Berry - Slow Motion Pictures
Retro synth music with male
vocals. Paul Berry creates electronic tracks with a strong
eighties influence fuelling the arrangements - echoes of
Ultravox, Tubeway Army and Human League can be discerned
in the mix, the music for machines aesthetic of the decade
subtly humanised with various organic touches. For the most
part the tracks are laid back downtempo affairs - rippling
arpeggios and smooth sweeps are enhanced with a range of
slightly spacey effects, chord stabs and the occasional
guitar slash. Driving the music are programmed beats with
a mix or real drum sounds and synthetic hits. Paul's singing
is delivered with the restrained cool that characterises
many of his influences - John Foxx, Gary Numan - slightly
mechanical, low-light musings.
Motion Pictures is a download album and so artwork is in appropriate
form. A front cover image of graphic spider-web swirls runs
in a bold diagonal. Bright red highlights across greys and
black. The CD case (a limited number of which are available
from Paul's website) holds a rear image that blows up a portion
of the front cover - spikes and curls here filling most of
the panel - a track list in the upper left quadrant.
||This is the second
album from UK based Paul Berry. Slow Motion Pictures follows
the debut album Parallel and is available from Paul's own
The album comes as a free download with nine tracks, a colour
pdf of the lyrics is also available from the lyrics page of
the site should you wish to explore further. Paul's music
will appeal to fans of the slightly darker end of the synth
clone sound that was popular a couple of decades ago.
Campbell - Ghost Stories
guitar instrumentals with vocal and electronic enhancements.
Over the streaming sibilance of the wind comes a delicate
guitar melody - clear fingering, virtuoso classical style,
moody of nature. Wordless vocalisations from singer Anne
Taft add to the crepuscular atmosphere - effortless soarings
and ethereal meanderings that hang in the air. The electronics
are very subtle - almost invisible for the most part, faint
soundscapings that highlight the guitar work and at the
same time emphasise the mysterious quality of the themes.
Neil's deft instrumentation has Spanish elements in the
delivery, elegantly plucked melodies atop secondary patterns
that ring with a comfortable clarity that belies the dexterity
need for such beautiful form.
CD comes in a jewelcase with a two panel insert. On the front
a burst of light beams over a dark backdrop with a partially
hidden square of a darker hue - simple titles here, barely
any text at all on the rear cover. Inside is where we find
the information - plain black double panel - a quote from
Beckett to the left; track titles, credits and website details
to the right.
Campbell is a man of diverse interests and pursuits having
worked as free improviser, singer songwriter, systems music
composer, band leader and virtuoso guitar soloist; being
influenced by progressive rock, krautrock, ambient, systems
music, jazz rock, French impressionism and all sorts of
electronic music. Ghost Stories comes as the follow-up to
Particle Theory released early in 2008 but has a quite different
sound - here almost a solo guitar approach, reflective,
enigmatic. Actually this album is more akin to Neil's 2004
release Night Sketches - almost picking up where that album
left off. Four compositions make up this latest release
- the first Ghost Story Suite being broken into ten distinct
sections over almost half an hour. Following this come three
additional short pieces of a similar nature.
Corbacho - Breath Stream
drifting ambient zones - beatless, minimal. The series of
compositions on Breath Stream are smooth, flowing sonic states
that fade seamlessly one into another creating an unbroken
listening experience. Airy drones and steady velvet washes
gently rise and fall in graceful slow motion, the sound thickening
into harmonious even tone in places, then dispersing into
almost atonal enormity. At times the intensity of the music
drops down low as if the listener were increasingly isolated,
distant, remote - or perhaps simply more profoundly at rest,
wholly immersed and almost motionless. Beguiling effects burble
or flutter on the peripheries, little motes and flickers some
barely perceived, sonic breezes drifting through the aural
most pervasive mood here is one of almost blissful submission
- a captivating serenity imbued with a sense of enveloping
immensity. The track titles effectively draw together strands
of galactic isolation and deeply personal inner experience
- The Great Breath, This Luminous Space, No Day nor Night,
Pure Being. Max's music suggests the tranquil euphoria of
being suspended weightless among morphing luminous nebulae,
warm clouds of shifting colour, beautiful dreams and faintly
Breath Stream jewelcase is a deep, dark spacey blue package.
Initially the main image appears as a view of infinite space
- closer inspection reveals a horizon, one bright spiralling
arm laid out like a flat plain stretching away into the distance.
Above starlike clusters form further spirals, spirals of spirals
- clusters of imaginary galaxies. Similar visuals fill the
rear cover - an unobtrusive tracklist hanging in the upper
left quadrant - times alongside. The two panel insert opens
to display a closer view of the front cover image - here focussed
on the foreground - a little like a glass bottomed boat to
the universe. Information is minimal - credits to the left
a quote from Vietnamese Monk Thich Nhat Hanh to the right
- "Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness,
which unites your body to your thoughts."
Stream builds upon the solid foundation laid down by Max Corbacho's
previous release The Talisman. Coming now as the eighth release
from this rising Spanish ambient star - the new album exhibits
a formidable depth of sound unveiled with masterful restraint.
Much of the music arose from long improvisational sessions
utilising Max's collection of hardware synths, catching those
moments of magic - selecting and arranging the most absorbing
passages into unbroken flow. The album is to be the first
of a series of digital releases, offering downloads at iTunes,
Amazon, Rhapsody, eMusic and Napster, among others, and, also,
full CD quality downloads through the well respected new download
platform www.musiczeit.com. Catch some samples at the Musiczeit
WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM
you enjoyed The Talisman then Breath Stream will take you
further into the rapture and beauty of Max's enormous musical
space. This is a release for fans of warm, inviting, minimal
ambience with the soft sonic density of Thom Brennan, Numina
and Steve Roach. No beats - just infinite space - effulgent,
dark, rich in colour, perpetually black.
- The Gates of Reality
enigmatic instrumentals full of emotion and imagination.
Australis knit together a broad range of evocative sounds
and stirring atmospheres on this second album. At centre
stage are sweeping themes of synthetic sound - string-like,
chiming, electronic - but all turned somewhat away from
the obvious with deftly applied effects. Piano, electric
and programmed guitar melodies also feature along with operatic
female voices, soaring and heavenly. World sounds frequently
appear, yet these are not overdone - tracks are not centred
on global ephemera - rather these are introduced as sonic
seasoning, associative flavouring. Perhaps the most powerful
aspect of this album is found among the marginal sounds
and interludes - peculiar secondary lines rippling behind
the leads, shadowy textures billowing in quieter corners,
touches of musical theatre such as creaking, dripping and
other environmental recordings - Australis has done a great
job of setting a suitable mood for each piece through these
surrounding details. Human utterances pepper the various
tracks; child-like speech, whispered words - male and female
musings, there are even some distant monks at one point.
Gates of Reality has a magical story book feel running throughout.
This is one of those albums to conjure up dreams and fantasies
- especially suited to low light listening. Many pieces have
powerfully climactic passages where the music peaks into moving
heights before dispersing gradually away, others carry a less
obvious emotional melancholy - downbeat compositions that
tug at the heart evoking a sense of nostalgia or dimly grasped
artwork accompanying the album is well produced and in keeping
with the tone of the music. A wire bird cage, door open tilts
into a rippled dune of sand each contour heavy with the shadows
left behind by a setting sun. Inside the cage is a sunflower
- barely perceived - almost in silhouette. The arid panorama
is beautified by this low light crepuscular mood - heavy grey
cloud underlit with orange. The whole image has effective
antiquing textures and fine scratches that further develop
the mystique of the package. On the back a close up of the
cage before a deeper sunset acts as backdrop to the tracklist
- each with time alongside. The insert opens into three panels
- on the outer spread is an alternative cage and sand image
below a somewhat more fiery sky - here is a second tracklist
and a quote from The White Codices contemplating the nature
of reality. The flip side of the insert is full of information:
credits and thanks leftmost, words and explanation centre
and to the right; contact and website details rightmost.
second CD from Utah based Australis comes four years after
the debut album Lifegiving. Clearly there has been a lot of
growth in the intervening period as this latest release shows
a considerably greater depth and maturity of sound. The Gates
of Reality is released via Essential Noises and contains fourteen
tracks mostly around the five minute mark. Dream-master Oscar
is joined by a number of collaborating artists on the album;
poet Virginia Luna, Andean musician/singer Alvaro Aguayo,
composer/producer Roger Subirana; and singers Mornie Sims
and Rebecca Farraway. Overall this is very solid presentation
- it does deliver the fantasy, it does touch the emotions
and it does have themes that you will remember, unconsciously
humming as you go about your day or drift into sleep.
WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM
you enjoy music that will likely be labelled 'new age' but
has that something extra; that romantic drama; that sense
of musical theatre; that fairy tale setting - this is an album
well worth exploring. The Gates of Reality will appeal to
fans of Enigma, Amethystium, Mythos, Achillea. Have a listen
at the Australis
website - but be warned it's an absorbing site, you might
not come back quickly.
Project - ... And So It Goes
fusion instrumentals and stirring international songs. The
third album from Kaya Project deepens the multinational sound
tapestry and instrumental juxtaposition that has been a hallmark
of much of Natasha Chamberlain and Seb Taylor's music. Male
and female vocals in various languages lead a number of tracks
- not sampled - full songs performed with a passion and feeling
that sample montaging often fails to deliver. Other vocal
performances are wordless - wavering Asian utternaces, gentle
oohs and aahs and Middle Eastern soaring. Indeed this whole
album has a more organic feel than before, more acoustic instruments;
guitar, slide guitar, flute, clarinet, classical Indian violin
and Arabic mowals fused with tribal percussion, breakbeats
and Gypsy jazz. The clear twangs of wires, the soft thuds
of hands on drum skins, heady flute breaths, jangling shakers,
expressive piano and clarinet lines - all are subtly buoyed
up on almost transparent electronic structres. The effect
is well picked up in the cover art - warm and expressive,
transportational and engrossing.
And So It Goes strays somewhat further from its chilled roots
than Walking Through and Elixir. The borders are more confidently
blurred, the different genres more deftly interwoven. The
project has come a long way from the early days of the chilled
worldbeat when ethnic wavs were cut and pasted into electronic
soundscapes as exotic flavouring - Kaya Project have built
up a sound that feels genuinely global in scope, that feels
authentic and natural. Tribal drum beats underpin Romany violin,
orchestral elements walk side by side with ethnic recordings,
Indian singers are accompanied by flamenco guitar, tablas
carry slide guitar and harmonica - the atmosphere is like
a world festival, shared cultures, common vision, joy of music.
rather sumptuous digipack holds this disc. Four matt panels
open out into a broad panoramic spread. On the front cover
and running across to the rear a painting with the bold look
of indigenous art shows a row of twisting trees against a
yellow orange red sky, huge leaves trail as a border along
the top; the tightly coiled roots of the trees curling into
the earth as a lower border. A faint track list appears on
the back cover. Opening out to the first level - a flat beige
ground holds a long list of thanks from Seb and from Interchill,
track by track writing credits and cover shots of the two
previous Kaya Project albums. A further turn of a panel and
the disc is revealed along with performance credits and website
details. A final outfolding exposes a rich branch and leaf
design in similar style to the outer image. Very vivid earthy
hues, strongly textured and confidently lined.
on from the highly successful Elixir - for the third time
Kaya Project deliver their evocative music via Interchill
Records. This has been a creatively fertile period for Seb
Taylor clearly, the release of the Hibernation debut Some
Things Never Change (a different sonic identity focussed more
heavily on electronic sound and deeply chilled glitch) only
weeks back. Here with Natasha Chamberlain on vocals, keyboards
and flute, the attention is on a more live sound with acoustic
instruments including Seb's guitar well employed and mostly
dominating the mix.
WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM
across so many boundaries it's hard to keep up ... And So
It Goes will likely appeal to fans coming in from the downbeat
club scene enjoying global sound, but so too fans of Deep
Forest, Real World, Afro Celts and other worldbeat acts will
find plenty here to enjoy.
Languid lounge piano, guitar fingering and fret motion,
flitting clarinet lines and violin strains interact with
smooth electronic drones across a restful tabla rhythm fused
with a light drum beat. International voices wail and croon
in unison. This drawing together of diverse sound sources
setting the tone for all that is to follow.
JAMMING WITH MARCO
Slide guitar, harmonica and Marco De Luca’s spoken
words introduce and lead this lazy downtempo track. Clarinet
duets with bottlenecked and bowed strings atop another ethnic-Western
Solo clarinet and wordless, sensual female singing open
this piece, then continue as elements among orchestral flourishes,
double bass and jazzy beat. The dreamy tempo is maintained,
the melodies understated and appearing somewhat improvisational.
Double bass, lightly strummed acoustic guitar and piano
support Randolph Matthew’s gentle singing in what
is the first ‘song’ of the album. Again the
percussive material is laid back, combining hand drums and
kit work – unobtrusive and buoyant.
A light breakbeat, electric wah wah guitar and some deft
mandolin fingering work around the voice of male Indian
singer Deeyah. Violin played with Asian intricacies maintains
the exotic nature of this piece – easy on the ear,
something of a tropical sunset feel.
FIVE PLUS EIGHT
A tribal beat with echoing shakers and flute flutters gradually
builds - guitar rolls in smoothly and a delightfully meandering
Indian flute takes the lead.
As might be expected the bowed moan of the saranghi leads
this piece - an energetic tabla and pacey drum beat driving
the rhythm. Sabiha Khan and Natasha Chamberlain both sing
airy phrases among the twisting saranghi melodies. Bright
Deeply oriental - this track is the first to be structured
without a main beat. Delicate pucks and strums steeped in
the traditions of the Far East support faint flute swells.
Highly atmospheric and meditative - an introspective interlude
in the centre of the festival.
... & SO IT GOES
The title track wells up from a bed of crickets into a juxtaposition
of slide guitar and busy flute glissandos. The beat and
bassline are more danceable here - male yells and calls
adding extra emphasis. Violin joins the mix - rapid scales
in pace with the flute parts. Typical of the album ... &
So It Goes is a melting pot of genres; Western structures
join global sounds and instruments associated with both
classical and pop culture work in unison. Crickets fade.
An easy rhythm introduces Randolph Matthews' next song.
Lolling double bass and idle slide guitar are given slightly
magical touch as twinkling chimes and sensual female vocals
brush the surface.
Aptly titles - a brooding tone inhabits this track. Sabiha
Khan's voice in contrast with the low acoustic guitar patterns.
In further contrast clarinet and Indian violin play off
one another. The beat is mid paced - a further fusion of
tabla and drum kit ... hypnotic and cycling, the various
elements ebbing and flowing, taking turns at centre stage.
Surprisingly coherent blend of such diverse instrumentation.
Lifting the pace a little - the now familiar ensemble presents
a sound that here feels Middle Eastern. A cinematic aspect
is heightened by broad string sweeps and strongly effected
voices bathed in reverb. In places the beat disperses allowing
the hand drumming to come to the fore - the worldbeat nature
welling up ever more powerfully in these interludes.
A second beatless space unfurls. Synthetic pads and contemplative
piano over rippling guitar fingering. The main melody comes
in the form of a rather plaintive clarinet. The blissful,
sleepy tenor of Drift is heightened by the Natasha's wordlessly
As the carnival reawakens - low toned drums set a very slow
pace. Rapid acoustic guitar patterns dance lightly with
beguiling ease as a female voice and stabbing violin glissando
stretch the laziness of the rhythm. Just as the wave of
energy feels about to break, the music almost sighs back
into restraint. A spoken female voice leading us off into
the next track.
Bekhudi continues the soporific state built up over the
last few compositions with a drawn out introduction. When
the beat begins and the various instruments take their turns,
the unlikely band of widely gathered players now sound as
natural as if these are sounds that have always been side
by side. This is a pretty representative track - very effective
downbeat global lounge music.
OUSIDE LOOKING IN
Randolph Matthews sings for the last time - the slide guitars,
tablas, strings, supporting female voices all in passionate
harmony. A dramatic weight energises this piece - broad
and filmic - a touch of theatrical magic in the air.
UNDER THE SPELL
The album concludes with a much laid back track - Seb's
clean guitar playing rolls across a gentle shaker rhythm.
Natasha Chamberlain's dreamy utterances float above - soporific
- beautiful Asian violin equally unhurried takes its turn
among the fairy tale chimes and fades...
Robbins - Carrying the Bag of Hearts Interpreting the Birth
of Stars Vol.III
electronic soundscapes. The four pieces here shift and twist
throughout their length - narrative themes that take the
listener on a journey of imagination. Filmic strings sweep
across a lazy downtempo beat, electronic twinkles and air
movements dancing across the underlying pads. A dark ambient
zone slowly shifts until an elegant piano solos across grey
synthetic textures - shifting once more an electro groove
deep within chimes leads the way into another passage of
slightly acidic melody tones. Electric guitar fingering,
frets squeaking, juxtaposes airy drones of a somewhat heavenly
nature - this expansive piece seems to be the first track
to maintain identity from start to finish - then just when
you have concluded that the harmony of the piece will continue
until the end - a flex - a shift - a fresh beat fades in
guitar fades out. The Train To Rhinecliff works in reverse
to the previous arrangements - rhythm setting in quite early,
a sequential synth pattern that is soon joined by a dramatic
programmed beat. The image of a train is suggested effectively
as the mechanical cycling structures roll around against
a tractor-like bassline. But midway the grunting low frequencies
are left more alone to carry the beat - gradually ebbing
away into ambient space. A gloomy emptiness wells up briefly
before a warm clarinet sound carries in the beat once more,
finally dispersing into a more atmospheric beatlessness.
Like drifting above the clouds - light and harmonious, the
album concludes smoothly, gently.
more Janet Robbins' own artwork adorns this jewel case package.
The now familiar image from volumes one and two of this series
shows a female figure with bright auburn hair bent sideways
at an improbable angle floating across a landscape of green
torn in two by a brick red stream. On the rear the spreading
green, grey, black cuboid projections again accompany a tracklist
and contact information. Inside is a single sheet insert -
the female figure here in black line art, a glittering heart
hovering just above her nearly touching hands. Text fills
the image: a note from Janet about the project, notification
that part of the proceeds go to building an animal sanctuary,
is the third and final part of the Carrying the Bag of Hearts
Interpreting the Birth of Stars trilogy. Once again an ambitious
album of cinematic scope and widely varying tone. Environmental
recordings combine with deft synthesiser work, gutsy basses,
live guitar playing, Tibetan bowls and semi-classical string
arrangements. The four pieces on the album are relatively
lengthy compositions from six minutes twenty seconds through
to nine minutes thirty six - allowing plenty of space for
narrative progression within each track. This is a powerful
conclusion to the set - all the dark beauty and symphonic
grandeur of its predecessors. If you own parts one and two
- part three is a must.