albums were originally
featuring artists appearing at the concerts
for that year, but quickly gained a life of
their own. The series ran from 2005 to
2014 with a few extras before that.
to the tracks
from these all albums
on this Soundcloud page
The first Awakenings album was a 3CD set.
Featuring tracks by many artists including
Radio Massacre International, The Omega
Syndicate, AirSculpture, Ron Boots, Binar
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Ethereal Electric Elixir - Excerpt from The Ritual
Phobos - Decaying Mind
5. Edge Effect -
6. Phrozenlight - Human Heritage Buried
7. Russell Storey - Bastion Against the
Mists of Time
In 2011 there was
just one volume 1 containing mainly
Berlin school music, and one volume 1.5 containing
tracks in a continuous mix, however
this time the point 5 was a double album
To buy all the Awakenings 2011 albums in one transaction
Price £15.95 post free
2011 Volume 1
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HyperEx Machina - Something Creepy
This Way Comes
5. Lost Garden - Finifugal
6. Sabbath Mist - Sabbatum Caligine
Lost Garden is Nick Robinson and Andy
BEST OF AWAKENINGS
multi-disc sets providing an introduction to
the Awakenings series. They are packaged in "bundles"
so you get several discs in one purchase.
The discs are packaged in pvc slip cases
This 3 disc set is a perfect blend of tracks, many of them unreleased, by heavy hitters like Radio Massacre
International, Ron Boots, and Airsculpture, alongside plenty of strong new material by lesser knowns and unknowns.
Case in point is the excellent Berlin school frenzy of Awen’s “Ko”, which closes out disc one in energetic fashion.
The synth solo threatens to spiral out of control, the pounding beat will get your foot tapping, and the end result
will be a smile on the face of most any EM fan. Awen, as well as several other newcomers, have two contributions
on this set – others include 4m33s, Ganzfeld, HyperEx Machina, and Modulator ESP, none of whom I was familiar
with before listening to this collection. Each offers something worthy to add to the mix, as do others.
For example, Vietgrove’s “Saragossa II” is a soothing blend of ambient textures, Teutonic musings, and hints of
guitar here and there. Completists will surely want to grab this collection for items like Airsculpture’s “Untitled So Far”,
a different take on their usual moody improvisations, as it has a steady throbbing beat that is rarely found in their music.
A simple repeating bass line, high metallic sounds, and a soft but active lead synth make an effective combination.
Likewise, the dreamy dark soundscapes of “Sherwood’s Special” will be a must for the serious Radio Massacre
International fan. Most of the material is in easily digestible chunks ranging from 5-10 minutes, with the exception
of disc three. The highlight there is Create’s “Slipstream” a 24-½ minute epic that develops much like Steve Humphries’
heroes, Airsculpture. Beginning with dreamy reverie, it segues seamlessly into crisp percussion and sequencing, thick
synth pads, and a flutey lead line.
It is just one of many highlights to be explored on this extensive collection.
Well, three CDs containing over three hours forty-five minutes of music can't be bad! We have tracks provided by well
known favourites such as Binar, RMI, Skin Mechanix and AirSculpture plus some of the more successful new kids on
the block: The Omega Syndicate, Create and The Glimmer Room. That is not all though as this collection also provides
an opportunity for some of those artists who are currently just 'bubbling under the surface' to be heard. Binar are
represented by 'Curious Things Inside the Snowmine' combining nice body moving beats with fitting samples and
melodies. It's a good track but there are much better ones on their recent albums.
The track by Create 'Surface Control' on the other hand is probably the best track I have heard from him - a wonderful
sequencer driven piece. Unfortunately I was not as convinced by much of the rest of his first solo album though I am
certain that future albums could be belters. His other track here 'Slipstream', for me just confirms my view. Again, there
is nothing really wrong with the track, it hints at great things to come (as I am sure there will be) but it isn't quite there yet.
Hyper Ex Machina is one of the newer names here and 'The Pulse Quickens' is a pleasant piece combining at least three
different sequencer lines with subtle melodic touches. From just after the half way mark a relatively heavy rhythm is added
and we bounce forward in a very enjoyable manner- nice one. Their second track 'Divine Flow with Cold Joy 4' begins with
a long vocoded intro to be followed by a series of melodic / rhythmic loops. Vietgrove can hardly be said to be prolific but
they are kind enough to give what I assume is a non-album track 'Saragossa II'. Guitar and synths are combined beautifully
with a fair dose of gentle prog rock leanings to create a lovely sunny Sunday afternoon atmosphere.
In complete contrast we get a new otherwise unavailable track by RMI called 'Sherwood's Special' which delves the darker
ambient side of their character. Modulator ESP are represented by the gently pulsating drifting number 'Transpatial' but even
better is the far longer 'Dark Star Voyage' which is initially a much moodier, atmospheric, spaced out number. In the sixth
minute sequences are developed followed by some lovely lead lines. It does have rough edges but all in all is one of the
better tracks on this triple CD set certainly marking them a potentially (like Create) very exciting act to watch for the future.
I would love to hear more of their stuff. 4m33s comes up with 'Atmosphere', a slowly evolving piece built round a tinkling
sequence. The Omega Syndicate's first offering 'Mission 11' is an example of their more sensitive, subtle side as dark
atmospherics give way to an excellent sequence. More sequences are added as well as a lovely synth flute lead line.
The track builds beautifully but without ever getting too OTT. When we add their second offering 'Rave-O-Lution' it amounts
to over half an hour of new music by them. It has to be said though that this second track is by no means typical TOS as
it deploys a bass dance beat pretty much right from the off! It is certainly still an exciting track but I am sure it will raise
a few eyebrows. I would love to hear what current fans have to say about it.
Awen was a new name to me. 'Ko' is a piece very much in two halves the first being almost orchestral / symphonic where
as the second half develops into something of a dance number! Their other track 'Ocean of Joy', however, is much more
Eastern tinged with appropriate wailing vocals to start it off, soon to be joined by some more excellent rhythms. All the
elements go together really well and if Asana was still around I can imagine this being the sort of music he would be coming
up with. Nice one- I hope we will hear more of Awen. AirSculpture's imaginatively titled new track 'Untitled so Far' shows a
rather different side to their character in that mixing with their more typical sequences is a much more contemporary beat
along with a sawing lead line doing its stuff lower in the mix. The Glimmer Room's '707' is yet another new piece and is full
of the Eastern characters around some lovely laid back rhythms, exquisite lead lines coming in especially after the half way
mark. Simply gorgeous. Skin Mechanix donate 'Ultravista' a very representative track from their album full of infectious beats
hissing like a steam engine and catchy little melodies. Second Thought give us a relatively contemporary sounding slow
rhythmic number ideal for simply chilling out to and the even more relaxing 'Rooftops'. The latter starts with a delicate guitar
melody followed by strings but for me, unfortunately, it didn't seem to work as it developed.
Ganzfeld's 'We Are Your Audience' and 'Test Object' on the other hand did work being superb upbeat tracks with lovely
melodies- another act to look out for. Ron Boots donates 'Spherics', a nice enough chugger that I suppose could be said to
be quite hypnotic but on the other hand it probably could have done with a little more development- depends on the mood of
the listener I suppose. Joint Intelligence Committee (aka Paul Nagle) give us the otherwise unavailable track 'Hot: Pot; Supper
which is a lovely spaced out number full of appropriate little psychedelic effects. Now, this is a track that develops well. The
beat becomes more insistent as we go and one melody after another are brought into play, some gentle and others with real bite.
2006 Volume 1
John Sherwood who is responsible for the Awakenings series of concerts in Leeds has put
together another compilation for us (the first being 'Awakenings 2005') featuring both known
and lesser known acts. Much of the music is exclusive to this set. The opener 'Maametalli'
by Chaos Research certainly covers a lot of ground. Peaceful shimmering tones develop an
oriental / classical feel then we move on to a melodic sequencer line. Overall the track is
gently rhythmic with many a twist and turn. Modulator ESP donate 'Gynomatik', a slowly
bubbling sequencer based number mixed with metallic tones. The first of the bigger names,
Skin Mechanix, are represented by a live version of 'Dimension Jump'. The sequences and
Arc-ish rhythm burst into life along with a bass beat. As with the studio version the foot is
full down on the accelerator and its impossible to keep the body still but the live setting
gives it more of a fun feel. The leads, if anything, have greater bite here than on the original.
Another of the more known names is The Glimmer Room who give us the previously
unreleased 'One Room Flat'. After a spoken intro we get a series of stunningly beautiful
melodies accompanied by sedate put perfectly placed rhythms. It is a track that would
have been very much at home as part of his classic 'Grey Mirrors'. Simply wonderful.
Ramp's fantastic 'Ozone' is from their latest album 'Oughtibridge'. It has a tremendously
powerful feel but with an evil twist. There is a growl to the pulsations and depth that will
shake the floor. Another sequence joins the first, as do fascinating little melodies that
at one moment seem quite bright but then morph to a more ominous refrain. Sonic growls
add to proceedings almost sounding like distorted laser fire, as if heard from a great
distance. Another sequence is hurled into the pot fizzing with pent up energy taking
things to almost apocalyptic proportions then there is a steady stripping back as a tinkling
sequence, like a warning beacon, becomes the main feature. 'A Call to Arms' by Cult of
Ashand is a slow relaxed track, subtly melodic but also with an excellent atmosphere.
At around the half way mark a guitar enters to give extra bite and we get a rhythmic
flourish to finish.
'Lost Dreams' by Create is a rather sedate track beginning with melodic echoing tones.
Mellotron takes over then a shuffling rhythm. A jaunty tinkling sequence is next up, mingling
nicely with more tron. The Omega Syndicate are always entertaining and they donate yet
another new track 'Out of Hibernation'. A superb sequence slowly emerges through
reverberating sonic growls- and what a superb one it is too, the best on this two CD set.
Some lovely little melodic motifs add another lovely element until the lead line proper raises
its head- and very effective it is too. More sequences are added as the music continues its
spellbinding, hypnotic build. 'Good Wolf' by Awen starts off superbly with infectious rhythms
and anthemic melodies. A bit like T Bass (UK), but then I thought it fell apart a little around
the half way mark which is a real shame as it showed great promise. Gert Emmens'
'Rendezvous with 2004 MN 4' rounds off the first disc. In the third minute a pleasant melodic
sequence emerges through brooding atmospherics. Another sequence and rhythm are added
and we are soon moving along at a nice steady pace with dreamy lead lines floating over the
top, ideal driving music for a summer day.
Disc two gets off to a fantastic start with 'Space Junk' by Rogue Element. A slow sequence
provides a little structure around which spooky effects come and go. The sequence departs
and mellotron choir becomes the main feature taking us to a classic TD, mid 70s sounding,
atmospheric section. A bit too close for comfort maybe but so wonderfully done. With five
minutes to go metallic clangs herald another sequence. This one has much more substance
than the first, rumbling along nicely and combining excellently with a splashing one as it slowly
moves into formation. 'Spring' by Nick Robinson was pleasant enough but not really my thing
so probably best left to another reviewer. Starseed Transmission give us 'Live in Melbourne
(part 2)', a curious mix of sequencer line and more contemporary clicking stabs- the sort of
thing I would expect from Surface 10. Rene van der Wouden's 'Blue Traveller' is a laid back
relaxing meditative number until the fifth minute when a high register sequence then rhythm
comes in- not bad but just a tad too plodding maybe. 'Icethrone' by 'Hyper Ex Machina' is a
very pleasant crystalline tinkling atmospherics track ideal for chilling out to (no pun intended-
honest!). Astrogator come up with the longest track on this double album with the 16 minute
'Standing Waves'. It begins with windy sounds accompanied by electronic twitters and effects.
In other words a fairly standard intro but effective and very pleasing nevertheless. A slow pulse
can be heard low in the mix. Some nice relaxing string sounds are added then in the fourth
minute a sequence starts to form but it isn't for another four minutes that it develops into
something of any substance and it is around the same time that a second sequence is brought
in and it is here that things start to become a little more interesting. It's OK I suppose but didn't
really grab me as much as their debut album. The last proper track is 'Alien Landscapes Part 1'
by Glen Alexander and a very enjoyable piece of music it too with some excellent foot tapping
rhythms, first class melodies and blistering solos. It's sort of like a cross between Synergy,
The Nightcrawlers, Stephan Whitlan and 80s Ian Boddy! One of the best tracks on the album.
2006 Volume 2
This is a double album set containing (as far as I can work out) all previously unreleased material (except for
probably the Entity track). We start with two of the best pieces of music. First up is 'Omnicron' from The Omega
Syndicate's Xan Alexander. Lovely bright tones hang in the air gorgeously fading into the distance, as if reaching
out. They are answered by an echoing sequence which just gets better and better as it develops. A fantastic slow
melody rises from it like a gentle mist from a waterfall. The pace starts to quicken with the introduction of another
superb sequence and rhythm. The lead line gains extra bite as we go. This is wonderfully composed stuff- no
meandering waffle. I am very much reminded of a cross between Chris Franke's 'London Concert' and 'Pacific
Coast Highway' albums. Yes - it's that good!
Brendan Pollard from Rogue Element gives us 'Modac'. We start with windy 'War of The World' ('The Weed' I
think) sounds. A bright sequence emerges from the excellent atmospherics accompanied by mellotron, in classic
Berlin School fashion. This really is a stonking piece which gets even better with the introduction of a high hat line
and subtle little melodies. We keep in sequencer driven mode for René van der Wouden's 'Mountain Steamer'. The
sequence itself is decent enough but we have to wait until just a couple of minutes from the end before it is given
any real support, this time in the form of bouncing rhythm and lead lines. Excellent they are too, I just wish we
they had been introduced earlier. Create contributes 'Saturn Dreaming of Mercury (part 1)'. We get a beautiful
mellotron start and it is no surprise when a high register sequence enters in the second minute. Another sequence
joins the first and they both seem to increase in pace as if racing each other through the ether, the tron still doing
its own wonderful thing. Lead lines join in the fun. In the sixth minute the sequences seem to stutter as if decaying
only to regroup and surge forward again accompanied by more lead lines. Broekhuis, Keller & Schonwalder are
represented by a unique twenty-minute track called 'Another Mysterious Concert Tape - Part 1'. To me these guys
are some of my favourite Electronic Musicians on the planet. Soft pads are punctuated by ticking percussion.
Flutey synth adds to the serene atmosphere. Gradually we are brought to wakefulness as a slow delicate sequence
rises to the surface. By the ninth minute a drum line in introduced and the sequence starts to increase in pace as
the excitement builds. A wonderful delicate piano melody adds a contrasting softness to proceedings, its
juxtapositions with the ever more energetic pulsations being devastating. B,K & S must have been on more
Various Artist albums than any other EM musician but I would reckon that this track is better than any of the
other tracks they have donated. Absolutely stunning.
Entity gives us 'Space and Time'. A rapid sequence / loop does its energetic thing, starting to morph this way and
that in the third minute but remains fairly aggressive throughout. We finish the first disc with 'The Oligarch' by Vietgrove.
If you like your EM with a heavy dose of prog then you will no doubt be well aware of the band already. Real sounding
drums (though I am sure they are not) mix with a lovely lead line then blistering guitar. All a bit like instrumental early
Yes maybe but mainly it reminded me of Sheffield band Haze. Whatever, if fairly heavy prog is your thing I am sure
you will love it. I know I did (took me back to being 17 again!).
The second disc kicks off with 'Clone' be Awen. There were some humorous vocal samples at the beginning telling me
that I would now probably find it harder to become pregnant! We then get a cacophony of noises then an explosion out
of which surges powerful dance rhythms. It certainly covers a lot of ground in its five minutes duration. Probably the most
in ye face and non compromising track on the whole double album. I have always had a soft spot for Mooch but they have
never been a big seller for SMD because they plough a somewhat different path to that followed by our core customers.
'Flow- Thing (Flute Thing mix)' is initially rather abstract and full of various percussive elements A four note loop becomes
the main focus before things take a more Eastern tinged, well out there, psychedelic turn. Sounded all rather Gong like to
me. Modulator ESP has been refining his craft for some time now and is getting better all the time (he is also one half of
Astrogator- along with Create). 'Time Running Out' begins with some rather melancholy drift. Indeed it keeps a rather moody,
even menacing feel throughout. A sequence can be heard very low in the mix. A bass one comes to join it but both are
rather restrained, biding their time. Rhythms then tron are added to the slow build up. It is certainly an impressive track
but needed more than its nine-minute duration to really blossom. Nattefrost is represented by 'Near UFO'. He goes for the
big epic massed strings type heavy drones over which meanders a brass melody. A sequence is unleashed as laser fire
sonic blasts flash above. Both stylistically and sound wise it reminded me very much of Synergy or even the first album
by Tontos Expanding Head Band. Then in the fourth minute it is all change as we descend to an abstract organic gloop.
From that we move to twittery computer communication type effects - then back to a sequence! Wow, what a trip! The
string pads return to join the pulsations - then back to abstract realms. No chance of getting board here. Yet another
sequence is brought into play accompanied by echoing high register embellishments. The sequence seems to gain
extra oomph all the time only calming down again just before the finish.
Altres is up next with 'Black Point'. They create quite a complex collage of often seemingly structureless sounds and
effects. Nearer the end things become more conventional with gentle plucked strings. The Glimmer Room is a real class
act as is demonstrated by 'Fields Full of Poppies'. From a gently syncopated beginning the most beautiful and heart
rending melody emerges. This is a stunning composition that is as ample a proof as any that Electronic Music can be
anything but cold and unemotional. Terje Winther finishes this collection with his twenty-one minute 'Green Light
Intervention'. It starts with the most wonderful deep reverberating throb. Twittering effects surge then break. Sonic
whooshes explode almost like a warning siren. It is certainly an uncompromising beginning! Buried very deep in all this
is a sequence. You really have to strain your ears to hear it at first, but slowly. Oh so slowly, it emerges though never
rises to the top of the mix. A lead line is brought into play but to me it spoilt the brooding mood somewhat. In the fifth
minute it is all change as some sonic stabs herald a full on rumbling sequence. By the tenth minute another sequence
has been added and we are belting along in fine fashion. The lead lines are again slightly oddball but if you liked Tim
Blake's 'Crystal Machine' you might quite like them. In the fifteenth minute we return to spooky atmospherics only for
normal sequencer driven business to return soon after and blast us forward right to the end. There is quite a variety of
music to be found on this 2 CD set, some real gems included.
2006 Volume 2.5
There was so much material submitted for volume 2 of this series that they couldn't fit it all on the planned
two CD set. They therefore decided to take all the more 'ambient' tracks to one side and place them on an
album of their own. What's more they are all cross-faded together to make one continuous 77-minute piece!
The results are reviewing here.
'The Rapture' by HyperEx Machina mixes mournful dronal backing with equally melancholy piano detail.
The combination of sounds chosen are excellent and it serves as an impressive opening section. We float
into 'Astral Drift' by Astrogator and the mood lightens slightly. It is like looking out from a cliff top with the
wind blowing in your hair- the aftermath of some storm perhaps.
The looped plucked strings of Nick Robinson are next. 'Fur Herr Forcher' certainly sounded experimental
and rather intriguing but for me not an easy listen. 'Out There 2' by Mooch is full of manipulated cosmic
sounds that really get you appropriately 'well out there man'. In the last few minutes there is even a hint
of subtle melody. It is as if familiar sights are being seen again after a long time away from home. Very
impressive indeed. Russell Storey gives us 'Xpanded Heartbeat' and as expected hangs around a pulse.
It seems to be racing though as if after some great exertion. Ramp are probably the 'biggest' name on
this album and I was expecting (given their current output) something very dark indeed but instead we
get 'Scissors', quite a syncopated number but tremendously subtle with a gorgeous little melodic motif
hanging in the middle a mix also containing restrained contemporary rhythms. It is a superb track that
wouldn't have been out of place on Ian Boddy's DiN label.
Zen Paradox's 'Calvin Analysis' is another track that is far from just giving us drift. A rapidly changing high
register (but also quite quiet) sequence morphs madly all over the place and is soon joined by another
pulsating line. They swirl around each other, coming and going, creating quite a mesmerizing brew. In the
fourth minute a rhythm joins them increasing the complexity of proceedings still further. Personally this is
not what I think of as 'ambient' music at all but a fascinating track nevertheless. 'Darkness is Falling' by
4m33s is much more what I would expect. Mournful, windy drones hang in the air like spectres from the
abyss. Clusters of notes come from time to time hinting that there is also something else out there.
A slow pulse starts up and the feel is now a little lighter and more optimistic. It is all change again
a couple of minutes later as the spectres return.
'Passion' by Phrozenlight is one seriously spooky five minutes of vast echoing and rumbling dark sonic
emissions. We finish with 'Our Eyes Fixed Forwards We March Towards the Impending Doom' by
Chaos Research. Vast metallic / crystalline tones shimmer like rays of light refracting through sheets
of ice. These mix first with deeper drones then vast rumbles as if the very earth itself is convulsing.
A curious quirky rhythm strikes up combining a deep bass drum and what sounded like vibes so
containing elements of both light and dark.
This is an album which contains much more than just 'Deep Ambient Drift'. Sure it isn't as energetic
as Volume 2 but still had enough going on to hold my attention and those more abstract moments were
very well done as well. The cross fading between the tracks and running order were also superbly handled.
2007 Volume 1
Brendan Pollard donates his awesome twenty-minute 'E-Live 2006 Rehearsal' to get this double CD set
underway. The initial sounds are as if vast objects are being hurled into the sea accompanied by all sorts
of weird whooshes and twitters. A superb combination of sequences emerge from the aquatic depths.
These meld rapid melodic runs as well as bass pulses. It is all underpinned by some wonderful mellotron.
In other words Berlin School Heaven. More sequences are added accompanied by a flutey lead line. In the
seventh minute things subside to more thick analogue sonic effects, coming out of it with a decidedly
'Ricochet' sounding collage of sounds. Very impressive indeed. More sequences emerge including a
sedate but wonderful three note one then an amazing one hundred mile an hour scorcher before things
quieten down again and we get an exquisite moody finish.
More flutey synth, mellotron and twittering effects once again transport us to a blissed out mid 70s
electronic Utopia as 'Ricochet Gathering - Gaiole Part 1' gets underway, featuring, amongst others,
Paul Lawler, Paul Nagle and Steve Schroyder. It's another superb track that bounds forward with an
infectious bouncy bass sequence then as the melodies come in it starts to take a rather Arcane twist
on the early eighties Tangerine Dream sound. Very gradually the pace quickens and the excitement
builds. Odyssey donate 'The Space Inside'. I hadn't heard of this act before but he can sure knock out
moody atmospheric stuff. It is a very welcome return for Corporation (it must be a decade since I last
heard anything from them!). And what a fantastic track they have given us with 'Aliens in your Midst
(First Contact mix)'. After some very dark atmospherics we get sampled text then in comes a wonderful
infectious beat and sublime little melody. It's a real body mover that hits the spot perfectly. If you like
Intelligentsia, T Bass UK, Asana or Synthetik you should most certainly go for this.
Chaos Research give us the slow moody chugger 'Metropolis 2006'. It's a bit of a strange one mixing
contemporary beats with classical leanings. Very clever. Create come up with 'Choralis System', one
of his more atmospheric tracks which for me worked best before the slow sequence came in at about
the half way mark but interesting throughout. Awen's 'Pink Oceans of Goom' begins with a vast wall
of electronic twitters. A sequence fizzes and shimmers through the backing. It's all rather mesmerizing
'Dreams of the Old World' by Chromengel is initially all rather cosmic but then a steady rhythm starts up.
Acoustic guitar colouring provides contrast and fits in nicely with a tinkling sequence. There is nothing
wrong with the track though I couldn't help feeling that it was more a sketch of ideas that could have
been worked on a little more. I'm sure others will think differently though.
The second disc opens with 'Storm Forge' from Xan Alexander (member of the Omega Syndicate).
All very brooding and malevolent it is too. A rapid high register sequence contrasts the backing nicely.
The foot is firmly put down in the second minute as an insistent rhythm drives us forward. Things reach
euphoric proportions as an anthemic lead line soars above it all. It's one of those tracks which just begs
to be played live - devastating stuff!
Stephen Palmer changes the style completely as we delve Space Rock realms with 'Giza Rock'. Eastern
sounding percussion is underpinned by a dark drone out of which emerges an intense urgent sequence.
It morphs this way and that as a vibes type lead mixes with the drums creating quite a groove. Things
become even more exciting as some fairly heavy electric guitar rips over the top. At around the five minute
mark the sequence starts to spit venom but this is softened a little by another gentle percussive lead.
A similar style is maintained in 'Three Moving Parts' by Eppie Hulshof which is quite surprising as this
is nothing like his most recent Berlin School album 'Besucher aus dem Kosmos'. A jaunty rhythm mixes
with all manner of cosmic whooshes and an excellent bass line. A tinkling sequence takes over the
rhythm then we slowly subside into more stellar effects and quiet relaxing drift (the second 'Moving Part'
I presume). A new sequence emerges as we enter the rather tasty final part. Modulator ESP gives us
'Zeta Major' and quite an eerie place it seems. Gradually some sort of structure materialises, solidified by
a lonesome meandering lead line. Sequences start to emerge but overall its all rather trippy and laid back.
'Live at Guerilla Zoo 10 Feb 2007' by Entity is straight into a lovely chugging sequence that reminded me
a little of 'The Nightcrawlers'. A piano(ish) lead is placed over the top but I didn't think it was as effective as
the sequence. It seems that no compilation album is complete without a Broekhuis, Keller & Schonwalder
track and on this one we have 'Zeitreise Ambient Mix'. I thought because of the title that it might be a
complete drifter but no, there is a nice steady rhythm and bass line. The rhythm develops- sure it is laid
back but not what I would call ambient. Little vocal colouring is added. A lovely piano line adds that touch
of class. We finish with a track from Free System Project's National Space Centre concert of last year
(10th June 2006) called 'Leicester Square'. It shows the band in dark brooding mood. As you would expect
the sequences are masterful, nicely bass heavy but with a sort of arcing energy quality to them.
Absolutely brilliant and a stunning way to finish the album.
2007 Volume 1.5
'Rhodes to Nowhere' by Xan Alexander is full of metallic shimmers and solar flare type whooshes.
A lovely delicate melodic sequence emerges like a soft rain on the water. A simply exquisite, beautiful
lead line drifts from the speakers shifting as in a gentle breeze. What is more, further melodies keep
coming each as sublime as the last. The is one of the most wonderful tracks I have ever heard from
Xan, probably even better than his opener to the second disc on Vol 1 but very very different. Tracks
like this and the other I have mentioned would provide the perfect balance on a future solo album.
Following the similar concept to its earlier sister album (Awakenings 2006 Vol 2.5) we flow straight
from one track into the next without a break.
Zeitlos was a new name to me but his 'Black Hole Descent' is the most wonderful collage of sounds
and effects. Modulator ESP, having already given us 'Zeta Major' on Volume 1 now showcases its
companion track 'Zeta Minor' and actually it's not too dissimilar to the previous number by Zeitlos,
music to submerge yourself in and let your thoughts take you where they will. Peter Challoner donates
'Interpolation'. Yes, initially it's another floater but this time it's not as aggressive as its two predecessors.
The sounds are much softer, ethereal even. In the second minute a laidback rhythm starts up and then
a sequence is added but it is all rather tranquil.
'Ricochet Gathering - Gaiole Part 2' features Paul Lawler, Paul Nagle, Steve Schroyder, Spyra and
others. Piano and a nice squelchy lead line meander creating quite a lazy summer afternoon feeling.
Electric guitar is added but the gentle licks just emphasise the dreamy feel. The guitar fades away
and a sequence does emerge in the seventh minute which seemed to be working its way up to
something major but instead it subsides into watery effects. Russell Storey's 'Phoenix Lair' is back
to the spooky stuff. Long decays to dark brooding touches of sound add to the feeling of unease.
Things become more bass laden and rumbling as we progress until we get to a really nice crystalline
ending. 'Peripheral Blur' by Memory Geist (another new name to me) is initially more of the same,
using an excellent sound palette but there is a delicacy and precision here that makes it one of the
best truly ambient tracks on the album. Nick Robinson donates 'Awake'. A slow undulating throb
forms a base around which drones are added. Detail is provided by various and contrasting effects
including lovely female Asian type chanting. Another good one. We finish with 'Left Behind the
Borders of Space & Time' by Phrozenlight. It's a track which is predominantly made up of solar
winds, with just the faintest touches of other sounds. Rather fitting to the subject matter I suppose.
2007 Volume 2
Brendan Pollard kicks this latest volume off with 'The Neon Chamber'. With Brendan sequences are never
far away and a lovely skipping bass one propels the track forwards within the first few seconds. The most
gorgeous of tron melodies floats over the top providing a little softness. We then get a pastiche of one mid
seventies Tangerine Dream sound after another but also with some of his own inventiveness.
The enjoyment from the opener continues through to Pete Tedstone's 'Oscillator'. Ethereal wordless vocal
pads drift through the air. A subdued organ type sound adds to the gentle mood then a slow loping rhythm
sets up some structure around which a sequence starts to develop. A second sequence is deployed and
we are soon hurtling along. The initial sequence comes and goes within the ebb and flow of the track until
after the half way mark, when everything is thrown in. With such an opening brace of tracks it is hard to
believe that the quality can be maintained but it most certainly is with Xan Alexander's (from the Omega
Syndicate) curiously titled 'Dr Louis Brain Freeze and the Comet's Tale'. Xan has a real feel for melody
as is displayed by the initial stabbing lead line and sequence combination. Infectious beats and yet more
wonderful lead lines come one after another reminding me (not for the first time with his work) of Wavestar.
Maybe the track should have been edited down a little but nevertheless it is still excellent.
'Voyager' by Ion continues the sequencing excellence over some really nice backing, a melancholy lead line
providing a bittersweet moodiness. Eppie E Hulshof is currently making quite a name for himself after his
re-appearance on the Electronic Music scene and his sixteen-minute contribution to this project 'Seq Maniak'
can only heighten his profile. A slow hypnotic four-note loop provides a base over which a lonesome lead line
ploughs a moody furrow. A sequence replaces it just before the third minute giving a more aggressive edge
to proceedings. The track is stripped down to silence in the sixth minute only for a rapid two-note sequence
to pick up the baton along with some quite curious harpsichord flourishes. This section is quite brief however
as a deep bass pulse soon becomes the main focus. Another sequence emerges, this time accompanied
by a really nice lead full of attitude. The pace quickens increasing the excitement almost until the end.
Phrozenlight's 'Sea On A Liquid Sun' is very different to anything I have heard from them before as instead
of their usual slowly evolving ambient soundscapes, it features a sedate and fairly melodic ten note (I think!)
sequence over as fine an atmospheric backing as I have ever heard from them. The sequence slowly morphs
as we go, sometimes disappearing altogether. This is subtle and enjoyably crafted stuff and my favourite track
by Phrozenlight so far (though it probably could have been edited down slightly). Chromengel round off the first
half of this two album set with 'Jovian Airbrake Manoeuvre'. Most of the tracks on this disc are sequencer and
mellotron dominated and Chromengel continue that legacy with just as much enthusiasm. Quite a driving
rhythm joins the pulsations as well as sonic blasts like a spaceship hurtling across the horizon. Things
become even more intense as another sequence skips amongst the mayhem. There is also some fairly
upfront lead lines that give the whole thing a faintly prog rock feel.
Eppie Hulshof returns alongside Frederic Wurtz (together known as Von Haulshoven and AEM) to start the
second disc with 'Travelling Back to Point Zero'. This is really cosmic stuff full of sighing drones punctuated
by crashes and whooshes. It isn't destined to an ambient number however as in the second minute a rapid,
though rather simplistic, sequence surges forward. We return to the cosmos just before the six-minute mark.
Two moody but rather tasty sequences (accompanied by mellotron of course) emerge from the tranquil backing
only for us to return to atmospheric realms once more. It is as if the track is separated into distinct sub tracks,
each framed by ambience. The third sequencer passage is the most melodic but also quite driving. Ideal for
travelling down the motorway. There is a short interlude in the middle before sequences return again but to me
it seemed more of a variation of the same theme rather than a completely new section. The final section is just
beautiful, as gorgeous pulsations mix with moody lead line and more tron. Really lovely stuff. The second offering
by Ion, 'Evensong' continues with more sublime melodic sequencing then ups the pace nicely giving it added oomph.
If you haven't checked out the album from which it is taken yet ('Future Forever') I recommend that you do. 'Create'
contribute 'Rohan's Journey to Belvedere'. We get a fairly standard formula start of rapid tinkling sequence emerging
out of atmospherics. By the fifth minute it has departed and we enter a gently pulsating meandering section. By the
tenth minute things have returned to pure atmospherics out of which emerges the returning initial sequence joined
by a nice bass line. I really thought it was about to take off, and yes things became more energetic but it still never
quite reached the heights I had been hoping for. Rene van der Wouden donates 'Soledad'. This is very different to
anything I had heard from him before as previously I had thought Rene was much better at atmospheric numbers
to rhythmic ones but here he really cranks up the sequences and drums and it's superb. A real blast done very
well indeed! 'Indian Persuasion' by Mooch doesn't initially start off as Eastern sounding as I was expecting though
it is certainly all shimmering and dreamy. When the drums arrive I suppose they did have a faintly ethnic quality
but that wouldn't have been the first thing that had come to mind if the track had been titled differently.
A very pleasant track nonetheless. Magnetron combine Steve Humphries (aka Create) and Xan Alexander.
'The Road Without Cats Eyes' is the first collaboration I have heard by them. I couldn't really detect much of what
I associate with Xan's work as it came over much more like a very good Create track to me with lightly skipping
sequence and gentle synth washes but whatever, I found it very enjoyable. Modulator ESP comes next with
'Grinder' And a very impressive start it has too with a superb heavy sequence along with quite aggressive sonic
whooshes and power plant type effects. A further rapid sequence carries things forward as the track continues
on its blistering journey.
In my opinion this album contains some of the best music in the series so far. With a running time of over two
and a half hours and yet priced as a single album (at the time of writing this) it has to be a bargain
2007 Volume 2.5
Alpha Wave Movement's 'Subtle Circuitry' is a very fine opener combining lovely contemporary sounding
ticking rhythm over a superb understated melodic lead shimmer. Another pulsating lead line comes to join
the first and even though much of this track comes over as rather understated it is also deceptively complex
and absorbing, drawing you in. It's the sort of track you can play time and time again without ever getting
bored and is thus a wonderful way to get started. The end of this track is cross-faded into Architexture's
'Shores of Orion'. A very nice acoustic guitar type lead shines over some drifting whooshing backing.
A repeated melodic motif creates a rather hypnotic focus as the track just continues on, providing a
sedate soothing atmos.
The pace quickens a little for 'Picoseconds' by 4m33s. A rapid staccato sequence (a nice melodic one at
that) bounds forward from the very first second. Other note droplets fall then echo like a gentle rain falling
on a puddle. The sequence fades away leaving the droplets but soon other echoing sounds, almost like a
train as if heard from far away, become the main feature. The initial sequence re-emerges as the track runs
its duration. Phrozenlight's 'Starkraut' is well named as it is all rather 'stark' and dark, being a montage of
windy and eerie sounds. Very much a piece of music in the truest ambient tradition as is Russell Storey's
'Carinae'. Quite a storm of electronic rumbles and whooshes is served up. A pulse, almost like a warning
beacon, rings out then disappears. Things start to become calmer but still with an uneasy edge to proceedings.
Rene van der Wouden's 'North Sea Ambient' on the other hand is a much warmer and lusher affair.
HyperEx Machina's 'Dead (JS mix)' is a track which will divide EM fans as it is basically a monologue about
the inequalities of the planet set over melancholy synth backing (good guitar solo too). Must admit that the
text really ain't bad at all but some people will just reject any vocals in their music out of hand, which in this
case would be a real shame
2008 Volume 1
These Awakenings compilations are always interesting, featuring a selection of previously unreleased
tracks from both well-known names amongst the Electronic Music scene and those who might not be
quite there yet but on the basis of some of their offerings often should be !
The opener ‘Synbiosis’ by Alpha Wave Movement is incredibly Vangelis like both in symphonic backing
and sequence departments. Create’s ‘Iridium’ might start off in similar fashion but introduces a more
One of the less well known names, to me anyway, was Chromengel (though there is some nagging
recognition in the back of my mind) who donates a track initially formed around tinkling metallic
percussion. This part of proceedings I thought worked quite well as did the various other atmospheric
and gently rhythmic sections of the piece. The sequence was also good and there is plenty of
movement throughout. The only thing that spoilt it for me was the piano lead in the middle section
which I didn’t think worked. Overall though, it showed great promise.
Phrozenlight has really started making something of a name for himself lately in that he can turn
his hands with equal skill to the most intense long ambient pieces as well as sequencer based
numbers. This track ‘Perpetuum Mobile Part 1’ follows the middle path between these two styles
and is another very worthy listen. Magnetron certainly don’t let themselves down with the slowly
evolving sequence and gently rhythmic number ‘Ignorance is Bliss’. Another one to watch out
for in future.
Peter Tedstone has been around on the scene for yonks but over the last couple of years he has
made a real resurgence and ‘Marriji’ shows why. His use of gorgeous mellotron and lovely delicate
sequences (though he can really let rip when he wants as well) is irresistible. The moody lonesome
lead line is simply exquisite as well. What an awesome track - my favourite on the album.
While the Omega Syndicate seem to be taking a break Xan Alexander has been concentrating
on his solo work and he has been coming up with some fantastic stuff as demonstrated by
‘Andromeda (i) Mutation’. It’s a track that is brooding, slow sequences and mean bass lines
mixing with moody tron to create a track that is simply dripping with attitude and spitting venom,
I’ve never heard of AEM before but they come up with a stonking track right out of the ‘Rubycon’
tradition. More please!
Modulator ESP give us ‘Broken Orbits’- a track of two distinct parts. The first is all rather cosmic,
alternating between sinister and chilling areas of space, where death could be waiting to claim
you any second, to ethereal wonders. For the second half however the sequencer is powered
up and little tinkling pulsations start to form very appealing patterns. One of the best tracks I
have heard by this artist.
Not sure who Zeitos are but ‘The Rift’ is also one subdivided between atmospherics and more
upbeat sections. The former is dark with an added ethnic element to the sound. In the second
half a rhythm and sequence provide the basic structure, a guitar being added to excellent effect.
Certainly another worthy inclusion.
Almost Twenty Minutes of the album is taken up with Parts 1 and 2 of ‘Trilogy’ by Russell Storey
and Rudy Adrian who’s styles seem to compliment each other well in producing hypnotic spaced
out atmospheres combined with gently pulsating sequences.
Of all the albums in the series so far this is the most consistent throughout, the lesser-known
names not being over shadowed by the established acts. Great stuff.
2008 Volume 1.5
Over the last three years the 1.5 and 2.5 volumes have been vehicles for the more ‘ambient’
contributions to the series. The first track however has a bit too much syncopation (though
still laid back) to be strictly thought of as ambient in the traditional sense but I am very
grateful for its inclusion all the same!
The Glimmer Room (aka Andy C) is a rare breed in that he can compose very catchy
upbeat numbers (as on his ‘Tomorrows Tuesday’ album) but also heart felt slower laid
back pieces (as on sections of ‘Grey Mirrors’). ‘E32’ is a really beautiful example of the
latter, creating the most gorgeous sounds then weaving them around tinkling sequences
and subtle percussion.
The next few tracks however are most certainly in the ambient tradition. Peter Tedstone
shows his prowess in this style (as apposed to his recent Berlin School successes) with
the decidedly spooky ‘Plasma’. The subtlest of sonic shimmers and metallic drones are
given loads of uncluttered space to create the most vivid of images in the mind - spectres
floating through graveyards, that sort of thing. Brilliantly done.
Phrozenlight follows straight on in a very similar mood, with the occasional slightly lighter
sounding interlude. There was something rather spiritual and even ‘Gothic’ sounding about
it but now rather than being out in the open to me it seemed that we had entered some
vast cathedral at night.
Seren Ffordd gives his own ghostly contribution but this time the sounds are more
airborne, like a gentle but still potentially powerful Arctic wind. The baton is passed
to 4m33s whose fizzing hissing soundscapes continue our eerie adventure which now,
if anything, becomes even darker as we progress.
Tracks two to five amount to a superb spaced out journey that I could well believe had
come from a single artist, instead of four. They fit that well together.
The final part of Russell Storey and Rudy Adrian’s ‘Trilogy’ (the first two parts being
on 2008 Volume 1) finish off this album and see a return to laid back sequencing which
provides a pleasant and gentle conclusion
2008 Volume 2
The latest Awakenings offering of mainly Berlin School inspired tracks
kicks off with 'Winter Sky' by sequencer meister Ruud Heij. Crystalline
pulsations mix with a subtle bass line over gentle synth colouring.
Next up is the first of two tracks by Ion. 'The Missing Link' has a rather
80s synth pop feel as it bounds forward energetically full of joy in a way
that is bound to lift the mood and put a smile on the face.
'Brendon Pollard's 'The Redwood Trail' begins all spookily with lots of
ace cosmic twitters and whooshing sounds. When the sequence arrives
it is quite a contrast, bouncing along in a melodic and even slightly playful
way. Lovely little understated shimmering melodies appear along with
lush mellotron. More sequences emerge during the last few minutes,
keeping the interest going until the end. Really lovely stuff.
AEM provides 2 tracks 'Hinterseite Symetrie Part 1' has a very effective
atmospheric opening section before a rapid sequence materialises.
Initially it is kept quite low in the mix but it keeps trying to surge as if
testing its restraints. Eventually it does become the main focus, morphing
as it goes though still retreating from time to time, sometimes completely
disappearing. Its final return during the last few minutes is the most
impressive section of the track. 'Part 2' starts with lovely soothing drones
before more rapid note patterns storm forward. As with the first part
however these ebb and flow in and out of the atmospherics to try and
give a sense of movement and change. In some ways these interludes
have an even greater impact than the faster sections.
Peter Tedstone gives us a 22 min version of his track 'Vortex'. We begin
with tranquil running water; moody dark bass string sounds giving an
uneasy edge. Eventually we bed down to tron refrains and a slow pulse.
The pace quickens and a high register sequence lets rip. A little melody
keeps coming and going, as does the sequence over a frequently changing
backing. More forceful leads enter in the second half.
Entity's 'Berlin' continues in sequencer mode, introducing them almost
immediately. At first they are quite restrained but as the track progresses
they slowly but surely gain added power, and even a snarl.
Chromengel starts the second disc with birdsong. Beautiful soft pads add
to the tranquillity. A deep slow bass line slowly develops giving a little oomph
with a contrasting delicate lead over the top. A storm can be heard brewing
in the distance but it stays there, melody and bass line combining together
exquisitely. This is a wonderful composition and one of my favourite on this
double album so far.
Modulator ESP's 'Slowburn' introduces itself with a collage of excellent sonic
whooshes. A slow sequence emerges in the fourth minute. A second then a
third fall into formation, combining together excellently. The track builds well,
lovely melodic sequences combining instinctively with moody backing.
Another highlight of the album.
An echoing piano melody and mellotron herald the excellent 'Invisible Boundaries'
by The Omega Syndicate. The sequence is pretty damned good too, picking up
the pace until it is joined by a classic organ line then further sequence. In the
eighth minute the band really crank things up with heavy rhythm and lead solos.
This is one of the band's best tracks and my favourite here, even over the other
tracks already singled out.
'Annoying the Neighbours' is the second by Ion. I was expecting it to be a loud
number on the Heavy Metal side of EM but in reality it is exactly the opposite,
quite a melancholy and reflective piece, and all the better for it. HyperEx Machina
round things off with 'Compost Mentis'. Soaring guitar flies above steady moody
rhythm, dominating all else and really letting rip, providing quite an in yer face
2008 Volume 2.5
As with previous naming conventions Vol 2.5 provides a more laid back
and ambient companion to Vol 2, the tracks cross-faded into one another.
The subtlest of sequences gets Adrian Beasley's (from AirSculpture)
'Memories of a Fallen Tree Part 1' underway. Strange animal noises
cry out and echo into the distance. This really is a delicate and extremely
beautiful piece. 'Part 2' is even more melodic with gentle note droplets
hovering in the air over a slow peaceful dreamy melody.
Seren Ffordd's 'Sunrise on Ice Crystals' Initially (before dawn I presume)
plunged me down to the dark spooky depths. In the third minute, however,
brighter tones start to penetrate the gloom. Still pretty eerie stuff though.
Phrozenlight's 'Whispering Trees' follows on in a similar mood, all rather
organic. This changes as a transformer type drone makes the whole thing
feel more like being part of some gently humming machine which then
seems to gradually implode on itself then float off on a cosmic wind to the
deepest regions of space.
This was the first time I had heard of Edge Effect and 'Sunset in the Dark
Forest' is not a bad piece of music, bringing up images of the title well,
though what came first music or title I wouldn't really want to hazard a guess.
Russell Storey is represented by 'Telescopium'. A wall of warbling pulsing
atmospherics is punctuated by what could be hissing jets of steam. As with
Phrozenlight's track machines come to mind but this is a much more aggressive
thunderous device than the gently humming variety on the former track.
Eppie E Hulshof's 'Real Time Tunneling' is a piece full of lush analogue sounds
having a gorgeous rather melancholy cinematic feel. In the fifth minute an acoustic
guitar lead makes a brief appearance before disappearing in a sea of swelling pads.
We finish with a lovely, almost spiritual, melodic end section. A lot is packed into
one track. A highlight of the album.
2010 Volume 1
So we enter the sixth year of the Awakenings series and as usual we get a mix of tracks by relatively new acts as well as those
by more established artists. As far as I can tell all the music here is unique to this album. Swirling sounds and wind blown percussion
get Pete Tedstone’s ‘Meta’ underway. A gorgeous flute melody weaves its mystical spell over a subtle shuffling rhythm. A more forceful
lead adds extra bight, almost like a call to arms. Mellotron imparts a little softness. A heavier sequence enters and the rhythm also
cranks up a gear. A flashing lead adds to the excitement still further- great air keyboard track! Blue Lily Commission is a new one to
me and even though there are many of the usual electronic music elements it also harks back to the Canterbury scene with a hint of
Space Rock. It has more in common with the likes of Mooch (see later) than the more traditional approach of the opening act.
Rene van der Wouden gives us ‘Les Reves Americains’. After a lovely dreamy start a sequence arrives, calving through the early
morning mist. A second line of pulsations falls into formation with the first creating quite a hypnotic brew. Xan Alexander from
The Omega Syndicate is in a laid back mood for ‘Through the Ruins’. Distorted birdsong mixes with flutey synth in a hazy sort of way.
This is ideal music for just chilling out to on a warm summer’s day. Next up we have the first of two tracks by AEM. This is an act that
first came to my notice through earlier Awakenings albums and has continued to develop ever since. ‘Landscapes: Holy Island’ sounds
like it might be a bit New Age like but no fear; it is nothing of the kind. Initially it is dark brooding stuff until we get a soft lush section
out of which slowly emerges a wonderful sequence. It stays just long enough to make an impact then we descend momentarily into
atmospherics which act as a bridging section for an even better sequence than the first. It morphs nicely from one pattern to the next.
Loads is crammed into just this one track so the attention is kept locked in throughout its duration. There always seems to be a sense
of humour around the music of Mooch and ‘Garryland’ is no exception. Little melodic bleeps ring out over a sea of acid drenched swirls.
We start disc two with the second track by AEM ‘Landscapes: Stac Poly’. It doesn’t take long to stoke up the Sequencer, as a couple
of lines bound forward in fine fashion. There is a similar pattern here to his earlier track. Just as soon as one sequence has run its course
another replaces it. This time there seems to be four distinct sections. David Hughes’ is joined by Hashtronaut (this guy seems to be
turning up all over the place at the moment- very welcome too!) on his Ion project for a fine live version of ‘Mariner’. Little blissful guitar
touches float over subtle percussion. A gorgeous melody hovers around it all like a gentle breeze. The guitar does snarl from time to time,
adding just the right amount of angst but never over dominating. Rhythmic flourishes increase the excitement. What a superb version of
an already excellent track. Paul Collins donates ‘Nebula Vision’. The fist couple of minutes are spent with some blissed out drift.
A sequence then comes in, bubbling along nicely. Peter Challoner’s ‘Carried on the Wind’ has a rather warm, comforting, heat haze feel
to it. A little melodic motif is looped to provide a feeling of movement. The prolific ‘Phrozenlight’ comes up with the sequence drenched
‘Ghosts Running Around’. All the pulsations weave round each other (there must be at least three separate lines) in a mesmerizing
shifting barrage of notes. At around the half way mark things momentarily settle down to two sequences, a bass one and a higher
register bouncy one, before returning to an ever changing state of flux as new note patterns come and go. Things become increasingly
moody as we get closer to the end. Now we get a solo track, ‘Luftgesang Klavierstuck 78 Mix’, from Mooch man Stephen Palmer.
Initially the main feature is a rapid looped piano melody though there is quite a complex backing of percussive effects. It’s all rather
exciting but also hectic and exhausting. It’s the musical equivalent of trying to cross a road in a busy city during rush hour!
Dave Gurr’s (also from The Omega Syndicate) ‘Visitation to Overton Hill’ is a huge surprise, as I haven’t really experienced this side
of his work before. This is no stonking sequencer epic but instead a superbly crafted sensitive and quite emotional masterpiece.
Initially it is full of very deep reverberating drones. Little tinkling sonic effects give things a rather cosmic feel. In the third minute the
most gorgeous sighing melody strikes up, augmented by a heart-rending lead line. More delicate leads come and go as if answering
each other. Beautiful and sublime, simple and profound. Impossible to do justice to in a review, it just has to be heard. The best track
on the album. Entity wind things up with the charmingly titled ‘Plod’. Two distorted ringing tones do indeed sound like a slow plodding
walk. There is an interesting combination of sonic textures here, I would imagine self-created. A moody guitar type lead hangs in the
air like a brooding presence. A much more interesting track than I expected from the title.
An excellent compilation
2010 Volume 1.5
For those who don’t know, the idea behind volumes1.5 and 2.5 of the Awakenings series was to concentrate on the subtler ambient
end of Electronic Music. Volumes 1 and 2 however dealt with the more dynamic end of the genre. All the tracks are cross-faded into
each other to form one long uninterrupted listening experience. Spiraleye was one of three acts on this album that were new to me.
‘River Rain’ is an excellent piece of Picture Music which sums up its title very well. It’s all rather soft and serene as overlaying tones
come and go, fading into the distance. Everything is punctuated by little guitar note droplets that are as soft and delicate as you could
hope for. Sampled rain does arrive but it is soothing rather than storm like. A high hat rhythm enters in the sixth minute and the guitar
takes a greater role but this is still fairly relaxed stuff. ‘Live Science (excerpt)’ by Analogue Kid features a soft rhythm and lovely gentle
tinkling sequence which slowly mutates from one delicate pattern to the next, increasing and decreasing in intensity. We get little piano
touches to finish.
‘The Ritual Live (excerpt)’ is by second new name to me, Ethereal Electric Elixir. It is a dreamy piece that mainly seems to be made up
of guitar textures, both as backing and lead flourish. The final name I hadn’t heard of before was Phobos. ‘Decaying Mind’ is rooted in
dark ambient territory. It’s all to do with mood and textures created by multi-layered drones swelling, subsiding and mutating as things
progress. This is not happy stuff; instead it is spooky and somewhat sinister, though it does lighten up a little for the second half.
Edge Effect’s ‘Cemepka’ sees the return to more obvious structure, as faintly melodic bubbling pulses are the main focus. ‘Human
Heritage Buried Deep Inside’ by Phrozenlight is full of solar winds, subtle percussion and a two-note pulse very low in the mix. It is as
if the bedside alarm is sounding but we are still so deep in sleep that we can hardly hear it. There is then the faint sound of what could
be traffic. The pulse disappears and the swirling windy effects become more storm-like. On the edge of it all, more notes can be heard.
There are just too many subtleties here to mention. It is a track which demands quite a lot but is well worth the effort. An excellent piece
of music. Russell Storey’s ‘Bastion Against The Mists of Time’ has a somewhat metallic and crystalline sound to the pads and thus
possesses a rather cold though not unpleasant feel. A nice way to finish the album