You - Adore
Ethereal, dreampop-electronica with female vocals.
Adore sees Falling You warming their sound up somewhat and
introducing more prominent guitars and 'live' drum sounds
to the traditionally quite minimal palette. That said, there
are a number of tracks that are essential Falling You: the
ten minute plus Firestorm drifts in ambient weightlessness
for two minutes, then ticks along with a light programmed
beat and sparse guitar textures for a further five minutes
before bursting alight with distorted guitar chords and stronger
beat; the opener Blessed hangs in misty floatation - beatless
and dreamy. Tracks like Champagne, Adore and Moving One, on
the other hand, have a bright shoegazer nature with layered
electric guitars and upbeat drum grooves. The three minute
nineteen instrumental Bloom sees Zorko exploring echoing distortion
leads upon a bed of celestial keyboard pads - harsh and delicate
at the same time. The concluding track is a delightfully languid
song of hypnotic reverie - intimate, understated and unique.
sees Falling You turn to a rich digipack presentation and
a significant change in tone. In keeping with the shift in
sound, the image features a blissful female figure bathed
in warm light rather than the brooding deep blue abstractions
of previous covers. The outer three panels unfold into a bright
spread whith track titles and relevant musings on the central
(rear) part. The remaining leftmost panel lists the vocalists
and other collaborators; provides a paragraph of thanks; contact
and website details as well as a dedication to "the memories
of loved ones and all who have experienced loss, yhet still
find reasons to live... and love... being alive." Inside
can be found lyrics to each song set upon a textured fabric
backdrop lit by a different light source - glowing yellow
flames - burning upward.
and producer, John Michael Zorko returns with the fifth
album from his evocative Falling You project. Whereas previous
albums revelled in moody shadow and cool, sparse instrumentation;
Adore steps hesitatingly into soft sunshine - the title
track dreamy and full of understated pop-touched optimism.
Many of the trademark elements are still clearly in evidence:
distinctive, elegant, feminine vocalists; restrained electronic
instrumentation; plaintive, blissful, introspective arrangements.
The impressive roster of singers for Adore includes Anji
Bee, Suzanne Perry, Aimee Page, Victoria Lloyd, Erica Mulkey,
Dru Allen, Summer Bowman and Kirsty Hawkshaw. Currently,
the album is available from Magnatune
where each track is available for preview, CDs can also
be ordered through CD
Artists - Lost In The Humming Air - Music inspired by Harold
Expressive ambient, neo classical minimalism: Harold Budd.
The artists contributing to this subtle collection have
offered a series of impressions responding to the brief:
to create something that "resembles the music of Harold
Budd or channels the influence he had on them as musicians."
In keeping with their muse, many employ sparse piano chords
thrumming with reverb, airy touches and ponderous fingering
lingering around pregnant spaces. Beds of sonic mist and
environmental sound enshroud much of the melodic material.
Some tracks meander lazily with wafting drones and swaying
hazes; others crackle with static flecks or aural sleet.
A faint beat gently propels Andrew Thomas' Hushhh (Variation
2) where cricket-like chirrs throb against a dense atmospheric
fog. Ringing chimes tinkle and clang against soft focus
ambience in Taylor Dupree's Sleepover. Liquid lapping and
sonic disturbances establish a disquieting backdrop for
the echoing ivory forms laid down by Rafael Anton Irisarri
In The Humming Air is presented in a jewelcase with gate-fold
inset. Artwork is built around swirls and layered curves of
grey. Upon the differing neutral densities float and flutter
delicate threads of colour; fine twists of yellow, orange,
red. Text is of a heavier grey: small, simple elegant fonts.
Track titles with artist names and writing credits are on
the rear cover. Within can be found a paragraph from compiler
Martin Juhls on the inception of the project and a further
two paragraphs from Rafael Anton Irisarri discussing the inspiration
behind the project and Irisarri's own initial reactions to
the music of Harold Budd.
Records delivers this engrossing tribute as a way of "paying
respect to Budd in some way, to give something back to him."
An apt goal in view of the immense influence that Harold
Budd has been for many modern musicians. Conceived initially
by Marin Juhls (aka Marsen Jules) and Rafael Anton Irisarri
in the spring of 2009, the pair along with Sebastian Maetje
set about compiling the album and found themselves surprised
by the positive response from so many contemporary artists.
The roster is impressive: Deaf Centre, Loscil, Martin Fuhs,
Biosphere, Xela, Marsen Jules, Andrew Thomas, Mokira, Christopher
Willits, Taylor Dupree, Rafael Anton Irisarri, Sword Tobacco
and bvdub & Criss Van Wey. All participating artists
donated their tracks to the release. The surplus of the
sales will be given to a charity project to be chosen by
Harold himself. The music can be experienced via the Oktaf
website as well as the label's Soundcloud
page. There is also a free track to download from Christopher
Willits entitled Olancha Farewell which can be found at:
Direct Download Link:
Westheimer - Tranzworld Express
Global psychill journey album.
Tranzworld Express is a transporting experience that whisks
the listener away from home on a speeding dream train breezing
across musical, cultural and technological borders. The pace
is mid-tempo - a comfortable dance groove with a locomotive-like
regularity suggestive of casual speed and passing vistas.
Western soul sounds and club elements get the party going,
but soon the scene has shifted and a Middle Eastern dub beat
drives Peacedance further from home. The sense of the exotic
is heightened as the album progresses: international instrumentation
and diverse voices interwoven among bright recording effects,
vocoder snatches and lush strings. "I know everything
about nothing!" declares a lively voice at the opening
of Virtually Enlightened; multinational hand drums and twanging
plucked wires here juxtaposed against subtle sequences and
brash brass flourishes. Peter Westheimer clearly enjoys a
rich melting pot of music without the encumbrance of genre
restrictions. China India (as you might deduce) fuses the
colours of these two evocative Asian sources of mystique -
bells trees and electronica; er-hu and sitar; expressive tablas
and programmed beats; piercing pipes and soft female vocals.
The binding factor for the album is the relatively consistent
beat - wheels on tracks, hypnotic patterns, express rhythm.
Westheimer brings a sense of global responsibility to his
music, dealing with such important themes as the planet's
growing population, finite resources and climate change
challenges; East-West relations and the struggling of peace
processes; religious enlightenment, fundamentalism and media
control; ecologically friendly transport modes and natural
energy sources. These serious concerns thread the music
of Tranzworld Express with a dynamic urgency: stirring beats,
driving basslines and insistent melodies. The tightly woven
multinational instrumentation (Westheimer himself plays
a wide range of instruments, ranging from keyboard to sitar,
with much in between) highlights a vision of potential global
harmony and cooperation. That said - this is by no means
merely a gloomy presentation of cerebral ideals - the music
is full of emotion: ranging from the blissfully ecstatic
through lively, vivacious and inspirational to somewhat
threatening and disquieting. The artist's website explains
that he sees music as an agent of change - unlike much of
today's 'worldbeat' music this is an album with an authenticity
born from genuine passion and actual familiarity with many
of the locations aurally conjured "inspired by travels
through Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the USA in 2009.
Its' rhythmic energies and perspectives come from the moving
scenery of contemporary communities both rural and urban,
and a retracing of family history."
The album opens with a flush of multinational warmth - plucked
strings, Western and Eastern, fusing together, leading into
the traintrack beat that will draw the listener throughout
the journey. As lush orchestral bowings flow in layers a
female voice whispers, "Change the world" signalling
Westheimer's underlying theme. The mood is upbeat, positive
and lively - throbbing bassline driving the central section
of the track. The melodic motifs are taken up in varying
forms by different instruments - Eastern organic, Western
electronic - with lush washes and pads behind.
DANCING HEARTS ORCHESTRA
Whilst maintaining the rhythm established by Change Now,
this track has more of a Western soul dance floor vibe.
Piano stabs, disco guitar chord flicks and deep synth patterns
form the backbone whilst a female voice wordlessly soars
and further piano melodies dance above. It feels as if we
are still not so far from home, hints of the city still
glimpsed through the window as the journey gets well under
Here the beats shifts from the measured locomotion of the
previous two tracks to a lilting dub rhythm - still at similar
pace however - danceable and energetic. Opening with phased
guitar and a blunt bass - Middle Eastern flavours soon start
to appear. Inspired by the struggling peace processes in
the Middle East - sonorous wiry scales twang against smooth
synthetics; hints of Arab wails and a subtle female moan
waft through the dance. A joyous piece of optimism.
CHANCES OF A LIFE
A low heartbeat drum introduces a rich bowed string melody,
building rapidly to that now-familiar mid-tempo pace. Vocoder
vocals and international chanting entwine upon tone shifting
arpeggios and gutsy bassline; "I could have been born
anywhere, somewhere, into times of novelty (innovation)
or times of fundamentalism." Briefly the intensity
dissipates, the heartbeat returning - more strings and we're
off again hurtling further and further from home.
"I know everything about nothing. I am totally light,"
an oriental voice announces upon a bed of twinkling synthetic
arpeggio - weightless for a moment. Soon our train-like
beat whisks us forward - hand drumming and programmed grooves
in perfect tandem, the electronic arpeggios shifting and
morphing, embellished by the hypnotic wires of the East.
Virtually Enlightened builds into mesmerising regularity
as the track progresses, trance-like and very rhythmically
impelling. Brash brass phrases, electric guitar touches
and the occasional return of the opening speaker hold the
attention and deepen the colour.
An electronically altered vocal wail introduces iRan - a
dramatic, low chord beckoning the beat to roll in: a clatter
of hand percussion, thumping kick and bright hi-hats. Middle-Eastern
instrumentation again features here in keeping with the
theme: "I ran from Iran. I ran and I ran and I ran."
Westheimer's concern for the oppression
and tight media control within the country lend this piece
a slightly brooding tone - that said the album's over-riding
sense of optimism is present here too especially within
the cavorting leap of the beat.
KARMA THAN CHAOS
Playing with the words 'Karma makes me calmer!' Westheimer
here develops a smooth East-West fusion where sitar phrases
dance against reverberating gongs and soft female whispers.
Dreamy and blissful, beaten strings and twanging plucks
contrast rubbery bass lines and Western drumming. The gradual
massing of layered synth pads toward the end of the track
lifts the music skyward, fading into heavenly light.
The title track opens with the voice of a station announcer
and the clutter of environmental sound whilst a cycling
arpeggio gradually builds, surrounded by atmospheric pads.
As the arpeggios morph and flow a thudding bass and kick
rhythm starts up and the train is on the way. Tranzworld
Express has a somewhat more urban electro feel than much
of the rest of the album - passing briefly though another
station interlude before rolling on - environmentally concerned:
clear, clean, fresh and transporting.
Two ancient civilizations steeped in tradition and colour.
Westheimer draws on the richness of the sonic histories
of these two countries to paint his picture of cultural/political
contrasts and shared beauty. The light boom of tablas and
the trill of bell trees merge with subdued Western beat
material. Chinese er-hu, Indian santoor, keening pipes and
a range of other evocative instruments join with plodding
bass in what is the most concentrated world beat track of
the album so far.
Opening to the heaving of waves, Renewable Energy soon rings
with bright Indian strings then an upward fading marimba
sequence and vocoder voice. Almost imperceptibly the marimbas
are thickened with complimentary synth patterns - warm layers
lifting the mood high. Double bass steps in at the low end,
hand drums and rattling percussion take up the beat. The
boom of thunder and atmospheric disturbances recall again
the theme of this positive composition - "100 percent
of the world's energy, for all purposes, could be supplied
by wind, water and solar resources." The piece ends
with the gentle trickle of water.
GHOSTS OF THE FUTURE
A dark echoing motif sets up a moody tone which is soon
developed further by some shadowy synth waves laid down
upon a booming Middle Eastern beat. The clatter and thump
of Westheimer's, by now familiar, amalgam of percussion
patterns takes a prominent role on this final recording
- an interlude of resonant tablas, a squelching synthetic
bassline and programmed effects broadening the rhythmic
appeal - intense and urgent. Peter's website refers to the
seriousness behind this composition "Toxic legacies
of the future like nuclear waste dumps, extinct species
and genocide leave ghosts that fade very slowly." A
fitting conclusion to Tranzworld Express - something to
think about - an infectious rhythm within which to become
absorbed - plenty of international instruments and sparkling
effects. The set concludes with a struck metallic bowl -
its ringing tones fading away into light.
The front cover of this eco-friendly digipack depicts a young
woodland of muted colours and delicate slender birches as
seen by a fleeting railway passenger. Faint reflections haze
the view and suddenly the stark visage of a tribal mask looms
in the lower right. Drawn to peer at the ghostly face a bird
form is discerned, gliding vertically; eyes stare fixedly
through arched curves in the wings. The package unfolds into
three panels with the disc held neatly in a plastic free-central
grip - at last a CD case with no plastic at all! Track titles
are on the rear of the cover with track times alongside. The
third outer panel holds sleeve notes and a scattering of inspirational
images. Inside each track has a space of its own with a connected
image and brief explanatory notes.
Westheimer delivers the aptly titled Tranzworld Express
through Integrity Music Records as his sixth full length
album and follow-up to the 2004 release Music Sculptures.
Based near Byron Bay, Australia, Westheimer has embarked
on supporting his music with multilayered videos of all
tracks and performing audiovisual shows live incorporating
his interests in video art, renewable energy, biodiversity
& rail transport overall highlighting music as an agent
of change and joy. A classical background in early life,
performance with bands & theatre and recording material
for soundtracks, documentaries and multimedia installations
(to cover just part of the CV) provides a broad musical
foundation upon which to draw.
Thus Tranzworld Express has arisen "inspired by travels
through Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the USA in 2009."
Promotional material explains that "Its' rhythmic energies
and perspectives come from the moving scenery of contemporary
communities both rural and urban, and a retracing of family
history." The music is available for exploration at
Westheimer website where, as well as the audio, verbal
explanations of number of the recordings are provided.
The Tranzworld Express album's energy and consistency has
been enhanced heaps from my work and collaborations with
Dave Basek and Tone Wonderland. Dave over a 6 month period
coproduced and engineered the music with me then did my
website. Tone overviewed this process ,contributing bass
lines and creative advice into the mix and then together
we coproduced the visuals for each track and for the videos
and performances.. As happened so often with this album,
the results of music & video production sessions exceeded
my expectations and gave me so much of a buzz that it made
the whole long process of producing, releasing, promoting
this my sixth album even more worthwhile than I had imagined.
For me the nexus between music and art/video has become
more entwined. Lots of positive comments from listeners
& fans has given me the confidence to move into new
audiovisual performances as well. I pay my respects &
thanks to them and to the gods of creativity !
Express is an imaginary train of the future seamlessly crossing
borders, 'expressing' the rhythms, melodies, harmonies and
politics of changing cultures.
This album with its' eleven track music menu was inspired
by travels through Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the
USA in 2009. Its' rhythmic energies and perspectives come
from the moving scenery of contemporary communities both
rural and urban, and a retracing of family history.
Roach - Back To Life
Tranquil, silken deep, medium and long-form ambient.
Back To Life is a two CD package that Steve explains as
entering a new phase of his long-form symphonic ambient
works; an arcing trajectory that follows on from such previous
albums as The Magnificent Void, Mystic Chords and Sacred
Spaces, Dynamic Stillness and Sigh of Ages. Opening with
Where Rasa Lives, a fine cloud of sound rises up out of
nothingness, expanding into hazy enormity. Initially the
music might appear minimal in its dream-like, drifting tranquillity;
yet there are many depths and layers to these recordings.
The almost fifteen minute opener wafts and swells beatless
for much of its length then - almost imperceptibly as if
maybe the listener merely imagines it - a faint beat of
soft padding pulses arises - the effect is a little like
hearing the body's internal sounds, shifting as the ear
focuses and refocuses. Tranquility Base segues gently in
from its predecessor with a lazy sequencer pattern and heavenly
pads. A sense of wonder, of disquiet even, sets in as distantly
voice-like threads haunt the drone mists. The lengthy Mist
of Perception is a meandering ambient symphony that moves
from cavernous expanses through dull throbbing rhythms to
weightless floating and deep submersion. This is a monumental
creation that will either hang in the air, delicately scenting
the atmosphere or engross pull you in, revealing constant
subtle or hidden aspects depending upon how you choose to
To Life is a beautiful three panel digipack with panoramic
imagery spread across the outside. Bright bubbles gleam with
an almost metallic clarity, sharp highlights and multitudinous
beaming arcs. Thrown into attractive bokeh, the more distant
water droplets take on increasing haziness as they recede,
eventually softening so much as to merge with the ultra-blurred
background Track titles are on the rear section of the cover
with track times alongside - little other text. Within, again
information is sparse: the left panel reveals that Steve's
gear employed included Analog and digital hardware synthesizers
and processors as well as Eurorack analog modular system.
The remaining two inner sections hold the discs in plastic
latest Steve Roach release is delivered through the Projekt
label as a twin disc pack, however, it is also available
from Steveroach.com as part of a box set with Groove Immersion
- the website explains that this latter presentation is
an "elegant German-made black box with faceplate, containing
BACK TO LIFE and GROOVE IMMERSION. Each box is signed and
numbered, limited to 500 copies. Includes cover art micro
posters exclusive to the box. Unsigned copies also available
by special request." Back To Life itself is comprised
of one disc with seven compositions ranging from four minutes
seven seconds to sixteen forty one and a second disc with
an enormous long-form piece of sixty nine minutes fifty
nine seconds. You can listen to the music at the Steve
Roach website or at Projekt.
Pels Syndicate - Chemical Inconveniences
Downtempo electronica and melodic chillout.
Chemical Inconveniences has a strong melodic content any highly
contemporary style. Light digital beats click, tap, crunch
and thud against liquid clear synths whilst complementary
washes, arpeggios and electronic embellishments flush and
drift in harmony. The rhythms range from the languid, dreamy
laziness of A Beautiful Mind and Trying To Remember to the
dynamic mid-tempo artificial hi hat flutter of Mersik and
Boomchik Dancing and the synth-pop drama of Transition Zone.
Tending mostly toward the lower end of the bpm spectrum, the
album has a delightful laid back vibe that can function either
as relaxing background music or as a rewarding headphones
exploration. The eleven compositions here have something of
the immediacy and catchiness of mainstream pop, yet they manage
to retain a pleasing air of dignity and sharp IDM credibility.
Glitchy tendencies, intriguing peripheral effects and crisp
production steer the music deftly away from new-age cheesiness,
ensuring that the harmonious warmth and tranquil appeal of
Chemical Inconveniences don't become too sugary.
Inconveniences is a jewelcase presentation which is also available
in electronic format. The front cover homes in on an image
that recurs throughout the package, namely a mechanical-looking
molecule structure with planet earth as the central sphere.
Radiating metallic arms support shiny projections in diminishing
fractal variety. This artificial contruct hangs upon a turquoise-indigo
backdrop that is of similar organic-mechanic ambiguity: liquid
ripples and perfect graduated sky. Track titles along with
their associated timings are found both on the rear cover
and within the two-panel inset. Contact information and brief
credits are also to be found within.
soundtrack producer/musician Frank Pels follows up Cinematic
Blue with this latest album Chemical Inconveniences. A musician
from an early age, Pels has toured and recorded with various
pop bands as well as having composed music for numerous
commercials, TV programmes, films, fashion shows, laser
shows, etc. etc.. This solo release sees Pels' pop-honed
skills and keen cinematic sensibilities working in tight
cohesion; the result is an unusual hybrid of melodic hooks
and electro-chill with some very blissful vibes and rapturous
presence. The technical quality is fantastic and there are
layers to the music that might not be immediately apparent.
Released via the AD Music label, tracks can be sampled via
website or The
Pels Syndicate site own site.
very successful album ' Cinematic Blue', I now move on with
'Chemical Inconveniences'. Eleven original tracks emerged
from my work as a professional producer and composer for media
and multimedia, covering all kinds of musical styles. 'Chemical
Inconveniences' is meant just to be beautiful, ear-candy to
listen to over and over again and never get bored. Every track
has melodic, harmonic and rhythmic development, complex evolving
arrangements, and a big wide HIFI sound. But...you might as
well want to play it as background music, and also leave your
player on repeat play. Enjoy !!!
Fröberg and the Musical Companion
Progressive rock in the grand tradition of the early nineteen
The first thing that struck me about Powerplay is that this
album proudly builds upon the towering heritage of original
prog - no apologies, no watering down, no inconguous blending
of more recent genres to 'update' the music. This is the album
that Yes should have released: glorious, expansive, energetic,
fragile, huge. I have to say that Fröberg and company
have restored my interest in the genre to a degree far greater
than I would have imagined possible forty years down the line.
The melodies are strong and complex: the structures effortlessly
encompass dreamy rock meandering with slide guitar, smooth
synths and soft drums; aggressive sections with pleasingly
astounding fiddly guitar work, squealing moog, heaving bass
and multiple vocal harmonies; acoustic twelve string passages
and a voice with the occasional broken delicacy of Jon Anderson.
It's important to point out though, that working within a
genre established decades back has not resulted in an album
of rehashing old material or imitating the sounds of others
- no, Powerplay feels one hundred percent fresh and authentic,
somehow like this band was there at the time, riding the crest
of the prog wave, only somehow they're doing it now. An incredible
feat to achieve - wow!
comes in a glossy grey digipack. Cover art is of simple graphic
shapes and text highlighting the embossed titles - Powerplay
in deep purple. On the rear, track titles scatter in the same
purple hue among the larger grey letters of Powerplay. The
inside spread is a grungy monochrome montage of urban degradation.
A sixteen page booklet lurks inside the left panel, with matching
cover. Within, the layout is again of glossy metallic grey:
lyrics to each track are presented in full; portrait photographs
of the band, each sliced vertically in half edging the pages.
The central spread holds an orb-like image of the whole band
with thanks and credits on either side.
is the second album from Flower Kings vocalist Hasse Fröberg
and his group Musical Companion, released on Reingold Records.
The Swedish band are well known to progressive rock fans,
carrying on the grand tradition of seventies giants Yes, Rush,
Queen and of course The Flower Kings. What immediately appeals
to ears familiar with the original prog rock era is the commitment
to the seventies ideal - that ambitious grandeur that many
of the pioneering acts seem to struggle to recapture now decades
later. I can honestly say that I am completely blown away
with this reawakening. Clearly accomplished musicians in standard
five piece format, this band have high ideals and all of the
skills necessary to deliver. The band's
website plays the music for you and the label
page provides additional info.