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 ------Steve Roach - Fever Dreams



Rhythmic ambient mood pieces. The beats are subtle with mesmerizing repetition and looping all shot through with diverse percussive elements and unsettled sibilant washes. Restless, undulating bass guitar underpins sultry inflammations of deeply effected guitar and synthesizer. Rolling, folding tonalities fill the expanse that many artists reserve for melody instead, here warped, dreamy reverberations come and go like whales in a luminescent amber ocean.
MOOD   The title captures the mood perfectly - fevered, uneasy sound impressions. Tracks are driven by hypnotic neo-tribal beats that recur, repeat and gradually become background like a throbbing pulse or heartbeat. Hot soaked sheets of guitar, hazy sonic visions and seething smears of synthesizer ferment together - everything seems flushed with an ebbing, heaving orange glow.
ARTWORK   Again well suited to the title and music - a montage of images blur in and out of each other creating a fluctuating impression with moments of focus. There are hints of the exotic places and microscapes - some cool and shady, others burning from behind. The layout is sharp and the text functional.
OVERALL    The album opens with shakers, rolling drums and a low simmering cloud of sound that sets the temperature for what is to come. Fever Dreams consists of four long pieces and promises to be the first disc in a trilogy of 'fever' releases. Patrick O'Hearn brings an uneasy, brooding bass end to Wicked Dream, and Byron Metcalf provides frame drum and percussion on other tracks. The performance ends with Moved Beyond where fitful drumming leads oceanic undulations of sound. Eventually, however, the rhythms gradually become lazy and although the air is still thick and torrid, a languor sets in - perhaps the fever is passing, perhaps just a lull. The track ends with distant crackles and surges that call to mind an electrical storm on a far horizon.
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   Anyone looking for ambient music with a bit of rhythmic structure. Psychonauts wanting a challenging new terrain to travel. Perhaps those wanting to begin exploring ambient music will find this to be a suitable way in - there's plenty to hold the attention. Fans of Steve Roach for sure will ove this CD.





 ------Karunesh - Call of the Mystic



Warm down-tempo eastern ethno-electronica. However - the electronica is very much a subtle background of synthesiser washes upon which the performances and samples of instruments from India and the Far East are laid out. Karunesh produces a sound that almost feels like 'traditional' ethnic music, yet the melodies maintain a western edge.
MOOD   Tranquil and contemplative - Karunesh utilises bells, chimes, Tibetan bowls, sitar, bansuri and Indian violins to create a unified mood throughout the album. Tracks build slowly with moody introductions always sculpted from oriental elements. The tempos are gentle and built largely around tabla rhythms.
ARTWORK   The eastern mood is maintained via the atmospheric artwork. Statues, exotic architecture and low sunscapes dominate. This is a pleasing package - although the religious symbolism that appears in places seems to have been used merely to create an exotic tenor (something that a number of western artists have fallen into).
OVERALL    A consistent album of gentle, almost traditional rhythms, soft oriental instrumentation and plenty of bells and chimes. Karunesh never strays far from his vision, maintaining the illusion of oriental realism from start to finish.
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   Fans of Karunesh will not be disappointed. Call of the Mystic will also suit anyone wanting to veer away from the path of ethno-electronica/world beat into a slightly more pure 'world music' sound without quite going as far as buying the real traditional stuff. Music to relax to or create an exotic mood - I suspect this CD will get a few burning the incense and lighting candles.





 ------Rados - The Transparent Man



Atmospheric, down/mid-tempo world fusion. Programmed electronic structures are overlaid with ethnic instruments and chants along with male and female spoken voice samples. The style has moments reminiscent of Deep Forest and hints of Enigma, but overall has more of a U.K. global trance feel to it.
MOOD   The introductions are unhurried, shadowy, moody affairs often with ethnic percussion. Once most of the tracks get going they fall slightly on the dark side of the spectrum but only just into shadow, lots of warm bright light and colour filters through. The feel is one of laid back flight - on the edge of space but dipping and skimming effortlessly through continents and cultures.
ARTWORK   A computer graphic, psychedelic cornucopia - busy kaleidoscopic images, bright colours and words of cosmic wisdom. The images, sleeve design and words are by controversial Bosnian artist Ivan Rados. The mass of detail reflects the musical content where a wide variety of sonic patterns rise and fall among the constantly moving synthetic waves.
OVERALL    A plethora of drones, flutes, pipes, deep thumping drums, exotic voices held together with contemporary western structures. The beats are clear and smooth often having tribal interludes or undertones with deep booming bass drums. The synthesisers are mainly used to provide washes and stabs as opposed to arpeggios or melody lines. For me this album gets better as it goes on, some stronger, deeper atmospheres are formed in the later tracks. Excellent production.
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   Lovers of electronic, world fusion. Imagine the early Banco De Gaia sound with more ethnic elements akin to Deep Forest and a somewhat slower tempo at times like Enigma. Listen to the samples on the website for a good indication HERE.





 ------Brannan Lane - Sleep Cycle
STYLE   Floating, drifting, meandering ambient electronca. Soft sounds of nature breathe in and out of tonal swells and gossamer drones. Silken luminescence and glowing bell tones give way to dark blankets of mist where indistinct sonic shapes form, roll and disperse. The sound is primarily synthesised, electronic abstraction - close to an aural equivalent of colourfield painting.
MOOD   Soporific of course - something would be amiss if it weren't. There are passages of lazy restlessness, some suggestions of shifting unease, but mainly everything is restful bliss. Perhaps Brannan's sleepers don't slip directly into sublime unconsciousness, but once they're there their dreams are sweet. Beautiful moments of weightless lullaby chimes edge close to a melody towards the end of the album - but these sound more as though they were played by the wind than by human hands.
ARTWORK   Brannan's own photography adorns the cover with a cool crepuscular scene that has me looking for a warm place so that I can settle down and submit to the influence of the music. Brannan suggests that the hints of surf and dusk reflect the music. The cover notes helpfully explain some of the intriguing track titles, informing us about 'Sleep Spindles' and 'Emergence'.
OVERALL    Brannan says that this CD is meant to be a vehicle for meditation, sleep or for anytime you want to set a relaxing mood - I think it works admirably. Gentle waves of sound and fluid synths create an inviting warmth, a mesmerising tranquility. The development of the theme through the album leads us enticingly into the beautiful conclusion. If this artist so effectively conveys aspects of sleep, his treatment of fear on another project must be unnerving.

Anyone wanting sounds to drift away to - one reviewer on Amazon called the CD a 'sonic teddy bear'. However this album does certainly invite just listening to as well., It's not a 'foot tapper' - percussion is almost totally absent apart from distant incidental elements - but who drops off tapping their feet.



We're calling these 'Evolving Reviews' because they'll be revisited from time to time and perhaps refined or developed. Not only that - we'd welcome your views - do you have one of these albums? Do you have some choice words or opinions? If so click on the review button next to the CD cover and tell us what you think - we'll include anything especially appropriate in the permanent review itself.



 ------Patrick O'Hearn - Beautiful World

Beautiful World is a rich, earthy wilderness of sound, at times beatless, at times pumping with near tribal rhythm. Although synthesised sounds abound, the artist presents an organic offering that feels performed rather than programmed. Patrick's own bass playing plants a strong root among the shifting ambient undergrowth whilst distant pianos and strongly effected electric guitars create smouldering sparse melodies.

MOOD   Beautiful World is serious music without becoming sombre. Introspective, relaxing - at times expansive and edging toward bleakness - the piano leads are wistful, the percussion trancelike, the tone structures flowing, welling, overspilling. An earnest, tranquil sound that is restful but not sleep inducing, the music calling gently to the attention with subtle, evolving details.
ARTWORK   Cover artwork is by the O'Hearn children - a deep, rich, textural design for deep, rich, textural music. A skeletal figure hints at the occasional darkness lurking at the edges of some tracks. The paintings perhaps invite us to hear Beautiful World with the sense of wonder and open innocence of children, to listen without prejudice - a good approach to take with Patrick's work.
OVERALL    A deep contemplative intertwining of sound. There are electric guitars, pianos, layers of electronics and occasional ethnic elements woven deeply into the arrangements. Percussion jangles, rattles, thuds and slaps through some tracks and then is totally absent from others. The tracks are soundscapes and feel almost cinematic, creating mental imagery, inviting journeys of the mind.
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   This could well be the music you need to work to, to relax to, to read to - but equally to listen carefully to. If you enjoy ambient music with structure - if textural, layered sounds and sparing melodies appeal to you - try Beautiful World.





 ------Ryan Farish - Beautiful



Gentle instrumental electronic pop with clear, light beats. Most tracks on Beautiful have a bright pace somewhere just over mid-tempo but still remain well within the relaxation zone. Clearly defined uplifting melodies carried by piano or at times synths add lustre to the smooth electronic layers beneath. There are a number of similarities with Amethstium's more upbeat tracks - although without the ethnic elements.

MOOD   The overall feel of this album is fresh, bright and upbeat. But Beautiful avoids becoming too sugary with some shady interludes and percussion shifts presenting just a hint of tribal rhythm. Nevertheless, Ryan's exploration is primarily away from shadow and into the kind of brightness that often follows the rain - luminescent, atmospheric.

The artwork is 'beautiful' and complements the music perfectly. The scene on the cover has been well chosen and sets just the right mood for the music inside. The digipack is well laid out and has that feel of a nice object in your hands.

OVERALL    Ryan's music weaves spacey, clear synths and soothing wordless choral voices as a backdrop for melodies that ring out warmly. This is light music that is easy on the ear and gets the fingers tapping. The production quality is top notch and the packaging a delight. Overall, a fairly consistent album that feels sweet, peaceful and positive.
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   This music will probably appeal to anyone who has enjoyed Ronan Hardiman, Amethystium, Diane Arkenstone or Mythos. If you want something to create a positive mood and to brighten the air, if you enjoy friendly melodies and clean electronica you probably won't be disappointed.