Double CD of their acclaimed US performances in concert and on radio.
If there is a band that could be considered to be the flagship artist's on the label it is Airsculpture. I think this band have released the most albums on the label of any artist, and each one has been consistently strong on musicality, atmosphere and that heart-wrenching oomph that the best EM offers. |
- Walk the Locust Part One [33:19]
- Walk the Locust Part Two [25:19]
- Walk the Locust Part Three [4:01]
- Tranceatlantic Part One [37:47]
- Tranceatlantic Part Two [19:32]
- Tranceatlantic Part Three [9:59]
And so it is with their latest double album, TranceAtlantic. Recorded when the band visited America in 2004, CD1 is recorded live at the Gatherings Festival and the second CD was recorded during sessions for a radio show. Each CD is around an hour in length, contains one track split into three sections.
CD1's track is Walk The Locust and it starts with a gentle piano intro before the loops and synths begin to slowly appear and build a momentum that gradually ebb and flow over the thirty odd minute length of the track. Where Part One was melodic and mellow, Part Two also starts with a slow build up of beeps, boops and sci-fi sound effects that lead into a synthetic soundscape of stunning modernity, ideal as a new soundtrack for a remake of Forbidden Planet - on the basis of this track the guys have the gig. Oh, and there's a neat little homage to Kraftwerk's Trans Europe Express at the middle point of the track before the sequencers kick in for a final ten minute rock yer diodes finale.
Track Three is a four minute encore of synth and sequencer dueling.
CD2's track is TranceAtlantic, and is also in three parts that follow a similar structure and feel to the first CD. However, the musical themes are different and reflect the freedom a studio environment allows over the more rigid structure required for live performance. The music has a harsher, more industrial feel to it.
So, both CDs are very different and highly listenable - this is Airsculpture at their peak and should be unmissable to every EM fan.
This release from 2005 offers 130 minutes of improvised electronic music culled from the band's Gatherings concert and the Star's End radio performance, both in Philadelphia on April 17, 2004.
AirSculpture is: Adrian Beasley, John Christian, and Peter Ruczynski.
On disc 1, a piano solo leads to a realm sprinkled with softly twinkling diodes while a gentle tapestry of undulating riffs is craftily generated, saturating the air with heavenly textures. Progression from sequence to sequence is unhurried, exploring subtle variations before moving on. Despite the overall serenity, this music exhibits a strong undercurrent of power, the type of vigor that sneakily seeps into the brain and infuses every synapse with charged potency. As chords enter looping structures, auxiliary cycles enter the flow, again creeping in like sonic spies whose presence is ultimately noticed only when they've achieved a state of dominance. Synthetic beats ooze into the mix with equal guile, providing the ethereal mix with rarefied rhythms. Ah, but the subtlety is as cunning as the music's delicate force, rising to an authority that is impossible to ignore.
The second long track explores an experimental electronic chaos, soft but steadily gaining weight, not unlike a nebula crammed with random radio pulses. Pitches cry out and recede, swamped by the next sampling of audacious agitation. Halfway through the piece, melodic elements emerge with a gritty density. The music adopts an urgency, pitting insistent keyboard riffs against synthetic effects that attain their own melodic substance. The mix continues to build, accruing intensity and passion that burns brightly like the onrushing advance wave of an exploding star.
The final track (a short one) embodies this prior verve, pummeling the audience with enthusiastic cycles that are almost exhausting to experience.
The structure on disc 2 is similar to that of disc 1 (piano intro, two long tracks with a short finale), but the music is wholly different, possibly more striking. The piano lasts much longer and flows into electronics of more liquid disposition. After a passage of fluid cycling, the music adopts more oomph with elevated force and denser layering. Strangeness merges with sinuous harmonics, delivering a spacier resonance, a deeper emotional expression of vast expanses wraught with haunting character. Ominous sounds blend with sampled weirdness, evoking a particularly eerie voyage from outer space to inner space.
The second disc's second track dives right into melodic tuneage in which synthetic percussion plays a vital (if understated) role. The music advances with a steadfast increase in rich complexity. No matter how high the serpentine drones lift the listener, their feet remain firmly planted on familiar soil, stretching the audience's psyche into an elastic conduit between earth and heaven.
The final track steps down to ponderous levels with a heartbeat pulse embellished by pattering keyboards that drift on a swaying breeze of the mind. The piece's airy essence is flavored with incidents of suppressed grandeur.
Airsculpture have earned a strong reputation for their long-form slow-building electronic performances. This double cd excellently perpetuates that notoriety.
Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity
AirSculpture, the synth trio from the UK, made their east-coast concert debut in Philadelphia at The Gatherings Concert Series on 17 April 2004. Recordings of this concert, and that of their Star's End live radio concert later that night, were fashioned into the double CD TranceAtlantic and released in Autumn of 2005. Made up of Adrian Beasley, John Christian and Peter Ruczynski, AirSculpture has been using concert spaces to facilitate electronic experimentation since their first live event in September of 1995.
Over the years they have found that the atmosphere of the venue, the attention of the audience and several other immeasurable factors, have a significant affect on the interaction between players and acts as a fuel for their performances. The music on TranceAtlantic is structured somewhat differently than on previous cds.
Dwelling more in the realm of Ambient Music, this release is a journey inward to the dark abstractions of the dreaming mind. With this work, AirSculpture explores the fabric of sound, its range of subtleties and the dramatic possibilities of music organized without a tonal center.
A lilting piano improvisation opens each disc but soon the mood spirals downward into a shifting timbral plane. Drones build amongst a narrative of humming synthetic sound and constantly transforming tonal color. Set against these sections is the imaginative and engaging sequencer driven patterns AirSculpture is known for. Even here the group pushes beyond their earlier work and into new and unique depths of throbbing pulse, bouncing echoes and spacey beats.
The result is a cool combination of inspired play, chance occurrence and the magnification of minute shadings of sound.
2006. Chuck van Zyl / Star's End
These recordings were taken from the band's US 'Tour' in 2004. The first disc features Parts 1 to 3 of 'Walk The Locust' from their 'Gatherings' concert.
After a welcome from concert organizer Chuck van Zyl the most beautiful melancholy piano playing comes wafting, echoing through the air showing that Adrian is a pretty damned good keyboard player as well as programmer. Those fingers can actually move as well as twiddle knobs. Soft synth touches float underneath giving added texture. As the last piano notes fade into the distance a complex sequence sends notes darting this way and that creating quite a mesmerizing melody. It increases in volume very gradually as the underlying pads swell and little melotron melodies nestle amongst the pulsations. A rhythm makes an entrance. It is rather delicate but just as intricate as the sequence. By the half way mark lead lines are becoming more frequent but are in support of the hypnotic sequence rather than manic solos.
At around twenty minutes in the sequence departs to be replaced by a chugging rhythm only to return in a different form. More lovely ethereal melodies float above the note runs. With nine minutes to go we descend to a lovely soft sonic tapestry, finishing as we started with beautiful piano.
At twenty-five minutes duration the second part is another long trip beginning with nightmarish swamp like noises. Little sonic droplets mix with disturbing uneasy high register electronic effects. It is an incredible mixture of sounds that reaches quite a cacophony- AirSculpture at their most abstract. A flutey synth lead line does eventually make an entrance giving that bit of softness to proceedings. We descend to near silence out of which a shimmering cymbal emerges before being suddenly shaken back to wakefulness as a train thunders past! There is a surprise going on every minute. The train is replaced by deep dark drones as if we have been dragged down to the very pits of Hell.
A wonderful 'Rubycon' type sequence blasts forth soon followed by another excellent rapid high register one. Things become even more intense as a growling lead surges up from the middle of the mix. The original sequences depart and a softer one replaces them, calming things down once more until the original brace return- mellotron completing the picture beautifully.
The Third Part, at only four minutes long, is very short compared to the two previous epics but it wastes no time getting straight into rather manic sequences. We again finish with the piano.
The Second Disc features the three-part title track. It was taken from the late night live radio concert they did after the gig. And it is almost a continuation of where they left that concert off, with delicate piano. When we are nicely calmed and relaxed a sequence starts to emerge, a really nice gently pulsating echoing one. This is allowed to run for some time, hypnotising us before a second moves into formation with the first. By the seventeenth minute we have transcended to an abstract swirling section, ideal for the late night setting of the performance. Things become increasingly cosmic and 'out there'. Some really amazing sounds are used- can't imagine many of these being pre-sets! The piano returns again right at the end.
'Part two' begins with tinkling electronic effect and a shimmering pulse. It is as if we are in some spaceship listening to the gentle sounds of equipment around us. Things become more ethereal as we progress. A sequence enters in the seventh minute bringing us firmly back to Earth. It begins as a high register one but slowly and very cleverly morphs to rumbling bass full of menace. Another splashing percussive sequence is brought into play and the excitement level momentarily increases but as the pulsations seep into your very consciousness they become more calming and soothing, steadying the heart once more.
The final part starts with a very deep sequence, more of a rumble really, very low in the mix. It gradually rises in prominence but even so can be felt as much as heard. This really is doom laden ominous stuff and one hell of a test on the speakers' frequency range! A brighter sequence is brought into play in the fourth minute acting as the perfect foil to the first, fairly skipping over the top. It is almost as if 'The Darkness' takes this as a challenge however and the backing swells in threatening response. What a superb but also uneasy way to finish!
Despite the word 'trance' in the title there is nothing remotely dancey about this album but rather (as well as the obvious pun) it refers to the effect the music will probably have on you. Even though there are some great sequences and rhythms here this isn't, for the most part, AirSculpture in sledgehammer mode. Rather they are being truer to their name, creating wonderful spellbinding structures - works of art in their own right, out of pure air