mardi 7 décembre 2010

RAINBOW SERPENT: Stranger (2010)

Does Enya on acid interests you? That could be interesting and it’s what is happening on this last Rainbow Serpent album which risks to let fans of the German duet a bit stunned. With Live @ Liphook 2007, Rainbow Serpent had already made an incursion in the world of vocalizes with a small tribal approach with Middle East fragrances. On Stranger Gerd Wienekamp and Frank Specht took the bet to couple both extremities of EM; either a very progressive Berlin School to soft and honeyed New Age melodies. The result? Well that depends of your expectations, your mind opening and on your patience to tame this unreal and virginal voice of Isgaard which shapes very well with synth layers and which resists the stormy assaults of sequences and aggressive rhythms of Rainbow Serpent. Even if Stranger brushes the romantic and oniric nuances of New Age, Rainbow Serpent always exploits their boiling rhythms on stormy and nervous sequenced structures seized by superb atmospheric passages which are, by moments, gobbled up by the unctuous voice of the Angel of sands.
A long musical saga of nearly 70 minutes, divided into 13 acts which are entangled in a long musical piece, Stranger begins as an avalanche heard from faraway. Intense announces itself with a distant dark and sinuous wind which floats above percussions and heterogeneous tones, while splitting its breeze to create a thick cloud of synth layers which waltz slowly in a cosmic oblivion. Orchestrations tear this atonal winds dance while percussions fall and tumble down such a dramatic ride on desert dunes, closing Intense to divert nonchalantly towards Elements1and its reverberating breezes which moo in a metallic universe. The percussions take back the rhythm. They hammer a furious pace, supported by a line of bass with fast and wave-like flows, as well as a sequence of which the undulations are molding discreetly with keys of jerky keyboards, to circulate in syncopated loops. We are dealing with beautiful and powerful Rainbow Serpent there which takes place in our ears with complex and crazy rhythms surrounded with a synth with heavy layers which whip among heterogeneous tones covered by the suave pleasant voice of Isgaard, before diving into Elements 2 and its chords which waddle among amphibian sequential pulsations. A carousel of sequences with random surges which swirl around a beautiful melodious synth line of which the circular flights are caressed by orchestral strata and smooth juvenile vocalizes. Leave and Love tempo gallops on a sequenced bass line with heavy undulations. A syncopated movement which spins around melodious synth lines and Isgaard ethereal voice blows which, as a synth, wraps its tune. A beautiful sung title which is out of tune in the baroque and complex universe of Rainbow Serpent by its immediate accessibility. It’s the kind of track that hooks instantly and whose tone sticks on ears without really knowing too much why. And quite slowly we dive into this universe of duality where rhythms, sometimes wild, and soft harmonies of Rainbow Serpent are coupled to oniric vocals of Isgaard. Beyond New Worlds arises from a magnificent cosmic and aquatic fusion. A meeting point between the cosmic and analogue universe of Jean Michel Jarre and Rainbow Serpent. A slow synth layer floats and flows into weightlessness, embracing a sequential line with split chords, shaping a chaotic tempo. Isgaard voice comes to wrap this rhythmic as a synth veils rhythms. And the magic of synth strata and ethereal vocalizes fusion is doing its charms, plunging nevertheless Beyond New Worlds in the full musical paradox, there where EM meets New Age fragility. There where the complex musical universe of Rainbow Serpent is dissipating in the lightness of siren of sands voice. And it is doubtless what can stumble in Stranger, for fans of Berlin School EM style.
Except that the German duet maintains its standard of high musical creativity by shaping beautiful atmospheres and rich melodies which evolve around wonderful lines of synth and powerful sequences (Gateway, Arl and the magnificent Memory Leaves), forging a robust opus with tribal flavor. On the other hand, some of its melodies are veiled by the very beautiful voice of the German singer. Tracks as Beyond New Worlds, Wide Open Spaces (which is sublime by the way), Rub Al-Chali, Stranger and the silky Beautiful Child are melodious jewels. Melodies among which Isgaard voice bewitches, as Enya, Sarah Brightman and even Kate Bush, but who also immerses Stranger in a musical duality where the line between New Age and EM had never seem so thin. In spite of this indecision to label the musical genre of Stranger, I have to admit that I did like it quite well. Tracks as Intense, Elements, Arl and Memory Leaves are magnificent pieces of heavy, powerful and progressive EM. My girlfriend falls for Beyond New Worlds, Wide Open Spaces and Stranger which are of delicious ear worms but which also are very far from Rainbow Serpent usual musical mood. In the facts, I think that Rainbow Serpent succeeded where Jean Michel Jarre and Tangerine Dream failed. The German duet dared an incursion in a more accessible and more commercial musical world, while keeping its own creative and innovative touch. Gerd Wienekamp and Frank Specht rather integrated the harmonious approaches of Isgaard vocals into the music of Rainbow Serpent and its heavy and complex world of sequences, creating so a sultry blend which has all ingredients to please both fans of progressive Berlin School and New Age detractors….. Me first!


Sylvain Lupari (2010)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

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