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Phil Herschel, Get Ready

July 4, 2012

Phil Herschel’s first release in a decade, Get Ready, is a suite of energetic electronic tracks which, although quite catchy in places, often suffer from sounding a little dated. Many of the tracks, to my ears, come off with the ring of action movie or cop show theme songs from the 80s. On the upside, that means they charge right along, upbeat and filled with hooks; on the downside, it can also feel contrived. In places the work seems static, phrases repeating without much change, which leaves the listener with a sort of “okay, what’s next?” feeling and no satisfactory answer. Amidst that, however, there are tracks that stand out for their fresher personality. “Mystery Garden” offers wind-chime tones and a thoughtful, meditative pace, the melody wending its way along a path. The slightly aggressive “DC-3″ follows, punching its way in with doppler-effected rock-guitar chords. Herschel throttles it back and forth nicely, softer, longer tones playing against the grind, and a short bridge dividing the ride. The charmingly choppy construct of “Easy Ride” puts me in mind of the work of Dieter Moebius, with an added Eastern flair. Flute-like tones coast over the bumpy landscape for contrast. Herschel stretches out on the longest track here, the 8-minute “Epic Journey.” A sequenced low end meets more of Herschel’s  synth flute and chimes. It has a familiar feel, and does skirt the edge of the aforementioned sense of being static, but remains engaging throughout. Get Ready will appeal to listeners who enjoy a contemporary instrumental style, and who don’t mind a little extra retro in the mix.

Available from Today’s Music.

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