Logic Gate Reviews
5 tracks, 48.41 mins
It's been five years since Steve Grace's debut as Logic Gate with From the Silence, which I thoroughly enjoyed. His sophomore release Voyages takes his classic Berlin school leanings even further, seamlessly blending a variety of moods and sounds into a complete concise package. Synths and piano meld perfectly on the title track, a subdued number that has just the right melodramatic edge to it. The main theme has a majestic feel to it, coming at the beginning and the end of the piece. It's the soft piano section that really sets it apart for me, a beautiful counterpoint to the rest. Bubbly gurgling synths drift in on "Starlight," a short mellow space music number. "Permafrost" starts with a cold wind, then a two-note bass line and a simple synth phrase. This one shows Grace's finer touch with composition, patiently moving the music forward in a natural progression. Throughout, the music is devoid of excesses that can render some retro music as kitsch. "The Voyage Home" is a fitting finale, nearly 15 minutes of analog heaven. At times Voyages reminds me of Rogue Element's excellent debut Premonition, another disc that clearly pays homage to classic Tangerine Dream, fully capturing that essence but distilling it in a fresh way. This is an essential recording for retro fans.
© 2008 Phil Derby / Electroambient Space
This review was originally published in the November/December 2008 issue of Electroambient Space. Reprinted by permission.
Lines of mists are undulating lazily in an astral tranquility, like the kittens of dandelions pushed by the weak winds of heat waves. It's with this intro, filled by the soft perfumes of a Mellotron suspended in the spirits of the times that "Into the Infinite" invites us to another festival of Memorandum tribute to Tangerine Dream. A bass line spreads its heavy sequenced chords which mould themselves onto the curves of the lines of mists, pushing the tempo towards a circular movement where the harmonies plunges us in the dark atmospheres of Stratosfear. Heavy and fluid, the rhythm of "Into the Infinite" rushes into the chthonian voices before lowering its intensity under the caresses of a synth to the very detached lines of the style of Steve Grace's influences, but just as much musical. It's a brief moment of calm where the heavy rhythm takes back its rights before sinking for good into the sighs and the singings of astral bodies. Like it or not, Logic Gate comes back haunting the spheres of EM with another work which depicts the worship of his creator for the black EM of the analog years. And as on From the Silence, "Voyages" is to crunch at full ears even if Steve Grace presents it to us with a more original approach.
"Voyager" is a jewel of black and sinister ambiences. The boat is on the sea. Charming the seagulls of its copulative undulations with the waves, it's struck by a heavy dark pulsation which jumps on the spot with frenzy. These pulsations awaken these clouds of mist which fill the morphic moods of the works of Logic Gate with winds of violins which hide the discretion of the piano notes from which the simultaneity flees the one of the sequences. And slowly, this rhythm bombarded stubbornly faints in the lunar embers of a long ambiospherical passage where these notes of piano struck in the minimalist art draw the harmonies of a lullaby for cherub's imps who let gladly being caressed by the magnificence of an oboe forged in the patience of synths. This is splendid and intensely sensitive. Except that a heavy drone shakes the calmness a little after the 7th minute. A powerful hoarse breath which brings its triplets, and other more shrill breaths, disrupting so a ritornello of serenity that we would have wanted eternal and which comes back for good from this useless storm, bringing in its trail these sequences that we had lost from ears. These sequences, but also percussions, and their jingles knock out the ending of "Voyager" of a rhythm as heavy as slow which wraps itself of a very beautiful symphonic veil. It's a superb well placed 12 minutes!
"Starlight" is a short ambiospherical track where cosmic tones shell their idlenesses in layers of mists and in the bed of a slow melodic approach mislaid from "Voyager". That reminds me a chthonian mixture of Rogue Element and the cosmic moods of Software, in particular at the level of the crystal clear sequences which swirl with so much slowness. It's maybe short but it remains very musical.
Trapped in heavy and dense strata of Mellotron and its gaz of fog, the rhythm of "Permafrost" is as much soporific as its horse collar of mist. A beautiful line of a solitary synth sweeps its musing under winds of an ocean of fire, while that notes of an electric piano roam with a full harmony of déjà-vu under the slow pulsations of a bass line which avoids the rhythm in front of so much ice floes of fogs. The black march may change skin at around the 7th minute point, swapping its veils of mist for an intense chthonian choir; "Permafrost" remains as apathetic as black, but always frees this soft perfume of somber night-madness which always soaks the folds under our sheets of terror.
It's in these ambiences that "The Voyage Home" is wrapping us in order to immure the musical journey of "Voyages" in a bath of nostalgia. Layers of synth to timeless musicalities blow on the fine sequenced keys which dip the tip of their sounds into a superb line weaved in the black harmonies of an old organ à la Klaus Schulze (Irrlicht) and of its ghostly singings. These sequences follow each other in single file, moulding the whims of a movement which answers of its echo in a dense vampiric musical painting. Another line of sequence, with darker pulsing keys, forges a slow upward minimalist rhythm which strides along the void in this lyrical duel that are doing the lines of mist and the glaucous harmonies of an organ of the darkness. A beautiful fluty line re-appears from the past, caressing a rhythm which was lost in these black breaths for a brief moment before taking back its rights over a more lively circular rhythm but always draped by this intense morphic veil which retains the rhythms of "Voyages" in its beautiful prison of mist.
Different from From the Silence, "Voyages" remains nevertheless very beautiful. Logic Gate offers a more personal album where the rhythms are more evasive and the ambiences darker. An album which exhales at full winds the reminiscences of his influences but with a bigger freedom which makes that "Voyages" offers more originality in a musical pattern where the summit seems unattainable. The fans of old Berlin School filled by the gasps of organs of the darkness running on heavy dark sequences are going to feast.
© 2013 Sylvain Lupari
3 tracks, 45.50 mins
Steve Grace is a name I've known from a couple music lists, but this is his very first CD, and a great one it is. Fans of Baumann-era Tangerine Dream should find themselves deep in nostalgic reverie with this one. Three 15-minute epics are always good, never too derivative, but clearly influenced by the masters of electronic music.
The first two and half minutes are largely ambient, save for the nice synth strings. Then a pulsing sequence and perfect Mellotron strings begin the next movement. A plucked guitar-like lead meanders through at just the right pace. A fat vintage synth lead almost but not quite parallels the other lead line, eventually taking over. Lone tron synth strings fade out this movement as it moves to another. As with my favorite TD tracks, this disc has beautiful transitions from one musical theme to the next. A soft electric piano forms another hypnotic loop, then a bright high electronic sound comes over the top of it. The sound thickens as the layers grow, building the intensity to perfection. The different passages remind me of bits from Encore and Tangram, but they are only hints, as Grace has built upon the foundation that TD set from that time period. As layers trail off, only the bright tinkling electronics remain for the last couple of minutes, a suitably soft ending to a brilliant opening number that grabbed me almost immediately and didn't let go. Obligatory synth choirs complete the package as it ends, including another delicious vintage synth line to go with.
The title track begins with tron flutes, sustained synth pads for atmosphere, and more strings. Mellotron strings form the main melody, backed by a stutter-stepping pulsing synth for rhythm. A hybrid sound between electric piano and a bell-like tone then carries the melody after the Mellotron subsides. Flutes continue in the background. You can take turns picking out the sounds in your mind, then enjoying how they all blend together. The pace is relaxed, then some heavy drums come plodding in, adding just the right oomph. Everything but the drums drops out, then it too fades as the next passage ensues, very floating and atmospheric. This serves as a bridge before the energy picks up again with a great uptempo section that begins lightly just past the 8:00 mark. This is perfect vintage TD style without drawing comparison to a particular album or track.
"Biomorph" rounds out the album with a sparser, subdued feel as it begins. Then it picks up the pace with another pulsing sequence around the 9:00 mark. By 12:00 in, the backing percussion is not unlike the finer moments from Ricochet. Soft choirs fade into the distance as the disc ends, the 45 minutes seemingly gone in an instant. This will leave you wanting more.
© 2003 Phil Derby / Electroambient Space
This review was originally published in the April 2003 issue of Electroambient Space. Reprinted by permission.
Logic Gate - From the Silence 3.5 stars
Self-released CD-R 2003
Vintage electronic music has been made by quite some musicians until now, and to this list we can add Logic Gate. The guy behind this project is Steve Grace hailing from California, whose vintage music carries influences of TD (period 1974-1977) and Redshift. "From The Silence" took about 8 years to complete, and although some might say it sounds derivative it also offers enough own discoveries to make it worthwhile to listen to. The CD contains 3 extended tracks of 15 minutes each, in which pulsating sequences, Mellotron strings and choirs, and fascinating vintage synth pads get along in an engaging manner. The transitions are well done, all around the 7-8 minute mark where the music heads off in a somewhat different direction. To me, the only minor thing of the album is the fact that the compositions aren't that strong as a lot of improvisation gives the music free way. But in the end I'm sure TD and Redshift fans will enjoy this recording quite a lot.
© 2004 Bert Strolenberg
Bert Strolenberg was the Senior Editor of E-dition Magazine in The Netherlands. Reprinted by permission.
The electronic life and its uncountable musical landscapes conceal always these small marvels hidden in the meanders of the forgetting. Logic Gate is one of these pearls. Musical entity founded by Steve Grace, Logic Gate released a first album in 2003; "From the Silence". Album strongly recommended by the famous EM webzine Electroambient Space (Huge thanks to Phil Derby), "From the Silence" is a splendid album with the perfumes of vintage EM built around the bewitching clouds and the charming flutes of marvellously musical Mellotron, as well as on heavy movements of sequencers from which the loud circular rhythms stamp the airs of their tenebrous approaches. All here will have recognized the musical imprints of Tangerine Dream and of their psychedelicosmic years.
Clogs of mists slam in the heavy winds of ether. Eventually molding an ascent made languid under a heavy soporific cloud, these knocks of clogs, which remind me with delight Thierry Fervant's Universe, exchange a measure which fainted in order to switch shape with a heavy pulsing bass line and its ions jumping lazily into the caresses of hyper foggy Mellotron. And so "Code Red" invites us in a journey in the time of Tangerine Dream, period Baumann-Franke-Froese. A delicate harmonious line espouses the uncertain march of a heavy rhythm and of its chords which skip of the end of their notes on a pond frozen by iodized gases. The lines of rhythms and harmonies are add and are compress to form a morphic symphony where old analog tones, as well as absent voices, spread their phantom veils on a 1st half which drowns itself in its fogs of Mellotron. The 2nd part infiltrates our ears with notes of an electric piano which dance in a delicate epitaph choreography. Fragile, these glass arpeggios interlace their harmonies in the pulsations of a sequenced bass line and in the prismic breaths of another line of sequences to gleaming arpeggios. Like an architect of minimalist structures, Steve Grace stacks his lines of harmonies with a swarm of related tones to unite them within a weighty line of sequences and his black ions which jump in a sort of imps figure into a rhythmic structure as slow as heavy whose obvious morphic charms harmonize themselves with the breaths of Mellotron to nasal evanescent harmonies.
A soft and poetic flute opens the title-track which hears its shrill breaths be immediately sprayed by an iridescent mist. Heavy pulsations are skipping with uncertainty, moulding an undulatory rhythmic approach which embellishes itself of jingle of cymbals and floating chords of an electric piano which sings in lunar vapors. We would believe to be in the psychedelic spheres of Pink Floyd (Ummagumma) and Tangerine Dream (Encore) with this throbbing and semi-floating rhythm which welcomes in the strikings of percussions drumming an even more hallucinogenic measure. An oniric fog moderates the storm, plunging "From the Silence" into a brief ambient passage where the Mellotron subdivides its lines of mists and voices. Another line of sequences emerges, cutting the gliding horizon with deep circular keys which draw a boiling up-tempo where hangs onto constantly the morphic harmonies of the Mellotron and some synth pads à la Logos.
The first minutes of "Biomorph" are kissing the lunar tranquility coming from the deep harmonic fogs. Then comes a beautiful flute and its enchanting singings to decorate this seraphic pattern that a soft bass line caresses of its delicate pulsations, carrying the first dream of "Biomorph" under the falls of white noises. A mislaid note draws scattered circles which are eventually interlaced to forge a heavy circular rhythm which gulps down at the passage some tinkling notes of which the ringings marry the slow circular movements of Mellotron gusts.
"From the Silence" deserves to be heard loud and clear! It's a superb album of an EM as much musical as poetic which walks on the paths of the mythical Berlin trio without ever falling into the trap to be just a pale reflection. Behind his coat of Logic Gate, Steve Grace manages the improbable bet to seduce with a style that several have drained by dint of copying without wanting to give effort to embrace any originality. It's splendid and highly recommendable EM for those who miss the old days and those who enjoy the music of Jim Kirkwood and Arcane.
© 2013 Sylvain Lupari