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MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Don Peyote - Eternal Now
STYLE  

Drifting, floatational ambience with a consistently exotic air. The seven tracks here were initially recorded as one long piece, the continuous flow later being marked off into distinct sections. As a result the overall impression is one of almost imperceptible shifts morphing a single thread into varying forms. Soft beds of tone and delicate drone hazes form inviting atmospheres wherein the rich, sonorous chimes of beautiful brass and crystal singing bowls echo and ring. Many of the metallics appear to have been struck with soft beaters, their padded knells muted and mellow. Deep vocalisations join the mix in places, the layered reverberations of overtone throat singing by Tenzing Tsewang smoothly rising and falling into an almost steady sonic state. Subtle effects ebb and flow on the edges of perception, bringing further variety to the music. Apparently Eternal now was composed and recorded in just 3 weeks - which says Don "is a record time for me !!"

 
MOOD   The mood is meditative and eminently peaceful, the gentle warmth of the music lifting the listener into mental weightlessness. The various bells and gongs create a transportational effect, their lush sounds suggestive of far off places and tranquil settings. The thematic emphasis on air is apparent throughout as the music wafts, drifts and hangs in gossamer strands - very light, balmy, ethereal.
   
ARTWORK   Eternal Now comes in an eco-friendly card sleeve that opens gatefold fashion into two panels. On the front is a bright mandala-like disc as if made entirely from mercury rising from the glassy surface of some perfectly still body of liquid. Central to the circular form is a vivid blue iris with black pupil. Heavy sunset clouds in soft focus colour the graduated blue sky behind in hues of orange and dark grey. The rear cover holds a simple tracklist and relevant logos. Within there is a cloudscape to the left with brief recording details, credits, thanks and contact information. To the right a poetic description of the project from DJ Krusty.

  
OVERALL   

Eternal Now is the latest solo project from Don Peyote and is released via his own Don Peyote Recordings. The album comes as the follow-up to the 2007 CD Peyote Dreaming, yet the ambient approach of Eternal Now picks up a thread left from earlier works Between Worlds and Dreamcatcher. Whereas the previous recordings dealt with the elements of earth and water respectively, this latest offering focuses on the nature of air. Don tells us that "the bells and gongs were recorded 10 years ago, playing around randomly with a friend's collection of brass and crystal singing bowls. I wanted a warm and deep sound for this recording so the digital gizmos were avoided in favor of multi-layered analog synths."

 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   This is an album that will appeal to chillout fans looking for something utterly restful and beatless. The reflective calm of this music is incredibly immersive and absorbing. Why not try the samples on the web page here.
     
SOUNDS  


 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Circular - Substans
STYLE   Ambient soundscaping and feather light grooves. Substans is a delicate album of inventive electronica that approaches the increasingly broad modern ambient genre very much from the Ultimae perspective. The album presents beautifully floatational atmospheres and beguiling sonic environments that are full of understated fragile melodic structures and dreamy gossamer phrases. Reverberating guitar forms and highly individual synth patterns roll and evolve as a broad palette of peculiar effects and manipulated noise add to the constantly varying mix. The rhythmic material is both musical and percussive - at times repetition of brief motifs establishing the pace - often slight beats are used, light airy grooves that aptly complement the musical layers. The odd voice at times drifts to the surface - barely discernable spoken word, conversational snatches or children's cries. The final tracks wind down to a very tranquil conclusion.
 
ARTWORK   Ultimae packaging at its best - the cover panorama features water surfaces and melting ice, liquid curves and reflected light all with a cool blue tint. Inside the imagery is of a gorgeous almost white - natural forms as close to abstraction as possible. The card digipack holds a sixteen page glossy booklet full of the work of a collective of photographers and designers. A page for each track, lush and creative. The last pages of the booklet hold credits and thanks along with relevant contact and website information.
 
OVERALL   

Circular have been around for a few years now, having originally been conceived in the autumn of 1995. The project is that of Norwegian duo Bjarte Andreassen and Jostein Dahl Gjelsvik. Their debut album Nanotopia was released in 1997 and was followed by two further full length releases in 1999 and 2004. Now turning to French Ultimae, Circular couldn't sound more fitting as a part of this iconic ambient, downtempo label's roster. Moving from arctic ambient sounds into wider material, Circular presently deliver a suitably panoramic, multi-faceted sonic experience with conscious nods to Future Sound of London. The thirteen tracks here range in length from around two to nine and a half minutes - very much a unified whole, wonderfully moody and consistently high quality. Catch the Ultimae presentation for the album here.

 

 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Seventhswami - Here For Now
STYLE  

Downtempo glitch-hop instrumentals. This is firstly an album of impressive, powerful rhythmic structure - the confident breaks and hiphop beats here are inventively developed by some very dynamic complementary musical effects - a dazzling array of crisp synthetic phrases, zappy effects, bass throbs and acidic squirts of tone. Melody is very much secondary, often terse, muted or carried by buzzing or sharp tones, and frequently placed deep within the mix. Yet the pithy phrases and melodic forms that for the most part dance unobtrusively among the grooves at times gather into stirring beauty as on the orientally flavoured Forever You Forever Me or the somewhat wistful Serpiente Cosmica. Vocal elements are employed frequently almost as instrumental touches; snatches of speech, repeated transmissions, beatbox percussives, murmurings, philosophical musings and even one complete song courtesy of Souleye. Ethnic hints arise in places, guitar lines, global beats, sampled wavs - all chopped, distorted or digitally enhanced to jerk into place.

 
MOOD   Here For Now maintains a rhythmic high throughout; a tribal intensity with technological ingenuity and calculated complexity. The music, although downtempo, is full of energy and frenetic detail - a well-executed, busy audio collage. The emphasis on sharp jets of sound, waspish synthetics, glitch phrasing, and sonic mangling creates a brittle soundscape; a light, bright flickering energy. The comparatively gentle tuneful strokes that lurk among the percussives and corrosive noise seem all the more delicate by juxtaposition.
   
ARTWORK   A clever piece of graphic imagery fronts this jewelcase package - massing butterflies for just a moment gather into human form - as if caught at the point of dissipating, their silhouetted shapes dark against an off-white ground. Hazy hints of these same winged shadows recur throughout the artwork as ghostly smudges or soft-focus swarms. The rear cover presents the tracklist along with some brief credits. Inside most of the space is given over to suggestions of butterfly shadows on the same pale background; website details are provided here as well as a footing of 'special thanks'.
  
OVERALL    Here For Now is the debut album from West Coast DJ, Producer, Graphic Designer and “Missionary of Music”, SeventhSwami. Joining the swelling ranks of genre breaking chill artists at Mutimusic, Seventhswami look set to make quite an impact with this strong release of consistently inventive tracks. The label use terms like wonky, dubstep, glitch-hop and leftfield to place the album appropriately in the sonic universe - what this means is that Seventhswami tap into an unbiased variety of styles in producing this surprisingly tight
 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   If you are looking for something chilled yet bursting with dynamism, something to dance to yet great for headphones too - you should give this album a listen. Comparisons have been made with Tipper and edIT and Seventhswami are certainly well placed at Muti, fitting well with previous output from the label. Best you have a listen to the samples - http://www.seventhswami.com/herefornow/
     
SOUNDS  
Go to Beatport.com Get These Tracks Add This Player

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Zen Lemonade - Babylondon
STYLE  

Exotic electronic dub and downtempo. Babylondon is a genre crossing album of psychedelic chill that draws on elements of jazz, progressive rock, ambient and global techno threading these diverse strands together around a central cord of dubby basslines and lazy beats. Gamelans ring in muted clangour, their rich metallic tones thick against smooth synthesiser pads; dreamy female vocals bring a touch of soul whilst acoustic guitars strum; international drum sounds contrast tribal rhythms against reggae influenced grooves and chordal stabs. Trumpet phrases, spoken word and yells, funky electric guitar work and scratch effects broaden the sonic pallette as tracks range from the blissfully laidback Petrushka Pt. 2 to the mechanically energetic Rodnet. The drums have 'real' sound with additional programming and crisp effects deftly enhancing this technically very lucid soundscape.

 
MOOD   Babylondon maintains an upbeat brightness throughout the album even when lazing in the tranquillity of the more ambient tracks. The melting pot of styles approach has been carefully controlled so as not to lose the project's distinct identity - rather this enmeshing of lush organic global sounds with unencumbered genre sprawling has resulted in a rather tight unity of tropical roots electronica.
   
ARTWORK   Bathed all over in soft gold, the Babylondon artwork features a selection of images dropped down in tone to simple black and white - guitars, decks, cassettes, sax, headphones and shots of the duo themselves. This graphic approach calls to mind some of the iconic reggae album covers of yesteryear. The front cover sees the aforementioned musical items distributed as if fruits on the tips of a large grasslike growth - two figures relax under its shade gazing at a lone butterfly. A tracklist appears on the rear, a three panel fold-out within. The graphically rich insert contains lyrics, writing and recording information, credits and thanks.
  
OVERALL   

Zen Lemonade are the Bali based duo Gus Till and Super Cozi, a project that has been together since the year 2000. Previously releasing their debut Lemon Soul via Dragonfly, appearing on a number of compilation albums as well as delivering solo material in a range of genres, the pair now presents Babylondon through Greek label Electronic Soundscapes six years after their first CD. Having taken up residence in Bali around 2002, the new album clearly benefits from the colourful cultural influences of the island with a variety of ethnic sounds woven neatly into the mix. Guest appearances from such notables as Steve Hillage and Tim Valkenburg on guitar, Simon Polinsky and Joe Creighton on bass with percussive support from Geoffrey Hales further add to the appeal and variety of the album.

 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   Babylondon is an album for dub fans that enjoy a bit of unrestricted exploration with a touch of the sunshine. Danceable chillout for lovers of real music.

     
SOUNDS  
Go to Beatport.com Get These Tracks Add This Player

 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

PETE ARDRON - INSIDE THE VOICE INSIDE

 

 

 ----------Pete Ardron - Inside the Voice Inside
STYLE  

Smooth downtempo electronica with delicate global flavours. Inside the Voice Inside builds jazzy, downbeat trance and lounge structures into eclectic, dreamy soundscapes that have that ambient ability to blend into the background of your sonic environment or might equally reward a session of relaxed headphone listening. Some dubby rhythms set in in places with complementary off beat stabs - these and some of the other more techno-influenced beats making for a danceable experience should you wish. Indian voices, international drum sounds, wiry drones, spoken word, brass phrases and various effects enliven the primarily synthetic sound canvases of this album. Ardron tends to lay down silky washes and gentle sweeps, building bubbly arpeggios or squelchy bass lines to complement his light, airy beats - the overall effect is warm and peaceful like early sunshine on a tropical beach.

 
ARTWORK   Currently I haven't seen the full artwork for this package - all I have is the soft focus, lilac hued cover image seen above left.
 
OVERALL   

DJ, Producer, Mastering Engineer, Remixer, and Design artist Pete Ardron may well be known to many listeners through his festival performances as part of the group Orchid Star. He has previously released albums through such labels as Liquid Sound, Universal Egg and Ultra Vista Recordings. This current CD Inside the Voice Inside is delivered via Cyberset Records and is aimed at the ambient, downtempo and chillout market. The nine tracks on the current disc are all mid-length arrangements ranging from about four and a half minutes to eight. Cyberset explain that "Inside The Voice Inside takes a listener into vocal atmospheres, deeply dubbed grooves, jazz inspired rhythms and pretty much influences from all sides of electronica". Perhaps the samples on the official Pete Ardron website might take your fancy.

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Julio Di Benedetto - Living At A Higher Frequency
STYLE  

Synthetic ambient and meditative chill. Living At A Higher Frequency is a delicate collection of instrumental tracks that range from subtle ambient groove, through drifting downtempo into light dance inspired electronica. Most tracks are built around intriguingly airy programmed beats that edge somewhat toward glitch at times with percussive structures that combine sequential tones and inventive electro-hits. The rhythms are generally restful and serene and woven densely into the music. The melodic forms on the album are understated affairs, yet often these are quite, quite beautiful and inspiring. There is a sparse oriental elegance to much of the music, a poetic restraint and sense of wonder with effective use of sonic texturing, and fragile pads and washes. Far Eastern sounds sometimes arise among the electronic cleanliness with a slightly haunting effect (I'm reminded a little of some of the sounds used on Japan's Tin Drum album). Very contemporary and cinematic yet with just enough of that appealing timelessness that helps a recording to endure.

 
MOOD   The mood of this double disc album varies across a range of gentle and quiet downbeat emotions. Some pieces have a warm soporific effect, lulling and inviting with hypnotic, morphing repetitions rolling in in tranquil waves. There are some introspective and cerebral passages where the rhythmic forms drive a little harder, and the patterns take on a more crystalline shape.
   
ARTWORK   Living At A Higher Frequency arrives in a tight digipack with the twin discs neatly folded against one another on two of three panels. The outside of the package panoramas out into a triple spread where the dominant colour is that of the broad white borders - letter-boxed in the centre of each panel is a set of four small images that juxtapose blooms and foliage against the cables, dials and sockets of recording equipment. The back panel presents the tracklist and website details. The inner section has one panel to the left of the CDs themselves where credits and a gear list are laid out as well as a thankyou, a dedication and contact info.
  
OVERALL   

US artist Julio Di Benedetto releases his debut Living At A Higher Frequency as a double album of works recorded over the five year period 2001 to 2006. The twenty two tracks of the album are laid out in chronological order as recorded beginning with the earliest. Disc one and disc two both open with a series of ambient recordings that are followed by more dynamic material on the latter halves of the discs, The music deals with some very personal matters and draws on a range of inspirational sources such as Zen poetry and Tibetan literature. Julio's blog provides a wealth of background and supporting information for anyone wanting to learn more about the music and the official website contains samples and purchasing links.

 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   This is a surprisingly high quality release of tastefully melodic ambient beauty. You might well enjoy this album if you are a fan of French label Ultimae - the clear synth work being sufficiently engaging to listen to on headphones whilst also making for a rather blissful sonic backdrop.