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MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Heyoka - Marklar
STYLE  

Downtempo dubstep and glitch-hop instrumentals. Marklar sees the prolific Heyoka refining his dense, driving, energetic sound as well as exploring some dance floor beats a little more than previously. The signature acidic zaps and fizz, dislocated melodic motifs and lumbering beats are all strongly in evidence. Pumping basslines morph from warping sub-bass depths to gritty, gurgling effected lines of thinner tone - often with more than one layer present. Synths warble, pulse and percolate in the mid frequency range forming a busy latticework of sound upon which playful high frequency lines dance and strut. The middle section of the album sees Heyoka picking up the tempo with some crisp drum and bass grooves - here the thematic material takes on a fresh flicker and flutter in juxtaposition to the undertow of the heaving basses below.

 
MOOD   Maklar has an unrelenting dynamism about it - compulsive rhythms of an almost primal nature defying even the uninitiated to remain unmoved. Once the d'n'b rhythms kick in there is an almost chemical elegance that arises - nimble geometric arrangements among the peripheral ephemera and frenetic marginal detail that call to mind the structured chaos of nature. The use of so much imaginative sound manipulation and sonic mangling gives Marklar a distinct flavour; Sonic effects for Heyoka being not so much embellishments as central elements to the music.
   
ARTWORK   This disc arrives in a slim glossy digipack with no unpleasant plastic to spoil the artwork, the CD sitting inside a card pocket on the right panel. The front cover features an intricate graphic wherein fractal fronds and self-replicating patterns swirl and entwine, rising up from the depths of some obscure infinite blackness. Sections of the imagery here are tinted with rich colour whereas the rest of the package remains in sharp monochrome. Track titles are found on the back cover and again inside. Additional information includes website addresses, production credits and label details.
  
OVERALL    San Francisco's Andrei Olenev delivers his latest release once more via US label Muti Music. This is the second full length album from the artist we know as Heyoka, the previous Pineal Dub along with EP Gate Code having also been reviewed at Morpheus. No less than eighteen tracks make up this current offering with titles such as 'boom', 'doodle', 'fractalscape', 'grit' and 'the big trippy thing' aptly capturing the nature of the music. Promotional material from Muti Music points out that "Heyoka made his brand international this year playing festivals in Australia, Canada and being ever present at US club nights & festivals."
 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM  

This is an album for lovers of downtempo psychedelic music that appreciate dizzy complexities set to primal beats. Marklar is a must for Heyoka fans - the inventiveness of this artist is on a cresting wave at present and sound quality is top notch. If you want to hear for yourself what the excitement is all about, why not catch the Marklar promo mix at Heyoka's Myspace blog here: http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=126846130&blogId=525454973

   
AUDIO  
 
Coming soon.

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------The Moving Dawn Orchestra - Dials
STYLE   Electro-acoustic contemporary classical instrumentals. Dials is a graceful suite of four mid-length compositions with minimalist sparsity and contemporary beauty. The wistful pianos, rich with reverb; the sombre string textures and the absence of percussive beats give the music a seductive timelessness. The aural equivalent of grain and surface damage further develop the engrossing atmospheres creating a feeling that is nostalgic, introspective and melancholy. Brittle chimes, subtle static and sonic haze suggest a fragility in places. At other points the music takes on a more dense ambience, the synthetic elements rising to the surface, ponderous, dreamy. There are passages where a subdued male voice whispers deep within the mix, acoustic guitar finger-picking rolling around twinkling electronic patterns. For me the first and last tracks hold the greatest appeal - here the neo-classical elements and dust laden effects combine most strikingly - hold the imagery, absorb the mood, be transported.
 
ARTWORK   Dials is more than a simple CD presentation - it's really a piece of art - a limited edition, hand made multi-media package. There are to be only fifty copies of this limited CD, and each will be unique. Along with the disc there is an eight page booklet, a four sided postcard sized 'photo album' display, a badge, a scroll and business card. Everything has a delightful antique effect to it giving the pack a feeling of classy elegance; Fluid Audio are really setting a high standard in this department. The photographs throughout are grainy images with scratched surfaces: monochrome landscapes, personal keepsakes, ephemeral details. The disc itself is held within a handprinted card folder. Mine arrived in an envelope along with a handful of aromatic cloves giving the items a gorgeous faint odour of spice.
 
OVERALL   

UK based Guy Andrews is already well known to many music fans as the ambient electro-acoustic jazz act 'iambic'. Having been approached by Daniel at Fluid Audio originally to create an EP of fours songs each around eight minutes in length representing the seasons of the year, Guy found that a new sonic identity was emerging somewhat distinct from iambic. In some ways the EP was closer to his earlier iambic² sound. On his new website Guy explains "When I realised this, and also that the iambic project had moved far away from this sound, I figured that I had to make a new alias to release this under. The Moving Dawn Orchestra is the product of that chain of thought." The resultant shared vision is one of intense mournful beauty combining contemporary 'organic orchestral soundscapes' and complementary electronic enhancements. The four pieces:- Spring: Hymn/Hymn, Summer: Keep Still, Autumn: Between Hands, Winter: Silhouette are also to be available as digital downloads - but you won't want to miss the physical item - really! The release is dated for 01/03/10. Visit the Fluid Audio Store for details.

 
AUDIO

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Jazz Computer.org - Life - Unfolding
STYLE  

Ambient synthetic instrumentals with jazzy influences. Life - Unfolding is a suite of six compositions that flow together into a unified whole. Spacey synths are central to the sound of this album - smooth, silken layers of tone that are used to establish an expanse, to suggest gentle undulating motion, to build entrancing harmonious drone beds and shifting sound clouds. Passages of beatless, floatation are set amongst sections of lazy, peaceful beats. Strongly effected lead guitar at times provides dreamy chord forms embellished by lustrous chimes such as Concealing Brightness. Air and Water Laps, on the other hand finds a far more dynamic lead style driving over a burbling synth sequence that seems to build almost imperceptibly from the atmosphere. In these more active moments Yves' appreciation of 70's prog rock can be noticed among the jazz based structures. The artist's own promotional material explains: "With intensive use of synths (and no samples or loops, except for the percussions which are sampled instruments), the jazz elements of this music are to be found in the harmonics and chords used, and the way guitar improvisations are played."!

 
MOOD   Life - Unfolding is a very restful album - whether drifting weightlessly on airy electronic wafts and currents or flowing with the greater urgency of the rhythmic portions of the music, the emphasis is primarily one of pleasant tranquillity. The music also has something of a sense of wonder - often a dreamy, natural optimism. There is a constant warmth that runs throughout the album imbuing the pieces with a glowing serenity that nicely enhances the relaxing nature of the harmonies.
   
ARTWORK   The cover art to Life - Unfolding is a rather beautiful artificial landscape. Here a craggy mound juts out into a still body of deep blue water burnished with subtle ripples. The eye is drawn among the stark forms of the rocks to an elegant purple leaved tree at the crest of the crag. This unusual life form is lit by a bright shaft of sunlight that sets the clouds into chiaroscuro and bathes the central portion of the scene with a radiant glow. Complementary text picks up the hue of the foliage completing the prime design.
  
OVERALL   

Jazz Computer.org is the work of Yves Potin a lover of progressive rock in the 1970s and later a great fan of jazz and jazz fusion. Yves is an accomplished jazz guitar player, having played since his childhood. He has also enjoyed working with computer based music since the early days of the Atari ST. Jazz Computer.org presents albums for free download via the artist's website, where currently you can discover six releases dating back to the debut album of 2006. Life - Unfolding sees the artists exploring a more deeply ambient soundscape than previously, wherein deft guitar improvisations play in concrete juxtaposition. The six pieces here owe a debt of inspiration to ambient master Thom Brennan that can be noted in the delicate softness of the multi-layered pads and drones.

 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM  

Life - Unfolding is an album that straddles spacey ambient and jazz guitar genres, with a somewhat new-age relaxational vibe to it. This is music for listeners that enjoy the warm softness of layered synth drones with the additional interest value of electric guitar improvisation. Why not visit the official website and listen to the samples at www.jazzcomputer.org .

   
AUDIO  
   

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Alpha Wave Movement - Cosmic Mandala
STYLE   Ambient space and Post-Berlin school electronica. The latest release from Alpha Wave Movement is a two-part smooth, soaring collection of synthetic music with relaxing beats and twinkling sequences. Ambient atmospheres support melodic progressions and optimistic themes - in places there are lead lines that are dynamic, improvisational affairs demanding the attention, in other places warm sequential patterns come to the fore. Long free-form passages of beatless meandering are interspersed among the more rhythmic material - expansive, galactic interludes serene, expectant. These occasionally morph imperceptibly into motion as cycling structures crystallise, the regularity of arpeggio forms building into multi-layered complexities and dispersing once more. Asian percussion metallics form ponderous muted beats among the more lively programmed grooves and there are some moments of hand drumming. The latter part of the EP is without percussive beats; here the waves and washes of layered tone are given momentum via broad, clean sweeps and gleaming lattice works.
 
ARTWORK   This CD arrives in a jewel case with a single sheet insert. Prime space is given to a galactic diagonal splash framed in a dark disc of space. This centre piece sits upon a lighter space, held in place by a geometric band. The Rear cover holds track information and AWM contact details. Within are relevant credits an email address and a gear list - the text is laid out upon a further galactic backdrop faintly illuminated by a faded mandala design.
 
OVERALL   

Cosmic Mandala is the latest EP from Gregory Kyryluk working here under his Alpha Wave Movement alias (he also has released music under the project titles Open Canvas and Thought Guild). This release is a two part recording: the first in five sections totalling around twenty three minutes; the second section of around ten minutes sees a more ambient approach with a greater concentration of international instrumentation. The CD can be purchased via the Harmonic Resonance Recordings website and is available for digital download via CD Baby, Planet Origo, iTunes and Amazon. Samples of the music can be heard at most of these sites. Gregory describes his music as "Fusing inner & interstellar ambient teutonic musical elements into a harmonious tone capsule for the adventurous listener yearning for their next sonic enlightenment".

 
   

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Mythos - Unabsteigbar!
STYLE   Bright, beat driven electronica. Stephan Kaske delivers a live performance of his unique post-Berlin school synthetic groove. Programmed beats maintain mid-tempo pace for much of the album, mostly with a bright spring in the rolling patterns. The beats are accompanied by sequencer structures that carry the rhythms with almost equal prominence - arpeggios and percussives entwining and enhancing one another. Melodic content is strong; positive themes with clean tones interlock with the rhythmic underplay. At times heavily altered voices murmur among the more digitally oriented sounds, ethnic chimes and clangs punctuating the percolating sequences. There are a number of atmospheric passages, mostly during the introductions where the music is softer, more airy.
 
ARTWORK   Unabsteigbar! arrives in a DVD style case of malleable plastic. The insert folds so that artwork is visible both inside and out. The front cover has a lone figure in stark silhouette trudging across a barren landscape with flat horizon. Everything is saturated in deep red hues, the walker ringed with an incomplete pale circle. The rear cover extends the scenery leftward and has a live photograph of the artist inserted midway. Track titles are found here on the back as well as brief technical details and the Mellow Jet logo. Inside is a panel of recording information, website addresses and credits.
 
OVERALL   

Mythos shows once again that the sound of Stephan Kaske is pretty much as dynamic and complex live as it is when given the full studio treatment. This collection of five mid-length tracks was recorded live at EM-Breakfast in Bochum and totals about forty five minutes altogether. This latest release via the Mellow Jet label follows up the previous live album Gallery Concerts. If you'd like to get an idea of what to expect - there is a Youtube video that shows the multi-instrumentalist at work. Promotional material provides an on-tour equipment list for those interested in the sound sources: Laser-Keyboard, Flute, Electronic Bagpipes, Yamaha Tenori-On, Korg Vocoder VC-10, Quasimidi Raven Max, Quasimidi Sirius, Quasimidi Polymorph, Quasimidi 309, Korg M1EX, Mutron Bi-Phase, Korg Kaoss Pad, Yamaha Spx90-II, Yamaha mixer & monitoring system.

 
   

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Robert Rich - Ylang
STYLE   Eastern influenced ambient and melodic groove. This deep, lush album has a magical oriental flavour to it; heady, beguiling and full of sonic colour. Languid beats that combine the soft, dreamy pads of southern India's mrdungam played by Sakthivel Muruganandhan with the restrained drum style of Ricky Carter propel the compositions at an hypnotically leisurely pace. Rich flute lines thicken the air - sensual, introspective melodies that seem to curl and unfurl like morning mists. Rich's distinctive lap steel guitar can be heard in places - an organic strain drifting among the subtle electronic beds. Bird sounds enhance the exotic nature of the music - gentle parrot squeaks and calls that juxtapose the breathy voice of Emily Bezar wordlessly wafting among the instrumentals. Sparse piano touches and lustrous chimes twinkle in places whilst violins and cellos introduce a stirring grace; the concluding First Rain luxuriating in the combined strings of Forrest Fang and Paul Olguin.
 
ARTWORK   Ylang is an attractive digipack presentation - three matt card fold-outs with disc held centrally. The artwork comprises a series of photographs of beautifully crafted natural sculptures: twined twigs and mosses with leaves overlaid and flower blossoms. These arrangements are mostly laid out on white backgrounds, warmly lit and unobstructed by text. The only information is delivered on the rear cover: track titles with associated times, a brief paragraph on the inspiration for the music, collaborating musician credits and gear list.
 
OVERALL   

Ylang is the first solo studio album from Robert Rich in three years. Having said that, the list of contributing musicians is impressive: Ricky Carter: drums; Sakthivel Muruganandhan: mrdungam; Sunilkumar Sankarapillai: bansuri; Haroun Serang: guitar; Emily Bezar: voice; Forrest Fang: violin; Hans Christian: cello; Paul Olguin: upright bass - not forgetting the parrots. Rich himself plays flutes, lap steel, piano, percussion, MOTM modular & synths. The nine tracks here feel saturated in earthy tranquillity, luxurious and blissful. It's hard to convey the level of beauty and feeling inherent in this music - you really need to hear the album for your self - the Robert Rich website contains samples, go and listen, you'll likely be delighted.