Triangulation

by Stephan Whitlan

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***Note: This is a 6 track album, over 70 mins in length. Only track samples are viewable - the full album tracks will appear as a bonus when you purchase the album (which is why you see 12 tracks not 6). Cover artwork is included.

A syncopating sequence dives straight into 'Arabella's Trident'. There's an air of playful optimism here, as counterpoint patterns vie with Minimoog leads both high and low in register. A chugging beat slowly develops as trademark pitch-bent leads fill the soundstage further. Unexpectedly the track takes a brief pause, before it starts to reconstruct. The complexity increases and the virtuosity of the lead melodies becomes ever more beguiling before another breather heralds the last third of the track. I love the low-down Minimoog notes, it brings back memories of Wakeman's Moogs blowing my dad's speakers when I was into acne.

'The Last Words of the Prophet' is next. A moodier opening, mellotron detail and classic oscillating effect put this listener into an instant comfort zone. This is fine synth-smithing and the opening 4 or 5 minutes pass in a flash. The mood if anything becomes more dense and discordant as the track progresses. Beautiful sounds, and the mellotron detail is sumptuous. Light starts to emerge just before the midpoint as a subtle sequence, very much sympathetic to the opener, emerges and the track continues to impress with light and shade. Those who want fast food will perhaps find it heavy going though. This is food for thought and needs time and consideration. Touches of Vangelis emerge in the closing handful of minutes as the track takes a more optimistic turn as the sun fully breaks through. It's very cinematic, to coin a well-used phrase.

The next 35 mins or so are taken up by the 3 part 'The Twin Distortions of Residuality & Disturbance'. The feeling of a carefully constructed story and journey perpetuate. The level of detail and work that's gone into this is extraordinary. 'Part 1' builds the scene then establishes a complex rhythm at the midpoint. Then a surprisingly infectious section takes over, with great soloing and a melody that you can really get your teeth into. Moog fans should just bask in the glory as the track builds and builds culminating in an epic finale. The mood swiftly changes for 'Part 2' which sounds more like a Tangerine Dream atmospheric collage from the early 70's. No bad thing of course, if you are a pre-Phaedra fan. But many will find this heavy going. 'Part 3' lightens things up a touch and the smidgeon of an arpeggiating sequence promises a change of tactic that finally comes to fruition for the last 5 minutes as an excellent sequence emerges which drives the track to a satisfying close.

The final track 'Dependence Generation' is a clever piece which portrays closure and is executed with that clever slow looping technique at which Stephan excels so much.

If complexity, detail, skill and talent are benchmarks for a great album 'Triangulation' should be up there with the best. (GG)

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released October 1, 2009

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Stephan Whitlan UK

Stalwart of the "UK Synth Scene", Stephan's multifarious involvement in anything and everything "UK Electronica", "Location", or "Hampshire" related belies the fact that in his own right he is a virtuoso synth performer without peer. Here on Stephan's "official" Bandcamp site you will find his definitive works. ... more

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