Paul Ellis and Craig Padilla Echo Systems Paul Ellis and Craig Padilla are two of the top sequencer and Berlin school electronicians in the new millennium. They began a collaboration in 2002. That project was put to the wayside when Craig’s wife gave birth to their first child. WHOA! Echo Systems arrived this year (2004)! This is a great CD! It is, without a doubt, one of the top ten sequencer space music albums of all time! Craig and Paul combine analog and digital synths, sequencers, chorale effects, rhythms, crunches, delays, atmospheres and every manner of processing technique to create magnificent soundscapes that are outer space! The music is the adventure! It is the journey! Interestingly, Paul and Craig "assume no responsibility for unaligned charkas." This disc is, however, a real rarity. This is Berlin school sequenced meditation music. Veterans of the e-music community – performers, listeners, reviewers and friends – will recognize the juxtaposition of those terms and styles. Sequences do not generally lend themselves to overtones and meditation. This disc is an exceptional CD with qualities that make it an instant legend! It also places Paul and Craig in the perpendicular universe – rare territory for Berlin schoolers! 2004 continues to yield outstanding music! - Jim Brenholts Paul Ellis The Sacred Ordinary The Sacred ordinary might be sacred but it is - decidedly - NOT ordinary. It might be the strongest Berlin school CD of the new millennium and it is certainly one of the best of that style - EVER! Paul Ellis created this masterpiece of analog sounds on digital equipment. (Rudy Adrian contributed some material to the disc and some of it might be on analog gear.) Paul is noted for creating in that mode. But this is a review of the CD, not of Paul’s career or studio! This is a great disc! The compositions have depth, soul, class and integrity. Paul’s virtuosity on all boards – key, mixing and engineering – is at its peak! Each piece has its own beauty and clarity. The CD plays as one huge soundscape with eight “subscapes” and hundreds of atmospheres - some subtle and some overt. This is a great CD, high on the list of 2003’s best! - Jim Brenholts
Into the Liquid Unknown by Paul Ellis Hypnos/Binary, 2001 http://www.hypnos.com/binary Over the years I’ve learned to trust Hypnos’ excellent taste when it comes to slow, nocturnal, minimalistic ambient. If it’s Hypnos, it’s going to be good. So I’m delighted that Hypnos has decided to branch out into faster, more rhythmic electronic ambient. Their taste is equally good here in their set of recordings under the “Binary” sub-label. Paul Ellis makes electronic music the old-fashioned way: with machines, not with loops and samplers and digital doohickeys. Or at least it sounds that way. Ellis’ sound comes direct from the sequencer-driven, beeping oscillator music that I enjoyed (and made) back in the ‘70s. There’s a “European” quality to his work, with inevitable comparisons to Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, and Jean-Paul Jarre, but this is less pretentious. Ellis is more concerned with tracery and texture and interweaving strands of sound, a kind of abstract electronica rather than something derived from the world of rock or pop. Only in a few places does he use sampled instruments or an electric guitar. His sound is spare and perhaps a bit dry no grandiose caverns of reverb or banging percussion here. Though he remains within the non-melodic world of ambient, he has a good sense of underlying harmony (in the usual minor/modal keys) and when to change it to avoid monotony. There are some sweet drifting moments, and some satisfying dark metallic glints; every so often he also scatters some special effects to liven things up. If there is such a thing as “classical” electronic music, this is it. It’s a shining, optimistic, futuristic sound that seems to come from a time when people could imagine such a future. HMGS rating: 8 out of 10 Hannah M.G. Shapero, EER-MUSIC.com 11/8/01
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