Here are all the various
albums released by
Quadra - First Contact
Quadra comprise four of musicians: Brendan Pollard, Steve Humphries, John Sherwood and Jez Creek.
Deep reverberating drones and a bass throb provide a very atmospheric introduction for 'Convergence'.
Little melodies shimmer over the top accompanied by soothing mellotron. A rapid sequence nestles
perfectly amongst the other instrumentation. A second comes to join it and we are soon motoring along
in energetic, head nodding, fashion. In the eleventh minute things wind down to soft tron. A little melody
shines above it all, echoed by the mellotron. Soft meandering tinkling piano adds to the gentle atmos
still further. The track then seems to spend the next few minutes searching for direction. A sequence
can be heard low in the mix but that is where it stays whilst various lead flourishes come and go but
without really making their mark. In the twenty first minute a more substantial sequence surges forward,
mutating this way and that only to subside back to tron and piano a couple of minutes later.
We then get a section of pleasant atmospherics which gradually becomes more metallicly percussive
and sparse sounding. Images of dank rat infested dungeons come to mind. A heartbeat sound can be
heard, soft drones lightening the mood which becomes brighter still as wordless vocal pads give an
ethereal presence. The heartbeat fades away and is replaced by a tinkling sequence, slow rhythm then
more sequences as things surge forward nicely once more. In my opinion this track was good for two
thirds of its over forty minute duration, it just had a bit of a dodgy middle section where things became
a little aimless. Initially 'Pastorale' is wonderfully soothing, with gentle tron and flutey synth combining
beautifully. A tinkling sequence emerges in the second minute, then a rhythm starts up skipping along
nicely. Flute sounds are particularly effective but the other leads aren't bad either. Sequences become
more prominent as things get increasingly energetic. 'Starbirth' acts as something of a fest for mellotron
and string pads. A faint beat low in the mix gives a hint of structure rather than any driving force, which
in the context of the track is a good thing but I thought the track lost its way for the last three minutes
as layers of percussion etc were added that weren't really necessary and only resulted in the track losing
its focus. 'Heritage' starts in a similar tranquil way to the previous track, dreamy vocal samples adding a
little detail whilst a slow strangely comforting throb can just be heard low in the mix. A gorgeous way to
finish the first disc.
The second CD starts with 'Emergence'. The first few minute or so are a little like 'Epsilon in Malaysian Pale'
but then we get lots of twittering effects. A slow bass sequence starts up and I found my head gently nodding
to it. We descend to electronic twitters once more in the eighth minute. Whining drones go up and down the
sonic spectrum like an alien craft swooping high into the air then plunging Earthward. In the thirteenth minute
a brace of sequences pick up the pace. They bounce off each other nicely, various 'melodies' coming and going
over the ever-present tron. The sequences mutate beautifully but the lead lines were maybe a little over done.
This stage of the track finishes at about the twenty-minute mark. Mournful plucked strings lead to a slow
sequence (backed by more mellotron of course) then restrained drums and yet another sequence. Things
quickly build to quite a head of steam before just as suddenly subsiding, allowing the musicians to regroup
for the next sequencer based section. The swirling pulsations work well enough but the leads seemed a bit
directionless to me. 'Astral Plane' is a slow dreamy track, the atmospherics working wonderfully along with
a subtle bass line. From around the six-minute mark the pulsations become more prominent and things chug
along very nicely. 'Callisto' is a lovely track featuring soft tones over fizzling pads. There's something rather
melancholy, even spooky about it all. 'Take-Off' creates tension with the use of choral pads. The sequences
slowly start to build developing into a strange sort of manic groove. It's like listening to some bizarre satanic
Hampshire Jam 'Jam' 2006
On the back of the artwork 7 phases are mentioned. Each phase refers to a new change in line up but
they do not relate directly to the individual tracks here (all eight of them). The index points are just put
there to identify when there is a significant change in the music. Electronic twitters aren't exactly an
original way to start a track but they certainly work for me. And these are especially good twitters!
It doesn't take long before a tinkling percussive sequence starts up, soon to be followed my a more
substantial melodic one and a real cracker it is too, sounding all rather 70s TD. A steady rhythm
comes to join the pulsations then a lovely delicate little melody. A more substantial lead line flashes
forth. The mood becomes much darker on the back of a very deep rumbling pulse. A menacing slow
rhythm joins it, a sequence being heard very low in the mix. A moody lead plays over the top which
is just spot on. I found myself closing my eyes as I blissfully floated along with it. This really is a very
The Second Part commences moodily, a deep throbbing sequence starting real low. Mellotron comes
to join it then the sequence mutates taking us to Berlin School heaven once more. The pace quickens
as little dreamy lead lines shimmer away, adding that last finishing touch. If anything this is even better
than the opener.
The Third Part starts with more mellotron, this time sounding all rather melancholy. Another sequence
starts low in the mix as a Dysonesque lead strikes up accompanied by deep organ sounds that again
reminded me of early to mid 70s Tangerine Dream. This Incredibly moody stuff continues through to the
beginning of the next part. A rapid exciting sequence imparts a sense of real attitude.
The Fifth Part takes things on with a feeling of menace as the sequence gains added oomph then morphs
to become rather metallic. The sound of an owl can be heard then another sequence and tron become the
main features whilst meandering leads fill the middle ground. The sequences start to play against and off
each other. The Final Part of the first disc presses the Mellotron into even greater flourishes as mournful
pads build to quite epic proportions. Again, two sequences duel against each other. The pulsation depart
and we begin what I thought was a slow wind down but with two minutes to go the track erupts again
The Second Disc starts, of course, with yet another sequence, a really nice mid 70s sounding one.
Strange animal noises wail underneath. Low bass thuds add to the tension as we go through all manner
of sonic stabs, mellotron choirs completing another extremely exciting homage to the golden era of analogue
sequencer based music. The leads become increasingly euphoric in a rather Wavestar sort of way, getting
the second disc off as impressively as the first.
The Eighth Part begins with gorgeous ethereal wordless vocal
pads. A delicate melody adds to the gentle, serene atmos still further then fades away. This time we have to
wait about ninety seconds for the sequence to arrive. It is a sedate one providing a little gentle movement
whist a second comes to join it- then a third bass one, rising and falling through the sea of pulsations like a
whale breaking through the surface only to plunge down to the depths once more. Things become increasingly
complex and exciting as we go- almost reaching overload but just staying on the right side of manic mayhem!
The Ninth Part gets underway with a slow relaxed rhythm giving space for some lovely mellotron flute to weave
its gorgeous spell. Tinkling percussive piano adds to the beauty still further all topped off with groovy organ.
Part Ten continues on in a similar mood but is a meandering little number featuring tron strings until a sedate
sequence gives a little structure. More mellotron is used but this time of the flute variety. We now get to the
much meatier Part Eleven which brings back tinkling electronics then a period of float until things take a darker
turn in the fifth minute. Subtly, it all becomes rather tender. A slow chugging sequence starts up but doesn't
set the world alight.
The Final Part has a rather meditational quality as pulsation and loops mix. It then becomes a little more
abrasive using a similar style of sequencing to the previous part. So, to sum up, there is some very fine music
here, especially on the first disc and first half of the second
We start with a very effective track 'NotCage'. A nice little
melody stands in isolation echoing into the distance. A
slightly overdriven bass twang comes to join it followed by
lovely electronic shimmers. Soft drones take us into 'Dec Inc'.
It's a rather relaxing piece with something of a symphonic feel.
Percussive piano acts as a bridge to 'I am HyperEx Machina'.
The tranquillity from before is still here but there is a slightly
edgier feel. A melodic guitar loop strikes up along with wispy
unintelligible chatter, pads swelling underneath.
The baton is now passed from HyperEx to 4m33s as we float
into 'Atomsphere'. A tinkling little loop is the main focus
throughout the track though there is constant shift to the
backing sounds. It all becomes quite hypnotic actually.
For the next 5 tracks we alternate between HyperEx and
4m33s so the baton is handed back for 'Divine Flow with Cold
Joy'. The pace quickens as a chugging sequence nestles in
the middle of the mix. At about the half way mark we get a
passage of carefree drift before fore a squelchy rhythm takes
us closer to the end.
On 'The Ritual Part 4', fizzing high register drones give way
to a really big church organ sound which eventually fades
back to atmospherics. At first all is quite calm and relaxed
but tension builds with a hissing sound, sonic rumbles and
whooshes then metallic percussion, all going together to give
things a rather uneasy feel. Quite out of the blue, with just
over a minute to go, in comes a quite delightful melodic loop.
A lovely way to finish.
`Dark Ages' is all rather moody with a repeated slow four note
motif providing some structure over which a rhythm bounces,
the motif developing into a more substantial melody as we go.
'Neuronium' must surely have been inspired by the group as
there are a couple of very familiar melodies in there that I really
should be able to identify but just don't have time to blow the
dust off my old vinyl. I am sure they are fairly early though.
4m33s has put it all together very nicely.
The next three tracks are all by HyperEx Machina 'Lest we
Forget' is a very pleasant track with a hint of melancholy.
The lead line uses a curious sound, sort of half way between
keyboard and guitar. A shuffling rhythm picks up the pace
nicely. '4 Seasonings extract (vl Herbs)' is a syncopated
track with a real mean edge. Quite a groove is developed,
just wish it could have gone on for longer. Muffled explosions
get 'Hyper 13' underway, then throbbing electronic machine
type noises and sonic twangs. An excellent lead and very
quirky rhythm certainly gives it oomph. It's all rather fun
actually, something I don't usually associate with HyperEx
4m33s finishes the first CD with 'Daliesque Cloud Formation'.
A slow steady bass drum provides the base for a high hat line
then deep rumbles and other loops. A high register sequence
also joins in the party. It's all rather melodic actually. Lead
lines become more prominent as we progress, as does
This CD is by far the most accessible of any disc I have
heard by either of these acts before.
The second disc is labelled as a Bonus Album and I did find
it a much more challenging listening experience.
Things start excellently with 'Fanfare' by HyperEx Machina.
A very appealing melodic flourish issues forth then a rapid
rotor blade type sequence comes to join it. Before we know
it the five-minute duration is up. 'The Afternoon (after the night
before)' combines both bands and begins with a rather urgent
sequence, though it is quite low in the mix. Things then speed
up, slow down and morph in various ways but it didn't really do
enough to keep my attention for its over fifty minute duration.
The final track is a different version of `Atmosphere', this time
by 4m33s. I still prefer the version from the first disc