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 ------Spatialize - In The Midst Of Myriads EP
STYLE   Lush, liquid synthetic soundscaping where fluid arpeggios and motifs are layered upon strong beats and lilting basslines. In The Midst Of Myriads is generally quite a pacey selection of tracks most of which are very rhythmic and danceable, Catalyst runs as far as including some drum and bass flickers whilst Cluster Dub and Star Seed Earth explore rolling dub arrangements. Spatialize favours a 'live' sound to the drum tracks as opposed to the strongly programmed approach used by some other acts working in the chill/electronic genre. The synthesiser voices are rich and crystal clear, constantly altering with plenty of depth to the sound - these are accompanied by restful vibes, effected voices, various manipulated world elements and some deft, clean guitar work on Catalyst. The global material is a mixture of some synth settings, some samples and some that are hard to tell - most are removed from their original state through gating, reverb or other effects. The wide array of electronica has quite an improvised feel to it, loose lead lines and melodies held in place by a strong rhythm section.
MOOD   This is a heady exotic brew calling to mind dancing lights on hot nights. The clever use of effected sounds and well employed global material leaves everything steeped in deep colour and rich spice. Spatialize has something of a concert feel - I imagine that this is a powerful live act, having the sound of a performing band rather that that of an artificially structured studio project. The title track features some Asian instrumentation and an Indian vocal bedded into some broad ambient washes - a brief interlude at two and a half minutes maintaining the international atmosphere before rolling back into the strongly percussive sitar and electronica driven Solma-Ri.
ARTWORK   As an EP In The Midst Of Myriads comes in a slimline CD case with a two page folded insert. The front cover image presents a crimson-magenta kaleidoscopic computer-graphic swirl on a black background. The reverse repeats the swirl in reduced form below a timed tracklist. Credits and contact details are also here. The insert opens out into pure flat black with a quote from Shunryu Suzuki straddling the fold.
OVERALL    Spatialize is the project of Neil Butler based in the English West Country. In The Midst Of Myriads is a six track EP - more of a mini album really since it has a running time of over thirty four minutes. The disc comes via Spiral Sounds as a follow up to 2004's Dryad's Bubble which was released on Third Stone Records. Both can be ordered directly from the band web site.
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   This compelling release will appeal to fans of chilled electronica that like a downtempo dance beat to their music. The energetic luxuriance of all of the tracks here will suit Banco fans as well as anyone into the likes of Androcell and Mystical Sun.




 ------San.drine - Histoires D'eau
STYLE   Electronic and guitar structured trip-hop, chill and europop songs. San.drine sings to quite a range of instrumental set-ups, there are cool lounge moods, quirky drum and bass arrangements, gritty electronic downtempo tracks and a bit of uptempo dance - all softened and warmed by San.drine's beautiful voice and intimate singing style. Most lyrics are French, adding to the sensuality of the sound, often multi-layered in harmonies or with peripheral vocal effects. The beats are for the most part relaxed and deeply chilled, often programmed with lo-fi elements, muted loops or crunchy hits. Additional instrumentation includes violin, accordion, acoustic guitar and piano - different approaches bound into a tight unity by a clear vision and distinct vocal thread.
ARTWORK   The front cover of this jewelcase presentation features an urban photograph of the singer, slightly soft focus, slightly muted approaching twilight. The lights of approaching traffic bright and stark. Another portrait is at the rear - almost monochrome sepia, a long exposure, light effects trailing diagonally. A simple tracklist appears here below the image. Inside is a three panel fold-out with lyrics printed for each track - these are backed by rain pooled paving slabs photographed in strong perspective. Also inside we find an expanded track list with full credits and timings. A thank you page with website details for all collaborators makes up another panel and another city portrait fills the last - this time hazy with camera movement, framed by a wire mesh tunnel.
OVERALL    This is a strong debut album from a clearly talented singer/songwriter. Sandrine Ligabue has recently appeared on albums by Sleepthief, Govinda and Suisse Modular. San.drine is joined here on her own release by Govinda (who remixes the opening track), Bitstream Dream, Christian "wicked" Wicht, Angina P, Heckle & Jive and Summer Kelly along with a number of other musicians. The different styles all seem to suit San.drine's sultry vocal approach, my personal favourite being the almost ambient, cinematic soundscaping of Aller Vers Demain where distorted percussion and glowing synthetics work in achingly beautiful juxtaposition against soothing, half whispered words and melancholy chorus. Listen to the album and decide for yourself HERE.




 ------Max Corbacho - Vestiges
STYLE   Gliding ambient serenity with hypnotic hand drumming. Max Corbacho's first CD drifts over the listener like soft sand and silk, weightless wafts and gossamer veils of synthetic tone rising and falling in delicate harmony. The tone is light and dreamy, floatational and airy - atmospheric rather than oceanic, skybound rather than subterranean. The percussive content is confined to the first four pieces - here gentle loops comprised of organic beats with an ethnic flavour roll round evenly, trance-inducing, repeating until a part of the fabric of the environment. As the album progresses the introspective nature of the music increases - the beautiful Erosion lulling and spacious leading into the final three beatless tracks. The shadows pull in somewhat toward the end, Vestiges opening with a twilight moodiness that seems to open into a clear night - the listener a solitary presence in a vast panorama.

Desert scenery, blue skies and windswept grass patches support a huge red rockmass transported from elsewhere. The craggy surface is engraved with an enormous square spiral - a hint of tribal mystery, a futuristic symbol calling to the distant past. The rear cover holds another desert scene where track titles and credits sit in a lightened oblong panel. Inside a two page booklet opens out to extend the front cover photograph - track titles fading into the picture at the far left. The innermost panels are black and white - another desert, pale and drained forming a backdrop to an explanation of the project.


The artwork on Vestiges intentionally places the album in the desert ambient genre - a style that Max Corbacho develops with considerable skill. The album was produced, written, performed, recorded and mixed by Max Corbacho, at Max´s Studios in Sabadell (Barcelona) in 1998. Released on Freerecords, the CD consists of seven mid-length tracks around six to eight minutes each totalling 53 minutes 54 seconds in all. This album will appeal to anyone looking for something buoyant and expansive with tribal beats and smooth synthetic polish.





 ------Ryan Farish - Everlasting

Tripping piano melodies with mainly synthetic instrumentation in support. Everlasting provides a series of memorable themes, chilled moods and lively beats - at times uptempo dance beats drive the music, then low key downtempo tranquillity or melancholy takes over, yet always with Ryan's friendly, gentle approach. In general the accompaniments are delicate and pretty arrangements where liquid arps, smooth keyboard work and bouncy basses work against bright sparkling beats. Flutes, low choral voices, keening synths, strings and acoustic guitar broaden the sound palette making for a varied sonic spectrum.

MOOD   Warm and inviting - Ryan Farish openly explores all aspects of the light rather than investigating the shade. When shadow is present it is as a foil to the brightness, twilight hues present as a subdued backdrop to twinkling pianos or lustrous synthesisers. Occasionally there is a bitter sweet tone, a tender sadness or a daydream laziness - but Everlasting is mostly an album of abandoned joy, feel good music, blissful reverie.
ARTWORK   The album comes in a jewel case with a sharp card sleeve - the title embossed in blue against white. Portraits of the artist are the main imagery this time - broad white borders with monochrome photography, Ryan sitting alone on a dark sofa. On the front he meets the viewers gaze, on the rear, introspective, lost in thought. Scrolling pale graphics climb almost unseen across both border and image adding a subtle touch of ornamentation. Track titles are on the rear along with Neurodisc contact information. Inside are a series of artist shots laid out along a negative film strip. Here the titles are presented again along with thanks, credits, website addresses and discography pictures. Ryan also includes a quote from Psalm 100:2.
OVERALL    Everlasting is Ryan's third official release through Neurodisc records, consolidating the sound he has mastered through Beautiful and From The Sky. The sound now is more compact than before, more confident, yet still eminently accessible and instantly attractive. Ryan has moved recently to Los Angeles where he has been providing music for film and TV wth increasing success, his music also proving popular with a number of satellite and digital cable radio stations. Everlasting will surely continue to build on Ryan's reputation as a strong writer/musician with a flair for effervescent melody.
WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   If you enjoyed Beautiful or From The Sky and would like more - Everlasting continues to deliver. This is an album for anyone wanting instrumental music to cheer their spirits and brighten the atmosphere.




 ------Sirisat - Celestial
STYLE   Tranquil new age songs with restful beats and chilled instrumentation. Singing lyrics sourced mostly from Indian texts and traditional materials, Sirisat places these words in a comfortable modern context delivering them softly, tenderly and with Western expression. Gentle pianos, flutes, strings and acoustic guitars provide melodic focal points that intersperse Julia Claire's vocals - synthetic washes and marginals thickening the mix. The music is all downtempo, relaxing drum tracks combining Eastern and Western sounds in a smooth blend.
MOOD   Light and clear - Celestial aims to relax the listener and to provide uplifting vibes. The sound is very easy going with pleasant harmony holding centre stage throughout, synthetic atmospheres and spoken words create a lulling tone at times.
ARTWORK   Suffused with light, the whole package is backed in white - soft, tangerine hued images carefully combined with orange/brown text. The front cover image shows the artist with hands outstretched among falling petals, the rear picks out just a hand reaching skyward track titles diagonally running alongside. An eight page booklet sits inside the jewelcase with an explanation of the project in both Spanish and English. Lyrics to all tracks are also provided spread across four panels. The final page holds credits and contact details.

This album is primarily the work of English born Julia Claire (AKA Sirisat) whose musical career has seen her based both in the UK and Spain. Previously involved with dance music and then lead vocalist and lyric writer with Carles Reig's new age group, “Terra” - Julia and Carles eventually set up the current project Ohm Spirit Sound. Through this arrangement musician/composer Reig has helped bring the current album to fruition, providing instrumental and production/arrangement assistance. Celestial is twinned with the album Mantra Chill out that provides abbreviated "radio" versions of the same songs plus a few extras.

WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   New age fans with a preference for Indian philosophies and melodic delivery.




 ------Bella Sonus - Enamoured
STYLE   Serene electronic instrumentals featuring Spanish guitars and enigmatic atmospheres. Interfaded tracks establish warm, hazy atmospheres of soft electronica with dreamy beats and various worldbeat hints. The tempo is primarily subdued, relaxing and chilled, rising occasionally to a low dance beat - various peripheral percussives broadening the rhythmic spectrum with effected hits and hand drum sounds. Although acoustic guitar is a prominent instrument on Enamoured, the album is by no means a guitar CD - many pieces are lead by synthetic sounds or are less strongly melodic, with Gregorian chants or feathery, whispered female vocalisations drifting on the breeze.
MOOD   The air here is one of mysterious romance and charming colour. Bella Sonus work carefully on the mood of their tracks, giving atmosphere equal footing with melody - as a result there is a sensuality and gently theatrical mood that hangs like incense across the whole album. The Spanish guitars inevitably suggest Latin imagery, shored up by castanets and clapping.
ARTWORK   The Neurodisc repackaged version of Enamoured captures the Latin chill and timeless beauty of this album by fronting the package with a sunset beach faded into a white stone arch entwined with graphic curlicues. Indeed these same pictorial elements recur on all panels - darker on the rear, the sun having recently set, here track titles hang under the stone curve. Within the architecture and waves spread across two panels flanked by another tracklist to the right, thanks and credits to the left.

Bella Sonus is a project consisting of producer / multi-instrumentalist / programmer Robert Smith and Flamenco Guitarist Angel Suarez. The name means Beautiful Sounds and is indicative of the duo's intent to provide an attractive and soothing soundscape. Enamoured is a re-release, the original appearing back in 2000 and having been out of print for some years. Neurodisc promotional material describes the album as " a unique, exhilarating and uplifting blend of modern electronic ambient music, Spanish / urban rhythms and sensual guitars layered in mysticism." Robert Smith will be known to many fans of the genre also through his work as Blue Stone.

WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM   If you enjoy Blue Stone, Bella Sonus worked the same ambient groove territory and will probably appeal. For those unfamiliar with either, this is an album for listeners that might enjoy worldbeat music with a Spanish emphasis.