Various Artists
Album: Hampshire Jam Preserved

Label: E Global Mobile

Hampshire Jam Preserved
The "Hampshire Jam" electronic music festival grew out of a desire to foster community. Headed by EM impresario Steve Jenkins, the first event took place on 27 October 2001 in the village hall of Liphook, Hampshire England. The five featured artists, culled from the burgeoning scene of Berlin-School disciples, essentially donated their talents for the good of the cause - and for a shot at performing their music before a foremost enthusiastic and informed audience. The common thread linking these artists is their devotion to '70s spacemusic. The five performances clearly demonstrated that while the groups all began at relatively the same place, each artist brings something of themselves to the stage and realizes music as well-differentiated from one another as it is from the original influences. Hampshire Jam Preserved is a double CD release compiling the music that transpired on this day and is an excellent example of the distinct areas of exploration within the current realm of Spacemusic.

Disc One opens with music by the duo of Grant Middleton (synths) and Colin Anderson (guitar), known as Under the Dome. Here their music continues to explore areas related to two of their studio CDs, Demon Haunted World and Bellerophon. Bright, bounding sequencer rhythms and fat, catchy lead melodies are the hallmarks of their sound. The trio of Free System Projekt follows. On their track "Sirens" (17'31"), Marcel Engels, Ruud Heij and Frank van der Wel succeed admirably at re-creating the heavy atmospheric mood of classic Spacemusic. Shifting waves of white noise prologue a haunting mellotron flute solo and soon we are within a throbbing engine of cascading synth tones, repeating and mutating up, down, over and under spirited keyboard jams. Headshock is the team of Paul Nagle and Tim Rafferty. Their performance takes us along with them, via a twisted dynamic arc, into their own personal phantom zone of strange samples, driving drum machines, dark moods and keyboard antics. The meaning behind the musical concepts remains within them; a virtual vault of impervious self-containment.

The second disc in this set explores amplitude and attitude. For both artists, the music advances freely to higher energy levels as the musicians and audience interact simbiotically. New music by Radio Massacre International opens Disc Two. Along with the expected "sequencer and 'tron workouts", we also hear RMI "trade wildness with each other". At the pinnacle of this performance, Gary Haughton's prog-inflected lead guitar, Duncan Goddard's electric bass foundation and Steve Dinsdale's drum kit mayhem, turn us around to look back from space - and into the intelligent decadence of rock music. The epic piece "Red Symmetry Machine" (37'13") by Air Sculpture concludes the album. This recording presents Adrian Beasley, John Christian and Peter Ruczynski working together live before an audience and improvising the many layers of cyclical interlocking patterns and tones that have come to be the most admirable characteristic of this trio. Here the energy level makes the jump to warp speed immediately. The sonic navigations are slick, bright and quick and evoke light speed muscle and planet-hopping agility. From beginning to end, this hyper-space excursion is rhythmically relentless.

- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END   10 July 2003

| Reviews |