A Box of Fysh
Various Reviews (credited at end of review)
After a well-received demo and an initial EP, comes the debut album from this new UK synth music project - and it's really excellent. The twenty minute opening track, 'Sanctuary', starts off with a mix of soaring melodies, rich string synth backdrops and lilting bass-led rhythms, all so serene and gorgeous, quite tranquil but strong. Around the five minute point, a drum rhythm kicks in, nothing particularly powerful, as more sprightly melodies fly around the background and the whole piece cruises into the skies, all very summery, substantial and wide-eyed. From there on it takes on an almost ambient mix of string synths, solid rhythms and multi-textured space synths, as a strong river of bass and percussion carve an almost ambient dub path on top of the expansive layers of synth melodies and rich atmospheres. This whole feel of strength and beauty continues through slowly moving twists and turns throughout the track, to magical effect. The five minute 'Garuda' is a more sprightly track with a samba-like rhythm, soaring electronic sax and jazzy melodies from the synths and keys. The eight minute 'Orange' is, once again, filled with string synth backdrops, but here the layers of synth choirs, rivers of running bass and percussion and soaring background rhythms all combine to create a melodic and yet atmospheric ambient expanse that is so chilled out yet quite strong at the same time.
'Rama', another twenty minute track, starts with eerie waves of bass synths and electronic backdrops, as a slowly deliberate rhythm from the bass and drums kicks in, all around this assemblage of layers and melodies building and developing, with a full-sounding depth of musical textures welling up from below. This decelerates only to turn into a much faster rhythm, again electro-percussive and bass led, whereupon this distant melody from flute-like synths is heard, while a piano-like lead plays away on top, the whole canopy moving and changing with a remarkably cohesive nature. At times verging a bit towards "new age techno", it nevertheless manages to retain its magical melodic bliss for those that want something laid-back and easy to enjoy, again developing and changing as it moves, but never straying too far from its core splendours. The final two mid-length tracks continue this mix of richness, depth, rhythm and atmosphere, with melody and feel at the heart of things, neither ambient nor synth, more a chilled-out hybrid of the two, mostly more Jarre & Vangelis than anything. Overall, a solid release for synth fans who like it melodic and atmospheric in the deep riches of the synth dept but with a fresh sounding flow in the always strong rhythmic dept.
Reviewed by Andy Garibaldi Dead Earnest’s CD Services / Pick of 2004
I had the pleasure of running across Etherfysh's artist, Chris Christou, online a few years back. During the winter holidays, he has sent me his musical Xmas cards, Yule Tide (see my review of Yule Tide 2 in issue 15 in the archives) which showed where he was musically. Now he has come to the fore with what I consider his most mature musical expression yet.
This disc's wonderfully melodic EM floats out of the speakers from the opening of the first track, Sanctuary, a multiple part epic running around twenty minutes. There is a second epic length tune, Rama on the disc as well, and I've always been a sucker for well composed longer tunes.
However, the disc also has shorter tunes to add variety. The shortest, Garuda has some jazz flavor to spice it up. Other tracks have haunting riffs that give the listener a dreamy feeling. Regardless of length, feel, or tempo, all of the songs are solidly layered full works
I was fortunate enough to get one of the copies which had the bonus disc with the main work. (Check the website to see if any of these are left!) This disc is filled with outtakes throughout Etherfysh's history, the majority of them unreleased. One interesting point in them is that Christou works with other musicians on several of the tracks. I think this shows one influence that has helped him hone his skills as an artist.
Etherfysh: A Box of Fysh Rating: 8/10 Reviewed by Loren Bacon : Electronic Shadows January 2005
Chris Christou is the musician behind the peculiar name Etherfysh. He's been making electronic music for many years; his work under this name has developed from music he originally recorded for his own satisfaction. Thankfully he decided to make Etherfysh music available publicly, the latest result of which is A Box of the Fysh - an album packed with over seventy five minutes of laid back electronic music skirting genres such as Berlin School, electronica, and new age, with some hints of smooth jazz. The accessible and undemanding melodies and rhythms lean it towards the new age genre, while the electronics and atmospheric passages push it to ambient electronica territory.
Of the six tracks on the album only two are under ten minutes, and a couple are over twenty minutes. Most pieces thus have plenty of time to develop, and in some cases to lull the listener into a restful state. The opening track "Sanctuary" is a cheery introduction where easygoing melodies canter along over unobtrusive drums, synth pads, and percussive effects. As it progresses the pace moves up a gear when more percussion effects come in, flutey melodies dance around, and repeating electronic showers add a touch of glitter. This piece sets a scene like that of privately walking through the pleasant grounds of an English country house.
In the next track "Garuda" the mood is still light but the style verges on jazz due to the laid back saxophone like melodies and the way other instruments such as piano and drums perform additional melody and rhythm.
The longest track "Rama" (clocking in at nearly twenty two minutes) is for me the most enthralling. It begins with mysterious leanings exemplified by heavy reverbing synths and the occasional drum bang. Not long in we then hear almost discordant synthetic plucked sounds that add to the atmosphere. After a few minutes of pacing drums and eerie melodic refrains the track bursts into life becoming less moody. It gave me vague sonic impressions of Tangerine Dream's White Eagle, but with a more well rounded and mainstream style.
A Box of Fysh is a winner with me because it adroitly manages to be laid back yet interesting, kind of like Patrick O'Hearn meets Tangerine Dream of the 1980s.
Reviewed by: Dene Bebbington – MELLIFLUA