Volt: Star Compass

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Artist: Volt

Artist: Volt
Title: Star Compass

Recorded live at MSL studio with mixing and editing by Michael Shipway Mastered by Ron Boots All tracks composed and performed by Michael Shipway and Steve Smith 'Have you ever done something spontaneous like jumping in a car and driving to wherever the road takes you... This was our approach to 'Star Compass' where we literally only packed a few sequences in our machines and set off on a trip wherever it took us...' With these words Michael Shipway and Steve Smith, who form the duo VoLt, opens the booklet of their second CD. 'The Far Canal' from 2003 was the first one. Their words couldn't be truer because in electronic music and with the multi-faceted instruments that are available to the musicians it is very well possible to create something completely spontaneous, out of almost nothing. The nice thing about the music of VoLt, is that they create a melodical variant on the Berlin School. Take the first track 'Escape Velocity': it has driving high and low sequences but also fine melodies. That is the strength of VoLt. There is also room for beautiful digital sounds, like those that are opening 'Hyperspace Drift'. This moves into some excellent sequencer work, again packed with great atmospheres. The title track is divided into three parts: 'First Direction', 'Second Direction' and 'Third Direction'. The music is rich, full and with a lot of interesting solo work. On 'First Contact' with great Mellotron-string sounds, an intriguing rhythm is added. With 'Star Compass' VoLt might become a leading force in this specific form of retro. Press Information The VoLt duo of Michael Shipway and Steve Smith did a first album that blew the minds of many rockers. The good news is that album # 2 is even better. Highlighted by the extended title track at (22:58) & 'Hyperspace Drift' (20:48) the ebb and flow of the whole album will carry you away on a listening trip into the light fandango of time & space. Archie Patterson Without allowing themselves to get influenced by the conventionalities associated to Chill-out, the duo Volt creates a series of pieces ideal to let imagination fly freely, yet without falling into an arid minimalism, nor do they become careless with the melodic patterns. 'Star Compass' is Space Music that re-creates the fascination on an interstellar journey. Melodies ranging from epic to romanticism, wondrous orchestrations, unearthly ambiences, and powerful sequencer rhythms are some of the main traits in this wonderful album. Edgar Kogler VoLt's sophomore release is a surefooted follow up to The Far Canal, raising the bar with these four lengthy excursions into deep space teutonics. A soft yet brisk crystalline sequence brings us to 'Escape Velocity' as the disc opens in dreamy vintage style. Michael Shipway and Steve Smith deftly avoid tipping their hand too early, holding back a gently rolling bass line until past the 4:00 mark, adding an effective synth solo a bit later on, and leaving the drums at home entirely. This track has a 'hit single' feel to it despite it's double-digit running time. Next comes 'Hyperspace Drift', the first of two leisurely evolving epics, each clocking in at over 20 minutes. Gorgeous synth pads and slowly pulsating sequences emerge about a quarter of the way in. Restraint is again a strength as the music lays back instead of going for a dramatic climax. This pays big dividends with a rewarding listening experience that transcends Berlin school cliché, though all the familiar elements are certainly there in abundance to enjoy. The title track is solid as well, providing a feast for the ears of all things electronic, pure unadulterated synthlust laid bare for all to hear. A perky bubbly bass line is good, hanging just this side of becoming too busy. The final track is no slacker either. 'First Contact' spends a few minutes floating in the mist before a majestic tribal beat rises out of it. The rhythms build in immensely enjoyable fashion to bring this stellar space set to a solid landing back on terra firma. Phil Derby / Electroambient Space.

1.1 Escape Velocity
1.2 Hyperspace Drift
1.3 Star Compass
1.4 First Contact

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