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4 stars Hungarian based project COMPUTERCHEMIST is the creative vehicle of UK composer and musician Dave Pearson, who have released a steady stream of albums using this moniker since 2007. "Signatures II" is, rather unsurprisingly I guess, the companion album to "Signatures I", both albums released in early 2013.

A characteristic trait for all songs on this most recent Computerchemist production is that these aren't compositions in the traditional sense. We're not dealing with creations that have a regular starting point followed by a development to a more or less logical conclusion. Instead these are mood and atmosphere explorations, setting up a distinct mood and exploring it in more or less subtle variations before finding a suitable manner in which to conclude. While not quite as one-dimensional as this description might sound like, those fond of and accustomed to compositions with a traditional development might find this aspect of the CD not quite to their taste.

Apart from that detail, a central feature throughout is the unmistaken influence of Tangerine Dream. Be it in subtle details like gently hammering synth motifs or more dominant thematic details, there's a distinct presence of this highly influential German band running throughout this album. Paired off with quite a few additional tendencies mind you.

Strangeness in 13 features a gentle piano motif that brings Austrian keyboard wizard Gandalf to mind, while Goodbye Moszkva Ter and to a somewhat lesser extent Forgotten Memory does add a certain Hawkwind presence to the proceedings by way of cosmic sounds and longing guitar soloing. Floor Zero with it's darker, dystopian atmosphere gave me associations to the likes of Gary Numan, and while the alternating more or less distorted guitar and synth themes of Commution, alongside the gentle piano interludes with careful unreal sound effects, didn't give me any distinct associations as such it's still an intriguing ride. An elongated drums and piano insert a nice and effective break on this epic length track.

The final trio of songs are all in varying degrees creations I'd describe as a blend of Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream in style. Smeem has what appears to be a stronger basis in blues though, The Needs Of The Many has a stronger identity mark in surging and soaring synth motifs, while final piece Bongo in 4 opts to replace the careful Floydian guitar details with digital strings in the final phase, creating a very distinct and different atmosphere by way of replacing an instrument.

Pearson's compositions are obviously mapped out in a manner that doesn't in any manner make them mere replicas of the artists the individual listener will associate with the different songs, associations that most likely will differ from one listener to the next. I've seen artists like Ozric Tentacles thrown in the association mix for this album too, and of my own associations I suspect that my Gandalf and Gary Numan pointers will be rather uniquely my own, and probably accidental ones as well. The associations game does give a few indications to potential buyers however, and hopefully some of the ones intrigued by the descriptions given will take the time to listen to this album. That is, after all, the point in writing a review.

At last I'll compliment the rhythms department in general and the contributions of drummer Zsolt Gálanta in particular, whose contributions does elevate the listener experience with fine arrays of suitably complex patterns that fits the material at hand in mood and atmosphere both.

All in all "Signatures II" is a solid production, with fans of Tangerine Dream and Pink Floyd both a likely key audience.

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Posted Tuesday, June 25, 2013 | Review Permalink

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