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MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Perpetual Loop - Catching Zinc
STYLE   Blissful downtempo trance instrumentals with plenty of diverse global elements. Catching Zinc delivers a series of smooth psychedelic chill compositions with multi-layered liquid synths and a generally restful vibe. The tracks here are in the form of meandering sonic excursions through attractive, broad soundscapes that are never the same for long. Arpeggio patterns frequently drive the music in varying forms - colourful digital voices constantly morphing from a faint flicker of sound at times to a full on pulse of bass and complementary lead. Tablas and hand drums fuse with programmed grooves whilst tinkling chimes and swishing electronics dance above. Spoken voice samples, ethnic songs, baby calls and cycling chants appear in many of the tracks adding further levels to the already lush arrangements.
 
MOOD   Catching Zinc has an air of tranquillity about it whilst for the most part remaining invitingly upbeat and positive. The synth work has a warm fluidity and a somewhat cinematic nature, further brightened by crisp effects that tickle the ears with peripheral detail. Stratospheric sweeps and hazy pads often give the music a floatational feel: Trapped In The Inconceivable for example having a drifting weightlessness that threatens to buoy the listener heavenward as the beats dissipate and breeze back once more.
   
ARTWORK   I have only seen the front cover so far for this release. As you can see above this is made up of a lattice work of criss-crossed conifer twigs, colours tweaked into dazzling positive and negative variations. Gradually the more distant shapes fade into a frosty pale blue - simple title to the top right.
  
OVERALL    This is the second full length release from Perpetual Loop and follow-up to the 2006 release Universal Flow. This time the UK's Charles Massey delivers the goods through the brand new Digital Duvet digital label having refined his act through three years of live performance and broadened experience of the downtempo world. Whereas the previous album was primarily a studio recording, this new music has been road tested and as a result has a greater depth and solidity to it. Melodic content is vivid and frequently quite beautiful now, this along with the high level of sound quality and production seeing Perpetual Loop surely rise into the upper echelons of the genre. The Perpetual Loop website contains samples of all tracks if you'd like to have a listen before deciding.
 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM  

This strong release will be enjoyed by psy-chill lovers looking for something of a dreamy nature yet with sufficient drive for low tempo end of the dancefloor. If you enjoy artists like Chronos or Androcell or Zero Cult then you might well appreciate Catching Zinc.

   
   

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Field Rotation - Licht und Schatten
STYLE  

Beautiful electronic glitchscapes with various acoustic elements. Field Rotation is a project with a rare sense of elegant beauty. The subtle classical threads that twine through these digital arrangements imbue the music with a dignity and grace that immediately lifts Licht und Schatten above the norm. The melodic content is relatively minimal, yet these sparse soundtracks are highly emotive, heavy with atmosphere and most inviting. Melancholy acoustic guitar hangs over heaving synthetic pads in melodic calm, whilst in other passages tense string swells ebb and flow in dramatic shadow. Plaintive piano and transmission fragments alternate with string snatches upon a bed of sonic breeze, the crunch of footfalls rises and falls behind days-end glow, faint arpeggios morph across rhythmic electronica. Once the understated beats roll in, the music almost sighs at times with a restrained serenity. Click-ridden scratchy rhythms and soft crackle adorn the more regular beats that drive some of the recordings, some pieces have no beat for the most part or none at all.

 
MOOD   Licht und Schatten has an otherworldly quality about it, a sublime soft focus warmth. Most pieces have a gentle solemnity, a wistful nature - that beautiful sadness that tugs at the heart. This sense of quietude, however, is not all pervasive - dark moments, ominous regions have their places. Tiefflug has something of a sci-fi theme - bubbling bassline cycling beneath acidic synth motifs.
   
ARTWORK  

Fluid Audio have excelled with the packaging of this special edition EP. The disc comes in a four panel tray presented in a hand stitched fabric sleeve. A full colour poster, badge and an additional surprise (I won't spoil it) are all included in the set. A paper slip enwraps the sleeve bearing the title of the album - everything tasteful and with that feel of something special. This might all be a bit suspect if it weren't for the quality of the music - Fluid are not trying to sucker listeners in by means of package overkill - rather this is a fantastic limited edition item that feels special through and through.

  
OVERALL    Violinist, pianist, composer and producer Christoph Berg s based in Kiel, Germany and began the Field Rotation project in 2008. This limited edition EP of only 100 signed and numbered copies is the stepping stone for Field Rotation to make the leap from compilation appearances to full length album. The Fluid Audio label anticipates a complete album sometime in 2010 - meanwhile this release whets the appetite for a project that seems set to sit among the front runners of the genre. The digital version of Licht und Schatten holds only four of the seven pieces found on the CD so don't wait - get in quickly and experience the whole thing. You can hear the music on the Fluid Audio website as well as getting a chance to see the presentation of the limited edition if you need to.
 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   This is a quality EP that will appeal to fans of both the electro-neo-classic and minimalist chillout genres. Fans of Deaf Centre, Ultimae, Bersarin Quartett and the likes will love Licht und Schatten.
   
AUDIO
   
   

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Solar Camel - Train in a Rainbow
STYLE  

Melodic instrumental synth music with occasional vocal sections. Train in a Rainbow is a collection of bright, electronic music with strong beats and clear themes. Multi-layered tuneful phrases, string sounds and burbling/twinkling sequencer patterns form the backbone of Solar Camel's sound on this release. The chosen sound palette is one of clean, traditional synthesis, voice loops and pianos. Drum beats are primarily composed of programmed grooves built around real drum sounds, yet digital hits and ethnic percussion elements also are employed broadening the mix. On the title track, male and female voices with distinct European accents sing/speak in a style reminiscent of Kraftwerk, in other places strongly effected vocal strains act in a more instrumental manner.

 
MOOD   Train in a Rainbow has an upbeat sound that brings together elements of measured Berlin synth music, new age optimism and the clarity of eighties synth-pop. In places there are dramatic passages with stirring pace and processional grandeur. Other tracks take a more relaxed approach often with the trademark restraint typical of European synth-pop.
   
ARTWORK   The album arrives in a jewelcase with single sheet insert. The front cover image features a colourful graphic locomotive apparently travelling along a twisting rainbow. This same image is repeated on the rear cover only here it is faded away into ghostly pallor with track titles overlaid. At the foot of this back panel can be found website details and an email contact address.
  
OVERALL   

The Solar Camel project consists of Italian Agostino Mascarello on digital piano/synth/vocals and Brazilian born Déia on vocals/arrangements. Currently the duo is based in the south of France - the project takes its name from Agostino's surname in anagram form. There is a second project that goes by the name of Polar Camel focusing more on pop/classical sounds. If you'd like to hear what is on offer, why not check out the Solar Camel Myspace page or alternately their CD Baby page where tracks can be previewed and purchased individually or as an album on CD. Solar Camel acknowledges the influence of such major acts as Jean-Michel Jarre, Ennio Morricone and Vangelis.

 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   Train in a Rainbow is an album for lovers of synthesiser music with a new-age pop sensibility. Working a similar territory to Zer0 0ne, Vitaly and Mythos - this music might well be appreciatd by listeners enjoying gently energetic material.
   
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MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Tim Gerwing - Chikatetsu
STYLE  

Rhythmic and ambient electronica. Chikatetsu is a subtle album of constantly shifting emphasis - opening with a pattern of high pitched delicate notes and steady drone, the album gets under way with a sense of unhurried class. Building into a restfully throbbing bass groove this initial track features the kind of tuneful, freeform harmony and artfully layered human-artificial structures that dominate the album. Barely discernable station voices and subway sounds occasionally inhabit the somewhat abstract musical forms that run in narrative flow. Some passages have a strongly mechanical rhythm suggestive of fleeting motion - rolling sequencer forms driving light melodic phrases. Other sections reveal a jazz influence, with lustrous vibes and muted chimes dancing among the synth voices. The music features Tim Gerwing on keyboards, guitars, bass, electronics, vocals and drum programming with musicians Besart Hysniu delivering keyboards, programming, remixing, electronics, David Picking ride cymbals and Terry O'Brien guitar, guitar synths. There is often a mesmerising sense of detachment about the music as if the listener were a lonely observer among busy meandering crowds - at rest among the currents of urban activity.

 
ARTWORK  

Chikatetsu comes in a sharp card wallet (these really are so much nicer than jewelcases) of saturated colour. The front image is a motion blurred train caught momentarily passing through a station - broad black borders making the night-time hues appear to positively glow. The reverse holds a tube map layered upon a carriage interior - here are a series of evocative, descriptive terms that might help the potential listener to imagine something of the nature of the music. Within, the two panel sleeve holds track details on the left and additional information on the right. Instrumental and technical credits along with thanks and download details.

 
OVERALL   

Born and based currently in Canada Tim Gerwing has been interested in music since early childhood. Having studied classical piano, Tim branched out to explore jazz, electronic, new age, progressive rock/pop, and Middle and Far Eastern styles. He has been releasing music as a solo artist since 2002 when his debut Being To Being was released under his own record label. This current disc contains thirteen tracks that that work around the theme of Japanese subway travel and experience. Promotional material explains Chikatetsu as 'the “underground iron”, the subway system that is the heart of public transportation in the large cities of Japan'. Further wording suggests "ambient textures -> electronic musical maps -> hyper-cultural leitmotifs -> fractal audio perspectives -> psycho-emotional sonic imagery. The beautifully designed website contains sound samples and further information if you'd like to check it out at http://www.lascaux21.com/chikatetsu/

   
AUDIO  

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Liquid Stranger - The Intergalactic Slapstick
STYLE  

Dubtronic bass-heavy downtempo. Built largely around Liquid Stranger's trademark gutsy basslines and reggae influenced beats, The Intergalactic Slapstick progresses the project's sound somewhat further into deepest dubstep. Basslines to strain your system pump, throb, warp, zap and bound with provocative intensity. Vocal material is mostly in the form of dance hall shout outs, rasta yells, dj rants, psycho-musings, ethnic chants and relatively brief sung phrases with performances from Brother Culture, Deeyah and Warrior Queen. This approach tends to give the music an instrumental feel despite the abundance of voice content. That said pieces like Mutant (co-written by Warrior Queen) and Hexed and Perplexed allow the bass and vox to pretty much share centre stage. The tempo varies from the relatively upbeat Tantrum to the plodding Dance On The Petals Avoiding The Nettles with its half pace d'n'b flickers. The diverse roots of Liquid Stranger's sound sprawl across electro, ambient, grime, global, breaks and garage - this time, however, a weighty dub-reggae emphasis dominates especially the first half of the disc.

 
ARTWORK   The Intergalactic Slaptick is presented in a three section digipack with a smooth matt finish. The front cover image sees a very mechanical looking robot lovingly watering a large egg-like form that appears to have emerged from tree root. This computer painted graphic is set in a dingy basement where roots, moss and branches soften the hard edged grey of the concrete walls. Spreading the package out, the subsequent three page spread holds credits and contact details on the left and a tracklist on the remaining central panel. Flipping everything over, the inside is given over fully to a contrasting painting of bright colour where a pair of artificial lifeforms observe the view - no text - just visuals.
 
OVERALL   

Liquid Stranger delivers The Intergalactic Slapstick as the second album from the project and follow-up to the 2007 debut The Invisible Conquest. Once again Interchill is the chosen label, already home to a cutting edge catalogue of dub and bass albums. Generously there are no less than thirteen tracks on the album all with incredibly impelling rhythms. Tabla grooves and Indian flutes as well as some chanted drum talk soften the tone in the latter half where Lotus winds down with a delicate female Indian vocal and running water; the final track taking the suite full circle back to the almost ambient electronica of the introduction. The label website at Interchill provides listening facilities if you'd like to sample before buying.

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Le Lendemain - Fires
STYLE   Wistful piano and strings with electro-acoustic enhancements. Le Lendemain have a deliciously pensive sound that sometimes seems steeped with the dusty nostalgia of fragile crackle and static. Unhurried, muted piano chords and sensitive arrangements full of space and quietude, often thickened with reverb, lay down foundations for drifting multi-layered strings that seem to come straight from the heart. A dialogue, an interplay between different voices - fire-light nocturnes or rainy-day reflections; the duo seem to be sharing personal moments directly with the listener. The scratches and scrapes of Wenngren's field recordings never dominate; instead they highlight the doleful, intimate nature of the sound.
 
ARTWORK   Thankfully Home Normal are continuing the trend away from plastic jewelcases - Fires comes in a folded card wallet with a neat pocket inside to hold the disc. Cover imagery is a dark, antique-looking photograph of a solitary child against a rough wall. The boy looks beyond the viewer. The rear cover is white with only the Home Normal logo tucked away at the bottom left. Inside, the left panel hold brief credits and the Normal web address. On the right a pattern of concentric circles carries track titles and instrumental details.
 
OVERALL   

The names David Wenngren and Danny Norbury might well make a familiar connection, the pair having frequently worked together in the past. The Library Tapes project for example has seen Norbury contributing strings to Wenngren's piano work. However, whilst piano arrangements there sometimes formed the main element, here the balance between the instruments is more level. Released via Home Normal Records this CD might well be described as neo-classical by virtue of the cello/piano combination, however, the musical approach is sure to appeal to fans of serious minded melodic ambient or cinematic chillout also. For me this project has the edge over The Library Tapes - very moody, very beautiful, current.