Lifestream EP Review by The Sun Lounge (January 2019)

Lifestream EP by Clifford White

My first encounter with Clifford White’s “Lifestream” came courtesy of Phil Mison and his Originals Volume Six compilation on Claremont 56. And even though that release features one of the strongest track selections I know of, “Lifestream” always seems to stand out due to its infectious cosmic energy, with breaky electro rhythms underlying morphing acid synths and radiant string pads. The track has recently been given a deluxe reissue by Emotional Rescue, who have remastered and pressed it at 45 RPM for maximum dancefloor effectiveness. What’s more, this is a newly extended rework that zones in on the most hypnotic aspect of Clifford’s original sci-fi masterwork. And backing the track is “Rain Trek,” a vaporous slice of angelic space disco that presages aspects of the Italians Do It Better sound by decades and like “Lifestream,” is pulled from Clifford’s 1989 album The Lifespring.

Clifford White – Lifestream (Emotional Rescue, 2018)
The extended version of “Lifestream” sees familiar sounds reverberating in alien ways, as running water and singing birds are heard through a spectral LSD haze. Starlight bell tones descend and their reverberating vapor trails decay eternally as a bouncing sequence bubbles to life, with filtering motions, vocal squelches, and entrancing synthetic textures. Light cymbal taps and a quick snare fill bring in the beat…a gliding and futuristic electro journey with breaky kicks supported by robotic funkbass licks. Shuffling double time cymbals cruise the cosmos while vibing snares play off open hi-hat alternations, all below a dreamworld of liquid starshine and electric psychedelia. Every instrument seems to flow through mirage-like acid filters that give ever present motions to the far-out soundscapes and all throughout the mix, heatwave strings swirl like rotating bodies of interstellar gas, radiating melancholic melodies of sky-seeking majesty and sometimes ascending with maximalist chord fanfares…as if gentle yet dissonant waves of fire are washing over the mind. There are extended passages where the psychotropic bell tones and harmonious string leads subside, leaving skipping future rhythms, body moving bass wiggles, and magical sci-fi percolations to weave webs of colorful light and liquid energy. And if you listen closely, the naturalistic samples of water and seabirds from the introduction can be heard in the background ether…like one last memory of Earth as the hypnotic space synths and electro grooves seek out the deepest and most mysterious reaches of the cosmos.

In “Rain Trek” cosmic rhythms, propulsive yet lighter than air, generate a subdued disco heartbeat, with kick drums, hats, and snare locked into a classical four-four pattern. Huge bass currents surround the body…as if bass piano notes are struck with force and then allowed to bloom into thick clouds of droning smoke, their vibrations distorted, wobbling, and sinister. Riffing synth chords bring playful atmospheres of tropical funk while chiming glass tones rain down epic fanfares for intergalactic kingdoms. During a sweeping bridge, exotic melodies of 60s and 70s Italian cinema flow from ascendent pianos and sparkling pads, while arps rise to the surface like clouds of ocean bubbles. Then we glide into a romantic chorus were majestic swelling bass synths overwhelm the speakers and neon colored angel voices diffuse through mix, before a dazzling longform chime descent pulls us back to the relaxed space disco pulsations. After cruising for an extended section, there’s another swooning cinematic bridge that leads to the uplifting mermaid chorus and after a meditative vibe out where clacking percussive noises dance above the vaporous disco rhythms, we rush into one final blast of angelic euphoria, now supported by radiant pads bringing heavenly harmonizations and waves of warmth as well as prog arps climbing towards a sunburst sky. 

Review 4/1/2019 by The Sun Lounge. See original review here.

Clifford White

Composer / Producer
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