Artist: Divine Matrix
Album: Hydrosphere

Released: 29 November 2013
Label: AD Music

Listening to a CD by The Divine Matrix may entitle one to a credit or two from an institution of higher learning. Hydrosphere (71'31") and his previous release Atmospheric Variations (2012) each represent Steve Barnes's reverence for the Earth sciences - and is the perfect vehicle through which he may express this wonder. Hydrosphere forms 11 imaginary spaces which the listener co-habitates with the musician. Merging high-minded EM with the brevity of the pop music form Barnes realizes heat then thoughtful calm as sizzling synth phrases rush by only to be countered with interesting and emotionally inciting tonal contrasts. As much as Barnes loves the natural world he obviously also loves the wholly synthetic sounds produced by his synthesizers and computers. Using an impressive range of well-conceived and crafted synth sounds producing sonorant leads, consonant harmonies and glittering effects the sequencer patterns skip then saunter through lovely story cycles - the repetition of the rhythms bringing security while all the melodic variation makes us feel free. Along with the top-notch electronic sound design he also incorporates the acoustic sounds of guitar, piano, dolphins, surf, ship to shore radio clips and a science documentary lecturer for an ever-deepening sonic experience. From introspective vignettes to heroic anthems Hydrosphere provides an enjoyable, engaging listening experience - luscious, luxurious sea songs for the ocean inside.

- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END   3 July 2014

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