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MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Paul Ellis - From Out Of The Vast Comes Nearness
STYLE
 

August 2011
Sequential long form ambient.
From Out Of The Vast Comes Nearness presents a suite of twinkling electronic streams: some ripple and flow in purposeful rhythm; others pool and meander in more languid motion; at times the current almost slows to a halt, heaving idly, uncertain depths. Using a combination of soft synths and hardware items in layered threads Paul Ellis weaves a mesmerising, expansive series of mindscapes that seep into the consciousness in evolving repetition. The structure is minimalist, airy; melody emergent, transient. Beats are all but absent, yet percussive synthesiser notes fleck many of the tracks and overlaid sequencer patterns sometimes amass into stirring rhythms. Flute sounds, bird-like squeaks, low chimes, sonic turbulence and air movement all embellish the rise and fall of shifting cycles and wafting pads - murmuring bass motifs, sparse and deeply rooted reaching downward.

 
ARTWORK  

From Out Of The Vast Comes Nearness arrives in a well constructed card wallet - attractive and sleek. The package opens out into two panels, the disc neatly slotted into one horizontal pocket. The cover imagery (which was first conceived when the album was to be titled Watch The Stars Come One By One) shows a ragged line of figures in long, dark coats on a bleak, rugged landscape all staring skyward. Above the clouds the sky darkens and pin-prick stars can just be made out - a single shooting star flares in a short arc. The rear cover holds a similar image, only this time the men are gone, a telescope in the place of each one; titles are here with times alongside. The package opens out to reveal two more photographs of similar terrain; here solitary figures gaze outward - one at a glimmering galaxy, the other at sky and distant horizons. Track titles are repeated on the left inner panel, credits, love and thanks also here. There is a dedication to Steve Reich, Klaus Schulze, Peter Baumann and Patrick O'Hearn whose influences can be readily discerned in the music. Finally the title From Out Of The Vast Comes Nearness is expanded with the words: An open secret unravelling.

 
OVERALL   

Released on Lotuspike, Vancouver based Paul Ellis presents From Out Of The Vast Comes Nearness as follow-up to Last Hiding Place of Beauty. Having played as part of the band Dweller at the Threshold, Paul's back catalogue includes a number of solo albums and collaborative works with musicians such as Steve Roach, Craig Padilla, Rudy Adrian, Nemesis, Ron Boots and Otso Pakarinen. This latest release contains five tracks gradually increasing in length from the ten-minute-forty-nine second introduction The Infinite, Minute By Minute to the twenty-one-minute-seventeen-second conclusion Watch The Stars Come Out One By One. Hints of Berlin school roots evident on most tracks are steeped in contemporary ambient restraint and spacey openness. The Spotted Peccary website (of which Lotuspike is a subsidiary) holds audio for each track and the Ambient Visions website has a lengthy interview with Paul discussing the creation of the album.

 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Asmodelle - Dark Universe
STYLE
 
August 2011
Dark ambient music.
Dark Universe is comprised of a series of tenebrous, beatless expanses. Reverberating chimes and tonal swells emerge in apparently random measure from a backdrop of deep, evolving drones and sonic turbulence. Shifting sonic winds and faintly mechanical textures underpin an electronic thrum and metallic tinkles. Grumbling low frequency beds emit sci-fi streamers and ethereal sweeps suggestive of alien vistas. Dark Universe was recorded live and carries a sense of improvisational experimentation fuelled by a sense of enigmatic awe. The tenor is one of brooding, spacey exploration; sometimes vast, abyssal, obscure; sometimes dense and organic.
 
ARTWORK   Dark Universe is a jewel case presentation. The sleeve insert has two panels, artwork following two distinct themes: one on the outside of black space brimming with the gleam of stars and the effulgent glow of galactic clouds; one on the inside of lighter tone as if the whole expanse is illuminated with star light. Track titles on the rear have times listed alongside with an explanation that each piece musically depicts distant cosmological anomalies. Within, the thirteen tracks are laid out to cover the double page spread of the booklet, a brief discussion of the subject matter for each building appreciation for the endeavour of the album.
 
OVERALL   

Australian female artist Estelle Asmodelle is an electronic musician with a leaning toward recording her compositions live. Asmodelle's music is by no means confined to ambient, having also released recordings in the club/dance, chillout, electro and electronica genres. Having classical training, she employs a mixture of hardware keyboards and softsynths to create her music. Dark Universe features thirteen pieces that range from around three and a half minutes to around six and a half - in all sixty six minutes. The album is released in both CD and digital formats and can be found via most major outlets as well as via the artist's own site. Samples of all tracks can be found here too along with information regarding Asmodelle's other musical faces.

 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Mythos - Superkraut Live at Stagge's Hotel 1976
STYLE   September 2011
Vintage electronica.
Superkraut Live at Stagge's Hotel 1976 is a recording of the West Berlin band Mythos in their early days. Performing here as a three piece with drums, bass and guitar/flute; the sound is much more rock oriented than the electronica that was to follow from Mythos. That vivacious, progressive, experimental sound of the early-mid seventies is ever-present here: at times reminiscent of Jethro Tull due to the gutsy rhythms and virtuoso flute work. Mostly instrumental, the album shows a band keen to let their playing open up the full range of each player. Robby Luizaga'a bass work is inventive and as much a lead instrument as Stephan Kaske's. Kaske moves comfortably from flute to bluesy electric guitar to "prehistoric synthesiser" and back again. A drum solo was pretty much obligatory back then for a live album and Paradidel doesn't fail to satisfy on the concluding track of the album.
 
ARTWORK   The neat digipack for Superkraut features reworked artwork from the band's debut album of 1972 entitled Mythos - with one or two alterations: the seated eyeball figure now clutches a complete heart atop the Stagge's Hotel building rather than the original rock formation. The imagery has that authentic 'classic' feel of the progressive, psychedelic era, bold lettering included. Track titles are found on the rear cover. A generous twelve page booklet sits in a notch inside the package. This features photographs of Mythos in their heyday both posed publicity shots and performing. Sleeve notes are in German and English providing a little history, a little nostalgia and relevant contact and website details.
 
OVERALL   

 

The Stagge’s Hotel in Northern Germany has been the source of a series of concert recordings released via Sireena Records. Mythos were captured here in 1976 at the start of their career, the tapes remaining unknown to even to the band for some time. What a find though - Live at Stagg's Hotel is the only extant live record of Mythos from the period. In time growing parallel to such German pioneers as Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schuze, Mythos here show a more rugged and rock based approach. The eight tracks will either bring back some distant treasured memories for fans of the band, or perhaps open up a whole new aspect to the polished solo Mythos that Stephan Kaske still runs today. A number of the tracks performed here were taken from the 1975 album Dreamlab follow-up to the self titled debut of 1972. Some other pieces can be found only on this unique document.

 

 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Biomass - Energy
STYLE
 

September 2011
Electronica, industrial ambient instrumentals.
Biomass opens with a steadily massing drone that fades out of silence into a throbbing arpeggiating zone that pulses in multiple measures - as soon as the sound state becomes established however, the pattern dissipates and is gone, leaving just a faint residual ambient thread. Subsequent tracks increase gradually in length, each fuller than its predecessor, building powerfully to an epic conclusion. The sonic density of Energy is often massive: driving sequences cycling into persistent thrum in tandem with mechanically clean, programmed percussion, inseparable at times from the tonal structures. Spacey strains cut through the intensity, providing ethereal beams of light among the blunt guts of the machinery. Repetition into hypnotic familiarity frequently sees intricate sequences blend into illusory smoothness: walls of sound alive with minute detail and emergent layers. Darkness gathers as the final vast abyss of Minechamber opens up: distant resonant kicks boom in the gloom like the orc drums of Moria projected into an apocalyptic future. Drones reminiscent of low grumbling utterances sink this concluding track way down into dark ambience, sonic turbulence and heaving winds pouring through the expanse. A rhythmic environment that permeates the consciousness for a full twenty two and a half minutes until ebbing away into organic fade.

 
ARTWORK  

Energy is available in both digital and CD format. The CD version arrives in a jewel case with sharp black-heavy graphics. The package includes a two panel insert. Most of the imagery is made up of interlocking curves and bands that initially suggest letter forms. Abundant grey frameworks support complex coloured projections that appear to recede deeply into the darkness of the page. The rear cover holds track titles in a horizontal band: each has running time below. This list is repeated vertically on the back of the insert. Innermost we find a page of credits, websites and contacts and two dense paragraphs given over to like-minded individuals and artists.

 
OVERALL   

Biomass is the Los Angeles based project of musician Walter ovtha woodz. Having been in existence since 1990, the project features both audio and visual artistry which especially comes into its own through live performance. Synth player Keyth McGrew of Second Culture takes on duties as synth player to deliver shows where projected imagery, PVC sculpture and dense, mesmeric music combine to create an immersive experience. Energy is released via the band's own label and benefits from the mastering skills of ambient legend Robert Rich. Opening with the two minute one second Soar Acido, each of the six tracks broadens in scope and length up to the twenty two minute thirty three second conclusion Minechamber. The band's bandcamp site allows listeners to explore the whole album and to download the music in a wide range of formats.

 
AUDIO  

 
TRACKLIST   1. Soar Acido 2:01
2. Serpent Sphinx 4:03
3. Serpentetraspeed 7:59
4. Phaseloc 11:24
5. Aquapolar 10:27
6. Minechamber 22:33
 
LINKS    biometrax@yahoo.com

Official Website:
http://www.biomassmusic.com

http://www.facebook.com/biomassmusic
http://biomass.bandcamp.com
http://soundcloud.com/biomass

CD & Digital Download online retail distribution through CD baby & its affiliates
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/biomass1
 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Cuts - Hold The Sun
STYLE
 
September 2011
Downtempo alternative vocal electronica.
The complex electronic soundscapes of Hold The Sun amply balance the strong vocal content here, so that, although this is an album of songs, it is equally an album of hypnotic instrumental beauty. Omri Klein's melancholy vocal style is perhaps the most immediate feature: distantly reminiscent of Coldplay yet with a more introspective edge set deep into the mix. Guitars, bass and drums bring a rock sound to many of the tracks; yet the synths and programming are more prominent and adventurous than much mainstream rock. Digital beats, bass drones and exploratory audio-crafting at times steer the music in the direction of ambient groove or chilled pop.
 
IN DEPTH   Opening with a pattern of sonar-like blips and guitar fingering, the title track builds gradually into a sleepy downtempo rhythm with looming bass waves and layered vocals. Subsequent pieces range from the alternative pop of Religious Standards and Solid Steel through the bluesy guts and slide guitar of Shades of Black, the bold strings and big beat of A Devil Inside to the very tranquil synthetics of Every Time I'm Stuck. Violet Vision collaborates with Cuts on The Wheels Will Turn: a floating daydream vision with effected vocals and thrumming drones set against mesmerising guitar chords. A cover of the John Lennon track Love concludes the album - emotive and wistful - lush electric guitar strums resonate upon a bed of peculiar electronica whilst sharp string stabs gradually well up leaving a disquieting, uneasy peace.
 
 ARTWORK  

The jewel case for Hold The Sun contains a three panel, fold up insert with art work in pale metallic blue. Imaginary urban elements and suited figures hint at the strongly contemporary musical content. The track list is presented on both the back cover and on the insert; inside are also website details and full credits. The flip side of the insert gives over a full panel to thanks from Aleph Zero and a second to technical and contact information. The middle section sees the front cover power towers interspersed with the letters 'cuts': concentric red rings emanate outward from the central c like spreading ripples.

 
OVERALL   Cuts is the new project of musician, producer and sound master, Nadav Katz. Katz is well known for his work with such acts as Unoccupied, Violet Vision, Kob, Mode 7 and Que. Working here with vocalist and songwriter Omri Klein, Hold The Sun is a dreamy collection of twelve lush electo-songs. The album is released via Aleph Zero Records, demonstrating that the label is constantly aware of broadening the genres offered. In collaboration with violinist Gal Binyamin, Santur player Barak Rozen and programmer Shay Raviv, among others, Cuts presents an album of broad sonic vision tightly bound by a rather unique style. You can find more about this release at the Aleph Zero web site where all the tracks are available to sample, or you can explore Nadav's other projects at his personal website.
 
ARTIST'S THOUGHTS  
 
TRACKLIST   1. Hold the Sun
2. Religious Standards
3. Shades of Black
4. Solid Steel
5. The Worst is Behind Us
6. A Devil Inside
7. The Wheels will Turn (feat. Violet Vision)
8. Your Wickedness
9. Closer
10. Every Time I'm stuck
11. Swallow your Pride
12. Love
 
 
AUDIO  
Go to Beatport.com Get These Tracks Add This Player
       
 
LINKS   www.facebook.com/cutsproject
www.myspace.com/cutsproject
www.nadavkatz.com
www.aleph-zero.info
       
 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Aligning Minds - Universal Automation
STYLE
 
September 2011
Ethereal downtempo IDM electronica.
Universal Automation ranges naturally across a broad spectrum of instrumental electronica, tracks connected by a blissful, dreaminess that floats above a variety of intricate, sinewy programmed beats. Melodic material appears on the surface to be simple and unhurried; synthetic intertwined tones, chimes and brief pads. Often the beats work somewhere between contrast and sympathy; in places strong and urgent, almost heavy; next light and lazy, trickling along with the themes; then dissipated, dropping away to nothingness. The percussive aspect of the music calls to mind releases from the excellent Sutemos catalogue: blips and glitch flecks working among 'real' drum sounds and various digital FX. There are voices in varying degrees of prominence scattered through the tracks, some faint and manipulated into obscurity, others fleeting snatches or used instrumentally; on Happy Hollow the reverberating vocals of Marcio Alvarado are given centre stage - clear lyrics, wistful tone.
 
IN DEPTH   This is a melodically strong album; very beautiful in places - ethereal phrases and complementary harmonic touches often drifting in lazy curves like coloured smoke from an extinguished candle. The sonic colour is rich and saturated, which, when combined with the hypnotic meandering nature of the music makes for a very evocative, transporting headphones experience. That said, much of the material here is rhythmic enough to command a dance floor or sufficiently dynamic to demand complete attention. The opening track Malavek's Movement fades in from silence: a fractured, ponderous glitchy beat and shifting dronescape - haunting and enigmatic. The next track sees the pace pick up, a little the music warm and tranquil. Conversant Dilemma follows with the most sleepy and sublimely beautiful piece of the album. The intensity gathers around the midpoint, building to a blunt crescendo. The final third returns to downtempo serenity heading inexorably toward the uneasy, soporific space of Just A Glimpse.
 
 ARTWORK   The physical version of Universal Automation arrives in a jewel case with two panel insert. Front cover artwork places the viewer in an elevated position, as if gazing down weightless from an easy height. A single figure in silhouette looks up, enshrouded in effulgent light patterns - star points dots the background and the darkness within the figure. Track titles are on the opposing face of the insert and on the rear cover; technical details, credits and websites also on these panels in small font. The inner panels of the insert feature a large disc framing a purple line drawing of a cross-legged figure, its six arms frozen in multiple significant gestures. To the left is the verse Universal Automation by Andrew Blunt footed by credits and contacts. The right side holds generous paragraphs of thanks and shoutouts.
 
OVERALL  

Aligning Minds is the joint project of US based producers Daniel Merrill and Michael Folk. The duo have a history of live performance as well as collaborative and remix experience that explains the incredibly high standard of this debut album. Released via the Beats and Pieces Records label, Universal Automation delivers eleven mid-length tracks that "fuses elements of downtempo, dubstep, breakbeat and IDM, but without the need for formulaic restrictions". A most enjoyable album with broad appeal, balancing just the right amount of light and darkness, exploring sufficient musical genres without losing clear focus. You can dig deeper by visiting the Beats and Pieces website where there are sound samples for each track. The band also has a Myspace page where you can discover some of their compilation appearances over recent years.

 
ARTIST'S THOUGHTS    
 
TRACKLIST   1. Malavek's Movement
2. Fortune and Solitude
3. Conversant Dilemma
4. You'll Wade through It
5. A World of Progress
6. Myan Dreams
7. Happy Hollow
8. Vaida Unison
9. A Secret Society
10. My Blue June
11. Just A Glimpse
 
 
AUDIO    
Go to Beatport.com Get These Tracks Add This Player
     
 
LINKS/TECHNICAL  

Label: Beats Pieces
Format: Album
Style: Electronic, Ambient, Chillout
Quality: MP3 VBR V0 Stereo
Size: 130 Mb

http://www.bnprecords.com/releases.html
Myspace - http://www.myspace.com/aligningminds
Beat Port - http://www.beatport.com/release/universal-automation/435346
Itunes - http://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/universal-automation/id455992758
Juno - http://www.junodownload.com/products/universal-automation/1806584-02/