jeudi 31 juillet 2014

AD MUSIC: 40 of the Very Best Laid Back EM Themes (2014)

“40 of the Very Best Laid Back EM Themes is a real treasure chest which hide 40 jewels of the most versatile styles in modern EM”
(DDL 158:37 ) ****
Here is well more than 25 years than AD Music charms the ears and diversifies the styles with a ceaselessly increasing and faithful legion of fans. From David Wright to Acheloo, while passing by Code Indigo and Divine Matrix, the English label establishes itself like a pioneer in the rise of EM, both driving based sequences and relaxing, with artists from all around the world, adding so a sweet tribal touch to its already versatile catalog. To underline this major event in the development of EM, AD Music presents an impressive collection, available only in downloadable format, of more than 3 hours of music. “40 of the Very Best Laid Back EM Themes” is a real gold mine. A treasure chest which hide 40 cinematographic, ethnic, rhythmic or purely ethereal cosmic pieces of music. There are true values. Artists that we know very well and who need no more presentation. I think among others of the pioneers of the label; David WrightRobert Fox and Code Indigo. There are also artists of this new generation that AD Music supports constantly. Jewels such as Divine Matrix, The Pels Syndicate, Dreamerproject, Dead Beat Project, Geigertek, Sylvain Carel and Claudio Merlini. There are also several artists who are totally unknown to me, while others begin their hatchings on the label. Thus this is the right time to discover all the depth of the English label. I quite loved "Atlantis" from Robert de Fresnes, a good down-tempo filled with percussions, as rolling as slamming, which are thundering in some beautiful, floating and dreamy orchestrations. A good kind of chill or rather a romantic down-tempo, quite as "Econ Theme" from Wim which really has a harmonious Vangelis depth. The variety of the genres makes doubtless the force, even if criticized rather inequitably, of the famous label. We cannot like the soft and poetic "Ocean of Light", from The Kobolt Project, which mixes deliciously a New Age approach in a yoke of tribal music. Idem for the beautiful orchestrations which feed the rather fluid and dreamy style of Bekki William. My finds? There are some very beautiful. I think among others at this "Watching Lava Plumes on Io" from Iotronica and its dreamy sequences which swirl in spiral in the shadows of an infectious guitar. I hear Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock. Yet, there is also this hybrid side of The Kobolt Project who rocks between a sweet down-tempo, a bit chill, and electronica. It worth the listening. "Radioscope" from Ash Prema plunges us in full territory of Tangerine Dream from the Jerome Froese years. I quite enjoyed this good e-rock. There are very sweet artists, kind of New Age bards like Paul Sills or  Steve Orchard. Others are doing good techno and synth-pop, like Lord of the Ants and Witchcraft. In brief, a musical mosaic which explores all the styles of EM. The only absentee is the based sequences of the Berlin School style remodelled à la sauce Anglaise. There is indeed Callisto and David Wright or yet Code Indigo, but the selection of the tracks offers the most accessible, less adventurous side of those artists. But it's the main purpose of this compilation and the selectors aimed straight in the middle of it.
40 of the Very Best Laid Back EM Themes” intends to be a compilation where one discovers the artists of the label in the savours that we savour as much at the beach, in parties, alone or in car. This impressive collection offers just it needs to cheer up the senses and the ears, to make our legs dance and our dreams float, just while leaving this small something which will urge a greenhorn listener to dive into this universe and to stuff himself the paunch for the coming months.
Sylvain Lupari (July 31st, 2014)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca

lundi 28 juillet 2014

STEVE ROACH: The Delicate Forever (2014)

“The Delicate Forever is among one of the best ambient works released so far and this since some years”
1 The Delicate Forever 24:42
2 Well Spring 13:35
3 Where the Mysteries Sleep 12:35
4 Perfect Sky 13:45
5 HearAfter 9:10

Projekt | PRO305 (CD 73:49) *****
(Ambient EM)
Behind each ambient work, to say the least for the greater part and made exclusion of the Immersion Series, of Steve Roach wander some ghost melodies. Kind of ear-worm which sneak up until our subconscious and which leaves an indelible track in the corridors of our harmonic dreams. And this “The Delicate Forever” is no exception! Weaved in a long soundtrack of 74 minutes which are knotted by tiny modulations in ambiences embroidered of delicate melodic subtleties, this last collection of Steve Roach's ethereal sonic poetry is inspired by the very soporific moods of the majestic Structures from Silence. In fact it is when Steve Roach has revisited this album in the frame of its 30th special birthday edition that the inspirations came to him. Inspirations which, as you will hear, float easily and haunt a very long structure that will become your most invaluable companion during your next excursions in your phases of meditation, contemplation and pre-sleep.
And from the first synth waves, we are feeling wrapped by the magic of
Roach. These layers float like waves with sweet sibylline perfumes in an amphibian sound environment. Fine drops of water are oozing from sonic walls and their movements of random falls draw fascinating fragments of melodies which remain suspended throughout the 25 minutes of the title-track. Plainly and without new developments, "The Delicate Forever" auscultates the emptiness by the means of our ears. This oblong introductory movement in this last reflection of Steve Roach about the silence is a magnetising ambient mosaic where the passivity finds its allies in the movement of its shadows which float like threatening modulations and draw spectral panoramas illuminated by these liquefied pearls of which the distant harmonies lead us towards the very beautiful "Well Spring". By far the most beautiful track of “The Delicate Forever”, "Well Spring" offers an attractive melody, with delicately shaded harmonies, of which the spirals turn and turn in a huge labyrinth filled of soporific aromas. This is the wall of the modulations with slow and dark loops which go up, go down and suck up the thick cloud of veiled shadows of which the cloudiness has structured the passivity of the title-track. Except that the harmonies, and its iridescent minimalist tune, are flooding the amphibological ambiences of this piece of music which appears among one of the most beautiful in Steve Roach's contemporary period. "Where the Mysteries Sleep" is not outdone! And as its naming indicates it, we are floating through the mysteries which inspire the phases of the sleep with others rangy layers of synth of which the slow embraces and pleasant body loves draw some threatening vampiric shadows. Some slow and sinuous ochred striations which decorate and haunt those soporific corridors, caressing in passing the singing of the parasitic cracklings, scratch the hypnagogic passivity of “The Delicate Forever” with subdued and delicate spectral chants. Less nightmarish, even a bit idyllic and angelic, "Perfect Sky" eradicates a little the threatening shadows which overfly the taciturn moods of “The Delicate Forever”. Melodic silvery filets assure the serenity. A little like fireflies which smell a relative freedom in a maze of dark walls, they court in a strange ballet where the wind blows through many passages to modulate in counterweight a darker melody. And quietly we navigate until the finale in "HearAfter" which glitters like a dawn crowned of white lines on dark blue background and where the shadows dissipate little by little while leaving the uncertainty to persist, a mystery as if to knowing what will follow after “The Delicate Forever”.

Here is a link for a short video of Well Spring: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3Jz6R7UQFk&feature=youtu.be
Sylvain Lupari (July 28th, 2014)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca

samedi 26 juillet 2014

KRYFELS: Parsec (2014)

“Parsec is an album to possess for all those who feed of Klaus Schulze’s discography, from Cyborg to Mirage”

1 Urvent 8:46
2 L'au-revoir des Elements 11:49
3 Gienah 12:18
4 Andromede 20:20
5 Canopus 8:58
6 Alcyone 11:35

PWM-Distrib (CD 73:52) ****½
(Vintage ambient EM)
The winds which roar and whistle are common. They fill intros and outros. When these winds get mixed into a magnetic storm and move in the form of reverberant torsades, we frown of enchantment. That begins pretty well. And then there is a synth pad which spreads a musicality of an old organ. Its sibylline veil sneaks throughout those howling winds. And the meeting make spurt some sequenced ions which skip and rush within the shade of the winds which drag their prismic dusts. And there, we dream. We dream of Schulze and of his magnetic Mirage. The winds make also born some discreet solos, more musical, whose singings are getting lost in a superb series of sequences which goes up and goes down in astral spirals by following the curves of the fine modulations which dress "Urvent" of a dramatic nobility. What a way of starting an album! What a way also to introduce us into the universe full of paradoxes and of sudden developments that is the one of “Parsec”. Paradoxes and sudden developments, because Kryfels explores every pattern of an EM out of the vintage years, splendidly sequenced as charmingly ambient and softly melodious as mysteriously nebulous. Kryfels is the last find of the French label  Patch Work Music. And it is a whole find! Musician and photographer, Richard Raffaillac has as much the eye as fingers to weave moods that either shake the soul or torment it. “Parsec” is, to my knowledge, his first album. An album which caresses the old coat of arms from an experimental Berlin School of the analog years with some intense and poignant sibylline synth pads, as well as comfortable and intriguing sound waves embalmed by ether which ride rhythms as lazy as those sweet analog modulations which transported us in the country of this blue smoked of the 70's.
"L'au-revoir des Elements" exploits this somber dramatic side of "Urvent", a little as "Canopus" moreover, with organic pulsations which gurgle in a troop of winds to the abstruse aromas. The sweet modulations make all the charm. They crawl like souls on the back of the void, waltzing at times rather awkwardly with the dying winds and breezes of ether which blow the almost Mephistophelian vibes of a track of which one imagines easily going out of a cemetery on an evening of black moon. Ambient, very rich and especially very effective! With its clogs which click in winds and pound like a heart at rest, "Gienah" presents a figure of rhythm as abstract as static where the modulations of a discreet bass line are livelier than the pulsations of clogs. Tinted of its sibylline sonic lines, the synth fits closely to these wave motions and is whistling some dreamy cooings which eventually got lost in the shouts of agony of a sonic pattern slightly painted by the roarings of apocalyptic sirens. And if we thought of having been caught in the nets of the Schulzian reminiscences in "Urvent", we did not hear this long symphony of synth pads which float with aromas of ether that is "Andromede". We are in full Timewind period with these synth waves which drift such as a bank of astral mist in a cosmos stuffed by these intersidereal tones of the vintage years. It's hardly if they wave. And nevertheless the ambient rhythm feeds on these static impulses which propagate like eddies in a lake too small, while the musicality appears with underlying ambient hymns which float there and even hum some baroque airs. I found that long at the first listening. But once well settled between the shells of my earphones, I have totally succumbed to the dark charms of this vintage ambient symphony. After "Canopus" which, even if a little more ambient, plunges us into the moods of "Urvent", with a more dramatic but so dark side, "Alcyone" propose a more delirious approach with sequences which stamp, like steps lost, in synth solos of which the twists are getting constantly soaked by this psychedelic drizzle which feeds the ambiences of “Parsec”. A little more and one would believe to hear a music piece lost in the works of Klaus Schulze's Blackdance or Picture Music.
To draw constantly a parallel between the pivotal ambient works of
Klaus Schulze and this first album of Kryfels is not a kind of denial to Richard Raffaillac. There are artists who imitate and others who want to exploit fully these analog ambiences that time stole from us in its crazy race to stop its dial. And it's exactly the case of “Parsec”. Kryfels submerges literally the listener in a sonic bath with the pleasant perfumes of the psychedelic vintage years but with a vision to build, and rhythms and moods, of the contemporary years. We feel the influence of the analog works (Richard Raffaillac has built brick by brick “Parsec” from totally analog equipments) in a contemporary vision which makes a wonderful link between two times. “Parsec” is an album to possess for all those who feed of Klaus Schulze's discography, from Cyborg to Mirage.

Here is a link for a short video trailer of this album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6tTtsSy2oU
Sylvain Lupari (July 26th, 2014)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca

jeudi 24 juillet 2014

RUDZ & SKRZEK: The StratoMusica Suite (2014)

“The Stratomusica Suite is a long cosmic symphony where prog and cosmic music hold an impregnable sonic view on the imagination of a listener who floats in space”
 1 The Stratomusica Suite 56:37
(Music for the Balloon Mission to the Edge of Outer Space)
a) Prologue
b) Towards the Destiny
c) Moments of Suspension
d) Suddenly Jet Streamed
e) At the Gates of Cosmic Mysteries
f)
Epilogue (For all the Explorers)

GeneratorPL | GEN CD 032 (CD 56:37) ****
(Cosmic Prog Rock)
A grave note of piano comes crashing down, awakening riffs a la Take a Pebble from E.L.P. which are coloring the somber and disturbing annihilated ambiences of this prelude to this long piece of music that is “The Stratomusica Suite”. A sonic opus in 6 acts which depicts the atmospheres and the horizons of the Strota Musica mission (mission which consists, by means of cameras which float in the stratosphere, to present a view of the Earth as realistic and close as the human eye) “The Stratomusica Suite” is no more and or less a long cosmic symphony where the progressive and the electronic music unite moods and rhythms in a concept work with an impregnable sound view on the imagination of a listener who floats in space. And the references to the icons of the progressive music, in particular Pink Floyd and Hawkwind, abound on this first collaboration between Józef Skrzek, iconic figure of the Polish progressive music, and Przemyslaw Rudz, undisputed master of the Polish EM scene.
Prologue plunges us into a dark universe where a fascinating sonic fauna, as much organic than aquatic, caresses the cosmos under the soft looks of a synthesizer and of its tearful veils. The tumult of the piano notes, as well as the crushing of its strings which sound like an out of tune Kyoto, wither little by little, letting hear organic breaths of which the groans in the shape of rattlers flee towards the depths of the cosmos and its slow morphic synth pads. The synths pour moanings and are cooing like stellar whales in drizzle a little more somber and in waves tinted of black. Blindly, the listener feels submerged by a weightlessness. While more and more dense, the lunar synth layers and the singings of the astral mammals float like sonic eels up to the deeper of the universes. And there it is, at around the 13th minute, that the synth waves darken and make the first rhythmic phase of “The Stratomusica Suite” hatch out. At the beginning, the rhythm is timid. Light, it jumps up freely on sequences with a slight funky tone and through the loops of a synth with a zest of psychedelic aromas. Percussions are boosting the movement which, if seems a little bit jerky, rolls with fluidity in the singings of superb synth solos filled by analog tints. This invigorating phase of rhythm borders the 10 minutes before that some other morphic moods seize again the long movement of “The Stratomusica Suite”. This time these ambiences are more celestial with synth pads and lines as well cosmic than organic before that a clearly more aggressive structure of rhythm, as a furious big progressive rock fed of heavy riffs and deafening synth layers, cuts out the astral sedation of the listener for a good 8 minutes perfumed of delicious solos of a jazzy genre. This is doubtless my best passage of “The Stratomusica Suite” which takes refuge for 3rd time in its very ethereal cosmic ambiences. We are in the 43 minutes and we float in sound spheres on horizons embellished by lines of synths to the sibylline aromas and with Floydian floating harmonies. The chuckles of rattlers watch over ambiences tinted of aquatic pulsations while the rhythm takes back the skin and the funky charms of Towards the Destiny for a very last one lap where a brief moment of ambient wandering precedes the very last rhythmic merry-go-round which encloses the 6 chapters of “The Stratomusica Suite” which aims to be a very beautiful album of cosmic rock as progressive as electronic.
Sylvain Lupari (July 24th, 2014)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca

mardi 22 juillet 2014

CLAUDIO MERLINI: Forever Changes (2014)

 “Claudio Merlini quits here the soft paths of a New Age and its thousand musical embraces to undertake a more audacious sonic journey with pompous Vangelis' orchestrations and strong electronic rhythms”
1 Fireworks 6:17
2 The Unknown Path 6:15
3 Chain Reaction 6:11
4 Calling Nature Part I 6:57
5 Transformation 6:11
6 Drawing the Sphere 6:58
7 Calling Nature Part II  6:42
8 The Spinning Wheel 6:01
9 Adam and Eve 7:49
AD119CD (CD 59:21) ***½

(A mix of New Age and rhythmic EM with a zest of filmic moods)
In its press guide, AD Music states that the evolution of Claudio Merlini who, since The Colours of Music in 2010, progresses at full speed to reach a surprising maturity in his music structures. I have to admit that this last album amazes. With “Forever ChangesClaudio Merlini quits the soft paths of a New Age and its thousand musical embraces in order to undertake a more audacious sonic journey with an excellent production and pompous Vangelis' orchestrations which cross strong electronic rhythms with structures which throw a sweet sensation of déjà-entendu in the ears. Certainly he always manage to leave some room to these sweet dreamy melodies, I think in particular of "Calling Nature", both parts, and "Adam and Eve" and their very seraphic airs of Fountain of Youth that we found plenty on The Colours of Music and on Enchantment. Except that the Italian composer and synthesist dares and gets out quite slowly of his cocoon to offer us a more audacious album which is undoubtedly his best to date.
And it begins with "Fireworks" and its structure of rhythm which gallops like a solitary rider on the plains of harmonies. The essence of “Forever Changes” is all over here with a superb gradation, both in the rhythm and the harmonies. Airs of legions and cavalry, whistled by a sharpened flute and/or clarions, very beautiful orchestrations, as fluid as jerky, which moan into slow waltzing strata, and percussions as symphonic as electronic are structuring a strong title which amazes due to its thick cloud of organic tones that will follow our ears all along the route of this last
Claudio Merlini's album. Let's say that it kicks things out well and that the imprints of Vangelis are lying all around. "The Unknown Path" is less on fire and pulls us towards a more melodious approach with a sneaky structure of rhythm and a dreamy melody which reminds me vaguely that of Tangerine Dream in the Tyranny of Beauty years. This resemblance with the style of Tangerine Dream, mostly the Jerome Froese years, is even more convincing with the structure of percussions which embroider the static rhythm of "Chain Reaction". Moreover the rather serene ambiences, the flute, the flock of evanescent harmonies, the breezes of synth a bit philharmonic and the dramatic effects seem to be all familiar elements to us. Beautiful and delicate with a sober pattern sound of twinkling sequences and its soft ethereal flute of which the airs whistle on the harmonies of a dreamy piano, "Calling Nature Part I", as well as its 2nd part, leads us a little closer towards the dreamy ambiences of New Age and Easy Listening which overhung the first two albums of Merlini. After a very philharmonic pompous opening, where swirls a sweet carousel submerged by organic tones, "Transformation" sneaks through thousand essences to finally set ablaze a strange and fascinating mixture of hip-hop and funk. The rhythm becomes at the same moment brusque and fluid with a wave-like bass line and good clanic percussions. Beautiful envelopes of violin enclose this splendid sonic madness, which a sweet melody, a kind of ear-worm to become, sung by a very harmonious piano, ennobles of an ethereal sweetness and forges the furrows for a bewitching tearful violin. Very good! Less hard-hitting and especially less adventurous, "Drawing the Sphere" kisses this configuration of macédoine of styles with a tribal approach which sits on a very electronic rhythm strongly encircled by good arrangements and a beautiful line of flute with songs as angelic as these choirs which hum in the circular melodies of a piano a bit more voracious. The imprint of Vangelis and of Jerome Froese's electronic percussions is rather evident. The strength of this track is necessarily its 7 minutes, because the more it plays the more we find it good. "The Spinning Wheel" offers a strong structure with arpeggios which ring with hesitance in an opening tinted of organic tones. A line of sequences shakes furiously its keys which flutter such as enraged knocks of scissors in emptiness. Alternating its sweet ethereal melody into violent movements of circular rhythms, "The Spinning Wheel" takes refuge under dense Babylonian orchestrations and a pattern of Gregorian voices. There is a great passage of electronic percussions which cut into pieces a sneaky rhythmic phase which reminds me vaguely the first albums of Yanni. Idem with "Adam and Eve" which is a beautiful melodious ballad fed by a dreamy piano and by some seraphic voices.
Forever Changes” has all what it needs to continue to charm the fans of
Claudio Merlini while seducing a lot of others. It's a rather cinematographic album with very Arabian sonic essences. Sharply more audacious than on these two first albums at AD Music, Claudio Merlini succeeds all the same to keep this touch printed by romance and reverie which had so much seduced on The Colours of Music or yet Enchantment. This is quite beautiful, very melodious and it breathes of Vangelis, a bit of Yanni, on rhythms and electronic percussions a la Tangerine Dream. A good EM cocktail but a single signature; that of Claudio Merlini!
Sylvain Lupari (July 21st, 2014)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca