My album Transicity is available in two versions. The inner forest mix with nature sounds or the inner city mix without. Transicity is a unique journey of electronica music, combining lush synthesiser sounds, pulsating beats and textures.
Available to purchase as audio CD or soon to download as a digital audio file. Please contact me for further details. I will also add some preview samples shortly.
Review by Bill Binkleman, Wind & Wire.
This album is one of the most unexpected pleasures I’ve ever encountered in over four years of reviewing music. The only other CD I had heard from Simon Williams is the superlative melancholic ambient release, Gentle Rainstorm. That disc has become one of my favorites for relaxation and late night listening. When I heard Simon was releasing a beat-driven electronica recording, I assumed it would be a mild low-key affair. Well, just goes to show that I don’t know shit sometimes!
First off, let me start by stating that Transicity is a unique recording because it’s being offered in two different versions. The version I have is a blend of nature sounds (subtle and only occasional) with state of the art electronica of assorted genres. The other version strips away the nature sounds and leaves just the lush synths, electronic rhythms, and sweet beat-based bliss. Either way, though, this recording is a stunner. I liked it right away. However, the true revelation came when I had to pick up my friend Ellen’s dog. Shadow, at a kennel outside the city several weeks ago. Ellen has a killer CD player in her Saturn (which I borrowed for the trip) and I brought Transicity along for the ride. Boy, was I ever glad I did.
I would never have guessed that Simon, of the ultra-relaxing Gentle Rainstorm, could also come up with an album tailor-made for highway cruising! Transicity is the BOMB for driving. Not too frenetic, but filled with an assortment of beats, rhythms, spacy synths, dance-floor hooks and grooves – oh hell, this is just one helluva album! If you don’t like the nature sounds (although, some of them, such as the occasionally eagle cry, are pretty cool), order it “plain.”
While there are indexed tracks, with titles, the music plays continuously and this underscores the fluid nature of the electronic rhythms and keyboards. Transicity’s strongest point is how Simon varies the beats and synths throughout the album yet unifies it all so cohesively. One way he does this is by allowing his synth piano to carry the refrains quite a bit (and catchy refrains they are, too).
Starting things off with “The Dawning,” the CD opens with subtle ambient washes of keys, (amidst some nature sounds on my version, of course, such as bird song and frogs); it’s when the quasi-Berlin thumping beats emerge about a minute in that my brain hiccuped and I thought “What the hell?” This first cut is real Teutonic chromium cruising music. It segues into “Another Day” which introduces a more melodic beat-driven sensibility, using a combination of very electronic bloop/bleep synths and a gentle plucked string keyboard against a lush backdrop of washes and chords. This short piece flows into “Passage of Time,” which ups the rhythm ante with snappy snare rhythms and that piano-led melody. This is when your right foot will press down on that accelerator, I betcha! The intermixing of the piano with the more electronica-based textures is something to hear at 60 mph on a good CD player!
We’ve just begun to groove, though, as the next song (“Discoveries”) dials up the energy another notch with laser-zaps of synths played against the lead piano and a rapid-fire high hat, before slowing down in a Jan Hammeresque-vein (circa Beyond the Mind’s Eye soundtrack). This middle section of the CD maintains a nice even groove/rhythm, but it’s just a prelude to later cuts. The same easy-going sense of melody emerges half-way through cut five, “Midday Sun,” this time with the addition of a lovely synth-chorus. Kinda like Liquid Mind with a healthy dose of beats!
A more funkified sense of rhythm comes into play on “The Lost Dream” with jazzy piano runs and heavy bass-bottom beats riding on top of the synth choruses and washes. By the end of the song, a very spacy bleeping/blooping thumpy synth line is leading the way into “Workforce,” with a much more insistent rhythm and dance floor textures. The synth vocals are very pronounced on this cut and I enjoyed them. Part chorus and part female lead (all of it breathy and wordless), there is a slight undercurrent of sensuality and world-beat flavor, but it’s subtle as all get out. Don’t expect any faux Enigma touches here. The same wordless vocalizings are mixed with rapid-fire quasi-drum and bass beats on ” Crying Rain.” This is probably the weakest track on Transicity, but that’s a relative statement. I’m never even remotely tempted to skip the track.
The album finishes very strong with the eight-plus minute “Shadows at Dusk” and the almost-five minute “Night Skies,” both of them true gems on an already very solid album. Instead of a subdued climax, Simon brings the techno beats out for the former song, again married to that melodic piano of his, with a brief respite in mid-song (on the nature-sound version, this is accompanied by the outbreak of a thunderstorm). The final cut is an ass-shakin’ thumper of a song. Fast tempo beats, smooth washes of synths, and a melodic sensibility that is almost wondrous and elated made me want to hit the open road and never look back. When you hear the refrain in this cut, you’ll know what I mean.
I have not heard the altered (i.e. no nature sounds) version of Transicity, but I can tell you that if you love, or even just like, beat-driven electronica, I don’t know how you will not fall in love with this recording. It’s just so full of fun! I know that sounds trite and insipid, but damn if every single time I listened to this CD I didn’t smile. If this puppy got any air play at all, it’d be a monster because it’s gotta be one of the most likable CDs I’ve heard in years. So, whether you like hearing birds and other woodland sounds or just want to groove to the electronic rhythms, do yourself a favor and pick up on Transicity. Without a doubt, it warrants my highest recommendation.
Review by Bill Binkleman