Aqual Measure (2009)

Posted on November 14, 2009

computerchemist’s fourth album “aqual measure” was released in November 2009. An album of solid Berlin-school-style jazz-rock, perfecting a blend of raw guitar work and uber-precise sequencer lines.

 

Label: Terrainflight TF004
Release Date: 14th November, 2009

 

Track Listing

  1. Tantric Race
  2. Danube Flow
  3. Mirage
  4. Aqual Measure
  5. Standing Waves, Standing Still
  6. Atlantic Rift

Music Composed by Dave Pearson
Dave Pearson: keyboards, drum/sequencer programming, bass & lead guitars
Uwe Cremer: guitar on “aqual measure”
Equipment: cubase sx3, behringer bcf2000 control surface, maudio 88es, tascam us-122l, behringher hellbabe, 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/)
Artwork and design: Angiewoman
Back photo: Keith Hopkins

Recorded and Produced by Dave Pearson at Terrainflight Hungary Nov 2008 – Oct 2009


Download direct from Bandcamp (World)

Buy direct from CDbaby (World)

Buy direct from Groove Unlimited (Netherlands)

Buy direct from Cue-Records (Germany)

Buy direct from Ricochet Dream (USA)


Reviews:

“Computerchemist is a solo electronic experiment by Dave Pearson an ex-pat UK musician now residing in Hungary. To date he’s released 4 albums: ATMOSPHERIC (2006), ICON ONE ((2007), LANDFORM (2008). These first 3 contain some very nice synthetic textures ranging the spectrum from ambient to sequential rhythms.

The latest, AQUAL MEASURE (2009), is certainly his most accomplished. It owes a debt to the Teutonic electronic scene for sure, but Dave is much more lighthearted and his melodic skills more highly advanced. Tracks like, “Tantric Race”, “Mirage” and the title piece offer all an EM fan could want when it comes to surging sequences, exotic sonic embellishments and enchanting melodies. If all the old names on the scene have become a bit stale by now, then Computerchemist will offer you a breath of fresh air musically.” – Archie Patterson, Eurock.com


 

“OK. I’m not about to give you the usual review of an album. I’m not going to give you my views, track by track, describing how the music sounds. Why do you need ME to tell YOU how a particular piece of music sounds if you can hear it yourself. You make up your own mind when you hear the music. I agree, everyone interprets music in different ways. But quality music should be heard. Unfortunately, quality music is often dismissed because it’s not commercially viable.

The artist is COMPUTERCHEMIST.

The album is AQUAL MEASURE.

If a comparison is needed, and that is only natural as this is an artist that is not well known, then you could compare Dave Pearson’s music to that of electronic music Tangerine Dream, Jarre, Schulze, Kraftwerk, etc. Progressive sounds of Pink Floyd and Dave Gilmour solo work, Ash Ra Tempel, Oldfield, Hackett, Eno and King Crimson. There are too many to name! This is a combination of keyboard music and drums, live guitar and over 60 minutes of music that crosses the boundaries of certain boundaries of music that nobody thought could have been breached. Give it a listen!

For more information go to www.myspace.com/computerchemist www.terrainflight.com And all links after. Do listen to this album. Whether you are a metal, rock or EM fan. As I said before, the best feeling is being nudged into a style of music that you didn’t really know was there. And when you hear it, well…describe that feeling!!!!!” – Bruce Gall, Sunday Synth ARfm


 

“Beginning at the Beginning, naturally, with Tantric Race, a staggeringly robust piece of EM, the gentle opening of which is quickly substantiated with a lovely damp arpeggiated riff which progresses out of itself without leaving it’s basic pattern behind. Unusually, the choral washes are bolstered with a generous percussion spine and a wash of what I would term “Bird of Prey” guitar, which climbs and swoops over the sounds cape infusing the whole thing with that precious organic taste, so often missing from EM meanderings. For my own part, I had a definite visual image somewhere in the back of my mind of near naked greek athletes running backwards toward the end of the song, but… well, those are my fantasies and I’m entitled to have them!

Danube Flow comes into its own around its four minute mark, when the pattern gets much, much more spacious allowing Mr. Computerchemist to throw his imagination into the water and let it run with the tide. From that point, the float becomes a real ride with eddies, tides, patches of white water and majestic scenery woven into sound. It must have hit a nerve, because by 7:45 I was performing a rather expansive arms and torso dance on my computer chair, but in my mind, I was in a ravine looking up at tall trees. Big skies and a castle Count Dracula would be happy to call home.

Mirage is by far my favourite piece of the album, a strikingly atmospheric piece blending together a breathy background with arpeggiated riffs which drop seamlessly into the fuller picture with drums and guitar which has more than a touch of Huw Lloyd Langton’s E-Bow style to it, no complaints there, the sustain and volume control helps the piece along beautifully. All in all, this track is probably as near to one of the more lengthy improvs from the Hawkwind Halcyon Days, late eighties stylee. And none the worse for it. I swear I could feel the hot slow wind of the Sahara blowing through my nightie while this was playing.

Aqual Measure, the title track of this album, posesses an almost medieval stately beginning, reminiscent of some fair maiden lost in the forest awaiting the resourceful rescue efforts of one Knight in Shining what sit. Found myself thinking back to the scene in “First Knight” where Richard Gere (fwoah) is, despite the pouring rain and the good soaking they had five minutes hence, showing Guinevere how to aquire a drink of water from a leaf… I digress… This is a beautiful track, full of imagery and emotion, the guitar work is soaring yet melancholy, full of the stuff of reverie. So really, the word play, Aqua, has come through quite admirably even at the start, and the rhythmic turn around midway through merely turns on a different kind of flow, whirlpools and waves smashing against rocks… Poetry mate, pure poetry as the remainder of the track slows down to a stately walk in the pouring rain, with the sea spray atomising over the sea wall .. And we retreat, soaked, stupefied with salt, yet satisfied…

Monumental and just a little bit worrisome, Standing Waves takes us on a flight over a dark heaving ocean that you really shouldn’t mess with. Feeling the power beneath the waves without straying into the big bangs and splashes is the name of the game here, it’s a deep, dark, powerful beast which needs not force itself, because it IS force without trying. Lie back in the dark, feel this track when you need to relinquish yourself to things elemental.

Imagine if you will, the dark depths, illuminated only by BioLuminescent creatures and the dusty luminescence of plankton illuminated by the distant full moon. And you are one of those creatures, blessed with supersense, guided by the celestial bio clock above… What can you see in the deep Atlantic Rift? There’s a lot of inner earth which we know nothing about, but if you want to imagine it, or set a soundtrack to one of those wonderful Voyage To The Bottom of The World’s Deepest Ocean movies, I guess you could do a lot worse than set this track up to play you out to sea. Be prepared for an abrupt turn of events late on in the day, as the artist takes an assertive stand, leading you to something you weren’t quite prepared for… unexpected, and not altogether unpleasant, rather like a quick cycle in the washing machine.

Do I like it? Oh yes.” – Nemesis J (ex Hawkwind, Sendelica, Tubilah Dog)


 

“Computerchemist, im wahren Leben Dave Pearson, wurde an dieser Stelle bereits kürzlich gewürdigt. Mit Aqual measure ist nun das zurzeit aktuelle Album an der Reihe, sein bisher insgesamt viertes Werk. Auf fünf Titeln bringt der in Ungarn lebende Brite an Berliner Schule angelehnte Elektronikmusik unters Volk, die ich ohne Zögern als erstklassig bezeichnen darf.

Seinen bereits in den letztens besprochenen Alben präsentierten Stil hat er noch weiter verfeinert und eine Prise mehr Progressivrock-Einflüsse eingebracht. Deutlich wird dies besonders in dem sehr mächtigen Titelstück, bei dem ausnahmsweise Uwe Cremer (a.k.a. Level Pi) als Gastmusiker zusätzlich noch in die Saiten greift. Dieser Kölner Musiker ist übrigens auch als “Level Pi” unterwegs. Ansonsten spielt Pearson die E-Gitarrenparts, die auch mal an Edgar Froeses Spiel erinnern, durchweg selbst. Immer wieder mal sorgen Mellotronausarbeitungen für einen sinfonischen Anstrich, temperamentvolle Rhythmusbegleitung machen einige Songs zu recht flotten Nummern. Wenn ich ein mustergültiges Beispiel für die Musik des Computerchemist zitieren sollte, dann fällt meine erste Wahl gleich auf den knapp 11 minütigen Opener Tantric race.

Hier wird exemplarisch alles geboten, was im Kern die Musik des Briten ausmacht. Sphärischer, sinfonischer Beginn mit leisen Mellotrontönen, erst in Form von Flötenarrangements, später gesellen sich Mellotronchöre hinzu. Im weiteren Verlauf wird die Nummer deutlich rhythmischer, nimmt Fahrt auf. Es kommt die Gitarre ins Spiel, und die Nähe zu 70er Tangerine Dream lässt sich kaum leugnen Insgesamt bietet das Album eine sehr stimmige Mixtur aus melodischen wie auch sphärischen Tönen und EM-typischen Sequenzerlinien sowie darauf abgestimmte Gitar-renarbeit, wobei der Berliner Schule Einfluss unverkennbar ist.” – Jürgen Meurer, Progressive Newsletter Nr. 69 (JM 12)


 

Aqual Measure is a genre-defying album that has elements of classic 1970’s EM and yet features lots of very good to great guitar work and pounding drums. It is, by turns, peaceful and raging. In whatever category one would place this album, the best way to describe it is as an aural adventure which has too many elements to be consigned to one genre. Call it adventurous and call it a triumph and you will be right on the mark!

Tantric Race is the first song with a pretty spacy start yielding to an emerging bass line and flutes, then female and male choir sounds adding spice to the mix. These droning male choirs will waft in and out of ‘Tantric Race’ for the length of its over 10 minute duration. Synth pads add to the potpourri of sounds and they lead up to guitars and drums, all the while the same bass line floats in the background, hazily defined yet essential to the mix.

The space music beginning has yielded to a hard driving sound with searing guitars and pounding drums and cymbals. The cymbals are as crystal clear sounding as those on an old ECM jazz record.

Alternating serenity and intensity characterize ‘Tantric Race’. The drums evolve into an almost African rhythm with plaintive guitars in the background. Drums and cymbals have a real clarity. I’ve found that this one sounds best with the sound turned up.

Danube Flow starts in an irresistible way with pulsing organ-like sounds backed by a repeating staccato drum beat; a sound different than almost any other keys sound I’ve ever heard – very seductive with a great flow and a sound that would be very difficult to tire of. ‘Danube Flow’ clocks in at 11:40 and seems not the least bit long.

The keyboard sound comes in layers – ultimately joined by a majestic musical crest formed by drums and lead synth. The changes of pace in the drumming and this unique pulsing organ-synth form the backbone of ‘Danube Flow’ with some interesting string pads. This is a very, very strong track.

Next we come to a true aural treat in Mirage. This track has been remixed as ‘Sky Turned Black’ with the vocals of Nemesis, formerly of Hawkwind fame – since Aqual Measure’s release. Here, as with STB, it is a superbly strong track which could not help but remind me of some of Hawkwind’s better material. It’s that good.

‘Mirage’ starts with rapidly pulsing synth sounds that are similar in texture, if not tone, to those that start ‘Danube Flow’. A wall of sound begins to be formed behind it with a variety of slowly building sounds formed by guitar, synth and light drumming. Out of the building sound collage emerges strong guitar work and drumming with a surging, powerful beat that is probably going to remind you of Hawkwind’s space rock. It’s unique but has a feel which is very alluring, grand and other worldly with an almost spiritual tinge. The pace slows to sweeping, cosmic synth pads and drifts off, perhaps too short. I could easily envision a whole album with this type of sound.

The title track, Aqual Measure, begins with surges of plaintive emotional synth work combined with authoritative piano. Again, searing guitars float above the synth pad backdrop. Uwe Cremer (a.k.a. Level Pi) plays guitar on the title track. The music gives off a grandiose feel with crescendos yielding to a more peaceful expression of emotion through guitar work and slowly unfolding synth pads. Don’t relax too much because the whole mix will build to massive crescendos again only to fall back into a peaceful groove once more. The guitar work throughout the album is strong. Another thing that strikes me as I listen to this album is that Dave has arrived at a point in his musical career where his compositions are very strong.

Following ‘Aqual Measure’ comes Standing Waves, Standing Still, the penultimate song on the album. It starts with an early ’80s Tangerine Dream feel as an intro for the first few minutes, then begins to reveal a sequencer pattern that is strong, varied and just sounds downright great!

The sequencer continues to build and dominate the mix for a couple of minutes before it is buried by an avalanche of smashing drums and guitar. Towards the end of the song we hear a female voice, howling winds, crashing doors, a male voice and pulsing sequencer with insistent synth pads. The howling winds come front and center just before the sequencer rampages back in at a more frantic pace than before. And again the winds conquer the soundscape nearly totally before finally yielding to synth pads and piano.

The final song on Aqual Measure is Atlantic Rift, starting with spare instrumentation sounding a bit like something from Cluster or Harmonia back in the day. This droning, spacy sound continues for a while and sounds evocative of a meditative place; a peaceful haven.

But don’t drift away totally, because pads and an emerging sequencer set this album into action mode once again! We’re talking some classic 70’s EM sounding sequencers. Add a pinch of male choir to the pads and sequencer and the building soundscape is embracing, in a pleasure inducing way.

A sound with some friction emerges – perhaps a very rough guitar based sound. The sound becomes clearer; what is it?

A building tumultuous wave of sound buries the guitar sound totally after which it lashes back in a vindictive way in the form of some outlandishly good guitar licks. This is supreme guitar work which initially reminded me of Tony Iommi’s best riffing with early Black Sabbath. It’s absolutely killer guitar work! The highlight of the whole album. While it plays, I experience musical bliss. Rock ‘n Roll heaven and then a final synth based tumble of sound, finishing a very strong album.” – Greg Allen, author of Klaus Schulze : Electronic Music Legend
(http://www.klausschulzebook.com)


 

“Dave Pearson is Computerchemist, and Aqual Measure is my first exposure to his music although this is his fourth album. Tantric Race gets things going quickly with a rapid bass sequence, followed by mellotron flutes. Drums and lead guitar then open up the throttle as the music becomes a prog rock EM fest, something like Tangerine Dream’s Force Majeure.

Danube Flow sounds more like modern electronica with its quirky, brisk sequencing, with a cool computerized metallic sheen. A soft, warm synth lead plays over the top, followed by gently rolling drums that remind me of Ron Boots. A beautiful majestic synth takes over at 3:30, a wonderful crescendo that catches me off guard. This track is light, optimistic, and playfully energetic, superb.

Mirage will grab sequencer fans from the get-go with its mesmerizing loops. The sizzling echoes of electric guitar are excellent as well. Speaking of guitar, the title track features Uwe Cremer (a.k.a. Level Pi) on lead guitar and it is a powerful addition, reminding me of German ax man Maxxess.

Standing Waves, Standing Still is a slow builder that really gets cooking once the sequencing kicks in about a third of the way through, with drums adding to the energy after that.

Atlantic Rift offers a spacey change of pace, very low key and hypnotic until a surprising release of pent-up dissonant noise around the 8:00 mark that is haunting and intense, unleashing a power rock section that is totally unexpected, before the last 45 seconds of the album drift off into deep space.” – Phil Derby, Electroambient Space, May 2010 Edition


 

“Dave Pearson is stuck in the 70s, and that’s exactly where I like him. Creating music under the name Computerchemist, Pearson is one of the foremost flagholders for solid Berlin-school-style jazz-rock, perfecting his blend of raw guitar work and uber-precise sequencer lines. And now he’s come along with Aqual Measure. Forget all the allusions to the obvious inspirations at work here. Computerchemist is his own artist, forging exciting new paths through a well-trodden musical wood, and Aqual Measure is another very listenable Computerchemist homage to the great music Pearson cut his musical eyeteeth on and continues to worship.

The opening track, Tantric Race, should not be listened to while driving as it will, in fact, cause you to get a speeding ticket. It’s just one of those songs — your pulse races along with the music, a classic blend of anxious, angular sequencer lines twisting around each other and a delicate synth flute. Then, about four minutes into it, Pearson kicks the blocks off the guitar and just cut loose. “Aqual Measure” is different from earlier Computerchemist releases in large part due to Pearson’s decision to put his guitar work more to the forefront. This is a decision I wholeheartedly endorse. By and large, it’s aggressive, razor-slash rock guitar, all attitude and energy. But there’s soul here, too. Check out the slow, Middle-Eastern-influenced, heartfelt wail that forms the middle of Mirage. Even more so, there’s buckets of the stuff to be had when Pearson calls on guitarist Uwe Cremer (a.k.a. Level Pi) to handle the chops chores on the album’s title track. Cremer replies by baring his bluesy soul in long, sweat-soaked solos. Pearson assails the strings one last time in the closing moments of the final track, Atlantic Rift and gives off the simple feel of a garage band hell-bent on making it big.

In between the guitar attacks, Pearson constructs cool melodies and sonic landscapes of classic synthesizer-crafted beauty. He’s an incredible instrumentalist and a versatile musician. Start to finish, there’s a lot to like in Aqual Measure. It’s much more than just another trip down an electronic memory lane. This is solid music for now, inspired by then. And it’s another Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD from Computerchemist.” – John Shanahan, Hypnagogue


 

“ComputerChemist – AQUAL MEASURE: I first reviewed this electronic genius (Dave Pearson) in issue # 91… very impressive, and this new CD is even moreso – sweeping electronic washes invade your consciousness and take you to the edge of universes you didn’t even know existed. The opener, Tantric Race, is one of the best build sequences I’ve heard in 2010… throbbing bass leads into synth washes that will make your ears stand up and take notice, & when he morphs into the echo guitar lines, you’ll realize just how timeless his aural visions are. The synth layering on Mirage makes it my absolute favorite… the key to a successful listen for this gent’s music, however, is that you must listen with your headphones… you don’t want any of his intensely focused energy to float off (wasted) into etherspace! This is like listening to an aural painting, and you’ll find yourself drawn back to certain pieces over and over again… very satisfying music, but not filled with the electronic clichés that some players in this genre tend to use to mask their low talent levels. I thoroughly enjoy Dave’s music (we’ve got another couple of albums to review yet) and give it my MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating for any and all who love high-talent (and high-energy) electronic music! It also receives an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.94. Get more information at www.computerchemist.com” – Rotcod Zzaj (a.k.a. Dick Metcalfe), IMPROVIJAZZATION Nation

 


Download direct from Bandcamp (World)

Buy direct from CDbaby (World)

Buy direct from Groove Unlimited (Netherlands)

Buy direct from Cue-Records (Germany)

Buy direct from Ricochet Dream (USA)

Categories: Albums

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *