Reviews 11-26-2000

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Ascensionism Richard Bone album cover


by Richard Bone

Visit Richard Bone's site by
clicking here.

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With the release of Ascensionism Richard Bone concludes the trilogy begun with Electropica and continued in Coxa. This outing takes us on a musical journey through the mystical system known as the Kabbalah and uses the music to paint wonderful pictures in the minds eye. Ascensionism is not nearly as jazz oriented as Coxa was but has the familiar elements that make Richard's music unique and very listenable featuring a blend of warm and soothing keyboards along with the sound of brushes on drums and the muted horn. Jazz is clearly evidenced in Richard's work but there is enough of the floating melodies and airy compositions to still call it ambient as well. On the song Ascensionism I was reminded of Bob James' style of keyboard playing and being a long time fan of Bob James the music put a big smile on my face.

Overall the CD has a light and ethereal touch throughout with only a few exceptions. The music definitely exudes the mystical energy that it was written to express. It raises you upwards on the wings of carefully constructed synth sequences and then lets you float among the clouds with music that maintains a contemplative state of mind in the listener. Stand out tracks for me were Ariel Dane and the Serphim Swing with its deep caressing tones and the trumpet that leads you ever higher, Walkin With the Dharma Bums hearkening back to the early days of 60's club jazz featuring some very cool licks and finally Ascensionism which has the feel of some of the great jazz that appeared around the late 70's and early 80's with artists like Bob James and Grover Washington.

All in all I think that this CD finishes off Richard Bone's trilogy with a very powerful CD that achieves its power in a very laid back fashion. Another great CD from Richard Bone and certainly not the last that we will hear of this talented musician.


Spirit of the World Terry Oldfield album cover

Spirit of the World 

by Terry Oldfield

Visit Terry's Site by clicking here.

With this latest release from Terry Oldfield, entitled Spirit of the World, Terry attempts to put together a collection that shows the unity of mankind through the infinite variety of musical styles that exist around the globe. At first glance this seems to be a rather daunting task for a composer. I've seen whole CD's that concentrate on one culture but to try to do justice to six distinct groups on one CD seems to be asking just a little too much of most artists. Not for Mr. Oldfield. From the opening track of the CD entitled The Aboriginals to the ending track called the Africans Terry Oldfield demonstrates his ability to capture the essence of these cultures in these musical vignettes.

With native voices, instrumentation and rhythms that draw the listener into the song Terry weaves his magic by using his flute not to overpower the song but to flow with it. Allowing the culture that he is portraying to speak with their own voices and paint a picture in sound within the listeners mind. To the haunting echoes of the chanting, horns and cymbals of The Tibetans to the Native American flavored track called The Americans Terry's compositions seem to work not only on a cultural level but on a spiritual one as well. Tapping into the power of spirituality within each of these cultures adds a dimension to the listening experience that makes Terry's music even more powerful than one might at first suspect.

Hats off to Terry for bringing this wonderful piece of craftsmanship to his listeners. His excellent work on a variety of flutes, vocals and keyboards are blended into the whole seamlessly and evoke the images of each culture as the song intended. Add to this the fact that Terry was also wearing the Producer hat for this project as well and you will begin to see the work that Terry has poured into making this project just what he wanted it to be. This is a must have for long time fans of Terry's work and also for those seeking to experience his work for the first time.


Trance_Fixed Various Artists album cover


by Various Artists

 Neurodisc Records

Welcome to 71 minutes of non-stop trance music that keeps the body moving and the beats pounding out. DJ Mind-X , one of Europe's premier mixers, steps behind this project to lead you from the beginning to the end in a tour de force of trance music. Featuring such trance artists as the Harem Doctors, Karuma and Mikado the energy levels of this 3rd in a series of New Millennium trance collections, rarely fades below a roar. The music pulls you in so thoroughly that you don't even notice that you have been sitting and enjoying the music for the last hour or so.

The music is well produced and the transitions between the songs, while not completely transparent, move the CD along without letting the rhythms miss a beat. There are a few sections of chill ou't contained on the disc but only to give the body a short break before diving back into the deep end of the trance pool. Trance_Fixed delivers the goods with this compilation and I'm sure that once in your CD player it will be there on a regular basis. Personal favorites from the variety of tracks contained on this collection are My Rhythm Makes You Move by DJ Dynamic, Feel the Bass by Mikado, Reanimation by DJ Tekkie and Acid Rain by DJ Spoke/Vespa. With 15 tracks to choose from I'll let you decide what your own personal favorites might be. Who knows, maybe you'll love them all.


Enamoured Bella Sonus album cover


by Bella Sonus

 Neurodisc Records

Bella Sonus consists of Robert Smith and Angel Suarez with Robert handling producing/programming and being the multi-instrumentalist of the group and Angel playing the Flamenco Guitar and giving us her sultry vocal stylings. From the soft sensual opening track with the slow steady beat accented by the soft female voice and the acoustic guitar you know that this CD is going to be a aural delight.

Angel's Flamenco guitar provides an excellent counterpoint to the lush electronic arrangements of Robert Smith but the guitar is but one element of the overall music that pours out of your speakers. Add a dash of Gregorian style chants in the song Crimson Sands and you have something very akin to Enigma but with much more depth. The sensuality of most of these songs is a thread that runs from the beginning to the end of the CD. The beats and the rhythms are restrained but combined with the vocals, the chants and the acoustic guitar you have a wonderful collection of songs that will stimulate and relax you at the same time.

In a style as classic as the traditional flamenco guitarists of old and as modern as the latest creations on the ambient scene is where you would find Bella Sonus. A perfect blending of the old and the new to create their own unique sound. A sound that I'm sure you will enjoy.


Heaven and Earth Char-El album cover

Heaven and Earth 

by Char-El

Although this second effort from Char-El was released in March of this year we only recently became aware of it and would like to make amends by offering it up for review during this week's collection of reviews. The CD is a two-disc set with one disc offering us Heaven and the other disc Earth.

Heaven, disc 1 of this set, treats the listener to a wondrous collection of tracks that are both meditative in nature yet offers the spirit a chance to fly towards the stars. This disc is a mirror image of Earth offering the traveller sequenced melodies as well as synths that float about the composition with the lightness of clouds on a summers day.

On the other hand Earth is a powerful collection of songs that runs the gamut from quiet and introspective pieces to songs that border on rock anthems in the spirit of David Arkenstone's music. I think that the Earth even includes a nod towards sci-fi with track number 7 on disc 2 called the Visitors. Take a listen yourself and see what it reminds you of. The tracks on Earth bring more instrumentation to bear including a guest appearance by Larry Clark whose guitar soars above the music with expert craftsmanship and at times reminds one of the wonderful guitar work done on many of the Moody Blues CD's. The digital drums of Doug Bonell and Chris Stoll bring even more depth and emotion to these wonderful compositions. The songs form a cohesive whole with each one building on the previous track and taking the listener deeper into the essence of Earth. All the while the keyboard work of Char-El intertwines exquisitely with the other instruments and acts as the guiding light in this journey of sound.

The music lifts you up to the Heavens on disc 1 and then brings you back down to Earth with disc 2 leaving you right where you started but with a smile on your face from the journey that you have just completed. Definitely a disc that should be in your collection and well worth the wait.


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