When you have reached the limits of what listening to Spacemusic offers, one must then make their own. The 12 synth sharps of Gemstones II (85'16") have studied the greats - not to imitate them, but to advance their beliefs. Extending the impressive anthology series from Cyclical Dreams, the Ambient and Berlin-School themes and forms this second installment explores should be embraced by even the most casual listener. Each mindscape is a realm of its own, individually distinct and unrestrainedly imaginative. Few other electronic artists can conjure up such complete other worlds with such clarity, depth and beauty as these do. Setting forth from the here and now, these works forge forward under their own momentum. Each submission works off the energy of the one before it, and draws us into the next, showing connections and amplifying the value of all - illustrating that the meaning of this music is much greater than that of the individual maker.
Presenting an even dozen skilled electronic musicians, possessing abilities and backgrounds unique to each, Gemstones II opens with Gradient 12 by Robert Rich. Building a captivating sequencer backdrop, he lets lead lines freely flow to snake and drift about in the foreground... Expose by Erik Wøllo follows in a glimmering beauty and striking sonic drama... In a tightly worked sequencer command Spacers by Martin Stürtzer enters rhythmic realms somewhere past ours... and even the author of this review (Chuck van Zyl) submits a personal expression; in The Child of Night light lilting melodic patterns settle into a Berlin-School sequencer ride... It's Taken by Sam Prekop brims with an uncommon aliveness as energy and heat are exchanged... The trio Cartas de Japón hears their identities in the striding motor-motion of Estepa... Traveling through the void of space, Merging Into the Night by Max Corbacho descends into darkness... On Much Too Late the duo Perge spin out of orbit on rousing anthems atop ardent echoing tones... Then, with Still Untold Sophos rules the night... In what furnace did this dream of Fritz Mayr forge? Energized by a striding mechanized pulse his From the Ashes crosses an unimaginable gulf to reach us... Suggesting new dimensions Michael Brückner & Rebekkah Hilgraves ask that we Love One Another, a restless and imaginative piece of beguiling sonic charm... Fondness by Filter-Kaffee begins as a portrait of desolation, infiltrates our minds with cycling arpeggio notes and ethereal harmonies, and concludes with questions posed at the edge of doom...
Inside this collection we find a universe in flux, where space flows like time and time stretches out like space. The music will live up to what we believe in it, what we believe it to be. For those robbed of their optimism, listening to Gemstones II should restore your faith in the future - because after all, that seems to be where all this great music is emanating from.
- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END 23 September 2021