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balloon
emptiness
iwari.com   2002
  see also
"neon sky rain"
iwari.com

album rating: 3
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submitted by alan on 14-Jun-2002

for over a month now i have been listening to this promo on numerous occasions and have been addicted to its diverse electronica charm. directions taken are very unique and almost hard to nail down into one genre or category. as for music similarities, fans of toytronic, morr music, omco, planet mu, and skam artists will enjoy this release by one martin wheeler known as balloon. this fourteen track promo of the upcoming "emptiness" release on iwari.com is compiled mostly from various original tracks recorded on analog cassette tape from over the past twelve years and remixed to match a new standard of enjoyment for today.

almost every track on this release is delightfully seductive and attractive in composition and reminds me of the luminous diversity of such artist as multiplex, gimmik, signaldrift, tim tetlow, and even boards of canada. "we are escape artist" opens with lush and tranquil pads that merge synthetically into the cold electro-rhythms and the analog modulations of track two, "user" for starters. the next track, "life support" carries on with spacey trip-hop rhythms and lovable evaporating loops. while "wastelands" slows down the tempo a little and incorporates some glitchy breaks, synthetic snares, and emanating bass textures.

track five works in some funk-n-bass amidst a bed of surreal strings and distorted sensual samples that reminds me of signaldrift's fun side. the next track, "pleasure clone" reminds me of isan meets boc, utilizing soft, sad organ melodies that pace pleasantly alongside sluggishly cool trip-hop beats that assimilate vocoded textures. this track makes a sweet transition to the hypnotic analog modulations and lost sentimental harmonies of "parallax emptiness." while track eight nicely contrasts to a soft somber & melodramatic guitar ballad that still makes me wonder who did it.

track nine, "infinite lives" emerges with extremely catchy leftfield electro-trance compositions that are counter attacked with nostalgic video game-esq robotic samples and illusory organ chords. "4am" encounters playful soft step melodics similar that ascend and descend to track ten, that works in more trip-hop rhythms that is accompanied by dreamlike female vocals. yet more boc mentality comes to mind. while track twelve "speak and spell symphony" could very well fit into the parameters of a toytronic release with its vocoder spelling vocals and iridescent off-world ambient atmospheres. track thirteen, a very nicely addictive electro-ebm piece entitled "understand" comes into play, almost making me feel as if i warped onto a different planet all the sudden. this track is very nice, but it is slightly dissonant with the feel of the rest of the release. as for track fourteen, we end with a very sentimentally balanced piece that drifts softly with cold strings and distant melodics.

although i was caught by surprise by the immense diversity this artist presents on this release, i have to say it would not surprise me to see him appear on some of the above labels in the future, if the right steps are taken. or maybe it is a start of another successful idm label, who knows? one thing is for sure, i will be keeping my eye on this artist.


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