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Spacemusic Reviews

Rudy Adrian: Coastlines

Coastlines

Coastlines

Rudy Adrian: Coastlines
Released: 7 October 2016
www.spottedpeccary.com

Rudy Adrian makes Spacemusic for The Earth. With Coastlines (57’55) he evokes the heart-felt and gentle atmosphere of terrestrial textural fantasy. This album means to move the listener out of everyday life, with all of its dissonance and discord, and into a bewitching thought zone of telluric beauty. The ten silvery tracks on Coastlines are quieting to the mind – each an electronic expression of our beloved blue planet, and the connection we as humans feel toward the natural world. Envisioning a consonant and inviting nature, Rudy Adrian employs a number of musical methods in depicting and conveying his convictions; including breathy native flute, oceanic field recordings, ringing keyboard melodies, rounded synthesizer tones, and his own vocals, all proceeding slowly through cavernous reverberation. The grandeur of Coastlines‘ sonorous harmonies is earthened by imaginative electronic modulations – just beneath a misty aura which surrounds the sounds. Each work, a singular flowing thought, asks us to tune into the quieter frequencies. But being meditative does not mean Coastlines has to be vague. The peculiar pull of its hidden depths seems to draw equally on a current of thunder underground – while twilight swaths of color hover above, blending to mask the armed sparks of the air. With its easy cosmic intimations, Coastlines guides your psyche to stillness through the reveries of stasis. The result is beautifully drifting and transporting music, restful to the intellect and comforting to the spirit. Rudy Adrian has been at this for a long time. He continues sharing his music because it soothes him, and he hopes to bring people along with him to this special space.

Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END23 March 2017

Magnetron: Impulse Response

Impulse Response

Impulse Response

Magnetron: Impulse Response
Released: 3 June 2016
magnetron.bandcamp.com

Magnetron seems to be on a long voyage in a dark country. The duo of Steven Humphries and Xan Alexander bring out the strengths of one another’s distinctive voices – and transcend the four walls of today. On Impulse Response (72’46”) they marshal synthetic forces to convert electricity into colors you cannot see. Each composition builds in depth and complexity without becoming unduly tangled, creating a mood of nostalgia in a futuristic story. In its four track linear delivery of power, Impulse Response stretches and contracts the musical landscape in a simmering emotional temperature. The distant soaring ranges of chords ascend to great heights – with the power of life just below. Animated by the patter of repeating and expanding sequencer lines, each work echoes and advances, building out amidst Mellotron flutes, strings and brass. The experience becomes more detailed as synth leads speak to the heart and sonorous chords try to tally the soul. From the secret whispering of the world, and zones of frail vacancy, to musical forms storming across a machine-made minimalism, Humphries and Alexander get the proportions just right – and pull the listener into the drama that they are living. The critical establishment never understood this kind of music, they never caught up to it, never even tried. Without the restraining view of the mainstream, we continue to fearlessly break new ground. While contemporary musicians are searching for their voice, Electronic Musicians are searching through their consciousness. They are thinkers, not just craftsmen or engineers. Our music is probably too big for the world, yet it is always fully alive to it.

Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END16 March 2017

Eyes Cast Down: Souls Adrift, in Disrepair

Souls Adrift in Disrepair

Souls Adrift in Disrepair

Eyes Cast Down: Souls Adrift, in Disrepair
Released: 12 July 2016
www.eyescastdown.com

A soundtrack from out of the middle distance, Souls Adrift, in Disrepair (73’52”) uses stillness to superb effect. Eyes Cast Down (multi-instrumentalist Greg Moorcroft) asks that you give his delicately layered performance your patience. Once we adjust our ears to the minimalist arrangements, what emerges is a slow steady tempest of sound. The five stark compositions found on Souls Adrift, in Disrepair evoke different questions from the ones we are used to. We are asked to look within, and think about what feelings and sensations we experience while listening to this album’s sustaining drones, breathing chords, and dense forms – things large enough to swallow you whole. Whatever drama does arise on Souls Adrift, in Disrepair, does not come from harmonic displacement, melodic invention, nor counterpoint, but from contrasts in the sounds themselves. Stripped of almost everything, but for the subtlest shifts in atmosphere and light, this work opens up a space for one. Moorcroft relies on a myriad of electronic processing devices to transform his guitar playing into the textural masses found on this album… and a learned musicianship to direct this technology. Beautifully restrained moments, borne in improvisation, extend in slowly decaying ripples beneath gradually undulating contours. Aural details come in and out of focus, in shades of twilight and sepulchral frost. As each tone breathes into our listening space, we feel a slow force of momentum. Near album’s end, a reverberant piano enters, repeating its question again and again. When shadows pull together, ethereal voices add to an enfolding darkness. The reason this album seems so quiet is because there are so few other people saying these things. The unadorned beauty of Souls Adrift, in Disrepair relates to human fragility. The dark alliance of unmodulated sounds imparts a haunting force. As ideas and emotions cross borders, the outside world remains an abstraction – possibly a parallel present to the loftier firmaments of the mind.

Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END9 March 2017

Scann-Tec: Unyt

Unyt

Unyt

Scann-Tec: Unyt
Released: 16 June 2016
www.ultimae.com
www.unyt.info

Just as an engine powers an automobile, and rhythm animates music – technology produces the future. In the coming tomorrows our digital stars will share space with the introspective disciplines – in a better understanding of both the listener’s spatial and psychological direction. With the album Unyt (70’01”), Scann-Tec (the Moscow-based producer Vladislav Isaev) seems well on his way there. This work presents ten sonic poems of an imaginary coming time. Throughout its starlight nightflight Unyt has the ability to chill the modern mind, and heat the receptive heart. From its potent electronic sounds, to soft, but sometimes intense, grooves, we may achieve a lilting airborne freedom. Working its way through the miles of circuitry in the mind Unyt features a rhythm dictated by moments, not nanoseconds. This music ticks away neutrally, yet it also flies, then collapses. Beats often equate a sonic action with the measurement of time – but our brain, body and cells seem to experience this music at different rates, in different ways. A lightness of touch produces an atmosphere banished to the margins of consciousness, while through the quick thrills of rhythmic drops and breakdowns we experience the pleasurable sensory effects of sound. Synthetic textures, amidst gritty field recordings, bring a solemn tone to Unyt. We also find acoustic based instruments, meant as an access point for those unfamiliar with the blissed-out territory now being covered. The other reality, which we have lost sight of, sends us messages, which without music and art, we cannot receive. This music offers sonic intrigue, and more. It may lead us inward, on a quest to find the self.

Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END2 March 2017

Dean De Benedictis: Salvaging the Present

Salvaging the Present

Salvaging the Present

Dean De Benedictis: Salvaging the Present
Released: 7 October 2016
www.spottedpeccary.com
www.deandebenedictis.com

Dean De Benedictis has a bed, but does not sleep. He is a man made out of electricity, with creativity siting in his chest like a burning sphere. Forever battling convention, the current of his energetic imagination is released throughout Salvaging the Present (70’09”) – an album wandering in wonder across nine stormy stories in electronic sound. Knowing that people both crave the new, and fear it, De Benedictis works out an appealingly ingenious mix of mammoth forces, minor exaggerations, and modish pranks – all in service to an ample cosmological orientation and awareness. De Benedictis is a technologist, still moving faster than the wave. The mental machinery he used to realize Salvaging the Present effectively imagines glowing sonics and grooves, as well as it does dreamy thought zone tones. From out of the middle distance, sounds, wider than they are high, emerge and ascend. At the margins of perception, a pixie-dust lightness, then the immense sigh of gracefully deformed metal. In a moment of somnolence, we envision night-blue sky – in the layering diaphanous tones of breathing strings and ethereal choir. Restorative sunlit notes offer balance, when velvety dungeon hues of dread become too much to bear. Why can not men better appreciate the present? The invisible now… We find with Salvaging the Present an openness to each and every moment as an opportunity to create something new – and the hope to have renewed, our faith in the potential we carry within.

Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END23 February 2017

Carl Weingarten: An Endless Premonition

An Endless Premonition

An Endless Premonition

Carl Weingarten: An Endless Premonition
Released: 9 September 2016
www.mphase.com

It was around 30 years ago that Carl Weingarten first traveled from St Louis to Philadelphia for a solo guitar concert. For an hour or so he engaged the audience with wondrous tones, layers of notes and ghostly, repeating motifs he called “loops” – all produced (he emphatically explained) in real time, by just him (no tapes), his guitar (no synthesizers), and the several small boxes he was wired into down at his feet. Through the intervening years Weingarten has explored and mastered this and other areas of music, deepening the Multiphase Records catalogue, and gaining the respect of listeners and musicians alike. The common thread that runs through all of his work is the vivid emotional content of a sensitive artist, rendered aloud through competent musicianship and production values.

An Endless Premonition (53’54”) is an album which seems to have arisen out of Weingarten’s ruminations of these early days. Either he felt it was time to re-visit his first fascination with layering and looping, to try it out again with more modern gear and deeper musical insights, or he just wanted to make some music that was solely his alone. The superb results are beautifully restrained, and often achieve the elusive steady state to which Ambient Music aspires. For the most part, the five pieces on An Endless Premonition feel like they were made by a person with an electric guitar – but then sometimes it seems quite ethereal, like a message from another realm is reaching us. Plucked twangs, heading out through silvery reverberation, rise above droning electric strings, and into a magical landscape of hanging metal forms and murmuring digital atmosphere. Glowing moments of surprising tenderness offer a soul-to-soul connection. The atmosphere of expectancy enlarges amidst airy resonances. Sounds divide, then unify. The placid mood breathes, and soon after lightens. As all the ringing and humming of Weingarten’s soundspace speaks in clean chords and writhing melodies, the listener will feel an honesty that few can call forth. This album does not push against limits, but rather whirls around inside – between the mind and the heart. An Endless Premonition is a record that saves you when you need it to.

Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END16 February 2017

Javi Canovas: Oscillations

Oscillations

Oscillations

Javi Canovas: Oscillations
Released: 19 December 2017
javicanovas.bandcamp.com

Javi Canovas is an instrumentalist with the sensibility of an engineer, and a genius for the language of space. If you know his works, then you can probably imagine how lively his mind must be. His album Oscillations (52’55”) benefits from our deep study. This work, revealed moment by moment, exhibits a confident sense of superior craft. Including two affecting meditations on cosmological travel, Oscillations is richly imagined and superbly assembled. The sonic contours Canovas charts prove remarkable in this most ungovernable region of music. His supple, silvery leads dazzle the listener, beneath which motorik sequencer runs flex and recede in abrupt aerobatic complexity. Between the pulsing patterns of echoing notes and tones, sustaining synthesized triads invert, then brighten and louden, only to recede before the advancing harmony of newer textures. Decadent sounds swirl in a tempest of dream fuel, and quickly give way to the more mechanized, and calibrated, dancing of energized masses. Other narrative detours delight the mind with imaginative fluctuations in key, octave and the density of designs, all of which we may better enjoy in a subdued reverie. His work continues to be dependably listenable. Sometimes technical, sometimes spiritual, but always very personal, Oscillations poses a mutual joy in each encounter – in some indication that Canovas is a musician living between worlds.

Chuck van Zyl/STAR’S END2 February 2017