Tuesday, December 1, 2020
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Lightphaser: New Tone

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Artist: Lightphaser (@)
Title: New Tone
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
Rated: * * * * *
It's been a long times since we've heard from Hungarian electronic musician/composer Joseph Gogh and his Lightphaser project, about 10 years to be exact since the release of his 'Flashback' album, but he hasn't been idle in the interim. ‘New Tone’, a full length album containing 10 instrumental tracks was released in 2013 by Electro Arc but it was short-lived as the label just vanished soon thereafter without a trace. In 2016 Lightphaser released a digital-only 5 track EP with Timea Göghova (who also sang on ‘Flashback’) on vocals. In 2017 Lightphaser composed 5 tracks (based on some of the material on 'New Tone') for the soundtrack of a free arcade game called ‘Spacewolf’ on the Android platform. They were remixed in 2018 with an ambient/chillout touch for an album called 'Mix Tone'. In 2019 a soundtrack EP called ‘Eternity Time Warped’ was produced, featuring reworked and remastered tracks from the ‘Eternity’ EP. It is a collection of 7 looped music tracks in the Electro / IDM genre suitable for games as in-game / background music. It was followed up by a 2-track EP called "Follow Your Heart / Interweaved Destinies", featuring vocal samples of Timea Goghova. That brings us back to 'New Tone' again, remastered and re-released on the very same day it was originally released 6 years ago.

The 'New Tone' album is ten tracks, all instrumental electronica, much of it falling into the melodic space techno realm. (No discernible vocals this time out.) I should mention that Gogh states this album was the first one to feature Korg instruments including the virtual/analog R3. The album opens with 'Fatal Coincidence," the briefest track on the album at only a little over three minutes. It's a bouncy little number with a hopping sort of melody. Title track "New Tone" takes us a little deeper into ambient space beginning with a somewhat minimal beat that expands a bit as the piece progresses. Sequencers bolster the rhythm and by the middle the track really takes flight. "Misunderstandings" is a good deal more hyper really cranking up the intensity several notches. "Remote Body Modificator" (now there's a nifty cyberpunk title if I ever heard one) begins with a classic techno arpeggio sequence, but it isn't long before it morphs into elsewhere; a tour-de-force ride through Kraftwerkian techno realms in space. The following track, "Inception" has to be the spaciest (and in my opinion, the best) track on 'New Tone.' The only thing that keeps this helium high from completely floating away into the nebula is the beat. The drumtrack employed isn't the type of rhythm I would have chosen to use on a piece of this nature, but it does the trick in anchoring the very spacey atmosphere. Big huge ambient space opens "Revelations" which becomes it's own cosmic train chugging steadily across the galaxy. I can't exactly put my finger on what it is about "Constant Change," but the track just sounded a tad New Agey to me. The oddly titled "You Owe Me an Apology" recalls some of the loopy sounds used on the 'Flashback' album. I did like the contrasting of the heavy tom percussion accents on this one. The vast swirling spacey ambience that dominates the beginning of "Inner Balance" gradually gives way to more conventional but still somewhat abstract melodicism underpinned by a subordinate rhythm track that only seems to serve as a mile-marker, and evaporates before the conclusion. The last track, "Free" seems to be a more joyous, uplifting melodic piece with an initially minimal beat, but I really didn't care for the sound used on the synth lead, so that kind of dampened my enthusiasm.

'New Tone' is available at most of the major digital music stores according to Mr. Gogh (I had to go to Spotify to preview it) so it should be easy enough to find. I liked 'Flashback' better, likely because of the vocals, but 'New Tone' is still pretty good melodic space techno.

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