eien | Partly Cloudy Skies

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Electronic: Ambient Electronic: Glitch Moods: Type: Background Music
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Partly Cloudy Skies

by eien

Gently melodic sonics soothe and groove over rhythms like soft clouds drifting against a cool summer breeze.
Genre: Electronic: Ambient
Release Date: 

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1. Metro
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1:11 $0.99
2. Primer
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2:26 $0.99
3. Rio Night
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2:06 $0.99
4. Microcassette
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0:50 $0.99
5. Calder Calling
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3:48 $0.99
6. Whispers of War
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1:54 $0.99
7. Together
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2:03 $0.99
8. Carnival
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1:57 $0.99
9. Murphy
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2:10 $0.99
10. Partly Cloudy Skies
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1:18 $0.99
11. Birdcage
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3:42 $0.99
12. Muted
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1:16 $0.99
13. Chocolate Chipmunk
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2:04 $0.99
14. Adation
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3:31 $0.99
15. Dozers
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2:24 $0.99
16. Shiva She Said
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1:08 $0.99
17. Licorice Lips
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3:18 $0.99
18. Island Escape
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1:54 $0.99
19. The Waiting
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2:00 $0.99
20. Flutterbies
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2:04 $0.99
21. Emoticon
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3:34 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Partly Cloudy Skies is the debut release from artist Andrew Mays. As 'Eien,' Mays explores subtle melodies and gentle rhythms. Gently melodic sonics soothe and groove over rhythms like soft clouds drifting against a cool summer breeze. Part minimalism and part electronica; Partly Cloudy Skies offers a positive extended forecast for the music of Eien.

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eien was formed in 2003 as part of the ever evolving musical explorations of Andrew Mays.

As a part of experimental music group Voight-Kampff, Mays honed his skills by performing numerous improvisational shows in and around Nashville and Atlanta from 1993-2000.

When he left Voight-Kampff in 2000, Mays released three consecutive solo albums under the name Soulos and performed at private parties and small venues in the Nashville area from 2000-2002.

During his years of participating in what was mostly performance and improvisation based music, Mays harbored a desire to concentrate on something with a more defined musical framework. Experimenting with different sequencers and finally enabled with the proper tool set, melodic structures and rhythmical patterns took form. A unique blend of the wide range of musical influences from Mays' past emerged. Part minimilism, part new age and part electronica; eien was born.

The debut album from eien is titled "Partly Cloudy Skies" and is available now. An eien track appears on a remix album from chmafu nocords recording artist Marufura Fufunjiru. Another eien recording is available on the first porousher sound competition album

Andrew Mays is currently based in Huntsville, AL where he is continuing his career as a graphic designer, writing fiction and making music.


Reviews


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Bill Binkelman

"...you will enjoy this album if you just flat out dig synths when they sound li
Andrew Mays' (recording as Eien, pronounced "A-N" and meaning "eternal" or "forever" in Japanese) first release is Partly Cloudy Skies, an enjoyable and intriguing variety of glitch/Aphex Twin SAW II-style ambient and retro electronic music (sounding like it's from the heyday of Bernie Krause and the later Paul Beaver or other pioneers of synthesizer music). The majority of the tracks here are in the latter style, so you'll be disappointed if you expect most of the songs to be current-day Aphex-type ambient music. With that in mind, I think this album's appeal rests more with its sense of humor and quirky playfulness as Mays paints an assortment of miniature (only a few tracks are over three minutes long and some are barely a minute) sketches using all manner of overtly electronic percussion and synth effects. I'll admit that I wish there was more glitch on the album, since Mays is adept at it, but even the retro tracks have plenty to offer.


Album highlights for me include: "Primer" (slow tempo beats and lovely echoed bells), "Microcassette" (a too-short joyous bell and synth number), "Calder Calling" (kinetic bouncy beats and a series of echoed bells that echo off each other in arrhythmic fashion), "Flutterbies" (darker echoed synths and assorted rhythms, including castanets, which compares favorably to Ben Swire's superb Equilibrium), "Muted" (arrhythmic skitch and bass beats played against a somewhat somber refrain), "Dozers" (cheery upper register echoed notes and percolating under-the-surface snare and bass beats), and the delightfully playful "Emoticon" (all manner of synthesizer bloops and bleeps set against an undercurrent of dark thumping notes). The only real complaint I have about Partly Cloudy Skies is the that some musical "themes" are not allowed to develop ("Microcassette" is the best example of this - it's only 50 second long and begs for a lot more time!). On the other hand, there is also something positive to be said about Mays' decision to keep it short and, instead, feature twenty-one (!) songs on the CD. The retro tracks play better as brief exercises in a pleasant and sometimes humorous musical vein. The harpsichord and snare drums/cymbals of "Rio Night," the march-like cadence to the snares of "Whispers of War" and the almost baroque stylings of the title track are best digested in small doses, lest the music become precious or kitschy.


Understand that I personally like this album a lot. However, in recommending it (and I do) I need to stress that you will not hear a lot of what passes for "melody," although it's a very accessible album just the same. While Mays certainly plays plenty of notes, this is not Synergy's sweeping dramatic neo-classicism or Tomita's orchestral bombast. These are short, punchy, overtly "synthy" tone poems - music that takes great joy in the how "computer gee-whizzy" (used in the best sense of the 1960s view of computers) the music contained herein is (with the exception of the more glitch-like songs I mentioned above). Some "real" musical content is there, undoubtedly, but it's not what I would call hummable, although plenty of times the music is catchy. I wish I could articulate what I mean by this, but it's not easy to describe the distinction. Despite my inability to paint a better picture of Partly Cloudy Skies, I do heartily recommend the recording. It's certainly not for dark ambient fans or Berlin school aficionados, but you will enjoy this album if you just flat out dig synths when they sound like they did in the long-ago days before the digital age and samplers. Lovers of glitch should are also strongly urged to check this out, because, while it is "lighter" in spots than other recordings in that genre, it shares much of that style's sensibilities just the same.