lundi 1 septembre 2014

ATMAN'S UNREAL: Psalm of Solitude (2014)

“The biggest achievement of Psalm of Solitude is this this intense emotionalism that feed an album forged in the pain of the black”
1 Book of Divination 4:32  
2 Tool of Ritual 2:57  
3 Relic of Occultation 3:45  
4 Temple of Chaos 4:01  
5 Crown of Horn 4:46  
6 Reaper of Toll 4:05  
7 Cloak of Truth 3:57  
8 Altar of Reason 5:12

Atman's Unreal Bandcamp (DDL/CD 33:15) ****
(Deep gothic ambient EM)
The music of dark and meditative, even black, atmospheres knows a strong renewal of popularity since a couple of years. We have that to think of groups or artists such as Sam Rosenthal, Bakis Sirros, The Glimmer Room, Memory GeistPerceptual DefencePhobos or still the very dark opus Inverno from Gustavo Jobim to understand that the kind resuscitates constantly of its ashes which buzz continually of its firebrands. And the list is getting even bigger when we think of the last works from Ron Boots and Emmens/Heij. Beyond this movement rises a new one; the ritual tribal ambient music. I think in particular of Halo Manash, Sky Burial and to the surprising works of Shane Morris and Mystified. Atman's Unreal is the new rising figure of a style which awakens the imagination and gives shivers in the back on a night in the woods admiring the deformed reflections of the full moon on a lake which is drunk of mysteries. The original aspect in “Psalm of Solitude” is that it was mostly conceived on the software synths on an Ipad. The result, which is the fruit of improvised sessions, was annexed on skeleton of ambient moods that the designer has vaguely structured and which were inspired by the periods of torments which followed the suicides of his father and uncle.
And it's with clamors of a colony of night-insects grinding shamanic balls that "Book of Divination" invades our senses Far off, we can hear sinuous synth lines which float like mystic threatening clouds. Reverberations mutter and finish by spread an impressive pattern of synth pads which remind me the moods of
The Glimmer Room's very melancholic and contemplative universes. Noises of chain open the very glaucous moods of "Tool Ritual". Using a good headphone is very necessary, here as on everywhere on this album, if we want to catch these slow sound impulses which push these sluggish ectoplasmic lines and make sing their hosts. It's very dark and doubtless the coldest piece of “Psalm of Solitude”. Each track begins with unusual noises which widen an aura of mystery and precede a very huge spiritual tranquillity. These iconoclastic clatters add a mesmerizing depth of discomfort where images of a wandering soul in a abandoned chalet is watching for its next preys are feeding the too much strange and sinister "Relic of Occultation" and "Crown of Horn". One would believe to roam between two worlds. The jingles of "Temple of Chaos" entail us under a storm of reverberant lines of which the hideous hummings nourish a devilish machine of shivers. We are not far from Stephen Parsick's sound torments! Built the way that Atman's Unreal stripped his emotions, “Psalm of Solitude” follows a fascinating growth where the author seems to establish his lines of inside peace. True that "Reaper of Toll" sounds nerve-racking with these rustlings of howling metal which perspires of tears, but we feel a clearer sensibility there which takes away the mooing of tortured souls that were filling the first 25 minutes of this work fired up by bitterness. At this level, we cannot have more meditative than these soft lines of torments which float in the breaths of the very saddened synth in "Cloak of Truth"."Altar of Reason" leads us back on the other hand to the square one with an avalanche of breaths and tremulous panting and of which the symbiosis exceeds everything of dark and black that my ears heard. Stephen Parsick at power 10!
For a little that we love the black and its chthonian moods which are in perpetual appetite for ears a little bit virginal, “Psalm of Solitude” is strong ambient music album as black as the ashes of coal. But no matter the qualifiers or the diatribes on the genre, what strikes the most through the 33 short minutes of “Psalm of Solitude” is this intense emotionalism, these breaths of pain which torments his author. We hear them, we feel them and we live them; it's the biggest achievement of this impressive album of
Atman's Unreal forged in the pain of the black.
Sylvain Lupari (September 1st, 2014) &

dimanche 31 août 2014

TIGERFOREST: The Tides of Day and Night (2014)

“The strength of this album is is this fluidity between all these styles which have a sweet perfume of TD's Miramar years”
1 Asylum Harbor 4:05
2 Across the Silent Seas 6:17
3 Touch the Sky 5:52
4 For the Minutes 5:09
5 Find the Tree 4:51
6 Why Don't You Answer 5:34
7 Geometry of Shadows 9:05
8 The Endless Road 5:04
9 Chasing Starlights 5:01
10 Awakened By Silence 5:31
11 Aqua Marine 4:28
12 My Silent Mystery 5:12
13 Amanyara 4:27

AMAdea Records | AR00087 (CD 70:42) ***½
(Melodic e-rock of the 90's)
Remove the saxophones and all of Linda Spa's wind instruments in the music of Tangerine Dream, the Miramar years, and the result would doubtless be at the sonic image of Tigerforest. As much incredible as it can seem; this group of the German musician Gunnar Spardel exists since 2007 and does not even appear on the famous encyclopedia of EM daily updated by Artemi Pugachov. What is wrong? What makes that 8 albums farther, the name of Tigerforest is absent in the media spheres of EM? Or almost! I had the album on my hard disk since a good little while and the first attempt has hardly incited me to write about it. I heard a kind of e-rock which exploited the same thematic core with 3 tracks sung. I afterward listened to the Podcast of July 17th 2014 (that I advise you enormously to listen to) of the English magazine Sequences, and I was intrigued by a good and very TD style of electronic rock; "Touch the Sky". The group? Tigerforest! Another track was also present on this broadcasted list, the very poetic "Asylum Harbor". And I was intrigued at once by both paradoxes. I said to myself; well, well I have to dig more seriously into this album. A very good idea. Without saying that Tigerforest has reinvented the wheel, this group of Gunnar Spardel offers a very energetic EM with a rich sound creativity. “The Tides of Day and Night” is Tigerforest's 8th album. And this title reflects well enough the universe of an album where the kinds crisscross with such a flow as it is sometimes difficult to label the kinds. Except the very net resemblance with the period of TD's Turn of the Tides, what struck the most on this album is this very careful production whose very beautiful sound wealth which overflows on each piece of music, either by an avalanche of electronic tones, very energetic e-percussions, multi layers of synth to colours of romance or of violence and arrangements of which the subtle variances flow with a surprising symbiosis.
A strangely dramatic ambient track "Asylum Harbor" plunges us into a bottom sea with tones of ballasts which get lost bit by bit in an intense ambiospherical broth. The music is very immersive with dense synth layers which flow with thin sibylline voices and with notes in search of a melodic skeleton which seems to drown themselves in a profound abyssal fall. Too short? Not really because "Across the Silent Seas" takes back these moods of hadal claustrophobia to quietly emerge out of the oceanic depths with a timid rhythmic approach of which the growth remains very melodious. Light riffs and percussions which click with shyness are forcing a rhythm which stays prisoner of its astral envelope. The sensation of getting out of the tropical waters is as tangible as this sweet ethereal melody which joins us in our first breaths of air. It's there that I made a first link between the music of
Tigerforest and the one of Turn of the Tides. And the striking "Touch the Sky" will root this perception. It's a solid e-rock where is only missing Jerome's guitar. We like? We shall certainly like the ferocious "Find the Tree", "The Endless Road", "Amanyara" and the very intense, we are at full ears here in a huge cacophonous e-rock, "Chasing Starlights" which offer a sensible balance between the leaden rhythms and the ethereal moods. This is what was missing in this period Miramar of Tangerine Dream! "For the Minutes" is also a strong e-rock, kind of Pat Benatar, with a beautiful small ambient passage, where the beautiful voice of Jennifer Herschman suits very well to this ambivalent universe of Tigerforest's electronic and ethereal rock. "Why Don't you Answer" is a charming ambient ballad where the voice of Kim Barry will awaken in us some recollections of Enya. This is a bit of New Age which is as delightful as "Geometry of Shadows" which is another sweet ballad with a poignant intro where synth tears are oozing into a dense ambiospherical veil rather dramatic. These ambiences to make crying a nail are fading away while "Geometry of Shadows" switches into a beautiful down-tempo fed by notes of a dreamy piano which fall in cascade in a rich sound texture and of which the abundance feeds both the ambiences and a soft rhythm rather astral. This exceeds the borders of New Age! The recipe of Tigerforest remains as simple as effective; Gunnar Spardel multiplies synth layers, by giving them most possible colours, in moods where roam a sonic fauna of quirky tones. So the textures are rich and assail our ears with kaleidoscopes of irradiant colours. "Awakened by Silence" is another sweet ballad which brings me closer to the very electro to folk style of Darshan Ambient. This is very beautiful and so much touching. "Aqua Marine" dips us back into loud, but always so musical, ambiences with a 2nd part explosive of feelings. You doubtless have in mind a beautiful love scene where both lovers run towards them on a beautiful beach with a background immensely blue! This is the kind of music that would play. But everything of “The Tides of Day and Night” cannot always please me! And so I won’t comment "My Silent Mystery" which is a big synth pop a la Duran Duran.
I was pleasantly surprised by this album of
Tigerforest, both by the very professional approach of Gunnar Spardel and by the quality of his very energetic music which, nevertheless the electronic jumble of these- rocks, keeps a delicious cohesion between the progressions of ambiences towards the rhythms. Set apart its rich and very diversified sonic envelope, the other big strength of “The Tides of Day and Night” is this fluidity between all its styles. The mark of a very good production. Good lively and melodious electronic rock; “The Tides of Day and Night” has all what it needs to please certainly those who loved this Miramar era from the Dream.
Sylvain Lupari (August 31st, 2014) &

vendredi 29 août 2014

DAVID WRIGHT: Beyond the Airwaves Vol 1 (2014)

“Magnificent and delicious! This is some great David Wright we are having here”
1 Drifting In 3:57
2 Gravity Waves 7:02
3 ISEE3 2:35
4 Forward Motion 8:00
5 Strange Inventions 9:09
6 Dream FM 9:40
7 Stratos 6:53
8 Penumbra 4:26
9 The Gift 6:34
10 Acheron 5:26
11 C'est la Vie 8:19
12 Partial Eclipse 5:40

ADMUSIC | AD 115CD (CD 72:00) ***** (Both ends of a melodic EM)
More than 25 years after Reflections, and 25 albums farther, David Wright always thrones at the top of the English electronic sphere. Navigating always on the streams of controversy from the criticisms and his peers (is it EM or New Age), the famous English musician disregards these comments and keeps the cape on an EM which seems to have neither ages nor borders. “Beyond the Airwaves Vol 1” is built on 4 themes which show the great ease of David Wright to pass from a style to another one while keeping this melodic flame which characterizes his compositions. Three of these segments are some unreleased music that the musician of Kent has performed during concerts he gave between 2012 and 2013, while the last phase hides around 30 minutes of a deep reworking of the last segment of his classic; Walking with Ghosts. An album which, you will hear, is not that much far from this timeless classic.
Winds carrier of birds' singings, of stars and of murmurs of the goddesses push "Drifting In" up to the tributaries of our ears. The tone is ethereal and
David Wright's sonic wealth is increasing quite slowly with ill-assorted noises which spread a veil a bit dramatic. The hoops and the curtains of cosmic pearls pull the ambiences towards the delicate wave-like harmonies of "Gravity Waves". Muffled pulsations caress these oniric undulations while that other pulsations, this time with a kind of rubbery reverberations, harpoon these ambiences which quite slowly are buzzing between our ears, such as a soft linear morphic techno. Follows then the very first melody that will haunt our hearing for coming hours. We can say whatever we want about David Wright, but a fact remains; he is the biggest weaver of musical itches in the field of the modern EM. Here, the synth borrows clothes of trumpets saddened by an astral cold and sings some sweet harmonies with a delicate oriental perfume, so unique to the Wright signature, which are grafted to a rhythm just as much harmonious. A rhythm which exchanges subtly its skin without ever breaking up the melodic barrier, pouring even into some delicate lunar ambiences with "ISEE3" before getting back with more sweetness in the superb arrangements of "Forward Motion". Chords of a kind of e-guitar spin slowly at opening of "Strange Inventions". A light sonic whirlwind drags in its weak rotations of winds a stride of mislaid notes which all slowly stick to a rhythm which gallops on the plains of thoughts. David Wright lays down then some romantic notes of piano which fall like flakes of harmonies on a structure of rhythm whose light drumming is mislaying us in a kind of aboriginal structure. "Strange Inventions" becomes then a long nostalgic thought murmured by a piano and where the turbulence of the winds gives way to a very beautiful synth which sings a too beautiful serenade for remorseful ectoplasms. We are not us so far from Walking with Ghosts here. Especially when "Dream FM" flies on the finale to bring us quite slowly towards a livelier and clearly more electronic structure with a movement of sequences which goes increasing and percussions which contrast with these angelic voices which caress as much our sense of hearing as this melody strummed throughout "Strange Inventions". It's like reading Edgar Allan Poe mixed with the romantic poems of Victor Hugo. Very good and rather intense, David Wright is in great shape. On a structure of rhythm as much galloping as that of "Strange Inventions", "Stratos" makes our feet dance a bit in a good clanic electronic rock from the people of sands. The arrangements are superb and this track really fetches the best rhythmic elements of "Strange Inventions" and "Dream FM". And after we enter into another chapter, a new finale of Walking with Ghosts.
Dark winds replace the piano and the birds chirping of the original "Penumbra". Here the ambiences are dark and unfold multiple synth layers on a rhythm which gallops slightly on its sinuous pulsating sequences. A dense wave with tones of an old organ wraps these sequences while that a delicate melody, forged in the seraphic moods of “Beyond the Airwaves Vol 1”, waves casually on a passage which subtly lets filter some vestiges of its first draft. It's full of innocence. "The Gift" cries out its breezes of synth to philharmonic caresses and angelic voices which are floating on a rhythm which little by little gets loose from its galloping approach to dive into a structure slightly more technoïd. The felted bangs-bangs and the rattling cymbals are hammering a rather lively rhythm where swirl beautiful harmonious stroboscopic lines and spin good solos of which the charms melt marvellously with the seraphic choir. We feel the first fruits of the original on a clearly more electronic and more ethereal cachet. "Acheron" gets rid of its original ambiences to offer a structure of rhythm slightly oscillatory with sequences which gurgle on a strange gleaming surface. There also the harmonies that
David Wright plays remind vaguely this delicious parallel that we just cannot ignore between “Beyond the Airwaves Vol 1” and Walking with Ghosts. "Acheron" slips itself away from those ethereal moods before that "C'est la Vie" knocks us out again with these dense layers of an organ as dark as that of the Ghost of Opera which also opened the original piece of music. Moreover this track is really the only one to lean on its first envelope. The harmonies and the rhythm are sharply more amplified and detailed. One would say of hearing e-rock a la Jean Michel Jarre out of his post—
Oxygene era. "Partial Eclipse" ends this David Wright's new sonic chapter with this structure of rhythm finely drummed which galloped throughout the 72 minutes of “Beyond the Airwaves Vol 1”. But here the rhythm makes itself discreet. We hear it on the quiet letting the room to a delicious piano which refrains from being only melodic, just to plant well these harmonious seeds which will germinate a long time after we will turn off our hi-fi and which nest very close by, but very close by, of his Walking with Ghosts. Magnificent and delicious! This is some great David Wright we are having here. I am impatient to hear the second volume which is planned at the beginning of 2015.
Sylvain Lupari (August 29th, 2014) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

jeudi 28 août 2014

NEURONIUM: ExoSomnia (2012)

“Quite a surprise to me, ExoSomnia ends to be a superb album which embraces harmoniously all the array of Neuronium's styles”

1 Psychic Smell 4:19
2 Five Parsecs from Home 12:04
3 Alienophony 10:38
4 Pareidolia 13:48
5 And Man Created Gods 19:45
6 Time to Dream 4:22

Neuronium Music (CD 65:20) ****
(Ambient and base sequenced Spanish School)
Michel Huygen knows how to keep his fans on a wave of incertitude. From album to another one, we can never tell what to expect from Neuronium. After a rather ambient album, that slightly brushed a sometimes rather meditative New Age, in Etykagnostyka, Neuronium throws a line to his fans that are missing the golden days of his aggressive mystic music with an album which breathes of a violence splendidly contained by these synth pads of ether so unique to the repertory of the Spanish group.
Chords of acoustic guitar drag their imprints of nostalgia and feed a subtle Latin festive mood which accepts gladly the soft breezes of an astral divinity from a voice a bit suggestive, if not kind of sensual. Soft synth pads weave violin sighs which gather the melancholic harmonies of a dreamy piano and cover these ambiences of which the union becomes charmingly seraphic. Purely ambient and ethereal, "Psychic Smell" exchanges its first seconds for a static rhythm which jumps with percussions and with their rebel knocks which embrace a rather metallic tone, showing so the paradoxes which wait for the listener through the next 60 minutes of “ExoSomnia”. We take a look at the splendid artwork and we understand that the universe of this 39th opus from
Neuronium hesitates between light and dark, between be asleep and being awake. This soft synth voice which caresses with so much sensualism our senses opens the moods of "Five Parsecs from Home" of which the intro is as much passive as that of "Psychic Smell". A line of sequences escapes from it and makes drum its keys which skip and jostle in a narrow corridor, confining so a static linear rhythm which sparkles under beautiful synth pads of which the twists follow the sweetness of flutes and celestial voices and that the ringings of bells amplify in an approach of very ambient kind of New Age. "Alienophony" offers the most beautiful moments of “ExoSomnia”. Its intro is sewn by slow morphic veils which float such as the sighs of a seraphic night. An a little more threatening line is blowing some strange lamentations, deducing doubtless that the peace of mind also possesses its alarming reflection. This balance between light and dark, beauty and hideousness, floats constantly to the mouth of our ears. If "Alienophony" succeeds in escaping from it, the track floats in a superb morphic ballad with sequences which weave a peaceful rhythm and of which the perpetual twisted routes roam in the tears of a synth to tones as seraphic as symphonic and in these groans also which go and come as fascinating, but very discreet, as the snores of a dreamer in taken with certain turbulences of his dreams.
Santi Picó's soft guitar returns to spread its charms on the intro agitated of lappings which make jump the delicate ambiences of the very meditative "Pareidolia". Skillful and very concentrated; Santi Picó makes sing his guitar with finely pinched notes which meet the singings of stars. Sibylline reflections flood little by little the moods while some dense veils of synth add perfumes of ether. And "Pareidolia" falls asleep in the sighs of one thousand violins and cellos, freeing sequences to the metallic glints which skip in guttural devious breaths. A real fight between contemplativity and disturbance seizes "Pareidolia". The rhythm becomes then heavy and extremely intriguing with sequences of which the lost steps are running among hoarse breaths and a mixture of solos and harmonies from the synth and guitar which reminds me the universe a little twisted by Robert Fripp. But
Michel Huygen keeps a close watch, as well as to bring back "Pareidolia" towards paths a little more melodious, testifying of this constant tearing between the serenity and the anguish which torments the depths of “ExoSomnia”. Heavy sequences jump up violently at the opening of "And Man Created Gods". The rhythm is hyper active and skips furiously with the complicity of organic tones before stumbling over some morphic synth pads which spread a virginal white shroud. Fluty singings exorcise the vestiges of a rhythm which returns but in a more docile form. Complex as one pleases; "And Man Created Gods" has all the assets to reunite Neuronium's first hours fans. On a structure sometimes aggressive, very aggressive, and sometimes more meditative, if not very enigmatic; Michel Huygen pours nasal sound solos among which the howling twists wind up around a long movement fed by iodized mist and which hesitates between peace and its rival. A movement which gets separated a little after the 9th minute in order to charm even more our ears with a very beautiful structure of sequences whose  bass rhythmic conjugation, as well as dense chthonian clouds, go as far as shaking the ashes of Phaedra, allying the psychotronique approach of Neuronium to the vintage Berlin School of Tangerine Dream. This is a long puzzling track which shows that Michel Huygen has some more music to offer. Very good! "Time to Dream" ends with a wonderful electronic ballad filled with this Neuronium seal of the beautiful vintages years of the Spanish group. Structured on the ethereal sweetness of "Psychic Smell", the rhythm is more stable and ends an album with a music that we considered disappeared for ever and which is very good to hear again. I was surprised, I must say. I thought that Neuronium had lost itself in the docile territories of ambient music or New Age. Obviously, that is far from being the case! “ExoSomnia” is a superb album which embraces harmoniously all the array of Neuronium's styles. A very beautiful surprise!
Sylvain Lupari (August 28th, 2014) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

mercredi 27 août 2014

VANDERSON: Abyss (2014)

“Even if Abyss shows proudly its moods of a very cosmic IDM, the roots are not that far from those of the Berlin School”

1 The Green Illusions 6:43
2 The Last Noise Particles 6:39
3 Rainy Afternoon 6:59
4 Synopsis 7:17
5 Somewhere from Integrated Circuit 10:15
6 Lunar Electronics 6:09
7 After the Rain 5:56
8 Greetings from the Exile 4:16

Vanderson Bandcamp (DDL 54:17) ***½
(Mix of IDM and Berlin School)
Resonant and podgy keys brush delicately the surface of the sound, dancing so with some discreet bass pulsations and percussions which let hear their felted bangings in the airs of a cosmic techno. "The Green Illusions" starts this last opus of Vanderson in a mode of cosmic dance music. The rhythm is delicate, sometimes slightly tremulous, and decorated with a beautiful mixture of percussions and sequences of which the variances rock a beautiful lunar ballad. I don't know enough the music of Vanderson to say that his last album takes him away from his style which is usually the one of Berlin School. It is rather one of my good friends who pointed out to me that the Polish synthman had downright modified his style with “Abyss”; an album which exploits much more the soft rhythms of a kind of IDM than the structures to the pleasant aromas of improvisation which is the vintage Berlin School. But we don't need to run away from it! Because quite slowly the music of “Abyss” makes its charm through some small jewels which make that its whole will eventually seduce. After the kind of ambient dub house which is "The Last Noise Particles", and its insidious melodic earworm, "Rainy Afternoon" stays in the field of dance music with a more supple rhythm, fed once again by a pattern beautiful of percussions and very melodious sequences. Astral, with its hoops of iodized lights, the melody is whistling such as ectoplasmic lamentations and haunts ears which forgot at times the sound of the rainy drops. "After the Rain" is another beautiful small track is which exploits the kind of ambient dub. More hammering and more alive than "The Last Noise Particles", "Synopsis" reminds me a little of Spyra with these notes of electric piano which drag a quite fragile melody in a pattern of boiling sequences and their organic chirpings. It's a track with a good beat, such as "Lunar Electronics" which is clearly more of a ballad kind, even with its finely bumpy rhythm. "Somewhere from Integrated Circuit" is the pearl of “Abyss” and makes us regret a little bit the orientation of Vanderson's last album. We always stay in the field of dance music, except that the Polish synthesist whitewashes his longest offering of “Abyss” of a very ambiospherical Berlin School gravy. The intro is cosmic and uses wisely its first seconds with astral waves which sing as of soft interstellar hummingbirds. The sequences get stir nervously. They drum an ambient and circular rhythm which winds beneath the choirs. Some other and colorful percussions invite each other in this static dance, paving the way to some heavy bass pulsations which remodel the ethereal airs in a great morphic cosmic techno. Veils of synth weaved in violin harmonies caress this linear rhythm which pounds between two opportunities but which always keep its hypnotic Teutonic touch. This is very good. In fact it sounds just like one of the most beautiful piece of EM this year so far. And Vanderson leaves us with another small piece of charm in order to conclude his “Abyss” with "Greetings from the Exile" and its very TD synth harmonies which blow over another nice ambient dub rhythm. This is great EM we have here.
I admit that “Abyss” can faze those who were waiting an album of pure Berlin School. But if we listen carefully to his eight tracks, we notice that Maciej Wierzchowski doesn't go that far from these cosmic vibes of a kind which always seduces so much, even in its rather conservative approach. “Abyss” abounds in rhythms which control themselves rather easily. Even if the percussions and the sequences seem to compete to make the pulse burst in parts, these rhythms remain as ambient as some lost steps which run after their legs on an immense mattress of cellophane. The impression to float remains and we reach a very beautiful nirvana with the superb "Somewhere from Integrated Circuit". As I said higher; you should not run away because
Vanderson is not that far from Spyra too. We have to admit that the link has enough to seduce!
Sylvain Lupari (August 27th, 2014) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:
A very short album teaser can be view here: