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MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Outersect - God Love The Fool
STYLE   Genre blending downtempo electronica. God Love The Fool brings together a number of surprisingly diverse elements: psychedelic chill, bluegrass, tribal-ethnic music, seventies style progressive and yet somehow manages to combine these peculiarities into a coherent whole. The resultant sound is a vibrant, springy mix with plenty going on and a sense that almost anything is welcome here in this digital melting pot. Outersect employs an approach that often has the feel of a live performance - the acoustic instrumentation, keyboard improvisations and the frequent use of a 'real' drum kit sound surely contributing to this. That said there is an abundance of studio and synthetic content here, Outersect preferring a bright, wiry sound for the synths and clearly enjoying establishing electronic atmospheres and employing an arsenal of sharp marginal effects.
 
MOOD   God Love The Fool, whilst maintaining a relatively downbeat tempo, has a strong upbeat nature that is sometimes reminiscent of lively folk music. Vocal performances from Betsy-La and flute lines from Agalactia's Philip Khripkov develop the acoustic content yet the drive of the music is unswayed from its psychedelic trajectory. The mix is bright and danceable with capering hook lines and repeating melodic phrases that seep into the consciousness so that you find yourself inwardly singing along.
   
ARTWORK   The artwork for the album maintains the drawing together of diverse items found in the music. The front cover shows a card game in progress, the players all iconic figures from world religion. The viewer finds himself taking the part of the near player as a single card is held out in the foreground - the character of the fool. The rear cover presents a track list on the surface of an indoor wall above a dado rail - more religious icons hung in frames alongside. Here are writing and collaborative credits as well as web site details for Outersect. The inner panels hold a double page image of a mock home-shrine - playing cards and sacred paraphernalia strewn upon a small shelf. A quote from M K Gandhi and brief thanks fill an insert to the left.
  
OVERALL   

Outersect is the solo project of San Francisco based Rob Rayle who has also released music under the aliases Caldera and Bufo. Rob has an abundance of musical experience, having spent much time in the world of rock before broadening his soundscape in a more electronic direction. The Outersect website points out that apart from being the name of the project, Outersect suggests "to attempt an informed out-group perspective towards an in-group you are a member of," or "a cult for people who refuse to join anything". The current album is the follow-up to the debut Caldera from back in 2007. This time Outersect are working with up and coming label Beats & Pieces. There are eleven tracks here that can be sampled at the label website or at right at the source of this review - Morpheus Music.

 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   God Love The Fool is an album for psy-chill lovers that enjoy a rich sound unrestricted by traditional genre distinctions. Give this album a listen if you like something of a 'live' feel to your music.
   
AUDIO
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MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Psyfactor - Futurised
STYLE
 
Lush, spacey electronica. Psyfactor looks outward once more on this new twelve track release, the composition titles giving a clear idea of the musical direction: Discovering Andromeda, In Space, Cassiopeya, Neptune's Waves. Here smooth pads and lustrous washes form colourful canvases for crystalline sequences and tinkling lattice works. Beats are vigorous and dynamic programmed affairs running a fairly high bpm for a chill album. Psyfactor uses the varying beats and rhythms of the music to hold the attention as much as the melody; percussive grooves layer and alternate with arpeggio forms bristling with sparkling effects, buzzing, electro bass lines rippling beneath. Frequently these driving regularities break apart into gleaming atmospheric expanses where the softness and liquid clarity of the synths can be appreciated by contrast.
 
ARTWORK   Futurised comes in a sharp, glossy two panel card wallet - no unpleasant plastic - disc neatly held in a simple pocket within. The front cover image is of a glassy fractal helix made up of myriad bubbles rising from a dense orange cloud mass into a bright sky. There above the cloud a beaming star illuminates distant planets partly obscured by immense distance. This design runs across both front and back panels, the rear section holding the tracklist with times alongside. The briefest of credits are here too as well as the Ajana website address. Inside the space is text free - the orange sky of the outer cover here leading down to the surface of a planet where alien foliage stretches upward unfettered.
 
OVERALL   

Futurised is the second chilled album from Russian chill artist Dmitri Korablin in his role as Psyfactor, the previous Endless Universe having been released on the same Ajana label back in 2006. This latest offering is billed by Ajana Records as a 'psychill' album - and despite being loosely catagorised as chillout, the music is relatively uptempo, although clearly less so than Dmitri's other two uncompromising psytrance releases. There are sound samples of all the tracks to explore at Ajana if should wish to listen to the music there, as well as one free track to download. The digifile version of Futurised comes as limited edition of only 500 copies, so you might want to make a decision on this one relatively quickly.

 
   

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Bluetech - Love Songs To The Source
STYLE
 

Vocal and instrumental downtempo dub. Love Songs To The Source sees Bluetech taking his sound in a new direction - the effervescent dub elements are still here, the clean electronica too - but now a much stronger organic reggae/funk influence is present. There is something of the early 1980's reggae movement reflected in these new songs, many featuring female and some male vocals. In keeping with this new emphasis, there are a lot of brass sections, wah guitar effects, organ-like stabs and beats structured like real drum kit rhythms including the odd stark rim shot. The combination results in a delightfully sleek, smooth dub sound in contrast to some of the dark lumbering albums of the genre. Some bouncy electronic instrumentals and dreamy chillout compositions more in keeping with past releases are also present - the warm, relaxing 'Escape' suggestive of a gentle sunny afternoon reverie.

 
ARTWORK   As always Bluetech imagery is sharp and engrossing. The front cover montage is full of intriguing detail: a human torso reminiscent of a Rembrandt dissection painting combines anatomic elements with graphic embellishments that rise and burgeon upward, outward into a splash of colour that centres on a bright human eye ball. My promotional copy is a digital download and so I can't really be sure of the exact layout of the hard copy - however, the pdf file indicates around 8 panels of high quality graphics with complete lyrics, credits, website details and an inspirational verse.
 
OVERALL   

With Love Songs to the Source the prolific Bluetech presents his latest studio album and follow up to the 2009 release The Divine Invasion - two EPs having filled the gap between. This time in keeping with the more dub/reggae centred sound the music is delivered via Canadian label Interchill. It appears that having fully established himself as a top notch artist of notable quality, with various aliases to satisfy his more ambient and techno yearnings, Bluetech feels free enough to stray further from his signature sound and experiment with collaborative recordings. Love Songs To The Source features vocal performances from Dr. Israel, Katrina Blackstone, Mari Boine, Lady K, Tina Malia and Lynx. In addition Jamie Janover plays dulcimer, Russell Scott and Luke Solman play horns and KiloWatts shares some production and programming duties. There are fourteen tracks here in total with audio samples available at the Interchill website.

 
SOUNDS
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MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Solar Camel - Roots and Wings
STYLE   Classical new-age electronica. Solar Camel delivers a collection of well executed compositions that employ an acoustic approach mostly, with a supporting electronic palette. Some pieces have a percussive accompaniment with various levels of complexity, whilst many others are uncluttered recordings of solo keyboard. Lead voices come in the form of piano, synthetic strings, smooth pads, brass voices and other synthetic orchestral sounds. Additional layers range from the chilled electro-groove and subtle washes of Ballad of the Autumn Leaves through the timpani, cymbal clashes and full-on imaginary orchestra of Unexpected Snow to the delicate simplicity of pieces like Elisa where Agostino's deft finger work allows the beauty of the piano to sing unobscured.
 
MOOD   Roots and Wings for the most part has a bright and optimistic air, warm arrangements inviting to the ear, harmonious and sensitive. There are some delicate tracks of an introspective nature touched with wistful melancholy, there are some rather grandiose pieces too as well as some passages of dazzling keyboard work such as the intricate Scherzo for the Coming Spring - there is no doubt that Agostino is an accomplished pianist.
   
ARTWORK   Roots and Wings comes in a jewel case with a single sheet insert. The imagery consists of some attractive sunset photographs where the brightness of a deep orange sun is caught on the glass of a flat roofed building. A single gull wheels in the air silhouetted against dusky crepuscular skies. Text is minimal, only essential information is presented: titles on the front panel; a tracklist at the rear along with an email address.
  
OVERALL    Solar Camel is the project of Italian composer/performer Agostino Mascarello. Roots and Wings builds on a discography that includes Train in a Rainbow and Signs of a Civilisation under the same project name. Agostino also records music under the alias Polar Camel (indeed many of the pieces on this album were previously presented under the Polar Camel moniker) - both projects can be found at Myspace with a variety of tracks to sample. This album is a self released disc consisting of fourteen recordings of high quality audio demonstrating striking clarity of sound and skilful production methods.
 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   Roots and Wings is a CD for lovers of relaxing classical music with a playful new-age flavour. If you enjoy emotive piano work with electronic embellishment then it might well be worth you visiting the Polar Camel Myspace page to listen to the example tracks offered there.
   

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Eitan Reiter - Places I Miss That I Haven't Been To
STYLE  

Electronic chillout and intimate ambient exploration. This album is a musical journey that progresses unself-consciously through some very personal musical territory, full of pleasant wonderment and unfettered by genre distinctions. Smooth beatless passages of synthetic drones morph gradually into lazy downtempo where the beats are muted yet crisp, pleasantly individual affairs. Rich sonorous flutes overlay sharp digital textures; dreamy guitars contrast musing speech samples; violin, piano and various voices broadening the sound palette. There is something of a retro feel among all the modernity here - I'm reminded of some of the better instrumental concept albums of the seventies with perhaps less emphasis on melodic themes and a greater opening for ambient space.

 
MOOD   Places I Miss That I Haven't Been To has a warm sense of ingenuous tranquillity running throughout. A relaxing exploratory nature with the unusual distinction of appearing un-influenced by trends within the field and the need to draw a specific audience. Eitan Reiter doesn't come across as trying to sound like anyone else or wanting to fill a specific niche. This album quickly establishes itself as a blissfully idiosyncratic meander through the moods and sensations of the artist, shifting form and character as the whim arises.
   
ARTWORK   Steeped in warm earthy tones Places I Miss That I Haven't Been To is a jewel case presentation with three panel fold-out insert. The various sections feature some hand drawn artwork as unique and unusual as the music itself: a leaf shrouded figure perched on the bough of a bare tree, the tree itself re-appearing silhouetted or overlaid upon textured surfaces. There is a tracklist on the rear and within, a third extended version showing writing and performance credits. Website details and contact information are present for both label and artist. Eitan provides a paragraph of explanation revealing the deeply personal approach taken in the telling of this story. There is a generous pair of paragraphs given over to relevant thanks - one from the artist, one from Aleph Zero.
  
OVERALL    Although Places I Miss That I Haven't Been To is presented as Eitan Reiter's debut solo album, it is by no means his first release: he recently enjoyed being half of Unoccupied for the album Everyday Life as well as having released a range or dance music under his own name, and psytrance under the LOUD project. This twelve track disc is delivered via Aleph Zero and shows that the label is happy to foster creative music that sits beyond the usual spectrum.
 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   If you appreciate music that reveals a personality rather than conforming to a stylistic standard then this might well be for you. Meandering ambient downtempo for lovers of musical narrative that enjoy being transported. Try out the E-Flier if you want to get the flavour and read more info before purchase or else have a listen to the samples at Aleph Zero.
   
AUDIO
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MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Solar Camel - Train in a Rainbow (Reissue)
STYLE  

Warm, inviting new-age electronica with strong emphasis on melody and thematic development. Many compositions here, such as Sailing and Solemnis are formed around carefully constructed lead lines where the melodic arrangements take centre stage, whereas tracks like Hunting, for example, are more rhythmic at heart, allowing layered phrases and sequencial patterns to drive the music.With percussive content often to the fore, Train in a Rainbow sees each track unfold to a different programmed beat, most of which are bright, lively synthetic affairs of mid to uptempo pace. Sometimes, as with The Lake, grooves are accompanied by percolating arpeggios, other pieces feature fusion rhythms with ethnic percussion.

 
MOOD  

Train In A Rainbow has a positive, light mood for the most part, combining the warmth and overt passion of new-age music with the electronic mechanism of much Berlin school electronica. There are some dramatic pieces with orchestral or string sections, whilst at the other end of the spectrum there are some dance tracks with something of an 80s synth pop feel. The liquid clarity of the sonic palette and the uncluttered nature of the arrangements give the album a rather high-tech sound with a peaceful, lucid quality.

   
ARTWORK  

The updated 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   

Agostino Mascarello's solo project Solar Camel released the Train in a Rainbow album (previously reviewed at Morpheus Music) in 2009. The disc has since been given an overhaul with attention paid to providing a more consistent track list focussing on electronic sounds. The classical side of Agostino's personality can be experienced through the Roots and Wings album also reviewed recently at Morpheus. Once again Agostino's digital piano/synth/vocals are accompanied by the voice of Brazilian born Déia. The new disc consists of no less than eighteen tracks and can be found at CD Baby or alternately you can sample some tracks and keep up with new developments at the Solar Camel Myspace page.

 
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 modern sounds with electro-groove beats. If you're wondering whether this is one for you - why not sample each of the tracks at CD Baby?