Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Time Zero Review

Nice review of Time Zero by Artemi Pugachov

"Tronic Pulse" starts with warbling & rasping synthesizers coupled with mysterious Mellotron flute. After a while a sequence builds and we are immediately in mid-70's Tangerine Dream territory. Not bad!

"Beyond the Sun" has excellent deep intro. Jez made an excellent job of synthesizing really out-there sounds on this one. This is cosmic EM of the highest order. I just have to wonder why they don't use this stuff in movies about cosmos these days, going for some boring orchestral drek instead. Excellent sequence starts and what a great sequence it is! Coupled with a super-punchy bass sound it really has a bite to it! The Mellotron flute appears in this track as well, combining to great effect with synthetic textures. This is Berlin School with a fresh attitude - top notch stuff!

"Quadratic", once again has quite an aggressive intro, with harsh, raspy sounds and echoing clangs. After a while a slow sawy bass sequence appears. Another sequence joins the flow, making this a real wall-of-sound experience. This is stark, dark and decidedly un-commercial Electronic Music. The sequences are excellent while the overall nature of the track remains absolutely otherworldly. I think if you're into geometry - you will enjoy this. Jez has really managed to express the beauty of simple geometrical forms with this one - sort of a dry, naked beauty wrapped in intricate forms. And where one would be without that Mellotron flute? There's a bit of that too, but it only appears for the last several seconds of the track.

Next is "Eos Flight" that initially sets the stage with deep and mysterious effects & pads. A rhythmic pulse starts but never dominates. Looks like it's the most laid-back track so far. Various lead sounds and additional sequences play on top but overall the track retains that relaxed, jamming feel.

The title track starts with echoes of unknown origin but after a while we hear some whooshing sounds and very deep bass throbs. Various other sounds can be heard and this is easily one of those effective intro's you don't want to end. However, as we are closing the 10 minute mark, a slow bass / rhythm combination starts and takes us to the next section that is dominated by ever-so-slightly shifting and morphing rhythms, all of them of the laid-back variety. This is an unusual track indeed and it's unlike anything I've heard from Jez so far. A great lead line is heard around the 16 minute mark. Another sequence appears as the lead line continues its play. Some heavier rhythms can be heard after 20 minutes into the track that has turned into quite a journey by now. Superb analogue-sounding solos add a pleasant warmness and really make me go "wow!" This is quite simply some of the best neo-prog EM I've heard in a while. Fans of Berlin School will be delighted, especially those who favour complex, long-form compositions with great rhythms, lots of sequences, atmospheres and a sparkling solo or two to boost. One thing to add is that Jez' sound is now much more refined (compared to previous efforts) and supplied with a good dose of reverb, adding the pleasant "spaciness" to his compositions. He seems to have put much more effort in his songs which are now better thought-out and composed with a level of precision and feeling that many would be jealous of. The last part of the title track lets the sequences to shine in all their glory and adds a new bell-like sequence that sounds very organic. A mournful pad sound is all one needs to complete the mental picture of traveling through space & time. The journey's over and we want more.

But wait, Jez serves us a little dessert in the form of "Chromium". It consists of typical "Modulator ESP" atmospheres - all in a mysterious and a bit claustrophobic setting. Interesting little track.

"Time Zero" is the best Modulator ESP album so far and a real must for fans of Berlin School / sequencer music. Excellent!

from the Encyclopedia of Electronic Music

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Latest Updates

Shrewsbury gig with Mooch:

This went very well and was most enjoyable, there was a good reaction from the audience and I even sold some CDs. Stayed over at a very nice B&B and spent the following day mooching round Shrewsbury with Steve Palmer (Mooch).

Time Zero:

Was released at the Shrewsbury gig and initial sales went very well with virtually no advertising and I got some good reviews from people who bought copies. At the time of writing there are now only 7 copies left. There are full details here and reviews here

Awakenings 2006 vol 2:

This compilation will feature a new exclusive Modulator ESP track entitled 'Time Running Out'.

Awakenings 2006 vol 2.5:

This ambient compilation will feature a new exclusive Astrogator track entitled 'Astral Drift' which is an edit of material from the second Chesterfield Jam.


Went over to Steve's house on 2nd - 4th June, primarily to go on his stag do but also to plan/rehearse our set for our next gig, which is on July 8th at the Brudenell in Leeds. We will be doing a set as Astrogator and individual solo sets. Also appearing are the mighty Omega Syndicate. Should be a good one.

Listening back to recordings of the sessions we decided we probably had enough material for a limited edition release, provisionally entitled 'Dreamlight' which we hope to get sorted in time for the July gig.

I am also working on my solo set for Awakenings on July 8th and hope to do something a bit different from my last appearance.

Artist Server:

I've also just upgraded my Artist Server account so I can upload loads more music, I've just put up some old stuff and a couple of new pieces, which were improvised using the step sequencers in the Nord modular:

Modular Xperiment 01 - An experiment using multiple layers of shifting sequences, ebbing, flowing and morphing. One slot was used for sequences and another was used for background noise effects. This one turned out to be quite 'Berlin School' like.

Modular Xperiment 02 - Another experiment, this time with more random sequences. Sort of minimal chaotic ambient.