samedi 20 décembre 2014

ARCANE: Revenants (2014)

“Revenants is a solid opus of e-rock where some superb fragrances of TD's analog era fill the air in a genre that made the trio famous for; the movie music”

1 Revenants 5:12
2 Contagion 5:25
3 Fire and Rain 5:35
4 From here to Oblivion 6:12
5 The Returned 6:17
6 Sunrise on a Desolate Freeway 5:58
7 Unnatural Selection 5:38
8 Deadly Skyline 6:26

Paul Lawler Bandcamp (DDL 46:47) ****
(E-rock for picture minded)
Whoosh...! We are not yet sit that the sequences plough a lively rhythm. The keys cut out the air with sharp hits. They sculpture a furious sinuous race which hang on to pulsations beat up by a bass drum. The riffs which fall and scatter derisive harmonies, as well as these synth pads which come from metallurgical sources, don't lie; we are on familiar ground. We are in the den of Arcane. In the den of this group whose legend is closely linked to that of Tangerine Dream. Moreover, who is whom? The question arises. Because all through “Revenants” we have this delicious sensation that both myths make only one. The title-track assails our ears with a furious rhythm, braided in the analog perfume, which runs to lose breath through the sonic traps which rush on both sides of our ears. If the sequences and percussions forge a solid e-rock, the guitar spits its gall by roaring as a starving animal. And because the rhythm empties its reservoir of furious keys, brief moments of calm regild the decoration with delicious foggy pads and keyboard riffs which bring out the analog years.
"Revenants" sets the tone to an album that plunges us literally in these years when
Tangerine Dream amazed the circle of cinema, movie makers, with hard-hitting soundtracks. From Flashpoint to Thief, while passing by Wavelength and even Near Dark, for the effects of fright, without forgetting Green Desert for the analog perfumes this last album of Arcane  follows the moments of madness of Holocaust 300 and offers 8 tracks where the rhythms have the upper hand over the ambiences and where the melodies, the harmonies tame an apocalyptic vision which fits closely to its rather significant artwork. If "Revenants" rocks the house down, "Contagion" brings us to a more sinister level, just like "Unnatural Selection" which presents an even more unpredictable structure. A line of sequences stretches its keys which skip hurriedly in the shadow of others, moulding a heavy stroboscopic filet which goes and comes through intriguing and lugubrious synth pads. The ambience is like being in a video game where the hero has to search tunnels full of traps. The percussions are sober and feed a rhythmic heaviness. And if the rhythm is ambient, it remains decorated with threats and with elements of fear where riffs, metallic jingles and howling voices intensify a sepulchral climate. The sequences eventually keep a pulsing fixation, forging a linear and livelier rhythm from where emerge other sequences among which the harmonious approach, as well as the addition of more lively percussions, accentuate the pace of "Contagion" which preserves nevertheless its threatening envelope. A mood which overflows on the sinister "Fire and Rain" and its rivulet of sequences which sparkle under the thunders and in the knocks of heavy muffled pulsations. The rhythm livens up in the form of a slow gallop where are fluttering crystalline keys in the mist of foggy synth pads. We swim at height ears in ambiences, rhythms and melodies stamped by the influences of Tangerine Dream and it is not the very beautiful "From here to Oblivion" that is going to deny it. It's a charming e-ballad with nervous sequences a la Flashpoint, just like those lively of "Sunrise on a Desolate Freeway" which swirl and lose of their brightness in a heavy and slow tempo, always soaked with a vision of threats. I quite enjoyed "The Returned" and its heavy rhythm bombarded by muted pulsations and torn by riffs of a guitar, which is also capable of good solos in "Sunrise on a Desolate Freeway", from which its curt and edgy chords make contrasts with these silvery sequences which shake a cloudy rhythm. A rhythm which little by little accepts the swiftness from the flight of sequences to become as much harmonious than lively. There is a scent of Near Dark here. "Deadly Skyline" ends with an a little less darker approach. The rhythm is slow and raised on sequences of which the crystalline tones shine in the pulses of sober percussions. These sequences get loose to form a line of orchestral jolts, always adding this filmic weight which characterizes “Revenants”. A little like Edgar, Paul Lawler tortures his electric six-strings and places some evasive solos which melt into an artificial voice. And, according to the rules of the  seven other tracks of “Revenants”, the rhythm exorcises its passivity. Dusting out its mortuary atmospheres, it gets hit of more lively percussions and runs away with the strange harmonies of this feminine voice which steals us a few seconds of those suave solos from which we distinguish with difficulty the nuances between a synth and a guitar. And always, we have this delicious impression to walk on the sonic, the musical paths of Tangerine Dream. And this, Arcane is not offended! After all, don't they come from this wonderful time when EM could has been as well secret and intriguing than be charmingly mesmerizing and lively?
Sylvain Lupari (December 20th,2014)

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vendredi 19 décembre 2014

TM SOLVER: Namaste (2014)

“Soft rhythms sculpted in the beats of delicate sequences, Namaste is this kind of album where a relaxing, a meditative music is not at all sedative”

1 Namaste 10:03
2 Floating Clouds 14:23
3 The Dream 7:43
4 Sea of Tranquility 14:15
5 Govinda 12:30

SynGate Luna | TM08 (CD-r 77:48) ***½
(Ambient and relaxing based sequence beats)
Sequences with colorful tones of crackling a bit organic are drawing a structure of rhythm rough draft. A structure which zigzags with a movement of motionless ascent where the keys crackle in the muffled impulses of the bass sequences. And this rhythm takes refuge beneath the warm caresses of Ruth Koelzner's very ethereal voice. A voice which remains the key element of the title-track with some hot and incantatory breezes which float over a staggering, an uncertain structure of rhythm and which at times has to lean on the muted knocks of the bass pulsations/percussions. As if by magic, the sound universe of TM Solver wraps our ears with a multitude of ringings and percussions which ally the Tablas kind to those more electronic. Dramatic effects, pushed by the muffled impulses of the bass line, are also adding a rich depth to this pattern once again very well set by these sequences of which the hybrid tones are all the charms and Thomas Meier's signature. After an album inspired by the stunning landscapes of Iceland (Polymorph), the German synthesist launches simultaneously an album transported by the paradisiacal charms of Nepal's landscapes. Released on the Luna division from SynGate, “Namaste” is indeed a more ambient album. But not totally ambient! To say the least, not as we imagine ambient music. The rhythms are softer and sculptured through these sequences brewed with eclectic tones which are finely drummed and which skip peacefully in these envelopes of mist, in these chirping and these lamentations of synth which try as much to twitter than to sing, in these attractive orchestrations, certain tearful, and among which the effects of tenderness, meditation are cajoled by the voice of Ruth Koelzner. That might be on the Luna division, thus ambient music, “Namaste” is not really far from the usual hypnotic and catchy rhythms of TM Solver, in particular Polymorph where the last two tracks seem to have drawn the ways of this album that will seduce by its clearly more celestial approach.
"Floating Clouds" presents these sequences and chords so characteristic of
TM Solver's sounds and beats arsenal. They skip and dance weakly in the slow veils of the orchestral mists. The genre reminds me a lot the music of Software, but in a more emotional pattern with a synth which spreads its long tears on a structure of rhythm of which the swiftness takes root in muted knocks of pulsations. The slow rhythm adopts the shape of a good magnetizing lunar down-tempo which is decorated of chirpings and of electronic dialogues and especially caressed by the warm breezes of analog tones and others more silvered which melt themselves in the soft orchestrations of which the veils of tenderness cajole a passive rhythm which always seems on the point to overflow. The soft voice of Ruth Koelzner returns caressing our ears on the delicate ambient rhythm of "The Dream" which swirls on sequences finely drummed. Its celestial lamentations form an eclectic duet with a synth which throws some brief harmonic chords without forgetting to release clouds of ether. It's a quiet and restful track which ties itself very well to "Sea of Tranquility". The duet Koelzner/Meier will return with a slightly more lively structure in "Govinda" which is doubtless the lively piece of music in “Namaste”. A track that takes us out of our state of beatitude after the superb one which is "Sea of Tranquility" and its spirit of the Middle East. The orchestrations spread a dense morphic veil which embraces the drumming of the sequences, while that a delicate aroma of flute is floating with its scents of hypnotism and that the synth throws solos carrier of reverie and of which the caresses at the hearing are sources of bewitchment. If we do not sleep, we are near to contemplation. With amazement, this "Sea of Tranquility" reminds me of Klaus Schulze in his moments of meditation. An impression moreover which describes the character of the dulcet minimalist rhythms and the very melancholic moods of “Namaste” where the fusion of Ruth Koelzner's delicate voice to the opal mists and to the very well nuanced orchestrations pass very well in the ear. A parallel to be made with the duet Schulze/Gerrard? If there is one, that would be at the level of the ambiences which, at times, remind me those of a dreamy and very nostalgic Schulze. Regarding the voice of Koelzner; it seems less powerful than Lisa Gerrard's, but is still rather charming all the same. But all in all, “Namaste” remains an attractive album of a relaxing, a meditative music which is not at all sedative.
Sylvain Lupari (December 19th, 2014)

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mercredi 17 décembre 2014

TM SOLVER: Polymorph (2014)

Polymorph will please undoubtedly the fans of TM Solver as well as those aficionados who are in search of the warm charms of the analog scents

1 Rhythmikon 13:12
2 Echo-Line 16:45
3 House-Reflections 7:43
4 Dream Voices 14:15
5 Amound 12:30
6 Analog Shaping 13:23

SynGate | CD-r TM07 (CD-r 77:48) ****
(New Berlin School with a zest of analog tones)
The percussions sparkle delicately. Their jingles are melting into a line of bass sequences which shapes a ghost rhythm. A discreet rhythm which spreads its keys of which the warm tones get join to the muffled pulsations which redirect the ambient rhythm of "Rhythmikon" towards a kind of lunar techno decorated with prismic mist and with soft electronic chirpings. Tears of synth take shape in order to widen nasal and dreamy solos, while the finely jerky rhythm of "Rhythmikon" shows a more aggressive approach that will awaken memories when Robert Schroeder had redirected the axes of New Berlin School with a more funk, a more groove approach. Although recollections of Tangerine Dream, the 81 tour, fill our souvenirs, in particular with these crystalline sequences which dance gently from time to time among the symmetric pulsations, "Rhythmikon" wears the seal of TM Solver with this delicate balance between the rhythm and its fineries where the astral voices and the opal mists remain the nannies of these deliciously hypnotic structures. In fact, a rendezvous with the music of TM Solver is an event that we cannot just refuse. Simplistic, minimalist and very Teutonic, but decorated of subtleties which seduce as much as captivate, the music of Thomas Meier is one of the most delicious to get out of the SynGate label. And each new album reveals a little something that haunts the ear up to the next one. And “Polymorph” does not deceive at this point.
This time it's "Echo-Line". Superbly bewitching, like an upright carousel which swirls in weightlessness, "Echo-Line" offers a very beautiful ambient rhythm. A rhythm which accumulates its charms with fine movements of jerks anchored on sober, repetitive but really effective pulsations. A rhythm decorated with ingenious percussions filled with jingling and with tones which ring as objects of rarity and sometimes change the path of a rhythm which remains nevertheless quiet. Everything is in the ear and its perception. Add to that some harmonious sequences, clouds of opal mist from where are hiding stellar voices, a synth with nasal harmonies and nasal dialogues; we have a small jewel which sticks to the very intrusive charms of 
Pyramid Peak's best moments. It's very good and it lands in my iPod; section best tracks of 2014! "House-Reflections" follows with a more fluid rhythm. Here it is the synth which prevails with good electronic effects but especially with good solos which overfly a starving structure of rhythm which wants to bite our eardrums with a meshing of sequences and percussions which cuts it with curt hits. This is a good New Berlin School track whose only weakness is to precede the first 30 minutes of “Polymorph”, especially that "Dream Voices" follows quickly with a structure which adopt this lively and fluid rhythm. A rhythm which is bogged down in the fineries of "Echo-Line". On the other hand the seductive part is this approach which seems to me more an ethnic genre from the Middle East with effects of organic sequences and notes of a cosmic harp a la Indra. "Amound" is more ambient. Although its steps are heavy and resonant, the rhythm swirls stealthily in intergalactic mists soaked of metallic white noises, of spectral voices and their chants buried in the forgetting and of jerks fill by cracklings before gaining a soft swiftness which comes along with sequences to quavering jingling tones. "Analog Shaping" also presents a soft rhythm which is drummed delicately by sequences, charmingly dressed of percussion tones, which melt into  bass line as idle as lunar. It's mesmerizing and it ends a very beautiful album where the polymorphic rhythms sail in unctuous morphic ambiences. “Polymorph” will please undoubtedly the fans of TM Solver as well as those aficionados who are in search of the warm charms of the analog scents. Again this is another beautiful release which nests on the SynGate label which is downright the cradle of the Berlin School style and of its derivatives.
Sylvain Lupari (December 17th, 2014)

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lundi 15 décembre 2014

CSILLAGKÖD: Silent World (2014)

“Silent World is a deep ambient album where are sparkling jewels here and there whose reflections in the absolute dark you will find very seducing”

1 The Communication System between the Civilizations of the Universe 8:58
2 Empty Galaxies 5:03
3 The Birth of the Solar System 2:36
4 Water from another Planet 4:41
5 Kettoscsillag 3:57
6 Nap 4:20
7 Silent World 8:21
8 Az Univerzum Széle Felé 5:17

Spotted Peccary – SPM-2701 (CD 41:26) ***½
(Deep, dark ambient music)
Csillagköd (Oliver Dombi) is the last find of the American label Spotted Peccary. This artist from Transylvania, Romania, is into deep, dark and hollow ambient music, favoring synth lines which overlap into slow aerosonic patterns clouded rather often of metallic drones. Initially issued at the beginning of 2013, “Silent World” is a first album painted by these nuances with sibylline approaches which are tinted of radiance and decorated with carillons of which the prismic singings and dialects transcend this feeling of total darkness that glides throughout this quiet attractive album, if we are into ambient shapes, where nothing is more contrasting than the reflections of the silence.
"The Communication System between the Civilizations of the Universe" (what a title!) break ranks with a total immersion in the core of opacity. Here, there are no melodies, even the absent ones! An ectoplasmic shape rises out of nowhere to shiver in the abyssal wells of a black hole where seems to be form a big ball of sound magma. The ambiences are black and sieved of long dying drones of which the outlines irradiate a bewitching sonic show. We can hear the cracklings expiring some glaucous groans and doors of metal resounding. The creakings of the hinges are switching into big bells of which the ringings get lost in the somber impulses of a slow movement which feeds of its implosions. It's dark, deeply ambient  but fascinating. And if the first listening kisses the indifference, the subsequent listening reveals a fascinating soundscape spice up of delicious hyaline shades. And there is darker, more ambient with the very linear and without appeal "Empty Galaxies", where the apostles of the transparency have difficulty to make mumbling their distant spectral harmonies. Subtly, we attend to an attractive fight between the obscurity and the luminosity. A fight which finally irradiates all the charms of “Silent World”. And it's even more tangible with "The Birth of the Solar System" and its harmonious carillons which are letting the main melody be lulled by a lineage of black breaths. This is a track, just as "Kettoscsillag", which distances itself easily and hooks the hearing more straightforwardly by the opalescent approach of their carillons. A little as "Water from another Planet" where prisms are metamorphosing into crystalline rocks in order to shape a delicate melody of which the charms of glass are dancing weakly in some drones peppered by the slow implosions of a lazy and finely musical bass line, a bit like in the sound universe of Patrick O'Hearn. This is a nice ambient track we have here and quietly we are getting into the luminous part of Csillagköd's first album. The sibylline singings are legion here. You have to be attentive because often they are humming in the shadows of the synth waves which spread those vampiric veils of blackness. On "Nap", they radiate weakly before losing their luster in the chant of the carillons and their effects of prismic cascade. Contrary to the title-track where the same carillons are soaked of black. Our ears are filled by huge rumblings whose slow impulses make us imagine the noises of the reactors of a big space shuttle. The delicate arpeggios, painted of darkness, are just sparkling enough in this dark soundscape to shine with an almost absent melody which makes a good contrast with these enormous and intense hummings. "Az Univerzum Széle Felé" concludes “Silent World” with a superb ambient melody molded in the core of these carillons which made themselves so discreet since the first breezes of "The Birth of the Solar System". Delicate, the arpeggios fall like snowflakes and spread their crystal arabesques on a bed of tin where attractive finches are the witnesses of this duality, this intestinal fight between the brightness and the darkness of which the main winner is this listener who is always amazed by the charms of “Silent World”. Without reinventing the genre, even if he brings a subtle melodic touch with these prisms which sparkle here and there in sweet melodic pattern, Csillagköd reveals us a good insight of a form of music which justly needs more brightness from times to times. But you have to listen to hear the glow!
Sylvain Lupari (December 15th, 2014)

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samedi 13 décembre 2014

AES DANA & MIKTEK: Cut E.P. (2014)

“Fans of U-R label, sharpen your ears cause this Cut is a good symbiosis between two styles which blend into a uniquely smooth psybient”

1 Evenfall 7:24
2 6AM 7:00
3 Cut 5:52

Ultimate Records | INRE072 (DDL 20:16) ****½
(Psybient)
Throbbing pulsations, where every knock resounds in a metallic acoustics aura and of which the rubberized charms infiltrate our ears like a dance of octopus' suckers on amphetamines, droning on a background spattered of acid rains and white noises,  but adorned also of a subtle spectral melody, "Evenfall" explains by itself all the charms of “Cut”, and by ricochet all the boldness's of this delicious label that is Ultimae Records. No wonders why I fell in love with the productions of this label, even if the musical genre is at light years of what brought me to like the Berlin School style. The muffled knocks of the introduction are lively, even brutals. We hear the hoops of metal  quivering, as well as these absent voices humming, and hesitating arpeggios which form arabesques and whose luminous outlines seem to be freezing in a sonic environment waterproofed of an industrial aura. The rhythm is crashing on a suave and sensual down-tempo where chips of metal crushed in a dryer, cracklings from an outer-world and snap of the fingers from an invertebrate animal are the nest of a mesmerizing bass line and of its deep pulsations which are hypnotized by this melody of which the airs go and come, like a soul roaming between luminosity and t darkness, between here and a there that escapes our perception. The percussions slam and resound, perturbing the delicate balance of "Evenfall" with some scattered abrupt knocks and biting a scarlet beat which will take refuge in a soporific ambient finale. What a starter! What a way to start this first collaboration between Aes Dana and Miktek where two others E.P. are schedule at the agenda of the Lyon based label. After this finale for the least restful, "6 AM" hangs on to our eardrums with exuberant pulsations which revitalize each of its knocks in this puddle of interference tones from which the fryings decorate the industrial glitter fineries of “Cut”. Here the rhythm is fragmented. Limping between an up-tempo and a tempo floppier than soft, it does stop'n'go in an eclectic envelope where the ambient style is questioning the acid-house genre, before shutting itself away in another ambient finale. The title-track reminds me a little the climate of schizophrenia which decorates the series theme tune of American Horror Story. The bass pulsations shape a kind of morbid techno. A flabby dance for zombies where the rain falls straight from the floor and the balls crackle and bump into each other on the ceiling. The wealth of tones and sounds is delicious while the music, and its subtleties which abound in bright ideas, incites to the paranoia. A beautiful line of melody, very near the mouth of madness, roams like the Malevolent who is trying to invite us in a delicious banquet where the sonic lust overflows of one thousand temptations.
Fragmented and broken rhythms which dissolve into phases of futuristic ambiences and mend in molecular tumults, “Cut” is a good symbiosis between two artists whose antipodes are melting together in all the respect for their respective styles. We find the dreamy touch of
Miktek who resists to the very acid bites of Aes Dana, who is second to none to breathe life into his ambiences and his rhythms some subtle elements that bring us to the dormers of another dimension. This is the first part of a collaboration which promises us two other E.P. I'm already looking forward for volume two. In fact, I always look forward to hearing the delights of the Lyon label...
Sylvain Lupari (December 13th, 2014)

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