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(74:44, Kassure Productions)
TRACK LIST: 1. Electric Jumper 3:44 2. Positive Ion 4:11 3. And Then U 5:17 4. Pulse 4:55 5. Shocks 4:01 6. Relays 4:21 7. Soft Surge 5:20 8. Dark Sparks 3:48 9. Grounded 5:31 10. Bright Glare 3:59 11. Shock Hazard 3:28 12. Positivity 4:54 13. Thin Matters 5:42 14. No Faults 4:08 15. Hertz 3:10 16. Pulse Extented Mix 8:17 SOLO PILOT: Serge Keravel – all instruments
Prolusion. Canadian composer and musician Serge KERAVEL has been around as a recording artist since 2006, when he released his debut album "Moods". Since that first production he has released new studio albums on a fairly regular basis, with "Next" following in 2008 and "Must" in 2010. "Voltz" is his fourth studio album, and was released through Kassure Productions in 2013.
Analysis. A few years back I took on Keravel's third album "Must", a production I recall being a pleasant but not all that enthralling experience. I can describe his forth CD "Voltz" in a similar manner, I guess. This is pleasant, nice and easygoing music, fairly timeless at that too, and Keravel most certainly has an ear for pleasant, easygoing melodies. His challenge is finding an audience that will appreciate what he does from my point of view, as his material isn't of the kind that will ignite any strong passions, but rather inspire the listener to go with the flow and drift with the music. Relaxing is probably a good word to describe the effect of the music, a soft journey that will help the mind ease into a more tranquil state. Music of the kind that many will have a need for in the all too busy lifestyle of our modern, digital age, but also one that few will set aside time to experience, most likely. When that is said, "Voltz" isn't an ambient or new age type of production either. The songs tend to move between more of a synth pop general atmosphere, upbeat ambient techno and experimental ambient music, the latter in particular of the kind that contains faint traces of artists such as Tangerine Dream and Jean-Michel Jarre. Keravel hones in on the easygoing melodies though, carefully unfolding his landscapes, while only occasionally adding a few more dramatic elements to the proceedings. Music of the kind that merits a phrase such as "chill out, man." The compositions aren't without edges though, they aren't soft cotton ethereal soundscapes. A key element throughout, and presumably what this CD has been named "Voltz", is the extensive use of effects-treated synthesizer sounds that appear like they come from or through an electric field. Twisted, buzzing sounds, arranged with swirling keyboard motifs, presumably emulated plucked and electric guitars, with organ and even the occasional Mellotron sounding detail adding depth to the arrangements. Just about always in a careful manner, even when dark drones are applied, the overall mood and atmosphere of the song stays pleasant, inviting and relaxing. While this may well come across as a fairly harsh criticism of the album, in truth it isn't. The music is captivating enough, the contrasts used are well developed, and while the music may sound a tad too clinical at times, this is something that comes with the territory for most electronic-based music. The album isn't boring, Keravel is an artist that appears to know what he does really well and his compositions are well developed pieces. It's just that this type of music doesn't manage to make me passionate. This is a CD of the kind I might pull out if I need to relax the mind and soul, tomorrow, next year or in 20 years, and it will most likely come across as just as pleasant an experience at that point as it does now.
Conclusion. Relaxing, meditative compositions made to induce a tranquil state of mind in the listener is what Keravel's fourth album "Voltz" appears to focus on. With synth pop, ambient techno and mildly experimental electronic music as the borders for these musical journeys, and a good ear for how to combine effects and twisted sounds with softer, gentler and more harmony-oriented motifs, the end result is a pleasant listen that manages to maintain attention and tension on a level that places this production on a slightly different level than many other relaxing, typical new age creations. The strengths of this album is still that it is a pleasant, quality piece of relaxing music that will sooth your soul though, and those in need of music with those characteristics are the ones I regard as a key audience for "Voltz".
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