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Electronic Music by Mario Schönwälder & Friends

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BROEKHUIS, KELLER & SCHÖNWÄLDER : Green (CD on Manikin Records)

This 2015 release features 75 minutes of gently vibrant music.

Bas Broekhuis plays analog and digital synthesizers, sequencer, drums and percussion. Detlef Keller plays analog and virtual analog synthesizers, and sequencer. Mario Schönwälder plays analog and virtual analog synthesizers, computer and sequencer. They are joined on one track by Raughi Ebert (on acoustic and electric guitars) and Thomas Kagerman (on flute and violin).

In track one (the album's longest piece at 25 minutes), luxuriant pulsations unfurl to form undulant threads, each complimenting each other to form a denser (but still vaporous) flow. Gradually, bongos enter the mix, lending mild locomotion. Keyboard riffs emerge to flourish, but remain gentle, unaggressive. As the tune progresses, additional keyboard riffs slide into play, embellishing things with their fanciful melodies. These new threads express a wide range of resonance, from stately grand piano to tender squealing to celestial chorales to spacey gurgling. Eventually, the threads dwindle to be replaced by a pensive passage of more atmospheric disposition, a breather of sorts, before things adopt a decidedly peppier mode. The beats provide more spry propulsion; the keyboards exhibit a sparkling quality; the interplay generates a bouncy flow that is captivating and offers an array of sidereal effects which serve to enhance that bouncy demeanor.

The next piece is 18 minutes long, and begins with tones, effects and rhythms combining from the onset to craft a mesmerizing pastoral melody that travels through subtle variations to achieve a mounting intensity (while remaining unaggressive). The chords blend and intertwine, creating variations of delightful character.

The third song (only 10 minutes this time) adopts a spacier attitude with blooping electronics and slithery grinding sounds. Gentle cosmic tones share the stage with reptilian violin and wistful flute and lilting guitars.

Track four returns to long-form (at 16 minutes). The flow generates a somnambulant mood with pensive tones and luxuriant pulsations. Gradually, the pace and intensity increases-as fresh electronic threads surface, loops that phase with each other to generate a thriving pastiche of delicious melodies...all meshing into a grander melody of holistic disposition. Things continue to ascend, mustering authority and grace.

The last track is a short one (at 5 minutes long), and exhibits a soft jazz influence. Some of the electronics approximate cafe horn passages, while the percussion lays out soothing tempos of a sedate nature. The horns pursue a winsome melody, accompanied by swaying textures.

The overall temperament of this music is pleasant, soft but with hints of puissance. The longer songs indulge the various riffs, allowing them to cycle and establish dreamy vistas as they slowly evolve into different sonic structures.

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FILTER-KAFFEE: 102 (CD on Manikin Records)

This 2015 release features 77 minutes of long-form electronic music.

Filter-Kaffee is Frank Rothe and Mario Schönwälder.

Slow-building tunes are generated by languid electronics.

Luxuriant threads of synthetic calm unfurl, whispering in reedy tones of other realms. Spry keyboard riffs enter the mix, looping to become a textural flow unto themselves. Additional riffs chitter at the periphery, their contributions embellishing the gestalt and coercing it into elevated states of density. The interplay of these elements grows progressively complex and bewitching.

While the structure is repeated from tune to tune, the sounds differ greatly. Resonant notes of stately elegance, shimmering bass chords, shrill-but-not-piercing pulsations, dreamy piano, even wistful violin strains-all and more are featured in the band's sonic palette.

For the most part, no percussion is needed here, for the keyboard patterns roll out with such verve as to approximate conventional rhythms. One song, however, does feature percussive beats, providing crisp locomotion.

The longer of these compositions (four out of six) explore a slow-building structure in which tenuous threads muster strength, velocity and depth to form complex and compelling melodic tapestries of delight. The gradual pace enhances the listener's appreciation. With their even dreamier presence, the two shorter tracks act as soothing frames for the rest of the album.

The audience is swept away on the fluid current of this music. Riding undulant waves of sinuous glory, the listeners become infused with this ascending vitality.

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