lundi 31 janvier 2011

AXESS/MAXXESS: Impact (2010)

The musical structures of Axess are doubtless the ones which lend themselves best to heavy riffs and solos of Max Schiefele's guitars that was the heart of Contact’s magic, the first collaboration of the German duet in 2004. Six years later, this Axess / Maxxess magic returns adorned our ears with a very beautiful and diversified album. A sharply more melodious album where EM borders are a little hustled with ambiances closer to Hard Rock and Cosmic Space Rock. Impact, it is 6 solid tracks where rhythms abound in strong harmonious approaches. There is around this album a fluid musicality where melodies which pour around a unique fusion synths, keyboards and guitars have never sound that good.
Soft guitar riffs pierce a fine and sinuous synth line on Breath’s opening. Scrolling in loops, riffs are suavely melodious and float like brief solos on a soft rhythmic which is settling down with delicate electronic percussions. The light and jerky rhythm of Breath flows on short guitars riffs, fine percussions, a discreet bass and a syncopated synth line which encircles synth spectral breaths and solos of a melancholic guitar. Engine starts slowly with a very electronic intro where sequences tumble in a lively staccato, behind a cosmic background. The tempo is in constant progression with rippling synth breezes and bass-drum hits which pulse and meet riffs of a heavy guitar which split the rhythm here while escaping concise solos. Engine embraces then a floating form with crystalline sequences which encircle an atmosphere adrift, survived by nervous percussions that pave the way to a hatched rhythm fed of heavy riffs and furious solos, plunging Engine into a curious mix of Hard Space Rock. A very good track that rock the barn, quite as the 2nd portion of Impact of which the intro is more languishing and embraces a beautiful structure of blues. Notes of a nervous guitar glean behind a beautiful cosmic, a bit as U2 but in space, on heavy percussions. The tempo is evolutionary but remains so sensual, even with percussions and sequences which flicker fervently here and there while staying in a cosmos, and explodes a little after the 3rd minute with strong percussions and a nervous keyboard which shape a furious rhythmic, the ideal pretext so that Maxxess bursts out with loud guitar solos. And then the rhythm of Impact will be crossed by short atmospheric periods, before renewed with bedazzled passages where riffs and keyboards with spectral breaths plunge us into an ambiance of progressive cosmic rock.
Into the Blue is the only track that gets closer to the Berlin School style with its beautiful sequences which wave in spiral into an atmosphere as cosmic as electronic. Arpeggios which dance in loops, in a beautiful melodious carousel filled of chords that are more and more heavy, until the riffs of Maxxess bite this soft tempo which becomes a heavy electronic ride spiced up of heavy guitar solos and divided by more silky and very melodious passages. I like this fusion synth / guitars which moulds splendid syncretic musical breaths and which glean all over Into the Blue. Furious circular movement, Rare Circus offers a structure very near the roots of a techno trance with nervous arpeggios which collide on banging percussions. A stunning track where the German duet abandons the mastery of their main instruments to dive into a furious spiral livened up by rhythms and keyboards with layers which float on rhythms waving with frenzy. A rhythmic heavier than Mysterious Times which, after a long cosmic intro, fidgets on nervous notes of guitars to explode on resonant and hypnotic percussions. A split up tempo, a little as on Impact, with a magnificent meshing a synth / keyboard, a little as on Into the Blue and which ends its race towards a more bluesy tangent, a little as on Engine. In brief, it’s a kind of summary which includes all the musicality and styles of Impact and a track that would make a very good single, because it is very representative of the versatility surrounding Impact.

Sylvain Lupari (2011)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

AXESS/MAXXESS: Contact (2004)

Axess & Maxxess is the encounter between two virtuosos; a synthesist and a guitarist. The result is an EM unusual mixture where the guitar prevails of its solos in an electronic universe where synths and sequencers orchestrate structures without borders.
From the depth of an atmospheric abyssal filled by genial effects, a heavy drone gets Tsunami out of its torpor. A linear sequence is hatched by rotary pulsations and acoustic percussions to gets the movement progressed on a tempo which become animated at each refrain, where the guitar of Maxxess bites the harmony with full strings. On each passage the tempo is accentuating on heavier riffs, nimble and incisive slender solos on a permuting sequence and astonishing percussions. The title track, Contact, begins on subtle tinkling, accompany by a beautiful acoustic guitar. The impulsion progresses beneath ethereal choirs and an electric six-strings which charms the ears with its notes and tearing solos. The sequence is slinky until a big riff gets the movement wilder. It’s the explosion! Strong guitar riffs and percussions hammer the atmosphere among breezes of a mellotron synth. The tempo becomes corrosive with a furious acoustic guitar which harnesses a sequential movement waddling beneath a cloud of violent riffs and aggressive solos. Contact is heavy with superb orchestral arrangements where strings synths subtly frame the wild madness of Maxxess. Metallic percussions resound in a silent desert where a synth layer is flooding of harmonious pads. A fine sequential procession waddles its cheerful chords which are leaking away in the echotic mazes of percussions. Quietly Indian Skies takes form on a minimalism tempo, shaken by notes and solos of limpid guitars. The sequence accelerates on a galloping rhythm, pursued by a threatening six-strings. The tempo boils on powerful staccato riffs which lead to wild solos and rhythms. This is a great electronic rock move! This concept of atmospheric intro, slow processions and segmented rhythms is reproducing also on Close Encounter and Exile; two fiery titles.
We have to wait until Behind the Mirror to really get an equitable blend of electronic and progressive music. Like all of the others intros, this one is atmospheric and is mainly leaned on synth layers with sharp-edged curves. As much atmospheric, and on a very Floydian sonority, the guitar fuses plaintive and nostalgic solos on superb stagnant pads filled of celestial harmonies. A waving sequence, sustained by a good bass with loop effects, initiates a very Berlin School movement with small keys waddling in harmony with the impulsion. Around the 7th minute the riffs, as well as electronic as electric, burst in a perfect symbiosis. We are in the embryo of a superb sequential movement with hypnotic and hammering percussions to dazzling reverberations as well as ethereal choirs on a fluid movement with intermittent metallic pulsations, souvenirs of the riffs symbiosis. It’s an intense musical monument which slows down in half-time with a waddling movement which dies out on atmospheric breezes, where choirs and wind blow. A sequential loop is reforming a mutation in tones with tonality in mutation on unbridle acoustic percussions and heavy sequential pulsations that a synth layer wraps before the guitar explodes in fury. Behind the Mirror is a superb track which is the result of a perfect symbiosis.
Contact is an album resolutely more rock than progressive and/or electronic. Put aside Tsunami and Behind the Mirror, as well as the intros, the guitar prevails of its aggressive solos and riffs.I liked, but I would have appreciated a little more synths. It seems to me that the strident solos of Axess would have matched perfectly those of Maxxess. On the other hand, sequencers, sound effects, percussions, as well as arrangements, are amazing. In fact, I guess that it was necessary to leave some room for the guitar. Under this angle, Contact achieves its goals; to combine the ingeniousness of EM, like its sequential subtlety, to heavy riffs and guitars rock. It’s a solid album which contains too many small jewels to let it pass. For fans of rock and guitars on inventive sequences and EM fan, Contact is among the musts.


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:

vendredi 28 janvier 2011

REMY Talks about Exhibitions of Dreams

S&S: Remy, first of all I would like to thank you for having concocted a so brilliant album in Exhibition of Dreams. Can we have a history of this album?
REMY: Between 1997 and 1999 I recorded a lot of music. During these years plans arose to release an album, and at a certain moment there was decided that a selection of the tracks had to be re-recorded to fit on an single album initially. I moved all my equipment to Ewout Koek's attic and during the recordings it became clear that there were more tracks that fitted together, so finally the release consisted of two cd-r's. We (Ewout and I) worked out the first plans of our own record label, AKH Records, to make this release possible, and the album "Exhibition of Dreams" - which is (as the title suggests) a compilation of dreams and visions put together - got available in a couple of specialized record stores in the Netherlands.
In first instance we decided to only print a limited amount of the album, just because we didn't have any idea what to expect of the sales.
The album sold out very fast, and before we could even think about a re-release, a copy got in hands of Dutch label and mailorder Groove Unlimited, with which it was decided to release the first official Remy-album, "The Art of Imagination", nearly a year later. Because of this release, the production of "Exhibition of Dreams" had been stopped. The demands for this album remained, so as soon as the production had been stopped I always had the idea to re-release it ten years after its debut; and so it happened!

S&S: Why recording it on Mini-Disc? Wasn’t it restrictif as processus?
REMY: At the moment of the recording of "Exhibition of Dreams" I only worked with an Atari computer, in combination with a minidisc to record my music. So every additional track had to be recorded in one take with the sequencer. Besides that, I wanted the music to sound as organic and spontaneous as possible, and also thanks to these recording limitations, I've recorded all solos and effects in real-time, without any editing.

S&S: For the reader’s benefit, can you explain the evolution of EOD releases?
REMY: Exhibition of Dreams (2-CDR, AKH12991/2-2, 1999)
My debut album, released in limited quantities on double cd-r. It contains a selection of tracks I've made between 1997 and 1999.
EoD (CD, AKH10091-2, 2009)
It contains a selection of the tracks from the original release from 1999, newly interpreted and recorded in 2009.
New title / original title
1. Entering The Dream / Into The Dream
2. Velocity / Lost Forces
3. Lunascape / La Luna
4. Silent Conversations / Silent Voices
5. Mirage / Mirage
I've used some of the original bases and sequences to maintain more or less the same atmosphere and feeling as the original recording and I completely recorded new tracks, based on my musical views, experience and new feelings towards them. The main intention was to expose the musical progression I've made in the past years.
For some of the existing tracks I've used different sounds. I removed entirely some tracks and others are completely new! I used the 24 bit / 96 kHz technology as remastering.
Exhibition of Dreams - 10th anniversary remaster (2-CD, 01103-2, 2010)
This is the entire debut album as released in 1999, completely remastered with the 24 bit / 96 kHz technology. Some parts have been technically adjusted (such as unwanted compression and differences in volume, which have been caused during the master recordings on minidisc).
Exhibition of Dreams - bonus tracks (CD-R, AKH SUB 001, 2010)
A limited cd-r (just for an "exclusive part" of the release, intended for the "real" Remy-fans, to accent the limitation of the original release in 1999, and to stimulate the first sales (and because of this reason not sent as promotional copy) of the Exhibition of Dreams releases) which contains never released before tracks from the same recording period as the debut album (between 1997 and 1999). The main ideas behind these releases are firstly to give people the opportunity to listen to my debut album, which has been unavailable for a lot of listeners due to its limitation, and temporary availability during its release (there was decided to stop the production of the album, because of the contract with Groove Unlimited for my first official release, The Art of Imagination, one year later). As soon as the release sold out, I've already decided to re-release it ten years after (in 2009) because of the continuing demands.
In my opinion this "anniversary release" had to be more special than only re-release the original album.
So there has been chosen to release all above mentioned editions!

S&S: Was there a need to redo it?
REMY: Mostly I think there's no need redo anything that has already been finished in the past. But in this case I already had a re-release planned as soon as we saw it was an out of print album. Even if it took 9 years to do so, I felt there was a need do redo it, mainly because of the evolutions of the tracks when I played them live. Even if I had to struggle a bit to start this project, it became a great musical exploration and a journey through creativity which make this project even better than I initially thought.

S&S: Also, why did you release EOD with a bonus cd-r? Is it in the same spirit of Schulze rereleases on SPV Records? Will you do the same for the other releases?
REMY: Besides above mentioned explanation the music on the bonus cd-r should be a nice addition for the listeners of my music, so you could say it's more or less in the same spirit as the Schulze re-releases!
In the past I've done the same with most of my other albums:
- DisConnected & Connected, with promo cd-r DisConnected sessions
- Different Shades Of Dust: with A-Live!
- Sense: with Sense
- This Is Not The End: released as single cd, but also with bonus cd-r
- Exhibition of Dreams: with bonus cd-r.
All cd-r's contain music - often track who just didn't make it to the album - from the same recording period as the album.
Actually I try to focus on officially pressed cd-releases, but these exclusive cd-r's are a nice extra for the listeners of my music.
S&S: When we listen to EoD, we really have the impression to evolve through a dream and its meanders. Did the music inspire the title or the title inspired the music?
REMY: It did in both ways. I always have certain feelings and images associated with a recorded piece of music. I name a title which covers the content of it at the moment of recording it or while saving it to my computer. In the case of the tracks that appeared on "Exhibition of Dreams" I've changed a lot of the titles (as the tracks initially hadn't been written with the intention to appear on an album together) to let all tracks fit into the context, and to send the listener into a certain direction to experience the music. A title mostly inspires me to develop the rest of the track. so finally the music takes shape around a chosen title and vice versa.
In the case of the new version (which appears on "EoD") of "Lost Forces" (appearing on "Exhibition of Dreams") I reverted to its original (working) title, "Velocity", which fits better with the 2009 interpretation.

S&S: In what state of mind Remy was during the writing of EoD?
REMY: At the moment of the composing and recording process of the original recordings of "Exhibition of Dreams", back in 1999, I lived in my own dreamworld, often losing sight of reality. Later on, dreams still kept being reflected into my music, but reality also became a more important element of it.
This, in combination with the intention to explore and develop my music into new directions, is why "EoD" sounds more "reachable" than "Exhibition of Dreams".
Although having used some essential elements of the original "Exhibition of Dreams" I wanted to approach the reinterpretations of the "old" tracks as completely new pieces, so I actually started the recording process all over!
During the process of "EoD" a lot of radical things happened in my private life which affected the recordings of, and my vision on, the chosen pieces, which made the album a logical follower up of my previous albums.

S&S: You said ‘’losing sight of reality’’, can you elaborate on that or is it too personal?
REMY: It's more complicated than I can explain, but I used to relate most of all-day situations to my music. I had (and sometimes still have) the idea that my music affected the real life and vice versa (and it definitely does in certain ways). To evoluate situations into specific directions I just thought a lot could be solved or conducted when writing a musical piece about it. Which does work when living in a dream world, but reality actually works a bit different. It is very important not to confuse those situations.

S&S: Tell me on what bases did you select the tracks that fitted on the 1 cd edition AKH10091-2. Do you have special feelings about those?
REMY: I chose the tracks of which I thought I could do most with related to reinterpretations and which fitted best together, also keeping in mind the maximum length of a cd. So "Unidentified Dreaming Objects" for example, which is a track of 42 minutes, was not an option. Although I prefer certain tracks above others I had no special feelings (but I had stronger ideas for working out some of the tracks) when making a selection. The tracks had to embrace each other like they did on the first version of the album, and the overall feeling and atmosphere had to be maintained.

S&S: Can we expect other anniversary releases from your discography? I’m thinking especially about The Art of Imagination which was release on Groove?
REMY: There are no plans. "Exhibition of Dreams" was a project of which I had already decided to do a re-release and a reinterpretation of a lot of years ago, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of my debut.
With another anniversary release I would think of a sortlike construction (not limited to a remastered version, but it should also contain a lot of extra's to make it a worthy anniversary).
As said earlier, I actually don't like to redo projects that have already been finished. Unless it has a very, very good reason to do so (for example in this case of "Exhibition of Dreams")!
If I decide to remake any of my older albums nowadays, it would become something totally different without any doubt, but life goes on, and so does my musical journey. I think that creating completely new music is far more interesting than getting back to already finished projects.
Sometimes I adjust or edit certain tracks for my live performances, but that's all.

S&S: How do you feel about the continual comparison between your music and Schulze’s?
REMY: People use to compare with familiar things. The task of a reviewer of music is to write down in words what is being heard on - in this case - a music album. A certain atmosphere or listening experience can be more or less described in words, but when it comes to the category or style of the music it's very practical to compare with already known artists and their music.
Yes, I am inspired by Mr. Schulze a lot and because I've listened to his music more than once, and because I like the same kind of sounds and use some of the same instruments he does, and because it seems that we share a comparable style of converting our feelings into music, there can be noticed some very clear similarities. So it's a compliment to be compared with Klaus Schulze.
Although I am always trying to discover new ways to continue my musical journey, it's very difficult to create totally unheard things these days (but I try to keep surprising myself and the listeners every time). But it is very nice to hear when listeners distinguish my music from those of others, noticing the own touch and elements I am putting into my music.

S&S: What years of Schulze inspired you the most, on all of your works, and especially on Exhibition of Dreams, during the 97-99 eras?
REMY: "Dreams" (the original Brain release, which includes the - in my opinion - necessary track "Flexible" - on the Thunderbolt release this track has been removed for unknown reason) was the first Schulze album I've ever heard and it blew me away. The music covers the title (and reversed) entirely, and reflects the dreamy world of Klaus Schulze in those days very well. I remarked a lot of elements from this album had very clear comparisons with my own "dreamy" world. This album did absolutely influence "Exhibition of Dreams" a lot.
Although I prefer most of Schulze's music, it seems that his late 80's - begin 90's period influenced me most, without being conscious about that.

S&S: Beside Schulze, what were your major influences at this time? Are they still of influence to you today?
REMY: Jean Michel Jarre, Mike Oldfield, Vangelis and Didier Marouani (Space) for example have been great influences to me, and they probably are the reason that my music sounds as it does now. They certainly are still influencing me (unconciously) nowadays, but in the lapse of time more and more other inspiring artists opened my ears, like Craig Armstrong, Massive Attack, Radiohead, Jeff Buckley, Kraftwerk, Björk, Enigma, Lamb, Velvet Undergound, but also Karlheinz Stockhausen, Aphex Twin, Steve Reich, Brian Eno, Antonín Dvorak, Zbigniew Preisner, and so on...

S&S: At those times, EM was at a reborn state in the Netherlands, what was your opinion about Exhibition of Dreams? Did you doubt about its impact and was it for this it was released on such a few copies?
REMY: The tracks that formed "Exhibition of Dreams" were, simply said, 'just' a compilation of my best tracks at that moment and besides I wanted to expose my dreams and feelings to people, I was very curious to receive reactions on my music. I had absolutely no idea what it would do with the listeners. After some years I found out (also concluding from the reactions) that the album sounded far much better than intended in first instance.
Because we didn't have any clue what to expect, there was decided that "Exhibition of Dreams" would be released in a limited quantity. If there hadn't been negotiations with Groove Unlimited for the "The Art of Imagination" the production of the debut album would probably have been continued. As soon as it became clear that a new album would be released, it was decided not to do a repressing of "Exhibition of Dreams".

S&S: The Bonus CD-R of EoD contains some really good material. I’m thinking about Waiting for Dusk and the epic The Storm. I understand that you composed lot of music during the conception period of Exhibition of Dreams, is there enough room for another EoD surprise?
REMY: There is still enough unreleased material from that period but there are no concrete plans to do anything with it yet, but you'll never know what will be released in the near future (Maybe a 50-cd box when I reach that age or so).
I still have lots of unreleased music, but to be honest it really doesn´t have any sense at all to release everything (except the music which indeed is very interesting to do something with, which does cover a big part of the unreleased recordings). There has already been released enough crap so I don't want to bother people (and destroying the music scene) with music that's - in my opinion - not good enough!

S&S: Leaving EoD besides, you own your record label AKH Records, can you talk about it? What are the artists on it and what kind of music can we expect? It’s not only EM?
REMY: We (Ewout Koek and I) have released some very fine music, always with an electronic basis, actually differing quite a lot in musical styles, of which only my own music nears the 'Berliner Schule' style.
Sutrastore (Belgium) could be categorized as "trip-hop" (think about Massive Attack, Portishead or Lamb), just like Iuno (Netherlands) which also contains more jazzy elements. Fractional (Belgium) makes experimental electronics in the vein of Aphex Twin and Autechre.
Very soon we hope to have a great release by Lebenswelt (Italy) and we are doing exclusive distribution for SoapKills (Lebanon), Francis Rimbert (France) and Space Art (France).

S&S: You gave lot of concerts lately, mostly in Germany and Netherlands, and also in strange places, what are the ambiances at Remy’s concerts and where was the most special place you played in?
REMY: My concerts are always about the music. I don't want too much distracting elements during a performance and I hope to make clear to the audience which parts I perform live. The problem of performing electronic music mostly is that all music could easily look like it's being playbacked (and indeed most of the times a large part is playback as it's impossible to play live all parts of a track during a solo performance). That's the problem I have with artists performing with for example only a laptop. The audience has absolutely no idea what is being produced live.
So I am trying to handle my electronic equipment like for example a violin player handles a violin.
In an orchestra it's always clear which instrument produces which sound. The source of the sound is at the same location as the instrument.
With electronic instruments in most cases the sound can only be heard through the speakers, which are not necessarily located at the same place of the instruments. This in combination with the artist hiding behind his equipment makes it often hard to see what you hear.
I've performed several times in the Great Church in Haarlem, which is an unique location to perform, with great acoustics and an excellent atmosphere.
The concert I gave in the Grugapark in Essen, Germany, was in a very relaxing atmosphere, and besides that the combination of the other performing artists, as well as the (unprepared) jam-session we all did together at the end of the day was very exciting and inspiring!
S&S: What can we expect from Remy in a short period of time? Any new concerts and music releases planned?
REMY: At this moment I am preparing for at least two upcoming concerts (July 17th - Schwingungen Garten Party, Hamm, Germany, at the end of October I will be part of the Ricochet Gatherings concerts in Berlin and on November 13th I will be at the Grote Kerk, in Haarlem, Netherlands).
Besides that I have just recorded an ambient piece, starting up a collaboration projects with some familiar names in the EM-scene, and working on tracks with vocals.

S&S: If you have to choose only 5 albums (or cd) to listen until the end, whom they’ll be?
REMY: My deserted island albums are (on the moment of writing and in random order):
- Craig Armstrong - The Space Between Us
- Jeff Buckley - Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk
- Didier Marouani & Paris France Transit - Concerts en URSS
- Massive Attack - Protection
- Klaus Schulze - Dreams

S&S: What is your work you prefer the most? The one you are the proudest about?
REMY: It's indeed very cliché to say my latest work is the best so far (but in fact I think it always is!). Besides that, after listening to my previous albums a couple of years later, I mostly like them more than I did on the moment of its release (this probably has something to do with hearing the tracks over and over again during the recording process)! If I really have to choose an album (except my most recent ones) I am most proud about "Sense".

S&S: Thank you Remy for your time and, on behalf of Synths&sequences readers, have the best of luck with your musical projects and life.
REMY: Thank you, and hope to meet you at one of my upcoming performances!

Sylvain Lupari (26 Juin 2010)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

mercredi 26 janvier 2011

SYNDROMEDA & VON HAUSLSHOVEN: The Second Intelligent Lifeform (2010)

Here is a very beautiful audacious album. An album which follows precepts of the tandem Danny Budts and Eppie E Hulshof 1st collaboration; Von Haulshoven Meets Syndromeda released in 2007. The Second Intelligent Lifeform is a powerful album of cosmic rock sprinkled with a zest of progressive and psychedelic. If the duet plunges in height into the retro Berlin School in More Than a Feeling, it deviates towards a more complex cosmic rock where unpredictable rhythms abound in powerful electronic atmospheres on the title track and The Bell of Storm.
As soon as the first key of More Than a Feeling fallen, a sinuous and spectral fine hatched synth wave drags its lugubrious sonorous shadow up to the doors of a superb sequence which gallops under the charm of a fluty mellotron. A sequential movement that we know so much where choirs and oscillations are plunging us straight in the heart of Tangerine Dream’s Ricochet and Encore. It’s a haughtiness intro where jingles of cymbals, drum pulsations and analog white noises gnaw at a wavy-like cadence which hems in good speed, wrapped by strata of synth foggy. Chords which pulse and hiccup under twisted resonances, introducing corrosive and twirled solos from Syndromeda’s synths. At around the 9th minute the rhythm undresses bit by bit, letting hear a sound skeleton which unwinds under brief pads of an enigmatic synth. Eclectic sonorities fly over this light structure where a warm synth caresses a soft hypnotic and minimalist approach with chords that are waddling innocently beneath a sky skinned of electronic streaks. Heavy and juicy synth solos wrap these chords, diverting the rhythm towards feverish sequences which strum with fury beneath the bites of riffs and heavy solos coming out of V.H. electric six-strings. More Than a Feeling will succumb to this depraved attack by taking refuge in a heavy chthonian universe where choruses and powerful resonances flood an infernal finale. The Second Intelligent Lifeform, the title track, is as delicious as audacious. The intro offers a fusion of sounds as electronic as heterogeneous which sparkle under laments and solos of a suave synth. A somber pulsation resounds and guides this foggy intro outside oblivion paths. Tenebrous choirs and guitar notes are grafting in there while sequences blast the ambiance of a staggering gait beneath the claws of a solitary guitar with bluesy moods.
Immerging in full ambiguity the tempo is getting astray in the abyss to take back colossal strengths with an almighty and heavy sequential movement which waves in loop, espousing a gyrating and pulsatory shape beneath pads of a synth with melodious breaths. The rhythm of The Second Intelligent Lifeform forks with subtlety, changing its pace beneath a rain of streaks and analog sounds effects which tear this big cosmic rock. A heavy cosmic rock surrounded by solos of guitars and synth scattered in an array of synth layers with tones of cosmic choirs which pulse on a rhythm deviating towards almighty sequential doubloons which skip with ardour, plunging even more The Second Intelligent Lifeform cadence into surprising rhythmic complexities which don’t stop amazing. And, as any good thing has an end, The Second Intelligent Lifeform is going off out gradually in strange reverberations which mutter and hum in a slow din.
The Bell of Storm concludes this 2nd Von Haulshoven/ Syndromeda collaboration with more delicacy. A fine pulsation emerges from a heavy atmospheric intro, guiding The Bell of Storm towards a minimalism approach with sequenced chords with chimed sonorities which skip and progress fervently. A rhythm which is growing with intersected sequences on warm synth solos. Solos which become entangled and entwined in a sinuous cosmic ballet à la Schulze, with their different tones which glide above sequences and pulsations became darker and more flexible. Sequences which roam with hesitation, plunging The Bell of Storm towards an atmospheric passage, a moment when Von Haulshoven brings out his guitar to crumble in there fragmented solos, but also opening a passage to a more languishing structure where the rhythm is sensual with floating chords, muffled pulsations and percussions as well as celestial breaths which drag in a suggestive cosmos. Then a 2nd atmospheric passage appears, re introducing an even more nervous and jerky rhythmic than at the beginning. It’s a cadence which staggers beneath powerful solos of a synth with caustic mist and an ambiguous finale, as all that reigns over this impressive opus that is The Second Intelligent Lifeform. Here’s a magnificent album, a powerful one that we listen to at high volume in order to catch all of the sounds subtleties on it. Available at Musiczeit, it is an excellent purchase that I do not hesitate to recommend to fans of heavy cosmic rock merging to a weighty retro Berlin School à la TD and Schulze.


Sylvain Lupari (2011)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream :

ALPHA LYRA & OLIVIER BRIAND: SpaceFish Live Inexxa (2010)

Here is a very strange musical cocktail; the poetic and melodious Alpha Lyra coupled to the very articulated and unpredictable Olivier Briand for the time of a musical evening under lasers and film screens of a cosmic and aquatic world. Christian Piednoir (Alpha Lyra) and Olivier Briand are 2 French synthesists whom are part of a musical and art association intended to promote the electronic and progressive music made in France; Patch Work Music. On this evening of August 21st, 2010 both accomplices gave each a solo performance in Nantes. Intimate concerts where spectators were invited to a fusion of aquatic and cosmic worlds with the very ethereal and spatial music of Alpha Lyra and the one, a little more dynamic and progressive, of Olivier Briand. Two very different concerts where the beauty and the beast dumbfounded spectators stunned by so many colors, lasers and music without borders.
Christian Piednoir is used to write music about sea depths. In 2006 he composed the music of Aquarius on the fringes of the writing from Marie-Paule Piednoir’s book ‘’Aquarius…sous le signe des poissons’’. He is a brilliant synthesist of which the sensibility is not without recalling the oniric and poetic sweetness of Michel Huygen and Neuronium. Strangely cosmic, From Earth to the Deep Sea opens with heavy pads which inhale mechanics of spatial vessels. Cosmic electronic tones pound under powerful of a biting synth and pave the way with fine sequenced arpeggios which dance under movements of more celestial synth. A beautiful track where images of seabed are in symbiosis with a music which varies between the ambient and rhythm always nuanced and balanced of Alpha Lyra who likes to draws his poetic mixed-choir of heavy and captivating slinky strata. Morphic, Space Fish intro is immersed by soft layers of a synth which waltz à la Neuronium in spatial corals where the duality of atmospheres splits in a slow cosmic dance gradually deviating towards an aquatic fauna. Here as everywhere on this double DVD, shots are great and images are in net symbiosis with a very captivating music, although that rocks quite well with Olivier Briand. At once clear and granular, they give this strange impression to be constantly between two worlds, two modes. While choirs float in the variety of the aquatic images, Space Fish shows its interstellar and global hybridity between soft synth layers that are floating between two spheres.
In Tropical Naoned we certainly hear the most beautiful piece of music that Christian Piednoir composed. It’s a long track, very beautiful to listen and to look at, of around thirty minutes where synth layers are entangling lazily in a languishing musical maelstrom with chords which dance and unfold in spiral under a thick cloud of astral choirs. The whole thing begins with a synth fed by choirs with angelic breaths are flying over a rain forest of which images are of a magnificent beauty. As in a musical stairway, fine arpeggios twirl in spiral to embrace a more lively movement with chords which fidget such of shoals of fish wanting to avoid predators. Alpha Lyra multiplies sequences and atmospheres with a sustained poetic, as a strange and slow procession which turns in perpetual spiral and implodes of a violence smothered by mermaid’s chants and heavy strata of a poignant synth. And Tropical Naoned continues its ascent towards a more melodious finale where notes of piano embrace its furtive sequenced blows which haunt our ears and fill our memory of a hypnotism musical charisma. With Gymnopédie Cosmique No 1, Christian Piednoir is faithful to his soft ethereal reveries where soft pads wrapped with a celestial choral undulate in a cosmos in perdition. Alpha Lyra is making his synths sing hypnotic odes which cross musical storms where hatched chords scroll in loops, as submarine waves which surround and make vacillating mermaids with the strength of their movements minimalism, ending this aquatic musical tale with the same oniric sweetness of its opening.
Olivier Briand's musical world is sharply more complex and divided than Alpha Lyra. It’s a progressive EM where crisscrossed and unpredictable rhythms live together with atmospheres immensely spatial and electronic. It’s doubtless one of the most cosmic music that I listened since the beautiful years of Software. Little Planet in the Sun opens with waves of synth which are intertwining with sonorities as spatial as symphonic where reminiscences of Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream are subtly felt. Static the intro floats in a sound universe at once caustic and metallic with sardonic synth breezes and pulsating streaks which are interlacing under strikes of cymbals and electronic noises. It’s a thick cosmic broth in constant boiling with a rich galactic environment from where escapes weak sequenced stammering. Little after the 8th minute, Little Planet in the Sun becomes warmer with a wave-like sequential movement which encircles a soft harmonious synth among which solos that emerging are very lyrical and musical. On the other hand, this 2nd portion of Little Planet in the Sun offers a concise rhythmic because stubborn up with the duality of harmonies from a world divided between the abstract and the musicality which pulls on this Olivier Briand's first title. Playing in a long continuous track, Olivier Briand's section is furnished with rhythms that are constantly divided and abruptly deviated towards other more balanced or even more dislocated tangents. Lasers and screen images are in accordance with this fragmented and hybrid sonorous world with a nervous editing and a nice fusion between screens and the French synthesist staging. Rhythms are sometimes anarchy as in Big Planets I and II or magnificently fluid as in Outside System and the short and ghostly Big Nebula with its sequences sounding as a kind of xylophones, but they always have unforeseen forms as Dans le Parc Astronomique which is a wonderful merger with the eclectic and metallurgical universe of Ramp. Difficult to tame, Olivier Briand is certainly is. But his music is of a beautiful harmonious fluidity splits by dramas drawn in the very creative cortex of the French synthesist. We can’t stay of marble behind the melodious approach of Big Planets II and the jazzy approaches of Strange Galaxies, although more delicate, and of the enormous Death Star. Although undisciplined and very unpredictable, the sudden rhythmic structures of Olivier Briand are immersed by a very electronic sound world where solos of tortuous synth cross eclectic mooing which tears the cosmos of long musical complaints sometimes ethereal but often caustic.
SpaceFish Live Inexxa is a beautiful DVD of a diversified EM which is stuck on superb images. The portion of Alpha Lyra is as beautiful as his music; while the one’s from Olivier Briand commands a bigger open-mindedness so much he can be unpredictable and indomitable, except that the listening makes discover music with fragrances of a more audacious Jarre. It’s a nice invitation we have here to dive into the universe which seems to me very swarming that the one of Patch Work Music is.
Available at

Sylvain Lupari (2011)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream :

SYNDROMEDA: 20 Years of Syndromeda (2010)

Mythical and mystic character, Danny Budts is the best kept secret of contemporary EM. Since 1992, Syndromeda realizes music without borders, nor constraints where the Belgian synthesist is free of any forms of ties of influences and visit all EM territories; retro Berlin School to a heavy cosmic rock, while passing by a progressive, even meditative EM with the very atmospheric Sadhana, made under the pen name of Amin. 20 Years of Syndromeda is the first Syndromeda compilation album, and the Belgian synthesist offers it totally free on his Web site in a great sound quality, be 256kbps, with complete artworks. Here’s an excellent way to discovered and tamed Danny Budts's eclectic musical world that you will find it here
To make a retrospective of 20 years, spread over 20 years is a precarious adventure, because it leaves little room to numerous evolutions and multiple musical orientations of Syndromeda. But 20 Years of Syndromeda encircle quite well the phenomenon whom is Syndromeda. Taken from the album Mind Trips, The Dark Side of the Mind presents Dany Budts's atmospheric side with a very nebulous intro where multiple reverberating waves undulate among sinuous synth oscillations. This mephistophelic and cosmic duality of Syndromeda fed gaily the major part of Danny Budts's works. Divided between heavy atmospheres stuffed with vaporous synths, with chaotic rhythms and caustic solos, the music of Syndromeda is constantly evolving, as shows tracks as The Dark Side of the Mind, The Man of GOD and Learning from the Past. The Ring of Power undulates on good sequences which gallop in a universe of caustic synths. Solos here are very acuteness, faithful to Syndromeda’s universe. Liquid Motion from Birth of a Black Hole is a superb piece which is going to please Tangerine Dream fans, so much the approach is inspired by. From the album A Day in the Fields, Morning Orchid presents us the nostalgic side of Syndromeda with a piano at once melancholic and austere which is taking the first half before of heavy synth strata are grafting to a loopy movement, molding a fine hypnotic tempo where the biting synth throws its solos with strange reverberations. Lugubrious such a futuristic nursery rhyme, Berliner Bratwurst shows the more avant-gardism side of Syndromeda with a heavy and cosmic atmosphere which diverts towards a technoïd finale. Growing to Maria is a superb hymn to tranquility and peace of mind that Danny Budts embraced under the name of Amin. A small celestial jewel, which is also very different from the universe Syndromeda.
So here it is; a brief chronicle to analyze an album as much complex as the sequenced progressions which abound in a universe sometimes harmonious, sometimes progressive but always intriguing of Syndromeda. The purpose of this chronicle wasn’t really about to describe this album with so precise details as I’m used to do, but rather to inform you that on the site of Syndromeda there is a free album to download. An album which retraces after a fashion this immense artistic career of a synthesist who constantly challenges its own boundaries 20 Years of Syndromeda displays of the proof. Available FOR FREE at

Sylvain Lupari (2011)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream :

SYNDROMEDA: Von Haulshoven meets Syndromeda (2007)

The musical universes of Von Haulshoven and Syndromeda are crossing without being alike. If one does progressive Berlin School with Tangerine Dream fragrances, the other one likes as much the Berlin School style but with a more personal and audacious touch. The fusion of these two universes, at once so close and so distant, could only give a result models after both characters which are at the opposites at the level of musical structures, that is to say a hybrid music where styles which influenced both musicians are entangling in this musical rendezvous that will leave more than one perplexed.
Between the poetic waves of Klaus Schulze, the tenebrous wanderings of Tangerine Dream fluty synths and metallic breezes of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Where Here, the slow morphic intro of 21th Century Oscillator Suite is a pure sonorous wonder of a cosmic, ambient and psychedelic musical world. An oblong intro which stacks layers of an oniric synth to those a little more caustic and cosmic, of which sinuous solos to breaths of old Baroque organs are clearing their ways among chthonian choirs. It’s sonorous scenery which survives to a degraded rhythm which is pointing out a little before the 12th minute. A delicate rhythm which is drawing on a fine wave-like bass line and a sequence which hiccups beneath the shade of solos a bit more strident. Percussions fall and dress the rhythm of a sustained measure in an ochre synthesized universe where synth solos shape soft vaporous melodies, before sniffed the morphic sweetness of its intro. Vibrations 1st half shows the interest of Eppie E. Hulshof and Danny Budts for a psychedelic approach of the post Berlin School. Caustic waves tack in a cosmos tetanized of metallic tones where strange voices call out the brief quietude of its intro. Vibrations starts then briskly and noisily with a bumpy sequential movement, encircled of heavy resonances, while synths fuse lines as melodious as howling in a heterogeneous sound sphere where everything is confusion, where loud sequences staggering grope among a synth to multiple loop strata. The 2nd part dons on a sharply more melodious approach with beautiful crossed sequences which bite a hesitating line of bass under the charms of a more musical synth. A duality of rhythms and structures which demonstrates the musical antipodes that feed the adventurousness of those accomplices for an album.
Answers without Questions evolve as a beautiful Berlin School with angelic magnetisms. A beautiful fluty synth emerges from its introductory slump to draw a superb melodious line that a sequential movement espouses marvelously. A superb synth / sequencer fusion which flows slowly, as the beautiful and still incomplete moments of 70’s Dream, era Encore and Green Desert. Around the 12th minute spot, the duet plunges into the irresistible cosmic hazes of a parallel sound world where a brief psychedelic approach reintroduces a rhythmic gathered of chaotic and imperfect sequences which light a synth with much punctuated spectral stridencies. It’s a finale that reflects the very ambiguous artistic characters of two artists which are so near, while being so far.

SINSYN: 200808

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 :

dimanche 23 janvier 2011

ALPHA LYRA: Music for the Stars II (2010)

Boys! Do the music of Alpha Lyra has matured! Since 2005, that is Music for the Stars I released, Christian Piednoir has surrounded his ambient music of a musical opaqueness as much lyrical as cosmic. An ode to stars, Music for the Stars II is tinted by influences of great American synthesist. Those who like the morphic sweetness Kevin Brahemy, Michael Stearns's crystal clear arpeggios and Steve Roach's heavy hypnotic pads will be delighted by this beautiful album of oniric tenderness and a poetic musicality.
From Cosmic Waves first reverberating waves one is letting lull towards Alpha Lyra’s cosmos. Synth lines sway with a metallic heaviness, stifling discreet arpeggios which try to pierce this dense synth nebulosity. Heavy and slow Cosmic Waves unfolds with an astral gravity, guiding a somber cosmic choir towards a more ethereal passage. This musical bright interval is stuffed with slender synth layers which are enlacing in an oblong cosmic ballet where weak pulsations draw hardly a cadence which won’t reach maturity, submerged that they are by enormous morphic strata. Although more aerated Milky Way stays of blackness and coldness cosmic music. We are hearing there shooting stars paraded among pulsations which feel one’s way into an abyssal blackness where choirs and strata interlace in a cosmic oblivion. From Myzar to Alcor gives the first signs of an animated life. Heavy sequenced chords unfold and wave in loops on breezes of a hybrid synth which frees sinuous lines and astral choirs. Tenderly From Myzar to Alcor movement is livening up of this astral procession where sequences and synth layers merge in a beautiful cosmic ballet. Except that sequences are multiplying and dispersing nervously on a musical structure always floating, creating a soft duality which will ease in a cosmos more poetic than somber. A very nice track, quite as The Barnards Star is a splendid ode for stars starting with a slow movement where limpid chords are dancing. Chords which hop and flutter in an astral sea filled with strata and layers of melodious synth. It’s a splendid track where the dance of sequenced chords recall Michael Stearns's wonderful cosmic universe in Chronos.
With its long cynical breaths which cross the walls of atony on heavy and resonant breaths from a cosmic synth, Departure to Sirius is intriguing. Sequences are emerging in midway. They dance and wave in loopy spirals in a world of cold and caustic reverberations. And the more Departure to Sirius progresses, the more sequences are getting vigor to undulate in a strange cosmic waltz where strata and choirs modulate somber sinuous lines, before releasing their last breaths. La Superba is delicate. By far, it’s the most melancholic piece of music on Music for the Stars II with its sad layers of a solitary synth which lull its thoughts at the bottom of stars. Slow and suave we can hear there their crystalline arpeggios drag their sighs. They try to form a movement, but they get astray in the melancholic immensity that lives in La Superba, another great track which brings us in the depths of us. Cygnus X encloses Music for the Stars II with a sequential movement which moves stealthily towards heavy synth nebulosity. A track in the same lineage as From Myzar to Alcor and where Steve Roach's steams perfume this stunning astral procession. Sequenced chords move with hesitation beyond cosmic streaks and vaporous choirs. They draw an uncertain rhythmic of which resonant chords are getting astray in the depth of morphic strata. Strata and abyssal choirs which, here and everywhere on Music for the Stars II, stifle a rhythm in constant permutation and which progresses in a wonderful universe to multiple electronic tones. A universe dominated by strata and choirs of a synth as weighty as oniric.
I had great pleasure to listen this last opus of Alpha Lyra. Christian Piednoir amazes with his profound morphic strata which imprison his rising and emerging rhythms, as well as his crystalline arpeggios which eventually end to escape from their synth holds to mold beautiful limpid melodies. It’s a beautiful album of ambient music, with just enough rhythm to avoid being annoyed, while crossing cosmic plains from artists so much influential as Michael Stearns and Steve Roach.


Sylvain Lupari (2011)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream :

ALPHA LYRA: Aquarius (2006)

After the stars, Alpha Lyra traces his music in a world closer to us. Aquarius is the fruit of an ambitious project which consists in writing music for a book about fishes entitled ‘’Aquarius…sous le signe des poissons’’. The writing of the music was made in parallel with the writing of the book on a 5 months period.
Eclectic choirs rise from Crystal River's abyssal depths with a soft synth movement filled of discreet flutes which are molding to frail choirs, as mermaids singing the crystalline beauties of the reflections from crystal clear water. Incredibly soft synth undulations float as fluid celestial pads, like a nice journey on flutes and enchanted choirs that make us discover virtues of the tenderness in a captive universe. Aquatic Dream exploits the same peace of mind on beautiful fragmented harmonies. The movement progresses in an echoing corridor where a beautiful sequenced melody undulates in the bluish reflections of a surface shaken by a synth wind, as whistles of spring. The slow Aquarius intro is melting on a sublime wavy synth which swirls softly among flowing keys and choirs with celestial harmonies. It’s a beautiful spellbinding moment which inspires an increasing melodious partition on synths with slow evolutions, a little as if the seabed abysses would be the best place underground. Ocean Waves is a long kermis of a melodious sweetness with a synth filled of captivating strata. A beautiful silky sequence livens up this light tempo which is subdividing to create another melody evolving harmoniously around choirs and strong synth strata, shaping thus a very nice passage of a hypnotic and restful sweetness. Synths are superb and let dragged multitudes of shrill, spectral and captivating streaks and striations. Of their reverberations a piano shakes its notes accompanied with choirs to variant harmonies, as the guards of Ocean Waves secret entrance which is an excellent track that we never get tired of listening to, as much for relaxed and dreamed as for the pleasure of tasting a synth melody in a perfect sound harmony. Batanga Reef ends this Christian Piednoir's 2nd opus as the whole of Aquarius; a melody in total cohesion with the musical and harmonious values of this musical banquet for an aquatic world.
Music to accompany a book! Music for fishes! You need to have convictions of your faith and on this level Alpha Lyra seems to me completely credible. Aquarius is a strong melodious album with movements more progressive and audacious than Music for the Stars, letting augur that the best remains to come from this French synthesist. I perceived there a sensibility and an effect to be within reach dreams of streams that we hear throughout this trip. It’s a nice musical journey where the ambient goes alongside to light and minimalism rhythm leaving amply time to sit down and dream as the crow flies.

Available at

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:

ALPHA LYRA: Music for the Stars (2005)

Alpha Lyra is French synthesist Christian Piednoir. An artist strongly influenced by Klaus Schulze as well as analog and experimental EM. Music for the Stars is his 1st opus and a surprising work between the dream and the rhythm, on a studded cosmic canvas between myth and dream.
As in a reverie, where a nostalgic dust measures our souvenirs, North Star opens Alpha Lyra’s 1st opus with a melodious promise. Limpid and crystalline piano notes unfold in a superb musical carousel. An acoustic guitar, as much softer, walks its notes in the shade of a strummed movement which obsesses our passion. North Star is a silk. It’s a superb piece of music to introduce us into the soft musical world of Alpha Lyra. From an astral corridor, the intro of Bételgeuse progresses on a fine bass pulsation, creating the link between the atmosphere and rhythm. Mesmerizing with its deep textures, sublime synth strata float in a shady ambiance between the atony and harmonious wandering. Quietly the sequence is dying let the synth waltz with its chords and run away on solitary movements. Altaïr is hallucinating of depth. A synth wave is deploying, like a sound beam, to auscultate the blackness with graceful moves on light carillons. Dense with long passionate movements, Altaïr joins silences and harmonizes its environment on heavy and mysterious synth impacts.
Deneb is the most beautiful track on Music for the Stars and probably from Alpha Lyra. A long musical exploration on sequenced movements and ambient passages, decorated with beautiful strummed melodies and melodious segments which revolve in suspension towards atmospheric meanders, pretty well exploited by Christian Piednoir's synths. The 2nd part is powerfully bewitching with its low pulsation which cohabits with an increasing sequence, fed of greedy strata. Minimalism and hypnotic Deneb transposes us into Morpheus’ arms with an infinite sweetness. An excellent track! A remix of North Star concludes this 1st work by Alpha Lyra. Quite as much melodious, choirs replace synth strata whereas a keyboard is unfolding celestial notes of this superb melodious fantasy. Near New Age doors that we would be that I wouldn’t mind so much the music is sweet and celestial.
Music for the Stars is an ode to stars.From Vega, also known under the name of Alpha Lyra, a constellation of Lyra with bright bluish colors, Christian Piednoir is making us entering with all the magnificence of a Boreal beauty. This 1st opus is a shower of freshness in the landscape of EM witha harmonious music on long movements to shadowy modulations, between ambiances and melodious sequences, in a celestial atmosphere.

Available at

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 :

vendredi 21 janvier 2011


S&S: Hi Ian Boddy! Pearl is a 30 years retrospective of your career displayed over 2 CD. How did you approach the conception and the selection of 28 Pearl's tracks?
IAN BODDY: Well 30 years seemed like a really significant point in time to look back and try to present my huge catalogue of work in a nice condensed format. It was obvious that'd I'd struggle to fit everything onto one disc so I decided very early on that it would be a double album. It was then clear that one disc should cover my DiN catalogue work which has dominated my output for the past 10 years or so. The other album was thus dedicated to my earlier pre-DiN work although I also wanted to include some of my library album work for DeWolfe as well as some of my sound design. With the Inner DiN album I was able to include a track from each of my solo albums as well as my collaborative projects. With Outer DiN I only had room for my solo work. In choosing the tracks I tried to choose some of my favorites but also pieces that would sit well together on the continuous mix I intended and that were representative of the time from which they were released.

S&S: Your discography is immense (26 albums studios and 11 "Library Music", there are certainly tracks that your fans would have liked to hear on Pearl. During the selection, did you consult friends, fans or did you simply trust your instinct?
IAN BODDY: Well I did run a competition for a bit of fun asking people to guess a track that would be included on Pearl and I got a lot of nice replies. The details and winners are listed here:
However fundamentally working within the parameters I talked about above in question 1 I used my instinct to create the two long continuous mixes.

S&S: How we make a flying over 30 years of career? When you make a retrospective of your musical career, what you retain most?
IAN BODDY: For me personally it's the memories of all the good times I've had, the great people I've met, the enjoyment I've got from playing concerts. It's a very personal thing as obviously music has dominated my life for 30 years. For the listener I hope at the most basic level that Pearl is just a very enjoyable double album of electronic music.

S&S: What is "Library Music" and what are those tracks we find on Pearl?
IAN BODDY: Library music is music that is commissioned by a specialist publisher - or library music company such as DeWolfe - that is intended for use on TV / radio / film / adverts. I tend to work to a theme such as space, nature, the sea, that sort of thing and then these discs are sent all over the world to film companies, tv studios & production houses. Companies then choose to use this music in their productions and if they do so I get paid a royalty. These CDs are normally not available to the public although DeWolfe have kindly allowed me to sell them on a limited basis. I have 11 albums and over 300 tracks published by them so I thought it only appropriate to include some tracks on Pearl as they represent a great deal of my musical output over the years. The 3 tracks included on Outer DiN are Who Controls Who, Metropolis & Living Planet. There is a direct link on the DeWolfe site to all my music that I have done for them @

S&S: Every track on Pearl is entangling with a surprising sound complicity for the difference of periods. Do they follow a chronological order and were they remasterised?
IAN BODDY: No they don't follow a chronological order as I placed them to provide a good balance over the lenght of each album. But there are pieces going all the way back to 1980 on my first ever cassette release - Floating from Images. I did a little bit of remastering - nothing drastic just some EQ on the older tracks and balancing levels.

S&S: From 1980 till 2010, Ian Boddy crossed three decades. How do you see the evolution of EM compared to your? Do you think you had evolved outside EM or you simply followed the current?IAN BODDY: Well from 1980 EM has evolved in a huge way. In many ways it has gone from an obscure type of music to the mainstream as evidenced by all the dance culture & it's many sub-genres a lot of which is basically electronic music. Then there's the ubiquitous music we here on the TV and in films much of which is again very much based on what we would call electronic music. However there is still a niche for what we might call classic electronic music form the 70's in the style of Tangerine Dream & Schulze etc - however this is now a very, very small niche and isn't really going anywhere. I think with DiN since 1999 I have tried to push the boundaries of my classic EM heritage - I have thus both released music very much in the style of those early German artist with some of my own releases and also certainly with the ARC releases. However I have also worked with many musicians who are outside of this small niche such as Markus Reuter, Chris Carter, Robert Rich, Nigel Mullaney etc where I have deliberately tried to meld together my classic EM roots with more modern contemporary styles of EM. For me this is a fascinating journey and I love trying these experiments - it's what helps keep me fresh after all these years. I couldn't just churn out the same style of music ad infinitum.

S&S: Are they key elements which transformed your creative approach in each of these decades?
IAN BODDY: Well obviously EM is very technology led so certainly that has had some influence although I still use many of the old analogue synths that I first started out with. But really it's hard to pin-point specific key elements - although maybe my conscious decision in the mid 90's and more so with DiN to work with other musicians has been a big influence. Once you start working with other musicians it opens up a whole new world of influences & ideas.

S&S: Outer DiN presents a very melodious Ian Boddy with poignant synths and rhythms closer to synth pop, even techno, than the Inner DiN period. Before the creation of DiN, did you feel smothered in a melodious style and a pop synth?
IAN BODDY: Although it's an over simplification to say that pre DiN I was more melodic than post DiN I can see how some may view it that way. I've always loved melody and in general of course that's what is more "commercial" than purely abstract music. Looking back I think once I started doing library music work for DeWolfe I was able to be as melodic as I liked for them which freed me up somewhat to explore a more experimental path with my DiN release although there's plenty of melodic material in there as well.

S&S: You sing on Living in a Ritual. How did you like this experience and why you have stopped there?
IAN BODDY: Well that wasn't me singing - believe me you don't want to hear my singing ;-) It was a heavy rock singer called Brian Ross who I knew - he heads up a band called Blitzkreig and i had helped them on a few tracks from one of their albums. I was working on this track from Spirits and initially I was just using vocoder for the voice but it wasn't quite working so i invited Brian to add some real vocals. It's a bit of a one-off track although it seems to have garnered a cult following in some German dance clubs and was recently included on a compilation album.

S&S: With all its array of percussions, Shrouded is superb. We find the same approach, although less ambient, of varied percussions on Atomicity. Has Shrouded initiated Dub Atomica?
IAN BODDY: No they're very different projects. Shrouded was recorded during my first USA concert playing in Philadelphia and uses a slowed down & filtered drum loop over which I layer various ambient pads & synth tones. Atomicity was the fourth DiN release and was collaboration between myself and Nigel Mullaney who had done a lot of DJ work. He's awesome with drum programming so his approach gave a whole new dimension to the percussion on that album which I was able to combine with my analogue sequencing & ambient textures.

S&S: On Outer DiN we feel clear influences of Tangerine Dream and Jean Michel Jarre, in particular on the percussions level, while on Inner DiN we feel a more innovative Ian Boddy. From what album and where occurred the click which made of Ian Boddy a more adventurous artist?
IAN BODDY: I think this was actually a pre-DiN album called Continuum. This is a double album from 1996 and is a record of a rather unique event where I was asked to play in an art gallery during a sci-fi artwork exhibition. I actually set up & played for the whole day - 7 hours so I knew that I couldn't be playing big concise melodic pieces. This enabled me to explore a more ambient and textural space which I really enjoyed and I see this as a pivotal album which pre-dated some of the things that I explored further with DiN. There's an edit of one of the tracks from Continuum on Pearl.
S&S: As Pearl progresses we feel this tendency to investigate a darker and more experimental sound world. Are Arc and Dub Atomica entities of your personality or extensions of your need to investigate these new musical avenues?
IAN BODDY: Probably a bit of both, Arc is collaboration with Mark Shreeve whereas Dub Atomica is with Nigel Mullaney as described above. They're both very different musicians with their own background and techniques so each project comes from a very different space. Of course the commonality between the two is me and I often see myself as a conduit through which I can filter these various artist collaborators to create an album that I want to release on DiN.

S&S: In 30 years, you worked with musicians with strong contrasting musical antipodes; Mark Shreeve, Markus Reuter, Andy Pickford, Ron Boots, Robert Rich, Chris Carter, Bernhard Wostheinrich and Nigel Mullaney. How do you manage to fit all those personalities? Are you the chameleon of EM, as Bowie is for rock?
IAN BODDY: Well I'm not sure about that although it's an interesting description. One important factor is that I am personally friends with each of these guys - we all get on well and can work easily together. However they all have different influences and each brings to the table their own unique skills and tastes. This is what makes it fascinating though - you never really know how a project is going to turn out before you start it - it often grows and evolves as you progress and sometimes can take you to unique and fascinating places. And I'll say it again working with all of these guys has helped kept me fresh over such a long period of time. If I knew exactly what I was always going to do then it wouldn't be fun anymore.

S&S: Is there an artist with whom you would like to work?
IAN BODDY: Well I'm hoping to start 2 new projects with Erik Wollo & Steve Roach this year so that's going to be interesting. If I had to choose one musician it would be Klaus Schulze - but not now - it would have had to have been in the 70's and of course I was too young then.

S&S: On Outer DiN there are magnificent ambient and atmospheric moments (Never Forever, The Mechanics Of A Thought and Aurora). I noticed that they are tracks where you are solo. Is the ambient and atmospheric an intimate musical shape of art?
IAN BODDY: I think you're probably right there although there are plenty of ambient sections in some of my collaborative projects such as those with Robert Rich. But I think the examples you give are pieces where I was trying to convey a specific emotion or feeling and are thus more personal and intimate.

S&S: How was 2010 for Ian Boddy and DiN? And what can we expect in 2011?
IAN BODDY: 2010 was a very busy and productive year. My library music projects did very well which from a financial point of view is very good. Of course the release of Pearl dominated my thoughts and efforts for much of last year. Looking ahead to 2011 from a practical level I need to balance what I do that is commercially successful such as my library music and sound design work with my more artistic and experimental work on DiN. However I'am continuing with planning new projects as mentioned above with Steve & Erik and I'll announce new releases when they are closer to completion.

S&S: Thanks Ian and on behalf of Synth&Sequences readers, a great and successful 2011 year!

Interview made by Sylvain Lupari on January 2011

Sylvain Lupari (2011)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream :

DARSHAN AMBIENT: A Day Within Days (2010)

Rural is the first term that comes to mind when we listen Darshan Ambient’s (aka Michael Allison) last opus. The artwork and music steep in this strange fusion tribal folk and New Age with a somber ambiance of grayness which flies over with its sad and melancholic synth / guitars layers. Michael Allison is an American multi-instrumentalist who goes places70’s in progressive as experimental domains. After some years of silence he built his own studio at the beginning of the 90’s and released 10 albums of electronic, ambient and experimental music that he sold on download platforms such as and IUMA. In 2004 he signs with Lotuspike label, where he released 3 albums since. Dedicated to the memory of his great friend and mentor Juan (Naux) Maciel, died in February, 2009, A Day Within Days is a dark but melodious album imprint by a strange sadness and which is listening to as we cry a dear departed. A surprising musical adventure that goes beyond boundaries of a conventional EM!
Delicate tinkled arpeggios, with soft twinkling of Caribbean island xylophones, open Talking Book’s intro. A fine line of bass and a melancholic piano espouse the fluidity of these chords, joined by a suave childish choral. Minimalism, the art of Darsha Ambient is in constant renewal with the add of instruments and electronic sonorities which wrap structures to slow deployments, but with a vigorous lively progression. So felted percussions appear, followed by good strikes of percussions, it’s a prelude to torrid guitar solos which swirl and dive Talking Book in a curious eclectic tribal universe with good atmospheres which are not without recalling the musical universe of Patrick O' Hearn. An influence that we will feel a bit more on One Moon Shows In Every Pool which enjoys again a delicate opening with limpid chords, crossed by fine laments of a solitary six strings. Between strata and quixotic violins with a zest of oriental flavor, One Moon Shows In Every Pool borrows a bit more dramatic tangent with strikes of mellotron bows and violin to Chinese tears which tear a soft ambiance slightly flavored by delicate percussions and guitar strata which fly over a beautiful sad track. Tribal percussions open the first measures of A Deeper Blue. A splendid track where notes of a nostalgic piano are getting astray in the tears of a guitar with oniric layers. A Deeper Blue, quite as The Lotus Eaters and its piano which embraces the violin mellotron strata, The Dreamer Slept But Did Not Dream and its notes of piano roaming in a full melancholy as well as the soft and hurting A Day Within Days which exhilarates with its piano notes which slowly disappear in the sad mists of hatched layers of a mellotron synth, are some nice pearls of a tenderness and a sad sensibility which glances through this album of a somber fragility that is A Day Within Days.
Now Sleeps The Crimson Petal gets lively on tablas percussions which beat a soft measure under a sky strewed with delicate streaks coming either from a guitar or a synth. Slow and floating strata which punctuate the universe of A Day Within Days, watering it of a somber atmosphere of sadness. The rhythm is light, crossing the roots of country folk with its violin to long and living striation and its guitar which sticks to those. Percussions plunge Now Sleeps The Crimson Petal a heavier rhythmic but always balanced with strange fusion voices, orchestrations and mellotron mists which are key elements in the construction of A Day Within Days’s moods. After this long litany to meditation and sadness The Long Rain appears as an ode to life, like a poetic music in the twilight of deceased. It’s a livelier track where chords of acoustic guitar and keyboards drum a delicate fervent tempo, while a soft mist of a coated mellotron surrounds this minimalist procession with frivolous chords, paving the way to a soft piano which whispers a sweet melody, inhaling a joy of living. Certainly, there are still the strata which moan, but these are tears of happiness which relieve from a gnawing pain that we feel for those we are crying. A bit as Talking Book, The Long Rain explodes on good percussions and riffs of guitars which get astray in violin strata and a nice ambiance of happiness which takes over after days of sadness. It’s You is in the same vein as Talking Book and The Long Rain. A track sung by Michael Allison which sings like Peter Gabriel or David Sylvain on a country folk structure with steams of a somber New Age.
Although very different from conventional EM, I quite enjoy listening A Day Within Days from Darshan Ambient. It is at once sad, dark, full of grayness but beautiful to split gloomy smiles. It’s an album of a surprising sadness which fetches feelings for a long time buried and which re-appears with a strange wink of eye to life. The kind that makes you says; Hello my friend, you are and will always be in my thoughts.


Sylvain Lupari (2011)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: