Craig Padilla

Craig Padilla: Phantasma

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Artist: Craig Padilla

Artist: Craig Padilla
Title: Phantasma

Elegant and deep sequences overlay picturesque melodic structures that weave in and out of consciousness. Merging Berlin School stylings with Space Ambient sensibility, the Northern California duo of Craig Padilla and Skip Murphy explore new sonic territory, while keeping firmly rooted to the influential electronic music from the golden age of sequencing. Using the latest virtual instruments alongside rare analog synthesizers, this music explodes old genre barriers while simultaneously forging new sonic possibilities. Press information Craig Padilla is an experienced electronic musician who already has quite a number of albums behind his name, solo or with others. The last years he regularly works together with Skip Murphy. The music they create together is a mixture between Berlin School and space music. At the moment, there are so many electronic music albums available and (happily), there are still albums that have the ability to move the listener. Well, these gentlemen have: this is really one of the strongest albums on this field of 2006. They open spacey in 'Shadowed Transistion', after which masterful sequencer lines follow that call on nostalgic feelings when artists like Neuronium and Robert Schroeder started their musical journey but it also has traces of Dweller At The Threshold. These Americans know what they are doing. The space-atmospheres are also very beautiful in 'Illusions'. After 'Shadowed Transistion' the title track is again a great piece of work. With almost 26 minutes this is also the longest piece on the CD. The sequences seem quite simple but certainly this makes the music so fine and interesting. As a musician, you must be able to come with the idea and that is something Padilla and Murphy are very strong in. This duo certainly make retro but not the typical 'sequencer / Mellotron / synth solo music' and that is special. Paul Rijkens 'Shadow Transition' is a beautiful way to open the album. Bright shimmers float over warm, lush pads. Flutey synth makes things seem even more tranquil. By the third minute a lovely sequence can just be heard low in the mix. It is joined by a second. If you liked early Software such as 'Electronic Universe' you should love this. Just close your eyes and let the subtle pulsations and soothing tones surround you. We follow straight through into 'Eternal Path'. Rapid sequences chase up and down the scale but as with the previous track they are not too forceful, just peaceful- meditational even. A plucked string sequence joins the others but adds to rather than distracts from the soothing atmos. Sequences depart for 'Sleepwalking'. Deep dark drones abound. A particularly lovely one rises in waves, from silence to high in the mix. 'A Midnight Muse' keeps up the nocturnal theme but the sequences return, gently skipping along, stimulating the imagination, making me think of a refreshing warm summer-night's rain. The music increases in intensity as we go as if the night is waning and the sun starts to break over the horizon. A similar mood keeps up as we seamlessly move on to 'Illusions'. The sequences gradually subside leaving a melodic motif to call out, to be answered each time by a short bass line. Just after the half way mark a piano meanders over the sound of crashing waves. As we move into the Twenty-Five minute title track the backing becomes positively booming like explosions being heard from far away. All manner of effects and dark deep drones go together to form a spooky eerie atmosphere. A four-note sequence calls out and a two-note pulse replies. Both elements gradually become more prominent. A slow lead line joins in as the sequences become heavier- developing something of a snarl then morphing completely to bass intensity before really letting rip- wonderful stuff!. The lead line responds by also upping the oomph level. We finish with deep, dark, dripping malevolence. What a stonking track this is! The sleeve notes state 'Merging Berlin School stylings with Space Ambient sensibility'. I see what they mean- especially on the last track where the sequences are aloud to develop their full belting potential. Here the Berlin School side of things probably dominates but in the first two and fourth tracks the sequences and atmospheres are more equally balanced- very Mergener & Weiser. It's certainly a very enjoyable and skillfully produced album. DL.

1.1 Shadowed Transistion
1.2 Eternal Path
1.3 Sleepwalking
1.4 A Midnight Muse
1.5 Illusions
1.6 Phantasma

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