VoLt is the UK duo Michael Shipway and Steve Smith.
- Part 1 [14:36]
- Part 2 [21:13]
- Part 3 [24:31]
The 3 tracks contained here were performed live by VoLt in concert and in the studio, the only preparation being the programming of sounds and sequences.
2003. Press information
A ghostly intro opens Part One. A spectral wave to sweet waffled oscillations of crystalline chords goes out quietly from its atonal with a which runs in cascade, setting up a neurotic rhythm on a bass line which navigate on a Mellotron sea. Superb, the Mellotron wraps and molds Part One of an electronic waltzing serenade, on sequences to permutations of glass, followed by a fluty finale that makes you dream. A very beautiful opening track which shows the colors of Volt, this English duet strongly inspired by the sound and romantic universe of Berlin School. Without kicking down the beacons of a traditional Berlin School, Michael Shipway and Steve Smith walk on the paths of a conventional EM which gathers all the necessary elements to harmonize this musical style with the today’s technology. Recorded as well in concert and in studio, The Far Canal uses marvelously the limits of improvisations with movements that are well structured and coil up in a warm and inviting Mellotron.
Part Two exploits this avenue with a warm intro where the Mellotron is king with its hypnotic breaths, on cyclic reverberations. The atmosphere there is heavy and strangely floating on felted percussions which create no rhythms, but exhale an intriguing atmosphere on an ochre synthesized background. Some dreamy Berlin School, with metallic flavor.
Part Three is the cornerstone of The Far Canal. A very atmospheric intro, rich in dark and cosmic tones, which take place under a Mellotron synth to hemming breaths and dense layers. Towards this Mellotron mist raises a synth with twisted solos, sometimes with a symphonic tone, sometimes spectral. The Mellotron veil dissipates, leaving free court to a magnificent sequence which sounds the death knell with a shy approach, before exploding on neurotic pulsations that flutter in a Mellotron heaviness. Solos bore this sound density with curly movements, felted and disentangled lamentations, getting loose from a more and more heavy sequence which fidgets in an eclectic sound universe, splendidly moved by a pleasant Mellotron. A very good title, filled with a warm liveliness.
The Far Canal is a good opus of Berlin School EM style, with today’s equipments and tones. Between the floating sweetness’s of the analog years and the caustic ferocity of the English School style, it’s the beginning of this musical great adventure that Volt begins with.
2009. Sylvain Lupari / Guts Of Darkness
Volt - "The Far Canal" is this?" you might ask & you'd be quite right as this CD from Steve Smith & Michael Shipway will easily appeal to all those who can't get enough improvised sequencer-based EM.
There are just three long tracks to be found here, starting with the 14 minute Part one which will easily delight all those who enjoyed Chuck van Zyl's CD releases on Centaur. Of course this is very familiar EM territory but they do it as well as anyone else you could name. The atmospheric drum loop that makes the lion's share of Part Two reminds me of some of CHAOS' improvised works & this does have some slightly abstract touches cropping up throughout although the beginning is again very spacey, a feel which is ably adhered to throughout.
Part three weighs in at over 24 minutes & builds up an impressive head of steam through solid sequencing & some well tasty leadlines, you could almost imagine the musicians giving it all they've got on this one. The ethereal chords are still present of course & these help keep the spacey atmospherics intact.
I'm sure you'll already have decided is this is for you but if you're a sequencer nut then this fix comes well recommended.
2003. Carl Jenkinson
The far canal is a stunning piece of work.
2003. Yorkie / England
A true masterpiece.
2005. Kevin / England
The duo Volt, formed by Michael Shipway and Steve Smith, make a kind of electronic music rich in sophisticated orchestrations, with a variety of layers with sounds that are often ethereal, and a clear taste for space.
Choosing to create long pieces, these artists develop extraterrestrial suites in it, with slow parts and others of a rhythm sustained by sequencers.
2003. Edgar Kogler
This CD from 2003 features 60 minutes of modern Berlin School electronics.
Volt is: Steve Smith and Michael Shipway, a pair of Brits who exhibit tasty talents rooted in the retro, Berlin School sound.
Let's visit Mars. Look--the tour is taking us to examine one of the Martian canals, those immense chasms that mysteriously crisscross the surface of the Red Planet.
The sonic journey begins softly, with a passage of ethereal atmospherics. This nebulous definition is swiftly swept into masterfully sequenced melodies that radiate with power and surging riffs. Cycled chords encircle us, while electronic textures establish a hazy backdrop of twinkling starfields and the somber darkness interplanetary space. Intricate keyboard patterns emerge, swimming in an aerial ballet that provides its own rhythms without the application of percussion.
Sweeping arcs of sparkling sound descend toward the crimson landscape, bringing us within touching distance of the great terrain. These dreamy tonalities are punctuated by unhurried synthetic beats which decelerate our plunge, imbuing this section with a heavenly grandeur that evokes the majesty of this desolate locale with a gradually accreting sonic density.
The final track commences with a flurry of space-age effects, blending gurgling radio signals with the rising hiss of a jet exhaust.
After a stretch of quasi-romantic expression delineated by pleasantly shrill synthesizers, this trajectory transports us into a thick nest of active electronics and nimble-fingered keyboards. The sequencers produce a lush tapestry of engaging riffs peppered with upwardly-mobile locomotive tempos generated by rapidly compressed keyboard notes. The tune becomes more vigorous with insistent melodies and soaring embellishments of bubbling consistency. The crescendo is certain to dazzle us with its sonic strength and emotional prestige.
Of the CD's three tracks, the first two are in-studio creations, while the third (and longest track, at 24 and a half minutes) was recorded live.
Although comprised of improvised performances, this music exhibits strong coherence and impulsive melodics that evolve into quite stirring experiences.
2003. Matt Howarth
VoLt is a new duo from the UK consisting of Steve Smith and Michael Shipway. New but not entirely unknown because Shipway released 3 solo CD's in the early 90's on the now defunct Surreal To Real label. The 3 tracks on "The Far Canal" (Parts I, II and III) were performed live in concert and in the studio, the only preparation being the programming of sounds and sequences.
"The Far Canal" is an exceptional album. It contains an own approach by the duo to the concept of Retro/Berlin School. Part I opens atmospheric and after a while a sequence appears. This is the start of a long improvisation where they make use of great sounds. The second part again begins with quiet sounds. Than, a stretched piece enters with many atmospheres and an intriguing rhythm. Part III with over 24 minutes is the longest and also the best track. It is a live recording. First, it contains spacey effects after which rather symphonic sounds and solos come. Than the sequences, full and impressive, fall in and the solos become heavier making it an absolutely great piece. A sort of classical Tangerine Dream but played on modern instruments.
With "The Far Canal" Volt has created a great piece of work. It is retro, it is Berlin School, but something else than we’ve heard in this genre so far.
2003. Paul Rijkens