downtempo trance instrumentals with plenty of diverse global
elements. Catching Zinc delivers a series of smooth psychedelic
chill compositions with multi-layered liquid synths and a
generally restful vibe. The tracks here are in the form of
meandering sonic excursions through attractive, broad soundscapes
that are never the same for long. Arpeggio patterns frequently
drive the music in varying forms - colourful digital voices
constantly morphing from a faint flicker of sound at times
to a full on pulse of bass and complementary lead. Tablas
and hand drums fuse with programmed grooves whilst tinkling
chimes and swishing electronics dance above. Spoken voice
samples, ethnic songs, baby calls and cycling chants appear
in many of the tracks adding further levels to the already
Zinc has an air of tranquillity about it whilst for the most
part remaining invitingly upbeat and positive. The synth work
has a warm fluidity and a somewhat cinematic nature, further
brightened by crisp effects that tickle the ears with peripheral
detail. Stratospheric sweeps and hazy pads often give the
music a floatational feel: Trapped In The Inconceivable for
example having a drifting weightlessness that threatens to
buoy the listener heavenward as the beats dissipate and breeze
back once more.
have only seen the front cover so far for this release. As
you can see above this is made up of a lattice work of criss-crossed
conifer twigs, colours tweaked into dazzling positive and
negative variations. Gradually the more distant shapes fade
into a frosty pale blue - simple title to the top right.
is the second full length release from Perpetual Loop and
follow-up to the 2006 release Universal Flow. This time the
UK's Charles Massey delivers the goods through the brand new
Digital Duvet digital label having refined his act through
three years of live performance and broadened experience of
the downtempo world. Whereas the previous album was primarily
a studio recording, this new music has been road tested and
as a result has a greater depth and solidity to it. Melodic
content is vivid and frequently quite beautiful now, this
along with the high level of sound quality and production
seeing Perpetual Loop surely rise into the upper echelons
of the genre. The Perpetual
Loop website contains samples of all tracks if you'd like
to have a listen before deciding.
WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM
strong release will be enjoyed by psy-chill lovers looking
for something of a dreamy nature yet with sufficient drive
for low tempo end of the dancefloor. If you enjoy artists
like Chronos or Androcell or Zero Cult then you might well
appreciate Catching Zinc.
Rotation - Licht und Schatten
electronic glitchscapes with various acoustic elements.
Field Rotation is a project with a rare sense of elegant
beauty. The subtle classical threads that twine through
these digital arrangements imbue the music with a dignity
and grace that immediately lifts Licht und Schatten above
the norm. The melodic content is relatively minimal, yet
these sparse soundtracks are highly emotive, heavy with
atmosphere and most inviting. Melancholy acoustic guitar
hangs over heaving synthetic pads in melodic calm, whilst
in other passages tense string swells ebb and flow in dramatic
shadow. Plaintive piano and transmission fragments alternate
with string snatches upon a bed of sonic breeze, the crunch
of footfalls rises and falls behind days-end glow, faint
arpeggios morph across rhythmic electronica. Once the understated
beats roll in, the music almost sighs at times with a restrained
serenity. Click-ridden scratchy rhythms and soft crackle
adorn the more regular beats that drive some of the recordings,
some pieces have no beat for the most part or none at all.
und Schatten has an otherworldly quality about it, a sublime
soft focus warmth. Most pieces have a gentle solemnity, a
wistful nature - that beautiful sadness that tugs at the heart.
This sense of quietude, however, is not all pervasive - dark
moments, ominous regions have their places. Tiefflug has something
of a sci-fi theme - bubbling bassline cycling beneath acidic
Audio have excelled with the packaging of this special edition
EP. The disc comes in a four panel tray presented in a hand
stitched fabric sleeve. A full colour poster, badge and
an additional surprise (I won't spoil it) are all included
in the set. A paper slip enwraps the sleeve bearing the
title of the album - everything tasteful and with that feel
of something special. This might all be a bit suspect if
it weren't for the quality of the music - Fluid are not
trying to sucker listeners in by means of package overkill
- rather this is a fantastic limited edition item that feels
special through and through.
pianist, composer and producer Christoph Berg s based in Kiel,
Germany and began the Field Rotation project in 2008. This
limited edition EP of only 100 signed and numbered copies
is the stepping stone for Field Rotation to make the leap
from compilation appearances to full length album. The Fluid
Audio label anticipates a complete album sometime in 2010
- meanwhile this release whets the appetite for a project
that seems set to sit among the front runners of the genre.
The digital version of Licht und Schatten holds only four
of the seven pieces found on the CD so don't wait - get in
quickly and experience the whole thing. You can hear the music
on the Fluid
Audio website as well as getting a chance to see the presentation
of the limited edition if you need to.
WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM
is a quality EP that will appeal to fans of both the electro-neo-classic
and minimalist chillout genres. Fans of Deaf Centre, Ultimae,
Bersarin Quartett and the likes will love Licht und Schatten.
Camel - Train in a Rainbow
instrumental synth music with occasional vocal sections.
Train in a Rainbow is a collection of bright, electronic
music with strong beats and clear themes. Multi-layered
tuneful phrases, string sounds and burbling/twinkling sequencer
patterns form the backbone of Solar Camel's sound on this
release. The chosen sound palette is one of clean, traditional
synthesis, voice loops and pianos. Drum beats are primarily
composed of programmed grooves built around real drum sounds,
yet digital hits and ethnic percussion elements also are
employed broadening the mix. On the title track, male and
female voices with distinct European accents sing/speak
in a style reminiscent of Kraftwerk, in other places strongly
effected vocal strains act in a more instrumental manner.
in a Rainbow has an upbeat sound that brings together elements
of measured Berlin synth music, new age optimism and the clarity
of eighties synth-pop. In places there are dramatic passages
with stirring pace and processional grandeur. Other tracks
take a more relaxed approach often with the trademark restraint
typical of European synth-pop.
album arrives in a jewelcase with single sheet insert. The
front cover image features a colourful graphic locomotive
apparently travelling along a twisting rainbow. This same
image is repeated on the rear cover only here it is faded
away into ghostly pallor with track titles overlaid. At the
foot of this back panel can be found website details and an
email contact address.
Solar Camel project consists of Italian Agostino Mascarello
on digital piano/synth/vocals and Brazilian born Déia
on vocals/arrangements. Currently the duo is based in the
south of France - the project takes its name from Agostino's
surname in anagram form. There is a second project that
goes by the name of Polar Camel focusing more on pop/classical
sounds. If you'd like to hear what is on offer, why not
check out the Solar
Camel Myspace page or alternately their CD
Baby page where tracks can be previewed and purchased
individually or as an album on CD. Solar Camel acknowledges
the influence of such major acts as Jean-Michel Jarre, Ennio
Morricone and Vangelis.
WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM
in a Rainbow is an album for lovers of synthesiser music with
a new-age pop sensibility. Working a similar territory to
Zer0 0ne, Vitaly and Mythos - this music might well be appreciatd
by listeners enjoying gently energetic material.
Gerwing - Chikatetsu
Rhythmic and ambient electronica.
Chikatetsu is a subtle album of constantly shifting emphasis
- opening with a pattern of high pitched delicate notes
and steady drone, the album gets under way with a sense
of unhurried class. Building into a restfully throbbing
bass groove this initial track features the kind of tuneful,
freeform harmony and artfully layered human-artificial structures
that dominate the album. Barely discernable station voices
and subway sounds occasionally inhabit the somewhat abstract
musical forms that run in narrative flow. Some passages
have a strongly mechanical rhythm suggestive of fleeting
motion - rolling sequencer forms driving light melodic phrases.
Other sections reveal a jazz influence, with lustrous vibes
and muted chimes dancing among the synth voices. The music
features Tim Gerwing on keyboards, guitars, bass, electronics,
vocals and drum programming with musicians Besart Hysniu
delivering keyboards, programming, remixing, electronics,
David Picking ride cymbals and Terry O'Brien guitar, guitar
synths. There is often a mesmerising sense of detachment
about the music as if the listener were a lonely observer
among busy meandering crowds - at rest among the currents
of urban activity.
comes in a sharp card wallet (these really are so much nicer
than jewelcases) of saturated colour. The front image is
a motion blurred train caught momentarily passing through
a station - broad black borders making the night-time hues
appear to positively glow. The reverse holds a tube map
layered upon a carriage interior - here are a series of
evocative, descriptive terms that might help the potential
listener to imagine something of the nature of the music.
Within, the two panel sleeve holds track details on the
left and additional information on the right. Instrumental
and technical credits along with thanks and download details.
Born and based
currently in Canada Tim Gerwing has been interested in music
since early childhood. Having studied classical piano, Tim
branched out to explore jazz, electronic, new age, progressive
rock/pop, and Middle and Far Eastern styles. He has been
releasing music as a solo artist since 2002 when his debut
Being To Being was released under his own record label.
This current disc contains thirteen tracks that that work
around the theme of Japanese subway travel and experience.
Promotional material explains Chikatetsu as 'the “underground
iron”, the subway system that is the heart of public
transportation in the large cities of Japan'. Further wording
suggests "ambient textures -> electronic musical
maps -> hyper-cultural leitmotifs -> fractal audio
perspectives -> psycho-emotional sonic imagery. The beautifully
designed website contains sound samples and further information
if you'd like to check it out at
Stranger - The Intergalactic Slapstick
Dubtronic bass-heavy downtempo.
Built largely around Liquid Stranger's trademark gutsy basslines
and reggae influenced beats, The Intergalactic Slapstick
progresses the project's sound somewhat further into deepest
dubstep. Basslines to strain your system pump, throb, warp,
zap and bound with provocative intensity. Vocal material
is mostly in the form of dance hall shout outs, rasta yells,
dj rants, psycho-musings, ethnic chants and relatively brief
sung phrases with performances from Brother Culture, Deeyah
and Warrior Queen. This approach tends to give the music
an instrumental feel despite the abundance of voice content.
That said pieces like Mutant (co-written by Warrior Queen)
and Hexed and Perplexed allow the bass and vox to pretty
much share centre stage. The tempo varies from the relatively
upbeat Tantrum to the plodding Dance On The Petals Avoiding
The Nettles with its half pace d'n'b flickers. The diverse
roots of Liquid Stranger's sound sprawl across electro,
ambient, grime, global, breaks and garage - this time, however,
a weighty dub-reggae emphasis dominates especially the first
half of the disc.
Intergalactic Slaptick is presented in a three section digipack
with a smooth matt finish. The front cover image sees a very
mechanical looking robot lovingly watering a large egg-like
form that appears to have emerged from tree root. This computer
painted graphic is set in a dingy basement where roots, moss
and branches soften the hard edged grey of the concrete walls.
Spreading the package out, the subsequent three page spread
holds credits and contact details on the left and a tracklist
on the remaining central panel. Flipping everything over,
the inside is given over fully to a contrasting painting of
bright colour where a pair of artificial lifeforms observe
the view - no text - just visuals.
delivers The Intergalactic Slapstick as the second album
from the project and follow-up to the 2007 debut The Invisible
Conquest. Once again Interchill is the chosen label, already
home to a cutting edge catalogue of dub and bass albums.
Generously there are no less than thirteen tracks on the
album all with incredibly impelling rhythms. Tabla grooves
and Indian flutes as well as some chanted drum talk soften
the tone in the latter half where Lotus winds down with
a delicate female Indian vocal and running water; the final
track taking the suite full circle back to the almost ambient
electronica of the introduction. The label
website at Interchill provides listening facilities
if you'd like to sample before buying.
Lendemain - Fires
Wistful piano and strings with
electro-acoustic enhancements. Le Lendemain have a deliciously
pensive sound that sometimes seems steeped with the dusty
nostalgia of fragile crackle and static. Unhurried, muted
piano chords and sensitive arrangements full of space and
quietude, often thickened with reverb, lay down foundations
for drifting multi-layered strings that seem to come straight
from the heart. A dialogue, an interplay between different
voices - fire-light nocturnes or rainy-day reflections; the
duo seem to be sharing personal moments directly with the
listener. The scratches and scrapes of Wenngren's field recordings
never dominate; instead they highlight the doleful, intimate
nature of the sound.
Home Normal are continuing the trend away from plastic jewelcases
- Fires comes in a folded card wallet with a neat pocket inside
to hold the disc. Cover imagery is a dark, antique-looking
photograph of a solitary child against a rough wall. The boy
looks beyond the viewer. The rear cover is white with only
the Home Normal logo tucked away at the bottom left. Inside,
the left panel hold brief credits and the Normal web address.
On the right a pattern of concentric circles carries track
titles and instrumental details.
The names David
Wenngren and Danny Norbury might well make a familiar connection,
the pair having frequently worked together in the past.
The Library Tapes project for example has seen Norbury contributing
strings to Wenngren's piano work. However, whilst piano
arrangements there sometimes formed the main element, here
the balance between the instruments is more level. Released
via Home Normal Records this CD might well be described
as neo-classical by virtue of the cello/piano combination,
however, the musical approach is sure to appeal to fans
of serious minded melodic ambient or cinematic chillout
also. For me this project has the edge over The Library
Tapes - very moody, very beautiful, current.