Recorded between March and May of 2004
- Light Bank [14:36]
- Oblivion [5:53]
- Earth To Mars [19:37]
- Gethsemane [10:00]
- Solar Flare [13:52]
- Re-Entry [5:32]
- Goodbye [5:24]
Tribute To Michael Garrison
Reason 2.5 Music Software Studio, Evolution MK 261 Midi Keboard, Evolution UC-16 Midi Controller, Terratec DMX6 Fire Audio/Digital Soundcard
The man behind Create is Englishman Stephen Humphries.
His debut-cd "Reflections From The Inner Light" was dedicated to the Berlin School and that is just what is also happening on "From Earth To Mars".Striking in Humphries’ music is the fact that he doesn’t make use of instruments like Mellotrons and analogue synthesizers but that he creates everything with the aid of the software program "Reason". The difference can not be heard. When he plays live, he uses (lots) of hardware synths though. This of course also makes a more interesting show.
"From Earth To Mars" is an oasis of sequences, fat analogue synth solos and pads, effects, space-atmospheres and gentle electronic rhythms that -in case of sound- has references to the big EM-names. Especially old Neuronium and Robert Schroeder come in mind. Sequences play an important part in Steve’s music. It immediately starts with a wonderful pattern in "Light Bank". This is continued in excellent epic tracks like "Earth To Mars" and "Solar Flare". The music is long-stretched with a lot of emphasis on details. "Goodbye" is a tribute to Michael Garrison, the EM-pioneer who sadly died a short while ago. This track shows another side of Steve with more warmth and melody. It reflects the many creative sides of Create.
With or without "real" synthesizers; it doesn't matter. Create makes good music and that is what counts!
Received this album recently. I overall like this album. It seems that Steve Humphies is one of the most experienced "Reason" users around. So many different sounds within 1 program. It also sounds very analogue and real concerning the used equipment. As some of you know, I am not fond of software-synthesizers because I always have the feeling that I miss something. I regard it mostly as "a sound without balls". But not with this record.
Some songs have to busy arrangements for my liking, but the ideas are very strong and well thought. It doesn't remind of older "famous" work of other artists because the work has a strong original point of view of Steve on electronic music. The absolute highlight for me on this album is the tribute song to Michael Garrison: "Goodbye".
2005. René van der Wouden
Steve Humphries is back with his follow up to his strong debut Reflections From The Inner Light.
Once again he has created a disc rife with classic space and retro sounds, presented in a fresh way, sure to please most discriminating e-music fans.
"Light Bank" builds and builds in a thoroughly enjoyable manner, a terrific track to start things out. Though the sounds are familiar and again pay homage to his favorite band AirSculpture, the arrangements are invigorating and exciting.
Even better is the exquisite title track. A steady thumping beat and synths find a cool groove and run with it for nearly 20 minutes. I think of AirSculpture’s excellent first album Impossible Geometries when I hear this one.
The great music continues with "Gethsemane", another energizer sure to get your brain tripping out to the hypnotic sequencing and your toes tapping to the infectious rhythms.
Continuing on to "Solar Flare", Steve relentlessly keeps the energy and the fun going. Once it picks up speed this one is almost dance-floor ready, though still firmly rooted in Teutonic origins.
"Re-Entry" has a steady rhythm as well, and is full of great synth sounds. No synth oboes or guitars, just 100% pure electronic bliss.
"Goodbye" is a soft, tasteful tribute to the late Michael Garrison, a beautiful gently layered piece to close things out.
From Earth To Mars is excellent from start to finish.
2005. Phil Derby / Electroambient Space
"Light Bank" starts with deep atmospheres and subtle leads. After a while some arpeggiating synths can be heard. A strange combination of a rhythm and a sequence then appears. Intriguing. The sequences have a galloping quality to them making us motor along at quite a pace. Really, this piece is all about sequencing. Well done! At the end of the track lead lines come into prominence.
"Oblivion" is next. Strange, strange sounds get this track going. Very echoey metallic banging of sorts, broken sequences. All topped by dramatic strings. After a few seconds a sequence appears while the strange backing continues to cast its spell underneath.
"Earth To Mars" starts with some nice effects but soon a toe-tapping rhythm and sequences appear. And what sequences! They'll have your head nodding and your body moving in no time! The rhythm is then embellished by additional subtle bass throbs. A melodic theme is played on top and the journey begins. This is a very, very strong and mature track in pure New Berlin School style. Sequences sequence, rhythms bang, pads float, lead lines scream - everything sounds as if it was meant to be exactly that way. Top notch stuff! The top of the crown is of course the sequencing - these are definitely pulsations done by an expert! To make long story short, this is one hell of an epic sequencer track.
"Gethsemane" kicks in with bass sequences and sampled Mellotron strings on supporting role. The track gradually gains momentum with more sequences added so in the end it's another sequencer-dominated track with only slight strings / choir background arrangements.
"Solar Flare" is a high-energy number with very intense sequencing. Nice melodic hooks and rhythms on that one. This is probably as energetic as prog EM gets. At the conclusion of this track the sequences shine in all their glory for a while, before an atmospheric section brings things to a close. Interesting use of processed shakuhachi flute as well.
"Re-Entry" initially is chock full of alien-like effects. Soon a middle-paced sequence appears together with a bass rhythm. A curious and rather unusual track with different textures & overall atmosphere. The solos are abundant and have a pleasant, "retro" (arghhh....I hate using that term!) sound to them. The sequences are also an attraction - very nicely done.
"Goodbye" is a track written as a tribute to the late musician Michael Garrison. Guess what! It actually starts like a lullaby! Yes, the slow melodic sequencing really sounds that way to me. Anyway, it's a soft, major-key number - quite a contrast to the rest of the minor-key, energetic and a bit bleak material that dominates "From Earth To Mars".
Overall I think that this album is more diverse than its predecessor, but has the same sort of vibe. After the first superfluous listening I'd say that the title track and "Re-Entry" are the strongest and the most interesting tracks, therefore, they are my favourites.
Great sequencer album.
2006. Artemi Pugachov / Encyclopedia of Electronic Music
Stephen Humphries continues in his excellent tradition of "mid-era" Tangerine Dream (mid 1970s to mid 1980s) style of synth music; his work is a must for the traditional electronic music enthusiast.
"Light Bank" opens the CD with a beautifully floating sequencer track, followed by the shorter "Oblivion" with a slow intro that evolves into another floating sequencer piece.
The 20-minute title "From Earth To Mars" is a repetitive but soft Berlin-style track.
"Gethesemane" is a 10 minute medium-fast sequencer piece that relays an anxiousness which reminds me of what Jesus must have felt in that garden the night before his crucifixion.
"Solar Flare" is a 14 minute track that begins slowly and leads into another Berlin-style sequencer piece with stronger percussion towards the end.
Odd sound effects start "Re-Entry" which sequences into the most different sounding track on the CD.
The last piece, "Goodbye" is a tribute to Michael Garrison that begins with a sad feeling, but the song’s soft beauty also evokes a positive feeling, no doubt about Michael and his music’s influence on all of us.
2006. Pat Murphy / USA
Da quando è nata, la "kosmische muzik" si è confrontata naturalmente con i temi dello spazio, delle galassie, dei pianeti, in un rapporto macrocosmo-microcosmo che prosegue anche nei lavori dei migliori epigoni. Discendenti diretti - se non altro per ispirazione artistica - della scuola berlinese di Tangerine Dream e Klaus Schulze, i Create tornano all'opera con un poderoso trattato di musica cosmica, che narra un ideale viaggio dalla Terra a Marte.
Dopo un disco incentrato sull'interiorità dell'uomo ("Reflections from the Inner Light", pubblicato da Groove nel 2004), il progetto di Stephen Humphries - inglese col pallino della musica teutonica - torna con questo imponente disco: dall'apertura di "Light bank" passando per le tessiture di "Gethsemane", il musicista ci investe di una vera e propria marea sonora, una sacra sinfonia cosmica guidata dai migliori synths elettronici e sequencer. Certo non è la quintessenza dell'originalità poichè abbiamo ascoltato una pletora di dischi simili: a Humphries va il merito di aver interpretato bene il concept del viaggio astrale, come si evince ad esempio dalla veemente "Oblivion" e "Solar flare".
Nel finale "Goodbye", un omaggio a Michael Garrison, il grande esponente dell'elettronica americana. Un tributo ma anche un collegamento con un'esperienza di suoni e di studi che lascia così un bravo erede.
Donato Zoppo / Movimentiprog
"From Earth to Mars" enters a very futuristic terrain of Space Music, with turbulent atmospheres, impressive sequencers and melodies between the majestic and the enigmatic. Although there are some slow passages, most of the music has a good rhythm, with a prevalence of the sequencers in the rhythmic structures. The melodies usually are warm, lively, with a certain romantic, symphonic air.
There are dark, mysterious passages. Others turn out to be epic, luminous. All the pieces are a clear sample of the excellent talent of the artist.
2006. Edgar Kogler
Steve Humphries AKA Create seems to be making a name for himself in the UK and throughout mainland Europe (helped by his gig at the recent E-Live which went very well, so I'm told) and with his second album "From Earth To Mars" it's not difficult to see why. These 7 tracks have got everything the EM fan could ever want; spacey chords, sequences aplenty and long tracks that, atop the rather linear sequencing boasts a number of good musical textures, again aided by the improved recording quality (in comparison to his debut) which gives this a nice full sound.
One nice surprise was that rather than making the closing "Goodbye", his tribute to Michael Garrison a total soundalike he has instead composed a restfully wishful but atmospheric piece which makes for a nice celebration of Michael's life and achievements rather than mourning his passing.
This cd from 2005 offers 75 minutes of eloquent electronic music.
Create is Stephen Humphries.
Delicate keyboards generate languid foundations, establishing regions of shimmering chords upon which the melodic electronics shine like jubilant stars. Lavish passages of layered textures unfurl, gradually building strength until the sky is thick with luxurious harmonics. Then the cycles that have been mounting vigor and volume emerge to command the mix with their velvet expressions.
Tenuous e-perc rises to a position of authority, becoming more demonstrative and lending lively rhythms to the flow.
Meanwhile, those mounting cycles cast off their restraint and commence resounding with engaging power. Evolving and intermingling, these riffs grow piercing while retaining a soft edge that evokes a dreamy voyage beyond Earth's atmosphere.
Mechanical sounds appear, flavoring the second track with tension that swiftly matures into a provocative drama. Sweet keyboard loops provide a congenial counterpoint that lightens the intensity as they merge with the clanking machinery.
The title track continues this dramatic interplay of dark and fancy. Pulsating patterns accrete with stolid determination, producing dense anticipation. This expectancy is rewarded once the lighter riffs enter the mix. Accompanied by elegant beats that prudently remain immersed in the flow, the composition seethes with potency and continues to thicken. Clocking in at nearly 20 minutes in length, this song as adequate time to build nicely to a passionate crescendo wherein all the elements flourish to remarkable altitudes.
All of the compositions here display this mounting grandeur, exhaling creativity until the music is ready to burst with vitality.
2006. Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity
On his second CD From Earth to Mars Create (Steve Humphries) continues to define his own spin on the Berlin school of electronica. There are heavy sequences and rhythms all over this set. There are also some outstanding ambient atmospheres and cool experimental sounds.
The strongest feature of this CD is, however, Steve's sound design. He gives each element the perfect amount of play. The elements compliment each other seamlessly. There are no weaknesses or flaws. Steve is relatively new to the e-music community.
His first two releases serve notice that he will be a major player for a long time.
2007. Jim Brenholts
This is Steve Humphries’ second album that he has released under the banner of Create and on the Groove label. Visitors of E-live 2005 could have seen this Englishman perform on stage with a lot of hardware in combination with computer sequencing. But on "From Earth To Mars", Steve works only with a MIDI keyboard and the Reason computer program. A lot has been said already about the way he selects and designs his sounds. It’s as close to analog as digital sounds could be. With that in mind, this cd is an updated tour du force from early 2004 when it was recorded. It’s not revolutionary, but it’s a big step forward compared to his previous cd "Reflections From The Inner Light".
Both long as well as short pieces are included, with "Light Bank", "Solar Flare" (bubbling sequencers!) and "Oblivion" (deep abstract sounds!) among the highlights and presenting the best work from Steve until today.
However, I do look forward to his next album. According to Steve, he will be working more with hardware synths. Let’s see where that leads to, musically! If the result will be as well produced as "From Earth To Mars", then Create really confirms its place in the current top of EM acts today.
Wouter Bessels / NL
L'année dernière, l'Anglais Stephen Humphries avait défrayé la chronique avec son premier album et tout le monde s'était extasié sur la gestation de cet album : aucun instrument n'avait été utilisé, uniquement un logiciel et un clavier MIDI. Et il remet çà en utilisant les mêmes outils et en se référant aux mêmes influences allemandes, Tangerine Dream et consorts.
Malheureusement, la magie n'opère plus autant. Sans doute Humphries a-t-il fait le tour de ses moyens somme toute rudimentaires, même si Reason 2.5 est très efficace. Le parallèle peut être fait avec ce que Klaus Schulze nous rapportait dans une récente interview. Même si la technologie lui permet de disposer de multiples synthés virtuels, il a toujours un vieux Moog ou un ARP qui traîne dans un coin parce que rien ne remplace les sensations ressenties avec les synthés analogiques.
Notre Anglais, pour réellement doué qu'il soit, devrait s'en inspirer pour ne pas tomber dans une routine qui lui ferait perdre ses auditeurs potentiels.
LouLou / Prog-résiste