Produced by Paul Ellis and mastered by Ron Boots
- Tick Tock [10:00]
- The Realms of the Unreal [10:00]
- Forever Endeavor [10:00]
- Flesh and Blood [10:00]
- The Unveiling Moment [10:00]
- MirrororriM [10:00]
Brenda Erikson - cello on track 6
Six tracks: six times ten minutes. This is the result of "The Infinity Room", the third album by American synthesist Paul Ellis on the Groove Unlimited label. This fast growing power in electronic music switched from a Berlin School-orientated style with the band Dweller At The Threshold and on his early solo works, to an impressive mixture between Berlin School, ambient and lots of own inventions on his albums on Groove.
His last album "Silent Conversations" was no less than sensational; on "The Infinity Room" he does it again.
As said, all tracks clock exactly ten minutes. It starts in "Tick Tock" with a softly thrusting piece of music in which at the end slowly the sound of the Big Ben in London is played. Paul’s music clearly shows traces of the well-known names in electronic music but has so much own input that can be stated that he has a certain style of his own.
"Forever Endeavour", for instance starts dark and evolves into a great sequencer track. Again, kind of quiet and slow.
The quietness is also present in another sequencer piece, the excellent "Flesh And Blood".
After the brilliant ambient piece, with Mellotron flutes, Paul hits the sequencers again cleverly in "MirrororriM".
This man is capable of something. This music is powerful, professional and very beautiful.
And the cover by Pablo Magne is also great again.
What more can a fan of serious electronic music possibly want?
Having been a music reviewer for many years, every once in a while an artist or band comes along that completely inspires me to such a level with their musical creativity and I am happy to say that Paul Ellis ranks among the few that have.
As I have mentioned in previous reviews, Paul Ellis is perhaps widely known for his collaborations with sonic seasoner Steve Roach, but to compare his music with Steve would be a mistake – not in a negative sense as Steve's work has a unique quality and meaning all of its own. Paul manages to create a sound that constantly evolves and develops through time and space, combining some of the most effective sequencing work to be found from any musician on this planet. He is well aware of the self-identity within his music and he offers something for everyone who has even the minutest interest in the EM genre. He has produced several albums that are as equally effective in their own right and I would highly recommend any of them without hesitation.
For starters his new album, 'The Infinity Room' inspired by time, strangely enough comprises of 6 tracks, each with a duration of exactly 10 minutes.
The opus to the set is 'Tick Tock' and is a good indication of not only the style of music on offer here but also what is to be expected throughout his other releases too. In other words if you like this you will certainly like anything else this guy has produced. The piece starts in resonant bass loop territory over a decent mixture of cosmic effects. An occasional theme enters over washes of light chord structures until eventually a string theme is introduced. Remaining somewhat mysterious a cosmic Mellotron theme enters and the piece moves through various layers of transposition until settling on its main theme. Things subside slightly at just over the 6 minute mark, where several clock styled effects are brought to the fore and it all ends on a dark drone over a cosmic theme and effects.
'The Realms of the Unreal' begins with high pitched synth chords but is soon joined with a low and panned drone with cosmic effects. The bass drone gradually becomes more powerful thus intensifying the sound over oceans of further and more prominent effects which move effectively in and out of the mix. A theme is introduced at around two and a half minutes and a very Jarre-esq sequencer pattern emerges, creating a sound barrage not too dissimilar to that found on the title track of the aforementioned artist's 'Magnetic Fields' album. The track becomes more diverse as it progresses and a bass type theme emerges before dissolving in cosmic overtones.
Track 3, 'Forever Endeavour' is an absolute Melotron fest and starts off with a cosmic low drone under a slightly melancholic theme. A bass sequencer pattern emerges at just under the four minute mark and is closely followed by effective additional patterns. After four minutes an analogue styled theme is introduced and it is during this point that the track is reminiscent of 'Encore' period Tangerine Dream with additional Mellotron chords adding further evidence to the distinct TD influence. The piece enters abstract territory with some unusual voice textures before finally resting on a decent Mellotron flute theme.
A lighter cosmic theme graces the first part of 'Flesh and Blood' over a decent array of effects. At around two minutes the piece changes direction completely and the sounds of breathing and a heartbeat are evident. At just after three minutes the piece changes direction again and a sequencer pattern enters. A theme appears but is closely followed by further effective sequencing work and chords changes. Then out of the ashes a string theme rises with orchestral orientated sequencer effects. At six minutes a steady and almost live acoustic percussion section takes hold before a Mellotron flute sound takes center stage towards the end of the piece. The track finally lays to rest on the obscure breathing and heartbeat effects encountered earlier on.
'The Unveiling Moment' is the only non-sequencer track on offer on this album and gives the listener the chance to reflect on the sonic barrage encountered thus far. This piece is full of atmosphere and includes shimmering drones combined with occasional bird and water effects. Slightly organic in approach this piece is a perfect cauldron of light effects and warm chord structures.
Finally we have the oddly titled 'MirrororriM' which features, predominantly the sounds of a cello. The synth textures are very scarce during this section allowing the acoustic sound to dominate the sonic landscape. Just when you thought it was safe at 2 minutes the piece completely changes via a blast of fast tempo bass sequencing. The only theme in this piece is to be found during the final few moments and it relies entirely on the effective changes and transpositions of the sequencer sections. At just under 5 minutes the track becomes more obscure and there is more of the mid 70's Tangerine Dream influence to be found. This is an absolutely superb album and I can't recommend this highly enough.
Those who are uninspired by some of the recent EM artists of the day seriously need to grab this album which is bound to rekindle some of the magic of true and pure EM, of which this is the very finest example.
Apparently some of the themes Paul found suggested by and influencing the music, were Time, Mortality, Autumn, Echoes, and the equal length of the tracks was an exercise in saying all he wanted to get across,in pre-set time frames.
But what about the music itself. Well I have to say as a big fan of Paul's, that on first listen to this album, I thoroughly enjoyed it. As a musical experience I found it very relaxing. But Paul had lulled me into a false sense of security as on the last track a beautiful melancholic cello piece played by Brenda Erikson, suddenly gives way to a kick ass sequencer fest completely jolting me out of the cosy comfortable doze I had slipped into towards the end of this sequencer extravaganza, which finds Paul really enjoying himself,he starts imploding the driving sequencer line back in on itself, and then goes on to create some more incredible effects, that I won't even attempt to describe. Brilliant! An absolutely cracking track, but I'd like a bit more warning in future please Paul.Thank you!!!
The wonderful track I mentioned before, that Paul did with Nemesis, has found it's way on to the album as track 3, entitled, Forever Endeavor, and a very welcome addition it is too. For me it has references to TD's Stratosfear album, and is truly superb, including lovely Mellotron effects. Not to be missed.
The rest of the album is also of the highest quality, with Paul's musical brilliance permeating the whole affair. There is just something about Paul's music that I find utterly compelling, and I was hooked and entertained from start to finish.
Paul suggested the album has an overall melancholic feel to it, which I didn't pick up on at first, but as I've listened again I do see what he means.
The album isn't depressing, but it does have a reflective and pensive quality. That is, until it kicks you up the backside in the last track
.I think this maybe Paul in playful mode. You decide.
Paul Ellis est un musicien américain qui aime les atmosphères et les sons ambiants. Très attiré par le mouvement Européen, sa musique donne un mélange unique qui fascine et qui étonne d’écoute en écoute. The Infinity Room, son 8ième opus, n’échappe pas à cette règle. C’est un cd truffé d’effets sonores variés et de nappes synthétiques denses. Six titres pour 60 minutes, six titres qui durent 10 minutes chaque. Le timing est parfois brusque, mais l’idée de base est assez originale.
Tick Tock démarre sur une bonne basse atmosphérique. Le rythme est doux, comme un souffle cosmique, entouré de belles envolées synthétiques. Le synthé se dégage de l’emprise atmosphérique et suinte de belles lignes mélodieuses, dont une superbe sur une air de gros carillon. Divin.
The Realms of the Unreal souffle un vent synthétique qui pousse des effets sonores entourés de fluides synthétiques aux différents aspects. Les notes virevoltent dans une atmosphère cosmique et se tortillent entre elles. Ce royaume de l’irréel baigne dans un univers sonore riche où les bruits fusionnent avec des lignes synthétiques aux différentes tonalités. Très atmosphérique, ça fait très Michael Stearns sur M’Ocean.
Cette ambiance éthérée se poursuit avec Forever Endeavor où une flûte synthétique pousse un air du moyen orient. Un truc inattendu qui donne son effet. Statiques, les multiples effets créent un tempo lent qui se dandine sur une ligne basse arabesque.
L’ intro atmosphérique Flesh and Blood tourne en une jolie mélodie séquentielle. Accompagnée par des effets sonores dominants, cette douce ligne s’efface pour faire place à un souffle mi humain mi cosmique et se métamorphose en un rythme plus effréné, plus pesant. Les percussions martèlent le mouvement hypnotique qui s’échappe des souffles synthétiques. Le mellotron est suave et délirant. Un bon titre qui a du coffre, de la profondeur.
The Unveiling Moment ne dévoile pas grand-chose, si ce n’est que la quête d’un long voyage intérieur. Un titre très relaxant où la quiétude des effets sonores d’une forêt aux milles attraits nous transporte sur nappe de synthé aussi dense que relaxante.
Nous retrouvons la fraîcheur de la flûte synthétique qui amorce l’incroyable virée de MirrororriM. Un titre étrange qui défonce et qui fait décaper la peinture sur les murs. Très rythmé, les synthés se font des échanges cosmiques sur des lignes de basse qui fusent de toute part. Un Jean Michel Jarre sur le ‘’speed’’. Incroyablement dense, riche et cosmique. Il est exactement à l’image de son titre. Ceux qui disent et pensent que la MÉ est ennuyante peuvent aller se rhabiller.
The Infinity Room est un superbe opus. En ce qui me concerne, c’est le meilleur, à date, en 2006. Un titre très riche qui allie les atmosphères ambiantes et spatiales aux rythmes sombres. Des rythmes évolutifs en constantes harmonies avec les superbes et denses nappes synthétique. Pour les amateurs d’atmosphérique, The Infinity Room doit figurer sur votre liste de prochaines dépenses. Pour les amateurs de lignes séquentielles à la Berlin School, c’est un excellent compromis.
The Infinity Room est un opus qui navigue bien entre les deux parallèles culturels.
2006. Guts of Darkness
In his continuing investigation into contemporary electronic music, Paul Ellis has produced The Infinity Room (60'01").
On this sonic expedition he provides music no less structured than on previous releases, but with a reduced directed energy. While the heat may be turned down, this music is still quite animated in its color range and articulation. Working with a palette out of the tonal twilight, Ellis carefully layers elemental tones and distinctive accents over an ever-shifting foundation of chords to form a range of new and expressive synthetic arrangements. His synthesizers, powered by a current both electrical and imaginational, allow Ellis to inhabit his own territory - somewhere between a new cinematic spacemusic and an ultra-cerebral prog-rock. Each of the six tracks begin simply, but in time evoke complex meditations. The vivid sonic compounds are the magic and essence of The Infinity Room.
Each piece possesses a unique and original narrative formed out of engaging melodies, a beautiful contrast of harmony and a continuum of classic and newfound sounds. With this work, Ellis proves that carefully arranged and composed melodious electronic music made up of complexly modulated sounds and dramatic tonal shifts need not sound obtuse, overly intellectual or trite. From cosmic stillness, to shining brilliance, to sensory seduction, Ellis' imaginative scoring and captivating intensity conjure up new visions with each session.
Chuck van Zyl / Star's End
Paul Ellis’ unique brand of electronic synthesizer music starts slow, subdued, and utterly cool with "Tick Tock", the first of 6 tracks of exactly 10 minutes each. The confident assurance in Ellis’ composing and playing grow with each release. The reserved beginning relaxes the listener and sets up a sense of appreciation and expectation.
The coolest abstract sounds open "The Realms of the Unreal", and it too remains low-key throughout, softly percolating sequencing appearing only in the latter half, and even then rather restrained.
"Forever Endeavor" has an expansive feel like Robert Carty’s space music, alive and breathing. Buzzes, crisp percussion, and a nifty bass line move more into Ian Boddy mode, followed by warm mellotron strings; beautifully composed and rendered.
"Flesh and Blood" takes a relatively simple, pleasant musical phrase and explores it fully, developing just so.
"The Unveiling Moment" is a perfect counterpoint to it, the softest and most soothing track, complete with chirping birds but without any of the pitfalls of new age.
The surprisingly brisk and exciting "MirrororriM" ends things on a most upbeat note.
What is striking is that the music seems to be in the exact middle of any scale you could use to define it; with rare exceptions, it is neither slow nor fast; neither loud nor quiet; and neither happy nor sad. And yet, rather than finding a mundane middle ground, it hits the sweet spot, the perfect center of what it should be. That makes The Infinity Room Paul’s best effort to date, and something special.
2006. Phil Derby / Electroambient Space
Paul Ellis has succeeded in achieving an impressive sound adventure in this release, whose roots are within deep Ambient as well as in the Space Sequencer Music. The artist wisely measures rhythm, melody and atmospheres, with an architecture rich in dense orchestrations, even if not lacking in passages dominated by soloist sounds or turbulent environments, The album displays the artistic creativity that Ellis has, as well as his skills in the use of synthesizers.
And this leads us quite nicely to one of the finest modern American synthesists, Paul Ellis, who has released two albums "Silent Conversations" (GR-119) & "Infinity Room" (GR-130). As ever, Paul uses his surrounding environment to influence his work, giving it a definate ‘American’ feel that, in places, is reminiscent of Steve Roach circa Dreamtime Return & the band Brain Laughter.
Thus, it’s very different to European fayre, being reminiscent of wide open prairies with some strummed guitar adding a very earthy tone to "Trance Figure" on the former album.
The latter has 6 tracks, all running at exactly 6 minutes each & is another thoughtful & progressive album where Ellis’ skills in creating really atmospheric synth music are again well to the fore. The sequences are used sparingly, with the exception of the closing "MirrororriM" where they really let rip, boasting an almost psychadelic edge that brings this fine album to a tumultuous close.
Carl Jenkinson / Sequences
This release from 2006 offers 60 minutes of shimmering electronic music.
Beyond theology and science fiction, infinity is a mathematical concept, and Ellis has applied a cunning sense of numeric order to this release. The cd is 60 minutes long; there are six tracks, and each of them is ten minutes long.
Pensive pulsations dominate the first track, providing a foundation for oscillating tones to ooze throughout and clever effects to rise and fall, all contributing to achieve a dreamy entrance to Ellis' Infinity Room.
Things get darker with the second track, as ominous sonics usher the listener deeper into the chamber. Twinkling electronics provide adequate illumination, revealing shimmering layers of gauzy riffs that swirl and ripple with haunting fashion. As the tune progresses, verve appears in the form of driving velocity, carrying the melodies into a frenetic state.
The third piece is steeped in languid textures, peppered with growling effects and chirping diodes. Crystalline keys emerge, generating delicate passages of endearing conduct that slide into more dramatic disposition as the music adopts an airier quality.
Track four explores statelier territory with atmospheric tonalities breathing behind emotive harp strings and tiny loops that swell with each circumnavigation. Eventually, percussion enters the mix, goading all the elements to livelier activity.
The next track exemplifies a more pastoral flair, as environmental samples conspire with spinning effects to produce a gestation of awe-inspiring scope as the tune leaves the stratosphere and plunges into a sedate firmament of heavenly mien.
The final composition uses a sawing cello as a brief intro to an eruption of frantic pace and locomotive density. The riffs are urgent and intense, pummeling the audience with nimble-fingered chords that crash and twitter with breathless intention.
Overall, an introspective turn for Ellis as he sheds his Berlin School roots and strikes off to dabble in more daring terrain.
Matt Howarth / Soniccuriosity
Six tracks on this CD with each a very different atmosphere. It is therefore unlikely that the mainstream EM-fan will enjoy the whole album. However, hats off for Paul Ellis because he has managed to make "wandering off the beaten track" his trademark. On this CD we hear a blend of a lot of styles.
For instance, track 2 reminds me of "Planetary Unfolding" by Michael Stearns, whereas track 3, "Forever Endeavor", has a very distinct mid 70's feel about it, not in the least because of the creepy atmosphere it conveys.
Track 4, "Flesh And Blood", is a nice one, hard to compare with anything, but I would have chosen a more 'aggressive' instrument than the Mellotron for the soloing.
Track 5, "The Unveiling Moment", is probably the most atmospheric track of the whole album because it depicts a paradise-like landscape, haunted by an evil force that is about to destroy it all. Again, we get hints of Michael Stearns, but also early Steve Roach and Mind Over Matter. Brilliant!
The closing track "MirrororriM" features a cello (like on "Dune" by Klaus Schulze) followed by a whirlpool of sequences, that is so dense and complex that it sounds a bit too much like a sequencer demo.
All in all, this disc tends more toward ambient because a clear A to Z structure is absent on most tracks. The variety of styles does not make for 'easy listening' so this album is recommended for 'the advanced EM freak' only.
2007. Erwin Broers / Belgium
Une fois de plus, Paul Ellis délaisse ses petits camarades de Dweller At The Threshold pour poursuivre sa carrière solo. Comme pour son album précédent, Silent Conversations, il intègre au classicisme de l’école de Berlin, autant d’éléments ambient que d’autres de sa propre imagination.
Il en découle cette fois-ci six pistes de chacune exactement 10 minutes (enfin, presque, les lecteurs sont implacables de précision). Les ambiances y sont douces, feutrées, atmosphériques, les boucles sont longues et langoureuses… Jusqu’au dernier morceau, MirrororriM qui, comme son nom l’indique commence doucement, agrémenté qu’il est d’un violoncelle aérien, puis retourne l’auditeur comme une crêpe par une succession de séquences échevelées.
Magnifique et dépoussiérant ! Ceux qui claironnent que l’e-music est faite pour les pantouflards s’en retrouveront comme deux ronds de flan.
LouLou / Prog-résiste
This album is another great addition to the Paul Ellis catalogue, imbued with his usual brilliant creativity and invention. He is a truly unique artist and continues that tradition here.
The music is pure listening pleasure,with Paul's beautifully crafted and layered electronica totally entertaining you from start to finish. It also has that intelligent and reflective vibe that is so typical of Paul's work,and i found it overall to be a totally soothing and uplifting experience.
The final track MirrororriM, is a sequencer extravaganza and a dramatic step up in pace compared with the rest of the album. I found it totally amazing. There is a section towards the end, where Paul appears to stop the sequencer line almost in its tracks, and then it implodes.
He does this several times and it's amazing.A superb way to finish the album.
If this wasn't enough,the third track is one he did with Nemesis called Forever Endeavor, and it's absolutely fantastic.
It has a bit of a TD Stratosfear feel to it, but at the same time is totally fresh and new. Superb!
I highly recommend this album to all fans of Paul Ellis, and if you haven't sampled his work before, here is a great place to start.
You won't be sorry you did.
2006. Roy Jackson / UK