long) explores a structure of ascending tones layered over a platform of dreamy organ chords. Auxiliary electronics of both airy and guttural consistencies enliven the flow.

Overall, a satisfying excursion into ambience with a tasty touch of edginess that never overwhelms things.

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NEMESIS Music for Earports (DDL on Retroduction )

This 2009 version of a 2001 release is reissued in an expanded form, resulting in a total of 127 minutes of melodic ambient music.

For this release, Nemesis is: Kastman and Hassinen, with Virtanen on three tracks.

Music for Earports is obviously intended as a homage to Brian Eno's classic Music for Airports album, but Earports is actually a more rewarding audio experience, offering more body and melodic content.

The first long piece is made up of crisp tones which establish a glistening milieu. That serenity is seasoned with a variety of swaying effects, all of which conspire to achieve a hypnotic astral terrain of stark beauty. The electronics possess a frigid character that can be quite engaging.

The second long track displays a sense of charmingly subdued animation with muted rhythms goading along a set of cosmic tonalities. Remote keyboards contribute sweeping harmonics. The piece accrues a modicum of puissance as it progresses, reaching an endearing pinnacle with bubbling embellishment.

The shorter pieces (which, with the exception of a 7 minute track, clock in between 3 to 5 minutes each) each continue the ambient approach. Fragile electronics generate expansive moods, some of which are tempered with bewitching alien e-perc.

The final long track adopts a shamanistic mien with rattling and eerie tones struggling for cohesion amid an ancient wind. A melancholic flavor infects the electronics. If you listen hard, machinery can be heard clanking in the distance...until lethargic tribal rhythms rise to audibility, lending a shudder to the stiff breeze and allowing the electronic harmonics to express themselves with more clarity.

The bonus material comprises 53 additional minutes of tuneage possessing a degree of substance above the conventional harmonic drones found in most "ambient" releases.

Lots of sparkly electronics cavorting on a dreamy auralscape seasoned with auxiliary effects and pulsations, all combining to craft flowing melodics designed to lull with an edgy touch.

While percussion plays no literal role here, rhythms are achieved through the cyclic application of electronic pulsations, lending a soft propulsion to some of the music. However, one longish piece does feature some whispery actual percussion; meshed in tandem with breezy texturals, a nocturnal Caribbean mood is established while electronics wobble with lazy resonance, eventually flavored with some tasty space guitar.

You get one long track in which things build gradually and then gleefully evolve in delightfully diverse directions. The other pieces are generally shorter (3 to 5 minutes long), and here things kick in with a promptness that gets right to the sonic point without meandering around with any gradual build-up.

There's a nice balance of bouncy melodic songs and atmospheric pieces; often the latter excellently adopt a temperament focusing on the loneliness of realms beyond our world, equally spot-on in the otherworldliness of the sounds utilized to generate these soundscapes.

These compositions (which were recorded between 1996 and 2001) all display a model of tranquil definition. The presence of rhythms in some of the pieces is intentionally restrained, preserving a gentle sonic nature.

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NEMESIS: Cyberiad (DDL on Retreoduction )

This release from 2014 is a reissue that expands the original 1998 album with additional material, resulting in a total of 132 minutes of entertaining electronic music.

Let's examine the original disc first...

A trancey opening piece gives way to livelier material as the tempos increase and the instruments come out to play. There's a certain mirth to this music, a bounciness that can be quite infectious.

A plethora of electronics and keyboards contribute to the music's lush density. The electronics sparkle, while the keys generate serpentine threads winding through things, helping to elaborate on the basic melodies.

Rhythms are vital to most of these songs, but often the beats are wholly of synthetic origins; frequently just a looped pulse surge is utilized to approximate percussion.

Whirling guitar provides some sequences of astral vitality.

A lot of these compositions are carried by the intricately intertwining keyboard sequences, which regularly delineate enticing melodies. Many of the tunes possess an agile quality, full of bouncy bits and chugging tempos. But there's a nice mixture of languid ambience running through it too.

The bonus disc is 59 minutes long; its material was recorded from February through March 1998.

The first bonus track is the longest on this disc (at 17 minutes) and while it has a mild opening, the tune swiftly gets cooking as contrasting pulsations dog a moody background tonality. Soon, nickering e-perc (more like the clicking of faulty diodes) rises to lend a rhythm to the mounting melody. Eventually, conventional e-perc is added, bolstering the sinuous tempos. Jagged oscillations creep into the mix, energizing the flow with their barbed urgency. A series of auxiliary electronic effects dive in, teasing the core theme with their engaging embellishments. Around the tune's midpoint, things dwindle into a passive stretch wherein chittering peripherals pester a central thread of wobbly bloops...which carries through to a mild closing.

The next piece is snappier. Bouncy electronics accompany a tasty e-perc routine. Keyboards lend a buzzy punctuation to the flow. The introduction of jovial bass tones injects a frivolity as the piece winds up.

Track three is a longish one (10 minutes) and puts that length to use evolving a lush density out of sparse, glittery incidental effects that gradually mesh into a particularly alluring riff.

The music goes slippery and peppy in the next song, with crystalline electronics twinkling amid a turgid space guitar presence.

Track five consists of twitching pulsations bouncing off each other while a barely perceptible voice describes space.

Track six (another long one, at 12 minutes) is filled with delightful electronic outbursts in tandem with some searing astral guitarwork. There's a quasi-tribal beat providing the song with tangible propulsion. In the end, it pursues a dwindling expose of minimalism.

The last piece is a short tune in which electronic badgers chase their tails and eventually scurry away into the distance.

As if the original album wasn't enough of a delight, this added disc boosts its worthwhile quotient up pretty high.

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NEMESIS: Living Statues (DDL on Retreoduction )

This release from 2012 offers 59 minutes of delightful electronic music inspired by the life and art of Veijo Ronkkonen. The music was recorded live at Parikkalan Patsaspuistg on July 14, 2012 and Winterway Studio, Kokkola, from July through September 2012.

For this release, the band is: Joni Virtanen (on soft synths and hard keys, sampling, effects, and kantele), Jyrki Kastman (on analog and digital synths, sampling, effects, and e-sitar), and Ami Hassinen (on digital and analog synths, and violin).

Ethereal texturals generate languid vistas of airy definition. These vaporous passages are seasoned by downplayed percussion, crisp sitar, chimes, and auxiliary electronics. A temperament of relaxation is established.

The majority of the electronics are soft, atmospheric. These tonal stretches are embellished by more substantial electronic effects. Some keyboards are employed in later tracks to guide a diverse assortment of sashaying sweeps into more dynamic (but still gentle) activity.

While percussion plays a vital role here, the rhythms are hardly driving or prominent. The beats tend to be fragile and paced to punctuate more than propel. Many of the tempos are generated by exotic instruments, like gong and timpani, instead of a conventional drum kit.

These compositions languish with sedate qualities, infecting the audience with a dreamy attitude—but not one that will lull them into slumber. There are enough embellishments to keep one's attention alive, albeit mesmerized. The overall dreaminess of this music is, in fact, its keynote allure, coupled with the music's inherent subtle liveliness.

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NEMESIS : Xenopus (CD on Retreoduction )

This release from 2014 features 64 minutes of dreamy yet agile electronic music culled from a number of live performances and rehearsals from 2009, with three studio tracks from 2006, 2010 and 2013.

For this release, the band is: Joni Virtanen, Jyrki Kastman, and Ami Hassinen.

What we have here is a lovely balance between ambience and attractive contemporary electronic music. The tuneage is mellow, but not minimal; more than an adequate amount of animation is going on in these songs.

The electronics are profusion and diverse. Ethereal texturals cluster, embroidered by additional electronic—effects and riffs. Some keyboard threads unfurl with luxurious results, issuing twinkling sequences and reedy passages amid the vaporous environment.. Some inventive sidereal effects contribute heavily and steadily.

There's some spacey guitar with lots of astral sustains one minute, lazily strummed chords the next, each style bestowing a nice expansiveness to the flow.

Rhythms feature reasonably prominently here, but rarely in any overt manner. The beats are soft and languid to match the music's overall flowing mode. There are instances, however, in which the tempos adopt a more prominent stature and deliver some enticing rhythms. On one occasion, rapidly cycled electronics provide a sinuous rhythm.

These compositions exhibit a sincere dedication to mesmerizing the audience, while at the same time keeping an element of liveliness going on. The tunes are dreamy, yet somewhat attention-getting. One track is over 13 minutes long and it really unleashes a tasty groove.

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ASHEN SIMIAN: Spiral Staircase (DDL on Retreoduction )

This release from 2014 features 77 minutes of thrilling electronic music.

Ashen Simian is Ami Hassinen (from Nemesis).

The first track is a bouncy piece with playful chime-like embellishment. The electronics are cheerily active while snappy e-perc injects collateral lively locomotion.

The next piece is equally active with crunchy pulsations and fluid keyboard threads and churning diodes. The melody carefreely cavorts through a varying stretch of cycles, ultimately achieving a sparkling finish.

In track three, vibrating pulsations commingle to foster a mildly ascendant movement into more dramatic territory with denser tones. All leading to a pleasantly jangling conclusion.

The following song uses squealy oscillations in juxtaposition with a series of interesting keyboard riffs that eventually achieve a level of astral dazzle.

Track five is an epic piece (at 30 minutes long) and offers a slowburn opening of almost hesitant electronic effects swelling to overwhelm a chatter of whispered phrases. Things gradually gain oomph with peppy rhythms and whimsical bloops, all spiraling toward a cosmic pinnacle. And once the music reaches that peak, it dallies to indulge the crescendo and extend the tune's grand proportions. Agile fingers dancing all across some keyboards makes the post-pinnacle wind-up particularly entertaining.

The final piece is another extra-long song (at 23 minutes), but this time the emphasis is on lulling the audience with hypnotic swishes and textural tides embellished by meandering keyboard melodies, always skirting any outbreak and remaining peacefully loyal to a state of undulant sedation, despite the attempts by chirpy rhythms and bouncy keys to rouse things.

An excellent album offering a satisfying balance of animation and atmospheric tuneage.

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