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MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Amethystium - Aurorae EP
STYLE
 
January 2012
Enigmatic, cinematic electronica.
Aurorae is a moody, timeless EP of evocative electronica threaded with organic string melodies and textures. The passionate sounds of Harding fiddle and cello emphasise the celtic aspect with which Amethystium often invests his music; nostalgic and wistful, very evocative. The shadow tones and twilight atmospheres that Amethytium develops so well are strong here: the opening track Nightfall setting the tone with a low thrumming beat and deep drone underpinning an ascending string pattern that swells achingly into heaving sighs. All of the pieces here develop a similar story: lush, dreamy and full of emotion - from the dense, stirring tug of Solace through the lowkey melancholy warmth of Faraway to the gentle Outro where previous themes are hinted at, distantly recalled with hypnotic brushed snares and piano overlays.
 
ARTWORK   This is a digital release, so the artwork comes in jpeg format. The cover image is an ambiguous swirling of aqua blue green hues: the northern lights animating a night sky; reflections, ice crystals, submerged details in water; ethereal forest forms with glowing auras ... Aimee Stewart is the artist - her delightful website Fox Fires is well worth a visit. A darker monochrome image also is included upon which credits and technical details are listed. There is no tracklist.
 
OVERALL   

This latest EP from Norway's Øystein Ramfjord finds Amethystium on top form. A self-released collection of four tracks; very beautiful yet subtle - pure, refined Amethystium. The understated, crepuscular elegance recalls the Autumn Interlude EP from way back in Øystein's days as an mp3.com rising star. Now, of course with a string of albums behind him, the technical quality and depth of the music is greatly developed, but Aurorae demonstrates that the passion is still burning strong. The music can be heard at Amethytium's Youtube channel and can be purchased directly through the official Amethytium web site where you can set your own price!

 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Katyayani - Four Seasons
STYLE
 

February 2012
Downtempo nujazz-hiphop fusion songs with both male and female vocals.
Four Seasons brings together a smooth blend of warm keyboards; lightly trembling, sonorous vibes; clean, blunt bass lines; sax and brass flourishes with crisp drums and a sophisticated, contemporary lounge atmosphere. Musical arrangements are uncluttered and light, for the most part built around meandering epiano/Rhodes melodies with subtle electronic bass underpinning. Singer Catarina Ahlsrand-Jalonen has an intimate, lucid vocal style: clear, wistful and slightly dreamy. Husband Tapani Jalonen by contrast, raps with a laid-back, near spoken style - close up and confiding, philosophising, street savvy. The oufit is completed with Jaakko Martikainen providing tenor soprano, sax and flute and Juha Tuukkanen manipulating beats and samples. There are frequent retro references: fashionable sixties nods; gritty hiphop passion from the nineties ‘golden era’; timeless heartfelt jazz improvisations and modern urban colouring.

 
ARTWORK   The front cover image for Four Seasons shows a concrete jetty thrust out against a steely sea, hazy grey sky above. Curling up from the lower left corner is a tangle of graphic curls stretching in another shade of pale grey to the edges of the sky. The rear cover provides track titles along with writing and performance credits. The package is a digipack of two panels.
 
OVERALL    Finland based Katyayani take their name from a word of Sanskrit origin meaning “The one who incarnated to help the Devas”, it is also names the sixth form of the Hindu goddess Durga, associated with courage. The band release their debut Four Seasons both digitally and in cd- format (digipack) via Geisha Music with samples on their Soundcloud page at and at Myspace.
Biographical material explains that Catarina met jazz pianist and husband to-be Tapani Jalonen in 1998 whereupon they started out performing as a jazz standards cover duo. Live success subsequently led to writing and performing their own material. In 2003 Juha Tuukkanen, founder of Spyritual joined the act and with fourth member Jaakko Martikainen, the band was complete. Geisha Music is an unusual platform, official information explains: Geisha Music beta version offers free online multisampler, synthesizer and mixer with features such as wav export, mp3 import and SoundCloud integration. It also offers worldwide digital distribution and releases gemstone albums created by its community. Geisha Music Soundlab is at its best while creating loops and musical ingredients, which can later be mixed and finalized DIY style into full length masterpieces with one´s own favorite software. There are plenty of sounds and loops
to play with. Feel free to use sounds and loops in Geisha Music Sound Library as a part of your next creation.

 

AUDIO  
 
TECHNICAL DATA   Contact: info@geishamusic.com
Website: www.geishamusic.com
       
 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------James Murray - Floods
STYLE

February 2012
Electro-acoustic soundscapes.
Sparingly developed melodic motifs slowly amass within ambient spaces: simple repeating refrains reverberating in rhythmic regularity; lustrous synthetic textures coruscating in beds of structured noise; subtle pulses amongst layered loops and sonic disturbances. It's often hard to say what sources are used to produce the closely interwoven sounds of Floods: there are hints of subtle guitar fingering with the more distinct sounds of fingers sliding across wound strings; there are zones of hiss and sleeting grains of crackle; chimes and bell-like tones tinkle in hypnotic cycles; bass lines lurk somewhere between struck notes and dull drones; very distant piano touches or muted keyboard phrases arise out of rippling arpeggios and fog banks.

 
ARTWORK   Floods arrives in a "custom designed 4-panel recycled card sleeve". A tactile matt beige with rubber-stamped lettering; the package has a distinctive hand crafted feel to it. Simple and uncluttered, the sleeve in two folding panels with minimal writing, performance and production credits attributed to James Murray, There is a dedication: To the waters. A few poetic lines appear to hold the centre of the right section, but these are track titles: evocative, pithy, melancholy. Each copy conceals a folded, signed insert of similar rough card with the words SEEK HIGH GROUND on the front. Promotional material explains that "Everything has been sourced as ecologically responsibly as possible here in the UK."
 
OVERALL   

James Murray releases Floods on his own Slowcraft Records label. This delicate release follows up on his debut Where Edges Meet, stripping away the beats and allowing the meandering, introspective nature of the music to fall into melancholy reverie. The seven tracks have a similar nature and attitude, maintaining a constant mood to positive effect from start to finish. The mesmeric Greenlands has, perhaps, a mildly brighter atmosphere, a faint break in the clouds, a glimmer of sunshine upon the geometries of raindrops - Murray revisits this theme toward the end of the album in the more subdued Greenlands Lament where the signature sequence is now deep below the surface - a greyer outlook, a more washed out palette.
Find out more, listen to tracks and purchase the album at James' website.

 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Olan Mill - Paths
STYLE

March 2012
Contemporary classical, melodic ambient.
Paths is a deep immersion of shadowy, melancholy beauty: lush, emotive strings; entangled piano lines; dense processed drones. Initially, Paths sweeps into place with aching violin layers and subtle electronic underpinning that well exemplify the promotional comment about Olan Mill "reconciling the ambition of an orchestra with the limitations of a duo." Indeed it is the classical instrumentation that most strikingly greets the listener, until Amber Balanced that is: here a disquieting mass of tone wells up threaded through with less distinct bowed elements and peculiar sonic ephemera - dark and brooding, insistent, grave. The six pieces of Paths were originally captured from two live performances in Bristol and Reading in late 2010. Source material was then "sewn together" from the multi-track recordings into the resultant lush compositions suggestive of a much larger ensemble.

 
ARTWORK   I haven't seen the packaging for Paths, but I understand that this release is presented with a 4 panel letter pressed CD, a booklet written by Olan Mill in collaboration with Vincent Vocoder Voice for Olan Mill, limited edition 12x12 prints, A2 poster and interconnected artwork by Jurgen Heckel. All collated in the characteristic hand stamped, sealed and numbered Facture fashion.
 
OVERALL   

Olan Mill, despite their breadth of sound, is duo Alex Smalley and Svitlana Samoylenko. Their music has been described as "unashamedly romantic" - it certainly has a cinematic passion that tugs at the heart and invites closed-eye reflection. Released on the Fluid Audio sub-label Fac-ture Records, Paths comes as follow-up to the duo's striking debut Pine, which was put out in 2010 on Serein. This limited edition album comes as a run of only 300 copies on 180gm vinyl mastered by Shawn Hatfield. Tracks range from just over two minutes to eight minutes twelve seconds. Both sides of the album have two shorter recordings followed by a longer piece where ambient dronescapes are given the space to unfold in unhurried evolution. You can experience Olan Mill at Soundcloud and at the Fac-ture webite. The Olan Mill site is well worth a visit also: here you can find information on live performances, other projects and available releases.

 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Various Artists - Greenosophy
STYLE
 

March 2012
Hypnotic ambient and progressive trance.
The album emerges from silence into shifting breezes of sonic turbulence; plastic disturbances and a reverberating female voice musing in French lead the listener onward and into a harmonious ambient floatation zone. Seamlessly tracks segue one into the next, Rildrim's Tear-blind eyes building a disquieting sense of mystery with intermittent beat structures that seems to fall with a sigh into the welcoming light of Liquid Stranger's Minimum. Sparkling fluid movements and lazy downtempo grooves develop into denser beat structures toward the middle of the album: a throbbing bass form from Sesen on shadowy ground; a brooding international montage from Cell; subtle dub elements and rhythms courtesy of Ajja. Tripswitch lays a percolating sequencer pattern upon a regular kick throb - stratospheric effects and washes swirling in tandem; a mesmerising bass pulse builds into a climactic Solar Fields epic. The pace winds down once more, a ponderous low bpm piece with a sombre tone and melancholy interludes from Miktek leading into organic ambience of the penultimate Folding Pattern from James Murray. Cygna concludes the collection with a gamelan-like bell and chime composition backlit with burbling arpeggiations; acoustic guitar and strings shift moods midway before everything ebbs away into smooth drones and gathering silence.

 
ARTWORK   Greenosophy arrives in a sharp three panel digipack of icy metal hues. A casual glance might mislead a viewer into assuming that the artwork is a series of cutting edge 3D renders wherein chrome or glass spheres ride arcing wire supports like some intricate metal light fixture. Actually the images are close-up photographs of dandelion seed heads bejewelled with water droplets. Beautifully captured and displayed upon a flat grey ground, each image dives in closer and deeper leading to the words 'are we interconnected bubbles?' The theme of droplets, bubbles, intricate filaments and natural abstraction continues into the sixteen page booklet concealed in the end section of the package. Each track has a booklet page with credits and image; thanks, inspiration and technical details bring up the rear.
 
OVERALL   

Ultimae present Greenosophy as a collection masterminded by 'our Swiss activist dj Cyril Miserez aka Mizoo.' The eleven recordings gathered here are especially immersive and unhurried, unfolding like natural forms into striking clarity. Most pieces are well over the five minute mark, Cell's Idea Spiral (a live edit from the Ozora Festival) peaking at eleven minutes and forty six seconds. Ultimae mainstay Solar Fields provides the next longest track with almost nine minutes of Cobalt 2.0. Other familiar artists and those less regular at Ultimae include Liquid Stranger, Cell, Tripswitch, James Murray, Mnnsk & Mizoo, Rildrim, Sesen, Ajja, Miktek and Cygna. The Ultimae web site holds sounds for each track and there is a video presentation at Youtube that previews the whole collection.

 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ----------Mythos - Quasar
STYLE
 
March 2012
Progressive electronica and synth rock.
Mythos hereby continue their ongoing re-releasing of classic albums. Quasar, originally delivered back in 1980, is something of a Janus album: looking backward it recalls the progressive rock roots of the band - Tull-like flutes, dramatic Krautrock moogs and ambitious melodic structures; looking forward it hints at the synth-pop explosion that was to dominate a lot of early eighties music. Berlin school music as well as much of the popular rock output was undergoing swift change at this time and Mythos seem to capture the whole spectrum of that change here on Quasar. There are some fairly heavy sections where chugging rhythms and live drums propel earnest male vocals and zappy, squirting leads. Other tracks have a Teutonic grandeur, focussing the lengthy pomp of the seventies into brief three-four minute tracks. Electro-beats of programmed percussion running in tandem with sequencer patterns form the back bone of other recordings.
 
ARTWORK   Quasar has been lovingly repackaged into a sharp digipack of two panels with a generous sixteen page booklet insert. The outer cover presents the artwork from the SKY Records vinyl original: the brittle form of a huge insect held aloft upon a backdrop of strikingly red craggy hills and distant settlements. The rear cover holds a tracklist with times alongside. Within, a studio shot under twin lighting umbrellas hides behind the booklet; a simple logo on black ground to the right. The booklet holds a fascinating collection of performance photographs and gear shots that nicely reveal something of the musical environment of the band. There is also a lengthy explanation in both German and English of how the album came about. Details are revealed of the recording challenges of the time and the choices facing a band with personnel concerns and an exploding array of new technological options.
 
OVERALL    Quasar was released originally via Hamburg label Sky Records at a turning point for Mythos - the third line-up was approaching its end with a couple of vinyl albums under their belt - a plethora of novel kit items was opening up - musical styles were rapidly evolving. The 1980 release of this follow-up to the previous year's Concrete City straddles this period of flux. Mythos main man Stephan Kaske began with a seasoned touring band and concluded as pretty much a one-man outfit producing the new album with studio musicians. There are eleven tracks here from the original release, most a little under or over the four minute mark - pithy concentrates and brief gutsy statements as opposed to the lengthy extravaganzas of the previous decade. The album concludes with an almost ten minute montage of Mythos radio, TV and film music jingles. This record is one of the few Mythos creations that has thus far eluded re-release (along with 1981's Grand Prix) - catch it now restored to its former glory

TECHNICAL DATA  

Label: Sireena
Websites: www.Sireena.de and www.mythos-music-berlin.de
Purchase: Sireena Amazon