"Here is an enjoyable exploration of an assortment of retro electronic music, covering spacemusic, Berlin, European, and assorted subgenres that harken back to artists like Michael Stearns, David Lange, and other artists whom emerged during the heyday of Hearts of Space (the label) and other like it. I recommend the recording (for the most part) as a solid and enjoyable collection of pieces that, despite the presence of warm analog synths (whether "soft synths" or real, I can't tell), and the retro nature of the compositions, still sounds fresh and invigorating and not at all dated.
From the opening "Glider" which soars through the cosmos on twinkling star shower keyboards and deep lush washes of synths and "fat" floating chords, we travel to take a "Voyage" on buoyant panned Berlin sequences imparted with a fluid movement via washes and a high-pitched whistling lead melody line that slowly evolves into a propulsive driving rhythm fest peppered with snare, bass and cymbal beats. Later, "Inhabited Worlds" tilts the music into a darker, yet still highly rhythmic and powerful direction, featuring ping-ponging retro synths and whirly-gigging noises and textures. A haunting melody weaves its in amidst the rhythmic undercurrents, both intoxicating and alluring, especially when more prominent percussion takes control of the song.
Hard core EM fans will have to wade through songs such as "Flowers in the Wind" which are "classic" synth-driven old-school new age music (plucked harp keyboards, wavery synths, too-smooth strings, bell tones, and a melody that fairly oozes romance, sweetness and light. "City of Lights" (the piece which comes after the aforementioned one) offers classic spacemusic washes and similar retro-sounding effects and textures painting a nice SF-flavored piece that at times reminds me of earlier Jarre recordings crossed with David Lange, although the later use of plucked guitar and sampled pan pipes strays over near the new age side of the fence again with considerably better results, though. "Shaman" returns to a more overt in-your-face EM style, with a vengeance. Forceful rhythms and broad sweeping analog synths are carried along by a Jonn Serrie (circa Flightpath/Tingri) lead keyboard line. Oddly, a track that you'd expect to be overtly "new agey" in sound, "Dolphins" while having friendly major chord/note melodic content, as has its share of cosmic overtones, with Demby-esque chorales married to midtempo beats of a retro/Quasi-Berlin nature.
I was entertained by most of the album, and even the tracks that crossed over or stumbled near to new age did so with grace and class. After all, the new age music of the mid to late 1980s and early 1990s bore a certain resemblance to both EM and spacemusic (a lot more than current new age music does, that's for sure). Nebuale's recording quality is impressive; engineering is excellent as is production. I can't fault whatever Alidan uses for his synths, controllers, or keyboards. While not as "warm" as the music from "back then" actually was, this is still pleasing to the ears and I never suffered aural fatigue or grew tired of the assorted sounds. I think Alidan has a lot of talent for composing music that borrows from the retro movement without copying it or being purposely derivative. In particular, the first four tracks on Nebulae are superb and on the basis of those alone I recommend the album to EM and "classic" spacemusic fans alike". Â© 2005 - Bill Binkelman, WIND & WIRE. USA.
Check out the artist's website:
3. The Kingdom of Poseidon
4. Inhabited Worlds
5. Flowers on the Wind
6. Cities of Light
9. With an Angel