mercredi 1 janvier 2020

SYNTH&SEQUENCES keeps moving

Dear readers and followers, I want to thank you warmly for this massive support of you in the evolution of my Blog Synth & Sequences. Unfortunatly, du to the fact that it has a lot of stuff and a long list of artist whose music is reviewed here, I have to move this Blog to a more convivial way to read it and to find reviews. So it's the main cause of why this Blog is switching for a real website.

Now SynthSequences will need a new way to search from you, but you will see the differences between it and this Blog Please take to time to dig it will continue to read here. But you will remark that reviews will diseapper and reappear on the new website. Allready, more than 235 reviews have been removed and put on my new website.

I hate to do this, but this site cost me an average of 500$ a year. This is the reason you see the Donate sign. It's not an obligation for anyone, and it will be remove once this amount is reached each year.

Thanks and advance and long live to Electronic Music :D

Sylvain Lupari

mardi 8 avril 2014

JIANNIS: Nightsessions (1998)

“Nightsessions is a strong EM opus built on deep and rich Mellotron perfumes that will please for sure to the fans of analog Berlin School à la TD style”

1 Apocalypsis II 28:25
2 Zoomland I 14:25
3 Zoomland II 23:52
Spheric Music ‎| SMCD 5002 (CD 66:51)

(Retro analog Berlin School style)
If, like me, you have renewed with EM after a period of 10 years' drought, be between 1990 and 2000 (here in North America it was the New Age era and Tangerine Dream's Miramar years with some imports of the Innovative Communication label, for the most part compilations), you have missed beautiful pearls of analog and vintage style EM. Thus I like making a small return in time, well guided by friends (this time it's Lambert Ringlage) and go to the discovery of small pearls forgotten on the counter of time. This “Nightsessions” from Jiannis is one of those! Jiannis Zedamanis is a Greek synthesist who made EM since 1986. He played among others with Lambert Ringlage in 1988 on Timeless Visions and produced three other albums, of which the latter, on the Spheric Music label.
Complex and extremely attractive, "Apocalypsis II" runs its 28 minutes in several evolving phases. Electronic noises, bubbles of water which sparkle and which form a series of floating sequences, whales which sharpen their harmonies in metallic rustlings of which the roarings tear the coldnesses of a cosmos flooded by Alien's tones. The intro of "Apocalypsis II" offers a rich ambiosonic and ambiospheric texture where a swarm of heterogeneous noises gets lost in the sweetnesses of the fluty singings from a nostalgic Mellotron. A heavy line of bass sequence pierces this seraphic cloud. Vibrating and pulsating she brings with her hummings an avalanche of percussions which thunder and tumble, as well as another line of sequences, more crystal clear, of which the rotatory arabesques go up and down in the vapors of synths filled by 
Dreamian aromas. Well sat on this meshing of percussions and sequences, "Apocalypsis II" runs at very fast pace for the next eight minutes and even takes the airs of a big electronic rock with very good guitar solos. Then, it's the somber calm with noises of all kinds which scratch the dreamy sweetness of a beautiful Mellotron and of its flute of which the singings get lost in a sonic jungle which is reminiscent of Edgar Froese's Epsilon in Malaysian Pale
. We are floating in a full electronic madness with several phases of ambiences, starting with an ethereal one, always pecked by a wild sonic fauna, and we go to darker moments soaked of chthonian choirs and then to other quieter moments where the flutes let go beautiful harmonies which dance with a twinkling chain of sequences which reminds so much the magical Mirage from Klaus Schulze, but bathed in a little more dark ambiences, even of paranoia, with whispers lost in weak knocks of anvils. And "Apocalypsis II" to go deeper into more seraphic singings of which the plaintive harmonies lie down on a delicate piano and its notes soaked of melancholy. This is a great track. Really.
Mellotron and analog synth sounds are the heart of this last known album from Jiannis. And a soft fluty song covers of pink a rather lugubrious intro flooded with flights of bat and their electronic chirpings, of strange and sinuous hollow reverberations and slow sighs which switch into chthonian breaths. I hear Peter Baumann's Mellotron of
Sorcerer envelop this introduction of "Zoomland I" which is fed by sonic oddities sparkling in the airs of melodies which roll in loops in an ambience which becomes little by little as much heavy as intriguing. This chant of the Mellotron crosses these turbulences and coos on a line of sequences which forges a rhythm as innocent as the devilish ritornellos of Mark Shreeve or still John Carpenter. Glaucous pulsations flood this structure with wet riffs while that quietly the rhythm takes more homogeneity and rolls with cohesion in black ambiences always dirtied of baroque tones and luciferian choirs but which is also flavored by beautiful musical solos and by very fluid fluty breezes. "Zoomland II" is more black, more ambiospherical with a lot of Mellotron pads which glide over a sea of analog electronic tones. We are very near the floating incantations of Schulze which float in a deep Mephistophelian static sonic broth. The model is based on the structures of "Apocalypsis II" and"Zoomland I" but with a more ambient rhythm where the sequences and percussions play cat and mouse in heavy floating clouds of Mellotron; this dark object of hearing pleasure which encircles, embraces and harmonizes the complexities of an album as strange as attractive.
Nightsessions” is the kind of album that will undoubtedly please to the fans of retro analog Berlin School style à la sauce
Tangerine Dream and of its Baumann period. In fact, the more I think of it, the more I listen to it; the more I have the impression to hear an unknown session album from Tangerine Dream in the EncoreSorcerer and even Force Majeure years. This is very good. Complex, not easy to fall for it on the first listening, set apart the first track, and very rich, but very rich in ambiences, tones and Mellotron lines.

Sylvain Lupari (April 8th, 2014) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

lundi 24 mars 2014

LOOM: The Tree Hates the Forest (2013)

“The Tree Hates the Forest is a good album of e-rock filled by too many and obvious musical blinks of eyes to Tangerine Dream universes, both of Schmoelling and Jerome”
1 Polaroids from Anywhere 8:09
2 Cloud Walk 4:35
3 Quantal Highways 4:17
4 The Vedic Ritual 8:39
5 A Grand Solar Minimum 7:07
6 Bandhu 9:33
7 A Night out at the Cirqus Voltaire 6:17
8 Chants Beyond the Underworld 5:07
9 Emerald Suite 8:27
10 Tachycardia 5:54

Viktoriapark Records | VP 18 123 (CD 67:19) ***½ (Melodic E-Rock)
A beautiful fluty chant reflects in smooth and discreet orchestral arrangements. He announces the turbulences of "Polaroids from Anywhere"; a track filled by the vicious approaches of Jerome Froese and of his best moods of Neptunes. This is a track which hooks me straight from the first listening. After an ambiospherical intro blocked by a host of noises of which the roots recall the metallic ambiences of the Logos years, the tears and laments of synths bring to mind the White Eagle years. Sequences and percussions? The Hyperborea and the Poland years. Here is all the discomfort of “The Tree Hates the Forest”! "Polaroids from Anywhere" feels one's way forward by the means of good flickered sequences, effects of cotton gases and the jerky riffs from Jerome's Guitartronica. Between its phases of heavy but static rhythm and its floating melodic ambiences where each sonic morsels is as a fusion between Jerome Froese's universes and that of Johannes Schmoelling in Tangerine Dream, "Polaroids from Anywhere", just like "A Grand Solar Minimum" and its orchestral perfumes as well as "Emerald Suite" and its very Schmoelling harmonious envelope, does its stand-still of a way which teases constantly the hearing, but without ever taking off. It's good, but something is missing. And this observation is for the height of “The Tree Hates the Forest”.
Oh... do I have some difficulty with this last album of
Loom. Not that it's not good! It's not just great. I would rather say that it's not as high as the expectations. To say the least, mine. And the waits were very high, with good reason, further to both EP and especially after Scored; a superb live album with some appetizers of what should have come later. Cornered between the Virgin, Jive and Miramar years of Tangerine Dream, the very stylized harmonious approaches of Johannes Schmoelling as well as the rhythms and heavy and hatched riffs of Jerome Froese, the best of the examples is "Bandhu", “The Tree Hates the Forest” seems to be a victim of the egos of the trio's members. Each track is flooded in ambivalent structures where we have the vague impression that each member of Loom tries to impress and to challenge the other ones. So is missing a form of cohesion complicity, contrary to Scored or even 200 002. We find very good ideas which are not enough exploited because the track goes towards another avenue, always so good, but always so briefly exploited. There are piece of music that we listen to and which gives us more the taste of listening to some Dream albums or yet to Jerome's music. The essence of Schmoelling? Mostly we find it everywhere. I don't really think that it was the effect looked for by Loom. To say the least, it's not what I was expecting. If we have good flashbacks of 200 002's Rejuvenation, we rather notice pretty fast that each track on this album is a kind of sonic Babel tower where too many ingredients, peculiar to each and to their roots, are bubbling up in structures quite rather inviting. Very promising and flooded in sound effects à la Exit, "The Vedic Ritual" lands flat. If we like the approach of dreamy ballad of "Cloud Walk" and its notes of electric piano, which slumber in a kind of Logos' moods and as well as on a chain of circular sequences, we try to understand in which mood are situated the boiling "Quantal Highways" and "A Night out at the Cirqus Voltaire" which sound like big New Age symphonic e-rock à la Vangelis and Yanni. It's not bad, but something is missing there. And this in spite of the very good solos from Schmoelling. At this level "Chants Beyond the Underworld" is more successful. The influence of Schmoelling remains and his clothes of Vangelis perspire very dramatic filmic inspirations. "Tachycardia" is a bomb! A hyperactive track which would have without a shadow of doubt figured on Jerome's album or still Robert Waters' so much the rhythm, powerful and dynamic, diminishes not at all the fine melodious breezes.

As you can read, “The Tree Hates the Forest” is not that bad. It's a lively and dynamic album where the vast experience of Johannes Schmoelling seems to retain the enthusiasm of his two young accomplices. In so doing, each track of “The Tree Hates the Forest” explodes of these various visions and approaches of Schmoelling, Froese and … Waters. Strange, I was going to write Franke. At doing too much, at loading to the rim each of the structures and by wanting to embrace the egos of all and each, Loom missed its blow. Each music piece abounds of personal imprints from the members of the trio which too often tries to cross the most promising or the most commercial lands of the Dream. As would say my love Lise; too much it is as not enough. But what else could we expect from Loom?
Sylvain Lupari (March 24th, 2014) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: 

vendredi 14 mars 2014

TANGERINE DREAM: Booster VI (2013)

“Booster VI is a fair compilation that has the defects of its qualities and with a possible insight of what we could expect from TD next”
CD I| 74:35
1 Convention of the 24 9:26
2 Asheville Sunrise 8:35
3 Ancient Powerplant 4:28
4 Season of the Birds 5:29
5 Finnegans Excessive Wake 8:14
6 Sahara Storm 5:15
7 The Velvet Meridian 6:11
8 Sphinx Red Lightning 4:57
9 Dream Catcher 7:02
10 Twilight in Abidjan 4:53
11 Agony of Suspense 6:03
12 Sibirian Lights 4:02
CD II| 75:23
1 Betrayal 2013 (Sorcerer Theme) 6:32  2 Weird Village 3:25
3 The Warring Forces of the Twins 4:33  4 The Crystal Ship 5:30
5 Rain Forest 2:28  6 The Dangerous Mile 5:44
7 Mothers of Rain 5:16  8 Pier 54 (2013) 5:41
9 Madagascar 6:31  10 Voices from a Common Land 4:09
11 Marrakesh (2013) 8:15  12 The Silver Seal 3:10
13 Ghazal 5:10  14 Tutankhama 5 :30
15 Puer Natus Est Nobis 3:17

Eastgate 064 (CD 144:43) ***½
Ah... the very beautiful universe filled with Edgar Froese's controversies. I like the Booster series. I sincerely think that it's a good compilation and a great way to enter into so diversified music world of Tangerine Dream, with a very emperor glance on the various phases of the impressive career of Edgar's band. Proof? This “Booster VI” spreads its sonic charms from Sorcerer to One Night in Africa, while passing by The Keep and Optical Race and taking out surprises from Ça Va - Ça Marche - Ça Ira Encore and Transsiberia. Well...Yes there are 10 new titles. Ten new!? Ah, a first controversy … In fact, there are only 6 new compositions, with 4 strong ones by the way. Among the 10 new tracks identified by the Eastgate label, 2 are Froesentized ones, one is an interesting orchestral version "Sorcerer Theme (Betrayal 2013)" and a Quaeschningized version of "Puer Natus Est Nobis" which whipped up the ire of certain fans around social networks. Other controversy? A very lazy remix of the boiling "Tutankhama" which demonstrates the same problem in the mixing as that appearing on Ça Va - Ça Marche - Ça Ira Encore and the Tang-Go compilation. This is not doing really serious! Well, there are about 20 other goodies on the compilation among which some very beautiful surprises, things that we like to rehear and others that should have stayed in the anonymity. But all in all, this “Booster VI” thing is a very pleasant compilation.
At the level of new music that is good to re-hear, let me quote "Convention of the 24", from the Plays Tangerine Dream album, "Ancient Powerplant", "Weird Village", "Voices from a Common Land" and "The Silver Seal" from the album
The Keep. Were they remodeled? Remixed? It's not that obvious. It seems to me that it sounds slightly different. I hear new pads here and there, where it seems to me that there was not. But it's also could be just the strength of the sound that was amplified. But the most important thing is it's always pleasant to hear this great stuff. "Asheville Sunrise" is my first beautiful surprise. Pulled out from the Knights of Asheville live album, the ambience here is quite mysterious with chthonian choirs, layers and tears of synth as well as lamentations of guitar which float such as metallic spectres on a rhythmic motif knotted with sequences among which the beatings and the irregular debits tune their arrhythmic dances in the resonances of pulsations and heavy percussions. A beautiful dark and mysterious track. There are also "Finnegans Excessive Wake" and "The Warring Forces of the Twins". But we don't really miss these because Finnegans Wake was released in 2011. I also like re-hearing this modified part of Sphinx Lightning in "Sphinx Red Lightning". A small defector of Transsiberia? Why not with the soft ballad which is "Sibirian Lights"? "Mothers of Rain"? How could we forget it and not like it? And the too underestimated "Rain Forest" from Sorcerer? Very good and especially very appropriate to rediscover it some 35 years farther. On the other hand I would not mind if we haven’t have to hear again "Ghazal", from Optical Race as well as "Sahara Storm", "Twilight in Abidjan" and "Madagascar"; three tracks out of One Night in Africa which is too recent. Unless we try to boost its sales, but it's not with these tracks that it's going to help. Rain Prayer would have been a better target. At the level of the novelties now? Ah … There are some nice candies here.
I like "Season of the Birds". The rhythm and the dark ambiences, and what a beautiful sequencing pattern, have nothing to envy the big titles of
TD. We remove these so lifeless choirs and we plunge in the Flashpoint years, just like "Dream Catcher" and its nervous sequences which skip ardently in the fluty drizzle of a synth which also abounds of these annoying infantile choirs. I also like the slow rhythm and the bewitching ambiences of "The Velvet Meridian". Very good! One would say a mixture of the melancholic atmospheres of Atomic Seasons and of Sonic Poem Series's supernatural moods. I listen to and I am always bewitched. Seriously, this is a very big TD track. More black, more intense with a sonic motif very near the kind of horror movie and with a slower tempo but more punchy, "Agony of Suspense" is also a very pleasant surprise which is poured into the same mold as the last ones from the SPS. "The Dangerous Mile" wants to go on the same paths, but he becomes short of breath and colors. The last new track is "The Crystal Ship". It might be new to the world of TD but not for the one of rock because it's a version of a The Doors track that Thorsten sang during the North American tour of 2012. Do we smell here the basis of a new chapter of Under Cover? Now there are the false novelties! Remixes of "Betrayal 2013 (Sorcerer Theme)", "Pier 54" and "Marrakesh". Nothing to write to mom, especially that I didn't like "Pier 54", and "Marrakesh" never felt good between my ears. But "Betrayal 2013 (Sorcerer Theme)" takes a very orchestral form. Not bad at all! I like it and it gives another rather interesting dimension to it, especially with the sequencing pattern which is clearly wilder here. Does grandpa Froese reserves us a great surprise with the music of TD played with a symphony orchestra or mixed with symphonic arrangements? That would be a blast! I wrote about "Tutankhama" on top of the review. I have nothing more to add. Now "Puer Natus Est Nobis"! This new version of Gloria (The Keep) made enormously chatter in the circles of Tangerine Dream. Some see a kind of sacrilege there. Desecration? I find that the idea to replace the artificial choirs by real voices is rather interesting. In fact, the whole of it sounds quite well. Even more moving. Except that there is no beginning. No intro! Thorsten Quaeschning
 takes a portion of Gloria, either the middle, and makes of it a more ambient track. A more ethereal track. It's not bad. I read that there is a flaw, a mixing error on it. My ears didn't detect it!
All in all, “Booster VI” is a fair compilation that has the defects of its qualities. By travelling at so random way through his ages,
Tangerine Dream gives to his new fans what the old ones, whom I am, appreciate least. And the opposite applies. I am very curious further to the remixes of "Sorcerer Theme" and "Puer Natus Est Nobis". And with Thorsten Quaeschning, I say to myself that the future of Tangerine Dream is between good hands.

Sylvain Lupari (March 13th, 2014) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

mardi 4 mars 2014

LARS LEONHARD: [Burning Clouds] E.P. (2014)

“What we have here on this short EP is a great and smooth psybient EM which respects the horizons without borders of Ultimae Records”

1 Burning Clouds 5:37
2 Halos 5:42
3 Northern Lights 7:03

 Ultimae Records | inre066 (DDL 18:23) ***½
(Floating psybient EM)

It is necessary to give a very attentive ear to all which goes out of the Ultimae Records label. Recognized to produce an EM in the sound pallets soaked with panoramic colors as diversified as birdsongs, the label from Lyon has this gift to put between our ears a kind of music as sophisticated as delicious. An ambient music immersed in a sound fauna where the heterogeneous noises are eventually shaping some mesmerizing melodies with psychedelic eurhythmies which go along with the morphic rhythms. German composer, whose music is regularly used by the NASA to illustrate their videos, Lars Leonhard is the last taking of Ultimae Records. The one who had seduced with a music piece where the rhythm removes seeds of metallic bangings in an ambience as much ambiospherical than claustrophobic on the Mahiane's Oxycanta III compilation (Slow Motion) thus returns with a series of digital E.P. which will be available via the Ultimae Records download platform. The first chapter of this new sonic adventure is entitled “[Burning Clouds]”. An E.P. which reflects the boldnesses of this label whose each new release knows how to charm the most intuitive ears.
The title-track invites us to the last sonic feast of Lars Leonhard with a slow rhythm, anchored on fine bass pulsations, discreet hand clappings and bangings of percussions which beat in the reverberations of hoops resounding of metallic colors. An enchanting evanescent melody roams and scatters its quivering singing arpeggios in soft winds, where furtive chords and their hesitating steps give the lead to an ambient, almost organic, rhythm and where we float more than we move. Lively and mesmerizing, "Halos" offers a livelier structure of rhythm with cosmic gases, organic stammerings and sober percussions which encircle the vicious undulations of a bass line which not only fed the rhythm but also serves as melodic motif to a very cosmic sonic environment. Espousing a constant gradation in his figures of rhythms, Lars Leonhard concludes this first E.P. with a track which mixes softly the ethereal moods of "Burning Clouds" and the more solid rhythm of "Halos"."Northern Lights" ties its rhythm on pulsations of which the arrhythmic and harmonious flow blends its rhythm to delicate metallic bangings. The harmonies are made and come undone with synth pads and their undecided forms, a little as circles in a crystal clear water, floating like spectres in an attractive sonic constellation where everything which roams tries a melody.
Very good, but especially very attractive, “[Burning Clouds]” gives the kick-off to a promising musical series where the cosmos makes sing its organic elements in structures of rhythm as ambient as floating. Those who know the musical creations of the
Ultimae Records label will be on familiar ground because this first E.P. from Lars Leonhard respects in every aspect the horizons of this label where the music, the imagination and the boldness have no borders.

Sylvain Lupari (March 3rd, 2014) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: