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dimanche 10 mars 2013
1 Shadowlights 41:12
2 In Between 17:07
3 Licht und Schatten 17:23
Synthetic Symphony | SPV 260070 (75:42) *****
(Contemporary, eclectic and minimalist ambient EM)
Here is an album that we stopped to expect since months, if not years. There were several questioning and mysteries regarding “Shadowlands”. In 2011, one already spoke about a possible date for this 46th (yes yes, 46!) album of Schulze and then zip! Not a word, even a breath of news. And in the meanwhile, rumors! Rumors about the health of the German master of the minimalist symphonies sowed the concern among his fans, but also rumors in the effect that the squabble was boiling between Klaus Schulze and MIG (Made In Germany) which knew any sorts of difficulties with the publication of the last La Vie Electronique and especially Tonwelle. And the rumors are spreading till the end of 2012 when a date is moved forward and finally moved back … In brief, it's a dead end. And finally, “Shadowlands” lands in the trays in February 2013. That's about 3 years (according to certain rumors which would be well-founded) after that Klaus Schulze had given his first knocks of strata on his new Roland Jupiter 80, weaving the beginnings of “Shadowlands” which arrives in 2 editions; one with a single cd and another in a limited edition of two cd for about 150 minutes of new music. “Shadowlands” sets up its musical grandeur on three or five, depending of your choice, long tracks of which the minimalist paths are skilfully orchestrated by the Master who adds constantly musical elements and fine variances to embellish all the hypnotic impact.
Undulating synth lines intertwine themselves and caress their harmonies in hibernation under diverse heterogeneous jingles. The rhythm is pounding with keys which skip frantically to catch a more homogeneous rhythmic structure. The mood is stifling when the tears of Thomas Kagermann's violin calm the heaviness, cherishing of its rosaceous complaints the panicky pulsations which skip always under those sinuous evasive lines. A voice is rising. A powerful and brief wind of male vocal cords diverts our attention whereas the rhythm, hypocritical, settles down. Resulting from a fusion of a splitting of tireless jumping keys, this rhythm takes the shape of a long hypnotic race where a runner, jogging in our imagination, has to by-pass various obstacles, diverting thus finely the course of a long minimalist rhythm that knocks of bass-drums, tabla kind of percussions and silvery cymbals decorate of fine variations. Melodies? They are mesmerizing. Coming from a fusion between the tears of violins, the scattered flutes, the ethereal voices and cloistered rustles from Lisa Gerrard, Crysta Bell and Julia Messenger, they float in the sweetnesses of a synth and of its soothing lines. These voices which haunt our ears throughout this slow agony of shadows reach peaking points, making "Shadowlights" topples over into poignant dimensions, like around the 15th minute when the percussions which fall and the roaring of angels energize a long track which amazes constantly by the address of Klaus Schulze to peppered his so very long structure of fine variations. And the more "Shadowlights" moves forward and the more Klaus Schulze modifies subtly its musicality. The 2nd half is more aggressive with arrangements drawn by hatched keyboards riffs which sound like fiddlestick and fatty chords which are waving such as dull spasms to tones a bit organic, moulding a strange approach of an ethereal funk on a half floating rhythm. The voices and violins are feasting in an incestuous merger, adding constantly elements of charm to this long minimalist track that Schulze manipulates in a masterly fashion, ignoring the traps and the probability of a possible boredom which watches for these long musical rivers that are the tracks of the kind of "Shadowlights". Here are 41 good minutes that I never heard passed!
After a tortuous introduction where filets of astral voices kiss a rhythm which has difficulty in skipping, "In Between" spreads the charm of its hesitation with its uncertain opening. Pleasant choirs of spectral mermaids sing the breaths of life and despair on a rippling bed of arpeggios to the gleaming tones. This mesmerizing dance of immobility shakes its torpor with discreet tabla percussions. And in the orgiastic breaths in seraphim voices "In Between" sparkles of its hardly perceptible skips, drawing the axes of a minimalist rhythm which finds its freshness in the modulations of the harmonies and in the imperfect circles of a stroboscopic line which swirls lazily in the background, such as a wizard and his dance of the infinity. A bass line clasps this delicate cerebral trance at around the 8th minute, giving more depth to a rhythm which becomes subtly groovier. And Schulze to continue to dress his minimalist rhythm of percussions to tones of maracas while that the stroboscopic line goes out of the anonymity to dance in eroded circles with these unchanging choirs which have fill the harmonies of "In Between" from which the percussions are escaping to resound with transparency on the beginning of "Licht und Schatten" which marries the same rhythmic rules as "In Between" but with an approach closer to the operas lost of Totentag. The voices are very musical. Mixing feminine octaves to males' ones, Schulze weaves the lines of a wild opera which sneaks into an impressive meshing of jerky arpeggios and percussions among which the tones and the strikings, as limpid as incisive, fall over to a mnemonic trance where from re-appears the distant memories of the very beautiful universe of Audentity. As in the opening track, these voices of nymphs caress a universe of musical nuances and introduce magical moments which amaze the senses and comfort our desire to let us bite by the teeth of Morpheus.
So ends the first act of “Shadowlands”. I savoured every minute of it. And no! Klaus Schulze did not lose his creative touch. From the top of his 65 years he signs a work in the greatness of his serenity with minimalist movements that only he knows how to structure in order to avoid the traps of boredom. Everything is in the tone. The voices are superb. They float in harmonies of a sometimes discreet synth which avoids solos to concentrate better on these lamentations of nymphs which fly like what his solos should be. It's soft, dreamlike and very melodious. It's an album of the reason which shows all the greatness of a timeless man and of his creativity.
Sylvain Lupari (March 10th, 2013)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=15933
1 Shadowlights 41:12
2 In Between 17:07
3 Licht und Schatten 17:23 CD 2 (73:14)
1 The Rhodes Violin 55:24
2 Tibetan Loop 17:50
Synthetic Symphony – SPV 260070 2CD (148:56) ***½
(Contemporary, eclectic and minimalist ambient EM)
Why two chronicles for the same album? Well because said album is presented in two formats; a simple album which will survive the special edition of two discs, but especially because the global note for “Shadowlands” would suffer enormously if I will melt both chronicles in a single one. You see me coming?
A great majority of comments are very laudatory concerning this 2nd CD offered in limited edition. I am quite enough shared about it. By moments (yes it could happen to the Master) our friend Schulze has the annoying mania to want at all costs to fill the 80 minutes of the digital bits of the silvery disc. It's a little bit what happens on this second disc of “Shadowlands” which puts us into our ears a much too long minimalist dissection of "The Rhodes Violin". True that the small gleaming arpeggios which sparkle in Oriental moods, into the tears and riffs of Thomas Kagermann's violin and his vague prayers are mesmerizing. Also true that the rhythm, absent in the beginning, which is drawn and which increases by some sequencer keys fitting into a wound stroboscopic movement, that the bass line which pumps its round and hopping chords and that the percussions which pulse a delicate techno for zombies are ending by offering one of these always magnetic rhythms on behalf of the Master of the electronic serial art. But it's also true that "The Rhodes Violin" suffers of these too long minutes between each of these aforesaid musical elements are integrating in order to harmonize its 56 minutes scattered in the spheres of boredom. Truncated of 20 minutes, and "The Rhodes Violin" would have been as delicious as "Shadowlights" is. "Tibetan Loop" leads us at another level with a fascinating spiritual incantation chanting on the wings of an abstract musical art. The synth waves are dark and strangely musical. They weave these walls of comfort which bear the weight of the vocalized heresies created by Schulze where the violins of Kagermann get lost within a skillful fusion of two musical entities which confuse the hearing with enchantment. Except that "Tibetan Loop" is all of ambiences. It's a mixture of lunar and clanic ambience with singings which are more Berber than Tibetans. Chants which get lost in a wind mosaic where synth and violins mislaid their fragile nomadic harmonies, confirming by moments all the questioning on the necessity of this 2nd cd which is more for the collectors and the die-hard fans of Klaus Schulze.
Sylvain Lupari (March 10th, 2013)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=15934
vendredi 8 mars 2013
1 Sequenzer (From 70 to 07) 24:54
2 Euro Caravan 19:41
3 Thor (Thunder) 31:47
SPV | 49392 CD (CD 76:22) ****½ (Classical Berlin School)
There are 2 ways to approach this last offering from our friend Klaus Schulze; with the ears of the former days and those more critical which are pervaded by a more contemporary state of mind. Navigating between both poles of Klaus Schulze, “Kontinuum” is an album which kisses the nobilities of his vintage years. The eras of Mirage, Blackdance and even Irrlicht. An album which also crosses thorny digital dimension and which surfs on Moonlake's forbidden delights while leaving musical doors opened for the musical playwright whom can be Klaus Schulze when he begins to investigate his darkness by with sulphurous cosmic frenzies.
"Sequenzer (From 70 to 07)" says it all! From the first chords to prismic tones which dance with the winds of space, "Sequenzer (From 70 to 07)" kisses the phases of a superbly soft sequenced maelstrom which wraps us and makes us glide in a dance of crystal clear chords swirling in the whims of our dreams. These chords fluttering with a contained fervour are forming an element of sequences which spin nervously and whose oval forms cross another line of sequences which flutter indefatigably in a surprising duel which caresses the rhythmic lifelessness. We float in this semi ambient and half cadenced universe deserving of the analog scrapbook from the Mirage era with this ode to the former days where the rhythm, divided by sequencer keys skipping on the spot, is letting itself gradually caressed by fine vocal filets and discreet orchestral arrangements. Dark strata wrap this frivolous tempo which swirls with drunkenness by the soft velocity of the isolated keys of which the asymmetric jumps eventually forge a surprising harmonious homogeneity and which a soft seraphim voice captures to bring it near time. It's beautiful, it's serene and it's going to please undoubtedly the fans of Schulze in his 70's mood. "Sequenzer (From 70 to 07)" is dying in the black winds which fail on the quiet opening of "Euro Caravan". An anonymous voice pushes its wounds of time on these black and hollow winds, moulding a floating introduction which increases quietly its pace around the 9th minute. The rhythm is taking the shape of a cosmic gallop with a heavy bass line and chords with their tones of organic rubber which pound in the echoes of sober tom-toms.
Binding itself to the windy finale which anaesthetises the rhythm of "Euro Caravan", "Thor (Thunder)" invades our ears with a long music piece of atmospheres which are not without recalling the cosmic wanderings of Irrlicht. Fluty breaths are singing in the breezes of Orion which by moments are fitting closely to the groans of cosmic choirs. But we are on familiar ground here. These imperfect harmonies are the seal of Schulze who takes an obvious pleasure to fill his plasmatic universe of iconoclastic tones which serenade in a world of confusion. Organic chords emerge and dance in the tones of vaporous tom-toms while that a line of synth spits its nasal harmonies which ooze in cosmic mists. And subtly this ambiospheric intro sacrifices itself for a nervous rhythm, fed by curt chords which pound into a fusion of mists and subdued choirs. And "Thor (Thunder)", which has thunders only of its naming, continues its minimalist progression in an ascent watered here and there by more melodious soft lines and of ambiospherical contrasts where are squealing the shadows of solos, crying astral lamentations and rustles and stirring a quiet broth of ions, smiths of evasive rhythms, in this musical magma which refuses to explode, preferring the cosy comfort of its abstract approach.
“Kontinuum” is a wonderful album. This is some great Klaus Schulze who puts back his old fragrances to offer us what he had refrained itself for ages; an album in the purest traditions of X and other jewels from that era. It's thus a pleasant surprise for us who are flooded by all these rereleases from SPV Records and who are seeking for so many artists who are emulators of the Grand Master. I adored as much, if not more, than Moonlake, although that Playmate in Paradise...humm! It's a journey in time when the magnetism of the analog sweetnesses and its minimalist structures fed our waking dreams and our hallucinations in groups. It flows into our ears and our memories as in la belle époque. An inescapable which is hiding in a wonderful jewel case artwork where we can read an excellent observation from KDM. And for a rare time, I am in total accord with his statements.
Sylvain Lupari (March 8th, 2013)
mardi 19 février 2013
1 Khazad-Dum 6:55
2 Northwind Leaves Fall 9:07
3 Path's of Death 9:05
4 Springbirds 6:32
5 Cosmos 5:33
6 Summerwind 6:11
7 Goodbye 5:38
8 Meadow 8:16
9 Ambersage 7:43
10 April Breeze 4:55
Cue Records |CUE-1111 (CD 70:46) ****
Ron Boots became over the years a sure thing in the world of EM. Each work coming from the Dutch synthman is surprising us with versatile rhythms which rock unsuspected melodious approaches for a musical universe weaved in the somber mathematics meanders. But before kissing this fame, began his career with a series of cassettes produced between 1987 and 1990. “Backgrounds” is a compilation of 4 of these works (Bookworks, Wind in the Trees, Moments and Hydrythmix) released between 1988 and Dreamscape. A compilation which reveals a musical minimalist universe seasoned of fine variances, preventing the thoughtfulness of a passive listening which becomes inevitably absent-minded. Inspired by the literary works of Tolkien and Stephen King, “Backgrounds” offers a suite of 10 compositions, remixed and reworked which inhale the atmospheric influences of the Californian deserts that Tangerine Dream has sculptured in the 70's on a surprising sequenced approach unique to .
"Khazad-Dum", from Bookworks, introduces us to the other hillside of Boots' universe with a clanic approach of an aboriginal kind embroidered on a meshing of sequences and pulsations with keys which fidget in an aura of controlled trance. The rhythm is intense and livened up, dislocating its linear spasms under the caresses of a lyrical synth and its fluty harmonies. One can recognize there a Dreamish influence (No Man's Land) on this minimalist approach of which the variances espouse the harmonious tangents which breathe under a dense ethereal pattern. "Northwind Leaves Fall" is a small jewel on the art of sequencing the rhythms. The melody is sculptured in a ballet of sequences of which the multiplication of the keys forges a suave musical cannon. At both fluid and jerky, the harmonious rhythm spreads its shroud of prismic tones sequences which cavort unconcernedly on an enchanter minimalist movement embellishes of its fine harmonious nuances. It's very good and very beautiful. The enchanting effect of rhythmic melodic cannon is also present on the tenebrous "Springbirds" and on the very joyful "April Breeze" (both also pulled out from Wind in the Trees) which combines its rhythm in cascade with synths as much musical as those on "Khazad-Dum"."Path's of Death", also from Bookworks, wears very well the blackness of its naming with a slow and black rhythm, to the limit clanic, embroidered on echoing pulsations and crystal clear sequences of which the alternating keys resound in the nuances of a synth and its somber fluty harmonies. "Cosmos" is the only track coming out of the Moments cassette and it's a lunar mood track with a slow rhythm which pounds of its bass line beneath some diverse approaches of percussions of which the kicks and the mislaid effects of surprises cogitate in the black mist of a dark synth and of its fleeting reedy harmonies.
It's a track which does a heavy contrast to the boiling "Summerwind", from Wind in the Trees, and of its furious ions pounding in all directions in a static dance of which the minimalist evolution passes by the heavy pulsations of a bass-drum, the strikings mislaid percussions and other ions rolling such as ball bearings which coordinate their rhythmic symbiosis in the funky harmonies coming from a synth and its languishing twisted solo and mystic mist. "Goodbye" is black and oniric, like a goodbye as we know to be a farewell. The slow modulations of the synths draw some poignant passages that church bells amplify in this funeral track where are humming dark and sad choirs. Bookworks continues to illustrate its heavy and stormy structures with "Meadow" and its heavy resonant pulsations which are throbbing in a world filled of eclectic tones. Choirs, strange robotic moans and melodious falls of chords fly over this heavy threatening approach which clears up little by little with the arrival of sequenced ions which sparkle in their harmonious trails, drawing these enchanting melodious approaches sculptured in sequences in cascade which cover the sonic world of “Backgrounds”. "Ambersage" floats with its clanic tom-toms which drum under a musical sky to clouds of ether. A synth is whistling there while that jumping ions gradually catch the beats of tom-toms, hijacking a rhythm which oscillates between its gregarious ambience and its passive modulations
No needs to be a fan of to appreciate this compilation. If we feel an influence of the Dream, we cannot ignore the one of Steve Roach in this fascinating approach of crisscrossed rhythmic patterns that the Californian synthesist offered in his beginning of career (Now and Traveller, even Structures from Silence). “Backgrounds” breathes of originality for a compilation which goes out of the beginning of the 90's. The design of the rhythms in the shape of echoing canons and their harmonious movements are among these sonic elements which make that EM is a kind of unique art where the beauty explodes in the smallest ringing of chords to arabesques unreal. What a great way to discover the early works from this great EM wizard!
Sylvain Lupari (February 18th, 2013)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=15898