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natural power - arh0001

"natural power" CD reviews

DEEP SKY DIVERS debut CD originally released on MP3.COM in 2000 and remastered for official release in 2003.

Featuring instrumental music (ambient/electronica and film/tv music) recorded between 1991 and 1994. The 15 tracks cover a broad spectrum of musical style from the lush ambience of RAGING CALM through the "100% libido-infused vibe" of STRIDE FOR STRIDE to the "bombastic symphonic electronica" of ETERNIA.

The remastered release features 2 additional tracks: DERWENT and NATURAL POWER (PRIMITIVE POWER SOURCE).

"...an amazing debut. The music featured flows from soft rock to ambient seamlessly through a musical texture that is soothing and inspiring. A must!" - the loft

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author

Bill Binkelman - Wind & Wire (december 2003):

"crisscrosses between the boundaries of new age, smooth jazz, pop, and adult contemporary genres with the ease of a glider carried on a thermal...."

review

Natural Power is a triple "p" release: purely perfect pop! By that I mean this recording is chock full of brilliant electronic pop instrumental music that begs to be played at loud volumes. It's in the same vein as Jan Hammer's Beyond the Mind's Eye album, another recording that I can play over and over and enjoy it each and every time. There is something so wonderful about hearing fantastic hooks and catchy rhythms, both of which are in abundance on Natural Power. Slip this CD into the deck of your touring sedan, head for the open road, and just feel that great sense of symmetry as you, the music, the machine, and the ribbon of highway coalesce to form a sensation unlike anything else!

Deep sky divers are Jon Short and David Jones, two UK musicians who have been recording music for over a decade now. In fact, the tracks on this CD were originally recorded from 1991 to 1994. Originally, Natural Power was available only on mp3.com. Just this past year (2002), after Jon Short remastered the tracks, it was released on the duo's anyrobinhood label with two tracks deleted and two new ones added. All I can say is "Thank you, Jon!"

The album opens with the short (sub two-minutes) "Eternia," an explosive shot of electro-adrenaline with synthesizers soaring and swooping across the soundfield, accompanied by thundering tom toms and wall-of-sound keyboards. It's probably one of the most powerful opening tracks I've heard in years. Next, the title cut slides the music into the relaxed groove where most of the songs will settle. Midtempo percolating sampled percussion in a myriad of styles (from trap set drums to cow bell to scratch beats), assorted keyboards, and echoed digital piano, all of it polished to a glossy sheen of perfect engineering (headphones will reveal an extraordinary mix, with panning effects galore and instruments located in distinct locations in the soundfield). "Ivory Coast"has a loping tempo, panpipe sampled keys, whistling synth lead lines, and an infectious grin-inducing sound (this track might remind you, as it did me, of David Antony Clark's CD, Before Africa).

Almost every track here has something to offer lovers of catchy instrumental electronic pop music, whether your taste runs toward the slow and sensuous rhythms of "Where Only Seabirds Roam,"the grey-clouds-in-the-afternoon soft jazz of "Change in the Weather," the out-and-out funkiness of "Stride for Stride" (way cool electric piano and sampled bongos), or the mystery and dramatic power of "Timeloch" (at eight minutes, the longest track on the album). And, for those of you who are already familiar with deep sky divers, Natural Power marked the first appearance of their "anthem," the amazing "Raging Calm" (in my opinion, one of the best new age pop instrumentals of the nineties, bar none).

Admittedly, I didn't enjoy everything on the album with equal enthusiasm. "Inner Space (Tranquility)"and "Inner Space (Hostility)"just don't click with me much, although there's nothing wrong with either one. They're less catchy than the other tracks here, and the latter has a march-like cadence on the snares, as well as a slight over-the-top exultant nature to the music itself. However, given that there are fifteen songs on this CD, I'm not going to quibble. So many of the cuts on Natural Power kick major amounts of ass that I can certainly live with one or two weak entries. The album closes with a new remix of the title track (the "primitive power source" mix) and it¹s a fitting ending to a recording that I enjoyed so much that I'd wager I played it twenty times before writing this review. If you¹re into toe-tapping, catchy, and extremely accessible instrumental music, played on electronic keyboards and digital piano which crisscrosses between the boundaries of new age, smooth jazz, pop, and adult contemporary genres with the ease of a glider carried on a thermal, Natural Power is going to earn a spot in your CD player's rotation and hold onto it for a long time. Highly recommended.
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Darrell Wade Burgan -
Gods of Music (2001):

review of the DSD track RAGING CALM

"If you're not familiar with 'Deep Sky Divers,' you should be. They have a collection of soft electronic tunes that simply must be heard..."

 

Some tunes are simply timeless -- and methinks 'Deep Sky Divers' may have created just such a work with their majestic and lucid electronic piece entitled "Raging Calm." Everything about this mellow and enchanting song exudes tranquility and warmth. The engineering is clear and bright. The instruments are soft, perfectly chosen, and very well programmed.

The structure of the song is brilliant. A clear introduction segues into a wonderful sequence of instrumental verse/bridge/verse/bridge. And the outtro... oh, it is so sublimely beautiful that it makes my hair stand on end. What a beautifully composed electronic song.

One of the best passages in the song involves what sounds like an oboe playing a counterpoint melody over the main theme. This instrument is beautifully manipulated, with just the right amount of vibrato at just the right time. This attention to detail is evident in all aspects of the song.

I'm even hard-pressed to come up with any suggestions for improvement! There's a slight bit of hiss at the start of the recording, which is somewhat noticeable but not problematic. Given when the tune was recorded (1992), it's a very well-done recording. I might also suggest that the aforementioned oboe could have used a little bit more reverb, as it felt a hair dry. But these are complete nits. This really is a tremendous work, folks.

If you're not familiar with 'Deep Sky Divers,' you should be. I highly recommend you check them out immediately. They have a collection of soft electronic tunes that simply must be heard.

Charisma: 9.00
Technical Skill: 9.50
Structure: 9.50
Interest: 9.00
Lyrics: n/a
Performance: 9.00
Arrangement: 10.00
Recording Quality: 8.50
Long Term Appeal: 9.00
OVERALL: 9.10
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Roland Zwikker - deo.com (july 2000):

"Sit back. Relax. This is their soundtrack for life..."

 

The history of Deep Sky Divers began way back at the end of the 70’s. Jon Short and David Jones were heavily involved in the Sheffield scene of that time and in 1982 they formed March The Third. They released one record in 1983 and then went their separate ways. In the 90’s they got back together, this time under the name Deep Sky Divers.

The music style of Deep Sky Divers has its roots back in the beginning of the eighties. Following in the footsteps of artists like Vangelis, Deep Sky Divers create a musical landscape with soft keyboard melodies. It all sounds very relaxed and ambient. Titles like ‘natural power’ and ‘raging calm’ give an idea of the picture they try to paint with music.

‘Natural Power’ sets the tone with mellow keyboard sounds and a deep, dark programmed drum. It all has a mysterious feel to it, like the masters from the eighties. Think about what Jean-Michel Jarre could (and actually still does) do with his keyboards, although he has moved on to a more modern sound. Deep Sky Divers aren’t a million miles off this part of the musical map. Their sound is timeless: especially when the brass sounds at the end of ‘Natural Power’ bring the song to life. ‘Raging Calm’ has an even more mysterious touch. At some points you feel you can hear little elves flying through the sound waves. All is very gentle and peaceful in the world of Deep Sky Divers.

Probably the best way to listen to these songs is to close your eyes and just let the melodies lead you to wherever you want to go. This might be a reason why the Deep Sky Divers already achieved some success with composing music for films or even television. The directors give visual representations of the atmospheric background melodies provided by them. Drift slowly upwards and away with Deep Sky Divers (healing crystals are optional).
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