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 Joint Efforts The Album review by Artemi Pugachov

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:59 pm    Joint Efforts The Album review by Artemi Pugachov Reply with quoteBack to top

an extensive review of Joint Efforts "The Album" by Artemi Pugachov

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A daunting task but it's finally completed. I hope everyone likes the results.

This wonderful 2-CD set originates from a thread at the EM forum (www.emportal.info) where some member musicians decided to make a project together. It took a few years to complete but the result of this cooperation is this document full of great Electronic Music of varied styles.

We kick off with Peter Tedstone's "Time Drift". Wonderful, fat, aggressive sounds are unleashed upon an unsuspecting listener before a nice groovy rhythm is introduced, supported by melodic sequences. This track has all the ingredients an EM fan could want - great melodic hooks, excellent sounds and a nice rhythmic base. An instant winner!

Von Haulshoven continues with a Baroque-like spacey piece called "Airplay". This excellent track takes its cues from both Classical music and the classic cosmic EM of the 1970's. The sounds are tasty and the flow and dramatic grandeur of this piece are just fantastic. In other words, "Airplay" gives us seven minutes of pure electronic heaven!

"Approaching Draconis" by Corporation is one hell of an EM track, too. It starts with an absolutely stunning electronic soundscape that reminded me on Andrew Sega's soundtrack to "Freelancer" game. This is really top-notch stuff and just the type of EM I like most - cosmic, unearthly, hypnotic, dreamy... Kudos to Adam Britton, the man behind Corporation. How he does it I don't know but I do know that it is just pure magic. The rhythmic second part, laden with arpeggios and a stiff rhythm, is almost quite as enjoyable. A masterwork of EM, this one. The way the sounds are arranged, not to mention how masterfully they are programmed is worthy of praise.

Now to Alpha Wave Movement's "Pulse". Thankfully, it is yet another stunner. Drifting sound wave in and out as a mournful lead is heard. A pulse (surprise, surprise!) begins, as the track becomes more melancholic, relying of flowing pads as much as on the rhythm itself. There's also room enough for a wonderful, emotional synth solo.

Arroniz leads us through "Time Portal". The track relies on a steady rhythm, some sampled acoustic instruments and a lot of pads. This great composition is more or less in line with Schulze's material from roughly 1986 - 1990. A great trip - abstract and yet urgent and purposeful. Improvisation plays a very important role here. Arroniz has already proved himself as one of the premier EM artists from Mexico and this track shows why.

Francois-Pol Cornec is a name familiar from the "Analogy" series of samplers. Here, he paints a vision of the land "Beyond the Portal". The intro is typical picture music, with nice electronic effects and an improvised melody. After a while a pulse starts and drives the rest of the track along. There's a sense of mystery and danger permeating this melodic EM piece. It's also high on symphonic elements, very Vangelis-like at times.

Mac of BIOnighT provides a little experiment in the form of a 4-minute rhythmic piece, called, you guessed it, "Experiment 4". And, yes, it is yet another corker! The track combines Tangerine Dream's 1980's style with some dramatic string quartet / mellotron melodies. Needless to say, the combination works perfectly. Thank you, Mac, for this wonderful, emotional piece of music.

"Flashback" by Polaris is next. An atmospheric intro gives way for simple sequences that, combined with a subtle bass drum rhythm, result in an infectious EM brew that got my head nodding and my foot tapping in no time. The way the track builds up with small melodic phrases is worthy of applause. This is certainly a track made by someone who knows his craft well.

"Electrophoretic Black" is a track by Voynich that begins with a deep soundscape laden with pads and twittering effects. A bass pulse starts, gaining in momentum, supported by mellotron flutes and choirs. This is a great modern Berlin School track that's stylistically in line with Create's recent works, if you know what I'm talking about. If you like sequences, rhythms, good melodic hooks and that ever-so-subtle 1980's TD soundtrack touch - this will be right up you valley. As a fan of said ingredients I found this piece highly enjoyable.

Megatone opens up "Portal To Hyperspace" with a majestic, symphonic piece that beats all non-electronic soundtracks to sci-fi epics to dust. It's grand, solemn, symphonic, electronic, cosmic, optimistic and everything in between. If we don't destroy each other, our future in space will be bright, and when they open up the first portal to hyperspace, they should really have this as their soundtrack. This great piece of music finishes off the first disc in a truly outstanding fashion.

Disc two could be named "The Ambient Disc" but there is a fair bit of rhythmic pieces too, although as a whole it's a bit more atmospheric.

"Portcullis Draconis" by Russell Storey is a spacey opener, with strange echoing intro and an experimental main part, populated by all sorts of electronic effects and modulations. There's also a background sequence running through the soundscape. A very nice piece, relaxing and yet unusual and explorative.

"Incubus" by Seren Ffordd is not as scary or dark as the title might suggest. In fact this rhythmic and atmospheric piece invokes a sense of cosmic grandeur and mystery. This piece is rich in tone colors and shades of sound and makes up for a fine evening listening. A good pair of headphones is recommended.

Eric G tells us a story of "3100 Events In A Desert Mine" by means of a haunting analogue soundscape. This is excellent music filled with warm and reflective pads, spacey effects and mournful leads. I could listen to it forever. Hints of classic Schulze (from "Mirage" to "Audentity") in both the sounds and the mood are abound. The second part has even a marching one-note bass pulse ala Tangerine Dream's "Desert Dream".

French artist Frederic Würtz aka AEM with his "Distant Observation of Solar Activity Part 2" is next. The track starts as a spacey floater but then bursts through with a great analogue sequence, resembling a distant relative of "Rubycon Part 1". So you think you've heard it all in the Berlin School genre? Go listen to this track and you'd be convinced that there's an artist to discover. The sequences subside and then return with much more oomph after a brief atmospheric part. This time we are propelled forward on top of these glorious synthetic waves at quite a pace. Wow!

Na-Koja-Abad's "Forgotten Encirclement" is a piece that would be enjoyed by fans of the tribal Steve Roach. Here we have strange textures, samples and subtle percussive sounds. The atmosphere is that of mystery and divine, esoteric ancient rituals. There's not a lot of music done in this style today so I greeted this track with open arms.

"Black Sun" by Modulator ESP begins with a metallic soundscape before a sequence is introduced. Other ingredients include pads, more melodic sequences and fine effects. This track is very typical the rhythmic side of Jez Creek's music that dominated his albums before he turned to more ambient forms of expression. If you enjoy rhythmic, berlin-esque forms of EM, "Black Sun" is a track for you.

Chromengel gives us "Marcoo", a track that starts with an atmospheric soundscape that gradually builds momentum and resolves with an intense melodic composition of symphonic grandeur. I am reminded on Tangerine Dream's "White Eagle" and as I love this work, I enjoyed "Marcoo" a lot. It has everything I want from a melodic, non-sequenced Electronic Music track. Another comparison would be some of Edgar Froese's solo stuff, e.g. "Stuntman".

The Glimmer Room has a short number called "Know Happy Ever After" in line for us. This track is melodic as well, going for the optimistic, major key tonality - a nice contrast to the mostly stark and dramatic music from other artists. I should also mention the excellent programming of sounds by Andy. He sure knows what here's doing here, and everything is in the right place.

The next piece, the Phrozenlight's piece, lasts for 7 minutes and 30 seconds and it is fittingly titled "7min30". You'd expect something ambient and floating from Bert but it is in fact one of his sequencer pieces. Not that it lacks something in atmosphere, though. As we know, Bert is a master of sound sculpting and here the main focus are the endless and hypnotic synth scapes, while the sequence takes a back seat, sometimes disappearing almost completely in the sea of strange, mysterious textures.

Finnish guys from Nemesis wrap up this unbelievably good collection of music with their "Empire of Lights". I love this piece that is full of cosmic grandeur and serenity. I feel like I am watching some supernatural light show in space as I listen to this. It's amazing what feelings and visions can be conjured sometimes by a seemingly simple piece of music. It's magic.

Progressive Electronic Music (also known as "EM") is one of the most criminally underrated and ignored genres of music of our time. But I am sure it is the most interesting and one of the most diverse genres that has ever graced this little Earth. This album is not only a good starting point, it also features a whole range of styles, and it shows us what it is that's so good about EM. This important task could only be completed by a set of very talented artists and it is definitely the case with "Joint Efforts - The Album". Let me conclude this review with one of my favourite phrases: "Long live EM!"

Thanks everyone for this great music!

Artemi Pugachov

www.pugachov.ru



for a musical impression of Joint Efforts "The Album" you can listen here

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 5:02 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

A few typo's spotted, thanks Koos. Wink
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:54 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Wow!, Artemi...
I like your positive approach and
meticulous review on this
double Album project!,
congratulations and thanks!!!

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 7:05 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks for the generous comments on the track, Artemi, and a very good review of the album. I typically listen to multi-artist compilation albums with some trepidation, my finger often hitting the "next track" button given the variable quality of what's usually on offer. But I'm happy to say The Album is one of the best EM compilations I've heard in a very long time. There is, without exaggeration, not a single track on there that shouldn't be there. I think everyone really brought their A game to this, and I hope it gets plenty of - as Von Haulshoven puts it - airplay.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:38 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Thank, guys!
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:31 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

even something nice about my music Wink

thanks

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 2:20 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Thank you very much Artemi for your encouraging review! I really intended to make a composition like an imaginary soundtrack to a space science fiction movie like Starship Troopers or Supernova, or like spacy games as Colony Wars!
For the brightest future!!!
And I wish to notice that your mastery of literary English is a great accomplishment that not many can attain!

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 3:19 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

« megatone » wrote:
And I wish to notice that your mastery of literary English is a great accomplishment that not many can attain!


Smile

Thanks but you're being too generous. I still do typos quite regularly and have many things to learn. English is an immense world, really.

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