Moon over Mountain is the project of Kenneth Lee Roberts and Megan Buness, a duo
based in Colorado. Moon over Mountain plays a mix of melodic and symphonic
electronic music combined with sound effects.
The Colors of Life is an appealing recording for fans of the
melodic and evocative side of electronic music.
Azam Ali – Phantoms (Terrestrial Lane Productions, 2019)
Azam Ali, the vocalist known for her extraordinary vocals
and combinations of electronics and world music, steps now into the world of
progressive electronic music. Although she is influenced by the music synth
music of the 1980s, the extraordinary music on Phantoms is way more interesting
than the 1980s stuff.
Phantoms includes spellbinding vocals, cutting edge trip hop, ambient atmospheres, irresistible grooves, and soaring guitars. This is Azam’s first self-produced album, completely in English language instead of her previously familiar Iranian.
Encore: Tangerine Dream Live was Tangerine Dream’s second live album. It was originally released in 1977 as a double vinyl album. The 2019 remastered edition is available on CD featuring the four original tracks plus two bonus tracks that appeared as singles: “Encore” and “Hobo March.”
The musical pieces were recorded during Tangerine Dream’s 1977 North American Tour, engineered by Tangerine Dream and mixed by Peter Baumann. This was at a time when Virgin Records defied the radio and major label gatekeepers who didn’t believe in lengthy musical pieces.
The first track is “Cherokee Lane.” It begins with sound experimentation and leads to a mix of morphing sequences, mellotron layers and improvisations and synth melodies.
Track 2, “Monolight” begins slow tempo, with piano improvisation and melodies and beautiful mellotron harmonies that lead into sound experimentation, fast-paced sequences and melodic synth solos, incorporating themes from previous recordings.
On “Coldwater Canyon,” the sequencers jump right in, joined by prolonged guitar work by Edgar Froese.
“Desert Dream” takes the listener to an enigmatic ambient music realm, with mysterious mellotron layers and intriguing melodies and effects.
The bonus pieces are much shorter, intended for radio. “Encore” is very melodic featuring intertwined sequences, synth melodies, march-like electronic percussion and symphonic harmonies.
The second bonus track, “Hobo March” is another melodic piece with interweaved melodies backed by slow sequences and a tambourine-like electronic percussion.
The Tangerine Dream lineup on this tour continued featuring the three most iconic members of the band: Edgar Froese on Gibson Les Paul custom guitars, twin keyboard Mellotron Mark V, Steinway Grand Piano, Oberheim Four Voice polyphonic synthesizer, ARP Omni string synthesizer, ARP digital soloist synthesizer, PPG synthesizer, Moog modular synthesizer, and Projekt electronic time control system; Christoph Franke on Moog modular synthesizer, Projekt Electronic sequencer, Computerstudio digital sequencer, Mellotron M400, ARP soloist synthesizer, Elka string synthesizer, Oberheim sequencer, Oberheim eight voice polyphonic synthesizer, and electronic percussion; and Peter Baumann on Projekt Electronic Modular Synthesizer, Projekt Electronic sequencer, Fender Rhodes piano, ARP Pro Soloist synthesizer, Mellotron M400, EMS Vocoder with AKG micro C414 and ELKA string synthesizer.
Shining Pyramid play a delightful form of instrumental progressive rock using guitars and keyboards (spacey synthesizers and gorgeous mellotron). What makes the duo especially attractive is it mix of classic 1970s progressive rock influences, space rock and Berlin-style electronic music.
The two London-based musicians create layers of guitars and keyboards delivering a mesmerizing set of finely-constructed pieces. Shining Pyramid consists of Nick Adams on guitars and Peter Jeal on synthesizers.
Electronic music artist and sound designer Kelly David has released
Meditation in Green for the great Spotted Peccary label. Throughout the album, David
takes the listener into a fantastic world of mystery and spellbinding ethno-ambient
electronics and a multitude of sounds.
Kelly David’s inspiration came from Vietnam’s Mekong Delta and features samples of traditional Vietnamese musical instruments provided by Vu Nhat Tan.
Despite the titles of the songs, this is not easy listening melodic meditation music. Instead, it is a wonderful voyage though the best of ambient electronic music, with a world music edge.
Kelly David plays analog and digital synthesizers, large format analog modular synthesizers, samplers, loopers, wind synthesizer, field recordings, gongs, bells and several percussion instruments. Guests include Drew Redfield on electric guitar; Kailani Jurasek on temple bell; and field recordings from Kent Antognini and Eckart Bühler.
Maurizio Brunod, Giorgio Li Calzi, Boris Savoldelli – Nostalgia Progressiva (distributed by MoonJune Records, 2019)
Three forward-thinking Italian musicians celebrate the progressive music of the late 1960s and the early 1970s on Nostalgia Progressiva.
The album opens with “Formentera Lady,” a song that appeared on King Crimson’s Islands in 1971. The song is reconstructed with glitchy electronics, jazz trumpet, ambient electronics, soaring electric guitar and soft vocals.
Trsack 2 is the lovely “Mate Kudasai” from King Crimson’s album Discipline (1981), metamorphosed into a delightful bluesy version.
Although not a progressive music song, the trio reconstructs “Tomorrow Never Knows” by The Beatles (Revolver, 1966), transforming it successfully with mesmerizing loops, processed vocals, and guitars.
“Shipbuilding” is a song with lyrics by Elvis Costello that was written during the Malvines/Falklands War of 1982. In its new incarnation, it becomes a laid back song with vocals, guitar and spellbinding, gorgeous electronic ambience.
Next is Radio Activity, a song by German electronic music and techno pioneers Kraftwerk, included inn the album Radio-Activity (1975). Here, it reappears as a dub rock song.
The memorable song “I Talk to the Wind” from King Crimson’s In the Court of the Crimson King (1969) begins as an acoustic folk song that evolves into a trip hop wonder, featuring electronically-manipulated trumpet, similar to Jon Hassell’s work.
Another progressive rock classic, “Starless,” by King Crimson (Red album, 1974) in transformed into a futuristic piece with acoustic guitar, lead melody on trumpet and looped vocals.
“Taranaki” is the most jazz-oriented piece. This re-reading contains electronic beats, wordless vocals and soft trumpet.
Yet another gem from King Crimson appears on this recording, “Moonchild” (In the Court of the Crimson King, 1969). This version features exquisite acoustic guitar, vocals and trumpet.
The last track is “Gioco di bimba,” originally released by the fabulous Italian progressive rock group Le Orme (Uomo di pezza, 1972). It reappears with electronic beats and ambiance plus vocals.
Lineup: Maurizio Brunod on electric and acoustic guitar, samples; Giorgio Li Calzi on trumpet, fluegelhorn, keyboards, electronics; and Boris Savoldelli on vocals, electronics, and vocal synth 3D prototype.
Ricochet was the first live album released by trailblazing German electronic music band Tangerine Dream. The release reviewed here is the remastered 2019 edition that includes the original tracks and great remixes by British musician Steven Wilson.
Although Ricochet is still fundamentally an electronic music album, Tangerine added more guitar and drums, specially on the first half of track 1. This led to a sound closer to electronic rock with melodies playing a larger role. Nevertheless, most of the album is based on fascinating mellotron atmospheres and morphing sequences. Yet another masterful classic release by Tangerine Dream.
The tracks were recorded live in the UK and France during Tangerine Dream’s August–October 1975 European Tour.
The lineup included Peter Baumann on keyboards; Chris Franke on keyboards and drums; and Edgar Froese on keyboards and guitar.
Rubycon is part of the reissue set of classic Tangerine Dream electronic music albums. Rubycon was Tangerine Dream’s 6th album, first released in 1975.
The original album includes two tracks, Rubycon Parts 1 and 2. The album begins with layers of synths and mellotrons and mysterious sounds that seem like haunting whale chants. Slowly and gradually, the sequencers drift in, creating an ecstatic, trancelike atmosphere accompanied by bubbling sounds and distant melodies.
This new remastered version includes a bonus track, an extended introduction of Rubycon mixed by progressive music artist Steven Wilson.
The lineup during Rubycon was the same as one ther iconic Phaedra album: Edgar Froese on mellotron, guitar, gong, VCS 3 synthesizer, organ; Chris Franke on double moog synthesizer, Synthi A, organ, modified Elka organ, prepared piano; and Peter Baumann on organ, EMS Synthi A, electric piano, ARP 2600 and prepared piano.
Rubycon refined the trailblazing sound of Tangerine Dream, one of the group’s finest recordings.
Sverre Knut Johansen with Robert Rich – Precambrian (Spotted Peccary, 2019)
Norwegian electronic music instrumentalist and composer Sverre Knut Johansen takes the listener on a mesmerizing voyage across the prehistoric progress of planet Earth and its inhabitants. He is joined by the great musician, sound investigator and composer Robert Rich.
Together, Johansen and Rich create a splendid set of electronic music pieces that incorporate ambient textures, cinematic passages, soaring melodies and spellbinding sequencers combining electronics, samples, sound effects and natural sounds.
Each musical piece on Precambrian takes the listener through
important geological periods and evolutionary occasions of Earth’s 4.6 billion
“The epochs on Earth are an exciting topic for me,” says Johansen, “so I was inspired to create an album around the concept of the Earth’s geological time scale. The music is epoch-based where I try to convey with nature sounds what might have happened on Earth, creating moods around certain events that have taken place, like oxygen, birds, water, and ice.”
The physical CD version of the album is beautifully packaged, featuring a trifold package and a gorgeous booklet, filled with stunning photography.
Belgian band Quantum Fantay has gradually become one of the most exciting psychedelic progressive rock acts in recent years. The group combines the best of instrumental spacey progressive rock with transfixing electronic music and world music elements.
The current line up includes Pete Mush on synths; Tom Tee on guitars; Jaro on bass; and Louis Van der Linden (who replaced Gino Bartolini) on drums. Guests include Charles Sla on flutes; Maera on vocals; and Rafaela on vocals.
Yemaya Orisha contains a set of masterfully constructed progressive music wizardry. So far, one of the finest progressive rock releases of the year.
Progressive rock, jazz-rock fusion, ambient electronic music and beyond