Icon One (2007)

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From the energy and light of the title track “icon one” to the darkness and entropy of “icon zero”; the past memories recalled by “timethorns” and the focal centre of the album “chaos theory” – where a small, insignificant event can cause a massive shift of everything – computerchemist weaves an evocative blend of instrumental synthesis which is sure to delight fans of the EM genre. The last track, “the message”, carries a simple premise; we all have within us the power to change the future.

Label: Terrainflight TF002
Release Date: 1st January, 2008

Track listing

  1. Icon One
  2. Timethorns
  3. Chaos Theory
  4. Icon Zero
  5. The Message

Music Composed by Dave Pearson

Dave Pearson: keyboards, drum/sequencer programming, bass & lead guitars
Equipment: cubase sx3, behringer bcf2000 control surface, maudio 88es, hercules 16/12, behringer mdx2600 compander, behringer t1953 valve preamp, behringer di4000, yamaha bass, fender stratocaster, zoom guitar effects pedal, yamaha customised drum pads
Cover art: Dave Pearson
Back cover and inner sleeve artwork: Angiewoman

Recorded and Produced by Dave Pearson at Terrainflight UK, Jan 2007 – Oct 2007


John Shanahan, Hypnagogue

Dave Pearson aka Computerchemist, the artist who describes himself as “more TD than TD” charges ahead on his new disk, Icon One, to solidify his unabashed love of analogue style by unleashing a furious stream of body-rocking old-school Berlin-influenced electronic joy.

The ride kicks off with the far-ranging, 20-minute title track, an opus that attains maximum velocity straight out of the gates on urgent synths and rocksteady drumming, slows itself down nicely in parts, and in some spots reaches out toward the borders of jazz for its voice. That jazz tint rears its welcome head frequently across the course of the disk.

From there we get “Timethorns,” a pleasing, melodic drift on a raft of sequencer lines easing past breathy synth landscapes and tribal-feel drums.

“Chaos Theory” sets out as a New Age-style piano-based stroll. But about halfway through it drops a tab of acid for a few minutes of wild guitar psychedelia before recovering its original tack and finishing out quietly.

“Icon Zero” keeps things sedate at its outset, long-breath chords giving way to a soft flute-and-piano melody. At the 5-minute mark it launches into a gorgeously jazzy sax-and-keys section that feels and sounds like 70s-era Pink Floyd taking Traffic into the boudoir for a sweaty tumble. When they’re spent, that TD sensibility rolls back in (in a Melrose-esque way) with more driving sequencer goodness. The last four minutes of this piece are like a separate work on their own, a dark fugue wherein I hear echoes of the deepest psychedelic parts of “In A Gadda Da Vida”! (Surely this is just me!)

Pearson sits down at his piano for the beautifully dramatic closer, “The Message,” then sets it afire with a ripping guitar line.

There’s a distinct cinematic/narrative overtone to all the pieces here, the longer ones clearly sliced into movements, and the sonic imagery comes across quite clearly. It’s a very tasty ride, especially for the analogue-heads among us. Icon One is a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD.

John Shanahan, Hypnagogue

Encyclopedia of Electronic Music

Icon One is the second album by Dave Pearson from Staffordshire, England, who records under the artistic name Computerchemist. The title track begins with Neo-Classical strings, but after a while, a bass sequence enters. Another, higher-register sequence enters and is joined by a steady electronic rhythm. This is driving, energetic music that will be enjoyed by fans of mid-1980’s Tangerine Dream. However, this is only a point of reference, as Dave certainly has his own style. Dramatic synth stabs give way to a floating section. The sequences subside and what left are some synth pads and a few effects. The sequences return after a while, this time being more complex and enveloping. Another Neo-Classical melody gives way for a more uplifting section dominated by major chord progressions. It then gives way for yet another Neo-Classical interlude, this time sounding more epic and dramatic. The bass sequence returns, combined with a piano melody and some flutes. After this rather ethnic-sounding section, different sequences and different pace altogether are introduced, with relaxed rhythms, but energetic sequencing and melodies. This is the most Tangerine Dream-y part of this suite.

“Timethorns” begins with Mellotron flute melody that is then complimented by moody piano playing. Soon, a simple sequence enters, but the melody remains the main feature of this emotional track.

“Chaos Theory” is introduced with a very effective sequence and, once again, a profound piano theme. The piano seems to be sort of a special feature of this album. And it works quite well, too. A rhythm appears, although essentially it’s still a very relaxed and easy-going track. Surprisingly, all elements of this track disappear after 3 minutes, to give way for a chaotic guitar solo. The rhythm does return after a while, this time combined with the aforementioned guitar solo and noisy effects. The melodies return, taking this track to its logical conclusion.

“Icon Zero” is another long suite, clocking at just under 17 minutes. Excellent atmospheric pads make this one of the most effective intros I’ve heard in a while. The piano and Mellotron flute are then introduced. A relaxed, and a bit Jazzy rhythm starts and drives this moody piece along. A sax solo makes this track even more Jazz-like. Now, this is dangerously close to background Lounge / Smooth Jazz stuff. However, I found it very enjoyable and original. The first real sequence arrives towards the 7-minute mark, together with a distorted guitar solo. The drums go berserk, as the sequence mutates with new notes added and existing ones altered / accented. Powerful stuff. Hard Rock EM, anyone? The piano gives way for an extremely distorted guitar solo (sounds like screaming monkeys) and lots of layered flutes. Great use of bass guitar as well. “The Message” concludes this album on a melodic note, with piano melody as intro / outtro and rhythmic / Rocky main part, with guitars, synth strings and quirky electronic melodies.

“Icon One” is a great progression over Dave’s previous work. This is EM with a strong Rock edge. I guess if we take Tangerine Dream’s instrumentation of the 1990’s (keyboards, guitars, drums, sax etc) and take away most of the Pop / easy-listening sensibilities typical of their music from that era, we’d get something like “Icon One”. Dave Pearson is certainly an artist to look out for. Best track: “Icon Zero”.

Artemi Pugachov, Encyclopedia of Electronic Music

Jürgen Meurer, Progressive Newsletter (DE)

Der Titel ‘Icon one’ und wurde zwischen Januar und Oktober 2007 komponiert und aufgenommen. Fünf Titel erwarten den Hörer, Pearson liefert mittellange bis lange Titel mit Spielzeiten zwischen 9 und 18 Minuten, lediglich das abschließende ‘The message’ ist mit 4 ½ Minuten recht kurz geraten.

Opener ist der 18-minütige Titelsong, der gleich rhythmisch flott beginnt. Schnell werden Parallelen zu End-70er- Tangerine Dream deutlich. Den rhythmischen Parts stehen breite, symphonische Synthilandschaften gegenüber. Durch kurzfristige Dominanz eines E-Pianos baut er geschickt eine leicht angejazzte Note ein, die aber später wieder ins TD-Fahrwasser übergeht.

Der Titel ‘Timethorns’ ist für mich ein Höhepunkt des Albums, denn hier wird auf feinste Weise durch massiven Mellotroneinsatz eine wunderbare Stimmung erzeugt, die mich ein wenig an die Spielart seines Kollegen David T. Dewdney alias Syn erinnert.

Es folgt ‘Chaos theory’, das aber gar nicht so schräg daherkommt, wie es der Titel befürchten lässt. Danach der zweite Longtrack, das 17-minütige ‘Icon zero’, das sehr ruhig beginnt mit Piano, String Synthesizer und Mellotron-Flöten. Später kommen auch mal kurzzeitig synthetisierte Saxophontöne hinzu. Alles wirkt bis dahin sehr relaxt, doch auf halber Strecke wird es dann bedingt durch die eingesetzten Sequenzen und die Rhythmusprogrammierung deutlich lebhafter. Auch greift jetzt hier die elektrische Gitarre ins Geschehen ein. Interessanter Titel.

Den Abschluss bildet das kurzweilige ‘The message’, das zunächst mit hübschem Klavier-Intro beginnt, um dann vorübergehend vom dominanten E-Gitarrenspiel abgelöst zu werden. Diese feine, leicht melancholische Nummer rundet das knapp einstündige Hörvergnügen angemessen ab.

Jürgen Meurer, Progressive Newsletter Nr. 68 (JM 11)

Victor Torres

icon zero: When I listened, I felt close to the inner feelings of hysteria, then calm, then peace…

Victor Torres

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