Awakenings 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
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
on his solo work and he has been coming up with some fantastic stuff as
‘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.
David Law / Synth
Music Direct / MusicZeit
Awakenings 2008 volume 1.5
last three years the 1.5 and 2.5 volumes have been vehicles for the more
contributions to the series. The first track however has a bit too much
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
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
and subtle percussion.
The next few tracks however are most certainly in the ambient tradition.
shows his prowess in this style (as apposed to his recent Berlin School
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
vast cathedral at night.
Seren Ffordd gives his own ghostly contribution but this time the sounds
airborne, like a gentle but still potentially powerful Arctic wind. The
baton is passed
to 4m33s whose fizzing hissing soundscapes continue our eerie adventure
if anything, becomes even darker as we progress.
Tracks two to five amount to a superb spaced out journey that I could well
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
provides a pleasant and gentle conclusion.
David Law / Synth Music Direct / MusicZeit
Awakenings 2008 volume 2
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
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 donates 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
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
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
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
with a contrasting delicate lead over the top. A storm can be heard
in the distance but it stays there, melody and bass line combining
exquisitely. This is a wonderful composition and one of my favourite on
double album so far.
Modulator ESP's 'Slowburn' introduces itself with a collage of excellent
whooshes. A slow sequence emerges in the fourth minute. A second then a
third fall into formation, combining together excellently. The track
lovely melodic sequences combining instinctively with moody backing.
Another highlight of the album.
An echoing piano melody and mellotron herald the excellent 'Invisible
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.
eighth minute the band really crank things up with heavy rhythm and lead
This is one of the band's best tracks and my favourite here, even over the
tracks already singled out.
'Annoying the Neighbours' is the second by Ion. I was expecting it to be a
number on the Heavy Metal side of EM but in reality it is exactly the
quite a melancholy and reflective piece, and all the better for it.
round things off with 'Compost Mentis'. Soaring guitar flies above steady
rhythm, dominating all else and really letting rip, providing quite an in
yer face finish.
Awakenings 2008 volume 2.5
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
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
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
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
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
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
having a gorgeous rather melancholy cinematic feel. In the fifth minute an
guitar lead makes a brief appearance before disappearing in a sea of
We finish with a lovely, almost spiritual, melodic end section. A lot is
one track. A highlight of the album.