t h e s o u n d m u s e u m r e v i e w
|"Aural Explorations" begins with a bright metallic drone over what sounds like insect noises. We then get some lovely spooky effects that could have come off early Tangerine Dream albums like Zeit or Atem. Cavernous scraping noises and big whooshes of sound can then be heard. More and more space effects are introduced and others taken away so the impression of travelling through one awesome area of space to the next is created. At four minutes a simple sequence comes in then unexpectedly a flutey synth. This completely transforms the mood to one of relaxed contemplation. Another sequence comes in and more symphonic pads develop underneath. Its now quite a complex track with many pulsating layers. In the sequence department it is rather Schulzian but the rest of the instrumentation is completely different though it all fits together beautifully. "Shifting Sands" starts with a combination of wind and cosmic sounds. At six minutes the sequences start to develop over slow melodic pads. The pace starts to quicken and a piano lead line can be heard. A rhythm is also added and we have another complex but thoroughly enjoyable combination of sounds - sounding slightly Turkish to me. Its one of those things that's rather difficult to describe in a review but I loved it!||
In "The Domain of Arnheim" we get multi-layered pads creating a perfect atmosphere to just let yourself float but just when you feel your mind starting to drift the attention is brought back into focus by a "ticking" sequence then a piano melody. Its all very relaxing and is the most improvised sounding track on the CD. A new lead is brought in with seven minutes to go and all of a sudden the track just bursts into life, stop your floating and let yourself be lifted up by these gorgeous melodies. Fly above the world and marvel at it all. This album was originally recorded 12 years ago, why on earth has it taken so long for a CD release? It's fantastic. (DL)
Dave Law -- Synth Music Direct march 2001
Originally released in 1991 as a double cassette tape (by Xisle), this music has finally seen CD release in 2001, a decade after its creation by Chuck van Zyl, Peter Gulch, and D. Andrew Rath.
With a flurry of flutish keyboards, sinuous bass tones and muted E-perc, the music on this 75 minute CD possesses immediate appeal. Layers of sequenced electronics blend to form a glistening backdrop for the more forceful riffs that dominate the flow. Athough hardly overt, the tuneage is energetic and compelling. The use of slowburn technique is excellently tempered with vivacious passages that steal the listener's breath with their awesome grandeur.
The melodies are sultry and quite engaging.
There are four tracks on this release, with each piece clocking in at nearly twenty minutes of shimmering sonic entertainment.
Matt Howarth -- Sonic Curiousity february 2002
I am now convinced that the best electronic music ever made is sitting in someone's vault somewhere, recorded at least 10-20 years ago, and has not been released. I continue to be amazed at the quality of Berlin school material that is just now coming to light, that was recorded long ago.
Case in point is this fantastic music apparently recorded in 1989, long after the heyday of vintage Berlin school, but firmly rooted in that style. Four sidelong (for those of us whoremember records) tracks are presented, in a grand display of all things Teutonic. A real strong point is that the disc just reaches out and grabs you. No long, atmospheric build-up, no slow synthesizer textures - just a bang, and a bass line that will stick in your head all day long, and we're off and running. This is high energy stuff, and it is just plain fun. The strong synth leads in "The Shadow Chasers" must be Gulch, because the sound is so similar to passages the Nightcrawlers' work. On the other hand, the dreamier, drifting passages toward the end of that piece, and throughout "Aural Explorations," are clearly Chuck van Zyl, sounding very reminiscent of his solo CDs such as The Relic and Celestial Mechanics. The latter piece is content to gently explore the outer reaches of space, with delicate sequencing and no real rhythms to speak of. It is hypnotic, extremely pleasant to kick back to. The fluty synth work is especially nice.
As excellent as these two numbers are, "Shifting Sands" is even better. Starting as a slow haunter, the gradual increase in intensity and evolving musical theme is first-rate. The title and music conjure up images of hot Arabian days and exotic nights. "The Domain of Arnheim" begins with bright, shimmering, vintage synths.
A real strength throughout is the abundance of pure electronics. Very few sounds could be described as anything but synthesized, and yet the music has rich character and warmth. This is, quite simply, the way electronic music is supposed to sound.
Phil Derby --Sequences No. 26 winter 2002
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