Album of the Month on Electronicmusicguide.com (January 2012)
Sonic Adventure Project excel in downtempo / ambient / chillout music. The Austrian duo made up of Peter Koellerer and Thomas Viehboeck came to light on the well-known Cafe del Mar compilation series and enhanced their reputation further with the debut album Exergonic receiving well deserved accolades. Their second album 'Who is in?' continues where their debut album left off.
Opening track 'Haze' draws us in with its precise beats, melodic undertones and subtle shifts with the overall effect emotionally saturating our ears. This track has been chosen to be part of the Le Voyage Abstrait Deluxe 2 compilation due to be released this month. Second track 'A New Morning', the title track from their A New Morning EP, reminds us of their song-writing ability with female vocals from Alex Dobner.
'Sunday Morning' has a new age edge to it and is simple but effective in its delivery. 'Hollow' slowly builds aided by vocals from Julia Noa Fischer. And 'Currents' is carried by clever use of the piano which make us reminisce of times that once were. 'Who are you', another vocal-led track is a slow-burner which grows with repeated listens.
The album really starts to comes into its own with 'Gentle Giant'. It's blissful ambience and soaring piano make it one of the album highlights. This track could even warm the coldest of hearts. 'Momentum' moves along at a steady pace with finely layered electronics and melodic undertones. Ninth track 'Sundown Dance' has beautiful melancholy at its core with a superlative piano motif throughout. This is another track that's been snapped up for the compilation Cosmic Chill lounge 5. 'The Way Home' guides us through another satisfying downtempo journey before closing track 'Peace' gives us exactly that.
Sonic Adventure Project succeed in breathing new life into the downtempo scene. The way they have carefully crafted their tracks without over-layering their sound. Sometimes less is more and it's most definately the case here. Whilst they don't break any new ground experimentally, if it ain't broke why fix it. Don't be surprised if some of these tracks are used for film and tv in the near future, in fact we'd be surprised if they're not. Because these set of songs are emotionally charged and instantly likeable they deserve a wider audience. 'Who is in?' is a sonic adventure in every sense of the word.
Album rating 9.75/10
Melody can be a dangerous thing. This world is awash with electronic melodies both sublimely beautiful (Global Communication) and hideously cheesy ("uplifting" Dutch trance anyone?). For composers it seems melody is the easiest of elements to catch but the hardest to master. So what's my point?
Into this realm has ventured Sonic Adventure Project, two unassuming Austrians with backgrounds in rock, pop and production for various bands.
One wonders if they are on the receiving end of a direct line from God when it comes to dispensing good melodies to mortal beings. On their debut album Exergonic Thomas Viehbock and Peter Koellerer have taken melody to serious heights. They arrange their instrumental tunes into a variety of shapes from ambient piano solos to electro-rock to emotional slow trance grooves.
You might call it trance-pop, except that to evoke such a creatively bankrupt hybrid would be insulting.
Those schooled in the sounds of vintage German electronica and classic ambient trance might catch glimpses of its legacy here. The layered melodies of "Circuit" and the epic "Pink Synth" recall Tangerine Dream's best work from the early 80's but with significant differences: the rock-flavoured drum programming is looser and and the overall sound a little warmer. "Waters In Motion" is a wistful solo piano piece bedded with gorgeous strings. … You'll hear "Waters In Motion" on this years Cafe Del Mar volume 11, a sign that Sonic are getting some much deserved attention.
Exergonic is a beautiful - there's no other word for it.
As the clouds swelled and unloaded buckets of rain from the sky during what seemed like an interminable drive to Southern California, the ambient/electronica music on the debut CD from Exergonic, a duo from Vienna, Austria, consisting of Thomas Viehboeck and Peter Koellerer, served as my soundtrack.
This project is replete with atmospheric and provocative tracks that can be used for licensing in both film and television. Even though all but one are instrumentals, they embrace the 6 rules of commercial music success just the same and display a penchant for well-crafted melodies that seem to drive their compositions foward.
The dramatic elements of "Forty-Two" make it the commercial stand-out and offers the best chance of radio play, but unlike vocal music in other genres, it is really tough to isolate tracks on such a cohesive project. Doing so is like trying to pull the apples way from an apple pie: they belong together and they serve a purpose. For those who like apple pie, I suggest they consume it in its entirety, not by the slice.
Advice: Keep it up and try to license this project.
By Gian Fiero www.musesmuse.com
Downtempo and chill-out music aficionados probably have already heard the work of Sonic Adventure Project with their emergence on popular compilations on the Café Del Mar series of compilations. But everyone should be well aware of this talented duo. Their compositions are wrought in delightful melodies and pleasant atmospheric synthetic structures. Musically they reach out to everyone—even though you might not expect to enjoy such music—with their album “Exergonic” that will no doubt have lasting appeal for decades to come, let alone mere years.
By J-Sin www.smother.net
While it certainly attracts a devoted following, ambient music has a questionable reputation among the music-listening public at large. Of course, many examples of the genre deserve that reputation: too often, so-called ambient music is so passively designed that it's hardly there. It doesn't pique your interest, it doesn't move you; all it does is pass the time while you're sitting in a doctor's office. It's about time, then, that two young up-and-comers gave the genre a good thwacking.
Sonic Adventure Project's Thomas Viehboeck and Peter Koellerer have released several tracks on Cafe Del Mar compilations, but Exergonic is their first full-length. The title is apt - in fact, surprisingly so - because although the music never rises above a walking heart rate, it's infused with precisely the sort of energy that's missing from so much other wallpaper music.
Opener "Forty-Two" (a reference to the ultimate answer?) starts on a low heart-rhythm beat that's slowly subsumed by an airy synth. A piano shivers into view, floating effortlessly as the percussion and programming stretch out beneath it. At this point, you can practically hear your subwoofer flexing in anticipation. Finally, the drums break out, only to be reined in. The cycle repeats again and again, teasingly, until at last the synth tone fades out on its own.
"Inner Journey" picks up where "Forty-Two" leaves off - it sports a similar tempo and a similar vibe, but also features vocalist Julia Fischer's considerable talents. Fischer's voice is light and transparent - qualities that allow brief flashes of synth to shine through and illuminate every nuance of her vocals.
"Circuit" is surprisingly bouncy, and includes a vaguely anthemic synth riff. As it bobs up and down, spare 909 drums and a funky keyboard melody fill the gaps. The song circles back on itself, layering riff on riff, ultimately creating melodious cacophony.
And so it goes throughout Exergonic: beautiful melodies, expert programming and a chill vibe. If you need a breather, Sonic Adventure Project can help -- but their true charm is in the way they combine their appreciation for relaxation with their ability to keep you tuned in, listening for fresh ideas.
By Tyson Lynn www.splendidmagazine.com
For the past few weeks, I have given Sonic Adventure Project's first full length release, Exergonic, prime attention, in an attempt to find an angle in which to review this disc. I think I figured it out.
First off, Exergonic is right up the antiFan's alley. The composition, focus, and delivery are far from the MTV mold that so many have become accustomed to. Sonic Adventure Project takes elements from Kraftwerk (mainly) and Pink Floyd to produce music that could chill a fire. The instrumentation is technically tight, but it lacks the pompous bullshit that comes with virtuosos like Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai.
The album contains softer, piano-led numbers ("Four Notes", "Waters in Motion"), synth-orchestra pieces ("Inner Journey", "Double Helix"), and new age techno tracks ("Forty-Two", "Memories of Who I Am", "Mode III"). With this type of versatility, this album could find its way to coffee shops, video games, and Mitsubishi commercials.
Although the album is solid throughout, I think the softer numbers are the strongest tracks on the album, and are the band's best chance at getting noticed. Although Sonic Adventure Project decided to go sans vocals (for the most part), they used the piano to bring the melodies to life. Sometimes an instrumental can be more moving than your typical song with vocals. For example, I doubt that "Four Notes" or "Waters in Motion" would benefit by a vocal addition, regardless of who stepped behind the mic. The other tracks could be praised, but the album as a cohesive whole is much greater than its individual parts.
After listening to Exergonic several times, I'm contemplating buying an Audi, driving to the Pacific Northwest coast, and praying for rain. Do yourself a favor and check this disc out.
By Jacob McDaniel www.rocknworld.com
Let's be clear from the start - I'm not much for electronica. I like the rich organic tones of electric and acoustic guitars, basses and drums. Piano as well, and some of the warmer-toned keyboards like the Hammond. Only rarely - as with Yes - do I find synthesizers enjoyable in any role other than as background texturing. I also, as a writer, have a decided preference for music with vocals and songs that try to tell a story with words and images.
All of which makes my fondness for this album that much more remarkable.
Sonic Adventure Project consists of a pair of Austrian synthesizer wizards, Thomas Viehboeck and Peter Koellerer, and of Exergonic's twelve tracks, only one features vocals. The remainder of the disc is decidedly ambient/chillout in style - evocative, thoughtful, moderately paced tracks whose supple melodies float in and out and above and below your consciousness as the music plays in the background.
One of the secrets may be that SAP use piano quite a bit, and while they occasionally employ interesting electronic effects ("Memories Of I Am," "Mode III"), synths are just as often used to mimic acoustic instruments - horns and strings, even a sitar ("Sitarian Supernova"). The overall impression, then, is nearly as symphonic as it is electronic.
There are hints of light jazz in a track or two here ("Above The City"), but overall the songs are all about melody and flow, and free of anything resembling a solo. The one vocal track, "Inner Journey," features luminous guest vocals from Julia Fischer supporting a song that fits in beautifully with the album's overall introspective vibe.
Exergonic is an adjective meaning liberating or releasing energy, a nod to the new age undercurrents of some of these spaciously arranged tunes. But the music is never lacking in substance; these tracks do indeed hum with a gentle energy and tantalizing complexity. This disc is the ideal soundtrack for a quiet evening in a dimly-lit room, working, reading, or otherwise mellowing out.
By Jason Warburg www.dailyvault.com
Thomas Viehboeck and Peter Koellerer are two Austrians that have learned well from their legendary neighbors in Germany, Kraftwerk. The two men find rhythm in ambient trance music, an unusual event by any measure. This is soundtrack music for your own original soundtrack happening inside your head. I can see it fitting in the background of films without a problem.
It seems the more I listen to this CD, the more I discover, there is more to this than meets the ear. Obviously, the men are true students of music, covering the gamut from classical to rock. That is what you get in different doses throughout this album; there are elements of pop grandeur at times, but enough of the trance synth and swirling wind like sounds to keep you on a cloud, you will hear jazz at times as well (“Above The City”) which is welcome in any setting as far as I am concerned.
Therefore, in the end, you get what you would expect on a recording like this and a lot more in between the cracks ready for the taking if you choose to really listen to this music with big ears. It is a very cool CD, and as I said before, one listen will certainly not cut to the chase. This is not complex music, it is interesting layers of many sounds-a digital landscape if you will that soothes and invites you. There is a lot here for the open ears and minds of this world to embrace. The best example of their sound and approach would be their masterpiece of instrumental ambiance “Forty-two (V. 11),” which runs for nearly 12 minutes. I think it is their personal tribute to Kraftwerk, but one never knows.
Check out this duo and let them take you to a world far away from the one we exist in as physical beings.
By Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck www.muzikreviews.com
While the meaning of this group's album means to release energy, it's clear that they do so in a beautiful way — in a relaxing, thought-provoked trip-hop way. That's right, you can hear moving trip hop, electronica sounds via Zero 7 and Mono throughout this album. You won't hear the usual DiscoveringArtists.com meld of "great lyrics" that "evoke emotion" here, but we think you'll dig this collection. The ambiance here is chill, as the Austrian duo of Peter Koellerer & Thomas Viehboeck create a relaxing album. The song "Inner Journey" on the album was named runner up winners in the VH1 Save the Music contest. It's clear to see that good things come imported.
Favorite Tracks: Forty-two, Circuit