mardi 21 octobre 2014

MYTHOS: The Dark Side of Mythos (2000)

“As much unlikely as it could be, this album from Mythos will plunge you for sure up until at the door of your perceptions of theatrical fear”

1 Rose X 8:13
2 Trust No One 5:32
3 X-Cursion 5:41 
4 The Truth Is Out There 6:16 
5 Mythos X  7:29
6 I Want to Believe 7:54 
7 X-Traterra 7:27
8 Zombies´S Supper 4:18

Mythos Music (CD 52:52) ****
(Theatrical dark EM)
Mythos is quite a character, nearly a living legend if we consider his roadmap, in the universe of EM who likes to touch all the phases of his visions and developing complex works with its panoply of electronic toys and assorted instruments. From rock to Krautrock and to electronic, everything he brushes ends to be something quite tasty. A studio recording has no secret to him. Just throw an ear to his albums in the best of the German psychedelic years and you will observe this intense and very enveloping musical structure which feed all of his compositions. And this “The Dark Side of Mythos” is no exception. And if the intriguing artwork appeals you, tell yourself that it's nothing compared to the music.
It's directly from depths of the infinite hell that "Rose X" opens. Latin singings surrounded by lugubrious animal tones circulate around metallic beatings which click like the clock of the death. The beat is mainly ambient with anvil hits which shape the clock of a tenebrous world. It rests so on a lot of metallic noises as well as crying from beast or tortured souls. Dead moments punctuate short atonal phases where we guess a soul being sacrificed...or murdered. This is creepy like hell. The beat returns with a series of clinking which are flooded by monk's prayers and by mooing of unknown beasts. But don't get me wrong. The beat is very atmospherical and moves through a mechanical chain which clinks and resounds among strange moanings and howlings. This will be perfect for Halloween to afraid the sneaky ones who want candies. We can imagine the worst, so much the music and ambiences which nest all over “The Dark Side of Mythos” flirts with the satanic neurosis. "Trust no One" follows the same corridors of the darkness on a so smooth sequence move which make waving its key, some of them are organic and other are in anvil tones, in an ambient setting convenient to the satanic rhythms. This is great horror picture music. "X-Cursion" is quieter and also more musical, even with its sinister and disturbing sound effects, with a smooth sequence pattern which knocks a slow beat beneath a dense horrific sound pattern. We are indeed in the very dark side of 
Mythos. The moods are heavy and a nice Mellotron flute emerges to charm are ears with an almost sensual chant. This is a very nice passage. "The Truth is out There" follows this path of indefinite structures of rhythm. In fact, the beat is slow, almost absent, and beats through organic sequences which gurgle in a dense uncomfortable mood. Master of the ambiences and of the places, with his systematic and much chiselled approach, Stephan Kaske keeps us on the alert with slow and mesmerizing rhythms which move surreptitiously in tortuous atmospheres that he draws in order to lead us in halfway between fright and charm. Let's take "Mythos X" and its lento staccato effect. The mood is totally frightening with those diabolical whistles which float on a floating structure of rhythm a bit jerky. Intense and dark, the track evolves subtle in a more musical approach worthy of a movie where the gentle soul runs breathless, his beloved nearly turn into a vampire, in a cemetery fills of mud up to his knees. Scary but quite bewitching.  This is the best part of this ode to terror. The moods and rhythms of “The Dark Side of Mythos” go quieter and nicer as we advance on the album. Always dark, "I Want to Believe" turns out to be a very nice and ambient carousel. The movement reveals two parallels, and paradoxical, lullabies which slowly turn around in a deep setting of fear, thanks to thunders, violin mist and a sneaky march of sequences. The more the music gets in, the more we are enchanted. This fascinating spiral swirls delicately on a movement which takes its intensity in its tone, like an inverted bolero. A totally divine moment which pursues its intriguing charm with "X-Traterra" and its gloomy ambiences where are fighting segments of dark harmonies which sparkle like lonely shooting stars in a foreign universe. I sense a bit of Software there as the movement goes near the doors of cosmos. It's impossible to avoid any links between “The Dark Side of Mythos” and the apocalyptical music of Mark Shreeve, or yet some big Redshift but in a less improvised setting, and of course Jim Kirkwood. "Zombies´S Supper" ends this ode to terror with a nice melodious approach stuffed by keys with shimmered tones which swirl and swirl, such as an unfinished melody. Unmistakably, Mythos wears the clothes of a Ghost of The Opera new genre with this work, all the same intensely theatrical, which is “The Dark Side of Mythos”. In spite of the very black moods, the music survives thanks to finely wave-like rhythms. Ambient certainly, but deliciously lively. And no! Stephan Kaske has not lost his rather melodious approach which floats like a balm on these ambiences of film terror of which the sound effects bring us near to the imaginary Satanism. A music ideal for Halloween, or for your murders and mysteries evening, “The Dark Side of Mythos” will blow you literally away and brings you also towards the depths of your child fear. Fans of Jim Kirkwood music; go get this one!
Sylvain Lupari (October 20th, 2014)

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dimanche 19 octobre 2014

APEIRON: Imagic (1993)

“Imagic is a solid album of EM which unveils a pretty good range of sub-genres from a musical style which literally revolutionized the musical art”

1 Way To Paradise 5:59
2 Imagic 14:17
3 Vortex 8:20
4 Head-land 14:36
5 Roomless 12:37
6 75 Dreams 3:59

Spheric Music | SMCD2001 (CD 60:09) ****
(Progressive Berlin School)
I like going off to explore these albums and these artists that the time has buried far in the forgetting. At the time where the Berlin School style gets metamorphosed with the presence of the MIDI technology and the massive use of samplings, a movement of resistance raged in the German underground scene. The big labels have skimmed the genre, keeping the most known names and favoring the American answer to the German EM; the New Age and the Easy Listening. Artists such as Lambert Ringlage, Stephen Parsick, Klaus Schulze (with IC), Robert Schroëder and Mario Schönwalder, to name only those, stayed the guard dogs of a movement which became a little more progressive and which at the same time was also going to give birth to the New Berlin School. It's in this stride that Spheric Music was set up. This label of Lambert Ringlage was going to produce a series of albums which would respect the tangents of the German movement, while finding a pleiad of local talents and a few outsiders. Apeiron is one of these names. Andreas Konrad is the man behind Apeiron. “Imagic” is his 3rd album to appear on Lambert's label and recuts a surprising range of a genre which literally revolutionized the musical art.
 "Way to Paradise" tickles our hearing with a lineage of twinkling stars which sparkle like knocks of baguettes on a crystal xylophone. A pad of voices invites itself quite slowly in this astral choreography, on which is also added some rollings of celestial water. Between a sordid hymn to Halloween and the seraphic moods of
Legend, "Way to Paradise" accosts our listening with a heavy and slow rhythm where the synth throws at us a very New Age acute melody that percussions make shiver with strong strikes. The approach militarizes itself, as a lot of structures on “Imagic”, with drum rolls whereas the synth stays of silk with this wonderful melody which wriggles in a series of solos of which our ears had so much forgotten all the charms. This is very beautiful, on the verge of being lyrical, it catches our attention on the spot and it's deliciously musical. And then it ends rather abruptly! The title-track starts with small ringings which seem to be trapped in winds of which the quirky dissonances tangle up in oblivion. Percussions, kind of hand drums, drum a plan of absent rhythm while quite slowly "Imagic" finds its shape. A spheroidal shape whose outlines remain fuzzy. Some nice juicy sequences join this draft movement which swirls in an astral cotton pad. The synth comes again throwing these famous solos which are the core of “Imagic”, while the track, apparently inspired by Tangerine Dream of the 80's, lost its beatings in an astral passage where a series of sequences a la Poland restructures a more progressive approach from which the essences Krautrock perspire throughout a thick cloud of superb harmonious solos. And quite slowly, the beatings and the sequences, to the acrobatics randomly so attractive, are fading away while that "Imagic" evaporates its last musical moments in some sinuous line with a resounding acoustic. I may say that it could take some times to like these strange figures of rhythms but at the end we get out of it with difficulty.
This observation goes to the whole work which has a clear tendency for being more progressive with rhythms, sometimes motionless, which change directions constantly. And this even if "Way to Paradise" seduced straightaway and that "Vortex" releases a harmonious rhythm which finds niche between our ears. The approach is always so near improvisation, or rough draft, with an intro filled with heterogeneous noises which sparkle on the back of cosmic waves. We even hear there singings of stellar whales. A structure of rhythm emerges with the complicity of two segments of sequences, one is melodic and the other organic, which skip and pound in an a little bit hesitating symbiosis. Andreas Konrad covers his tactics of rhythm to circular outline a bit blurred with more beautiful solos, as twisted as melodious, whereas the rhythm wins in velocity with other sequences which shiver as a figure of synchronized aquatic swimming. This vision applies as much to "Head-land" and "Roomless", to some variances near! After some hits of carillons, "Head-land" gets out of the limbos with an ingenious movement of sequences where the crisscrossed jumps of the keys bloom in colorful tones. Still there the electronic percussions hammer and roll in the shade of a more harmonious line which draws a slender stroboscopic filet. Although cosmic, "Head-land" spits a steady rhythm. The rhythm becomes heavier and livelier with a meshing of sequences and percussions of which the very livened up bed welcomes these fabulous solo which perfume the hybrid ambiences of “Imagic” of astral singings. After a very ambiospherical intro, "Roomless" attacks the peace of mind with a beautiful sequenced serpentine which gets loose from these morphic moods. The keys skip in waterfalls there. Trampling in the fragility of their shadows, they swirl in vaporous synth lines which remind the spirits of the Dream. In spite of the attacks of sequences and the bites of the percussions, "Roomless" remains static and swirls as a damaged stroboscopic hoop in a mishmash of sequences and percussions which have difficulty in well structuring a wild rhythm but all the same rather still. And this in spite of all these sequences which flutter and wink here and there, harmonizing their rhythmic melodies with synth solos always so lyrical while the percussions drop their last beatings in a dying structure. This is a cosmic rock rather difficult to tame but which in the end revives well enough the flames of the past. "75 Dreams" ends “Imagic” like "Way to Paradise" had started it. The chords remind me the melody of Heart and Soul, but in a delicious lento mood. The synths are always so magnetizing and flood our ears of these so seraphic e-chants which bewitch all these structures a bit complicated of a beautiful album forgotten on the counter of time and which this chronicle, I hope, will give you a little the taste to make a real beautiful detour in a period when the Berlin School was in full transformation.
Sylvain Lupari (October 19th, 2014)

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vendredi 17 octobre 2014

SEQUENTIAL DREAMS: Quantum Earth (2014)

“Solid e-rock, with a zest of IDM, flavoured of a futuristic vision, Quantum Earth has a lot to seduce those who want to rock on solid cosmic grounds”
1 Quantum Earth 6:32
2 The Universe Builders 7:26
3 Destination Terra 7:10
4 Solar Sails 6:34
5 Celestial Bodies 5:14
6 The Ice Canyons of Miranda 6:00
7 Fireflies in the Starlight 4:48
8 Infinite Improbabilities 11:52

Sequential Dreams Bandcamp (DDL 55:38) ***½
( Psybient and Psybeat E-rock)
Sound waves take the shape of air-raid sirens. The roarings are quieting down in a kind of din from where raises a heavy jerky structure of rhythm. With a plethora of bass sequences and pulsations, electronic and guitar riffs, as well as a lot of percussions with skins of Bongo drums which are thundering a lively rhythm of which the futuristic tribal approaches have quite the appearances of a solid cosmic e-rock a la Jarre, the title-track of “Quantum Earth” sets the tone to another solid album of electronic rock with a futuristic dimension from this collective project (Celestial View, The Roboter, Johan Tronestam, Kuutana and Synthesist) that is Sequential Dreams. Without surprises, the international quintet offers an album where the rhythms are sometimes raging in moods from time to time sieved by moderations and where the harmonies always hang on to the hairs of our ears. Hard-hitting, with short passages a bit more moderated, "Quantum Earth" forces our eardrums with a heavy and lively electronic approach which is lying on a meshing of sequences and percussions to which are added beautiful ethereal synth pads, filled of sweet artificial voices, which counterbalance the ferocity of the rhythm. For the fans of Sequential Dreams, we are on familiar ground. And I would add that this “Quantum Earth” is a little wilder with a technoïd approach which is very near to a loud IDM. The rhythms cross the tribal aromas, in particular because of the bongo drums, in envelopes which mix the mid and the down tempos. But it's heavy. This is strong e-rock very influenced by the periods of electronic rhythms from Jean Michel Jarre and Tangerine Dream. When to those who like an EM tortured by keen percussions and stormy sequences far from the wanderings sequenced of Berlin School, excepted for the very beautiful "Infinite Improbabilities", and closer to a type of psybeat, Sequential Dreams should appears in your notebook of discoveries to come.
"The Universe Builders" also begins with a long whoosh and a lot of short whaash. The intro is fascinating with a double speed sonic dialect which will call back the attempts of communication in Close Encounter. Soon, the rhythm begins to sparkle and gesticulate with deep sequences before falling in a kind of heavy hip-hop with a pace, clubbed by robust percussions and bangings of hands, which skips in a puddle of pulsations, gurgling and electronic winds. Break-dance or hip-hop; "The Universe Builders" skips and pounds with sequences which flicker mockingly and orchestral synth pads which make counterweight to this tempo pounding in a thousand of sound flavors. Less heavy and closer to synth-pop, "Destination Terra" crackles on a structure of electronic percussions and sequences with an unbridled flow, while the harmonious envelope crosses as much a cosmic, at both ambient and ethereal, as a synth-pop. Just like "Celestial Bodies" moreover, but which leans more towards a strong IDM. "Solar Sails" is the relaxation moment on “Quantum Earth”. Its intro is seraphic and the rhythm which holds its hand is silky slow and soaked of a dense sound fauna which brings a bit of distortion. "The Ice Canyons of Miranda" offers a structure of sequences where a line of jumping keys gallops in the harmonies of another more fragile line. The synths bathe the atmospheres of a heavenly approach which is very near the fragrances of Tangerine Dream. In fact, the rhythm moves with good percussions and with beautiful harmonies which make relive the vibe of the Canyon Dreams. It's beautiful synth-pop, as much delicate and cheerful as "Destination Terra". "Fireflies in the Starlight" brings the clock to rhythm with a heavy mid-tempo which oscillates on good sequences, as lively as those bongo drum percussions, which thunder to the ton and with solid riffs of an e-guitar which remind the Miramar ambiences, always from TD. And like on every track of “Quantum Earth”, the music dives into a more dreamy, a more ethereal passage, before taking back its shape with subtle modifications in its structure. The introduction of "Infinite Improbabilities" makes us revisit the dreamy moods of Flashpoint with a line of bass sequences of which the oscillations crawl under the charms of a synth to the singings flavored by the flutes of desert. A carpet of prisms covers this sneaky rhythm whereas the singings take on a dress of spectres. The ambiences are on the edge of the works from the psychotronic era with organic pulsations and threatening synth pads which depict the evolutionary rhythms of the Dream, periods Wavelength and Near Dark. Moreover it's about this album that I'm thinking when the percussions approach the moods with strong disordered strikes, turning upside down a passive rhythm which gesticulates like a poisoned skeleton before becoming as steady as the good passages of Near Dark. By far, the most fascinating track on “Quantum Earth” which at the end is a solid album of electronic rock to the trends always so futuristic.
Sylvain Lupari (October 17th, 2014)

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jeudi 16 octobre 2014

ASURA: Radio-Universe (2014)

“Here is another gogeous psybient opus from the magical lands of Ultimae Records”
1 Overture 9:56
2 Interlude Sky 7:17
3 Oblivion Gravity 11:57
4 Gaea (Transit) 1:08
5 Ascension in Blue 7:58
6 Farscape 7 7:20
7 Lonely Star 8:30
8 Illuminations 8:51
9 Back to Earth 4:02
10 Everlasting (Album Edit) 9:56

Ultimae Records | inre057 (CD/DDL 77:00) ****
(Psybient and psychill)
I don't know for you, but I always wait for the new appearances of the label Ultimae Records with an impatience and an auditive curiosity which are rewarded at every time. And as each time, I am sceptical in front of this sound fauna where quietly the atmospheres are outlined, the rhythms take shape and the melodies weave some very attractive musical itches. The magic operates and the charms bewitch me. I know that I am far from my hobbyhorse, bass sequenced or ambient Berlin School, but the craftsmen who nest on this label have the gift to create sound mosaics, covered with parasitic noises and by atmospheres more than supernatural, of which the dissonance always ends to harmonize in a matchless harmonious crescendo. One calls that of psybient or psychill. And there is of everything! Like these notes of Kyoto which pearl in hollow winds and secret quaverings. Notes of a pensive piano are also roaming in a silvered drizzle under the eye of a sonic revolving light which covers the ambiences of "Overture" of his its circular sonic beams. A countdown may blow the almost parasitic vibes of this opening of the last Asura's album that they remain passive. And this, even with these gas explosions a la Blade Runner which adorn the decoration of "Overture" of a texture of science fiction. An enveloping wave, full of sizzling light, sweeps the horizons with several mass arrivals, flooding our ears of a seraphic choir and with a song of spectre hummed by synth waves of a Martenot sort of. Rich in sound textures and in white noises, the last work to come from the Ultimae Records studios remains faithful to its impeccable catalog. With its lunar rhythms, its ambiences which mix stellar and terrestrial life and its luxuriant ambiosonic fauna, “Radio-Universe” from Asura, his fourth album on Ultimae is an audacious and very attractive odyssey in the universe of sounds and far beyond.
Shapeless synth hoops, singing of synth to the interstellar harmonies and mislaid pulsations; the introduction of "Interlude Sky" catches our ears with a superb seraphic choir which sings on the bed of a timeless sonic rivulet. The ambiences rebel themselves and a sketch of rhythm makes gesticulate its oscillatory keys which wave restlessly while a stroboscopic line crosses a nervous structure of rhythm which will always remain implosive. The sonic adventure continues with the weary bass pulsations of "Oblivion Gravity" which pounds randomly in a strong ambiosonic current. We enter a universe rich in sounds and vibes with this long soporific ballad where some silvery lines snore in the secret gravitational harmonies of a bass line which will never give birth to rhythm. Except that "Oblivion Gravity" explodes like a huge volcano in its gravitational universe, bringing the dreamers that we are on the wings of beautiful floating orchestrations. After the brief breezes of "Gaea (Transit)", the introduction of "Ascension in Blue" gets in our ears with a scent of
Blade Runner. Explosions and tears teem among synth lines which remind me of Jean Michel Jarre in Ethnicolor. A keyboard shells its pensive chords here while the background let floating a threatening crescendo. It's very touching. Almost poetic with a melancholic approach where we can imagine songs of stellar whales wandering in a sonic cloth filled of prisms. Evolving in a kind of ambiospherical crescendo which follows the curve of the rhythms, “Radio-Universe” reveals its core with a movement of sound swing which introduces its rhythmic phase. "Farscape 7" floods our ears with pads of white noises which go and come in movements of percussions a bit military-cosmic. The very ethereal voice of Ayten is simply surrounding. Her orgasmic songs pave the way to a wonderful lunar melody which makes sing its prismic stars. The debit is fragile. Sometimes interrupted, it restarts with an ambient rhythm a little heavier. The percussions beat it with good strikings while the pads of cracklings sparkle even more in our ears and while the songs of Ayten is coupling to a seraphic choir. This is a very good passage which leads us towards the splendid "Lonely Star" and of its pensive piano which misleads its thoughtful notes in futuristic visions. A pulsatory line spits its sonic poison while the melody hangs on to its nostalgia. The percussions weigh down its movement of mid-tempo while the notes forget their tears deep into some beautiful orchestrations which waltz in a brilliant movement of sequences whose static keys sparkle in a wide bench of sizzling waves. Synth solos are crying while the sequences blink in an intense and heavy movement which hesitates between its gravity and its evasive melancholy, making thus of "Lonely Star" a very beautiful psychedelic melody where the disorder goes eventually harmonized in a vaporous finale and where the notes of piano get melt in the breezes of interferences. It's catchy and very beautiful. Jerky movements of drums and Middle East clanic percussions, "Illuminations" oscillates between a briskly rhythm, stoned to death by good percussions, and its ambient short phases which perk up a rhythm fattening its fury with an incredible heaviness. It's a weighty psybient and rather lively which evaporates in the oasis tranquillity of "Back to Earth" and of its impressive avian fauna. I hear Kitaro (Silk Road era) in an intense envelope of sonic eccentricities. Most of Ultimae Records albums always end with an assassin track. A kind of track which explodes the slow crescendo approaches of psybient or cosmic chill music and which made the fame of this label. And "Everlasting" does not make exception. It's a delicious torrid down-tempo where every pulsation, each beating is piercing our heart and where the enveloping synth waves cover us of gloom. There is a small tinkled melody which tears a hole in this sonic density and which brings us to another level. But always, these wrapping synth waves, and their so seraphic singings, floods us in a sound immensity which is so powerful that we have difficulty in seizing all of its dimension. Our ears overflow and our heart bleeds. And it's heavy, it's poignant and it's especially the signal that another very beautiful album comes to decorate the luxuriant discography of the Lyon label.
Sylvain Lupari (October 16th, 2014)

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mardi 14 octobre 2014

PHOBOS: Sector Four (2014)

“Sector Four is yet another fine opus of dark ambient music from Phobos”

Sector Four 69:39
Phobos Music (CD/DDL 69:39) ***½
(Dark Ambient Music)
A warm breeze out of nowhere lifts the subtle particles of the windy harmonies from “Sector Four”. These euphonies exchange the refulgence of the first breaths to be transformed into more somber, hollower winds. Winds which will always be at the heart of this atonal symphony and of these secret singings which little by little are coppering themselves of more astral, more cosmic atmospheres. Letting ourselves being absorbed by the hot cosmic winds of "Sector Four", and of their sibylline complexions, it is to agree to let travel our aura in the abstruse territories of the dark ambient music of Phobos. David Thompson is structuring a long ambient dawn serenade where only the fine subtleties bud the slow implosions which redirect in delicacy the flows of winds, the immobility of the movements. Except that there is nothing really new in the darkness of Phobos. Much less dark than Darker (can we really have darker?), but just as much atonal, “Sector Four” is a long ambient journey where the listener has constantly this sensation to float with celestial bodies throughout the 70 minutes that lasts this concerto for winds mislaid in the cosmic corridors. It's quiet. Very quiet! The delicate morphic changes chase away a possible boredom with momentums full of restraint which propel every segment of “Sector Four” towards new horizons of night-contemplativity. Flowing like an invisible water into the profound bed of a cosmographical river, the 70 minutes of "Sector Four" switch around quite slowly the sensibility of the intersidereal breaths which trade its translucent suntans for more neurasthenic tints. Composed and played with a minimum of equipment (VST and plug-ins), Phobos digs the grooves of his sonic breaths like an architect polishes lovingly his mouldings in order to harmonize them with the singings of winds. An opus exclusively ambient whose atone form exchanges imperceptibly according to the slow peaceful oscillations, “Sector Four” makes us adrift in a nothingness skillfully put in sounds by David Thompson who always finds a way to charm the listening with fine modulations in his times.
Sylvain Lupari (October 13th, 2014)

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