Click here to see a complete list of reviews. Click here to see a complete list of interviews. Click here for links to artists and labels . Click here to visit our main menu page. Click here for email address.

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 

 ----------Spatialize - Radial
STYLE
 

December 2014
Deep downtempo electronica.
Spatialize delivers Radial in conjunction with On The Edge Of Forever as the somewhat darker, more dance-oriented half of a twin release. Radial opens with a sinewy, tenebrous, driving energy about it that is retained until close to the final wind down; the tempo rises and falls, dipping into some bobbing dub grooves in places, but the velvet darkness and prowling dynamism is a near-constant feature. The melodic patterns are tastefully understated, picked out by a range of liquid-clear synths, electric guitar and bright chimes. Arpeggios ripple and burble around the beats, evolving and shapeshifting frequently, peripheral fx tightly embellishing the soundscape. A range of human touches haunt the shadows: spoken phrases; wistful words almost lost under heavy processing; hints of exotic players; tablas and hand drum samples.

 
IN DEPTH  

Nommo opens Radial with shimmering harmonics and twisting metallics layered into a rich ambient texture - some strongly effected German speech introduces the first of multiple arps before a rubbery bass and languid drum beat roll in. Unhurried, gradually unfurling, this gutsy nocturne slinks and grooves its way neatly into the similarly paced Koog and Zalem where some echoing, deftly gated female vocalisations join the party. Squelchy Eluchqy nods easily around a dubby bassline and by the fourth track Floating World, the pace drops into a ponderous swaying rhythm. Eastern instruments away far into the mix lead into a slow tribal beat with lush, lush depth - hits reverberating in space and clean guitar lines playing among the sequence cycles. A dense buoyant bass line forms the mid-tempo backbone to the lustrous Eden, bombing and bouncing in near percussive manner, whilst twinkling synths and summer evening pianos add to the colour. Elusive Symmetry is a collaborative composition with Matt Hillier, samples and synths credited to man behind Ishq. The final two tracks drop the tempo - One Priceless Moment and Altamira both demonstrating the evident mastery over the rhythm section that characterises so much of Spatialize's output - down here in the lower bpms the work put into blending programmed and real drum sounds alongside basses that throb right down in the stomach really stands out. Meandering piano, hypnotic pads, musing voices, tinkling chimes, soporific fade out...

 
ARTWORK    Cover art for this digital release comes in the form of a bright wheel of radial lights. Spokes, discs, hub and radiance are all created by revolving light patterns of varying degrees of distortion. Full of intricate depth, this image seems fractal in complexity. Straw-hued beams stretch and criss-cross into circular shapes, a warm yellow-orange softness seemingly glowing in the spaces between.
 
OVERALL  

West-Country based UK musician/producer Neil Butler releases Radial (along with On The Edge Of Forever) as a digital package that can be downloaded in all the relevant formats. It has been some time since the previous Spatialize album In The Midst Of Myriads came out back in 2006 - so a double release is most welcome. This collection is comprised of nine mid-length arrangements hovering around the five, six or seven minute mark - just right for the crepuscular dance floor but equally engrossing for attentive listening. You can explore Radial via the project's Bandcamp page or CD Baby if you prefer.

 
ARTISTS THOUGHTS  

I wanted to try and step a little sideways and throw a few darker electronica elements into the psychedelic mix but still to try and maintain a deep groove and uplifting quality.

 
AUDIO  
 

 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 

 ----------Phillip Wilkerson & Chris Russell - Vague Traces
STYLE
 
January 2015
Warm, beatless ambience.
Vague Traces gently infuses one's environment with shifting wisps and hazes of electro-organic sound. Very evocatory and dreamlike: lightly drifting drones, lustrous gossamer veils and subtle textures that seem both vaguely familiar and peculiar at the same time. Muted, fragile piano phrases set deep in the mix provide melodic hints in places, plucked harp notes and runs as well as synthetic notes picking up airy, minimal themes in others. Inspired by 'the process of intermittent dreaming and waking which often results in pre-dawn lucid dreams that seem just as real as waking consciousness' Vague Traces aptly assumes a blurry, soft-focus nature that seems to furl and fold upon itself in ever-evolving depths. The tone of the album is primarily uplifting and eminently serene, very welcoming.
 
ARTWORK   Vague Traces arrives in a beautiful gatefold digipack that positively beams with a mellow amber/white light. No plastic - always a good thing - the disc is tucked into the end of the sleeve. The front cover image extends across the back cover too in a broad panorama. To the fore a lone figure faces a radiant sun barely hanging over the horizon, backlit foliage illuminated in sunset hues; on the rear, gathering shadows throw the trees and bushes into dark silhouette. Track titles are here, white against the gloom, times alongside. Inside the view falls close to the ground, absorbed now in the forms of grasses and the haloes of light that play upon each one. Minimal information - brief credits and website details.
 
OVERALL   

Coming together for the first time Phillip Wilkerson of Time Being joins sound sculptor Chris Russell for this Spotted Peccary release. Wilkerson has been releasing his own 'contemplative soundscapes, spacious atmospheres, and electronic drones and drifts' since 2005 via a variety of net labels whilst Russell has been recording since 2000 and delivering the results through labels such as Relaxed Machinery. The seven mid-length recordings of Vague Traces are blissfully unhurried, easily allowing the mood of each to seep through the consciousness and to transport the listener into welcome reverie. Consistent through the seven variations, the fades between tracks barely break the tranquillity of the spell so that the sixty three minutes work as a unified whole experience. Find more information at the Spotted Peccary Bandcamp page where listening, download and purchase options can all be found.

 

 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 

 ----------Robert Scott Thompson - Morning of the World
STYLE
 
January 2015
Electro-acoustic ambient.
First impressions of this new release from the prolific genre-defying Robert Scott Thompson are of great beauty. Each track seems to pull at the heart, evoking a deep, wistful melancholy whilst at the same time holding out a new-dawn-like brightness and optimism. There is a fresh, airy tone of wonder that permeates much of the album - very uplifting, very tranquil. These are very subtly structured compositions, their meandering, organic natures almost giving the impression that many of the melodies have arisen naturally. Yet there is much melody: rambling bells and chimes; smooth, heaving synths; burbling, twinkling electronica and effected piano; plucked and bowed strings with an oriental feel; keening wind instruments. There is a great breadth of percussive material: lush global drums and metallics, shakers and spills; a few of the tracks even feature some rather cerebral beats - light, hypnotic break beats hinting at drum and bass rhythmical forms. In fact, the array of supporting sounds on this album is astounding - Thompson's finesse as a sonic sculptor demonstrated both by his ability to create and bend musical sources as well as by his elegant application of the results. Classically graceful, highly evocatory and most professional.
 
ARTWORK   I am only in possession of the digital version of this release and so have only the front cover art work as seen above. The cross-influence of art work and music is really effective here: the blue sky clarity and freshness; the hard-to-identify exotic imagery; the looming shadows sending the listener to the artwork and back again, each influencing perception of the other nicely.
 
OVERALL    Robert Scott Thompson has produced a wealth of highly individual releases since his Aucourant origins in the early 1990s. With an array of formal qualifications and awards to his credit, the degree of professionalism and the technical quality of his output is beyond question. Yet as Morning of the World exemplifies so well, Thompson is by no means a 'technical' composer/performer, his music is very moving, always inventive and exploratory, and particularly difficult to pigeon-hole. The twelve tracks of this release range from just under three minutes to just over fourteen and hang together masterfully as a consistent sensory journey. Explore Morning of the World at Robert's Bandcamp page or watch the Aucourant site for more information.
 

 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 

 

 ----------Robert Rich - Filaments
STYLE
 

January 2015
Ambient electronica.
Robert Rich explores a fascination with the beguiling nature of existence and our unique place in the universe through a series of luminescent, rhythmic ambient compositions. Heaving up out of darkness, Filaments early on establishes a great shadowy expanse through which twinkling threads, welling waves and rippling sequencer patterns ebb and flow. Not dissimilar in nature to Electric Ladder, Filaments features a variety of bright cycling patterns that gradually evolve and shift, a coruscating contrast to the drifting beds of swaying drones and lightly wafting steel guitar strains. Sleeve notes list instruments included as "MOTM and Euro modular, DSI P12 and Pro2, Lap Steel Guitars (by Todd Plummer and Morrell), Korg Wavestation and M3, zither, piano, Eowave Ribbon and Resonator, various other instruments." There are passages here of delicate beauty, that send the emotions gently soaring; regions of deep introspective, slow-motion eddying; currents of glimmering brilliance where layered synthetic latticeworks spiral and repeat.

 
ARTWORK   Filaments is delivered in a sharp three-section digipack. The front cover painting is of a peculiar organic flower-like form draped with gossamer filaments that seem to issue from within and to cloak everything in billowing layers. The rear cover holds a darker, closer image of a similar subject, track titles bright against the gloom. Here are credits and recording details along with brief thanks. The final outer panel unfolds to present a detailed discussion of the inspirations behind the sounds. Within, all three panels are given over to a panoramic painting of three reflective spheres sparkling with scintillations of light.
 
OVERALL   

Ambient, experimental musician/composer Robert Rich worked on Filaments between 2012 and 2014, releasing the completed album via Soundscape Productions in January of this year. There are nine tracks on the disc: six are relatively brief at around four to five minutes; two are extended pieces closer to ten minutes. In total the whole clocks in at just short of an hour's music. There is a delightful sense of wonder permeating much of the music that is nicely in keeping with the theme as well as an ongoing natural harmony and consonance. Find out more about Filaments and the thoughts behind the music (including the intriguiging track titles) at the official Robert Rich website.

 

 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 

 ----------Csillagköd - Silent World
STYLE
 

January 2015
Deep ambient space music.
Csillagköd's sound is subtle: wafting sonic filaments; delicate low-light drones; welling textures. There are melodic touches amid the ambience - piano or chimes - minimal, repeating themes that twinkle faintly. Yet melodic material acts mostly as embellishment of the smooth, shifting clouds of tone that form the nucleus of the music, an evolving zone of focus rather than a dominant element. The album is beatless and free of percussive material, with only occasional rhythmic passages created by understated cycling patterns. There are passages of dramatic galactic grandeur where the nature of the drones becomes more soaring and lustrous, Nap being an example. Promotional material points out "remote dissonance, amorphous sound textures, and other-worldly melodies" which "create an atmosphere of contemplative tranquillity on this astro-sonic journey that expands on the great traditions of true space music."

 
ARTWORK   Silent World is a lush, evocative digipack presentation. Fiery skies over reflective waters flare in bright yellow and orange hues against a positively tenebrous expanse. The striking cover image extends in panoramic fashion onto the rear cover where track titles and running times can be found. The disc is concealed in one of the card pockets and so does not distract from the artwork. When the sleeve is opened out, the inner section feels dark and gloomy as if shadows are gathering, light slipping away. Here are very brief credits hanging in the darkness.
 
OVERALL   

Csillagköd is the ambient project of Transylvanian soundscape artist Olivér Dombi. Dombi has been producing music is a range of genres since 2001. Silent World is his debut with the Spotted Peccary label as Csillagköd although there some EPs also available via the artist's website. The English pronunciation of the name is Chillougkeiad, meaning Nebula. There are eight tracks on this release that range from the two minute thirty six second track The Birth of the Solar System through to the eight minute ten second opener The Communication System Between Civilizations of the Universe. Discover more at the artist's official site or listen to the music at Spotted Peccary.

 

 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 

 ----------Earthshine - Somewhere Around
STYLE
 

February 2015
Instrumental new age electronica.
Somewhere Around is a rather eclectic, highly melodic album of bright electronic music that draws upon influences ranging from Berlin School, 80's synth pop, modern space music, lounge and new age positivity. Built primarily around synthetic keyboard sounds and mellotron, Peter Cox also incorporates some deft electric and acoustic guitar work; breathy pan flutes; expressive sax; echoing chimes and a range of sparkling effects into his music. The album takes the listener on an overarching homeward-bound journey: the opening spacey, beatless tracks featuring layered electronica and attractive, meandering structures; rhythmic sequences and emotional intensity increasing as we come down to earth; percussive patterns and beats build as we move toward the familiarity of civilisation. Most tracks are warm, inviting and very much easy-listening: piano and synthetic leads comfortably holding the attention, electronic peripherals providing interesting backdrops.

 
ARTWORK    Somewhere Around comes in a bright jewelcase package. Front cover artwork is of a beaming sunset where deeply saturated red, orange and yellow hues flood the sky throwing foreground trees into stark silhouette. A strongly effected scene of white cliffs and smooth, lilac sky creates a backdrop for track titles on the rear of the case. Inside is an explanation of the project and some personal thoughts from the artist and another section repeats the track list only this time with times for each piece noted alongside.
 
OVERALL  

Dutch multi-instrumentalist Peter Cox releases his latest Earthshine album via the Rock Company label. Earthshine follows last year's self titled debut and is available in a variety of digital formats as well as On Demand. The album consists of nine mid-length tracks with titles that chart the musical journey from distant space to intimate earthly delights: Between the Stars; Sunset on Mars; Down to Earth; Knee Deep in the Ocean; Garden Party. You can learn a lot more about this release and the project overall at the official Earthshine website. The site provides listening and viewing opportunities as well as ample background and biographical details.

 
ARTISTS THOUGHTS   This holds some of the most beautiful pieces of music I have done so far. All in all I feel it can take you places if you open up to it, so sit back, relax and start the journey!
 
AUDIO