The new 2007 album.
- Space time continuum [15:45]
- Ghost in the machine [12:09]
- Cryogenics [12:52]
- Footprints in the sand [13:08]
- Fading lights grow brighter [7:32]
This is the fourth CD by the English electronic musician Stephen Humphries, better known as Create. In comparison to his first three CD’s, Stephen has changed two things. First of all, he wanted to return to recording shorter tracks. Secondly, he now only makes use of hardware synthesizers (amongst them one of the flagship-synths of this time: the Alesis Andromeda) in stead of software.
Two of the five tracks on "Space Time Continuum", the titletrack and "Fading Lights Grow Brighter", were first performed at one of the "Awakenings"-gigs. Humphries’ music is a perfect blend of atmospheric sounds and perfectly crafted sequences. On "Space Time Continuum" the best sequences can be heard that he has created so far.
Take the titletrack, with which the CD opens. It starts real spacey, even a bit eerie, with great effects and SF-voices. After this a marvellous sequence enters and Stephen goes off with fine solos. The album contains two of the greatest tracks he has composed in his still short lived career. The first one is "Cryogenics". The piece begins with effects and Mellotronstrings, after which some excellent, menacing, sequences take over.
And if that is not enough, "Footprints in the Sand" shows even greater sequences, as well as fine samples of the nostalgic sounding Mellotronflute.
Well, is this music nostalgic or not? It brings back some of the best from the Berlin School.
Le lectorat de Prog-résiste est la crème des lecteurs. Donc, si je vous dis que Stephen Humphries peut être considéré comme un 'Old Faithful' de l'e-music, vous comprendrez où je veux en venir. Car, à l'instar du geyser du Yellowstone Park, le synthétiste anglais qui se cache derrière CREATE sort un album chaque année depuis Reflections from the Inner Light, en 2004. Et depuis ce premier jet, les albums connaissent une qualité croissante.
A l'instar de la plage éponyme qui ouvre l'album futuriste. Cela commence par ce qui est un dialogue avec un ordinateur avant que diverses séquences viennent s'amorcer en couches multiples, sur lesquelles viennent se poser mélodies éthérées et atmosphériques, et accords cristallins. Le fait qu'Humphries ait dorénavant principalement recours à de vrais synthés plutôt qu'à des émulations, même les meilleurs qui soient, n'est certainement pas étranger à cet état de chose. La musique et les compositions tout en restant synthétiques y perdent leur côté artificiel et y gagnent en chaleur.
Cela confirme Humphries comme un leader de l'e-music en ce début de XXIe siècle.
2010. LouLou / Prog-résiste
For its 5th opus, Create invites us in a ‘’entre deux’’. A skilful mixture between the cosmic vapors of Biospherical Imagery and the fierceness of Kindred Spirits. Not that Space Time Continuum has a violent temperament. It sails between random and the minimalism with melancholic exhalations.
The title track reveals a very spacey cosmic intro where a voice announces with regret, nothing can be done, or change. The tonality is equal to what the waltzing images of 2001 A Space Odyssey induced; a kind cosmico-dramatic fusion on calm, but arid, ethereal. The slow orchestral movements sail on a gloomy sea. Follows, a beautiful line with ascending reflections which cascades with softness, maintaining this chimerical vision of a space drama. The rhythm is soft and move slowly in spiral, like an abstract voyage in a synthesize sinuosity. A bit as Phaedra, a beautiful ghostly flute floods the emptiness. This opens a passage to heavy percussions, with hasten beats, moulding finely to a minimalism carrousel which filters its melody through synths with piercing and etching solos.
Ghost in the Machine offers an atonic and spacey opening, to sound effects with twisty and eclectic vocal breaths, as a crumpling of emotions. The movement settles with slowness, as if we look at an interstellar ballet where the gravitational movements are of a poetic tangibility. Light percussions install a sober rhythmic march, dress by beautiful languorous solos and short mislaid melodies to livid colors.
The crystalline flutes of Cryogenics start a parallel structure to Ghost in the Machine. Tasty the intro permutes in a nervous and hiccoughing sequence about the 5th minute mark. The world of Create becomes more agitate and offers a dense and animate musical coloring. Mellotrons are dancing on haphazard sequences, but structured on a steady rhythm, offering the best ingredients of a corrosive and mocking Create.
Footprints in the Sand starts quietly; amber-colored and fluty Mellotron which sails between the worlds of TD, Phaedra style, and Air Sculpture before offering an intense and insistent sequential movement. The sonorous impulsion is slow, but rushes by heavy spiral sequencer which progresses on increasingly dense and rhythmic cylindrical tangents layers. An impressive musical journey which circulates through superb corridors, to ghostly and orchestral synths. The comparison with the nebulas waves of TD, at the time of Phaedra and Force Majeur, is impossible to circumvent. By far, the best part on STC.
It is all with carefully that Fading Lights grow Brighter finishes Create 5th opus of. Strongly atmospheric, nebulosity of sphere of influences is heavy and is heartfelt on a space march on dubious tempos.
After each Create album, we are amaze to mention it has to be his best. As if Stephen Humphries controls the art to mark-down and innovate. In fact, the English synthesist is unaware of the rules of membership, in order to have a better modelling of him with the progressive passion that dictates him his approach.
A more contemporary writing where his emotions are etch with heart, sense and heat. Space Time Continuum is a sublime cosmic voyage on nervous and arrogant sequencers, an element which follows Create to each creation.
2007. Sylvain Lupari / Canada
Stephen Humphries, aka Create, explains in the booklet he found it time to release an album of shorter tracks as the previous two cds contained only very long tracks.
Well, the five tracks on "Space Time Continuum" continue in the characteristic Create-tradition, featuring both prominent and more hold back analogue sequencing bathing in a wide range of warm vintage textures, mellotron choirs, improvisation and fx’s.
In addition, the very nice sequencing and music of on the fourth track "Footprints in the Sand" seems a great tribute to TD's track "Monolight".
It once again proves the dreamy electronic world of Create is one which will continue to be loved and cherished by many electronic music fans around the globe, due to its accessible nature, mature composition and great sounds, but still leaving room for lots of improvisation.
Well done, Stephen!
2007. Bert Strolenberg
This is the album by Create I have been hoping for ever since I heard the demo to his first album. To me the CD marks something of a coming of age, his very best album so far.
Deep, windy, swirling vortex sounds abound at the beginning of the title track. We get a sample of the computer from '2001 A Space Odyssey' telling Dave that all is fine. Softer silken pads make a fleeting entrance then the vortex returns. Another sample from the computer gives things a darker twist before returning to soothing drones and ethereal wordless choral effects. A slow high register sequence emerges. A heavyish rhythm nicely fits alongside the pulsations. Lead lines of varying intensity, some flutey whilst others laser sharp, are released one by one. A further melodic sequence joins the party. An impressive feature of the track is some lovely use of Mellotron. Indeed this can be said of much of the album.
'Ghost in the Machine' has a very weird but extremely effective sound at the beginning. It is almost as if it is speech but so distorted as to turn it into unintelligible crackling static. Are we hearing someone trying to communicate with us or is it just our imagination? A soft contrasting melody floats through it all. It's an excellent opening section which gets even better with the introduction of more 'tron' and soft pads adding just a touch of melancholy. A slow deep rhythm and percussion line take things gently forward.
'Cryogenics' begins with a lonesome flute and yet more Mellotron. It's all rather moody but also beautiful stuff. A slow pulse gives a little structure whilst sedate sequence starts to form. A rapid sequence is deployed increasing the excitement levels. More sequencer lines seem to be coming all the time and as the note count per second increases so does the pleasure level. An excellent track.
Well if you still haven't had enough tron, yet more gets 'Footprint in the Sand' underway. A slow five-note sequence emerges from the lovely dreamy atmosphere. Things continue to build in classic Berlin School fashion as a second sequence joins the first, morphing nicely.
'Fading Lights Grow Brighter' is appropriately all rather shimmering until ethereal Mellotron arrives. We then get a really effective, extremely bass heavy, melodic motif that provides just the right darker contrast. A sequence does arrive but it's rather subtle, fitting in with the mood of the rest of the track. Overall though I did think that the track was a bit plodding.
The rest of the album was much better, the first track especially being a real belter!
Steve Humphries is back with Space Time Continuum, and it’s a return to form in the style of his first two albums, Reflections From The Inner Light and From Earth To Mars, blending spacey atmospheric passages with retro electronic music in the Berlin school style. He remarks that the disc goes back to making shorter songs, but in EM that’s a relative term, with 4 of the 5 tracks clocking in at 12 minutes or more, though none over 15. While this may seem a rather dry, technical observation it is an important distinction, as Humphries’ musical ideas seem ideally suited to this length, allowing enough time to develop but ending soon enough to avoid aimless meandering which can sometimes plague longer pieces.
The title track starts with loads of atmosphere, from male choirs to synth pads to various and sundry other electronic sounds and effects. A slow simple sequence picks things up about a third of the way through, along with a slowly shuffling beat and bright synths. It stays low key, building only a bit but just right, a very comfortable beginning.
"Ghost in the Machine" starts softly as well, a lilting little synth line introducing the piece alongside some unique sound effects, sort of half static half music that lends a fascinating character to it. This one evolves in beautifully, subtle and remarkably expressive for EM.
"Cryogenics" takes things down a notch with a moody piece, still with sequencing but lower in the mix.
Synth oboes alternate with mellotron flutes on "Footprints in the Sand," a traditional Berlin school number with hypnotic sequencing. The last track completes a mostly mellow but highly successful outing.
Im Herbst 2007 erscheint mit der CD „Space Time Continuum" der mittlerweile fünfte Silberling des Briten Stephen Humphries, der als Create bekannt ist. Nach dem Stephen Anfang 2007 sein Album „Kindred Spirits" im Eigenvertrieb herausbrachte, ist er mit der neuen Produktion wieder zu Groove Unlimited zurückgekehrt.
Fünf Longtracks zwischen 7:32 und 15:45 Minuten bietet die mehr als einstündige CD. Der Silberling startet mit dem fast 16minütigen Titelstück und entführt den Hörer gleich zu Beginn in eine andere, futuristische Welt. Da rauscht und zischt es zunächst, bis den Hörer eine Stimme begrüßt und der Eindruck erweckt wird, als sei man gerade in eine Science Fiction-Story eingetaucht. Nach dem sich einige Minuten weite Flächen den Weg durch den Raum gebahnt haben, kommt ein Rhythmus aus dem Hintergrund langsam nach vorne und eine sehr schöne, zarte Melodielinie gibt den Ton an. Das klingt nach Tangerine Dream der 70’er.
Durch ein unruhiges Rauschen, welches im Hintergrund immer mal wieder zu hören ist, lässt Stephen im zweiten Track den „Ghost In The Machine" los. Auch dieser Track baut sich langsam aber kontinuierlich auf und entwickelt sich im Verlauf weiter.
Ähnlich angelegt ist „Cryogenics", allerdings kommen hier im Verlauf schöne Sequenzerrhythmen, die im vorangegangenen Track, der etwas monotoner angelegt war, fehlten.
Ursprünglich stammen der Titeltrack des Albums und „Fading Lights Grow Brighter" von einem Liveauftritt, den Stephen im Juli 2006 absolvierte. Diese beiden Tracks hat er aber im Studio neu eingespielt und um weitere drei neue Tracks ergänzt.
Wie schon bei seinen Vorgängeralben bietet Stephen dem Hörer weiträumige Elektronikflächen und Sounds, die an alte analoge Synthies wie Mellotron oder Mini-Moog erinnern. Allerdings erzeugt Stephen seine Sounds mit digitalem Equipment.
Wer die Sounds der 70’er-Jahre Elektroniker mag, der liegt bei diesem Album auf der sicheren Seite. An vielen Stellen klingen Sounds der „Berliner Schule" durch. Für Liebhaber dieser Stilrichtung (TD der 70’er) ist diese CD wieder ein Muss.
2007. Stephan Schelle
This release from 2007 offers 61 minutes of astral electronic music.
Create is Stephen Humphries.
Grinding machinery is swamped by astral tonalities, establishing a backdrop of celestial demeanor laced with heavenly chords. Meanwhile, more keyboards trigger an assortment of glistening electronics that provide the central melodies. These frontal threads slowly evolve a modicum of pep while remaining studious and pensive. A slow-build process propels the progression, riffs and cycles regularly entering the flow and enhancing the music’s density.
Utilizing a variety of sounds, Create fleshes out each song with a diversity of crisp timbres and atmospheric textures. Bass tones lurk deep in the streaming structure, supporting the bevy of twinkling effects and dreamy sequencing.
A bit of e-perc is present in the music, usually somewhat immersed so as to soften the beats, relegating the rhythms to a deep immersion where their role becomes subliminal.
These compositions embody a tasty melange of cosmic airs rooted with earthy sentiments. This mingling of outward expansion and organic sources offers a balanced temperament, the spacey passages are grounded by a human perspective.
A science fiction theme runs through this music, with the first and last tracks dealing with astronomy, a cyberspace piece, and an instrumental ode to cryogenics. Diverging from this genre, one track ("Footprints in the Sand") concentrates on humanity’s historical survival.
2008. Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity
The combination of unearthly ambiences with melodies ranging from the mysterious to the symphonic developed in this album has an excellent result. The music attracts the listener's attention from the first instant, and awakens their imagination with noteworthy strength.
The work consists of slow themes or passages, together with others whose rhythm flows at an average speed. The textures of sounds are very well developed and contribute an important part of the cosmic nature of the album.
Steve Humphries – aka Create – gone back to structuring an album across several moderate length tracks with Space Time Continuum. Anyone familiar with his work to date won't be surprised by this album, though they should enjoy it. Two of the tracks have already been heard at Awakenings in 2006, and are presented here as re-recorded studio versions.
The opening title track "Space Time Continuum" is superb. Deep droning cosmic winds and spacey whooshes give way to excerpts of Hal speaking from the film 2001 A Space Odyssey and wondrous refrains gracefully ebbing and flowing. Discordant spacey noises then briefly intrude as a lead up to TD-esque chorals which in turned are followed by a beeping sound stuttering in and out of the foreground. A laid back percussive and beat driven rhythm is overlaid by assorted rhythms and melodies. This is a modern take, and an improvement, on the much imitated mid-70s era TD.
Each track follows a similar pattern with a spacey ambient lead up to a rhythmic or sequencing passage followed by a short reprise of the beginning for the denouement. This template isn't used to recreate old TD though; while some similar sonic elements are heard this is definitely Steve's own take on a well trodden path.
Two tracks are more subdued than the rest.
One of these is "Ghost in the Machine". Unsettling alien stuttering sounds open up over slowly twisting pads. An eerie refrain that wouldn't be out of place in a film then comes in briefly followed by some of the chorals heard on other tracks. All this builds up to a lazy tempo percussive rhythm and spooky sounds with a high(ish) pitched sheen consort with more chorals.
Steve obviously still has his heart in the classic TD from the 70s. While I wasn't enthused about his previous album Kindred Spirits I can say that Space Time Continuum is a better and more mature work.
Dene Bebbington / Melliflua
Very nice soundclips!! recommended!
2007. René / NL