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Morpheus Music

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  1. 1 8 Hertz 9:22 2 Dying Dolphin 9:24 3 Second Breath (Vocal Radio Mix) Featuring – Aviatrix 5:07 4 360 7:49 5 Muse 7:16 6 Heartwork 8:18 7 Equator 7:13 8 In Motion 6:46 9 Second Breath (Original Mix) 7:37 10 Back To Earth 6:36 STYLE December 2011 Ambient chillout and blissful downtempo. Vacuum is a delicate and sensitive album of lush, evocative electronica where languid beats and dream-like soundscapes support subtle melodies. These softly unfolding themes heave with hypnotic beauty, yet always retain plenty of complementary shade and dignity. Most tracks have extended, unhurried introductions where Zero Cult's ambient atmospheres can fully spread like multi-coloured mists before the rhythmic material sets everything in motion. There are also plenty of beatless interludes where the percussion falls away completely and sometimes the whole melodic framework too, leaving the listener gliding upon faint air currents ready, anticipating the second coming. Overall, Vacuum has a fine balance of light and shadow, delivering attractive compositions that feed the attention whilst neatly avoiding the clichés of the psychill mainstream. IN DEPTH Vacuum opens gradually with a hypnotic interplay of misty pads and lustrous echoing effects; sonic winds curl around ascending tones and a gentle rhythmic structure slowly coalesces: vibes, synth arps, bass pulse and, about three minutes in, a ponderous programmed groove. This track - Muse - establishes what the album is all about: saturated colour; serene harmonies and breezy beats. Heartworks sees the trance elements of Zero Cult's sound solidify around a bubbling bassline and measured beat, but this denser sound quickly evaporates as the next track once again takes on a more weightless approach. The album has at its centre the gorgeous Second Breath, this is a wonderfully transportational piece that revolves around a mesmerising motif that carefully evolves and repeats with a tender, insistent intensity. 8 Hertz introduces a more mechanistic tone arising out of dark drones and reverberating voice samples: here a sparse, thumping kick and grumbling bass line give the track a slightly sinister edge. For the most part this is a purely instrumental album, however, just before the end there is a track that casts a different spell: a soporific, meandering piece of hazy euphoria where an unusual female vocal hangs in the air, haunting the synthetics with a wistful song from New Zealand's Aviatrix. ARTWORK The cover artwork for Vacuum features a hi-key design where a complex tangle of synthetic grey-white thorns lies upon a smooth, pale, infinite plane. Like some hollow, plastic urchin or structure of artificial cactus spines this jagged, monochrome formation is in stark contrast to the curving, fluid music within. I don't yet have a physical copy of this album and so can't comment on other artwork except to say that I have had a number of Cosmic Leaf releases over the years and the graphic quality is of a consistently high standard. OVERALL Israel's Emil Ilyayev returns here with his sixth album of downtempo trance and follow-up to the 2010 release: Clouds Garden. Once more on Cosmic Leaf Records, Zero Cult delivers a maturing sound that luxuriates deep within the reverie of ambient chillout. The ten tracks here include two versions of the deliriously laid back Second Breath: an original mix and a second vocal radio edit featuring Aviatrix with the distinctive voice of Kerensa Stephens. Dying Dolphin has an accompanying video aimed at raising awareness of the plight of these endangered mammals. The footage displays some of the horrors of the 30 000 or so dolphins slaughtered around the world each year. You can further learn of Vacuum at the Cosmic Leaf website or you might like to visit the official Zero Cult pages at Myspace and Facebook. Catalog Number: CLCD038DG Genre: Ambient,Downtempo,Trance,Electronic,New Age,Electro Ambient,Electronic Label: Cosmicleaf Records Release Date: 02 December 2011 Label Link: www.cosmicleaf.com Artist Link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Zero-Cult/43520643043
  2. STYLE March 2011 Downtempo psychill, lush electronica and acoustic performance. Inspirational Power opens with a gentle, beatless melodic piece built around a cycling, sequential pattern; distant male vocals hang wordlessly in the bright Autumn air; warm atmospherics; tranquil harmony. Chronos appears to be revelling in the beauty of digital sound on these tracks: gradual developments and expansive interludes in no rush to a final destination; beats that seem to inhabit the music rather than dominate; attractive melodic phrases and the intertwined twinkle of arpeggiators. There is a distinct sense of a musical journey to the album as the earlier restfulness develops into more climactic pieces with heavier grooves around the midway mark. Finally the music ascends spaceward via the synthetic sci-fi tones and philosophical musings of Optimistic Future and the meandering, ethereal, beat free concluder Forgiveness. MOOD The shifting mood here is often one of deep serenity and unhurried reverie. The intricacies of the beats are frequently offset by drifting ambient progressions and mesmerising evolving repetitions. There are spacey sections in places where the electronics take on a more sinewy, sharper-edged nature. Occasional global elements introduce touches of earthy exotica; most prominent on the folk remix of Sky Path: here flamenco style acoustic guitars juxtapose tribal drumming and Indian vocals before the track breaks wide open with an Irish reel played on distinctive uilleann pipes. There is even a progressive section with flute improvisation and a brief but distinct nineteen seventies vibe that arises during Deus Ex Machina. ARTWORK A jewel case presentation, Inspirational Power is fronted by a sharp graphic image of running figures upon interconnected cogs. Bold, black, dynamic - stare long enough and the whole things aches to move - set against a sleek icy grey ground that reflects the man machine in the foreground. The rear cover tracklist includes writing, production and collaborative credits laid out over greys and gears familiar from the flip side. Within, the double page spread of the insert is a rich presentation of photographs and text. There are performance shots highlighting the acoustic/electronic blend of Chronos' music with colourful instruments displayed and engrossed players at work. As well as the usual contact and technical details there is an interesting paragraph of background information on the artist. OVERALL Russian musician and sound designer Nick Klimenko delivers his third album as Chronos. Having collaborated back in 2009 with Catalizer on the Ajana release Quid est Veritas? he now follows up his debut solo of 2007 Steps to the Greater Knowledge. For Inspirational Power Chronos has turned to the Beats & Pieces label. There are ten tracks in all here that rise out of restful introspection gradually into dynamic downtempo psychedelia and global chill before floating right off through the stratosphere into infinite space. This album reveals Chronos to be a multifaceted project with both carefully crafted studio work and live performance aspects in evidence. The depth and colour of sound benefits from Nick's work developing virtual instruments and sound libraries as well as his collaborative relationships that give rise to some engrossing instrumentation threaded through the electronica. WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM Inspirational Power is one of those electronic albums that transcends the usual genre limitations; promotional material rightly claims that "it explores the paths between ambient, chillout, ethnic music and psychedelic hypnotic trance vibrations." Fans of colourful, deeply chilled psytrance will enjoy this release, so too will those with an interest in global dance music. The Beats & Pieces website holds listening material if you'd like to see for yourself.
  3. STYLE Lush, spacey electronica. Psyfactor looks outward once more on this new twelve track release, the composition titles giving a clear idea of the musical direction: Discovering Andromeda, In Space, Cassiopeya, Neptune's Waves. Here smooth pads and lustrous washes form colourful canvases for crystalline sequences and tinkling lattice works. Beats are vigorous and dynamic programmed affairs running a fairly high bpm for a chill album. Psyfactor uses the varying beats and rhythms of the music to hold the attention as much as the melody; percussive grooves layer and alternate with arpeggio forms bristling with sparkling effects, buzzing, electro bass lines rippling beneath. Frequently these driving regularities break apart into gleaming atmospheric expanses where the softness and liquid clarity of the synths can be appreciated by contrast. ARTWORK Futurised comes in a sharp, glossy two panel card wallet - no unpleasant plastic - disc neatly held in a simple pocket within. The front cover image is of a glassy fractal helix made up of myriad bubbles rising from a dense orange cloud mass into a bright sky. There above the cloud a beaming star illuminates distant planets partly obscured by immense distance. This design runs across both front and back panels, the rear section holding the tracklist with times alongside. The briefest of credits are here too as well as the Ajana website address. Inside the space is text free - the orange sky of the outer cover here leading down to the surface of a planet where alien foliage stretches upward unfettered. OVERALL Futurised is the second chilled album from Russian chill artist Dmitri Korablin in his role as Psyfactor, the previous Endless Universe having been released on the same Ajana label back in 2006. This latest offering is billed by Ajana Records as a 'psychill' album - and despite being loosely catagorised as chillout, the music is relatively uptempo, although clearly less so than Dmitri's other two uncompromising psytrance releases. There are sound samples of all the tracks to explore at Ajana if should wish to listen to the music there, as well as one free track to download. The digifile version of Futurised comes as limited edition of only 500 copies, so you might want to make a decision on this one relatively quickly.
  4. Kukan Dub Lagan - New Life New Vision Morpheus Music Review STYLE Psychedelic dub and downtempo digital reggae. New Life New Vision presents Kukan Dub Lagan's signature sound with greater refinement and maturity of vision than ever before. Here are the familiar off-beat stabs and bright brassy phrases set against quirky programmed beats laced with congas and bongos, the lumbering synthetic basses and rasta vocal snippets embellished with electronic melody lines and guitar phrases. However, the tracks on New Life New Vision reveal increasingly a confident solidity and more clearly defined sonic personality than on previous releases. Introductions to a number of the tracks are used as opportunities to break up the structures and play with more experimental or personal sounds - baby talk, folk strings, zappy electro-fx and glitch forms. ARTWORK The artwork retains the red, gold, green palette of previous releases with heavy emphasis on shades of green and long swirling graphic forms. The abstract curls of the front cover are echoed in the spotted leaf edges on the rear, the bright lime and olive hues of the design work more softly presented in the unfurling buds hidden behind the CD. The jewel case delivery includes a three panel fold-out insert that contains an extended tracklist, generous thanks and credits, along with relevant website and contact information. A proud father and baby photograph is found on the final panel of the insert with a verse to baby Sofia OVERALL New Life New Vision comes as the third full length release from Israel based Itay Berger under the Kukan Dub Lagan moniker. The album is released via the artist's own MikelaBella Records label which has been in operation now for the past two years delivering Electro, House, Techno and Dubstep. The current Kukan album features twelve tracks of retro inspired contemporary dub electronica which promotional material appropriately explains "hail from a rainbow of eclectic musical genres from both the traditional and experimental spectrums of sound, yet belonging to none." Truly Itay's music is distinctive and individual - no-one else makes anything that sounds quite like this - warm, exuberant and infectious.
  5. Ambient Intelligent Application - Physical Moments STYLE Lush electronica and ambient downtempo. Ambient Intelligent Application (A.i.A.) create deep freeform soundworlds of strongly saturated colour; there is something of a sense that almost anything might emerge from within the mix on these tracks - sweeping strings, moody piano, disturbed voices, cycling ethnic vocals and plenty of less easily distinguishable sounds. The music is mostly built around richly layered atmospheres of synthetic pads and reverberating effects wherein smooth chord progressions gradually emerge rising and falling like gentle waves. Programmed beats stir these musical pools into motion - downtempo grooves that give a feeling of purposeful direction to the less tightly structured meanderings of the music. MOOD These colourful, psychedelic sound constructs spiral and flow with mesmerising intensity - the effect is bewilderingly hypnotic. Like sonic kaleidoscopes, disparate patterns and luminous pieces come together, form into regularity, shift and reform - Physical Moments is constantly on the move. At times the rhythms take on a dreamy tribal quality, hand drums softening the digital elements, spacey drones and sweeps of tone dancing lazily in time. ARTWORK I have the CD wallet presentation of Physical Moments. The front cover well captures something of the music - loose globular forms in abstract relation and of vivid hue apparently rolling in grand unity. The rear cover provides a tracklist wound into a tight spiral, with brief credits. Here too at the foot of the panel are website details and contact information. OVERALL A.i.A is new Greek ambient-downtempo group from brothers Konstantinos and Nassos Kousouris. The duo present their debut album here via Dutch independent label Ajana Records, eleven tracks running from around three and a half minutes up to almost ten. Claiming influences within chill out, dub, ambient, downtempo, IDM, electronic, triphop, trance, techno, ebm, industrial, goth, psychedelic rock, the duo take a fairly open approach to their compositions resulting in a unique signature sound. Promotional material explains that A.i.A. began producing their own music subsequent to travelling around the world and enjoying many open-air festivals and collecting music. The Physical Moments album is described as a product of half live composition and half studio recorded content. WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM Physical Moments is something a bit different within the chillout, ambient genres. If you're looking for something deeply saturated and psychedelic with less rigid structure than most downtempo trance, then this might be the album for you. Ajana provide sound samples on the label website.
  6. STYLE Melodic downtempo trance and chillout instrumentals with global enhancements. Quid Est Veritas is a deliciously smooth album of ethno-electronica - the rich sonic palette maintaining a liquid-silky polish from start to finish. The synth work here is especially fine; delicate melodic phrases rise out of bubbling sequencer cycles and airy pads often with striking beauty and with an almost constant sense of bliss. The largely programmed beats fuse naturally in places with international grooves and hand drumming; arpeggiated basses, chime patterns and burbling synths rippling in rhythmic accord. The most evident world sounds across the album are vocal: meditative Indian utterances and lively drum talk; female wails and soaring operatics; brooding monk chants, spoken voices and transmission fragments. The other primary organic sound being the flute - a variety of lush breathy phrases and brief touches from different continents and cultures bringing a heady mystique or wistful colour. Field recordings are also utilised in places to powerful effect - passing footfalls, environmental sounds and locational cues. MOOD The unhurried ambient build ups on many tracks give Quid Est Veritas a lush textural feel, where the colours are deep and saturated, the atmospheres dense and sweeping. There is frequently a gorgeous airiness about the album - a feeling of gliding high in the stratosphere, a weightless sense of effortless movement - this uplifting effect creates an ongoing sense of well being and introspection. The lightness of some of the beats cooperates with the delicacy of the music at times to form some very relaxing passages. There is a strong dramatic content here too though - darker drones and mysterious effects building at times into hypnotic gloom. This sense of esoteric wonder recurrs often, the opening track establishing a brooding, nocturnal, tribal mood before a drifting voice-over rolls in presenting thoughts on the Chronos identity. The final title composition is an excellent conclusion - a plaintive piano rises from an urban soundscape - deft fingering painting a melancholy full stop. ARTWORK Quid Est Veritas arrives as a rather luxurious jewelcase package. The generous artwork is visually stunning and tastefully laid out. The front cover image is first and foremost a sky portrait - beautiful metallic blues with scudding clouds gradually heat up into molten reds and oranges as the scene meets the horizon - foreground detail blackened into silhouette. Broad horizontal borders letterbox the image and hold the titles. The rear cover provides a tracklist against a misty starscape - each piece is listed with conception and musical credits. Inside is a twelve page booklet arranged so that each page represents a different track - stirring photographic visuals and a line or two of inspirational text on every page. Behind the disc itself is a section for thanks and website/contact information. OVERALL This is the second full Chronos album among a plethora of compilation appearances; follow-up to the 2007 release Step To Great Knowledge. It is also the second from C J Catalizer coming after the SHUM records release Across The Universe from 2006. Nick Klimenko in collaboration with Dimitry Neschadim here shows why these guys are among their country's most respected donwtempo trance artists. Klimenko, otherwise known as DJ Shankar, Hologram & Secret Trick is the prime owner of the Chronos project with C J Catalizer joining just for the current album before going their separate ways once more. The album is released via the increasingly well-respected Ajana label and contains eleven pieces with no sign of 'filler' material anywhere. WHO WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM This is an album for lovers of quality downtempo that appreciate well thought out global elements woven into the mix. If you enjoy Asura, Aes Dana or European trance at a low bpm then this is definitely an album to explore this year. The Ajana Records website provides samples of all tracks as well as a free download if you'd like to explore further. www.morpheusmusic.co.uk
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