Recorded at The Backroom Studio between December 2003 and februari 2004|
- Narissa [13:29]
- Dark Skies [6:51]
- Touching the Void [14:02]
- Medusa [4:34]
- Surface Control [9:15]
- Downside Up [7:47]
- Kaleid [12:51]
- Chasing the One [9:37]
Reason 2.0 Software Music Studio, Evolution MK - 261 Midi Keyboard, Evolution UC - 16 Midi Controller, Terratec DMX6 Fire Audio/Digital Soundcard
Behind Create is the Englishman Stephen Humphries. His debut-CD with the great title
"Reflections From The Inner Light" is dedicated to the Berlin School. There is a lot of retro-EM
released at the moment, so to attract attention you must come with something special.
Humphries does that. Striking in his music is the fact that he doesn’t make use of instruments
like Mellotrons and analogue synthesizers but that he does everything with the aid of software.
The difference cannot be heard. In eight pieces he exploits the diverse corners of the Berlin
School in an intriguing way.
The CD opens in "Narissa" with all kinds of fat sounds that reminds of legendary albums like
"Body Love 1 & 2" and "Mirage" of Klaus Schulze, calmly accompanied on the background by excellent sequences and easy rhythms. This sets the tone for the rest of the CD.
There are a great number of very good compositions on the CD like "Touching The Void" that has a lot of Mellotron sounds and some extremely strong sequencer lines.
Also is "Kaleid", again with fine sequences and drum sounds that are a bit more on the foreground now, an outstanding track.
Humphries knows what he does. All music is played well an with much attention to details.
Create has created a very pleasant retro-CD that might attract many fans of this genre.
2004. Press Information
Create is one of the newest members of the EM scene, Steve Humphries from the UK. The opening track "Narissa" is a tribute to Airsculpture and Steve does an admirable job of paying homage to them.
The atmospheric beginning, the sequence fading in, the high thin synth lead, are all traits of Airsculpture's signature sound, their essence adeptly distilled without being blatantly copied. If anything Steve adds a few extra layers and touches, keeping the music moving along a bit more than Airsculpture.
If Airsculpture were to add just a few Techno elements and a bit more structure, the end result might sound very much like "Dark Skies" the catchy second number.
"Touching The Void" swooshes in on the solar wind, joined bypads and the Berlin school staple, Mellotron flute. Once the steady beat and sequence come in, this 14 minute track catches it's groove and rides it to the end in fine form.
"Medusa" starts with some cool knob twisting and then string sounds are added to give the track an ambient feel.
"Surface Control" picks up speed quicker than most, a brisk toe tapper with yet another variety of electronic elements seamlessly joined together in very entertaining fashion.
The formula is much the same on the final three tracks, but in each and every case it works so well. Is there room for yet another entrant into the Berlin School?
2004. Phil Derby / Electroambient Space magazine
I just wanted to write, and tell you that your new CD, Reflections From The Inner Light, is simply magnificent.
I've been playing tracks from it regularly on my station for a few weeks now, and this evening we aired it in it's entirety. The listeners absolutely love it.
Personally I think it's just absolutely incredible.
Though there are obvious similarities to what everyone calls the "Berlin-School era of electronics" the feel and sound of this disc is very contemporary and breathes with a vibrancy, freshness and originality all it's own. Great job and I hope to be hearing more work from you in the near future.
All the best,
2004. John Garaguso / Progressive Soundscapes Radio
Although Reflections From the Inner Light was realized via software means only, Stephen really stretches the limits of his instrumentation on this release, creating an album of well crafted Berlin School EM.
"Narissa" starts with mysterious synth chords that, after a while are joined by nice lead lines. This is wonderfully atmospheric and quite effective. Soon the sequences emerge that make this a classic formula Berlin School track. Very nice rhythms as well, and a haunting Mellotron flute / synth combination at the end.
"Dark Skies", not surprisingly, starts with dark synth drone and analogue-sounding lead line, soon joined by effects and synth pads. Slowly the rhythm / sequence elements take over, making this an edgy and stomping EM number. Got my toe tapping to this one. The track is finished off by threatening bass synth lines.
The next cut is "Touching the Void". Again, we hear a dark introduction and a haunting Mellotron flute refrain. Soon after the 3 minute mark, the sequences are introduced along with a rhythm, although everything stays very atmospheric and moody. The track has got an unusual solo timbre that I found very pleasant.
"Medusa" is the shortest track of the lot and is dominated by EMS-like effects and Mellotron choir / synth lead / atmosphere tandem. Nice!
"Surface Control" is initially a major-key, cheerful track, which then becomes very urgent and exciting. One of the best compositions on the album - I really enjoyed this one, including the superb soloing.
"Downside Up" - a deep introduction, with whooshing synths and processed pad sounds. But the track's main asset are the sequences, that are rich in color and yet subtle and very effective. There's also a Mellotron flute to be heard. The rhythm is relaxed, resulting in a laid-back mysterious EM track with just the right amount of rhythmic propulsion.
"Kaleid" is another one of those "floating mysterious introduction-long sequencer part-mysterious ending" tracks. It's a classic Berlin School formula that always works when done with attitude, as is the case with "Kaleid".
"Chasing the One" is the last track and the best composition on the entire album. Sounds different to what has come before (Mellotron choir, repetitive structure, very prominent bass sequence), but that's part of its charm, I guess. It's like chasing some ship in a space convoy. Very evocative.
If you enjoy the Berlin School of Electronic Music, Reflections From the Inner Light will give you more than a hour of pure listening enjoyment.
2005. Artemi Pugachov / Encyclopedia of Electronic Music
It always is pleasant to listen to well elaborated, varied sounds, giving the impression that the musician possesses an excellent mastery of his instruments.
In "Reflections from the Inner Light", we find an artist who has a great skill in the musical technique as well as the necessary technology. By means of a very successfully achieved orchestra of virtual analogue synthesizers, Create weaves a collection of melodic pieces, fresh, lively.
The style, bold and avantgarde as it is, is situated on the border between Space Music and the most strong areas of Synth-Pop.
2004. Eduardo Fontana
This release from 2004 features 78 minutes of languid Berlin School electronics.
Create is the brainchild of British synthesist Stephen Humphries.
Soothing electronic textures usher the audience from the real world into a realm of glistening unreality. As cyclic sequencing emerges, the harmonic flow coalesces with gentle substance. Sounds thicken without amassing weight, marshaling the appearance of an escalation of velocity and the introduction of a core theme. Additional patterns join the mix, some of them surfacing to function as cybernetic rhythms.
A shriller definition enters the flow, achieving a state of electrified puissance that pulses with an inner verve. Softly muffled percussion provides an understated cushion to support the manner in which everything else surges with tempered animation.
Waves of artificial surf gurgle and bubble amid a mounting harmonic, very reminiscent of early Klaus Schulze. This gives birth to a luxuriant structure of repetitious loops which eventually lose their redundancy and forge off to generate fresh patterns of lustrous design. Each new riff embodies its own radiance, and as these newborn specimens cluster, the melodies pursue collateral essences.
Interesting tidbit: although this music sounds like it’s full of mellotrons and analogue synthis, Humphries generates everything using software.
2005. Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity
There is a wonderful new UK artist called Create who is doing great things for all sequencer fanatics out there.
His album "Reflections From The Inner Light" on Groove is superb. Very Klaus Schulze/Bernd Kistenmacher so if you like those artists you'll love this music!
2005. berlinschuler / Santa Fe New Mexico
Behind Create is the Englishman Stephen Humphries.
His debut-CD with the great title of "Reflections From The Inner Light" is dedicated to the Berlin School. There are a lot of retro-EM CD's released at this point in time, so to attract attention to yourself you must come up with something special. Humphries does that. What is striking about his music is the fact that he doesn't make use of instruments like Mellotrons and analog synthesizers but that he does everything with the aid of software.
The difference cannot be heard. In eight pieces he exploits the diverse corners of the Berlin School in an intriguing way.
Michael Foster / Ambient Visions
As homages/revisitations to Berlin school EM, this album by Create (Stephen Humphries) is a solid effort. I personally prefer the music of the neo-Berlin artists, e.g. Gert Emmens, Paul Ellis, Dom F. Scab, John Lakveet, but as straight-up Germanic sequencers and synthesizers go, these eight tracks illustrate Humphries' talent and creativity (no pun intended) when it comes to sculpting rhythmic and also spacy electronic music. I would've preferred shorter tracks (three of the eight are in the thirteen minute range) because, frankly, when sticking to the retro Berlin school sound, there's only so much you can do with soloing keyboards gliding on top of sequences, no matter how inventive you are or how interesting you try to make it.
That said, "Dark Skies" is a great and ultra-moody piece of music that builds slowly but inexorably from spacy beginnings to become an explosive combination of laser zapping synths, percolating bass beats, cybernetic textural effects, and sweeping dramatic keyboards. The soloing later in the song, buoyed by frenetic drumming, is among the best on the album.
Of the longer tracks, "Touching the Void" comes the closest to satisfying my tastes. The dramatic swells and undulating drones at the outset are joined by flute lines cast in a forlorn light. When sequencing hits later in the song, Humphries balances retaining the air of drama and eeriness that was prevalent earlier with more dynamic energy expressed through an evolving assortment of beats and rhythms.
"Medusa" (a shorter song) is noteworthy for its alien bird-call effects and relative downbeat nature; it's almost dirge-like at times and always moody.
The album closer, "Chasing the One" is another song I enjoyed, this time owing to Humphries transformation of the track from quasi-Vangelis bombast to propulsive rhythms and dramatic strings and finally to one of the best sequences on the CD, brimming with electronic impulsiveness intermixed with chiming/resonating tones.
While I wouldn't go so far as to say Reflections from the Inner Light is a great album, I can understand why fans of retro-Berlin music are excited by the emergence of yet another talented practitioner of the subgenre. If you count yourself in that subculture, this album will meet or exceed your expectations.
Electronic Music. Retro. Berlin School. Potenza del "file under"! Con due parole l'ufficio stampa della Groove ci catapulta in un mondo sonoro evocativo e liquido, quello della Germania cosmica di Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Cluster e Agitation Free.
Eppure dietro il progetto Create non c'è un tedesco ma l'inglese Stephen Humphries, al debutto con un dischetto dedicato proprio alla scuola berlinese.
Elemento distintivo della sua musica è il calore. Non c'è traccia di armamentari analogici: Humphries fa tutto al computer eppure il suono caldo e avvolgente di synths d'epoca, mellotron e organi eterei c'è tutto.
Emulazione, certo, ma con abbastanza saggezza da rendere "Reflections" un disco gradevole.
L'opener "Narissa" arriva direttamente dalle Porte Del Cosmo, la magniloquenza di "Touching the void" e "Kaleid" farà vibrare l'immaginazione dell'ascoltatore, cullato in un soffice e meditativo space sound.
Riecheggia così la marea sonora di un Gottshing ("New age of earth" ad esempio) o dello Schulze di "Blackdance", affreschi barocchi per una musica pittorica e dall'impatto visionario. Non mancano momenti di slancio che possono ricordare la "via italiana" dettata da Baffo Banfi, Albergo Intergalattico Spaziale e Sangiuliano.
L'autore si sbizzarrisce in "Dark skies" e organizza una vera e propria sinfonia cosmica in "Surface control".
Peccato che i brani tendano ad assomigliarsi troppo, a essere prolissi e ripetitivi ma si sa, in questo genere è facile sfruttare all'inverosimile una buona idea... Nulla di nuovo sotto il sole, ne siamo convinti, tuttavia Create sarà apprezzato dai sostenitori - e ce ne sono ancora molti - della miglior kosmische musik.
Donato Zoppo / MovimentiPROG
Sometimes it seems like a gem will just fall into your lap. That's the case with Reflections From the Inner Light, the first cd from the artist who calls himself Create. This cd, released on the Groove Unlimited label, further enhances the reputation of this already-venerable EM label.
Create (the nom-de-plume of Stephen Humphries) introduces the cd in the lines notes simply by saying it is his first "official" cd and that it represents "the music of the retro Berlin school."
And, oh boy, does it do that! It's cds like this one that make me wish my bedroom cd player had a randomizer setting on it. Each track of the eight are filled with atmospherics reminiscent of early Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze and to some extent, Kraftwerk.
Tracks like "Chasing the One" incorporate an insistent, throbbing bassline beat with overlaid dappled keyboard notes.
The opening track, "Narissa", is a gliding, meandering journey which slowly evolves into something a bit more uptempo, without the listener being aware of the change taking place.
Three of the tracks on this cd are longer than twelve minutes in length. The entire cd boasts some 78 minutes of playing time, so this is money well spent! Of the cds I have spent an inordinate amount of time listening to, Reflection From the Inner Light is added to the list.
Considering that Humphries has accomplished this entire feat using software, the cd is a marvel of accomplishment and creativity. This cd has made repeated journeys to the spindle of my cd player.
May it do the same on yours!
2005. Fred Puhan / Ambient Visions
CREATE se cache l’Anglais Stephen Humphries et son premier album Reflections From The Inner Light est un long hommage (78’31) à l’école déjà citée. Dans le domaine, il faut, pour émerger, faire preuve d’originalité. Et Humphries en fait puisque tout l’album a été écrit avec un logiciel. Il n’y a ni mellotron, ni synthétiseurs analogiques, mais le résultat est bluffant. Les références aux deux volumes de Body Love et à Mirage ne laissent aucun doute avec les passages de «mellotron» et les lignes de séquenceur tandis que certains éléments à la «flûte» évoquent plutôt Encore.
Tout est composé et interprété avec beaucoup d’attention aux détails.
In the liner notes of Reflections from the Inner Light, Steve Humphries, a.k.a. Create, states "This CD represents my first official CD and the music of the retro Berlin school." For a Berlin school album, this set has a lot of ambient timbres and atmospheres. It is definitely a Berlin school effort and the ambient elements add to the soundscapes.
Steve's deep sequences and rhythms swirl around and through the atmospheres. The atmospheres surround the listening area. Deep listeners will enter the soundworld and embark on a journey to and from the inner light. In this instance the inner light is the inner self and this CD becomes a vehicle for meditation and adventures into the soul.
The good folks at Groove have found another winner and add to the diversity of their catalog. This is a special CD from a special label.
2007. Jim Brenholts