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Electronic Music by Female Composers: Iotronica, Bekki Williams

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Please don't think I'm being sexist by grouping releases by the fairer sex. But as any electronic music aficionado knows, the presence of female composers in the EM field is quite rare. This rarity is my primary reason for grouping these reviews under the afore-mentioned classification.

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IOTRONICA: Of Moons and Stars (CD on AD Music)

This release from 2014 offers 65 minutes of majestic electronic music.

Iotronica is UK synthesist Amanda Byrne. She is joined on one track by David Wright (who also produced the album) on synthesizers and effects.

Armed with a sense of curiosity, Byrne explores outer space with tunes of venerating gentility.

A winsome array of electronics are employed in this tuneage, from light-hearted tones to spry sequences to stately riffs to cosmic effects.

Keyboards enable Byrne to express sinuous riffs that flow and undulate with crisp delivery. By mixing different layers, their inherent melodic definition blossoms into majestic structures of glistening beauty. At one point, a lone piano generates a tender longing amid a fog of shimmering textural tones.

No percussion is found here, for overt rhythms would only disrupt this music's sensuous fluidity.

One track makes ample use of celestial chorals of a masculine character, lending that song a luscious reverence. While another piece utilizes female chorales to establish a sweeter optimism.

The compositions are slick and compelling, albeit in a soft manner. The emotional content of each song is rich, but crafted in such a smooth way that their impact tends to seep into rather than hit the listener. This music exhibits a distinct respect for the universe beyond our atmosphere, and excellent captures a spacey demeanor without being too outre.

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BEKKI WILLIAMS: Shadow of the Wind (CD on AD Music)

Originally released in 1996, this 2014 remastered reissue offers 64 minutes of beautiful electronic music including some new material.

Electronics, percussion and a sampling of other instruments (possibly synthesized) conspire to produce stately tuneage.

The electronics are rich and generate lush chords that blend a sense of authority with a touch of understated smoothness. Few background texturals are used; instead, auxiliary electronic threads function as sedate backdrops for the lead melodies.

Keyboards are employed to trigger most of the melodies, using modes of varied resonance from delicately sweet to sprightly chugging. Meanwhile, traditional piano has a vital role in many of these songs, expressing riffs with a tender passion that transcends the intellectual stigma usually attached to this instrument. Williams' piano passages shine with melodic warmth.

While rhythms are not present in every track, their contributions tend to boost those songs with their bouncy tempos, resulting in an elevated level of emotional context. There are even some instances in which looped non-impact electronics supply the necessary rhythmic presence.

Those "other instruments" consist of easygoing horns, winsome woodwinds, romantic guitarŅall of which serve to enhance the beauty of this tuneage.

These compositions exude a distinctly sinuous character, laced with engaging riffs that serve to conjure vistas of soft grandeur. Such sonic pinnacles shimmer with lofty sentiments while retaining their demure dignity.

The album (co-produced and remastered by UK electronic maestro David Wright) features an agile Asana remix.

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