Bulls & Bears
Element of Risk
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Kiev Philharmonic Orchestra
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Original works have
been premiered by the
Colorado Youth Symphony Orchestra,
Cal Poly MIDI Ensemble.
American Idol Underground
November 20, 2005
Unsigned Artist of the Month
#1 (Joe Wiedemann)
Joe Wiedemann got our attention this month with the second
movement of his Synth Concerto #1. In it, he coaxes a very expressive solo
melody from his Korg Z1, while the sounds of an expanded traditional
orchestra were wrought from the orchestral ROM of his Kurzweil K2000R.
The poignant Z1 melody communicates longing with subtle portamento and
tasteful vibrato, a pastoral feeling dominates the composition. Wiedemann keeps the
harmony relatively simple, to wonderful effect; it's not at all hard to imagine a lyrical ballet
a` deux taking place to this affecting music.
Synth Concerto #1, Second
Movement makes a strong case for using what you have to its fullest rather than
focusing on having the latest, greatest tools and sounds; while Wiedemann's soundset is a
bit long in the tooth, the listener isn't unduly cheated out of a quality experience.
That said, were Wiedemann to get a hold of some of the increasingly excellent and
even more expressive orchestral sounds available today, stand back.
Award- "Distant Melody" wins "Best Keyboards"
and Vision Daily
Record Box: Impact of Sound
December 27, 2003
...But it would be a pity to miss the
romantic theme from the Concerto's second movement (a distant love is only half a
harmony) [listen -- track 3, 0:00-0:54]...the composer's description of himself as
creating 'a modern ensemble of rich acoustic and electronic sounds, performing a wide
range of classical and contemporary styles'. I'm sure there's a place for him.
North County Times
Preview, Weekly Arts and Entertainment Magazine
January 5, 2001
"Bulls & Bears"
Naming a CD for the positive and negative
trends of the stock market is a daring move, but one that suits this particular occasion.
"Bulls & Bears" by San Diego-based Orchestronics is also a positive
and negative combo. The title describes the project of which Orchestronics is a
...Orchestronics blends acoustic and
electronic instruments to create a new form in contemporary music. The cumulative
effort is so well done that only experts can tell where one form stops and another
begins. Except for the occasional identification of strings, entire compositions
could just as easily be electronically or acoustically created.
Producer and Orchestronics founder Joe
Wiedemann says in the liner notes that movie music has prepared listeners for this hybrid
form. He's right. While the pieces differ from one another, they become part
of an aural environment that's easy to enjoy.
SAN DIEGO BUSINESS JOURNAL
January 10, 2000
Bulls & Bears
chronicles the highs and lows of the stock market and is a celebration of
Wiedemann's longstanding passion for electronic orchestra.
Laura S. Garcia
"Bulls & Bears"
Bulls & Bears is an album perhaps somewhat sparse in
the technology employed, yet a very thorough one, even baroque in the
composition. This trait stresses counterpoints and musical dialogues in the
classical way; It alternates very different rhytms, it grows and decreases
in a constant manner... It reminds the listener of the style favored by J.S.
Bach himself in more than one sense, and distills, among strings and pianos,
even despite its liveliness, a slight melancholy only dispersed in very
concrete moments. Moments that, although it turns out to be a paradox, lead
us to reflect whether this is a true musical masked ball.
Freelance Music Critic
"Bulls & Bears"
In the late 1960's, America and the world got
its first taste of the electronic orchestra... thanks to the creative genius of
synthesizer virtuoso, Wendy Carlos. Switched On Bach turned on a whole new generation of
instrumental music lovers, who reveled in the fusion of electronic wizardry with classical
In the 1970's. it was Japan's Isao Tomita, who became a pioneer with his electronic
interpretations of Claude Debussy's classic works on his novel Snowflakes Are Dancing
The mingling of orchestra and electronics continued in the 1980's and early 1990's with
Synergy's Electronic Realizations For a Rock Orchestra and Sequencer albums. Composer
Larry Fast dazzled synthesizer fans with an incredible style that has gone unmatched-
Bulls & Bears is a new CD release by San Diego-based Orchestronics. It's a creative,
catchy, cutting-edge compilation of how advanced electronic music technology, can
successfully blend with modern acoustic instruments.
The Orchestronics orchestra easily dances through several musical styles. During its
11-track, 66-minute run, listeners are treated to selections in Classical, New Age, Smooth
Jazz, Techno, and Electronica.
Technically, the instrumentation is superb. Sweet oboe solos swell magnificently on many
cuts. Violins weaved delicately through shuffling percussion movements, serve to inspire
even the most discerning ear.
The title track Bulls & Bears, opens with a driving beat, but settles down into a
haunting oboe solo. It then takes off with rapid electronic sampling, and a forceful
interplay between strings and drums. There's even a nod to the early synthesizer sounds
that would have made Robert Moog very proud. It ends with a joyous mix of timpani, violins
and winds, in a conclusion that leaves the listener inispired.
Affections is a Tomita-sounding tune that is a touching, romantic selection evoking the
sounds of heaven. There's a delightful battle between oboes and French horns. The solo
piano work is reminiscent of New Age/Pop Crossover artist Jim Brickman. It's another
breathtaking cut, demonstrating that electronic orchestras can do more than most polished
musicians can do.
A hypnotic techno beat dominates the beginning of Alien Dance. Listeners are transported
into the universe with a galactic type of rhythmic energy. Piano and synthesizer mimic
each other over a foot-stomping, head-bopping pulse.
Good News is a track dominated by early David Benoit-style piano, with a bit of
harpsichord thrown in for good measure. For the Smooth Jazz purist, the song also features
Russ Freeman/Rippingtons-type relaxing Classical guitar. Bells, strings and horns are also
used to break up the infectious rhythms.
A patriotic and circus-like feel embraces Carny, which starts with a whistling
synthesizer, and flows right into beautiful string work with a digital backbeat. A choral
"voice" appears to add a dark, but fun side to the song. It wraps up by
returning to the original calliope-sounding beginning.
Autumn Night Breeze features so much variety, it boggles the ear. "Voices," a la
Enya, are flowing over a swelling soundscape that invokes memories of Italian Techno
composer Robert Miles' Dreamland CD. There's a howling reverb effect, followed by rapid
Classical guitar licks.
Vibrant, heavy and commanding, sums up Classical Equity. It has an urgent, pulsating beat,
backed by a plucky string section. Exalting French horn, and a confident oboe solo, make
this track refreshing and memorable. Rapid keyboard work by the Orchestronics leader is
innovative and unreal.
Two at a Time, Please! sounds like it might be a score for the cartoons of the new
millenium. It's got a cat-and-mouse feel, with tasty duets between flutes and strings.
Fans of Wendy Carlos will love the rivalry between oboe and synthesizer. It's just a FUN
cut to enjoy.
For Classical music fans, Orchestronics has reached new levels with the three-part
Concerto No.1 for Piano and Electronic Orchestra. Determinato, the first movement,
is marked by a solo piano playing with a collection of electronic instruments. It's a
bright battle that's actually won by the acoustic and synthesized sounds.
The second movement, Eleganza, is a wonderfully balanced piece. There are sneaky twists
and turns that are surprising and incredibly gifted.
Finally, Vivo, the third and final movement, combines all the sounds of the traditional
orchestra, brilliantly fused with what sophisticated electronics can produce. The colors
truly complement one another. It's a triumphant treat for the imagination.
If you're looking to be mesmerized by available music technology, but are afraid to
give up on historical orchestrated sounds, you won't be disappointed by Orchestronics.
It's fresh, inviting, and yes, even ancient. Simply, it's unforgettable music that
will blow you away. If there's going to be a defining tone that opens up the next century,
this is it.
Orchestronics will be setting the standard for musicians and audiophiles who love to have
their ears challenged, and their souls and minds massaged.
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