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MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------ Bluetech - Sines and Singularities
STYLE   Downtempo digital excursions with aspects of Psychedelia and IDM suggesting the term - PsyDM. Unmistakably Bluetech - this album retains the spacey liveliness of his previous material but with an added depth - although very contemporary in approach to melody, there are some truly beautiful themes here. Track titles indicate an increased preoccupation with beauty - Enter the Lovely, Airstream, Shimmer, A Garland of Stars. As always Evan employs a lot of short notes, glassy chimes, rapid runs and brief phrases - yet the melodic content remains elegant and unhurried overall. There are some vestigial signs of dub origins - but in a greatly evolved form - Bluetech seems now to have risen above genres and is simply producing delightfully individual music.
 
MOOD   A clean sound with an arrangement that appears simple (despite obvious complexity) establishes a mood of sublime peace, lucid reflection. Indeed clarity of sound is a standout feature of the album - transparent, airy, fresh - gentle reverb supplies apparent depth and ambience whilst deftly applied delays widen the mix without clutter. The bpm isn't high but a number of pieces are danceable in a comfortable chillout fashion.
 
ARTWORK   A radiant presentation in astral blues suffusing all panels - symmetrical crystal/organic structures cobwebbed in geometrical light patterns hang within a bright cloudscape. Blue titles and graphic elements harmoniously assemble to bring increased depth to the imagery. Within, the cerulean tones are taken up by the undulations of water - wave motifs adding to the transformation. We have the usual track titles, credits and background details along with website and contact information all set out in consonant hues.
 
OVERALL   

Sines and Singularities is Bluetech's second album with Aleph Zero, following the 2 CD Elementary Particles + Prima Materia. Bluetech's trademark animated improvisational ambience has clearly matured and developed an increased musical depth reflecting more strongly his classical training. Promotional material tells us "Extensive touring since his last album led Evan in explorations of new realms of sonic structures." The result appears to be an increased definition of the Bluetech sound - enjoyable harmonies and attractive understated melodies presented with soothing warmth and obvious class. There are interpretations here of pieces by Shulman and Pitch Black and we have a collaboration with Rena Jones resulting in a gorgeous arrangement of melancholy cello set against synthetic arpeggios and delicate digital effects. This album is growing on me with each listen. You might also enjoy reading our Bluetech interview running in conjunction with this release HERE.

 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM  

Bluetech fans will be impressed by the development of the familiar approach - if you enjoyed Evan's previous work, this is a must. Anyone that appreciates high quality electronic relaxation music with a highly contemporary edge would be well advised to give this one a listen.

 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------ Between Interval - Secret Observatory
STYLE  

Deep percussionless isolationist ambience. Secret Observatory features long drones; rumbling sub-sonic at the low end with cosmic winds and velvet synths at the top. Drifting, amorphous - dense in places thinning periodically or dropping to an abyssal thrum then swelling again into clearly perceptible chord patterns. At times the treble sounds come in waves like a distant sea with listing tones superimposed, other passages are smooth, panoramic, open. For much of the time there is a constant welling up and subsiding of drones - the overall texture shifting, thickening, dissipating. Tracks all run one into another in a continuous suite and not until part way through track three (Forested Veins) is there any rhythmic content at all - here a mechanical pulsing ushers in a repeating chordal motif, but still nothing percussive. Tracks progress in the manner of a journey, altering gradually along the way, digressing from their point of origin - meandering through the dimly lit expanses of the infinite.

 
MOOD  

Ponderous undulating beds of intense aural solitude. Dark and spacious, minimal, suggestive of universal vastness. Heavenly choral synth work lifts the sound into light in places, electronic swishes and sonic air currents provide occasional surface motion, slowly cycling structures suggest swirling currents and then like a stream entering a lake stillness pervades.

 
ARTWORK   Setting the tone clearly an observatory bathed in light looks up at a purple-black night sky. As the eye follows the inevitable path of vision stars can be seen peppering the expanse. Another astronomical viewing station fills the rear jewel case image - again mauve hues and plenty of black. The two page booklet maintains this colour scheme with minimal text - simple credits, thanks and website details.
 
OVERALL   

Between Interval is young musician Stefan Jönsson from Sweden. Released on the US Spotted Peccary label, Secret Observatory is Stefan's second ambient release containing as the artist says "the most deep and atmospheric space music I have ever composed." The four tracks here are long-form pieces, each between eighteen minutes fifteen seconds and eight minutes forty-one.

 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   Minimal ambient fans with a spacey preference. Beatless drone lovers looking for something very deep and subtle.
 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------ IXOHOXI - Micronicom
STYLE  

Relatively busy ambience with rhythms, beats and sequential structures. Micronicom captures well the world of the miniscule - IXOHOXI's own comments on this work refer to it as "Spacemusic for the neuromancer, inspired by the subatomic world where the quantum deities play to a different set of rules." Multi-layered rhythmic patterns play upon tonal blips, burbles, squirts and swells - layered drones all shifting on different levels - echoing tones carried by pulsing patterns and sparkling chimes - solo piano over subtle electronic washes ... this is certainly a varied album for the ambient genre, yet wholly unified and purposeful.

 
MOOD  

Cyber-molecular - the feeling is one of solitude in the presence of minute automatic biological processes. Life on this scale is glassy, lucid, floating in constant activity - tiny operations and dynamic order - IXOHOXI provides the right music for this invisible world. At times dramatic and stirring, at others spacey and full of wonder, Micronicom repeatedly shifts the mood through each of the ten tracks here presented.

 
ARTWORK   I have a copy of Micronicom in a slimline jewel case with a single sheet insert. The front cover artwork is an abstract photograph of a wave pattern in deep orange and green against a black background. A bright nexus diagonally bridges the centre whilst the title text is discreetly laid out in fine yellow.
 
OVERALL   

The prolific IXOHOXI presents a suite of ten mid-length pieces, most somewhere in the region of around eight minutes or so. The artist explains that the album came as the result of "a whole host of subjects I have been reading up on recently" these include strange quantum effects such as electron entanglement, neural networks and other forms of artificial intelligence, Bose-Einstein condensates and some fictional material. IXOHOXI gets his palindromic name from a mathematical magic square with a variety of symmetrical properties.

 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   Ambient music for the technically minded - busy arrangements and plenty of variation. Micronicom will appeal to fans of the genre that don't want anything too minimal, that enjoy rhythm and percussion with their drones.
 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------ Na-Koja-Abad - Nomad: Outworld
STYLE  

Long-form dark ambience with smooth drones and brooding atmosphere. Beatless waves of sound spread out like a blanket - gently undulating, largely harmonious and fluid. The sonic texture remains fairly consistent throughout, the greatest variation across the piece being in terms of density and thickness of sound as differing tones build, sweep, intensify or fall away. Promotional material describes the album as "a sonic tapestry of generated algorithmic soundscapes, granular textures and vector waves and washes". An enjoyable journey into spectacular depths of synthetic soundscaping.

 
MOOD   A pleasant murkiness, not so much spacey - more subterranean in my opinion. Na-Koja-Abad creates attractive soundscapes even when exploring darkness and sounds of solitude. This is actually quite a restful piece - the cavernous structures establishing a welcome sense of awe and wonder; there are moments of unease, the occasional dissonance or a veering tonal shift - but these don't feel threatening or ominous.
 
ARTWORK   Lovely artwork - as always produced by the artist himself. Twisting swirls of streaked earthy tones weave across the cover like thick fumes caught in a beam of light. Minimal text keeps the attention on the imagery - indeed within there is no wording at all - simply another beautiful picture in the same style as the cover. On the rear we have credits (although Na-Koja-Abad seems to have single handedly produced this CD), website details and a time for the single track - 57:52.
 
OVERALL    Nomad: Outworld is a single piece lasting almost an hour. It is enjoyably uniform from start to finish establishing a consistent audio environment - however the subtle fluctuations in weight and pitch hold the attention and keep the listener engrossed. This is Na-Koja-Abad's fourth album, his second devoted to the development of only one long-form piece. For some more information on the artist himself - see our review of Fleeting Glimpses HERE.
 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   This is an album for those who enjoy ambient music with no percussion at all - flowing, moody, tenebrous. Try this one if you like music that forms a sonic space.
 

 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------ Kelly David - Broken Voyage
STYLE  
A deep and powerful ambient journey with wide variations in sonic density and rhythmic content. Broken Voyage opens with strong synthetic tones, clear rushing noises and percussive effects - oceanic and heavy. As the album progresses we pass through moments of ambient calm like the light appearing through the darkest of storm clouds. A massing of the elements conjuring forth rain, thunder and waves - both through ambient field recorings and suggestive musical arrangements - Kelly creates a voyage that effortlessly moves from compressed masses of sound into dense rhythmic intensity periodically thinning like summer mists before amassing once more. Percussives come and go - organic clatter, random, scattered - a mechanical pattering electrogroove - grinding engines of repetition - beatless once more.
 
MOOD   A lot of different moods are experienced on this Broken Voyage - often weighty and dark - a sense of sobriety right from the outset. The feeling of something immense lurching on an unsteady surface recurs frequently. However the music passes from oppressive gloom into gleaming light, fine and delicate, into rolling unsettled passages and once again into smooth, calm tranquillity. Broken Voyage has a dramatic scale about it suggestive of isolation open to the elements - nothing is still for long, beats come and go the arrangements thicken and disperse, the implied proximity approaching, receding - one minute faint wisps float at the edge of hearing and then booming, roaring vehemence seems to be right inside the listener's own skull.
 
ARTWORK   Very tasteful artwork built around the theme of a sea voyage. Photographic water-scapes are overlaid with cartographic symbols and esoteric imagery. Everything lies under a moody sky - grey and sullen. Elegant text presents the tracklist on the rear jewel case - with no words at all to be seen on opening the case. Here we have a continuation of the front cover on the back of the booklet and a shot of a dark building reflected on a pool full of water-lilies. Inside the booklet are credits and thanks along with contact details.
 
OVERALL   

Broken Voyage is the very evocative debut CD from Colorado-based electronic artist Kelly David. Promotional material explains - "Drawing imagery from uncharted waters and travels between desolate islands in the South Pacific, the CD takes the shape of a soundtrack journey." Released on Rocky Mountain Records - the album was mixed by ambient legend Steve Roach and mastered by Roger King. Collaborators include Steve Roach - with rhythmic contributions and 'spatial enhancements', Michael Brugman on guitar and Kailani Yakish with hand percussion.

 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   Broken Voyage is a CD for those into darker ambient music with plenty of variation and rhythmic content. At times navigating territories similar to Steve Roach - this will likely go down well with Steve's fans.
 

MORPHEUS MUSIC REVIEWS

 

 

 ------ Solar Fields - [Extended]
STYLE   Sublime ambient intricacies flowing, floating - eminently panoramic. Solar Fields here unveils a series of drone environments embellished with melodic motifs, abundant effects and intriguing peripherals. There are a few beats in places - distant, soft, restful - less than usual for a Solar Fields release - but then that's the whole idea for this CD - 'extended' explorations of atmosphere and tone. Echoing interjections and water effects punctuate the synth washes and clouds, the odd distorted voice sample murmuring within the mists and what sounds to be a cat mewing somewhere far below.
 
MOOD   Graceful, peaceful, beautiful. There are moments where the expansive sonic surface is smooth and glassy - ever so slightly undulating, places where the sound ascends high into the aural atmosphere - celestial, transporting and there are ominous passages - the sound broken apart by reverberating impacts. For a presentation of space music, Solar Fields delivers an unusually deep, lush and highly detailed sound.
 
ARTWORK   [Extended] is presented in the usual Ultimae style - generous black borders enclosing a panoramic photomontage. Lush green on the front fading to greys at the rear. Inside imagery shows the artist at work and more of Magnus' assembled photography. Track listings show track times ranging from 05.59 to 16.39.
 
OVERALL    [Extended] is a limited edition available only through the Ultimae website. Released in conjunction with and as an 'atmospheric extension' of [Leaving Home] - promotional material describes the album as "a space music labyrinth, playing with memories and echoes of climatic and cinematic sounds."
Three pieces were originally presented in 2004 at the Trabekel exhibition (Sandviken - Sweden), encounter between painter Antonio Sognasoldi and Magnus Birgersson. The concept behind the installation was to create a shift of perceptions, as music evolved through the gallery following the public footsteps. This work was the starting key for the other 4 tracks.
All the familiar Solar Fields elements are still here but on [Extended] free rein is given to Magnus' most tranquil and ambient side.
 
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM  

Solar Fields fans that enjoyed the less structured, more drifting aspects of previous albums will like [Extended]. This album will likely draw a number of ambient listeners that prefer the beatless aspects of Magnus' music.