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 Spyra - Etherlands - PS 08/93
  Release Date: 8 February 1999
  Limitation: 2000

   The Synthesizer Experience        4.42
   Radio Noordzee                    6.04
   Monotonous Stereo Part I          7.27
   Birds on the Wire                 8.22
   Six Miles South of Hastings       7.45
   Monotonous Stereo Part II        12.48
   Etherlands Part I                12.16
   Etherlands Part II               11.56
   Mellotron Etude                   2.33

  all tracks written by Wolfram DER Spyra

Whereas Sferics was, for me, something of an exercise in subtlety and sensitive music Etherlands is an odd combination of synth-laden odes and cheesy, almost jokey IDM that will form an uneasy fusion for some. That said the opening track, The Synthesizer Experience, is at one time very funny ("You are now entering the synthesizer experience") mixing melodramatic samples with cracking tweeked bass and synth chords that demands some volume cranking. Radio Nordzee enters a more ghostly arena with IDM styles and more well-used vocal snatches while Birds on the Wire combines a synth solo with chirruping synthetic birds that would make a nice piece of film music. I was waiting for the snappy bass drums and rhythms to take this one over but they never came :-( The enigmatically titled Six Miles South of Hastings brings things up a pace with sci fi film synths and beats along with trademark Spyra atmospherics. The two part title track leaves me a little cold but, as with others, perhaps I will return to these later for more in-depth listening and re-write these comments! Spyra's music is clearly getting more popular, probably rightly so, but there is something in here that is less emotionally satisfying than that of his other FAX contributions which I was so hoping for in this release.

(review by Rowland Atkinson)

Rowland's comments are prescient for the most part, but I find this disc very pleasing in a quirky "mix-and-match" kind of way. Standout track for me is most definitely "Birds On The Wire", it always makes me stop what I'm doing and go into some serious introspection whenever it comes on, and I like it just the way it is.... :-) While the other tracks are by turns comic, atmospheric and rhythmic, I'd recommend this disc to all Faxheads and non-Faxheads alike, simply on the strength of that fourth track...the whole may take a while to get into, but to dip in and out of, this one's definitely up there in terms of playing time.

(review by Martin Jones)


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