AD Music - Callisto
The new collaboration by David Wright and Dave Massey under the name "Callisto". Combining the respective trademark skills that have graced a collective 30 albums, the two Davids merge striking melodies with strident rhythms and sequences in the best tradition of Vangelis and Tangerine Dream, to produce fresh and original electronic music.
Callisto MP3 and Flac Downloads are now available from our new site - ADmusicshop.com
Callisto - Albums
The two Davids, Wright & Massey, use their Callisto project pseudonym to express a shared teutonic musical vision, so heavily influenced by Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Kraftwerk and Jean Michelle Jarre. Yet cleverly, Callisto haven't forgotten that those icons of the genre included a great sense of atmosphere, emotion and musical structure. So "Nyx" contains complex sequences and driving rhythms plus tremendous musical ideas and structure. Destined to be a genuine electronic music classic!
A beautiful and wonderfully crafted album of inspiring pure synth, electronic music. Full of uplifting melody and depth, rhythms and peace.
"Easily one of the finest synth music albums to be released in 2004, A "Synth Music" album of pure class and quality!" CDS Review
"It"s my fervent wish that every Tangerine Dream fan gets to hear this. David Wright and A.D. Music deserve that". Ashley Franklin. BBC
Signal To The Stars
Callisto played their first Hampshire Jam Festival on October 31st 2009. This download album is a record of that performance.
The Hampshire Jam
This performance went down a storm with the audience. The Tangerine Dreams style melodic sequencer music comprised extended versions of two tracks from the album "NYX" and the extended live performance is an excellent companion to the studio album.
The seed for Callisto was sown in 2003 when David Wright discussed ideas for his 15th solo album "Continuum" with friend and colleague Dave Massey. A number of musical ideas were put aside simply because they did not quite fit into the album's overall identity. Yet, both felt that these ideas deserved to be nurtured and developed into another direction. An exchange of musical ideas began and thus Callisto and Signal to the Stars was born.
The two already worked successfully as members of the ambient electronic band Code Indigo and both musicians share a passion for melodic, rhythmic, electronic music in the classic tradition of the early works of Vangelis, Jarre, Kitaro, Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze. So, Signal to the Stars had a direction mapped out from the start, but both artists were determined to ensure that Callisto would have a sound of its own.
David Wright is now considered a veteran of the EM scene with a perennial sales record and an established fan base spanning 15 solo albums since the late 80"s and a further 5 albums with his band Code Indigo. David is also the founder and driving force behind the AD Music label and its publishing arm FX Media.
Dave Massey has been producing music as a solo musician and with his brother, under a variety of pseudonyms for over 10 years, producing more than a dozen new age and world music albums for labels like North Star. Dave has also produced successful trance and dance music under numerous guises and is a respected producer.
Callisto - NYX
Callisto is a UK duo consisting of David Wright and Dave Massey, who are known not only for their Callisto work but also for other projects within the electronic music scene, not least Code Indigo and the record label AD Music. Even with Callisto's relatively limited discography, they have gained wide recognition in the Jarre / Tangerine Dream / Vangelis camp, and now their second studio album Nyx is available (it's their third album after Signal to the stars in 2004 and the live album Hampshire Jam in 2009). The album is made up of four tracks (very long ones) and the bulk of the music can be described as rhythmic, thumping and trancey, supported by melodic hooks, soundscapes and sound effects. Each track, as long as they are, are given time to develop and grow, and every track has a wonderful epic feeling to them; first they let you get into the mood, then they keep you rolling and jumping and running mentally along to the sequencers. It's a beatiful ride, very energetic and alive. Genre wise Nyx is bridging the gap between classic proto-trance Berlin School music and contemporary dance music, which is not unique but not always done with such class and honest felt vibe as here.
The production is crisp and clear, but not too crisp; sounds are well rounded and placed, as one expects from the two Daves, and both contemporary sounds and classic analogue ones can be heard. Over the years I have found some AD Music albums to sound too sweet and fluffy but this is certainly not the case here. Nyx is simply excellently crafted, from overall song structures to individual songs. There are no weak tracks, and the only thing I am left wanting are some bigger themes or melodies, as they are lacking completely; there are plenty of smaller melody hooks but some epic themes along the lines of Jarre or 1970s Tangerine Dream would not be out of place. Nyx is the kind of album that lends itself to that and it seems that it's the only aspect that has been left out; everything else is here, from Berlin School sequencers to space beats and ambient soundscapes (though the latter only makes guest appearances here and there).
In its genre, Nyx will be one of the best albums of 2010 even though it has one major flaw; it forces me to play it so often that it prevents me from listening to other albums this year.
'Callisto - NYX - Live @ Hampshire Jam review
Review by Stefan Schelle
Coinciding with the album "NYX" comes Callisto the live recording "Live @ The Hampshire Jam 2009." While Dave Massey works in the studio with David Wright to compose and produce Callisto music, Neil Fellowes, also known as Geigertek, works with David Wright on stage. So Callisto on stage for this recording in England, as with the Netherlands E-Day in May 2010, is David Wright & Neil Fellowes.
Although the CD NYX "was" not yet released at the time of 31.10.2009 at Hampshire Jam , Callisto played two tracks of this gorgeous album and these two tracks, which were extended to have more than 30 minutes each, worked very well live.
However, it must be said that there are three pieces off "NYX" that are presented here, for the second track "The Darkness of Night" connects the two parts, which are listed separately on the studio album. This long track that begins at first quite melodic and dreamy, goes off after about 17-18 minutes into powerful sequencer em with Schulze like pads and great mini-moog leads. Even so, this still sounds somewhat restrained and I would have liked even more power.
The concert begins with "The Lighter Side of Gravity", which is the final track on the studio album and has a superb hypnotic effect of constant highs and grabs you from the very first moment.
A great live document that shows off some of the pieces from the studio album again as gorgeous, sprawling and very rhythmic electronic music, different to Nyx. Even if you own the studio album, you can safely access and enjoy the "Live at Hampshire Jam" album.
'Signal To The Stars' by Callisto
Review by Ashley Franklin
Contemporary music broadcaster/writer (BBC, Saga Radio)
"Some artists reach a creative peak and thereafter never replicate past glories. Not David Wright. His music just seems to get better all the time.
Having achieved a new zenith with Continuum, his Callisto project with Dave Massey transcends even the beautiful dark atmospherics of his Code Indigo band.
The overall sound reminded me why traditional synthesizer sequencing makes for the most exhilarating music on the planet but, better still here, there are strong, mesmeric melodies; and Dave Massey"s evident understanding of rhythms in electronic music makes Signal to the Stars an even more pulsating ride."
It"s my fervent wish that every Tangerine Dream fan gets to hear this. David Wright and A.D. Music deserve that".
'Signal To The Stars'
An astonishing debut from CALLISTO! Rates right alongside the great artists/albums of electronic instrumental music!
Once in a while you discover an artist or album that takes you completely by surprize. For me, this was one such album! I'm a huge fan of veteran artists like Kitaro, Tangerine Dream and Patrick O'Hearn, and over the last year or so I've been trying to discover new, exciting, younger artists in that same field of instrumental synthesizer music. Sadly, my search has mostly turned up a lot of duds! Much of the "new age music" being released today is either far too sparse and minimalistic and for my tastes (i.e. Ray, Liquid Mind), or includes operatic and/or "wordless" vocals (i.e. - Amethystium, Aria), something that sort of defeats the whole purpose of buying instrumental music - don't you think?? : )
I also found a lot of ambient "space music" (i.e Between Interval, John Serrie), but most of it lacks the very things I loved most about the early electronic pioneers - namely melody and structure!...Well, I was just about to give up on finding any great new synthesizer artists, and was even contemplating moving to desert island with my Kitaro collection, when I found an interesting-looking CD in the "used" section of a local record store.
The CD was CALLISTO's "Signal to the Stars". I had never heard of the group, but after looking over the track titles, and reading through the insert booklet, I decided that for only $5.99 I should at least give this band a chance. Later I popped the CD into my player and strapped on the headphones, not knowing if I was in for a gem, or yet another dud. All I could say after the CD finished was "WOW! Now THIS is the kind of music I've been looking for!!!"...Born in 2004, Callisto is a UK-based duo comprised of keyboardists/composers David Wright and Dave Massey, both of whom maintain their own solo careers, as well as serving as members of the popular electronic group Code Indigo. According to the liner notes, their collaboration as "Callisto" began when the two Davids found themselves with some strong leftover material that just didn't fit in with another project they were working on - material that was inspired by their common love of artists like Vangelis, TD, Klaus Schulze, & Jean Michel Jarre.
The music here does indeed show those influences, but it's much, MUCH more than a clone-like "tribute" to any of these artists. Rather, Callisto interprets the influneces of their musical heroes with a more updated, contemporary array of synth & percussion sounds - and there is something in their compositional style that displays a lot of creative ingeninuity all their own.
The 5 featured tracks, often divided into multi-part movements, all have an "epic" scope to them, and allow plenty of room for the musicians to breathe and show their wares. One thing that stands out immediately is that these guys know how to write strong, memorable melodies, and then back those melodies with rich arrangements full of detail and nuance (something that is totally lacking in some of the more "minimalist" genre artists.) There is also a healthy amount of variation in terms of mood, tempoes, and synth sounds/styles - from plantive piano, to percussive "Berlin school"-style backdrops, to lush symphonic flourishes!
I also find that there is something in Wright & Massey's keyboard playing that is very distinctive - in particular, a spontaneous, very "human" feel to the synth solos. Although sequencers are used, this does not feel like overly-"programmed" electronic music at all!...With over 69 minutes of music, this album certainly gives buyers their moneys-worth. But even better yet is that fact that it holds the listeners rapt attention for its entire duration - or at least that's what it does for me. I quite honestly like every track here, so it's hard to pick any stand-outs, but if I was hard-pressed I would say that "Setisphere", in just under 17 minutes of running time, nicely sums up everything that is great about this duo, while "Iosphere" contains a main theme/arrangemnt of such haunting beauty that, once heard, it will not be forgotten!
All in all, if you love melodic electronic music, this album is not to be missed! In fact, I would say that this album rates right alongside some of the finest artists & albums of the entire electronic genre (and certainly beats the pants off of Tangerine Dream's recent "Dante" series!) I now look forward to Callisto's upcoming 2nd album, due sometime in 2007. (IMPORTANT NOTE: Be careful when buying "Callisto" CDs. I have found that there is another band by the same name, who play gothic death-metal of all things!!! The electronic/new age outfit Callisto only have this one title, "Signal to the Stars", released so far, with their follow-up album to be titled "NYX". Any other "Callisto" titles are that of the completely-unrelated death metal group...so buyer beware!!!)
'Signal To The Stars'
Review by Dave Griffith - music writer.
Callisto is the latest venture from popular British synthesist david Wright and is a collaboration with friend and fellow
musician Dave Massey. The genesis for Callisto actually grew from their work together on David Wright's Continuum album. (Dave Massey was/is
also a member of Code Indigo on their superb TimeCode>Indigo). Both musicians felt that the fledgling ideas that appeared during the
recording sessions deserved to be taken further, and so Callisto was born. According to the sleeve notes Wright developed the musical and
compositional dimensions whilst massey concentrated more on the production, developing the ideas and refining the rhythms and sequences.
For those not clued-up on their astronomy, Callisto is the second largest moon of Jupiter and three of the tracks are also named after moons. In keeping with this theme, the music has a definite spacey feel throughout, consisting of five numbers, each with a slightly different mood and tempo, but which flow together seamlessly, essentially creating one long piece.
Opening with the stunning 'Sycorax', david Wright's compositional skills and his uncanny ear for an unforgettable melody are immediately evident and you soon realize that you are in for an absorbing journey. The addictive rhythms and sequences are skillfully crafted and just suck you in. There are strong hints of classic Schulze and Froese, although these influences are heard less as the album progresses.
The gentle slowly evolving 'Iosphere' follows, and features a beautiful, emotive melody unashamedly inspired by Vangelis.
After the light and playful 'Elara', the three part 'Setisphere' is a return to symphonic realms with multi-layered synths and hypnotic rhythms. It includes another gorgeous Vangelis styled melody and wonderful, soaring lead synth lines. he disc closes with the equally impressive 'Naiad' (also in three parts), which introduces Wright's distinctive piano playing for the first time. After a stunning climax, slightly reminiscent of Pinhas' 'Greenland' (Iceland), part three finishes the album perfectly, featuring haunting piano with a tranquil synth backing.
The two Dave's compliment each other really well and whilst exploring very different avenues to Code Indigo, this partnership has resulted in an album of beautifully refined and superior synth music. There's a strong emphasis on melody and composition, and not a vocal sample to be heard! The rhythms have a modern feel to them, no doubt enhanced by Massey's input, but they never become overpowering or one-dimensional. Fans of David Wright will not be disappointed.
Sleeve notes from 'Signal to the Stars'
Written by Steve Roberts (Reviewer)
Take One. David Wright, highly respected U.K. synthesist with an impressive solo discography, founder member of Code Indigo and driving force behind the AD Music label.
Take Two. Dave Massey with numerous New Age/World Music/Trance album releases under various guises to his credit, inspiration behind the superb Trance A.D. Music project and producer par excellence.
Take Three. Whilst working together on DW's 15th album 'Continuum', a number of musical ideas were put aside simply because they did not quite fit into the album's overall identity. Yet, both felt that these ideas deserved to be nurtured and developed into another direction. Thus Callisto was born. Both musicians share a passion for melodic, rhythmic, electronic music in the classic tradition of the early works of Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Jarre, Kitaro and Vangelis so the direction for 'Signal to Stars' was mapped out and given a life of its own.
The creative process behind a successful collaboration such as this is often intuitive and therefore difficult to define. However, in broad terms, DW developed the musical and compositional dimensions whilst DM concentrated more on the production, developing ideas and refining increasingly sophisticated rhythms and sequences. After long, intense but highly productive studio sessions 'Signal to the Stars' was carefully crafted. Final Take - The Music. Like me, you will inevitably be drawn in to the inventive sequencing and rhythms on 'Sycorax', seduced by the evocative melodies of 'Iosphere', entranced by the shimmering, fragile beauty of 'Setisphere' and inspired by the majestic, anthemic 'Naiad'. Listening to music of this quality is always an enriching and uplifting experience but essentially subjective.
Enjoy your first journey into 'Signal to Stars' as you will revisit frequently and discover new depths and emotions every time. As for Callisto, this is just the beginning of the voyage.
Signal to the Stars
Review by Dene Bebbington of Wind and Wire.com
Prolific synthesizer musician David Wright has teamed up again with producer Dave Massey - the two Davids having previously
worked together on David W's Continuum and Code Indigo's TimeCode>Indigo albums. In this first outing under the Callisto name musical
ideas encountered but not used when working on Continuum have been developed. The result is over an hour of well-crafted rhythms, melodies,
and sequences that bear David W's stylistic and sonic hallmarks.
The album is divided into what one might consider to be five movements, each one of which encompasses between one and three tracks. Part 1 (out of 2) of "Sycorax" gets things off to a rousing start; initially we hear distant electronic effects before a pulsating rhythm and sequence build up the pace to be joined by reverberating synth melodies, one of which is quite insistent and strangely sensual (at least I thought so!).
The tenor of each of the five "movements" is different, for instance, and in contrast to the upbeat predecessor "Sycorax", the mood partly quiets down in "Iosphere". The three tracks of this movement essentially explore a core melodic theme while building different sound patterns and structures around it, each piece sounds a little more urgent and upbeat than the last until it completes with the percussive rhythms out in the open and the melody sounding celebratory. This increasing intensity of a theme is also evident in "Setisphere".
The final track, part 3 of "Naiad" is also worth a mention. In contract to a lively part 2 it's a relaxed piece in which piano and synth deliver a haunting melody over a quietly pulsating backdrop.
In my opinion David Wright's music has gotten better over time, I consider the album ThreeSixZero to have been a watershed where his music matured considerably. As with his other recent work, both solo and with Code Indigo, Signal to the Stars is well worth getting hold of.
Signal to the Stars
'Synth Music Direct' Review
Callisto consists of David Wright and Dave Massey united with a common musical vision of electronica focusing mainly on melody,
sequences and rhythms, allowing their ideas to develop across carefully crafted extended pieces. The music takes on a strong
identity of its own outside of the previous recording projects associated with the duo but essentially plays to the strengths
of both musicians, i.e. Wright's compositional vision and Massey's detailed and rich production values.
'Sycorax' Part 1 quickly establishes a deep echoing bass line with melodic sequences set against complex rhythms before at around the 4 minute mark more dramatic orchestral tones are added with improvised lines steadily building to a climax before gradually scaling down to a more relaxed 'chilled' section which cross fades into Part 2 a more subdued romantic exploration again slowly building in intensity before subsiding into the 3 part 'Iosphere'.
The gentle melody evokes open eyed wonder of a cosmic vista implied by the title but pictured in the listener's imagination. The theme is developed and nurtured through Part 2 and gradually builds in grandeur and scale into Part 3 before the slow deconstruction towards the cross fade into 'Elara'. A more immediate, romantic, but more up tempo piece 'Elara' is the shortest and possibly most commercial cut on the album. 'Setisphere', another 3 parter, begins gently in now trademark Callisto fashion, as sequences, melodies, bass lines and rhythms are added meticulously to the mix building atmosphere and density up to the epic climax on Part 3. The melody gains power over a deep resonating, rumbling bass line reaching a climax before the cross fade into the final and, arguably the best track 'Naiad'. Piano is added to the Callisto palette and the build up is a little slower this time but the main melody in full aural wide screen is well worth the wait, evoking a cinematic epic. Cleverly deploying light and shade Part 3 eases the listener down by means of a gently evocative classical track and closes the set satisfactorily.
Although cosmic themes have for a long time been used by EM musicians, Callisto's take here still sounds fresh and the album's subtleties reveal themselves with every play. Returning to extended pieces of sequence and rhythm may well attract the more traditional end of the market whilst no doubt satisfying the natural AD Music fan base for melodic and inventive music. The performance at the Leicester Space Centre affirmed the quality of 'Signal to the Stars' but the trip is best experienced through good quality headphones with the telephone disconnected and the beverage of your choice.
Review by Stefan Schelle (Music-Zirkus)
Callisto is the project of electronic musician David Wright with Dave Massey. In 2004, the duo released the studio album "Signal To The Stars before," which had the typical British electronic sound and the flair of David Wright. A full six years later, they follow-up it with "NYX".
"Signal To The Stars" was epic, spherical and spacy electronic music, which is like a soundtrack. The new album has significantly more power and with a lot of emotion which it immediately showed at concerts in England (Hampshire Jam 2009) and the Netherlands (E-Day 2010). The "NYX" Callisto is an album that you have to have as an electronic music friend. It gives you goose bumps with driving melodies and harmonies that infuses the music with irresistible rhythms. This is music where you can lose yourself completely.
Four pieces with times between 15:05 to 22:26 minute "NYX" has to offer, which are connected together perfectly. It starts with the 17 minute "The Cyanide Virus". This track starts at first very spacey and behaves, as one would enter the orbit and move slowly into space. But after two minutes of the second stage then ignites and the sequencer start to throb, Callisto is slowly gaining speed and after five minutes the burning hypnotic stage catches fire. From here the listener is literally in a trance. This first track is a sensational opener, but the best is yet to come!
The second piece is entitled "The Darkness Of Night Part 1" and begins slowly and gently. In the beginning, it is simple and romantically dreamy, with wide melodic lead line, which style one knows immediately from David's solo discs. The following is a lounge-passage in which there are vangelis like, ethnic style sound samples that gently caress the listener through the synth passages. After 17 minutes of bliss, a rhythm and the sound not dissimilar to Tangerine Dream. But this is only the prelude to the seamless subsequent third track "The Darkness Of Night Part 2".
This second part is a sensational blast. Sound and rhythm hit me each time, again and again, This piece was already one of the highlights of Callisto presence at e-day in Oirschot on 05/22/2010. A mixture of David Wright / Code Indigo and Geigertek was offered then, and here on Nyx that piece is here played to perfection. Slowly, the piece develops and offers the full length of almost 20 minutes of goosebumps that go off the scale. Incredible electronic music!
The last track, more than 22 minute long is "The Lighter Side of Gravity" and it feels at first like Space music or the soundtrack for a science fiction movie. The first moments is less about melodies, but instead builds strange futuristic moods. Then after about three minutes, the sequencer sets the clock and it's clear that the rhythms have begun. It's light for the first six minutes, then begin to burn and ignite furiously and develops into yet another a fascinating track that has high potential for total addiction.
"NYX" by Callisto is for me, one of the best albums in 2010 and is perhaps the best work to date of 2010. Anyone who likes electronic music, and the music of David Wright or Code Indigo, must listen to NYX.
Signal To The Stars
AD Music conceals small pearls to be discovered. Signal to the Stars from Callisto is one of them. However, nothing indicated that it was a pure musical jewel which I first inserted in my CD player. Indeed, after the first listening, I was perplexed. Perhaps I was not in the mood?
So I decided to listen again at a later date. Another listen......, same result. But then I realised that indeed I had a small jewel in my hands. Signal to the Stars from Callisto is a masterpiece of harmony, of melody in a complex cosmic world, with intonations and modulations as astonishing as it is percussive.
The album opens with the tinkling of Sycorax. A low pulsation echoes in a sphere. A complex and unequal rhythm is formed around a delicate keyboard sound which weaves a series of melodious notes. A fine hypnotic movement, which crosses scattered percussions, is formed among flying sounds. Other denser layers, whose reverberations form a dark melody, wrap Sycorax of an embryonic rhythm which takes form on constant percussions and a melodious symphonic sounds. Superb synth solos flood this melody which takes refuge, briefly, in the gentle peace of part 2, before returning the flight on superb solos, long and twisting through the powerful slow tempo and multilayered closure.
Isophere is sublime! A beautiful melody forged in 3 parts. Part 1 presents harmonies which are suspended in an oasis of dreams. Notes are weaved on a silky, melancholy sound. The movement intensifies its tenderness on a rhythm which appears towards the opening of part 2. The pensive synth and cosmic procession increases with part 3, the rhythm becomes constant on a sequential movement with orchestral and symphonic layers that fade to a solitary synth. 'Iosphere' is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have heard. It is great to know that, in 2006, there are artists who still are capable of producing such emotional music.
Elara is a superb melody with instant appeal. Light rhythm, nervous percussions and fluty synth structure. It’s an infectious tune that we whistle without really knowing where it came from.
Setisphere is another extremely melodious cosmic voyage, built in 3 episodes. Beautiful notes fly with romance against gentle beats. The rhythmic structure is formed around a harmonious circle where a bass comes to engulf the undulating tempo. The light breaths of synths push segmented harmonies, which are superb. Setisphere progresses, gently increasing its energy and harmonies, exploding into a circular rhythm backed by metal percussions. An astonishing circular fresco where a superb sequence is twisted on solid percussions and superb powerful solos, tearing and winding harmoniously. There is a short moment of quiet towards the end of part 2, before the sharp-edged rhythm takes hold again the entire harmonic dynasty The restrained power finally explodes in a swirl of intensity - the equivalent of one huge Deep Purple rock moment, encircled by invading and tuneful layers. An intense and powerful title.
Naiad opens on a beautiful melodious piano which plays with intensity over a superb bass line, progressing through violin strings layers that give a harmonious depth. Gently rhythms appear and encircles the music, which takes a soft techno form on floating synthetic orchestrations. The percussions accelerate the tempo and the rhythms caress the symphonic movement and raises it to a higher plain. The percussions snap and fly on an ambivalent tempo which rises and falls before slowing down and fading out in the harmonious darkness of this fantastic musical epic.
Signal to the Stars from Callisto is faultless. An intense opus with complex melodies and arrangements, tightly constructed with superb and original sounds. It is a major work which must take its place between Vangelis Chariots of Fire and Oldfield The song of Distant Earth; A masterpiece which should be discovered.
Sylvain (Fae) from Québec, Canada
Guts Of Darkness; French Home of Dark & Experimental Music
'Signal To The Stars' by Callisto
Review by CDS
Easily one of
the finest "Synth" music albums to be released in 2004 and certainly some of the best music Dave Wright
has been involved in since his highly acclaimed "Walking with Ghosts" album!
"Signal To The Stars" is the perfect mix of melody and mood, old school and new school, delicacy and dynamics, passion and power. Delving into influences from the past such as Tangerine Dream and Vangelis, the duo have come out with a seventy minute album of classic, and classy original "electronic music", choc full of memorable themes and hypnotic rhythms, with plenty in the way of inventive sequences, atmospherics and spontaneous keyboard solos along the way.
Yes, Signal To The Stars is one of those albums that captivates right from the start, as you begin a journey that takes in a lot of gorgeous musical scenery along the way. "Sycorax-Part 1" starts the trip on a high note, and the thing you first notice is just how much is happening in the mix, as you take in a perfectly produced sound where electro-percussive rhythms, twinkling backdrops, expansive synth strings, loping electronic bass and flying, Dyson-esque keyboard lead melody lines are all evolving into a musical panorama of horizon-stretching proportions. As the rhythms slowly drive and the lead synth melodies gradually appear on top, the mood is almost tranquil, but the sound is solid and the effect is enjoyable as this promising musical journey begins.
Rhythmically, it"s a mix of past and present, sequential and ambient, and evocative to the point where you can"t help but sway like a palm tree in the breeze to the so addictive rhythmic base. The sequencers take center stage over the electro-percussive elements, but then switch slowly back as echoed synths and soaring lead melodies are left in a completely atmospheric finale at just past the seven-minute mark, when it segues seamlessly into the next section of the 2-part, thirteen-minute "Sycorax" suite.
The mood and pace continue as before, this time more subdued initially, but then a swooshing synth comet gives way to a meatier mix of electronic and electro-percussive rhythms, as more and more layers of synth backdrops, Vangelis like melodies and moods are added. The journey is now accelerating as the scenery flashes by, all like a train-ride through unfamiliar, but just gorgeous musical terrain, as synths solos take to the skies and back.
The 3-part sixteen-minute "Iosphere" starts with distant choral effects drifting on the breeze, then a beautiful, emotional melody line (a bit Vangelis this!) fills the air against a backdrop of string synths. Just over three minutes in and the sequencers, again mid-paced and seriously languid, follow in almost unnoticed as the melody line wails into the heavens.
The mood and structure of the music is maintained for "Part 2" as it seamlessly rolls in, and here, the theme really hits a point where the sound is pure vintage Vangelis, and seriously expansive too, as the synths and rhythms slowly flow by in quite glorious fashion. Although it is in a slightly different synthesized setting, the thematic qualities of the 1st part are still running through it like a vital artery. There"s even a touch of the later period instrumental Mike Oldfield about it, as the melodies take on a more anthemic role and the whole mood becomes serene and uplifting, and there"s almost not a dry eye in the train.
The seven-minute "Part 3" then builds up to become a thing of symphonic greatness as the journey moves upland to reveal the vast expanses of the plains far below, a (musical) landscape that takes your breath away.
Atmospheric space waves introduce "Elara", a delicate five-minute tune that starts with a light sprinkling of sequencers and phased string backdrops. Then a beautiful Vimal style synth melody and a flute-like lead come in amidst a backdrop of string synths to provide a positively charming break as the journey briefly comes to a temporary halt.
"Part 1" of "Setisphere" is drifting, cool and spacey, with a crystalline melody that comes in on top, evoking passing through an expansive stretch of wintry landscape. A rhythm strikes up to slowly accelerate through the icy cool climate of the current setting a little faster, starting as a slowly pumping heartbeat at first, then as mallet percussion-like synth tinklings further in. As swathes of gorgeous phased string synths enter and deep choral voices are added to fill out the background, this web of soothing melodies slowly covers the horizon, almost like going through a mist where the scenery remains evident throughout, and somehow it"s so tranquil and ethereal, yet the rhythms continue to pick up speed and continue our journey on towards the next passage.
Another seamless crossover takes us into "Setisphere"-Part 2 with high register synth melody lines over a light backdrop of Mellotron like sounds and spacey strings. Half-way through this part of the 3-part, seventeen-minute piece, the pace picks up as beefy sequencers and meatier electro-percussive sounds increase the rhythmic force, and the vast expanse of strings and melodic synths all gather together to form a richly textured collage of melody and rhythm that spills over into the final stage of the journey, where, after a brief rhythmic break all these massed sounds become all the more intense and powerful. The synths sizzle and squirm as they try to pierce the edge of the massive sound cloud from all angles, swirling this way and that, as this fantastic, huge-sounding mix of melody and rhythm continues to build to dramatic proportions, with keyboards, sequencers, ambient rhythms and melodies flying towards a destination with purpose and determination, eventually emerging from the scenery in the closing moments where the suite ends in a pool of clockwork rhythms and background effects.
The next 3-part suite is called: "Naiad" (of which one part features as a completely different remix on the current, issue 18 of "Inkeys" CD), and the travel is slow at first, as strings, tinkling piano melodies and deep bass are set at the heart of things, with more layers and textures appearing as the movement begins. The ambient rhythms eventually gather pace as the journey commences, and the whole canopy of synth strings, Mellotron waves and other various keyboard textures is so gorgeous as it all unfolds before you.
As "Part 1" draws to a close the sequencer comes up in the mix and for the 2nd part, then things get distinctly beefier, as the rhythms really let go and swell up with synth melodies towering over the top as the pace intensifies. You can feel the train having one final charge as it sails ever closer to journey"s end with increased levels of rhythmic torque driving the musical machine harder and faster than at any point before, with strings and lead synth tunes flying out on top, as destination point is reached. The 3rd part, with its four minutes of gentle piano and delicate synth violin textures, allows you to leave, reflecting on the amazing experience you have just undertaken - A journey of epic and breathtaking proportions, as you sit there, looking back, almost tearful and oh so eager to repeat the journey.
Luckily, you – the listener – can do just that by just pressing that "play" button again.
A "Synth Music" album of pure class and quality!