computerchemist’s third album released in December 2008. His latest excursion takes the listener again into an ethereal synthesizer and guitar landscape, with a distinctly original take on the classic Berlin-school sound.
Label: Terrainflight TF003
Release Date: 19th December, 2008
- After the Eclipse
- Darklight Drive
- Cave Search
Music Composed by Dave Pearson
Dave Pearson: keyboards, drum/sequencer programming, bass & lead guitars
Robin Hayes: cello on “darklight drive”
Joselyn Lara Cerna: voice on “after the eclipse” and “darklight drive”
Equipment: cubase sx3, behringer bcf2000 control surface, maudio 88es, hercules 16/12, behringer mdx2600 compander, behringer t1953 valve preamp, behringer di4000,yamaha bass, customised behringer guitar, zoom guitar effects pedal, yamaha customised drum pads
Percussion: VOXXlab L2S (licenced under CC sampling+ http://creativecommons.org/licenses/sampling+/1.0/)
Apollo 11 radio on “darklight drive” courtesy of nasa history archive http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/history/
Artwork and design: Angiewoman
Recorded and Produced by Dave Pearson at Terrainflight UK & Hungary Nov 2007 – Nov 2008
“Dave Pearson aka/Computerchemist’s third album, Landform is a revelation. A revelation that, for me, at least, took place gradually as I listened to the album several times in a one week period. I like it a lot!
A few things about the album:
First, if you like classic EM sequencing, its here in liberal doses. On one or more occasions, that sequencing comes unexpectedly, the same technique used by the master Klaus Schulze, who surprises with sequencer appearances and tonal direction frequently. The sequencing always takes on more of a “thrill factor” for me when it comes suddenly, as a surprise.
Second the sounds are all first class, the album is well recorded and there are some special surprises along the way in terms of effects and even a female voice in the background (which is that of Joss who was one of the DJs on the Mexican internet radio show “Después del Eclipse” who did the first “exclusive” of Icon One before the album launch). Also, the drumming at times hits a high level that reminded me a little of the special sound in Go Live from Paris. I also found it striking how beautiful and varied the string pads are on this album.
Dave describes his musical development and approach:
“During most of the ’80s I played in various prog and rock bands, still managing to get Berlin school sequencer parts in though! It was only during the ’90s that I gravitated completely back to the grass roots sounds which first inspired me to play synth, and spent many years perfecting the style.
Now I do all of my playing on a single master keyboard – a Keystation 88es – and with virtual instruments there is no need for racks of synths anymore! The guitar work is the only ‘real’ instrumentation but one thing I have always been keen on is to physically perform all of the parts rather than leave it to a factory made 120 bpm loop as a lot of modern music tends to be these days. In this way, the drum parts are played either through the master keyboard or, where it gets fiddly, on midi pads using sticks – yes, real sticks!”
The first song, After the Eclipse leads off with brief vibe-like synth, evolving quickly into classic T-Dream, Hoenig, Schulze style sequencing. The song quickly mixes in drums, lead guitar (a searing lead that sounds very good, reminding at times of Steve Hillage or even Manuel Göttsching). A special treat is the background spoken female voice (Joss) with an almost accordion-like sound accompanying it briefly. All the while, sequencer plays along with lush string synth pads – joined by male choir in the second half of the song.
“After the Eclipse”, as with the other four songs, is nice compositionally, always changing things up before any threat of boredom occurs.
Second is Darklight Drive, a 12 minutes plus song that is sure to delight! Piano and a dark sounding, very rich cello set a mood early. Higher strings counterbalance that a bit but the overall effect is emotion producing for me. A sudden sequencer plays at 3 minutes, joined quickly by drums and plaintive guitar work. The guitar and sequencer dominate for awhile, complemented at times by some imposing power drumming, bass and lead that hits with the impact of some of the power passages of King Crimson in the Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Starless and Bible Black, Red period.
There is a synth sound (using the “Crystal” VSTi synth) that scrubs and swishes; early in the song it sounded a bit like birds and up in the mix. Later, it’s less up front and I found myself wondering if it wouldn’t be better without that sound, which is repeated several times. That is difficult to say, though. Dave explains it this way, “It’s used sparingly in the first part, I likened it to maybe flocks of birds at dawn, swamp creatures, and as you’ve picked up also in the third part, the interlude between the two rather guitar heavy pieces, but there it’s more like the slow drifting of something between two more powerful phases, like the interplanetary gap between the launch and the landing powered phase of a space journey.”
The sequencing in “Darklight Drive”, takes on an ethereal sound late – backed by mid octave pads that complements it well. The drumming patterns are also very interesting late in the song. This is where the volume control may go up! “Darklight Drive” is a strong and powerful track!
Third up is Cavesearch, which starts out with Dave playing the piano (synthesized but sounding realistic). He has obviously had training on the piano. Lush pads, light drumming and a hint of female choir take the song forward at a moderate pace. Pensive flute is followed by gathering momentum including sequencer and decisive, sharply attacking drum hits.
A propulsive and exciting sequencer launches “Cavesearch” toward a very intense period culminating with the lead guitar and sequencing alternating with each other in a “musical conversation”. The final minutes of “Cavesearch” are filled with inventive, creative sound elements that come across as a treat.
Fourth is the title track, Landform. It starts with an extended solo string pad, yielding to sequencer and Minimoog-like sweeps through the soundscape. The song has a moderate pace, overall, guided by the drumming and featuring many swirling pads and other lead synth sounds.
The last song, which is my personal favorite on Landform, is “Geoid”. The special quality of this piece is made by the mysterious sounding, lilting and magical sequencer which backs the whole track. In front of the beat are liberal lush pads and some of the most inspiring guitar work on Landform, reminding me a bit of Manuel Göttsching’s scorching guitar work on In Blue (by the maestro, Schulze). This is a killer song and could be quite addictive!
I think that while Computerchemist’s style can easily remind one of Tangerine Dream, his style is unique, refreshing and all his own – a real change from the typical EM sound but yet retaining several of its best ingredients.
I had a lot of fun listening to Landform this last week!”
“Add Computerchemist to my list of artists whose new work I genuinely look forward to. Dave Pearson has called himself and his work more TD than TD. That being the case, his latest offering, Landform, brings Pearson’s homage up to the Melrose/Le Parc era with its blend of sequencer runs and blistering guitar. After the Eclipse kicks off the disk in high-octane style, and Pearson doesn’t relent. I up the volume as the guitar kicks in on Darklight Drive, urged on by pounding prog-rock drums. Cave Search starts slow and dramatic and keeps a mysterious air through half of its eleven minutes. A pause, and Pearson hits the thrusters. The title track rolls along on a burbling sequencer track as guitar and piano punctuate the path. The final ride, Geoid, is pure space-jazz goodness. As usual, Pearson gives himself room to rip and to develop each of his sonic stories – tales well worth both the telling and the hearing. This is a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD, especially if you like your music with a touch of old-school style.” – John Shanahan, Hypnagogue
“Direkt im Anschluss an ‘Icon one’ schlossen sich die Arbeiten am Nachfolgewerk ‘Landform’ an, das zwischen November 2007 und November 2008 entstanden ist. Viele Elemente, die schon ‘Icon one’ prägten, sind auch hier wieder zu hören. Überdeutlich ist ebenfalls der Tangerine Dream Einfluss. So wird der Opener After the eclipse in bester ‘Force majeure’ Manier zu Gehör gebracht. Im nachfolgenden Darklight drive wird die E-Gitarre in den Vordergrund gestellt, als zusätzliches Extra kommt hier Gastmusiker Robin Hayes am Cello zum Einsatz, was recht gut ins Konzept des Titels passt.
Stark auch Cave search mit einer Mischung aus sehr symphonischen Parts und einer gelegentlichen Floyd-Stimmung (hier werde ich speziell ein wenig an ‘Careful with that axe, Eugene’ erinnert).
Sehr schön auch das Mellotron-Intro (Flöten und Streicher) im Titelsong, der mich auch wieder ein wenig an seinen Kollegen Syn erinnert. Auf gleichem Niveau geht es in einem weiteren Höhepunkt des Albums, dem abschließenden Geoid weiter. Sphärische, symphonische Klänge im TD-Gewand, am Ende spielt Pearson eine E-Gitarre, die mich an den Jethro Tull Song ‘Pibroch’ vom ‘Songs from the wood’-Album erinnert.” – Jürgen Meurer, Progressive Newsletter Nr. 68 (JM 11)
“ComputerChemist – LANDFORM: (editor: Here’s what I wrote back to Dave after my first listen to this great CD – Some music MUST be written about as it is listened to the first time!) There are many electronic artists who lay claim to “playing music like Tangerine Dream”, but few who live up to the rhetoric… the solo work of Dave Pearson (who moved to Hungary in 2008 from the UK) is clearly not just sales hype… some excellent compositions that will absorb your head, spin it around about 100 times & eject you into the other side of the wormhole in etherspace that LANDFORM creates for your mind. If you find that difficult to believe, or think I’m “pitching” for him, just listen to After the Eclipse… Pearson’s talent shines through, in most sweeping fashion, and will be most enjoyable for all but the most non-adventurous listeners. If you find your highest point when listening to symphonic starry elegance, you will enjoy the title track as much as I did… it was my favorite on the CD… a truly enchanting intro (about 1:35 or so) to a full 10:54 trip that has (both) strong psychedelic and progressive influences! Geoid, the last track, was also a full-tilt adventure that came in a strong second for this listener… full of pleasant surprises and some very nice guitar patches – LOVED the jazzy-feeling electronic keyboards on this one. I’m very highly impressed with this 3rd album from Dave, & will devote significant listening time to his earlier works in future issues. I give this an unequivocal MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for any & all who want more than just “thumpa-thumpa” in their electronic soundscapes. Keep an ear out for ComputerChemist… I predict that you will be hearing LOTS more of his solid work in the near term! Get more information at www.computerchemist.com/ (p.s. My pal Jerry Kranitz at www.aural-innovations.com/ will LOVE your music, Dave… tell him Zzaj sent you, please).” – Rotcod Zzaj, IMPROVIJAZZATION Nation
“Landform is the third album of British musician Dave Pearson who currently resides in Hungary. It contains five massive tracks stretching over 50 minutes.
After the Eclipse begins with reflective electric piano. However, in just a few seconds a sequence appears and drums are introduced. Melancholic pads really remind on 1980’s Tangerine Dream. When the echoing guitar is introduced, the TD comparison becomes almost inevitable. Melodically, this track is very strong. Schmoelling & co couldn’t do it any better. The sequencing shines through around the 5-minute mark as reflective Mellotron strings add that special touch. I also like the drums that sound lively and vigorous.
Darklight Drive is much more subtle, beginning with long synth pads, a few effects and nice piano playing. It’s all fairly atmospheric and suspenseful. Dark cellos add a touch of mystery, before bright sequences and a bit funky guitar take things to a completely different territory. There’s almost a Hard Rock / Industrial vibe to this track, with distorted solos, grungy sequences and heavy drums. The synths are much more aggressive than what is to be expected from Dave. This is stark and dark Electronic Music that will still be enjoyed by fans of the classic Berlin School works. The sequences in the second part of this track are some of the best I’ve heard in a while. The drums go insane, adding a touch of Krautrock and Mellotron strings finish off this satisfying piece of music.
Cave Search starts as a piano solo, before subtle synth pads come out of nowhere. The drum rhythm appears in a relaxed tempo, with Mellotron strings and horns serving as basic melodic ingredient. The sequences appear in typical Berlin School fashion once again, as the track becomes more urgent and propulsive. A section of reflective pads is torn apart by a storm of rapid sequencing and effects. A “motorik” rhythm starts, adding that pleasant Rock touch. Nice guitar riffs appear, as all rhythms drown in a sea of distorted effects. The sequence tries several times to win a place under the sun, as guitar wails become even more menacing and unsettling. More crystalline sequences appear, as Mellotron strings finish off this epic track.
The title cut is next. Ethereal flutes and slightly phased strings paint an airy and magic landscape. A bubbly sequence starts, as darkish synthesizers envelop the electronic rhythm. The sequences are very prominent, while all other sounds support the rhythmic pulsations. Overall, it’s a relatively soft, atmospheric track from Dave.
Finally, Geoid is straight into laid-back and tasty sequencing that, for some reason, reminded me on Redshift. A wonderful beginning of a scorching EM track. The guitar solo is very Froese-like and fits perfectly to this kind of music. The sequences become more rolling and intricate, as wonderful electric piano adds a Jazzy touch. It’s guitar and drums mostly for a couple of seconds before the sequence returns in all its glory, only to be interrupted by melancholic strings and guitar. Landform is certainly the best album by Dave in terms of atmosphere and composition. A real treat for fans of sequencer-based music.” – Artemi Pugachov, Encyclopedia of Electronic Music