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MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Tripswitch - Geometry
STYLE
 

Downtempo dance, glossy chilled electronica. Geometry is a smooth, unwinding album of classy chillout that meanders up and down in intensity around a tight flowing core. Establishing a tasteful balance between melodic warmth and psychedelic minimalism, Geometry charges the air with electrical intricacies and bathes the listener in lush layers of consonant pattern. Hi-tech touches and ethnic hints embellish the inviting beats that tend to inhabit the danceable end of the downtempo spectrum; although the pace drops from the euphoric heights of heaving downbeat psychedelia right down to near ambient tranquiLlity in places. There are plenty of deeply effected guitar forms among the synths and some graceful piano lines, plenty of variety in palette, pace and power.

 
ARTWORK   Geometry arrives in a gorgeously sleek digipack: dark hues and sharp graphics elegantly presented. The recurring imagery is of time-lapse lights streaming across the various panels. The front cover sees a human form entwined in a mesh of fine light movements, the huge presence of some passing mechanism glowing red behind. This main image continues across the back and third outer panel, the pervasive darkness forming a ground for white text. On the rear are track titles and website addresses. Inside the theme of light in motion has become further abstracted, more geometrical - horizontal beams running the length of the open package. Panel one holds a generous inset section of thanks; panel two brief credits, panel three the disc itself.
 
OVERALL   

Geometry is the second full-length release from Nick Brennan as Tripswitch and the debut from brand new label Section Records. Follow-up to the 2005 Circuit Breaker, Geometry sees Tripswitch refining his sound in all the right directions: very rich and deeply saturated, catchy yet restrained; very relaxing without ever becoming sugary. UK based Section Records is actually owned by Nick and so the launch via Geometry is most fitting. The label has a well designed website where you can listen to releases and keep up with all the latest news at www.sectionrecords.com. The label tells us that there are a number of singles and remixes to follow.

 
   

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Asura - [360]
STYLE
 

Deeply saturated global chill. [360] is a powerfully emotive album. The opener El Hai, featuring the distinctive voice of Ayten, introduces the album with a lush cinematic mood piece - soaring female vocalisations over a Middle Eastern beat creating a heady exotic tone that seems to spread and permeate everything that follows. Wafting, sonorous flute lines drift across smooth electronic pads, ambient build-ups unfold in leisurely reverie, choral voices juxtapose spoken samples and some of the most stirring, downtempo electronica you've heard makes each track moving, reflective and inspiring. Beats are relaxing, yet vibrant and stirring; lifting into drum and bass business, bleeping and twinkling in programmed complexity or rolling along in languid, thudding regularity. Ethic elements are blended in tasteful restraint, psychedelic roots are earthy and grounded in melodic warmth and Asura pleasingly explores the band's signature sounds with greater depth and imagination than ever before.

 
ARTWORK  

The presentation of [360] is beautiful - a broad Ultimae digipack with captivating imagery throughout. The front cover (which runs in panorama across the three outspread outer panels) shows a crouching figure turning a stick in water creating a spiral ripple that emanates outward. Within globular rocks in shallow water are bathed in muted sunset hues. A sixteen page booklet provides a thought provoking image to accompany each track (I do love this aspect of Ultimae's releases) credits and a few words adding to the interest. Thanks and contact details are at the rear.

 
OVERALL   

Asura nowadays is basically Charles Farewell. Having passed through various line-ups since inception in 1996 other members Vincent Villuis, Christopher Maze and Alex Ackerman have moved on concentrating the project into solo form. This latest album demonstrates that Charles is more than able to deliver the Asura magic. The ten tracks here are broken into two 'chapters' entitled 'Before' and 'After' with five pieces in each chapter. The label for delivery remains Ultimae as was the case with [360]'s forerunner Life². As is usual, you can listen to tracks from the album at Ultimae, or you might want to visit the Asura website to exlore further.

 
   

 

 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Invisible Allies - Hyperdimensional Animals
STYLE
 
IDM instrumental collaboration. This is a lively and intricate coming together of two distinctive electronic identities. The West Coast's Bluetech and Philadelphia's KiloWatts combine their talents as Invisible Allies with the resultant EP being everything you might hope for from such a venture. The duo take a fairly cerebral approach to their music - burbling synth rhythms, bubbly bass lines and bright beats rippling against spacey ambience and lustrous melodic progressions. The main themes are mostly subtle, restrained affairs - yet there's an emotional punch to the music. Beautiful clarity and rich pads add to the dreamy warmth of the music, whilst a serious attitude and somewhat acidic choice of synthetic voices keeps the music driving and dynamic.
 
ARTWORK   I have only a digital promo of this release and so have just the cover image seen above. This image is a burgeoning digital blossom in pastel shades of blue, turquoise, pink and green against a white ground.
 
OVERALL   

Invisible Allies is a new project from the uniting of Bluetech and KiloWatts. Hyperdimensional Animals is the first official release under that name and comes as a ten track EP on release via Native State Records. The ten tracks comprise five original compositions and five complementary remixes from Mr. Projectile, The Great Mundane, Erothyme, Bil Bless & Aligning Minds. Promotional material explains: "Exploring futuristic spacefunk, textural ambient, odd time signatures, complex harmonic developments, detailed digitalia and a sublime sense of the exotic, the first Invisible Allies EP, "Hyperdimensional Animals," gives a first look into what promises to be an exciting and evolving conversation between two singular and eccentric producers. There's a web site for Invisible Allies where you can keep up with everything to do with the project.

 
   

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Kaya Project - Desert Phase Remixes
STYLE
 
Electronic global downtempo. Kaya Project's 4th album is given the remix treatment by a collection of some of the biggest names in the business. The original tracks (previously reviewed at Morpheus Music) are re-examined and re-shaped into fresh versions incorporating aspects of dubstep, breaks, glitch hop, techno and drum'n'bass; whilst always maintaining a chilled exoticism. The tone of the recording here rises and falls in intensity from the live feel and tropical heat of Earthrise Soundsystem's Sundown, through the restless d'n'b of Chaos By Design's Eye of the Storm, via the smooth chill of Tripswitch's When Only Sand Remains into the cool Middle Eastern drive of Interpulse's concluding 23 Towers. Further variously distorted dub influences arise through Shahin Badar, Liquid Stranger's grinding zap and grime and Opiuo's deeply fractured dub and blues Dobra.
 
ARTWORK   Desert Phase Remixes arrives in a glossy digipack of four fold-out panels. A warm red ground supports a series of concentric circle patterns that call to mind the colourful ephemera of far-off bazaars and the Western graphics of the pop-art movement. The front cover presents a single large disc of many colours that seems to take on a spinning motion, especially once the smaller orbiting discs are noted. This design is extended into an interlocking form of multiple swirls that spreads over two further outer panels and two within also - track titles and credits are tightly wrapped around the outer rims. A fourth outer panel presents a pictorial summary of the Kaya Project discography to date; the remaining inner space is given over to purely graphic content.
 
OVERALL   

Seb Taylor and Natasha Chamberlain desert inspired source material was released earlier this year (2010) fuelled by time spent in the Sonoran Desert, the Thar Desert and the Northern Sahara. Here eleven of the original tracks are remixed, with 23 Towers benefitting from three strikingly different versions by Eat Static, Biotone and Interpulse. Other collaborators include such notables as: Tripswitch, 100th Monkey, Liquid Stranger, Oblique Industries, Earthrise Soundsystem, Gaudi, Chaos By Design, Opiuo, Bluetech and Seb Taylor's own Hibernation.
As with Desert Phase itself, the remix album is released through Interchill Records. You might also be aware that this is not the first evolution of this fertile source the digital-only Ummah Oum Remixes EP having been put out just a few months back.
Interchill promotional material describes Desert Phase Remixes as "a digital melting pot of exotic influences and genre-defying grooves for dancefloors everywhere.....global fusion electronica at its finest [which shows] the remarkable nature of intercontinental musical collaboration." The Interchill website, of course, provides an abundance of information and a chance to hear the album if you wish.

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

 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Field Rotation - Acoustic Tales
STYLE
 

Acoustic-electronic ambience and narrative soundscaping. Acoustic Tales sees Field Rotation deep in the countryside; undulating textures, expansive atmospheres and understated themes reflecting the landscape and shifting nature of the environment. The overriding impression here is one of ambient subtlety and melodic restraint: electronic layers and environmental drones occasionally flecked with static or crackle or flushed with streams of hiss. There are aspects of downtempo, some low beats and digital structures that will surely draw listeners from the more serious minded fans of the genre. That said though, Acoustic Tales is something more than an ambient or downtempo album; there is a classical breadth and density, not simply in the plaintive strings and piano touches that lend their elegance to many of the tracks, but right there at the heart of the music. Children's voices, brittle and distant within the mix; plucked strings, pastoral, traditional; bright chiming finger cymbals; the sober chords of an organ; various percussive ephemera - all unite within these cinematic vistas of light and ground.

 
MOOD   Acoustic Tales has a tone of contemplative sobriety, this is not a trivial release of faddish mood music. Rather, there is a sense of genuine intensity, of artistic commitment and pursuit of authentic musical expression. Although delivered in earnest, this is not an austere or self-important album; the tracks have a fine balance between touching moments of beauty and passages of intriguing texture. The classical elements bring their inevitable associations, adding nostalgic dignity and timeless warmth. These never feel out of place or simply included as a nod to present trends; set into digital frameworks or deep within sonic damage and audio haze the wistfulness of bowed strings works a unique magic in Field Rotation's compositions.
 
ARTWORK   As is the case with releases from Fluid Audio, great care has been taken with the presentation of this package. The letter pressed cover is a monochrome print on earthy stock; the juxtaposed forms of gathered birds and an entanglement of telegraph wires capturing well the contrasts within the music. On the rear, four single wires heavy with bird silhouettes trail across the top left corner, seven lines of Estela Lamat's poetry leading the mind into the inner content. A 20 page booklet of words and pictures completes the set: attractive black and white photographs portray the bleakness of the countryside and the stark forms of industry; poetic verses bookend the images, thought provoking words with a bite and air to complement sound and vision.
 
OVERALL   

Field Rotation is the ambitious, classically ambient project of Germany's Christoph Berg. Follow-up to the Why Things Are Different EP that arrived earlier in 2010, Acoustic Tales is the first full length album under the title. Berg has other sides to his musical persona highlighted on the Field Rotation website (including some interesting collaborative ventures) that seem worth keeping an eye on. What we have here though, is an incredible debut, eleven acoustic tales of stirring beauty and rare emotive depth. Fluid Audio seem to have a knack for spotting quality products such as this and presenting them with suitable taste and grace. Promotional material provides some background to the music: "Christoph Berg built this world throughout a two-year period, with the stated aim of integrating the literary traits of Kafka and Hemingway into an auditory form, seamlessly blending cinematic character with a subtle and mature melodic personality".
On track four we can hear the familiar strains of Danny Norbury's cello very much at home within the confident framework of Field Rotation's mature compositional arrangement.
Acoustic Tales is to be another limited release of just 200 copies, not to be reprinted so you won't want to delayin getting your hands on this one. If you'd like to explore further before buying, Fluid Audio has a rich presentation of sounds and visuals at the label's website and, of course, you can learn more at Fieldrotation.de too.

 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   The music of Field Rotation is likely to attract a mixed audience: downtempo fans that enjoy classical sounds and the most sparing of beats will find plenty here to enjoy; ambient listeners might well also be drawn by the relative sparcity of most of the arrangements; Field Rotation also carries sufficient gravitas to interest the modern classical listener.
 
VISUAL

Field Rotation - Acoustic Tale 9 from Dan Crossley on Vimeo.

   
 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Edward Rizo - Soundscapes Volume 1
STYLE
 
Ambient soundscapes. Soundscapes Volume 1 is a collection of restlessly shifting ambient drone compositions of a somewhat brooding, isolationist nature. For the most part suggestive of cold, bleak terrain or wind-blasted vistas the music at times becomes more consonant as if a pale sunlight pierces the atmosphere. Some tracks such as Bathyscaphe have a more soothing fluidity that replaces the iciness with a pleasant drifting sensation - yet even here a sense of solitude lies not far beneath the relative warmth. The layered textures rise and fall in intensity often welling up into a dense mass of sound, profound, urgent; then occasionally ebbing away into wistful faintness.
 
ARTWORK   At first glance I thought that the artwork for this album was just flat black. Not the case, somewhat reminiscent of Ad Reinhardt's black on black paintings, black lettering lurks within the not-quite-black of the background. As this is a download only album, no other artwork exists at this point.
 
OVERALL    Soundscapes Volume One is a new album of ambient music by artist Edward Rizo. The album marks his first ambient musical endeavour, containing compositions that reflect on various moods and imagery united via a common vision. It is the first in a series of three contrasting soundscape albums to be released in the near future. Volume One can be downloaded free of charge at the artist's website: http://edwardrizo.bandcamp.com. The album contains eight tracks mostly just a little over or under the five minute mark.