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

dimanche 20 juillet 2014

PIERRE-JEAN LIEVAUX: Perception Totémiste (2010)

“Perception Totémiste is a rather difficult musical experiment which has the half of Perception Analogique's charms”
1 Dave's Near Vana 7:40
2 Indescente au Paradis 9:36
3 Le Sombre Héros Espagnol 10:42
4 Opuys de Montreuil 8:38
5 Rue Sale Hazard 7:50
6 Un des Nababs Revends son Éléphant 9:40

PWM-Distrib (CD 54:13) *** (Experimental)
Am I dreaming or do I hear the helices of a helicopter, or an enormous ventilator, chopped the too robotics voice of Dave (2001: A Space Odyssey) which filters through ethereal synth pads and noises of a water which drips in a metallic envelope? Am I still dreaming when I hear these distant industrial sirens a la Blade Runner infected the quiet sonic hallucinations of "Dave's Near Vana"? “Perception Totémiste” is the 2nd part on the concept of perception that   has began in 2009.
Sharply less audacious, and especially less charming than Perception Analogique, set apart some minutes stolen at the meter here and there, “Perception Totémiste” is a dying electronic symphony where the synth pads and layers are flying slowly, coiling some lengthened timeless and unfinished loops, over a swarm of voices and rustles as cybernetic as ectoplasmic. Rustles and voices which irritate more that they fascinate and which had nevertheless their places in the first part of this quadrilogy. I imagine that it's all a question of perceptions and sound environments. Because what had made the charms of Perception Analogique are cruelly more difficult to assimilate on “Perception Totémiste”, so much everything seems and sounds cold. So much everything seems to be devoid of passion. The ambiences are forged in lines of synth to the shrill colours which set ablaze a multitude of radioactive cracklings of which the imprints carve a sense of perplexity in the ears. I have to admit that there are rather difficult phases such as "Un des Nababs Revends son Éléphant" that I am always incapable to describe. But there are well some fine line of bass which structure some slow, but very slow, wave-like tempos, as on "Dave's Near Vana", or the rather lascivious one of "Indescente au Paradis", where, if we listen closely, we can hear a dark melody sparkling in twilights tinted of metal silk, or yet the somber wandering nomad and enigmatic "Rue Sale Hazard" and its cracklings which glitter on a line of bass at the agony. There is nothing to say about "Le Sombre Héros Espagnol", if it's not that the somber hero looks for his shadow in a rather ethereal tumult with groans which are quavering among scattered clicks. Although quieter, it would have had its place on Perception Analogique. Crackling which drum in void, and of which the echoes pierce the skin of some long drones and hummings, are opening the first seconds of "Opuys de Montreuil" which rocks its structure between an aboriginal clanic approach and a cosmic vision. Bit by bit the tumult changes of skin while the title is switching into a rather ambient phase where faded voices and dissonant harmonies draw a sonic pattern too much abstracted in my ears to find an interest here.
You have understood that I found the experience of “Perception Totémiste” rather difficult, even indigestible, by moments. I did not find this small spark that had literally set ablaze my interest for the first part of this quadrilogy. If the structures are a lot alike, it misses this little something there which had made all the difference on
Perception Analogique. An unexpected rhythm, a sudden musicality and fragments of melodies buried here and there are totally absent in this 2nd segment which is completely dedicated to the sound experiment and the fruits of its dissonance. For lovers of totally abstracted music!

Here is a link for a short video of Le Sombre Héros Espagnol: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jwjOq1fv1g
Sylvain Lupari (July 19th, 2014)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca

samedi 19 juillet 2014

PIERRE-JEAN LIEVAUX: Perception Analogique (2009)

“Completely remarkable in its genre; Perception Analogique is the typical example of an album that makes us tuck up the ears while we did not even cross the third part of its dial”
1 A Lucie Nogènes 8:52
2 Les Sens de la Citronnelle 5:04
3 Là, Derrière les Mûres 8:16
4 Oh, Pulsage Sage 5:10
5 Chanvrie Sunday 5:56
6 Plaztik Désoeuvré 5:58
7 Sous les Chalets, il Neige 16:20
8 Cry Babychurch 4:22

PWM-Distrib (CD 60:00) ***½ (Experimental)
I don't like to talk about something that I don't like. I find this prejudicial for the artist, the writer or the film-maker. In fact, it's not because I don't like it that it is not inevitably good! And nevertheless I am going to speak to you about Pierre-Jean Lievaux! By respect for Olivier Briand, a chap that I like, and for the Patch Work Music association, which makes enormous efforts to make the French EM known, and no matter the genres outside its borders. Therefore I am going to talk, for a few lines, about this writer, film-maker at his hours, and experimentalist musician who signed a sonic quadrilogy about the concept of the perception where the dissonance and the cacophony express themselves much better than Kate Bush in her most beautiful ethereal ballads.
Perception Analogique” is an invitation from Pierre-Jean Lievaux to take the shuttle for THE endless journey. And at times, I so wished that this end was near.
"A Lucie Nogènes" starts things up with an immersive wave filled of prismic particles and of parallel voices. We hear a strange aquatic vocabulary gurgling hoarse psalms while synth waves, with tones as supernatural as cosmic, glide over a structure which fills, as the seconds flee, its 9 minutes with scattered beatings and hollow breaths. The streaks and the cosmic dialects, as well as the lunar orchestrations, remind me a little of these moments from
Jean Michel Jarre's interstellar moods. It's not really bad, but it's really necessary to put yourself into it to appreciate the slightest bit of it. And you will have to do this all over the 60 minutes that last “Perception Analogique”. Let's take "Les Sens de la Citronnelle"! At first glimpse we don't notice this fine intrusive melody which swirls like a dream. We only hear these breaths filled of white noises, of gongs and of always scattered carillons. All this with some noises of rattlers, pantings and hollow winds. And nevertheless …"Là, Derrière les Mûres" is a blaring ambient phase where noises, drones and carillons feed the escape. I was no longer able to hear more. Even if its second half offers a purer side with breaths of flutes and Tibetan wind instruments which irritate the kicks of millipedes. It's an obligated passage if we want to discover the surprising "Oh, Pulsage Sage" which is a superb and very psychedelic down-tempo with good percussions and a throbbing line of bass which hammer a slow tempo of which the strong measures knock out an always fascinating fauna as organic as inorganic. This is a big surprise that we don't expect, that we don't even hope for. Less violent, "Chanvrie Sunday" is at the sound image of "Là, Derrière les Mûres". "Plaztik Désoeuvré" is an ambient track with blades of synth which criss-cross and weave a very tight sound mosaic, there where sings a solitary flute and crackle the thousands of insects' footsteps. This is on the verge of being bearable, while the first seconds of "Sous les Chalets, il Neige" are simply not. Still there it is necessary to persevere if we want to hear this delicious choir pierced this thick wall of shrill tones. The effect becomes then surrealist. We wonder on which album, on which music of Pierre-Jean Lievaux we have fell. Certainly the white noises persist. We even hear a strange derailment of organic tones, as well as some singings of allegorical birds. And surprise; everything is more harmonious, even the lapping of water which make us frown just at knowing that we are suppose to be in winter. The whole thing, and especially the laughter that come from all sides in a comic sheath of macaques, bring me closer to the psychedelic madness of Pink Floyd. There are always these voices which whisper the incomprehensibility, which sing the worship for the dissonance and these flutes to the singings so sibylline which transpire all the angelic cacophony of this piece of music that would have made a great hit in the psychedelic years. And following an American political speech, a totally off-the-wall rhythm leads the last minutes of "Sous les Chalets, il Neige" to the edges of a native clanic trance which amazes as much as enchants in this universe always full of surprises, of discoveries. And it's doubtless the biggest magnetism of “Perception Analogique”. From the unexpected where Aphrodite's Child, Pink Floyd and Vangelis cross their bacchanalia symphonies into a mishmash where the delight persists behind every crash, behind every incongruity. "Cry Babychurch" continues in this vein of sonic debauchery that is the second portion of "Sous les Chalets, il Neige". This is totally crazy but we end up to find that good! Even that we find a very beautiful ethereal melody there which paints a halo over this noise all the same rather lively.
I don't like to talk about something I don't like! Especially when I eventually end by liking it. “Perception Analogique” is the typical example of an album that makes us tuck up the ears while we did not even cross the third part of its dial. By respect for my friends at Patch Work Music, I had to persist and I eventually found an album as fascinating as interesting where the noises and the tumult homogenize in order to develop some charms outside conventions. We have to give credit to Pierre-Jean Lievaux who, brick by brick, manages to built a wall of abstracted that makes bloom a music which transcends the antennas of our perception into a symphony of sounds all the same rather attractive. Delirious, delicious and completely remarkable in its genre!
Sylvain Lupari (July 18th, 2014)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca

mercredi 16 juillet 2014

CIRCULAR: Moon Pool (2014)

“Moon Pool is a tremendous sonic experience where morphic down-tempos and Vangelis' vibes a la Bladerunner float among a thousand eclectic sounds particles”
1 Lunokhod 13:33
2 Selenic Light 5:33
3 Theory of Tides 12:10
4 Ashlands 6:03
5 3 Moons 6:22
6 Imbrium 5:09
7 Synchronous 8:31
8 Meteorites 8:08

Ultimae Records| inre 070 (65:33) ****
(Psychedelic and industrial ambient music)
Water lapping and wave of synth tinted of blue make-up, which subdivides its linear breeze with delicate morphic voices, open the tasty floating moods of "Lunokhod". There are rustles, like there are discreet hoops and stroboscopic riffs, which hide behind these streams from where appears, and totally unexpected, a guitar which throws some pensive wandering and incomplete harmonies while always "Lunokhod" navigates on the ruptures of its moods. There are some small bits of rhythms which threaten its tranquillity. But still "Lunokhod", like an aquatic beast, is hiding in the comfort of its oceanic depth. And then there are pulsations, a little as noises of footsteps in water, which resound and some metallic arpeggios which seem completely mislaid in this pond of vibes, as well as these delicately stroboscopic filets which refuse to die and which swirl in heavenly synth lines. And the pulsations come back. This time they hang on and beat a rhythm. A kind of soft hypnotic techno which pulses among seraphic voices. The cadence increases appreciably beneath a sweet concert of synths of which the meditative lines sound like the breezes of elephants belonging to another planet. And it bangs more and more. Fast and strong with glaucous percussions which adopt closely the vertical movement of the hypnotic pulsations. And the guitar gets back to close the delicate harmonies, as incomplete as the rhythm, of "Lunokhod" which slowly returns home, under waters.
All through its 14 minutes, "Lunokhod" depicts marvellously the sound cloth of this last album from Circular. Everything is story of black, even apocalyptic ambiences a la 
Vangelis (Blade Runner
) and of outer world, where the cosmos joins the bed of the oceans, as well as pleasant down-tempos, thus sometimes unfinished, and of mislaid melodies on this 3rd album from the Norwegian duet, consisted of Bjarte Andreassen and Jostein Dahl Gjelsvik. “Moon Pool” invites us to a fascinating sound fresco where the sounds of all kinds explode on a interbreeding of ambient music and down-tempos rather lunar. Intense and very meditative, "Selenic Light" offers a curtain of synth lines which hide some felted explosions and psychotic rustles. We hear horse gallops and dogs to bark? Certainly! Because “Moon Pool” has no limit to the sound creativity of Circular who by moments fed my ears of Vangelis' memories, here as on the very quiet "Meteorites", with arpeggios of glass which ring in secret while the moods swell themselves of new vocal breezes. Everything is linked here into an intense sonic mosaic of 66 minutes, while that "Theory of Tides" infiltrates our ears with a thick cloud of interrupted melodies which float in astral ambiences swollen of white noises and of voices of human beings smothered in a helmet. Like in "Lunokhod", the pulsations are chasing away bit by bit these moods to force a morphic techno, punchier this time, where are ending to swirl some fascinating cybernetic melodies. "Ashlands" follows with a steadier shape of rhythm fed by percussions which click and flicker around bass pulsations. The ambiences are to make the ears shiver with a thick cloud of astral waves which blow as much as they roar all over a sound fauna where organic breaths and human voices dream in opposite atmospheres. The use of headphone is strongly recommended because there are always cosmonauts' rustles, cracklings, organic noises felted explosions, voices lost in synth waves and interstellar scrawls that encircle the structure of “Moon Pool” which quietly implodes with the arrival of the very beautiful "3 Moons" and its beat waving like a big snake on a line of bass and of its delicate morphic melody a la Solar Fields. We are in heaven. Implode! Even if the structures of this last album from Circular get excited in an indefinable sonic flora, its structures of rhythm never reach an explosive nirvana. They implode and stuff themselves of wealth with moods weaved in a surprising ingenious creativity, except for "Imbrium", played with Aes Dana, which presents itself to our ears with a heavy, resounding, jerky and up-beat structure where are beating some arrhythmic percussions in vibes as dark as the other side of a mirror. The melodious ghosts of "3 Moons" drag their bundles here but disappear as soon as the impulsive beatings and the echoes rodent of sounds cut out the ambiences. "Synchronous" loops the harmonious loop of "3 Moons" with a sweet suave rhythm which beats slowly in a strange fusion of electronic reggae or allegorical down-tempo which melts bit by bit and brings its vestiges until the quiet finale of "Meteorites" and its deep synth chants which remind enormously the universes of Vangelis.
What comes out of the Ultimae Records factory is good! It can have several forms and kinds, but it always remains good. And it's exactly the case with this last album of Circular. Without having the beauty or the poesy of the allegorical dreams of Solar Fields (I make it reference because the music sticks to it enormously), “Moon Pool” offers a surprising palette of sounds which color our ears of a fascinating sonic mosaic which leaves as much place to the rhythms and melodies as to the imagination can do. I like this subtle crescendo which settles down from the first notes and which implodes towards the finale ("3 Moons" and "Imbrium"), as I like this constant allusion to the metallic and cold universe of Vangelis. And I insist; the use of headphones to be immerged by this incredible sonic fauna turns out to be essential to drink of these heavenly 63 minutes of “Moon Pool”. I experienced it in 5.1 Surround....Stunning!
Here is a link for a short video trailer of this album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NrmXYXnclA
Sylvain Lupari (July 17th, 2014)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca