Electric Skychurch

Together

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While officially only a single rather than a full album, Together actually outstrips Knowoneness as being the group's best release from its earliest days. While Knowoneness was a pleasant enough debut, Together pumps up both the artistry and energy for some prime, cream of the crop Southern California '90s techno. Partially this is thanks to the expanded lineup of the group, with David De Laski helping out on additional programming and instruments, while Roxanne Morgenstern joins the band full time as the vocalist. The opening revamp of Knowoneness' "Deus" trumps the original, with a brilliant, capturing-the-dawn slice of building energy. Morgenstern's vocal swoops balance soulful climb and blissed-out rapture perfectly. Three fully new tracks also appear; "Dun Dun" hits the group's mix of electronic and acoustic beats well, better as dancefloor fodder rather than with standalone appeal, but it's still good stuff. This shifts into the sprightly run of "Sunrise," an appealing, quick-moving romp with some lovely synth loops and sudden calm breaks to its credit, and concludes with "Abyss," with Morgenstern keening over sampled chants before smacking into a lovely, jungle-noise-touched high-speed groove. The real winner, though, is the "Deus Suite," an expansion of the original album track (with its original singer, Judith Ann Warren) into an 18-minute three-part mini-epic. While the elements used in the construction of the track are familiar enough for the genre -- an opening sample of a random radio preacher, section titles playing on themes of alien visitation ("Abduction," "Ascension") -- sudden jump cuts occur thanks to "natural" sounds like a radio being switched off. Warren's vocal itself initially is set back so far in the mix it might as well not be there, a ghostly echo behind a strummed acoustic guitar that becomes stronger as things go. The overall flow of the full song is calmer than the remake that starts off the disc, but as its own standalone artistic success it's wonderful.

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