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MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Lemonchill - Journey Through An Electric Garden
STYLE   Downtempo worldbeat and trance soundscapes. Journey Through An Electric Garden is a chilled series of lush electronic pieces that fall toward the relaxed, exploratory end of the psychedelic spectrum. Beats have danceable structures and there are plenty of synth patterns and bright effects, yet these are generally softened by an overall dreamy vibe that draws on 'enigmatic' influences as well as mainstream electronic ambient dance. There are passages where arpeggios ripple and cycle against stabbing bass lines, however the subtle programmed grooves avoid the heavy, thumping regularity that sometimes causes other artists to sound monotonous. Instead the percussive content has an airiness and restraint that keeps the music flowing with hypnotic serenity.
 
MOOD   This is an album with strong sonic colour and a nice moody undercurrent. Journey Through An Electric Garden has a shadowy quality to it that enhances the somewhat dreamy nature of the tracks - echoing voices drift on the air against gleaming turbulence fragments and slipstream currents. The somewhat understated nature of the album is quite mesmerising, delicate shifts and dissipations holding the attention as themes evolve.
   
ARTWORK   I have only the front cover artwork with my promo pack featuring the curling floral form seen above left. This lush purple-indigo graphic has an architectural solidity and swirls across onto the second panel of the cover insert where a tracklist can be found. Although I'm not familiar with the rest of the layout, Lemonchill take great care over their artwork and presentation as do Cyberset and so I would be pretty confident of a quality package.
  
OVERALL   

Originating in Haifa Israel, Lemonchill cites such influences as Banco de Gaia, Future Sound of London and Leftfield indicating a love of deep digital soundscaping. Journey Through An Electric Garden is the second full length release from Lemonchill following the debut album Sentant released earlier in the year via Ricochet Dream Records and appearances on a growing number of compilations. This release features nine mid-length arrangements with a somewhat more minimal approach than Sentant. Promotional material explains that "The predominance of great trance music in Israel, along with synth pop and broader influences like Jazz, Folk, Lounge and ethnic sounds all come together on his new album , ‘Journey Through An Electric Garden’. Watch out soon for a further release entitled Sleeping With Giants.

 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   This is an album for downtempo fans that enjoy subtlety and sonic journeying. Perhaps appealing to fans of enigmatic electronica as well as chilled dance music.
   
AUDIO
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MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------An-Ten-Nae - Acid Crunk Vol 2
STYLE  
Visceral dub-step, glitch-hop and electro: crunk - a distinctive genre that shamelessly harvests sonic elements from wherever it chooses. These gritty electronic constructs are built around powerful, lumbering beats that descend distantly from hip-hop, dub, house and electro-groove. Squelchy, zapping basslines pump in time with brittle synthetic phrases and buzzing melodic snippets, for the most part maintaining a steady downbeat drive that defies stillness. The bold melodic content is heavily shot through with acidic effects and all manner of aggressive digital manipulations that suggest a confidently controlled, cool mayhem – part confrontational, part open invitation. Voices sing, speak, call and chant often in brief sampled fragments gathered from diverse sources and collaged into fresh context.
 
MOOD   The shady, crepuscular tone of the music here is rooted in club and dance floor culture and although the bpm is relatively downtempo, there is a constant throbbing energy that stirs the whole body into rhythm, reaching right into the gut. Indeed most tracks are first and foremost rhythmic affairs of strident, programmed percussion and deep post-dub bass; nevertheless a number of these compositions hint at strongly emotional roots – joyful, optimistic even touches of melancholy. The collection leaves behind some of the early virulence toward the latter half without sacrificing musical dynamism - the relatively tuneful, languid H.A.A.R.P. from Ill Esha & Dewey DB with acoustic strums and dual bass lines pointing toward Bluetech's chilled Waiting For Initiation and the delightfully dreamy offbeat Hard To Find from Robot Koch.
   
ARTWORK   Acid Crunk Vol 2 comes in a crisp digipack that opens out into two panels. The main cover image shows a pair of contemporary western figures with boots and spurs lounging on the metalwork of a large car against a desert backdrop. This sharp couple are drawn with a bold vector graphic style to match the heavy title fonts. The track list for the album can be found on the back cover alongside web addresses and again inside. The cover characters appear a second time behind the disc.
  
OVERALL   

San Francisco DJ Adam Ohana AKA An-Ten-Nae delivers a compilation of pieces in his signature acid-crunk style as part of the An-Ten-Nae presents series. An-Ten-Nae Presents Acid Crunk Vol 2 comes to us via the adventurous U.S. Mutimusic label. Altogether there are fourteen heaving tracks here from a range of artists both new and established including Ill Gates, Bluetech and of course An-ten-nae who delivers the opening track and a remix of Freeland's Do You. Filastine from Barcelona, Spain and Toronto's Ill.Gates collaborate on Pharma Sutra and Ooah, recently a part of Tim Burton’s film ‘9’ soundtrack, presents the piece Foolish Silence. If your sound system can handle it, this is a storming album that demands attention. Visit the Mutimusic website for more details.

 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM  
If you have enjoyed previous Mutimusic releases, then Acid Crunk Vol 2 will likely push all the right buttons. If you are familiar with An-Ten-Nae you'll know what to expect a high quality collection of pure energy - if you're not - have a listen: http://www.electronicmusicmall.com/Html/reviews81.htm#crunk
   
AUDIO
Go to Beatport.com Get These Tracks Add This Player
   

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Symbiosis Gathering 2009 Compilation
STYLE  
House, glitch-hop, chillout compilation from the 2009 Symbiosis Gathering. The varied styles presented here include both vocal and instrumental tracks: ranging from the energetic rap of Knowa Knowone featuring the talents of Seasunz, Firewater, Wiseproof and New Eon, via the fractured glitch mechanism of Beats Antique from Oriental Uno (featuring Kalashniko), to the lustrous downtempo electronica of MO2. There are some interesting exploratory pieces such as Eskmo's San Francisco (The Rhythm) with its lumbering, disjointed beat and montaged electro-assemblage approach to melody. Subterfuge's Telepath introduces an international flavour with its Middle Eastern string flourishes and fusion groove - breaking down into a lazy interlude mid-way where sitars and hand drums maintain the global mood.
 
MOOD   The dominant mood of this album is one of very contemporary downtempo shadow, a prowling angst, barely restrained power. There is also a gritty urban nature to most of the tracks - the beats mostly compelling and danceable, the sound palettes full of hi-tech digital manipulations and assembled effects.
   
ARTWORK   Slimline jewel case presentation with a single glossy sheet insert. The front cover features a beautiful graphic profile of a woman's face. Almost every surface is full of subtle, intricate texture. Closer examination reveals a medusa-like aspect as the hair is comprised of entwined electronic cables and leads - the flowers likewise made up of technical ephemera. On the flip side is a tracklist with associated credits and track times.
  
OVERALL    The Symbiosis Gathering 2009 Compilation draws together highlights from the current West Coast music scene in a thirteen track compilation album. The album is released via the Muti Music label and includes contributions from a number of previous Muti artists. The label's promotional material explains: "Symbiosis Gathering in it’s 5th year has become a unique festival in Yosemite California featuring leading artists in a broad range of music styles including House, Electro, Dubstep, Breakbeat to Jamtronica and performance art groups like The Yard Dogs, artist Andrew Jones visual art project called, Phadroid and live painting by Alex Grey.
This year they contacted Muti Music to help put together a compilation featuring some of the stars and rising stars of the 2009 gathering and the result is nothing short of spectacular, Muti staples like An-ten-nae, Heyoka and Knowa Knowone are featured along with the likes of Eskmo, Beats Antique, Worthy and Goddess Alchemy Project, the compilation also features the debut release from Mimosa’s one side project with Sleepytime called, SexyTime."
 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM  

This compilation will be a great memento for visitors to this year's festival or a good consolation for those who missed the chance to be there. Listen to the full album at Addictech or Beatport if you'd like to get an idea of the content.

   
SOUNDS
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MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Yubaba - Paradiso
STYLE  
Downtempo songs and instrumentals with a Brazilian flavour. Yubaba take a fairly freestyle approach to their music drawing on a variety of genres from dub and reggae to house and electro. Brass flourishes and trumpet playing from guest Dan Covan, guitars and a real drum sound give the band something of a 'live' sound which is further enhanced by the frequent lyrical content. Singers both male and female contribute vocal performances in different languages: collaborators Thailan, Blacklight, and Nathalia Faria providing the human touch. Bouncing bass lines and squelching synth-work intertwine acoustic guitars, sax phrases and well placed crunchy effects.
 
MOOD   Yubaba's sound is a crisp 'real' sound that relies less on programmed arpeggiation and digital mechanism than much current downbeat music. The collaborating musicians and singers do much to give the album a soulful, concert feel. There is also an underlying tropical atmosphere to the whole album, a relaxed exuberance and warmth that justifies the title.
   
ARTWORK   Paradiso arrives in a jewelcase with a two-panel fold-out insert. The front cover features a female figure against a bright beach scene. Sharp graphic curlicues and floral twists overlay the broad brown border and main image and scroll around the titles. The rear cover contains another beach photograph in a slim upright frame allowing space for track titles to run alongside to the right. Within, along with further seashore imagery is a second tracklist with credits, a generous section of thanks and brief recording details.
  
OVERALL   

Yubaba deliver their debut album following a number of compilation album appearances and international live performances. Paradiso is released via Cyberset Records and can be found in CD format at such standard outlets as Juno, Arabesque, Psyshop e SaikoSounds. Brazil-based duo Pedro Gomide and Frederico Drummond combine their broad minded musical talents on this smooth eleven track release. Promotional material from Cyberset explains: "They joined their skills in this project where mixing influences from their roots, they touch the listeners recreating the eclectic and open minded mood you could only find in Brasil. Yubaba evolves from dub into lounge with a trip hop feeling and an electro taste.

 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   If you enjoy chilled music with a concert atmosphere and plenty of real performance elements this is an album for you. You listen to the album at the band's website: http://yubaba.info/
   
SOUNDS
Go to Beatport.com Get These Tracks Add This Player

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Hamilton Sterling and Jimmy Haslip - Migration
STYLE  

Lush spacey ambient instrumentals. Migration is an album of deep, beguiling top-quality audio. Taking a freeform approach, the music of Migration shifts in character frequently throughout its length from rhythmic business to drifting loneliness. That said, certain themes and styles recur and dominate. Most evident is a cinematic sci-fi nature where broad, futuristic electronic environments are carefully soundscaped and developed: lush pads and smooth atmospheres support loose structures of digital tone. The melodic content gives the impression of being almost improvisational, often utilising highly original synthetic sound manipulation as the prime voice. There are moments where distinct jazzy influences surface and there are passages of heady, earthy global music - most notably as tribal beats and intense hand drumming stir the music into rhythm. Much of the sonic palette is unique, commonly being difficult to identify the origin of a sound - distorted deformed brass phrases, heavily altered vocal material, audio disturbances and liquid turbulence. In speaking with Hamilton about the music, he explains "the idea of the piece is that it begins in a difficult rural African world where a kind of dictatorship (the strange voice-like elements) exist along side elements of Western culture (the chaotic city sounds) with both being equally troubling. The Migration occurs, and there is a danger to it. We arrive in the City Of Light and are dazzled (the 7/4 meter knocking one off balance). We continue to move through light and darkness, possibly off-world, until reaching a kind of frenzied apotheosis with the processed bass solo at the end, then dream of the sweeter elements from where we came."

 
MOOD   The mood alternates constantly from remote galactic isolationism to worldly intimacy and multi-cultural juxtaposition. A number of pieces effectively interweave disparate influences establishing entertaining interplay between contrasting structures. Percussive sections fuse international elements with programmed hits and effects. Nimble jazz bass lines burble against insectile sibilance and abyssal synthetic expanse.
   
ARTWORK   Migration arrives in a slick DVD case where the classy artwork is nestled within luxurious black grounds and borders. Utilizing images courtesy of NASA/JPL Cal-Tech, the front cover features a rich graphic of flaming reds and oranges where cloud-like formations well up within sharply delineated spaces. An overlay of flowing white arrows runs from left to right drawing the eye across the image. The rear cover is laid out around the curve of a planetary orb - titles in the expanse above, general information grounded below the horizon. Within, the single sheet insert expresses recording information and thanks as well as credits and download details.
  
OVERALL   

Sound Designer/Composer/Editor Hamilton Sterling and Producer/Composer/Musician Jimmy Haslip combine their musical and production talents in the creation of this striking DVD audio release Migration. The duo have an impressive range of experience: Hamilton Sterling having worked on such films as The Dark Knight, War of the Worlds, and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World; Jimmy Haslip being a founding member of the jazz fusion group, Yellowjackets and also playing in the Allan Holdsworth/Alan Pasqua group, The Jeff Lorber Fusion, and Jing Chi. The album presents six tracks varying in length from the brief two minute fourteen Sadness, Away to the fifteen minute seven second Senegal Suite. The music on the two-sided disc is presented in three different formats so that maximum benefit may be derived from the impressive sound quality: a 5.1 Dolby Digital version, a 2 channel hi-res PCM version and a DVD-Audio 5.1 hi-res version. The music is also available as a download for those preferring audio, from iTunes and CDBaby. Promotional material explains "MIGRATION is a modern programmatic composition in six movements. A world-ranging journey from the rural to the urban and beyond."

 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM  

Migration is an album that is hard to pigeon-hole, and probably all the better for that. There is understandably a strong filmic nature to much of the music that will appeal to listeners that like to be transported. There is an ambient quality despite the melodic detail that will be enjoyable to many. My recommendation is that you listen to the music yourself at the Helikon Sound website.

   
   
   

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Max Corbacho - Ars Lucis
STYLE   Beatless, minimal ambient air. As if painting with the sonic equivalent of light, Max Corbacho establishes a deep, resonant, anticipatory expanse and fills it with shafts and shards of shifting colour and density. Broad beams and hazes of tone drift in unhurried solemnity, rising heavenward in weightless clouds or massing gradually into translucent omnipresence. The ponderous large-scale undulations of these evolving, spacious atmospheres are illuminated with lustrous glimmers, sparkles and radiances of a more fleeting nature. Ripples and fluctuations that pass through the weight of the air with faster motion. There is a reverential dignity to this music that beautifully captures something of the architecture and luminance of the cover imagery; this graceful lustre, this art of light.
 
ARTWORK   Ars Lucis comes in a jewel case with a two panel insert. Imagery is centred on a series of photographs of the Basilica of St Denis in Paris, France. Elegant grey columns and arches are presented rising like huge plumes of stone supporting luminous stained glass windows. The glowing blue, indigo and violets hues of the tinted panes beam all the brighter amid the starkness of stone. The front cover opens out into a two page panorama where the imagery is allowed to glow without distraction. On the rear cover track titles are set out alongside timings for each piece. The flip side of the insert once more gives much space to the glorious visual impact of the abbey church with information displayed to the left: production details, credits, thanks and website addresses.
 
OVERALL   

Max Corbacho's ninth album follows the progression into deep, silken ambience set by previous releases Breathstream and The Talisman. The album is released via the ad21 label that Max maintains with kindred spirit Bruno Sanfilippo. Ars Lucis contains seven transcendent compositions that range in length from the eighteen minute seven second conclusion Mirabilis Structura to the two minute fifty one second brevity of Keystone Meditation. In total almost seventy four minutes of sublime melody-free magnificence. If you have enjoyed the direction of Max's most recent previous albums, then this one will be a joy to you. The Max Corbacho website provides clips to listen to, as does the ad21 website.