Recorded live at MSL studio with mixing and editing by Michael Shipway.|
- Journey to the Rim [21:35]
- Dark Entrance [15:04]
- Through the Rings [20:48]
- Soaring Beneath the Surface [15:41]
All tracks composed and performed by Michael Shipway and Drums on track 6 and Steve Smith
Michael Shipway and Steve Smith are two English electronic musicians who on "Through The Rings" present their third musical outing as VoLt.
Bringing in a lot of musical experience as well as typical British humor ("No synthesizers were harmed during the making of this album"), the duo composes music that results in a melodical variation on the Berlin School.
The opening track "Journey To The Rim" is a fantastic example of the many things that VoLt is capable of. It brings back the nice times from the early nineties when serious electronic music was rising again after a difficult period but it also contains some beautiful passages that easily could be used as film music.
The filmy quality of VoLt music continues in "Dark Entrance". The title track has the most references to the Berlin School style. Starting with samples of Mellotron choirs, it moves into a great sequencer piece with perhaps the best patterns they have come up with so far. These guys know what they are doing!
"Soaring Benaeth The Surface" could again be a soundtrack but now for an horror movie because it begins very dark and industrial. But after darkness comes sunshine because great sequences take over and they start to solo.
It brings back memories of John Dyson’s "Evolution".
Is there a EM British School? Yes, and VoLt are the leading tutors.
Track 3, Through the Rings is simply the most stunning piece of electronic bliss I have heard in many, many years.
This is an essential purchase for anyone who is into classic Berlin School.
Anticipation, Fear, Excitement, Hope....
by accident or design, these four improvised pieces reflect our different moods at the time of recording, which we hope you will share as you listen.
2005. Michael Shipway
Fans of Wavestar will love this music which develops into sequencer pieces with warm solos reminiscent of John Dyson. These long cuts are ideal mind journeys that show Michael and Steve’s evolution into their own unique trademark sounds. Theirs is an essence that makes electronic music a collection of individual artists who don’t copy but put their own stamp on the aural experience of this genre.
The softness of the first track gives way to darkness and uncertainty in the second piece, appropriately titled "Dark Entrance", which melds into a lead solo that evokes the dark entrance into a new reality, reminding me of a new beginning after a painful loss or experience.
"Through The Rings" evokes images of a cosmic encounter beyond our understanding. Beautifully melodic but foreboding, this piece evolves with a soft and reassuring solo that’s positive and leads us through the uncertainty, followed by the sequencer machinations of complex beauty.
"Soaring Beneath The Surface" starts with a deep space feeling, then develops into a rigidly intricate sequencer track of crystalline electronic music similar to a lighter version of Free System Project.
The darkness, while evident, is just part of the feeling. With Volt, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.
2006. Pat Murphy / USA
"Through the Rings" is an impressive symphony of emotional melodies and stellar atmospheres, where the less abstract elements of Space Music merge with those more ethereal ones from New Instrumental Music. The melodies appear to grow little by little, in a continuous crescendo that reaches incredible heights. The rhythms are sequencer-based, thus resulting into complex, powerful, and impressive ones.
The great dose of talent that Michael Shipway and Steve Smith, the members of Volt, have put in this work can be appreciated especially in the very same character of the music, which seems to sprout from the deepest regions of the soul.
Another UK act that went down a storm at E-Live was VoLt AKA Michael Shipway and Steve Smith and here they are again with another retro blitz on "Through The Rings", another manna from nirvana for any retro lovers who I'm sure will go a bundle on the 4 long tracks here.
Once again, I found the atmospheric sections the most pleasing with the sweeping chords that grace the early sections of "Dark Entrance" and the ultra-spacey choirs that herald the beginning of the 20 minute title track both proving worthwhile.
Michael Shipway and Steve Smith need no introduction. Both have been settled in the EM scene for years now, although they have been operating a lot in the background. With their project VoLt, activity picked up and was brought to attention with two albums on the Groove label.
The third, "Through The Rings", was released in early October last year and presents four long tracks in their landmark style. The tracks are perfectly built up compositions, and all have a decent mixture of stylish keyboard layering, added sound effects and soulful melodies.
"Journey To The Rim" sets the tone with a lot of variation within 21 minutes and gives the listener a relaxed feeling.
After that, the cd gains more depth and darkness, resulting (for instance) in the mighty mellotron part of the title track and the massive power of the void from the opening part of "Soaring Beneath The Surface". This is truly significant EM that combines the cosmic electronic style with a variety of solos (mostly on the Roland V-synth) that just keep going in each track.
This is one of the EM highlights of 2005 and if there’s one duo that claim to be the true "Lords of the Rings", it’s VoLt, without a doubt.
Wouter Bessels / SonicImmersion.org
Having seen VoLt twice E-live 2005 and HJ6 they just get better each year.
If you have not seen them at least get this cd. Your mind, body and soul will thank you many times over. Then are all of that see Michael and Steve live!
2007. Daniel / USA
Through the Rings is deep ambient space music disguised as Berlin school electronica. VoLt – Michael Shipway and Steve Smith – improvised these four pieces during live studio recording sessions and they assure listeners that "no synthesizers were harmed during the making of this album."
the set begins with a definite Berlin school piece. It is light and airy with gentle sequences. As "Journey to the Rim" fades, "Dark Entrance" unfolds with some ultra-cool experimental sounds, deep drones and vast atmospheres. There are sequences but they are stretched out and compliment the ambient elements.
"Through the Rings" and "Soaring Beneath the Surface" continue the deep space adventure with expansive atmospheres that border on minimalism.
The good folks at Groove have always been willing to push the envelope and provide listeners with a wide variety of e-music.
This disc is, indeed, an essential ambient treasure.
Jim Brenholts / Ambient Visions
Quattro lunghi brani improvvisati: da una parte la mente corre ai Tangerine Dream, dall'altra pensa all'anomalia di questo disco, che sfugge alle costruzioni di tanti alfieri cosmici. Through The Rings è il terzo album dei Volt, il duo di Michael Shipway e Steve Smith. Qui l'improvvisazione diventa metodo espressivo, strumento per veicolare lo stato d'animo del musicista al momento dell'entrata in studio, come ammettono i due, che fanno riferimento alla paura, all'eccitazione, alla speranza. Il risultato è un cd assai riuscito, con una cifra stilistica non originale, ma autentica nella sua "berlinesità melodica" e gradevole, non lontana da quella dei colleghi Radio Massacre International.
A proposito di duetti: dopo aver accompagnato Paul Ellis, Craig Padilla si unisce a Skip Murphy per Phantasma (2006): un lavoro di raffinato ambient per i due californiani, che esplorano sequenze e fondali sonori con la consueta abilità e momenti di lirismo.
Donato Zoppo / MovimentiProg