mardi 30 novembre 2010

TANGERINE DREAM: Poland (1984)

WoW! This got to be my best TD album ever….Well, if we make abstraction of Phaedra:). Ah Poland! How many times did I listen to Poland? Seriously, if I didn't listen Poland not more than 1 000 times, than I never heard it! I laughed, cried and dreamed through Poland. So much that the story became mythical to me. The ambiences are variables; from ambient to frantic sequential driven rhythms covered by metallic synth pads and layers. Unique moments that have influenced lot of young artists and sound engineers and a story that magnify again the legend of Tangerine Dream. A rendezvous with time. A historic cultural rendezvous, because Poland did change the course of EM.
In 1983 Tangerine Dream released the stunning Hyperborea. Innovators, TD members, with Franke ahead, assembled lots of sampling from various percussion tones and created new rhythmic structures which melted on harmonies, when they are not used themselves as harmonies. New sound and sampling structures that where going to sharpened their teeth during concerts in Japan and Greece in the summer of 83 and finally in Warsaw, Poland on December 10th 1983. An icy cold weather raged there. Tangerine Dream was ready to give 2 concerts; one in the afternoon and the other in the evening at the Ice Stadium in Warsaw. The natural elements were against TD with a severe cold and a plentiful of snow that was going to make collapse a part of the roof. But Franke, Froese and Schmoelling didn't want to displease their numerous fans and decided to give both concerts in arctic conditions. Just imagined, there were boilers of boiling water to warm Franke, Froese and Schmoelling hands while they where playing. Through power cuts and this icy atmosphere, the Berliner trio will be incredibly inspired and will give a stunning performance and Polish fans will attend to a magical concert from which will be born a wonderful album; Poland - The Warsaw Concert. We feel this icy vibe when a heavy note, a little as on the opening of Sphinx Lightning from Hyperborea, charges the beginning of the eponymous title track. A slow hypnotic beat is being heard and draws the line to 22 minutes of pure magic. Slow percussion, layered by a synth of which the foggy reverberations crisscross beautiful melodious layers to form a hatched structure where ghostly streaks and choirs glance through a wide range of crackling percussions. Percussions which collide, like a thousands of magnetic balls hitting hard each other, and converge into an harmonious rhythmic bullfighting stuffed with percussions which bounce in a soft sound anarchy. A magical and unique moment in EM which will serve as model for future sequential electronic percussion movements. This powerful cacophony gives birth to an unstable rhythm which dances on a sequencer and a guitar which become more aggressive. Dying, Froese’s six strings are crashing on an ambient passage where we find a first quietude. And even in these moments of tranquility, the German trio keeps our attention. The atony filters synths just like a discreet wind and the beat moves on synth pulsations which increase the pace on scattered percussions. The crescendo is rising on brilliant effects sound and a silky synth with fluty glints. A feast for ears, Poland ends on a catchy synth refrain and rumbling of infernal percussions. Yet today, there are few tracks that can surpass the rhythmic and harmonic complexity of Poland.
Tangent begins on a melodious synth amalgam. Slowly a vaporous cloud throws its exhalations and a good sequenced percussion play draws the line of a tempo suavely sensual from which mellotrons embalm of very suggestive voices. This long ambient passage ends in a more joyful rhythm and livened up of Logos colors. Barbakane frees a light flute on a synth cloud. This soft lament is livening up more and more on a sequencer, sound effects and percussions which are unifying to form a static rhythm which is surrounded by unidentified sound objects which are leak away in a short atmospheric silence. We have to seize that moment, just to fix the oblivion and being carried away by the waves of Barbakane finale. Because it’s here that is hiding one of the most beautiful harmonious moments in TD’s career; Warsaw in the Sun. Available also in maxi single, Warsaw in the Sun is a hymn to freedom, brotherhood and love. An extremely strong melody which blows our spine and doused our body of 1 001 shivers. Shivers of incredibility, in front of such a melody, that chases us non-stop and which, 30 years later provokes the same effect, on and on. Horizon ends this concert with a very ambient intro. Synth breaths cross discordant notes which seek to form a harmony. A cold harmony which is tracing on a warmer line, guided by sequential percussions and synth pads. Synth groans glance through an intersidereal oblivion. Fans of TD, we know. We know how TD ends their concerts. We know that TD will flood our ears, but never were we expecting such a finale! The sequencer is running wild on percussions which roll and are jostling. A total discord which gains in rhythm with Edgar six-string assaults and Franke sequential charges. Stoic, Schmoelling hangs tough with a synth as dominant and harmonious. Today the finale of Poland still remains a highlight in TD stunning career.
With Poland, Tangerine Dream has insufflated a revival in EM. Today it is not rare to hear here and there, sequential lines that go out quite straight ahead of the unbridled imagination that we find almost everywhere on Poland each track of this unique concert. In my opinion, Poland is a classic of the modern EM. A major work that every EM, even techno, fan should possesses, just to understand and appreciate the evolution of synth and sequential harmonies. It’s among my Top 5 to life. A place and opinion shared by many fans of electronic, progressive and experimental music.

Sylvain Lupari (2006)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

dimanche 28 novembre 2010


Hummm…! Robert Schroeder's musical adventures are rich, both in tones and varied rhythms where the funky flirts with the groovy on heavy percussions surrounded of a universe full of synths with rich tones. A mixture of kinds, rich and smooth as the cream and as Cream; the 22nd solo album of the mythical German synthesist. An at once heavy and limpid album, so much notes and details are finely chiseled on sweet and stormy rhythms. Tempos broken, interrupted and wrapped by synths which separate their pads to mold choirs, mists and angelic breezes among voices, vocoders and murmurs of all genres. An album with mesmerizing intros and varied rhythms, hammered by heavy electronic percussions, as bongo and conga style. In brief a powerful album with ambivalent rhythms which cross periods and musical styles of Schroeder, and this since Paradise in 1983.
Arpeggios skip awkwardly on Magnetics opening. They espouse a delicate line of bass which molds a discreet funky rhythm on fine percussions, while beautiful mellotron pads float slightly above this atmosphere sieved by cosmic sound effects. A little as everywhere on Cream, Magnetics pours and moves in rich and unctuous sound cream where various instrumentations come to enrich its minimalist and hypnotic structures. Synths flow with abundance and nuance there, mixing skillfully the sweet vocalizes, melodious solos and ethereal pads which glance through a soft rhythm sometimes shaken by scattered percussion strikes and keyboard keys which gossip as a galactic duck. Groove Electronically is a very beautiful track with its notes of piano which are spreading in a cosmic ambiance where whispers, very plaintive synths and sound effects hatch this strange ethereal intro. Hesitant pulsations light finely the tempo, trampling on the romantic series of these minimalist piano notes. Percussions tumble down and increase the rhythm of a notch. But Groove Electronically remains secretly delicious in spite of this full array of percussions and tones with colorful forms which break out on a constantly evolving tempo of which cadenced contrasts can be hear under strata of a shrillness and spectral synth, percussions rolls, hatched keyboard keys and a tempo which gallops under undulations of a wandering synth such as crystalline prisms which hoot between brief and delicious solos. A tempo rich in tone which dies away in the notes of this piano so delicious even if minimalist. The world of Schroeder is complex and harmonious. On each of Cream tracks, the German synthesist sprinkles quantity of instruments which kick away thick clouds of tones as intriguing as attractive. So The Zong starts with heavy metallic sounds, as monsters robots of The War of Worlds. Percussions unfurl with strength, but remain indecisive, while others more nuanced forge a soft rhythm livened up by a fine bass pulsation and encircled by a synth with extraterrestrial waves which hoot at once pleasant and childish laments. The rhythm became heavier and more intense; The Zong evolves in an ambiance of the carnival with a mi funky and mi groovy tempo which zigzags on circular keyboards keys and among glaucous pulsations. A world of strongly diversified rhythm which is wrapped by a synth with foggy pads and wandering choirs.
Funky Spacetrip is very representative of its title; a big cosmic funk with vocoder, strong percussions and a tempo vaguely wavy accompanied by a magnificent synth whose lines are subdividing to create a rich atmosphere where solos go alongside ethereal pads. A very rich track which is near Groove Electronically structures. Languishing and sensual, Foaming Waves is simply captivating with its soft rhythmic which flows as a graceful exotic dance under soft foggy pads. Suggestive and daring, Foaming Waves embraces almost the textures of an electronic and cosmic blues, on a cadence which increases gradually the pace with its subdivided chords beneath a synth with delicious laments. A great track from which the musical intensity keeps increasing, bringing us near Paradise and Time Waves era with smooth synth solos which flow under pulsations of an enticing bass line. Hesitating piano notes, sensual murmurs and sensual pulsations open Simply Cream. Bongo percussions unfurl on a languorous rhythm, between funk and groovy, coated by magnificent strata of a foggy mellotron. The synth there is suave, the rhythm suggestive and keyboards draw fine hatched lines, crowning a catchy synth melody and Simply Cream disentangles such a sensual hymn in a shape of musical retrospective of the first 5 tracks of Cream.
Rich, Cream is! Rich in sounds and tones of any kinds and in diversified rhythms, Robert Schroeder handles his synths with an incredible address and makes us discover a rich sound fauna where reliefs are as much feel as hear. A pure marvel where we are riveted to our loudspeakers so much the rhythms, atmospheres and ambiances are finely cut and returned to us with a surgical precision. A beautiful, rich and unctuous cream which dilutes very well in the universe of dreams where the music of the 80’s, with the technology and the sonorities of today, floods our ears with soft, suave and stormy rhythms unique to Robert Schroeder's world.


Sylvain Lupari
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

ROBERT SCHROEDER: New Frequencies Vol. I (2010)

Robert Schroeder has the merit of always keep his public on alert. Album after album, and this since his 2005 comeback with Brainchips, the German synthesist disconcerts his fans by producing avant-gardism releases. Albums, I think in particular of Sphereware and Taste It, where Schroeder explores and innovates its musical creations based on new technologies, while respecting its musical paths who, needs to remember, always swayed between Synth-Pop (Double Fantasy) and a EM as well sequenced as cosmic. Entirely released with the Propellerhead REASON software, New Frequencies Vol. I furrows the world of virtual keyboards with PC’s, shaping a musical world which is beyond sonorities boundaries that Schroeder created until today. Voted as the best album in the Audiophile Series in Pop category, New Frequencies Vol. I is the first of album series, contrary to the D.MO, where Robert Schroeder pushes his musical explorations out of conventional Space Rock limits. He dives into Space Synth-Pop with an album filled of ambivalent rhythms, but amazedly powerful, with solid percussions, subtle and strange voices samplers as well as a synth with hybrid and wrapping surges but a bit less cosmic.
Rhythm Dancer shoots off at top speeds this Schroeder 21st opus with synth waves that hem in loops on a lively rhythmic with slightly rattlesnakes sounding percussions where digital sound effects are multiplying, faithful to sounds multiplicity that reigns in the complex musical universe of Schroeder. The rhythm is ambiguous and explores various structures on hatched keyboards keys, synth howling and avalanches of drums which break out on a cadence well fed in tones. The Reason Why offers a more chipped structure on synths with sinuous waves and jazzy tones. A track which floats in a very dense synth envelope, but of which the rhythm is constant and supported by a good line of bass and sequences which pulse heavily on tablas percussions à la Earth, Wind and Fire style. I Like It explodes straight as its opens with a rhythmic filled of rattlesnakes endings and a synth of which metallic strata shell his cosmic and psychedelic elements beneath suave voices sampling. Here, as on the whole album, the synth is dense and extremely varied, diversified in tones of all kinds, but remains so dreamlike with smooth waltzing strata. We are far from a cosmic EM with sequences which develop slowly. Everything on New Frequencies Vol. I swarms of a livened up and groovy musical life, like Twitter my Mind and its slower rhythm, notches by hip-hop or break-dance disc scratches, good and loud percussions on a synth with ethereal strata that waltz in spite of a cosmos torn between the dream and the reality of dance floors, quite as From Heart to Hearth whom on the other hand offers a more tangent cosmic than Twitter my Mind. Falling Down is a small jewel of rhythmic duality with a synth which spins in loop on a heavy tempo of wave-like resonances and where the hybrid cadence is crowned of heterogeneous tones which hammer an already complex tempo. A splendid track with its groovy moves in a grotto with a star-studded hanging on the ceiling and cosmic draughts, that sticks to ears on the first listening quite as the superb Caribbean Nights and its tempo fed of heavy resonances and of good innovative percussions.
The sound experiments on indecisive and hybrid cadences continue with the enigmatic I Feel so Good and its percussions which imitate call of ducks and synth with its moves of old hippies still on acid letting of steam. A Night in Space is the only unctuous moment of New Frequencies Vol. I. And still there, even this suave and languishing movement is filled with a rich and experimental sound fauna, making of A Night in Space one night which is really cosmic and oniric with its synth layers coiling up such as anorexic hoops which cook up under metallic percussions, in the shade of a melancholic synth sulfurous solo. A robot-kind voice stammers a robot text on RockNtronic opening. The tempo falls. He is heavy, sinuous and slightly syncopated, taking more forms and strengths as he investigates the hidden recesses of its structure which remains always ambivalent between its synth with incisive solos and captivating strata as well as its heavy percussions. Oxidation concludes with a wavy kind rhythm, a little as on Rhythm Dancer, but with eroded reverberations which circulate in loops, in the shade of juicy synth solos.
Between Moonbooter’s progressive Synth-Pop and Art of Noise’ abstract originalities; Robert Schroeder pilots a sound sea to externalities very different from EM Berlin School style. Lot of sounds and tones, powerful ones, incisive, chipped, syncopated and twisted sounds! In short, a sound range of the most complex, punchy and printed by originality which couples to beautiful melodies, among them the superb A Night in Space and others tracks where nervous structures and bouncy beats abound of beautiful ambient and wrapping strata, creating a surprising and charming duality.

Sylvain Lupari
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

vendredi 26 novembre 2010

jeudi 25 novembre 2010

AXESS:Fusion (2010)

More than one year after the superb Voices of Dawn, Axel Stupplich gets back to charm our ears with an album where ambivalent rhythms are grafting to hydrides structures. If some tracks are unambiguous (Speed of Light and Schwerelos), other tracks of Fusion evolve in an environment where the rhythm is latent, such as slow solar implosions, with feverish and savages sequences which nourish musical canvas at the opposite of their cadenced structures. An album where Axess spreads out as well his romantic side as cosmic and melancholic ones, while passing by his small techno and upbeat approaches, without ever disavowed his Berlin School roots. In short an album of all and for all tastes.
A dark wave did not finish undulated that already a cloud of frantic sequences falls down on the very energetic Speed of Light. A breathtaking track with its range of sequences to multiplied and diversified chords which are collide in a powerful rhythmic structure where electronic percussions and twisted waves strike and resound, adding thus a heaviness at a speed which exceeds the light of the good old German EM. Between the frantic techno and the upbeat speed, Axel Stupplich lays down soft ethereal pads of mellotron and shapes synth solos sometimes suave and sometimes strident, reminding us his Berlin School roots. Fusion is the calm after the sequenced storm that was Speed of Light. Suavely poetic and languorously hypnotic the tempo of Fusion is relax and progressive, evolving on good percussions strikes, bass drum pulsations and sequences at the same time moderate and frantic. A rhythmic amalgam wrapped of a splendid synth line which subdivides its layers, and their wanderings, in a warm ethereal harmony. A soft mellotron covers this cadence sometimes soft and sometimes stormy, like a lustful oniric waltz or a fine bolero, at the same time moving and dramatic. Cawing of cosmic birds overhang the black cosmos of Pictures and its intro as metallic as cosmic. Dark the movement waltz awkwardly, brushing even an ambiance slightly distressing, with a dark synth line with wavering reverberations from where escapes whispers, linear embros, metallic hoops and flickered percussions which weave an oddly hatched structure. Strange and slow sound maelstrom which is gradually dissipating to let heard a fine sequential movement which zigzags in ascent of its hesitant chords under synth pawing. A fine synth line undulates and hoots, like a phantom threat, on this ambivalent structure from where the first bites of Maxxess guitar are made hear with good riffs emerging around the 7th minute. They espouse wonderfully this hesitant structure which takes its take-off with mellotron wings and fine percussions. Pictures adopts then a suave and languorous movement where superb and celestial guitar solos fly over heavenly mellotron pads and delicate fluty breezes to tangle up in a soft cosmic daydream. A very beautiful track tinted of a romantic magnetic.
Nefilim is built a little in the same mould as Pictures, guitar in less. A strange circular growl opens its intro, such a machine which is quietly getting on, under a scintillating sound prism. A fine pulsation draws a sober march girdled of a superb synth with very moving layers and spectral solos which undulate under a cloud of sequences. Sequences which dance and hop feverishly, pointing out the universe of Software while illuminating Nefilim of an oniric beauty, whereas percussions mold a slow rhythm moderate by a synth with melancholic solos. Splendid Nefilim is torn in its evolution with its percussions which seek to explode the rhythm. A tempo smarmily captive of its sequences, which whirl without ever wanting to leave its rhythmic corridor, and of its synth to suave solos, flowing such as tears of sounds. A very beautiful track, just like Pictures and Fusion! Schwerelos offers a beautiful groovy structure of which premices are a beautiful bass line, keyboards keys a little funky and good percussions which shape a sustained and hatched rhythm, coated of beautiful misty layers. Simple and effective, Schwerelos sticks to the ear instantaneously, like Speed of Light but without its explosive mordant. In this regard, if Fusion, Pictures and Nefilim charmed you, wait to hear Under a Starry Sky. Quixotic blowpipes breaths tear an intro as cosmic as atmospheric before that a superb sequential line with chords that hop and undulate don’t wake up the very beautiful Under a Starry Sky. And there, a superb synth dandles our ears of musical nectar where solos and melodious pads dance under a marvelous carrousel of sequences quite as eurhythmic. Sequences gambol with fine percussions, giving to Under a Starry Sky a soft and suave tempo which swirls like an oniric bewitching before being huddled in the hollow of a splendid musical refrain worthy of Vangelis greatest moments. A very beautiful track that makes arm hairs rise and melt moments of nostalgia in fine tears of delivery.
It remains little to write after a track as Under a Starry Sky and its innumerable mellotron synth layers that lull stars while exhilarating us of oniric softness, except that this track depicts all the ambiance as much nostalgic, melodious and astonishment liven up which surrounds this little marvel that is Fusion. From furious Speed of Light to melancholic Under a Starry Sky, Axess 6th opus is filled of softness which scatters on ambivalent and hybrids rhythms which pullulate on throughout Fusion. As far as I’m concern Fusion is a big heartthrob with 50 minutes of music filled of hybrid fragrances which glean between sweet space rock and true Berlin School with sequences as limpid as crystal. One of the top 10 of 2010!


Sylvain Lupari
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream;

AXESS:Chamaeleon (2003)

To hear the sound fauna and vocal effects of the intro eyes closed, the link with The Alien is automatically made. A superb hopping sequence, whose certain notes are disarranged, whirls with force and heaviness. A discrete pulsation supports this sequence, surrounded of sound streaks. The pulsation emerges more and more, with felted metallic percussions and a synth which flies over this intense and plentiful movement. The drum hammers an accentuated tempo on another melodious sequence which rolls in cascade on synths with floating pads and tuneful lines. Firmly anchor on its rhythm, The Alien forks on a softer passage, before taking again its animated sequence for finally dying out in the atmospheric stripes with extra terrestrial languages. With its pad pulsations and dark sound effects, Desire presents a lugubrious intro, à la Redshift style. Far away, we can hear pulsations approaching with a sequential line whose harmonies are stuck to pulsations which accelerate their tempos. Very melodious the sequence follows a minimalism tangent, turning on the same circle, which grows rich of superb serpentine notes on rich and dense violin string layers. The more Desire advances, the more the addition of sonority seems to modify its rhythm, whereas it becomes simply more harmonious with a superb subtlety in arpeggios, which give a deep enveloping melodious. Floating is a strange stationary maelstrom where synth notes and streaks whirl around this floating movement. If you are lucky enough to listened Floating on high volume, do it. It’s at this moment that it takes all its width and splendour, before bringing us in the atmospheric spheres of the title track, with its sound effects that enfold the floating synth pads.
Synth is soft and moves with a harmonious slowness through dark breaths. A sequence is forming and agitating on the vertical, freeing scatter synth strips in its axis rotation. Violin string layers encircle the implosion whereas a line of percussion tambourine a minimalism tempo. A superb synth throws itself in a synth eulogy that will nail your skin on the wall. The synth turns, spins and ripples on fluid and twisted impulsions. This is synth acrobatics that tears the hair from its root. WoW! This is a great synth move there. Around the 7th minute Chamaeleon pours in the space spheres where everything is in suspension. Streaks and grooves tear the horizon with tapered particles, whereas a synth movement is forming on breezes with tuneful instincts. A sequence, at horizontal this time, emerges by whirling, filtering short harmonious lines which follow the sequential rhythm. Some pulsations later, the sequence modifies its fluid tempo to be harpoon by dry percussions, techno kind, and a very beautiful synth refrain which modifies its course to take back the audacity of its consistent solos to close Chamaeleon.
Dark and heavy, the intro of The Sirius Mystery is completely... mysterious. With its slow movement that is wiggling on keys in cascade and percussions which mark an excited tempo. Nervous, the synth multiplies layers with various tonalities which surround this semi techno rhythm, slows down by violin string layers. On the second part, there is nothing to hold the rhythm which circles freely on nervous solos and keys. Dream Is Always A Dream closes Axess second solo opus on a more intimate and relax mood. On a suave tempo, the synth pushes melodious segments until the rhythm whirls more liberally, increasing its rate on string layers. A light swirl which become a marvellous synth ode and where the synth blows nostalgic harmonies which wrap us in the comfortable heat of a timeless ballade. A superb ending for an album that we would like endless.
I was very impress by Chamaeleon which contains some beautiful jewels. With his second solo album, Axess shows that harmonies, melodies can cohabit very well with random movements with multiple bounces. A very beautiful album which leaves instantly its sound imprint.


Sylvain Lupari (2006)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream;

AXESS: First Light (2001)

Axess is Axel Stupplich, one of the three synth players from German progressive EM band, Pyramid Peak and First Light is his first solo album. An album very close to Peak sonorities and we won’t complain about. It is rhythmic and well sequenced with beautiful small jewels of tenderness or bludgeoned sequences. An opus that we have to listen carefully in order to catch all subtle progressions that open a first extremely convincing album for Axess.
Mellotron layers, as Pink Floyd’ Shine one you Crazy Diamonds, float in a vaporous ambience. Awekening atonal intro is short because a heavy sequencer bags the rhythm on good sequenced percussions which accelerate a tempo daze by sublimes whirling synth layers. The musical depth is developing with keys that circle on a heavier sequence, pierced by superb solos, à la Peak sonorities. A pulsation resounds in the magnetic field of Distant Sun, where scatter notes and percussions are graft with a vertical sequence which espouses a jerked movement. Synth layers, astral choirs and metallic streaks cover the waves of a sequence where the rhythm crescendos subtly, making Distant Sun a kind of static half bolero. Echoes of Eternity is a strong track. Rhythmic, the musical structure is moulded like the one in Distant Sun. The impulsion is struck by clear notes and solids percussions, subtly diverting its course among multiple synth surges, including fabulous solos. A true intense musical swirl which dies down in semi course on an atmospheric rain shower, where synth streaks float sinuously among analog and metallic sound effects. On the echo of a lost drone, arise a superb hatched sequence on slamming percussions. A rotary sequence accompanies by superb solos, tearing and harmonious which we would like to hear again and again.
Notes of First Light form a sequence in loop on violin mellotrons. On vibrating pulsations, the sequence becomes more limpid and undulates on strikes of a quixotic bow, calling for a violin charge. A more liven up pulsation on intense sequence, synth solos overhangs with the Peak sonority a methodical movement which follows a sober itinerary. Shadows Of Dawn begins on a slow tempo. Dragged by sound effects and tuneful streaks, the beat becomes animated slightly with fine felted percussions and a more wrapping synth which whistles, as much as it fuses, short harmonies. A beautiful line of bass moulds the ambiance which arises on nervous keys and heavy sequence, which turns towards a techno dance beat on a more lively rhythm with tinkling percussions and synths with melodic solos. The intro of The Sermon is superb and the melody reminds me of Vangelis on Albedo 0.39; Alpha. A shimmering melody that a ballerina would furrows with grace. And even more when one sequence is moulding to it, adding heaviness and sensuality on a slow move to overwhelming and symphonic synths. A superb electronic ballade! Tibetan gongs on wrapping layers open Infinity. We expect a title with Tibetan ambiance, when short streaks oscillate on a rolling sequence, giving the signal to a rhythm whirling with fury. Sequences with smashing and limpid chords wind on multi spins and squaking percussions to shape a metallic techno flooded of virtual breathless choirs. An aggressive track that will light up your Zombie-Rave parties!
First Light deserves that we stop on this first Axess solo project and gives a good hearing. Don’t do as I did; throw the album to oubliettes without really giving it an attentive listening. Because on Fisrt Light, we go from an extreme to another; beautiful Berlin School to hypnotic techno trance dear to Axess structures, which slightly touch the Peak style. First Light is an opus with multiple sequences that subdivide rhythms on catchy melodies, stamp feet techno with synths to sonorities equivalent the many colours of prism. A truly good CD that’s worth the buying.


Sylvain Lupari (2006)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream;

SYNTH.NL: AeroDynamics (2007)

A Ferrari over Mars! How does it sound to you? Syncopated rhythms which roll on beautiful involving sequences! Does that interest you? Here AeroDynamics, the 1st opus from Dutch synthesist Michel Van Osenbruggen. As much to say it first, you won’t find complex sequences, nor long atmospheric passages. No, Synth.NL is from new Jean Michel Jarre School, Moonbooter and a punchy zest of Kraftwerk. So rhythm, lot of rhythm with solid percussions on unbridled sequences!
With a title like Scuderia, we are not surprise to hear tires bitten vacuum as intro. The tempo is easily install on beautiful stroboscopic sequences and a synth with spacey atmospheres, which encircle a musical setting worthy of the last Jean Michel Jarre. Involving and percussive, Scuderia represents perfectly the musical mood that follows with the 12 other tracks on AeroDynamics. Superb melodies with sequences animated of sensuality like Downforce, Stall and AirFlow, are scattered among strong frantic impulses such as Drag, Turbulence and Falcon. Admittedly, there are moments with strange and doubtful atmospheres, as the title track, Modena and Lift, but they are quickly packed of frenzied tempo which strikes the walls from their jerked effects and musical resonance, though Lift remains rather quiet compared to the remainder.
Simple, but brilliantly effective, AeroDynamics is an album of EM which revolves between zones of a moderate techno and short floating ambiances which encircle syncopated tempos, sometimes unbridled. If you like an intelligent music which strikes audacity nervous sequencers, Synth.NL’s AeroDynamics is simply indicated to you.


Sylvain Lupari (2007)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream;

SYNTH.NL: AtmoSphere (2008)

Michel van Osenbruggen (Synth. NL) 2nd album is inspired by atmosphere layers that encircle our planet. A little in the same vein as its 1st opus, AeroDynamics, the Dutch synthesist continues to forge energetic music with catchy rhythms. Atmosphere is offering a beautiful range with a touch closer to cloudy atmospheres than cosmic ones, as we found on AeroDynamics. A new kind of progressive synth pop with an approach that is quite heavier.
Troposphere is fomenting like a grain in space. A train comes from nowhere and releases heteroclite sound effects. The ambiance is cosmic, except for fine cymbals which initiate a more lively percussion play, in a cosmic sphere with mellotron choirs and light hazes. A syncopated sequence is melting agreeably in this space landscape, creating a sustained rhythm which girdles an active nebulosity. In one track, Synth.NL situates his music. Melodious and rhythmic, stuffed of heavy mellotron which gives the impression to slow down the tempo. Heavy and dilly-dally Troposphere, just like Cumulonimbus which seems to be his remix, rebounds in tympanums with an amazing sound richness. Atmosphere abounds of these titles with vaporous and climatic intros which lead to frank and vigorous rhythms, with a Jean Michel Jarre touch. Titles like Troposphere, Altocumulus, the excellent Altostratus and the very Jarrian Exosphere with his delightful violins, exploit chipped sequences on airy percussions and melodious synth. Intelligent and catchy cosmic candy there!
Stratosphere’s intro plunges us into a cosmic static broth which is animating softly on circular cymbals and a hiccupping sequence which surrounds a hardly rhythmic movement. Melodious, the synth floats wistfully whereas the title immerses in a black mood with, in background, the initial melody which floats more than was agitating. One of the more ambient tracks we find on this album, along with Thermosphere and Cirrostratus which always oscillate between the fragmented nebulosity and rhythms. Atmosphere is more elaborate. A soft rotary sequence with a mellotron choral insufflates a soft melody that curt strikes of percussions don’t manage to spoil. A good track, like the whole majority that are on Synth.NL 2nd opus, with a synth-pop to progressive touch as Mesosphere and its long synth solos and Nimbostratus with its dramatic cosmic approach.
If you like AeroDynamics, AtmosPhere won’t disappoint you. A strong album in rhythm and which brushes the roots of ambient EM doesn’t go unperceived. There is a strong Jarre influence, in particular on percussions and synth refrains which bite easily the ears. A good album for fans of synth pop with great percussion moves and well builds orchestrations.


Sylvain Lupari (2008)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream;

mardi 23 novembre 2010


S&S:How was the Refuge en Verre project born?
Synth.NL: Ron and I didn't plan upfront to make an album at all to be honest. Ever since I have joined the Groove Unlimited label in 2007 I have become good friends with Ron. We visit each other on a regular basis and our wives, kids and even the dogs like each other too. Last summer our wives decided to rent a holiday house in the Belgian Ardennes together and Ron and I decided to both bring a synthesizer and try to make some music. We never played before together and we thought we might maybe record one or two songs. It turned out we could make music together very quickly and after the weekend we had quite some material. Only after that weekend then we decided to make this album.

S&S: With Refuge en Verre, Synth.NL touches lightly a music that is closer to the atmospheric and ambient progressive borders (Orage d'Été, Rosée du Matin and Coucher de Soleil). Is this the influence of Ron Boots or simply Synth.NL progression?
Synth.NL: When we started playing the first two tracks they were quite uptempo and as you can probably tell the first track sounds a bit more like Ron Boots and the second track a bit more like Synth.NL even though you can hear us both clearly. From the third track on we wanted to do something different that was more the both of us. From there the idea came to play a more ambient track and Orage d'Été was born. Later on we decided to do some more quiet stuff. We actually both like this kind of music very much so it was not the influence of one of us, but the influence both of us.

S&S: After an album with catchy rhythms and melodies such as OceanoGraphy, don't you fear to destabilize your fans with an album that has a more progressive musical orientation as Refuge en Verre?
Synth.NL: No I don't fear that at all actually. I have a very simple view on my own music. I make the music that I like myself first of all and then if other people like it too... great!! If they don't... no problem at all! I won't get upset if people don't like my music. Everybody has his own taste fortunately and I can't change that :). Besides, this album is collaboration and there you have to make compromises of course. My next solo album will sound more like Synth.NL again I guess even though I'll try to improve myself of course and try not to do the same thing as on the last albums.

S&S: On is another side, your very rhythmic and orchestral approach is strongly present (La Roche-en-Ardenne, Combat de Coqs and Contemple de Ciel) on Refuge en Verre. How did the communication passed between you and Ron Boots?
Synth.NL: That went very easy, not in words but in notes :) Almost all tracks were played live as improvisations. Most of the times I started playing something and Ron just played along. Ron is a very good live artist with a lot of experience playing with other artists. I most often was amazed how easy it all went actually. This is really Ron's quality and not mine. Besides that Ron knows what kind of music I like since he helped mixing and mastering my solo albums and next to that we always have a lot of discussions about music together.

S&S:Did you feel swallowed or intimidated by Ron Boots experience and skill with random rhythms and sequences?
Synth.NL: No not at all. Ron is a very nice and easy person to work with. I'm way more difficult I guess ;) I'm quite stubborn and perfectionistic, but Ron handled that very well :) I think both our styles mix very well on this album. We are both melodic and chord oriented even though our individual approaches are different. The only thing I had to get used to is the longer length of the tracks. Usually my own tracks are a bit shorter, but it is Ron's quality again to keep these tracks interesting especially with his sequencer work.

S&S: Refuge en Verre is your 4th album. Wasn't it too early in your career to twin your music, which after all hardly flowers, with the one of a musician also experienced such as Ron Boots?
Synth.NL: I haven't thought about that to be honest. I was planning to release a solo album in October, but because this project was so much fun I decided to postpone that solo album and release this one together with Ron first. Actually when I think about it now, it might be even a good idea to get my name out to Ron's fans that don't know me yet. Ron has been around for a very long time and is very well known all over the World, where I just started out. But like I said before, that was not the reason for doing this at all. It was just a lot of fun to work with Ron and I'm very happy with the end result.

S&S: How did you like working in team? Does it take a lot of comprehension to work, write and match musical ideas with someone else?
Synth.NL: I could not work with just anyone I guess. Like I said before I'm not an easy person to work with. I have a strong idea about what I would like to do up front normally. Especially when I'm working on a solo project I already have a clear image of the theme of the album, the whole story and build-up of the album and even the music is already in my head before I start playing a note. In this project with Ron I just let myself go and I just went with the flow. There was no up front idea, no theme nothing. We just played and had fun. I guess this is why it worked. There were no complicated discussions at all. I liked working like this for a change and will do so again in the future for sure, but now I go back to my own way stubborn way again.

S&S: Does Refuge en Verre marks a new turning in the musical progression of Synth.NL?Synth.NL: Well yes and no. For me every track is a turning point actually. I try to improve myself with every track. Fortunately I still learn new things every day. I guess when I would not be able to improve myself anymore it would be better to stop completely. It would get boring then to make music for me. I learned a lot by the way from this project with Ron. He solves things differently than I would have done on my own. So it could well be that I will use this experience on my next projects. But Synth.NL will still remain Synth.NL :)

S&S: Talk to me about Rosée du Matin. We have the feeling to hear Vangelis at the time of Opera Sauvage. What is the influence of Vangelis on your music and which are your other musical influences?
Synth.NL: You are very right about that. I have all albums by Vangelis on CD and listen to them at least once a year, so I'm sure you will hear influences from him in my music. In my opinion he is the best EM artist in the scene, a very brilliant composer. Besides that I like Jean Michel Jarre a lot. I visited some of his concerts and even got to meet up with him a while ago. I also have all his albums on CD. Next those two artists I also like: The Art of Noise, Jan Hammer, Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Orbital, The Prodigy, Depeche Mode, Eurythmics, Frankie goes to Hollywood. As long as it has lots of synthesizers in it :)

S&S: What are your 5 best albums? Your albums references that influenced your artistic choice?Synth.NL: A top five, that is always hard :) But I guess at this moment in time it would look like this:
Vangelis – Soil Festivities
Vangelis – Antartica
Vangelis – China
Jean Michel Jarre – Oxygene
Jean Michel Jarre – Equinoxe

S&S: How does Michel van Osenbruggen comes to make EM?
Synth.NL: That is a long story, that you can read in the biography on my website, but here is a short version: I have a background in electronics and when I found out that you could make sounds with electronics I was immediately hooked. Then I bought my first synthesizer in 1990 or so and started collecting them from then on. I did a lot of sound design, but never recorded any music. I was just too busy with my job and then I started my own company in 1996 and I had even less time. Unfortunately I suffered a burnout in 2005 and I was at home, not able to work at all. Then I though that it was time to finally start doing something productive with all those synthesizers I collected and I started recording some tracks and from there my first album came in 2007.

S&S: What are the instruments you are using and fascinate you the most and why?
Synth.NL: I have a lot of synthesizers in my studio. There is a complete list of everything on my website if you are interested and there are lots of pictures of the studio as well. I try to use all synthesizers as much as possible, but I have my favorites of course. I use both analog and digital synthesizers so I'll name five favorites for both categories. On the analog side I just love these: Moog Minimoog, ARP 2600, Elka Synthex, Roland Jupiter 8 and the Sequential Circuits Prophet 5. And yes they really are as good as everyone says :) On the digital side these are my favorites: Access Virus TI, Roland V-Synth GT, Korg M3, Roland JP8000, Roland D50. But what fascinates me the most are not any of these actually but the modular synthesizers I bought and those that I am building myself. It is just unbelievable what you can do with those machines.

S&S: Since AeroDynamics in 2007, you were always produced by Groove. What was the impact of Ron Boots on the music of Synth.NL?
Synth.NL: Not that much actually. The only thing Ron every said to me on my first album is that I should lay down a bit on the drums. In the first versions of AeroDynamics that I did myself the drums were a bit more upfront in the mix. Ron also thought some of my sounds were too dry so he advised me to use more reverb here and there. While mixing and mastering AeroDynamics with Ron I learned a lot from him. So much in fact that on my two following albums he didn't have that much work any more. But musically Ron lets me do my own thing and I'm still very happy that Ron and Kees gave me the chance to release my music on the Groove Unlimited label. And if it is up to me I hope to release a lot of new albums with them in the future.

S&S: Why Synth.NL and the NL?
Synth.NL: My own name is Michel van Osenbruggen and it is quite difficult to pronounce for a lot of people and even Dutch people never seem to write it correctly, so it didn't seem very suitable to use as an artist name to me. When I was thinking of an artist name I wanted people to recognize that I did something with synthesizers right away. Synth is short for synthesizer of course. I was also looking for a name that was available on the Internet as a domain-name and a name that was easy to remember for everyone. Then I found out that was still free. That seemed like a good and short name for a website and then I thought why not use it as an artist name as well. It is obvious that I do something with synthesizers and the .NL shows that I am from The Netherlands. If people can remember this name they don't have to think about my website either. They can just type it in the browser and it will work :) Some people like the name some don't, but everyone remembers it and I think that is the most important.

S&S: After Refuge En Verre, what can we expect from Synth.NL in the near future?
Synth.NL: There are lots more to come. First of all I'm working on finishing the solo album that I postponed for Refuge en Verre. That album will be called 'Apollo' and that will be about the Apollo Space missions to the Moon that NASA did in the so called 'Space Race' to beat the Russians back then. I was born in 1969 myself and that was the year that Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon. So I always felt very connected to this event. I hope to release it in April 2011 during the E-day festival. I'm also working on my Classical Project for a long time already. Unfortunately I had some technical difficulties that forced me to postpone that project as well, but I hope to release that in the near future too. Besides that I'm already working on a lot of new stuff, so I'm sure lots more will come in the future, maybe also some more collaborations with other artists..... Who knows? ;)

S&S: Are you satisfied of the rise of EM and the progression of Synth.NL?
Synth.NL: I still have fun producing my own music and I'm happy that I can still improve myself. It is also nice that there are lots of people that apparently like music and give me positive feedback on it. That is really what keeps me going and motivates me to make new music. I am a bit disappointed though how much attention EM gets on the radio and more public media. I put in a lot of effort to get my music out there and notice that people are delighted to hear there is more music than the main stream stuff they hear every day. I really hope that some day some popular DJ's might notice that movement too. Music is not all about heavy beats and screaming guitars. Sometimes people also want to relax. Funny enough I have a lot of fans that are really into Dance music or Heavy Metal and like my music to relax to from time to time. As for my personal progression I would really love to do more projects like the Planetarium project I did a while ago. I'd love to make a score for a movie or documentary some day, but then not just the ordinary orchestral Hollywood sound, but give it my own touch, like Vangelis did with the Bladerunner movie and the Antartica documentary. Ah well.... we all need our dreams right? ;)

SYNTH.NL & RON BOOTS: Refuge en Verre (2010)

1 Refuge en Verre 12:16
2 La Roche en Ardenne 8:37
3 Orage d'Été 8:07
4 Coucher du Soleil 10:24
5 Contemple du Ciel 8:13
6 Rosée du Matin 5:15
7 Combat des Coqs 11:21
8 Soleil Levant 6:22

GROOVE: GR-174 (CD 70:39)
Refuge en Verre is the name of a chalet located in the Belgian Ardennes. It is also the place where Michel van Osenbruggen, better known under the name of Synth. NL and Ron Boots sealed an increasing friendship during a family weekend of which synths and PCs were in the middle of victuals and, especially, where the panorama was favorable for an inspiration which precisely nourished these synths and PCs. Family meeting in an absolutely splendid place, according to the description made by the two accomplices, it didn’t need anything more to compose an album which soaks in a convivial ambiance. A Refuge en Verre where the duality as well rhythmic as melodious which lives and differentiates the musical universes from Ron Boots and Michel van Osenbruggen is completing throughout this soft opus to hybrid atmospheres.
A distant synth breath tinted by a cosmic flavor opens Refuge en Verre. Layers ramble in a galaxy where voices of children can be heard. We would believe being in morning when the life wakes up behind a dome of fog emits by a suave mellotron and where the nature takes life with butterflies’ wings which flicker on fines and nervous percussions. Waves whistle in this quixotic firmament, crossing morning quietude. And gently, as for not awakening the universe, the rhythm is settling with a fine syncopated line which supports percussions and girdles mellotron pads. Synth solos fuse with density and acuity on a fine melodious line of an oniric and poetic softness, wrapping thus the first portion of Refuge en Verre. Around the 5th minute the tempo is isolating from these solos to borrow a less dreamy rhythmic, but as quite warmth, where keyboard keys shape a soft jazzed approach on a structure always agitated of a syncopated line. The long solos come back to hoodwink around Refuge en Verre, witness of the duality as well rhythmic as melodious of Ron Boots and Synth. NL. Small sound particles whirl in the opening of La Roche-en-Ardenne. A short atmospheric intro that a good strike of percussion disable sharply to light a street rhythm with hammerings that ram a sturdy walking around where synth solos twirl around a heavy bass line, à la Patrick O' Hearn, which bites the tempo. A track which is very close to the melodious rhythms of Synth. NL, just like the furious and very rock Combat des Coqs. A fine rain shower crossed of remote thunders and dandled of soft perfumes from a solitary synth opens Orage d’Été. The synth there is soft and croon on a light rhythmic divided by split by glitters of percussions and clogs which furrow a road for souls in search of a refuge. A beautiful atmospheric track which transcends a bit the ambiguous and static tempos from Steve Roach and Rudy Adrian desert and tribal soundscapes.
Very languorous, to the limit sensual, Coucher du Soleil presents a prismatic intro where synth breezes weave an ochre veil. A veil sifted, as the weak gleams of a sun which embraces the half-lights of a day, a soft tempo drawn by electronic percussions with hypnotic rebounds. Tender mellotron pads, flooded by wandering choirs, waltz with beautiful synth solos. They wake up low shimmering chords and furrow a duality of rhythms with a fine syncopated line which dances in withdrawal to give a warm and unique dimension to one of the very beautiful tracks of Refuge en Verre. Also presenting a very atmospheric introduction, Contemple du Ciel wakes up on a fine structure which spins in harmony among beautiful synth layers which exchange solos and harmony on light ‘‘ hands slapping kind’’ percussions. Synths and mellotrons are suave there and lasciviously dance around an undulating structure which winds the sky like a stairway towards stars. A soft and very harmonious track with beautiful synth solos with Arab fragrances. Rosée du Matin is the most ambient track of Refuge en Verre. A concerto for solitary synth which cries its loneliness in the morning dew. A great track which points out Vangelis and Opera Sauvage. Soleil Levant concludes this first Boots/Synth. NL collaboration with a heavy track filled of long and twisted synth solos. Hopping tempo envelopes an intro which floats in mellotron fogs of a contemplative wandering. A fine syncopated line flickers besides heavy percussions and a beautiful bass line which weave the rhythmic background of Soleil Levant, whose ascending rhythm is sieved by strident, but superb, synth solos.
Heavy rhythms, poetic ambiances, a fusion of synth with solos and harmonies tearing on a Vangelis and Roach (not to say Boots) framework, hybrid sequences where percussions marinate marvelously well with sequencers chords; here is the takings of Refuge en Verre. A beautiful album of EM which doesn’t have weak moments and where the presence of Ron Boots in the universe of Synth. NL adds an amazing depth to the ‘‘Jarresques’’ and ‘‘Vangelesques’’ rhythms and melodies of Michel van Osenbruggen. In short a beautiful album, very melodious and filled with charm which is listening like taking time to live.
Sylvain Lupari
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

lundi 22 novembre 2010

SYNTH.NL: OceanoGraphy (2009)

When the harmonies meet rhythmic complexities or when Jarre influences cross romantic arrangements of a dreamy Vangelis this gives OceanoGraphy; a very beautiful album that depicts pretty well the vision of the Dutch synthesist. For his 3rd opus Michel Van Osenbruggen is inspired by oceans and the survival fragility of its aquatic fauna. A work which wants to be a intra terrestrial hymn with a strange spatial fusion, supported by a certain rhythmic heaviness which has nothing to do with the grace of oceans.
Antartico opens on a very light touch. A beautiful track with a melodious theme which is near Vangelis style, where we can hear a magnificent felted and fluted mellotron pushed this great melody that is close to New Age territories with its very sensitive and hooking synth and keyboard. A soft track to melts the heart of the hardest ones. Balaenoptera (Rorqual of the Atlantic Ocean) is all in contrast and shapes marvelously the heavy movements of this graceful whale. A hiccoughing bassline hems on a synth which undulates in an oceanic background soundscapes. A fine keyboard strums soft chords before the bass becomes accessory of heaviness on a superb synth which drags an impressive sound mass in a quixotic amphibian world. A heavy track, quite as the mega weight Megaptera, which finds grace on a splendid hemming and coiling synth filled of kiss-curl laments. Loud and atonal, the intro of Atlantico rolls with an extreme gravity on a sea agitated of intertwined waves. A spiraled rhythmical, coated by mellotron choirs and by slamming percussions as well as a synth with ascending arpeggios, draw a musical structure that recalls great moments of Jarre in a halieutic carousel stuffed with heavy twisted solos. With its cosmic approach to thousand striations and analog effects that sound like shooting stars, Carcharodon crosses more the space than the abundance seas with a good melodramatic approach on a heavy bass structure.
Oceanography divides the opus into two, bringing a less heavy and more harmonious approach for tracks to follow. A charming synth lament is delighting of a beautiful synth with sighs of a faunistic submarine variety on a slow tempo torn between arpeggios which sparkle on a mellotron that shape tides movements. There is a beautiful artistic creativity on Tursiops where we hear dolphins sang and jumped on a rhythm broken by a beautiful synth with aquatic wave’s effects. After this sweet sea lullaby which is Indico, Chelonia moves with the elegance of marine tortoises on a slightly hatched cadence and girdled by a synth with solos to saxophones tinted of tropical flavor. With its notched tempo which hiccoughs on a synth with sweet melodious billows and heavy solos, Artico distances itself from quieter structures giving to ocean titles of OceanoGraphy. By far, it’s the liveliest track on this second half. Softer, Orcinus spouses a dreamy structure with a beautiful piano and a bass sequence which stutters under a synth very near the soil of Vangelis, quite as the melodious Pacifico who closes with the same harmonious approach as Antartico had made on the opening.
When an artist succeeds to sculpture his music so that we can visualize its story and\or message, we can easily affirm that his purpose is reached. OceanoGraphy of Michel Van Osenbruggen (Synth.NL) aims right in the target by offering a beautiful and tender poetic music with amazing rhythmic structures, sometimes heavy, slightly complex, but always melodious. A beautiful album that we taste eyes closed with soundscapes and sounding images which will certainly please the fans of Vangelis and Jarre, any areas include.


Sylvain Lupari
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream;

AXESS:Time Traveller (2005)

I quite like this Axel! With the comeback of Pyramid Peak, the German synthesist is breaking away from the Peak sonority and Berlin School style to go deepen into a more striking, a more techno style. But not the kind that goes ‘‘Bang Bang, down all the walls’’. No! It’s a skilful mixture of kinds where the exploratory side of complex harmonies remains the premise of its achievements.
A sound shade passes by quickly, time to be hook by a powerful and fast circular rhythm. Time Traveller is a furious track with solid percussions and a sequencer with bass pulsations which pulse a tempo wavy and resounding of its sound impact. Some synth lines, very robot like, embellish a lively rhythm on a nervous and syncopate sequential movement and more concrete percussions. A good solid techno like the corrosive Bombay Fruit Market, which we will hear later. The Uncertainty Principle first jolts present a nonchalant approach with a stunning groovy bass and snapping Jarre kind percussions. A beautiful impulsion is subdividing, forming two movements which exploit the shade of each other, around beautiful long sinuous solos, wrapping strata and a fluid synth refrain which hangs. A very good track which hooks at the first hearing and which has something vicious and sensual. Cuba Libre is more nervous. Hesitant the rhythm is hooking to lively percussions and to a synth with hatched and bouncy lines which whirl on greedy percussions. In all this ball of energy layers float, like unconscious, creating an ambiguous tempo that a long synth complaint triturates all along Cuba Libre. Fly Away is a juicy circular techno with bumpy riffs from a bass sequence with resounding pulsations and hammering percussions. The rhythm is hyper bouncy on heavy and hypnotic beats. A purge against atony, on a wild impulsion which filters beautiful melodious segments.
Mirror of Illusions is a superb track. Strange percussions animate a slow tempo on sound effects which amplify even more the oddness of percussions. Tempo twists a bit more on beautiful synth solos which float with the opposite of sequences along with dramatic effects and long westerns riffs which give a clandestine charm to Mirror of Illusions. Tribal voices push Pharao towards a floating ambiance. Soft the move pours towards a swaying step that haunting percussions order a sensual tempo. The sensuality takes its entire dimension with groovy bass, fine synth strata with ethereal choirs and subtle laments of desire. Lost in Space is a beautiful synth melody which curiously reminds me the soft cosmic melody of Alan Parsons on I Robot. Fluttering percussions which shake the peace of The Voyage are perfectly synchronized. A sweet pulse bass line is adding to the movement which becomes heavier, until it crosses the falling superb melodious line. Unsuspected and above all suspicion The Voyage takes forms of a great departure with superb synth melodies and a syncopated tempo with prompt percussions which modify the course of rhythms, without ever disorientating melodies. With World of Secrets we go back to a more Berlin School style with a dark intro which floats on spatial sonorities and drones from an aero spatial engine. Strange sound effects are twisting in the atmosphere, a little like a set of unsettled percussions, before taking forms on a jerked tempo with hesitant sequence. A good circular track with hatched effects that twist slowly on beautiful synths, with superb layers loops, and which dies out in the splendour of atmospheric ambiance
In spite of the clear tendency towards techno, I liked Time Traveller; a good way to discover the sequential universe on hammered and powerful rhythms. Axel succeeds to infiltrate the techno culture with heat and a subtlety in variances which is missing on this kind of music. If certain tracks smash tympanums, others reinvigorate them and recover them, creating the perfect harmony between two styles to the extremes that few artists manage to moderate. Axel Stupplich is one of them.

Sylvain Lupari
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream;

AXESS: Voices of Dawm (2008)

A mixture of percussions and hopping arpeggios open this Axel Stupplich 4th solo opus. Slow synth modulations envelop Beyond the Stars intro which becomes more melody with its fine fluty line. Sequences become more mordant and the rhythm more nervous under soft synth layers, plunging the rhythm in a nostalgic broth. Because Voices of Dawn is an album imprints of nostalgia for Pyramid Peak fans and Axess first works. If Beyond the Stars verges the impetuous movements of a daring Jarre of the 70’s, Zeit plunges us in a nebulous blackness which awakes up gently under a felted synth with cosmic breaths and a sequence which whirls with more energy. Axess at his best, hypnotic and appealing, with superb solos of a striking synth and just enough tempo to floated in a spangled ocean. An excellent track on Voices of Dawn, just as The Return Of Nibiru with its whirling and cascade kind sequence that is molding with another, more hopping, forming a frenzied pace. A synth with loopy waves and discrete choirs smoulde this hiccoughing sequential fusion which is livens up with great percussions. From curt and hatched, flirting with techno, the synth becomes more harmonious and flows with a paradox of rhythms and melodies in a boosted ambiance whereas The Return Of Nibiru progresses on a tempo that goes more frantic, nourishing itself of a completely disorganized synthesized flood, but surprisingly creative. A boiling track that goes beyond the limit of a traditional Berlin School and that will rip off the paint of your walls.
After such aggressiveness Axess invites us in a more serene corridor with the melodious Roppongi Hills. A soft and sober track with a synth to strident melody, coupled with a more harmonious mellotron. A beautiful melody, à la Klangwelt style, which sticks to skin and a beautiful dessert for ears afire by the first 3 tracks. For me, Stonehenge is Voices of Dawn’s jewel. A black intro pierced of metal breezes which add a cosmic coldness to a movement more than nebulous, like some dark TD which slowly flies away under the hazes of a slinky synth with hardly audible vocals. A splendid sequence hems on the movement, creating a hypnotic effect which reaches its melodious paroxysm with a sequence in staccato which flows as cyclic loops in a harmonious and delicious maelstrom so suave to ears. Some great EM art we have here and one of the best tracks of 2008. Endless Dreams is indeed bringing us toward eternal dreams with its soft hypnotic sequence which runs like fine percussions, on a morphic synth. A floating track in the purest Berlin School tradition! Voices of Dawn concludes also on a floating movement with beautiful synth waves which hem in a heavy ambiance wrapped of creamy layers. Voices of Dawn slightly takes a languorous tangent with a line of bass that pulses feebly beneath fine percussions.
After a long silence of 3years, Axess returns in strength force with an opus impossible to avoid. In Voices of Dawn, he confirms his immense talent of composer and sound visionary with a superb mixture of retro Berlin School to a more contemporary one. A solid opus full of rhythms, musical abrupt changes and tenderness which reveals all the beauty and the subtlety of the EM art.


Sylvain Lupari (2008)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

mardi 16 novembre 2010

GERT EMMENS: The Nearest Faraway Place Vol.3 (2010)

The Nearest Faraway Place Vol. 3 is the last part of this cosmic trilogy that the Dutch synthesist began in 2008. Once again, Gert Emmens covers his sound galaxy by a pleiad of synth lines with tones unique to his gears conception and where plentiful strata wrap of their foggy cosmic sequences to intertwine lines. Sequences sometimes hesitating and sometimes mordant but always constant, which criss-cross a cosmic tale under synth lines with foggy steam and suave weeping solos. A musical universe signed by Gert Emmens with a beautiful complicity between analogue and digital where the borders of imagination belong as much to the listener as its designer.
A distant synth line ripples lazily on Part 15 opening. We could imagine ourselves at a cosmic fair where mechanical streaks tear the firmament below subtle bass pulsations. A sequence comes along. She waddles at good speed, wrapped that she becomes by a beautiful layer of a lyrical synth which frees soft solos through synth mist, whereas the rhythmic bustles in a universe where synth breaths to multi- coloured tones embrace a languishing rhythmic which finishes its race under cosmic droplets and thunders. Within the years, Gert Emmens left his sound imprints in the wonderful world of electronic music. All that the Dutch synthesiser touches is inevitably transformed into musical enchantment. A long movement divided into 8 parts, The Nearest Faraway Place Vol. 3 presents structures with morphic and floating intros which dive into progressive rhythms with always striking sequences. Part 16 offers a more cosmic intro with Jan Dieterich's guitar which frees soft vaporous strata in a most heterogeneous sound universe. Mellotron strings bring us to a strange ethereal waltz, guiding us near a wriggling sequence which skips nervously to shape a pace which hems on a beautiful bass line. Part 16 becomes then a big cosmic rock, little as Part 20 finale, where Gert Emmens controls skilfully the rhythm with increasing and decreasing sequences which furrow over vaporous inserts and great synth solos. After its heavily cosmic intro, Part 17 bites to full teeth in a sequential movement which recall a lot those beautiful TD years. A heavy and nervous sequence that runs breathless beneath the wandering hazes of a foggy synth, until the rhythm explodes and deviates under strikes of e-drums. Beautiful peaceful solos float above this rhythmic incandescence where we recognize amply the sound universe of the Dutch synthesiser who doesn’t stop surprising with its loopy solos and those soft synth blows so personalized which tussle between sequential permutations. Great Emmens there! With its peaceful tempo, escaped from the morphic depths of its introduction, Part 18 is the most accessible musical piece among The Nearest Faraway Place's project. A beautiful track sits on a sober sequential movement, where guitar and synth are exchanging solos and vaporous strata.
After a superb cosmic intro where synth lines hem above stars, a threatening sequential movement bombards the always indecisive rhythm of Part 19. A ceaseless race where the sequential impulse undergoes of subtle modulations, among breaths of a foggy synth, before explode beneath a synth with twisted and languishing solos. Part 20 offers a caustic and threatening intro, before becoming supple with a beautiful wave of a synth at once nostalgic and protective. A soft and beautiful intro crushed into increasing sequences which draw a tempo skipping soberly under a synth with ghostly breaths. Structured in three phases, the movement becomes more hard-hitting with the emergence of electronic percussions which are gobbled up by synth solos which hem and contort under a heavy vitamined tempo. Afterward, we close eyes and we contemplate the end of this long 3 parts cosmic trip with a floating ending where strata confront and collide in a cosmos of ether on Part 21 and mould lovingly in the beautiful orchestrations of Conclusion.
The Nearest Faraway Place Vol. 3 is in the continuity of the first two volumes. An album where Gert Emmens can seem predictable, but continues to amaze with a subtlety in tones and rhythmic modulations that makes his music as unique as it sounds. As on each of the albums from the Netherlands synthesiser, the music pours between a wonderful complexity of structures and pleasant melodies that hang on to an ingenious sequenced vision and a synth that kicks away its long solos twisted in a strangely poetic and cosmic foggy. Some great Gert Emmens, as he always used us to.


Sylvain Lupari
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream;

GERT EMMENS: The Nearest Faraway Place Vol.2 (2009)

Here is the 2nd part of this trilogy to be complete, which took shape during the E-Day festival organized by Kees Aerts and Ron Boots from the EM Groove label. Faithful to what Gert Emmens produced for years, this 11th opus of the Dutch synthesist is filled with sequences with varied rhythms, synths with ingenious solos and hooking melodies as well as mellotrons with poignant arrangements. An album where the Berlin School style oscillates between the old and the new generation.
Divided into 7 parts quite as the Volume I, Part 8 starts things rather quickly. After a short cosmic intro, a sequence hopping with strength gives a constant tempo, enveloped by a mellotron which spreads its sweetness over a very lively cadence. Tinkled notes filter a sweet dreamy harmony, paving a new rhythmic direction. A rhythm forking under a fine synth with lyrical harmonies and a mellotron with sober choirs which flow into a syncretic ambiance. Slowly we cross towards the 9th part where a cosmic guitar offers its notes in a charming nebulosity with a Spanish voice to repetitive incantations. Gradually we are submerged by an aggressive sequence which moulds a heavy and hypnotic rhythm, supported by a keyboard which coils up to the tempo. A heavy tempo encircled by a mellotron choir and which bursts with electronic percussions sustained by good sinuous synth solos. A floating intro opens part10. Heavy cosmic vapours free a nervous sequence of which the staccato movement gives an echo resounding feeling which eases gradually, offering a hypnotic rhythmic structure drowned in a cosmic atmosphere with fine synth movements. But Gert Emmens doesn’t stray too long into minimalism spheres. At the 7th minute spot, the movement takes a tangent liven up on a more hatched rhythm and adorned by a suave mellotron choral. A finale of an unsuspected softness, guiding us towards the delicious rumba of Part 11.
A cosmic rumba with shimmering keys which flirt with a fine harmonious synth. The 12th part brings us back into an electro cosmic concept with a nebulous intro which engenders a sequence making its way through a heavy musical ambiance. Once again, Gert Emmens multiplies the sequential rhythms around a captivating mellotron, creating an unstable atmosphere under romantic harmonies. Part13 deploys a noisy and colourful intro which gives birth to a sequence à la Phaedra, wrapped by a mellotron with spectral breaths. Minimalism, the sequence accelerates the pace with kind of echoing percussion which jolts a soberly harmonious universe where a French voice is improvising words on a heavier rhythm and mellotron pads. A beautiful track imprints of a sentimental nostalgia, as a feeling of a lost love. Part14th begins with a din gleam before settling down on heavy circular reverberations which float in echoes into a sonorous oblivion. Slowly, a sequence blinks as the wings of a metallic dragonfly, before marrying the Emmens style which restructures the movement with diverse rhythmic directions under of big vaporous synth, creating a universe sometimes less inviting, sometimes more harmonious.
And so goes on the musical universe of Gert Emmens. Once again the Dutch synthesist amazes, even if we are used to his style, with an imaginary approach that we can live as nebulosity can always makes place to iridescent beauties. Another great piece of EM art!


Sylvain Lupari (2009)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream;

GERT EMMENS: The Nearest Faraway Place Vol.1 (2008)

A dark and metallic wind brings sound effects to resounding arches. The opening of The Nearest Faraway Place Vol.1 is a floating movement where hardly perceptible voices drag among tribal lugubrious breezes and whistling lamentations. An introduction worthy of a sound fiction where everything could be heard, as well as imagine. A flute, quite distinct, wanders in this intriguing universe, waking up a sequence with shimmering tinkling of which echoes are multiplying in a prismatic stream, flowing towards another sequence hemmed of an undulating bass line. The rhythm is taking shape on a movement which gallops hesitantly under a shimmering firmament. A synth/guitar fusion and percussions embellish this pace which rolls in loops on a soft structure before embracing vaporous waves, celestial choruses and fleeing layers which decorate an ethereal musical constellation.
There goes the poetic and extremely musical universe of Gert Emmens. The Nearest Faraway PlaceVol.1, of which premises were conceived for a concert given in Germany on November 10, 2007 (Oberhausen’ Gasometer), is a long 71 minutes musical piece, divided in 7 parts. The Dutch synthesist continuous his ambiguous exploration of a galactic universe with dark and intriguing forms. An unreal world sculpted in the fickleness of its rhythms and tonalities, as well as its sequenced sculptures with sonorities so unique to the musical world of Emmens and of its mellotron synths to variables astral flavours, crossing the darkness and limpidity of harmonies. Part 2 is a heart-hooking with its emotive mellotron that wraps rhythmic sequences support by guitar riffs. The tempo is fluid and dry, watered of guitar and synth solos.
Part 3 feels one’s way towards on a sequence in cascade. A rhythmic more theatrical than musical, shelled of metallic percussions and wrapped of a synth with spectral odes and tearing solos. Part 4 is pure Emmens, such as we know him since When Darkness falls Upon the Earth.
A complex sequential structure with heavy and resounding jolts which hop on a keyboard with flickering waves and lyrical blows, creating a strange fusion melodiously coherent where the hatching rhythm waltz with a mellotron with melancholic waves. Around the 6th minute, the sequence becomes more nervous while confronting heavy percussions which slow down a rhythmic already dubious. The synthesized veils wrap this cadence becoming anemic with misty odes which drag us under the cosmic storms of Part 5, a part with a pulsating and nervous sequential rhythm which flows beneath a synth with spectral breezes and a guitar contrasting of lucidity, which dies out in a fluty astral nebulosity. Part 6 is emerging from it to reinitiate this atmospheric heaviness with a grinded tempo which makes the splendour of this Gert Emmens 14th opus with a rambling tempo on nervous and hesitant sequence which undulates in a well tempered synth ambiance. It’s a more psychedelic than electronic movement, which grows on a chthonian synth with very sinuous solos along strikes of slamming and anvil percussions. That’s another very good title which exploits the dark zones of analog years. Part 7 is a beautiful final where guitars and synths oppose their lyricisms on a beautiful hypnotic and musical sequence, as Gert Emmens knows all the astuteness, before crossing the quietude of a morphic synth. A final which opens the door to a possible Volume 2.


Sylvain Lupari (2008)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream;