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Inner Beauty
By Stephanie Sante Sante Music, 2001 Stephanie Sante’s music is the kind of electronic music you expect to hear in planetarium shows, and perhaps it has indeed been used there. She usually depends on solid conventional harmonies of open fifths, thirds, and triads, as well as the more exotic ­ but conventional for this type of music ­ larger 11th and 13th chords. She is able to modify this harmony when necessary, adding light dissonances for a more eerie “deep space” sound. Like the famous German electronicsmeisters of the ‘70s, Sante likes electronically sequenced, driving rhythms, but they are never overpowering, and in general the textures in this album are light and delicate. Though this production is advertised as “melodic spacemusic,” there isn’t much melody. As is typical for much of this type of music, Sante slowly wanders among the notes of a chosen tone-cluster, rather than actually laying down a melody (which would, perhaps, place the music in the realm of pop soundtrack rather than ambient). This use of slowly repeating motifs gives the music a relaxing, sleepy quality ­ not music to listen to if you want to get work done. But at the same time, Sante has a good dramatic sense and is able to change moods when it suits her. In my opinion Sante is best in this album when she departs from the sweet harmonies and soft sounds of conventional spacemusic and experiments a bit. Track 7, “Opening,” is the longest one on the album and in its expanse Sante feels free to go beyond the usual stuff into some harder, more metallic sounds, drones, white noise, and even some modified voice samples. It’s a vision of space not as a pleasant nebula beach, but as it really is, mysterious, vast, and alien, yet still alluring. Hannah M.G. Shapero 4/2/02 editor's note: I found this release to be Stephanie Sante's best to date as she keeps improving with each release. I wonder what the future holds??? TOP PICKS
Sante Stephanie Sante: Immaculate Conceptions (CD, 52:33); Santé Music/ (D.A.M. CD) release, 2001 Cyberhome(s): E-mail:
To see an artist's progress and growth from one release to the next can be a truly inspiring event. Such is the case with Stephanie Sante's 2001 Immaculate Conceptions release as compared to her earlier notable release. Sante's newest creation is light years, infinite spaces, and billions of parsecs ahead of anything I have previously heard by her. The awesome sound-visions she has sculpted have propelled her, (in light of my well-trodden listening paths), upward to the hallowed ranks of the top synth artists on the planet. Sante can safely rest as accomplished and highly successful with the release of Immaculate Conceptions. On "Radiance" and "Twilight" one can easily find themselves adrift, rapt in swoon, and transported into regions of deepest dream-moment. With "Rainmakers" things are more Native American-esque and percussive – lively. On the plateau of "Giza" yet another region and time's peoples are brought alive again – the dawn illuminates the Great Pyramid – Ka rises – ghostly boats drift among ancient ruins – echoes of forgotten rites drift across the eons – I see god-kings and the shadows of Anubis. Only Sante's music so paints such a vivid memory. You can feel a deep awe cast upon the sun-scorched desert lands -- so long ago Egypt's mysteries reigned. It continues with the somber tones of "Iridescence" where Sante employs very unique synth voicings and midi-guitar strummings to evoke jeweled places regal – the courts of opulence and leisure seem near. I shall cease here, to not "overdo" my praise for a must-have release. Nor will I reveal all the great joys one can discover in their own listen to Immaculate Conceptions. Discover Stephanie Sante's vision – all over again! Recommended to roam inner worlds majestically. ~ John W. Patterson Personnel: Stephanie Sante – Midi Guitar and all synths Tracks: Rainmakers, Topaz, Radiance, Twilight, Giza, Iridescence, Unseen, Alchemy, Cycles
Sante: Into Light (CD 48:41),, 2000 CREDITS Stephanie Sante: Guitar Midi Converter, Synthesizers TRACKLIST 1. Airstream (Sante) 6:48 2. The Awakening (Sante) 5:46 3. Cetacea (Sante) 3:27 4. Waterdown (Sante) 3:46 5. Aton (Sante) 4:05 6. Terra's Lullaby (Sante) 3:52 7. Anasazi (Sante) 5:15 8. Emergence (Sante) 1:23 9. 3D World (Sante) 5:52 10. Archangel (Sante) 3:16 11. Orion's Gift (Sante) 5:09 Stephanie Sante is a Colorado-based New Age artist whose latest release Into Light is a fairly standard collection of yoga/meditation background music complete with all the New Age pre-prequisites: bird sounds, whale sounds, and insect sounds. Stephanie is referred to on her CDs has just "Sante," as I suppose "Steph" doesn't sound quite "New-Agey" enough (actually it sounds more "New-Jersey"). Now, I'm no expert on the topic of New Age music, so rather than try to figure out a good way to explain Sante's style, I'm going to lift a direct quote written by the artist herself from a Press Kits. "I was able to move beyond the toys and melt the sonic textures into a vivid, breathing energy fully capable of imparting its own reality" Got that? Good - now onto the review... Sante's Into Light perhaps makes use of New Age clichés a bit too often - animal sounds, oriental/Egyptian flavors, and textures you'd expect to hear on a television documentary on UFO's are all over Into Light. Fortunately, while they do cheapen the calming effect of the music a bit, they do not ruin the overall emotion of Sante's compositions. I have found that it is more rewarding to concentrate on what is happening at the lower layers of Sante's tracks rather than paying attention to the mostly annoying sounds that are "riffing" over top of the main chord structures. For instance, on the track "Cetacea," Sante creates a very ominous yet beautiful chord progression, and then goes about almost ruining the mood with silly whale sounds. "Anasazi" is another example of Sante's spell almost being broken by natural sounds, in this case seagull squawks try to ruin what is otherwise a very attractive - and almost King Crimson-like piece of music. In some places, Sante shows restraint and succeeds quite nicely - "Aton" couples very techno sounding arpeggiating bass line with excellent voice samples to create a fantastic piece of music that will just suck the stress right out of your body. "Emergence" is a short, but powerful piece which used a very Mellotron-ish sound topped by several subtle backward samples. And I guarantee if you listen to "3D World" alone with the lights off, you get a major case of the "willies." The successes that Sante achieves on Into Light are offset by a couple of real clunkers: the opener "Airstream" sounds like it could've been lifted straight from an X-Files episode, and "Terra's Lullaby" is absolutely violated with cheesy Oriental samples. However, Into Light is successful in creating a relaxing mood with Sante's brand of ambient electronica and clever use of lower register samples. Hopefully next time around she will devote even more time concentrating on her strong points, and less time on New Age clichés. - Michael Askounes ( More information can be found on Sante here:




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