Electronic Forest


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Florianz, t'Sas and de Man 'Electronic Forest' 7.95 GBP

Tracklists and MP3s
1. Shards
2. Hidden
3. Fire
4. Shimmer
5. Sand
6. Capricious
7. Ritual
8. Magic
9. Undergrowth
10. Halo
11. Life
12. Hunter
13. Electronic Forest
14. Smoke

Buy a copy here (select 'Music by Record label > 'HS Recordings')

Album producer:
Electronic Forest
Recorded and performed live by:
Matthew Florianz, Joris de Man and Erik t'Sas
Mastered by:
Joris de Man

Electronic Forest
ambient :: 64:11 min Electronic Forest
Matthew Florianz, Joris de Man, Erik T'Sas

Electronic Forest. Album Preview.

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Recorded during a one day session in late 2001 but released only a year and a half later, "Electric Forest" is a new collaboration between the ambient artists Matthew Florianz (also known as Liquid Morphine) and Erik T'Sas, who had already signed together "Improvisaties op D", this time helped by a third musician, Joris de Man.

A bleak black and white cover and a minimal artwork: the visual side of "Electronic Forest" both fits well the rest of the HS Recordings roster and introduces the listener well to the music of this CD. Divided into two suites by the only sung track ("Capricious"), this album takes the utterly atmospheric and droney elements that these artists have delivered in the past, enriching them with more dynamic and accessible elements, may it be piano, some strings or a few beats.

Heavily drone based, the first suite (the first five tracks) still stays melodic and very soft, the repetitive background being more of a continuum of bleak but clear tones than anything gritty. The music flows delicately and with a lot of modesty, staying constantly extremely gentle and soft. Calm and beautiful, "Electronic forest" then works like an synthetic and ambient craddle song, rocking you softly to sleep with its extremely soft tonal shifts and vasts hypnotic soundscapes, which culminate with "Capricious", on which semi-whispers choirs add a very human touch to the music.

More organic and flowing, and a bit less massive, the second suite (from "Ritual" to "Smoke") is a somewhat darker assemblage, in which shorter sounds get a bit more echoed, and in which the forest metaphor loses a bit of its relevancy to the profit of more "wet" sounds, rising images of seas and rivers more than of the trees pictured on the CD cover. And while the album is relatively long (70 minutes) for something so calm, you don't find yourself watching the clock on your CD player, for when "Electronic Forest" doesn't hypnotize you with its tone, it melts nicely in the background, forming a purely "ambient" fabric.

At time reminding slightly of some Cold Meat Industry release (most of all of the first two Morthound releases, and of the calmest of the calm Arcana tracks with "Capricious"), "Electronic Forest" is a surprisingly accessible and gentle album, in which the decidedly ambient approach never becomes too abstract or bleak. Obviously not the right thing to buy if you are looking for beats, this album should please both people into drones, but looking for a somewhat "easy" record, and fans of calm and contemplative ambient music.

Recycle Your Ears, Music Webzine

Recorded in a single afternoon in 2001, this recording captures three talented electronic musicians in an incredible zone. The spontaneous and improvisational nature of these 14 tracks provides an ambient space music experience of the highest order, and takes the listener on a mind expanding journey. Intricate compositions moving back and forth from light to dark, coupled with crisp production provide for superb listening. Bold and majestic ,this work often recalls some of the best space music of the seventies, but has little or no electronic percussion or sequencers. The sound is classic and elegant, but not derivative. Strongly recommended.

Reviewed by Dodds Wiley. Ambient.US

Vital Weekly
T.J. Norris

Electronic Forest (Matthew Florianz, Joris de Man and Erik t'Sas) releases an orchestral ambient project that has a lightness of being. This one hour+ excursion is a multi-layered fusion of dark entries and smoky mazes. Having started the recording process in 2001, this young trio had many twists along the way before seeing their project surface. But as it does it glides right alongside works by vidnaObmana, Robert Rich and Saul Stokes. Sand is one of those tracks that has a luminosity akin to floating above a mirror, suspended by its own reflection. This is clearly the type of work that is indicative of collaboration with filmmakers and others. Blending synths and guitars with other sound hybrids these guys have set out to make music evocative of late night suspense and early morning foggy ambiguity.

Jim Brenholts
Posted on the Hypnos forums

Electronic Forest is a set of laid out minimalism from Mathew Florianz, Erik T'Sas and Joris de Man. The evolution of this e-music style is actually quite interesting and quite universal. It is easy to take it all the way back to Brian Eno in the mid 1970’s but that is not the end. There are definite similarities to Brian’s albums of that era. There are, however, stronger similarities to Sonic Seasonings, by Wendy Carlos. Taking giant leaps forward, Steve Roach and Robert Rich have experimented with dark minimalism as have Mathias Grassow and Alio Die. Mike Griffin launched Hypnos in the mid 1990’s and the style flourishes to this day. This is one of the stronger efforts of this style. Mathew, Erik and Joris surround their drone with dark atmospheres, experimental sounds and subtle melodies. The soundscapes are totally organic and mystical. There are plenty of clues but no answers.

John Sherwood
Posted on Electronic Scene.com

Released on the HS Recordings label, who of course are total perfectionists both in sound and presentation, this album promises something special. Though not really a follow-up to the astonishing 'GrijsGebied' this is the first studio album to be released by Matthew and Co since that milestone. So I was looking forward to this with great anticipation.

The first 50 copies of the album come with a bonus disc with extra material on it, this review however will concetrate on the the main 'Electronic Forest' album itself. Packaging is somewhat simpler than GrijsGebied, being a normal CD jewel case with HS Recordings' trademark monochrome artwork. Perhaps this time to say that this is more of a normal HS release, than a uniquely packaged extravaganza like GrijGebied or OpenStage.

Anyway, what about the music. Well although there are separate tracks listed, the album is actually organised as two 'suites' of continuous tracks separated by a single track, so you get two long pieces, with a shorter piece in between. The tracks in the suites are seamless, flowing one into the next, sometimes so cleanly that you don't realised that the track has in fact changed. Tracks 1 to 5 form 'Electronic Forest Suite 1', track 6 is the single piece 'Capricious', while tracks 7 to 14 form 'Electronic Forest Suite 2'

Electronic Forest Suite 1

Beginning with a background ambience, the track gradually takes shape out of the darkness, like a shadow appearing through the trees, then taking form as it approaches. Then the most glorious flute-pad tells you that it's started. Chirping things in the background add to the sylvan flavour, but then disappear, leaving the flutes to play in the glade.

After a series of FM-like tones at the end of 'Shards' it moves effortlessly into this track. Continuing the basic theme and atmosphere, the sound here is completely vast, like in some huge cave.

The intensity builds up and up, like flames reaching towards the sky, being reborn as new, always upward. Built on a huge wedge of string-sound, with other sounds and metallic edges searing in the heat, this is like a huge ever-burning fire that consumes the listener, strange yet immortal, feelings and power.

Taking the metallic theme as its basis, this now progresses into a shower of tiny particles, each reflecting the fire as it dies down.

The amazing atmosphere continues, now on a higher plane, as octaved strings flood the wash. This is a truly beautiful piece, in my opinion the best on the album.

Night time, huge clang pianos, this could actually have been played in a huge cavern. Notes cascade out of the cave wall, like gushes of crystal water, splashing onto the rockfloor, cold, yet full of life. This track features the heavenly vocals of Tatiana Brainerd, neatly woven into the fabric of the music, maybe could be a little further forward, but still totally captivating, soothing against the hard piano, soft flesh against the rock wall.

Electronic Forest Suite 2

Opening gently with a background drone, setting the scene, a short track to begin this second journey.

Building on the scene alreadt set, more elements drift in quietly, creating a dreamy atmosphere of short breaths and long shadows. The various parts interact, and create a truly magical feeling.

As darker tones creep in, a feeling of unease begins to pervade the scene, like a black cloud has covered the sun. We are looking down below, into the darker realms of the forest, where strange and ugly creatures live in the gloom, where the dank roots and pale ferns press together, some looking for the light, other avoiding it.

Light break through, the light of heaven. We are lifted up into a beautiful glade, where love and peace are present, where the green carpet is illuminated by the light of life.

Continuing the theme, but more airy, with superb string-pad sounds coming in, and whitenoise washes breaking like waves on a primeval seashore, while that first fish climbs out of the sea, and enters the forest.

More ominous now, with the sharp percussive shots of the hunter's arrows reverberating, here some tinkling, now a twittering bird, the hunter is stealthy, only appearing when the time is right, then moving on.

Electronic Forest
The title track, starting with a feeling of trepidation, then building, with new layers coming in, gorgeous high-register synth sounds sweep around the soundfield. Distant string-pads shimmer in the background, while the drone pays the theme, then all fades away.

Then it comes back from the near-silence, for a very quiet and short 'epilogue' track at the end. A sort of background ambience that swells up, then fades back into the blackness.

Well, at the end of this journey you know you've listened to one of the best ambient albums ever released. Mathhew and friends have for over an hour taken you into their picture of the Electronic Forest. You have been totally immersed in the most atmospheric musical description, drifted away into their world of tones and drones.
The album as a whole holds together much better than GrijsGebied, in that whereas that was a collection of related pieces, each track separate, this is a complete piece in itself, in fact it's easy to forget where you are in it, and you need the track number display to get you back in sync with the titles.
The main theme is there but very subdued, in that the album has a theme running through it, but it is more of an atmosphere than a melody, more of a feeling than a sequence.
It is an evolution drawn in music and sounds, a sound-picture drawn from the pallette of ambient textures and softly played drifting notes. It takes you away into itself, the visual imagery it generates is striking, just let yourself float free into the music, close your eyes, and enter the Electronic Forest. It's a journey well worth making.
This is a superb album, an excellent addition to the HS Recordings catalogue, and Matthew, Erik, and Joris should be congratulated and thanked for making such sublime music available to the rest of us.

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