dimanche 25 septembre 2016

NORD: Hydra (2016)

“Hydra is the perfect album for those fans of retro Berlin School who like long sonic vessels which lead them to a passive listening”
1 Hydra Part 1-5 28:06
2 Hydra Part 6-10 30:50

Nord Music (DDL 58:56) ***½
(Berlin School)
It's with a delicate sound wave which makes the synth lines to float in a kind of astral ballet that is opening the 1st part of “Hydra”, the very first album of Nord to start the year 2016. Built around 2 long music pieces which evolve with slowness, this 16th album of Sztakics István Attila possesses all the attributes which will please the fans of retro Berlin School who desire a passive listening. Because everything of “Hydra” evolves in passive mode.
Hydra Part 1-5" begins with these floating lines where bind electronic noises, as well as languishing solos which bury some fine low pulsations. These pulsations set up the rhythmic perimeters, whereas the noises become more cosmic and the juicy solos more ethereal. Moreover, these synth solos shine all over the first 10 minutes of "Hydra Part 1-5". The title dives into a mini amorphous phase before resuscitating with sequences which wave in fine harmonious thin lines in a cosmic envelope. That sounds like some good old Software. Like those long titles of the vintage years, the two long chapters of “Hydra” evolve between phases of rhythms and intersidereal atmospheres where the electronic and cosmic effects are used as decoration to exchanges more or less intensified. Without finding really an explosive outcome, the rhythmic phases of "Hydra Part 1-5" are more in ambient modes with momentums of sequences which advocate more the flickering phases with beginnings of cosmic rock and of morphic techno which bring constantly the listener on an excitement which will not know any nirvana. Like a coitus interruptus ceaselessly! "Hydra Part 6-10" is also constructed on these waverer phases. The difference lives in the tones. The first 18 minutes are delicious with movements of sequences which make a kind of bridge between those of Tangerine Dream, period Hyperborea, and Mergener/Weisser, period Beam-Scape. The remaining 12 minutes disperse a long horizon of atmospheres with beautiful cosmic arrangements from where arise rests of rhythms buried in this dense wall of sonic contemplativity. Except for the finale, which is a little as that of "Hydra Part 1-5", where pulsations try to wake these atmospheres in an approach of techno for Zombies marinated in ether. And as I wrote it before, “Hydra” is the perfect match to those fans of retro Berlin School who wish a passive listening. Because everything of “Hydra” evolves in apathetic mode. This is good floating EM to discover again.

Sylvain Lupari (September 25th, 2016)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on Nord Bandcamp page here

vendredi 23 septembre 2016

TONBIEGER: Strandgut (2016)

“Syngate has developed this art to discover new talents which make EM flourishes towards new dimensions. Tonbieger is the last in line!”
1 Stadtgeflüster 22:55
2 Gezeitenreiten 19:45
3 Flächenflug 20:16
4 Wolkenweit 16:18

SynGate ‎| CD-R JP01 (CD-r/DDL 79:14) ***¾
(New and retro Berlin School loaded of analog tones)
A line of sequences in the very cheerful tones is piercing the small wall of murmurs of unclear voices which wrap the introduction of "Stadtgeflüster". These sequences are crystal clear and so very harmonious. Gamboling of a rather lively circular flow, they scatter shadows filled of organic tones on layers of bass which float with a vampiric approach. Then it's the electronic noises which are added to this din all the same rather lively, bringing this first sonic proposal of Tonbieger towards a strong electronic rock soaked of Geoff Downes' perfumes. Apparently inspired by the post Berlin School era and of an electronic rock disinfected in a New Wave envelope of the 80's, this first album of Tonbieger needs to be tame quite smoothly. Consisted of 4 long structures which are divided into modifying phases, “Strandgut”, for wrecks, is far from being a jetsam for the German label SynGate which does not stop participating in the blooming of EM with interesting new artists. The last one in the running is Tonbieger, a project of German musician and synthesis Jakob Paulussen, who is also known on the Web under the pen name of jakobsweb, is an enthusiast of the synthesizers who amassed an impressive collection of music and instruments, as analog and digital, during the last 25 years. And the result is an album which fascinates with an impressive sound fauna in perpetual movement.
If the first 6 minutes of "
Stadtgeflüster" offer a good electronic rock, the movement becomes then more motionless with a line of sequences which makes a series of keys waddle on a carpet of effects and electronic twists. It's like to see a fireworks beneath the ground! The movement of sequences draws another approach of more fluid and more circular rhythm under scattered metallic bangings. This 2nd phase of rather ambient rhythm dissipates with good cosmic effects of analog tones before returning in its initial phase of rhythm, but with more heaviness. Four structures of an average duration of 20 minutes which change of sonic skins between 3 or 4 times, “Strandgut” disconcerts more than it enchants in the first listenings. It's a skillful mixture of ambiences and of rhythms to which we have to listen to with care to notice the small jewels of tones which hide between those phases of rhythms. As in "Gezeitenreiten" where the meshing of the hesitating sequences with fluid bass pulsations and percussions sculpture a good electronic rock as lively as the very simplistic melody. Little by little the rhythm preserves only its line of bass pulsations which oscillate under the caresses of a synth and its melody rather catchy. The 1st ambiospherical phase, which shows around the 6th minute, gives an indication that Tonbieger is also soaked with Jean Michel Jarre's influences, especially with the lively rhythm which moves those ambiences some 60 seconds farther. Our feet burn the ground here. The very harmonious sequences on this rhythm of fire make very New Berlin School while the synth layers with tones of organ are sounding like a mix of Geoff Downes and Jarre. Especially the effects which enrich a finale rather of ambiences. "Gezeitenreiten", like "Stadtgeflüster", proposes beautiful phases of rhythm which would have a better sonic image in shorter envelopes of time. But stuck in ambiosonic and ambiospheric phases give a more progressive reflection to those who like convoluted structures. "Flächenflug" is a long title of vintage Berlin School moods with a wall of sound effects which perturb the meditative approach of the floating synth lines. It's for those who like seeing (to hear) a tapestry of noises. The very ambient and orchestral approach of "Wolkenweit" is some candy for the ears. The line of sequences which gets free of there is making beat a key which waddles in symbiosis with the seraphic caresses of the fake violins. The beating gets lost of its road while the percussions and other noises of percussions shake these cosmic atmospheres a la Software, plunging "Wolkenweit" into a kind of cosmic rock built around nice vintage tones. The synth spits some sonic serpentines which wriggle under shape of these beautiful solos of the psychedelic years while the structure of rhythm defines a little better its approach which takes the shape of a slow cosmic rodeo. The meshing of sequences and percussions is also magic as the atmospheres, allowing at "Wolkenweit" to support its approach which little by little gets erode around the 8 minutes point. A long ambiosonic phase invades then our earphones, showing still the influences of Jarre from his sonic corridor of Magnetic Fields.
For a first album, Tonbieger shows his savoir faire by structuring 3 long phases which have the fidgets. The weak point of “Strandgut” is the order of its 4 titles. I would have inverted the roles, so putting the listener in appetite because if "Stadtgeflüster" and "Gezeitenreiten" are forged to tie up well our ears to our loudspeakers, "Flächenflug" and "Wolkenweit" are rather the kind to put them (the ears) in appetite. But when that is just the weak point of an album, it's like to try to find fleas on a bald head well round! To discover...

Sylvain Lupari (September 23rd, 2016)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on the SynGate web shop here

mercredi 21 septembre 2016

MARTIN NONSTATIC: Nebulae: Live at the Planetarium (2016)

“Nebulae: Live at the Planetarium is like to follow the evolution of Granite towards another sonic skin”
1 Into the Nebulae - Intro 4:33
2 Bowed Thoughts 3:37
3 Sea Surfaces 3:50
4 Granite 6:59
5 Saint Germain 4:10
6 Out of Silence 4:34
7 Edelbitter - Reconstructed 4:32
8 Inside Eyesight 7:42
9 Kurukshetra - Far East 3:57
10 Distance B - Distanced 9:10
11 Tabula Rasa - Fading Nebulae 6:52

Ultimae Records | inre086 (CD/DDL 60:02) ****
(Psybient Electronica)
Always very active in the milieu of an underground style of EM, the Ultimae Records label has organized a mega concert of ambient immersive music on February 13th 2016 at the famous Zeiss Planetarium of Bochum in Germany. AES Dana, Miktek and Martin Nonstatic, who had the honor to open this show, have played their music with images projections on the dome created by none other than Tobias Wiethoff.Nebulae: Live at the Planetarium” is a recording of this event and stars the music of Martin Nonstatic who presented a quite different version of his album Granite which appeared in the tubs at the very end of 2015.
Only title which was not of
Granite, "Into the Nebulae - Intro" attracts us in a very ethereal atmosphere where the music, always very split up by shorts episodes and rhythmic and harmonious, derives between our ears with these small strange noises, one would say footstep of mice in a concrete wall, and these bursts of passion that we found in Granite. Except that here, the sound has changed! We feel a reserved dynamism which quietly wakes up in the sounds of scattered notes of a piano and these sound rustles which often come from another universe. And quietly, "Into the Nebulae - Intro" gets attached to the little dance feet of "Bowed Thoughts". If we remember well the album Granite, "Bowed Thoughts" introduced the album in a ambient way. The approach was lunar, even discreet, with a structure which looked for its power in its carpet of ambiences. But not here! Everything of Granite, set apart very dark Open Minded which is absent here, is reconstituted in a clearly richer sound envelope and with more frequent and more sharp rhythms. As mentions the press kit of “Nebulae: Live at the Planetarium”; we recognize the spirit but the story is something else. And it's true! The moments strictly ambient are rarer and the rhythms take more place and are more lively, while the psychedelico-organic and cosmic envelope which surrounds the works of the Lyons label is as much amplified than the structures of rhythms. The order of the titles is also mixed here, so that we have the impression at times to hear a new album with airs of already heard. If "Granite" has on us the same effect, "Saint Germain" makes us jump with its envelope of atmospheres and its crumbled rhythms which are oversized by a sound envelope which gives more ascendancies to these delicious parasitic noises which make all the mysteries of the Ultimae Records albums. And it's the same thing for the other titles with mentions more than honorable to "Sea Surfaces" and "Out of Silence". The first big surprise comes from "Edelbitter-Reconstructed" which is clearly more hungry for beats here. More oniric on Granite, it's more passionate here with a finale all in rhythms. It's the very opposite with "Kurukshetra - Far East" which is a little more ambient here and nicely decorated with seraphic voices. "Distance B - Distanced" keeps the same cachet in a more stretched envelope of time. The same goes for "Tabula Rasa - Fading Nebulae" which throws a more ambient finale.
A richer and a denser sonic cocoon, a presentation of the titles in a different order and wealthier of rhythms; “Nebulae: Live at the Planetarium” is like to follow the evolution of
Granite towards another sonic skin. If we are always enthralled by the grace of its movements we are amazed even more in front of the more attractive colors of its new skin. And as usual, the mastering work of Vincent Villuis approaches the genius of the manipulation of sounds.

Sylvain Lupari (September 22nd, 2016)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on the Ultimae Records Bandcamp page here

mardi 20 septembre 2016

JEAN MICHEL JARRE: Electronica 2-The Heart Of Noise (2016)

“The big highlight of Electronica 2 - The Heart Of Noise is that we have finally find Jean Michel Jarre...He was hiding beneath his own skin!!!”
1 Part 1 (with Rone) 4:26
2 Part 2 4:10
3 Brick England (with The Pet Shop Boys) 4:01
4 These Creatures (with Julia Holter) 3:40
5 As One (with Primal Scream) 3:58
6 Here for You(with Gary Numan) 3:59
7 Electrees (with Hans Zimmer) 4:10
8 Exit (with Edward Snowden) 6:19
9 What You Want (with Peaches) 3:27
10 Gisele (with Sébastien Tellier) 3:43
11 Switch on Leon (with The Orb) 4:43
12 Circus (with Siriusmo) 3:09
13 Why This, Why That And Why? (with Yello) 3:58
14 The Architect (with Jeff Mills) 4:43
15 Swipe to the Right (with Cyndi Lauper) 4:54
16 Walking the Mile (with Christophe) 4:52
17 Falling Down 3:23
18 The Heart o Noise (The Origin) 2:39

Columbia | 88875196672 (CD 74:16) ***¾ (Electronica with a blend of techno and synth-pop)
I liked it more than not! My 1st attempt has stopped dead at "Brick England", with The Pet Shop Boys, a thing hyper synth-pop which flooded me the ears of signals such as: I must stop here!!! And then, I had to speak about it. I spoke about Electronica 1-The Time Machine and people wondered why this silence regarding “Electronica 2 - The Heart Of Noise”! I would answer; because it must be so! It's necessary to know how to stand back and let the disappointment gone before writing a thing that would haunt me for years. You want to know what? Well I did well. The introduction of this 2nd volume on the way of seeing things in the world of EM by our Cyrona of synths demonstrates that a thing; Jean Michel Jarre is really hide in Jean Michel Jarre.
Cosmic as one pleases, with a progression in the rhythm which is reminiscent of
Zoolook, with organic sequences and percussions which click from everywhere, "Part 1" and "Part 2" is definitively what that Jarre did best since Revolutions. The approach is very dance with a synth as harmonious as those beautiful tunes of a synth-pop is a thing which will haunt your ears for weeks to come. And then comes "Brick England"! I shall not speak about it because it's a thing which is not just in my musical tastes and which was never moreover. It's the same thing with Peaches in "What You Want". Hip-Hop, Funk, Rythms and Blues... Name it! It's a very versatil track, but I know that the fans of Jarre's dance and pop era are shouting to the genius here...The same goes for the heavy techno-pop rhythm of "Gisele". Who is Sébastien Tellier? Any idea, but that gives a lively and heavy hyper thing which can remind Kraftwerk which would have had the taste to create. The ambient rhythm as so cosmic as oniric of "These Creatures" made me realize that I had to go farther in this “Electronica 2 - The Heart Of Noise”. The voice of Julia Holter is wonderful and enchants on a finely jerky structure. "As One" is a big techno hyper well structured which reminds me of Chronology 4. I don't know Primal Scream, but it would seem that it's a remix of their title Come Together. "Here for You" with Gary Numan is a beautiful and rather lively synth-pop which sounds very 80's, except for the arrangements of the percussions which are loaded of vitamins. Here and all over this album which is a good balance between all the styles of modern and danceable EM. The more I listen to and the more I like this song. And it's the same thing with "Swipe to the Right" where the voice of Cyndi Lauper seems to me unrecognizable by moments. But why not Bondie! The moods would have fit for her, but in a rhythmic envelope which is wild and full of so many elements that the hearing loses its listening abilities.
I looked forward to hear "
Electrees" with Hans Zimmer. It's as much poetic and cosmic, I would say even a little more cosmic, than "These Creatures". The voice in less but with superb arrangements which show all the skill of Jarre to toy with the secrets of cosmos. The title takes more swiftness and charges with power the heavy waves of the cosmos. I enjoyed that one too. "Exit" is a strange collaboration with Edward Snowden, the bell-ringer of alarms of the NSA, who seems to explain the how of the why on an evolutionary structure which twists itself between gloomy ambiences and a jerky rhythm before conclude in a hyperactive rave. It let me half in earnest, half in jest! "Switch on Leon" with The Orb presents a rather experimental thing with some good samplings of voices (period Zoolook?) on a rhythm which has difficulty to hatch. That asks more that a listening. "Circus", with Siriusmo, is a title as much dance than melodic. One would say a hit of the Popcorn years. That listens to well, even with a vocoder which irritates a little ears. Lise asked me if it was for kids...See the genre here! "Why This, Why That And Why?" with Yello is a great slow and very dark ballad which develops into a beautiful cosmic slow dance. A very beautiful piece of music! I never liked, and I tried, the very noisy trance style of Jeff Mills. And I dreaded, with good reason "The Architect". It's not for my ears, who earned their pay over this album, but the real connoisseurs say that it's very good. I'm very glad to not be part of their circle... "Walking the Mile" is another title which spreads little by little an evolutionary approach to end into a good Electronica for Zombies marinated in an euphoric drug. That passes better after 2 or 3 listening. The voice of Christophe is rather tiring on the system. But the music takes the top over this inconvenience. I can say the same thing for "Falling Down" whose voice smothered behind a machine which loses its oil does not manage to remove the seduction that we feel by this title which rocks between cosmic rock, with still very good percussions and superb arrangements, and a synth-pop galvanized by an industrial essence. "The Heart o Noise (The Origin)" is a slower and more experimental version of "Part 2". And that still stays some great EM.
We have to admit that the technoïd vision of EM of
Jean Michel Jarre is more seductive here than the more limpid one of Electronica 1-The Time Machine. Is it because the French musician was more involved at the level of the composition? That could! The fact remains that “Electronica 2 - The Heart Of Noise” goes farther by proposing 4 visions that Jarre has of EM; the cosmic rock, the dance and trance, the experimental vision and the synth-pop of the 80's. I would even add there is a small dose, much better in any case than on Volume 1, of industrial essence. But no matter, I found “Electronica 2 - The Heart Of Noise”, even if clearly more danceable, more thoughtful and more sophisticated than The Time Machine. And yes, Jean Michel Jarre is really hide in Jean Michel Jarre. And I really hope that one day, he will get out of it!

Sylvain Lupari (September 19th, 2016)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca

dimanche 18 septembre 2016

TANGRAM: Vector Henge (2016)

“Not complicated for 2 cents and catchy as one pleases, the music of Vector Henge is parading like a pleasant surprise which is good to hear”
1 Assemble 5:24
2 Gyro 4:12
3 Convex Space 4:33
4 Manifold 3:32
5 Specific Ocean 3:18
6 Scherlin Bool 5:49
7 Tapestry 6:30
8 Omega 6:27
9 Druids of Eternity 4:39

Tangram Music (DDL/CD-r 44:26) ****
(Mix of Electronica and New Berlin School)

We all thought that Peter Fabok had thrown the key of the Tangram studios! The rumor circulated and increased as years, 3 in fact, separated Lustbient from the silence of Tangram. And then a day, a message! The Hungarian musician prepares in secret his return with a 32nd album of which the release is planned for the end of the summer of 2016. “Vector Henge” arrives finally on the Web in August and dips back us straight out into the very versatile electronic universe of Tangram. With 9 titles of an average time of 5 minutes, the music of “Vector Henge” is without preamble and gets straight to the point with a series of rhythmic approaches which rocks between an Electronica for adults with tired feet and a synth-pop always for adults avid to possess a more audacious sense of hearing. The result is an unequivocal suite to Layers, an album which had moved closer the music of Tangram of the mass with a resolutely more commercial approach.
And that begins with "
Assemble" and its epidemic harmonies (there is a lot of those here). First of all, a distant wave from cosmos incites arpeggios to sparkle in a luminous ballet. A line of bass crawl in the background, inviting the same arpeggios to tinkle with more swiftness, with more limpidity. The rhythm crawling like a threatening shadow and the arpeggios resounding such as tubes of crystal trapped in an anger of Aeolus, "Assembles" ripens little by little its rhythmic approach which will be translated into a mixture of synth-pop and down-tempo. Hunted in the echoes of the sequences, the rhythm adopts afterward a stroboscopic tendency with a synth which throws beautiful harmonies of which the minimalist loops become fixed between our ears. Not complicated for 2 cents and catchy as one pleases, the music of “Vector Henge” is parading like a pleasant surprise which is good to hear. Not complicated but not made in the ease, as shown by the slightly hopping rhythmic structure of "Gyro". Its mixture of bass and crystal clear sequences skips in a broth of sound effects and pounds in a suite of spasmodic jolts. Other sequences and synth effect occupy a more melodious phase with tints of flutes which lay down harmonies always weaver of earworms. "Convex Space" wears well its title with a more or less ambient structure of rhythm. A good bass line spits pulsations which move slowly among lento oscillating loops. The chant of the synth, as well as this groovy rhythm, does very Robert Schroeder. Arpeggios sparkle here, hanging to this structure rather melodious some bright fineries. "Manifold" does very dance. The bass pulsations make some solid boom-boom while the percussions flutter like a Jarre very shy in an approach which militarizes its beat. A little as a parade which takes airs of rave-up. It's lively and cheerful, but not really my cup of tea. Those who liked the dance approach of Jarre will doubtless like this music style. "Specific Ocean" is a lovely morphic ballad where the arpeggios are ringing on a bed of murmurs from a bass line. It's the most docile title here, even if a soft excitement decorates the background. "Scherlin Bool"? Yes, it's some dark ambient Berlin School with a thick cloud of black winds and where the synth which throws melodious acrobatics. "Tapestry" is more in the New Berlin School kind with a very Software approach. It's like "Specific Ocean" but with more rhythm. "Omega" offers another pattern of ambient rhythm with dark pulsations of which the resonances lay down the basis of this amphibian rhythm. The arpeggios are ringing with more or less of melody in the system. The title develops an increasing approach with a light but intense accentuation towards its finale. "Druids of Eternity" concludes this comeback of Tangram with another beautiful approach of hyper melodious synth-pop, the other one being "Tapestry". Our neurons dance as much as our feet on this structure which is a good mixture between Software and a contemporary Robert Schroeder.
Melodious and lively, “
Vector Henge” exploits the key dominances of modern EM with 9 titles which are no more and no less some invitations to discover the doors of a universe which seems never in lack of its resources. It's a nice comeback for Peter Fabok. And let's hope that we have not to wait for another 3 years before hearing his new music behind the mask of Tangram. The past demonstrated us all of Peter Fabok's talent. It would be too silly to do without!

Sylvain Lupari (September 18th, 2016)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find a way to order this album on Tangram Bandcamp web shop here