All tracks composed and performed by Dom F. Scab except:|
- Birth of Tree
- Urban Graffiti
- Blurred Dusk
- Technical Shapes
- Incineration Works
- Micro Life Structure
- Old Prophecy
- Abandoned Places
- Eternal Tree
Track #3 composed and played with John Lakveet.
Track #7 midi guitars by Odracir Lavid.
Dom F. Scab from Spain is an absolute master in creating rather short sequencer pieces with an emphasis on melody. This is quite unusual in electronic music because the sequencer work mostly is a stretched business.
Domís sequences are of an impressive nature. It already starts with the track "Birth Of Tree" which contains layer upon layer of sequences over which effects are played on the immense Yamaha CS80-synthesizer. "Urban Graffiti", with interesting rhythms, follows the same path. It is not all sequencer work on the CD: "Blurred Dusk" is a nice and quiet ambient track. With the CS80 in hand, it is possible to sound like Vangelis and on "Incineration Works" this is the case.
"Old Prophecy" is a title well found because it has some of the same atmospheres as the electronic music from the great days. The sequences in this piece are absolutely brilliant.
"About A Tree" again proves that Dom F. Scab is one of the leading names in the retro-electronic music. But through his special sound and way of working you could say it is a style of his own.
2003. Press information
With his growlingly recognizable style, synthesist Dom F. Scab creates amazingly impressive orchestrations of synthesizers with which he develops very expressive melodies and wondrous rhythms. His use of sequencers, far from the so frequent traits in so many musicians, makes of rhythmic structures an inseparable component of the very architecture of melodies.
This, together with his excellent natural skills to imprint constant variations in all the elements that constitute the structure of the compositions, including the rhythmic sequences.
"About a tree" is a superb album, brimming with impressive, innovative ideas, which will appeal to the followers of Space Sequencer Music and other risky avantgarde trends within electronic music.
2004. Jorge Munnshe / Spain
Spanish musician Scab has certainly not been resting on his laurels since the success of his "Facta" album, released less than a year before this one.
While Scab's music relies heavily on sequencers there's none of your usual Teutonic '20 minute slog' malarkey as, throughout, Scab builds each track into a complex, ever changing web that manage to cram plenty into their relatively brief (by usual EM standards!) durations, meaning that everything is concise & to the point.
While this reliance on sequencing can sometimes get slightly heavy going he at least leaves room for the odd touch of genius such as the rhythmic coloring that adds a good dose of power to the 9 minute "Urban Graffiti" & the muscular "Abandoned Places", the atmospheric opening that graces "Blurred Dusk" or the spacey "Old Prophecy" which was co-composed with Odracir Lavid.
The warm, emotional feel of the closing "Eternal Tree" is embellished by effective Spanish guitar making for one of the album's highlights as Scab comes into his own, easily equaling the efforts of many of his more established peers & it's an area he'd certainly do well to develop further.
I certainly don't intend to go into all the ins & outs of this album (haven't got all day, after all!) but this comes recommended if you want to check out a talented musician whose doing something just a little bit different with those ubiquitous sequencers.
2004. Carl Jenkinson / UK
Pablo Magne and his art serve as the inspiration for About a Tree, a heavy CD by Dom F. Scab.
These nine compositions follow Pablo's vision of a hypothetical future, (sad and hopeful) at the same time.
Dom balances his style between the straight Berlin school and the modern European styles of electronica. While he does not stray far from sequencing, he blends deep atmospheres and heavy drones. The balance and segues are smoothe.
2004. Jim Brenholts / USA
For me, Dom F. Scab's material is immediately recognizable for its intricate, staccato sequencing and its polished, endearingly eccentric sound design.
With About a Tree, Scab retains these signature elements of his style, but he is by no means content to retread the same sonic territory he explored with its predecessor, the excellent Facta, which must have been a tempting prospect for Scab considering the fact that that album was very well received by both critics and fans. Instead, Scab has reinforced his already well-established creative integrity by crafting yet another fully realized, innovative sound world.
One quality that distinguishes About a Tree from Scab's previous releases is its somewhat more expressive emotional atmosphere. This stylistic evolution is possibly best exemplified by the album's opener "Birth of Tree", with its sweeping, rapid-fire sequencing and plethora of tantalizing melodies, ranging in tone from seductively ethereal to subtly demonstrative.
Another song that embodies both this album's aforementioned tendency towards expressiveness as well as Scab's progressive approach to Neo-Berlin School is the intensely frenetic "Micro Life Structure", which lucidly conveys its subject matter by conjuring up images of microscopic organisms desperately struggling to stay alive in a hostile environment. Additionally, it epitomizes Scab's rare ability to employ the sonic trademarks traditionally associated with Berlin School without allowing his creative process to be stifled by their usually accompanying pathos, a refreshing change from today's often times highly derivative EM scene.
Although About a Tree no doubt features some of Scab's strongest and most defined melodies to date, he has by no means abandoned his more experimental side, which is most notably represented by the highly atmospheric and aptly titled "Blurred Dusk". Primarily, this piece showcases Scab's meticulously crafted sound palette, comprised of all manner of glurps, crystalline chimes, and other sonic oddities, as well as his adept implementation of expansive, amorphous synth washes.
Another more experimental outing is the somber, industrialized "Incineration Works", which, while maintaining a predominantly atmospheric foundation, also incorporates more structured elements such as pseudo-improvisational melodic flourishes and occasionally surfacing sequencers.
Despite my substantial admiration for all of the previously mentioned pieces, none of them constitute what I consider to be this album's highlights -- an impressive accomplishment indeed.
My favorite song on the album is without question "Technical Shapes", with its hauntingly insistent sequencer pulsations and elaborate arpeggio adornments, all interwoven with intoxicatingly melodious supplementary sequences.
The mystically charged "Old Prophecy" also ranks amongst this album's most satisfying pieces, and fans of Andy Pickford may notice that the sequence that starts around 4:50 is highly reminiscent of the closing section of "The Sentinel" from Nemesis.
Despite its many successes, About a Tree does have its occasional shortcomings.
For example, the initially superb "Urban Graffiti" eventually becomes too repetitive and vainly relies upon its minor sequencer variations and the aimless meandering of its wispy lead lines for its appeal. I also found the closing track somewhat inconclusive and anti-climactic, and the fade of the final refrains gives the impression that Scab simply ran out of ideas. However, in Scab's defense, the track *is* entitled "Eternal Tree", so perhaps this is exactly the feeling he wanted to evoke in his audience.
Upon listening to About a Tree, it becomes abundantly clear that Scab is wholeheartedly invested in his musical growth, as evidenced by the variety, evolution and ingenuity that these compositions exhibit.
Although I can't say that this album surpasses his previous Facta, which possessed a certain awe-inspiring transcendent quality that he will be hard-pressed to ever top, it is still tremendously effective and compelling, not to mention a more than worthy addition to Scab's ever-growing catalogue of extraordinary soundscapes.
Travis Briggs / Wind & Wire
Dom F. Scab is a hard worker, and after his splendid Facta thereís already a new one.
About a Tree is inspired by the audiovisual paintings of Pablo Magne, which portray a hypothetical future. Immediately after hearing the galloping sequencers in "Birth of Tree", we know that we are in for some ride. Scab has an enormous talent for arranging electronic sounds into a hotbed of "outrageous" compositions. Every new synth motive pushes the tension further to the stars. Then the rhythm fades and we are left with slow strokes of wide strings, after which the track transcends into a new atmosphere with even more uplifting, gorgeous pointy sequence patterns.
Before we know ten minutes is part of history. And he doesnít slacken his pace when we arrive at "Urban Graffiti".
"Blurred Dusk", which Scab co-wrote with friend and fellow countryman composer John Lakfeet, seems like a kind of surprise. It opens with slow pulsating strange noises on a bed of strings, but develops into another winner.
"Technical Shapes" and "Micro Life Structure" is classic Scab.
"Incineration Works" catches the ear with the reflecting electric piano on a layer of smooth strings.
The sequencer of "Old Prophecy" echoes the best TD.
Itís a rarity that Scab delivers less then high quality and I donít think anyone should be mournful after that observation.
2004. Roel Steverink / NL
Dom F. Scab has obviously been heavily influenced by the post-kosmische musik contemporary electronic sequencer music that emerged during the 1980's. Music of this era brimmed with optimism and energy as a generation of artists swept onto the scene, embracing new technology while emulating and complementing their idols - taking the genre beyond cliche with artistic expectations met and often exceeded. On About A Tree (65'57"), Dom F. Scab offers nine vital compositions which are both further refinements of his craft as well as significant contributions to the genre as a whole. This album is characterized by the much-loved arpeggiations of staccato synthesizer tones and sequencer acrobatics revered by audience and musician alike.
Pieces on About A Tree each average in the 5 - 10 minute range. The music always develops quickly and without hesitation, running thoughtfully through its twisty course of breathtaking tempo changes, ambidextrous rhythm patterns and advancing and retreating layers of syncopated synth pulsations. Scab's series of connected and rapidly orbiting synth tones cascade up, down and through major, minor and diminished chords. Giving depth and dimension to this flowing latticework of rhythmic tone and echo are Scab's gorgeous, breathy synthesized harmonies and bright, warm analogue lead lines. Here and there Scab provides the listener with some contrast in the form of smooth, floating, fully formed realizations of drifting space - a moment of reflection before another launch. Throughout About A Tree, Scab seems to be pushing his hardware and software to its limits - nearly searing circuitry's or overloading microchips through the musical energy generated.
Yet his dedication to the vintage sounds and aural explorations of electronic music is boundless - as it is fed by the excitement and enthusiasm of an artist constantly in pursuit of his full potential and that of his mode of expression.
2003. Chuck van Zyl / STAR'S END