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MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------ Chanting Stones - Chanting Stones
STYLE   Subdued, cinematic downtempo electronica. Chanting Stones presents here a wonderfully consistent album of moody instrumentals - smooth synthscapes with lulling melodies, unhurried beats and magical atmospheres. Striking piano stabs, chords and leads add a dramatic air, whilst subtle world elements introduce mystery and a touch of the exotic - all of this bound up in a dark aesthetic that steeps the album in elegant dignity. Unlike many contemporary digital musicians Chanting Stones relies little upon cycling arpeggios and frequent repetition - instead these tracks reveal unfolding melodies and expressive themes.
 
MOOD   Sober, ceremonial at times - Chanting Stones has a forlorn beauty that tugs at the heart. Other moments are gentle, pools of serenity, leading the listener skyward into the light. Rhythmic aspects lift the brooding harmonies into graceful movement - muted hits and reverberating loops maintaining the spellbinding allure of timelessness yet, at the same time, lodging the sound firmly in the current moment.
 
ARTWORK   A delightfully classy package - the CD jewelcase comes wrapped in a card sleeve mirroring the internal artwork. The creeping tendrils of a late season vine criss-cross a thickly textured wall in shades of russet and bronze, graphic rings adding another level of visual impact - the only text here is the title 'Chanting Stones'. On the reverse is a darker wall with track titles laid out in descending steps. This uncluttered charm is further developed within - the two page booklet opening out to provide a discussion of the project, credits and thanks.
 
OVERALL    This is a lovely album of sumptuous electronica showing just how much emotion can be wrought from technology. James Bitz' debut carries the diverse influences of classical Baroque at one extreme and recent Leeb/Fulber releases at the other. His compositions show plenty of passion unfurled under tasteful restraint and a developing individuality that will be interesting to chart in the future. This self titled CD is released through Orange Music.
 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   Chanting Stones will appeal to electronica lovers who like a bit of shady liquid grace to their music. If you enjoy artists like Amethystium and Blue Stone or the Delerium instrumentals - you must give this CD a listen.
 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------ Mysteria - Tempting The Muse
STYLE   Vocal and instrumental ethereal electronica brimming with Mysteria combines gentle breakbeats with moody electronica and a range of atmospheric embellishments such as chanting monks, angelic choirs, tiinkling pianos and mellotron flutes. There are sparingly employed ethnic elements woven both into the melodies and the beats - the odd slap of a tabla, the occassional waft of a flute sample. Tempting The Muse is an inviting mix that manages to feel strangely familiar, almost as though heard somewhere in the distant past, yet at the same time fresh and new. There are memorable melodies that you'll carry around with you and sensual songs that
 
MOOD   Blissful grooves and gentle themes make this a very restful album - hints of the sacred pepper the music throughout as do sensual, whispering voices and a wealth of gossamer peripherals. The tone is one of optimistic rapture, non-denominational musings giving wings to many tracks, suggestive of
 
ARTWORK   As is the case with most of Intentcity's releases, Tempting The Muse is a glossy digipack rich in montaged imagery and luxurious fonts. The front cover features an off-centre many-armed figure clad in gold with pointed wings - ornate architecture and statuary filling the shadows behind. Similar combinations fill most of the other panels along with fiery skies and pool sof deep shade. The overall effect is one of drama and opulence, enhanced by quotes from Blake and Rumi. Track information is briefly presented on the back of the package and with generous detail within.
 
OVERALL    Msteria is the latest project from skilled composer Mark Adams Allison - previous incarnations including Phobos and Spirit Level. Having considerable past experience, Mysteria do this well, pulling off a journey into territory that can easily seem previously claimed by other artists. Indeed the cover sticker proclaims that this is an album "in the spirit of Enigma, Delerium and Dead Can Dance" but rather than sounding like another rip-off collection, Mysteria have their own distict take on the genre. Adams Allison has a nice answer for certain critics - "Some people think my music sounds like Enigma. Honestly, I think that is because they may not be familar with this genre. I know that before I started really listening to jazz it all sounded the same to me".
 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   Mysteria have carefully selected a target audience - and in addition to the artists mentioned above, you should give this album a try if you enjoy Blue Stone, Amethystium or Chanting Stones.
 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------ Electrypnose - Subliminal Melancholies
STYLE   Bright, digital downtempo grooves, with clean synthetic melodies. Subliminal Melancholies opens with some deep spacey ambience - expansive and open, the plaintive cries of whales echoing in the depths before one of the most delightful, glitchy beats sets in. The album unfolds into a series of carefully crafted tracks where alien voices, didgeridoos, and guitars enhance the primary synthesiser arrangements. Electrypnose doesn't overdo the use of arpeggiation or the repetition of cycling patterns - there are plenty of well developed motifs and melodies here. One of the most enjoyable aspects of this CD is the beat construction - fragmented rhythms that are constantly varying and twisting - lo-fi crunches and muted loops, patterns fed through rolling effects, all enhancing the basic rhythms..
 
MOOD   Lucid electronic dream spaces - at times hypnotic and trancey, then melodic and wistful. Indeed a melancholy air in keeping with the title is held through many of the tracks - the choice of key and chordal patterns leading to harmonies and themes that automatically suggest gentle sorrows.
 
ARTWORK   Clear sky blue panels support a variety of graphic abstractions in shades of grey suggestive of undefined technical equipment. The CD comes with a two page booklet that opens out to relay thanks, credits and contact info. Track details are on the rear.
 
OVERALL    This is a strong downtempo debut from Switzerland's Vin's le Barde. As Electrypnose he has already had tracks featured on Ajana's 'A Magical Journey' compilation series. Electrypnose describes his chosen styles as "hard night, trippy, totally disturbed, full on, morning, melodic and .... ambient, trip hop, melodic electronic music, sofa surfing, experimental inspired by Aphex Twin or venetian snare ... and more" - quite a range, yet the result is tightly coherent and with a tidy vision of its own. As his most inventive Vin's produces tracks where almost every bar differs from the next - especially well done in the excellent opening track 'Submarine'.
 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   Chillout fans looking for pure electronica with a bit of emotive content. Electrypnose will appeal if you like something that demands a bit of attention and rewards your concentration.
 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------ Jeffrey Koepper - Momentium
MUSIC   

Eight pieces of pure synthesiser music performed on vintage equipment, rooted in the Berlin school aesthetic with an eye on the future. Momentium has a clean sound with emphasis on rippling sequencer patterns and evolving rhythmic arrangements. Variations in intensity, cycle elements, or melodic overlays lead the compositions onward, the interplay of layered sequences introducing a fascinating complexity at times. There are some ambient passages, such as the swirling 'Outside' where smooth pads and harmonious drones dominate, in other places pools of electronic mist and sonic turbulence boil and roll. In general the beats used on most tracks are somewhat underplayed, subtle structures playing second fiddle to rhythmic tone elements, maintaining a spacey elegance that ranges from warm themes into ashen, shadowy mystery.

 
ARTWORK   A lush digipack that folds out into three panels - each bathed in an obscure diffused light. The simple front cover holds only the title and name, the rear a track list with gear used on each piece. Inside we have a portrait of the artist posed before a bank of vintage synths, another track list, credits, thanks and contact information.
 
OVERALL    

Jeffrey Koepper is no newcomer to the business having been releasing material since 1985 in various groups and collaborations. This CD fulfils his aim to create a contemporary development employing vintage equipment. Those appreciating classic equipment will appreciate the use of "instruments by Oberheim, Arp, Sequential Circuits, Moog, PPG, Emu, Roland". Tangerine Dream fans will note familiar elements to this music, yet Steve Roach listeners will also find hints of modern ambient influence. Indeed Steve Roach is credited not only with mastering and 'enhancements', but he also contributed to the content of a number of pieces.

 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------ Andrew Liles - The Dying Submariner
MUSIC    Subtitled - A Concerto for Piano and Reverberation in Four Movements - this CD is self-descriptive. Ominous drones, muted and dark open the album, turning in slow turbulence, rumbling with depth - initially minimal in melodic structure, but increasingly harmonious as the piano origins of the sounds gradually become increasingly apparent. The Dying Submariner is not a comfortable composition though, almost as soon as musical clarity is established Liles introduces strongly dissonant notes, disrupting the harmony. At times reverberation is all encompassing, thunderous in places or a thick sonic smog in others. Emergent piano tones run the full range of the keyboard from simple, bold low tolls to tinkling complexity and rippling scales - at times almost free of the ambience of echoes, then once again enshrouded in a blanket of softening sustain.
 
ARTWORK   This appealing package is presented in the fashion of vinyl LPs from a few decades back. A card gatefold opens out to reveal a double panel image of a deep sea diver emerging from green murk - no plastic CD holder to mar the effect. The disc in fact is pocketed in the card sleeve and protected in a plastic wallet. The front cover image of a fish pulled from the ocean depths - dead and eyes and crinkling, transparent skin afloat on an infinity of blackness - hints at the musical tone often explored on the CD. Text is minimal providing little more than contact and label details - a track list appearing only on the disc itself.
 
OVERALL     Andrew Liles has built up a substantial body of work since the mid 1980s and has collaborated with numerous other artists. Here he presents here a powerful, experimental composition that explores obscure liquid aural bodies of sound and the imaginary contents of such; tenebrous, amorphous, neo-classical, like nothing you've ever heard. The Dying Submariner is released on Beta-Lactam Ring Records and will appeal primarily to fans of dark ambient music looking for something different.
 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------ Rodrigo Rodriguez - Inner Thoughts
STYLE  

Largely acoustic instrumental compositions enhanced with some vocal and electronic additions. Inner thoughts features clean guitar work, soothing flutes and delicate, tuneful melodies. There are tracks of beautiful simplicity where Rodrigo's shakuhachi flute playing wafts in dreamy streamers across deft finger picking or lullaby strumming - the Japanese origins of this instrument bringing an oriental serenity. Cristina Brunet's voice brings a somewhat new-age sweetness to a number of pieces - singing in English, yet with a distinctly non-English flavour - drifting, slightly mournful. Other variations include subtle electronic warmth, udu rhythms, the deep sonorous drone of a didgeridoo - these multicultural elements combined artfully to create a truly delightful unity.

 
MOOD   Like gentle sunshine, Inner Thoughts has a warm fresh sound, a bright beauty where atmospheres of elegant melody and graceful chordal patterns dance on the breeze. There are melancholy tones too - aching passages where the heart is touched by the depth of feeling of the instrumentation. Vocal tracks are uncomplicated, airy songs with just a hint of folk influence, distinctive and emotive. The album has a feel of nature about it by virtue of the organic sound sources chosen by Rodrigo and the restful arrangements.
 
ARTWORK   A photographic abstraction - blue, grey, black, white streaks the front cover - simple text Rodrigo Rodriguez Inner Thoughts. The tracklist on the reverse is backed by a pastoral scene, reflected trees on water, low moody sun bruising the sky. Inside the CD booklet we have credits, thanks and an explanation of the project. A portrait of Rodrigo and Cristina takes up the remaining internal panel.
 
OVERALL    This is a very tranquil collection of pieces ranging from ambient floatation to guitar and voice, the ethnic individuality of Mongolian chants, oceanic drones and udu pots juxtaposing western sensibilities and specially tuned guitars. Based now in Japan, Rodrigo is no musical dabbler, with a keen interest in Japanese traditional music he studies with Horacio Curti and with Grand Master, Kaoru Kakizakai in the International Shakuhachi Kenshu-kan School.
 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   Inner Thoughts will have a wide appeal with something of interest for lovers of world sounds, new age fans and ambient listeners open to plenty of traditional elements in the overall collection.