Levente - "Places" (Levente 2000, CD)

From Aural Innovations #15 (April 2001)

Levente Toth is a Hungarian electronic musician now living in the UK who plays meditative ambient and symphonic soundscape music influenced by such artists as Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, and Kitaro. The aptly titled Places is just that... a series of expressions of impressions inspired by the mood of places in Britain and in Levente's homeland, Transylvania. Levente became interested in synthesizer music in 1987 and was involved in presenting a series of radio programs in Transylvania on the history of electronic music. Instrumentation on Places includes Korg N5, Yamaha FS1R; Roland JV1010; and E-mu Proteus 1 & 2. This is his second release.

While most electronic musicians leave the impressions created by the music to the listener's imagination, Levente has documented his own impressions with short blurbs about each track in the liner notes making for a somewhat different listening experience. I love conjuring up my own imagery but given that this artist had specific imagery in mind it was nice to be able to join him on his personal journey.

The disc opens with "Faces Of Dartmoor", a track with continually changing moods and paces that include gorgeous melodies and beautifully painted aural landscapes. There's a rapid syncopated synth pattern that reminded me of Tangerine Dream, and part of this even reminded me of early Yes during their more pastoral moments. Other highlights include "Heart Of Orion", a quiet, atmospheric spacescape piece. I loved the commanding pipe organ on "Westminster Abbey". And "Carpathian Flight" and "Andalucian Dawn" are the two heavy symphonic tracks on the disc. "Carpathian Flight" is a fiery, majestic symphonic work with driving percussion and is very much in the Vangelis mold. Levente successfully communicates, as intended, the feel of flying over the Carpathian mountains. What a view! And "Andalucian Dawn" is similar but takes the symphonics to high levels of intensity but includes quieter, passionate segments as well.

In summary, if you're a fan of Levente's stated influences or just dig accessible symphonic progressive music than you'll certainly enjoy his inspirational, melodic, and image inducing brand of keyboard music.

For more information you can visit Levente at his web site.
Contact via snail mail c/o Levente Toth; 24 Greencroft; Clockhouse Road; Farngorough; Hampshire; GU14 7TJ.

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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