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Reviews 7-29-2001

 

Sleep Cycle

by Brannan Lane

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"Explore your dreams by stretching the boundaries of your imagination!"  Thus does Brannan Lane, a strong candidate for 2001's "rookie-of-the-year," introduce "Sleep Cycle."  He overtly states that the CD is intended for meditation, sleep and/or relaxation.  He also explored a softer and warmer sound than he had on his previous releases.

Brannan's liner notes present the technical details of the "Sleep Cycle" and are certainly informative and educational.  The music is absolutely intoxicating!

The gentle pastoral ambience provokes brain wave activity.  Deep and careful listeners will feel the neurotransmitters shooting across the synapses as the organic minimalism surrounds them.

This vehicle for meditation is, indeed, very soothing.  Do NOT listen to this while driving or operating heavy or complex machinery.  Listen to relieve stress.  Or - better yet - listen with a lover!

Reviewed by Jim Brenholts, author of "Tracks Across the Universe: A Chronology of Ambient and Electronic Music"

Visit Jim's Bio page to learn more about him.

 

Underworld

by Dagda

 

Our Anglo-American pop culture these last decades has been flooded with Celtic material Celtic design, costumes, mythology, adventure stories, paganism and magic, movies, dancing, weapons, poetry, pseudo-Celtic religion, and especially music. Ever since Ireland's Enya scored big hits, we've been saturated with Celtic music of every kind, from "authentic" Irish folk music and Scottish bagpipes, to Celtic rock. So it only follows logically that we would also get Celtic disco. And basically, that's what this album, Underworld, amounts to.

That's disco, as in swinging club-style rhythms, with a mechanical beat, and canned synthesizer harmonies, accompanied by sampled Celtic pipes and harps. Imagine ultra-hip fashion models parading in tartans and you've got the image. I suppose as club music, or backgrounds to advertising, this isn't bad, but once you try to get beyond the slick commerciality of this album, there isn't much there. There are a couple of  "mood" tracks, such as track 5, "Dawn at Druid's Cove," and the longish track 6, "Lord of the Underworld," which in their rambling modal harmonies and driving rhythms resemble a very diluted form of Euro-synthesizer- rock.

But most of this album is what I would simply call pseudo- Celtic boilerplate, that is, generic "Celtic" sounds homogenized into cheerful, listenable but completely forgettable background music. Add to that a pretty package with unreadable type, with no contact information included, and you have something that slips away from you like an Irish mist at mid-morning.

Reviewed by Hannah M.G. Shapero 7/29/2001

 

The Art of Imagination

by Remy

Visit Groove Unlimited's website

The good folks at Groove have spread their wings once again and ventured into the atmospheric zones of sequenced e-music.  "The Art of Imagination," by Remy, is a delicate balance of those two electronic styles.  The atmospheres border on minimalism.  The sequences border on dense Berlin school walls of sound.  Neither style crosses into those realms as Remy takes the middle road and establishes a firm setting.  The combination works well.  There are no hidden agendas, dark concepts or subtle messages.  This CD is a representation of Groove's growth and maturation as on of the finest - if not THE finest - e-music labels ever!

Reviewed by Jim Brenholts, author of "Tracks Across the Universe: A Chronology of Ambient and Electronic Music"  

Visit Jim's Bio page to learn more about him.

 

Cybersphere

by Spacecraft

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"Cybersphere" is an elegant melange of sequences, atmospheres and uplifting minimalism.  Given those characteristics, it could only be a Spacecraft CD.  Tony Gerber, Diane Timmons, John Rose, Giles Reaves and Josie Phelan created this stunning soundscape during two concerts in the Cybersphere Planetarium at the Renaissance Center in Tennessee.  It has everything that listeners have come to expect and cherish from this veteran ensemble - and then some!  Josie (a new member) adds an electric cello that brings just a touch of melancholy to the proceedings.  It balances the joyous and triumphal soundscape expertly.

The disc contains over an hour of Spacecraft's signature meditative and introspective stylings.  [The high mark of the disc is the densely sequenced and brilliant "House of Gaudi."  (Spacecraft contributed that piece to "Tracks Across the Universe."  It is on CD #3.)]  The release is on a standard CD on the Spaceformusic.com Records label.  It is destined to be both classic and unforgettable!

Reviewed by Jim Brenholts, author of "Tracks Across the Universe: A Chronology of Ambient and Electronic Music"

Visit Jim's Bio page to learn more about him.