mardi 31 mai 2011

PICTURE PALACE MUSIC: Metropolis Poetry (2011)

After more than 6 years of existence and 12 albums and E.P., Picture Palace Music enters in the big league. Following Groove, which produced Midsummer in 2010, it’s Eastgate turns to show some interest in the phenomenon that is Picture Palace Music. Phenomenon because Thorsten Quaeschning’s band always manages to produce albums of a very high artistic depth. Music which oscillates between prog and theatrical rock and skims EM roots on black and very poetic themes. Strongly inspired by the old German cinema (Symphony for Vampires in 2008), Picture Palace Music (PPM) decides to honour Fritz Lang and its movie Metropolis by presenting a work inspired by this legendary German movie released in1927. Metropolis Poetry reties with the dark and ambiguous style of PPM which exploited so well on wonderful Symphony for Vampires, Natatorium and Fairy Marsh Districts where quavering guitars espoused with wonder hesitating sequences in a musical panorama more than gloomy. So welcome in the shadowy and mephistophelic Picture Palace Music's sound universe, there where the music has borders only your absence of imagination.
And it’s with a soft solitary piano that Overture opens Metropolis Poetry. Thorsten Quaeschning interprets a dark overture from which hesitating piano notes shake of their resounding waves on a dream to thousand torments and a melody to sombre fates. It’s a very nice track which recalls me the dark intro of Añoranza on Curicculum Vitae 1. The echoing wave of Holding Office frees glaucous serpentines which chatter on oscillatory pulsations and ringing of glasses whereas a flickering rhythm surrounds this track that has a strange stationary rhythm. An odd rhythm which embraces curious African fragrances, Holding Office parades on flickered elytrons surrounded by a fine alternating sequence which pounds in an amazing fauna of sound effects. M-Device follows with a slightly heavy sequence from which chords skip among riffs of nervous guitars. Agile tempo and riffs à la U2, M-Device rhythm dives into a heavy whirlwind where layers and guitar riffs border a tempo became more incisive with the entrance of good percussions. Guitars and synths become entangle on this slightly chaotic rhythmic structure, snidely fragmented and subtly oniric, watered by moments with heavy riffs and bitten by brief solos of uncertain guitars. Four reverberating warning shots and a soft ballad announce Yoshiwara Nightclubbing Society. A ballad interrupted by these droning summons but which persists with a delicate piano of which notes dance on a mysterious wavy-like metallic line. It’s a line which deviates towards a more mordant rhythm where guitars slide and roar frenzy on a heavy pace and hammered by good percussions whilst being supported by a strong bass line. Guitars solos hoot such as imprisoned spectres on a heavy tempo, filled with hatched riffs which recall vaguely those of David Gilmour to gradually find refuge in a finale as supple as its melodious intro. After this heavy and rather rock rhythm, MMXXVI Accept the Present proposes a beautiful electronic ballad of very ambient style where synth layers are intermingling in a sound firmament as strange as spectral. A cosmic interlude before the drum of Sermons for Dystopia’s intro rolls a rhythmic which overlaps on guitar back. Sermons for Dystopia is a hallucinating track which sounds like western rides on an ascending spiralled structure. It’s a track of which sound effects amplify the musical insanity and which ends in a surprising musicality with its solos encircling these western chords which are the origins of a track that has a lot of flamboyance. Lion-Man-Flow-Machine is a dark chthonian ode where gloomy choruses recite hymns smelt by a choir from outer-world. It’s a murky and intense moment which, inserted between Sermons for Dystopia and passionate New Freedom-Towers of Babel, takes a multi- dimensional proportion.
Nevertheless it’s with a very simplistic and harmonious intro that starts New Freedom-Towers of Babel; supple drums, sequence which waves by flickering and chords a little bit country-western. But the rhythm quick becomes heavy and encircled with riffs and layers of howling guitars on a more agile sequence and an incontrollable tempo. And it’s one of PPM main assets; the art to merge guitars and synths on sequences and/or extremely nervous percussions. And so it’s how New Freedom-Towers of Babel is unwinding, between a flexible rhythm and the one shaken up by pulsating and nervous sequences that are overfly by laments of guitars and synths on a hybrid cadence where the relative tranquility is rushed by a fury of percussion and sequences which lead up towards superb and neurotic limpid chords which skip among choirs as childish as devilish. Tangled High Mass intro is scented of Vangelis synth breezes. A synth disturbed by bells and which drags its nostalgia among warm and shrill laments so synthesized as guitars strings tortured and triturated by a passion eroded by years. It’s a superb ambient caustic and sclerosed track which is dressing by a weak sieved musical light. Twists of guitars harpoon the rhythm of Metropolis Theme which is hammered by good percussions. Doubtless the most harmonious track of Metropolis Poetry, Metropolis Theme sounds as Tangerine Dream of the contemporary years with a fluid rhythm encircled by beautiful synth solos which get entangled in loops beneath an avalanche of percussions. Riffs and solos of guitars add a harmonious depth which follows since its first chords Metropolis Theme evolution. Ambient and grafted by splendid oscillatory stratums, Mediation Process is in the same mould as MMXXVI Accept the Present. It’s a long ambient track with very poignant synth layers that flow as sinister violin tears. Grieving and moving it depicts with wonder the sad awakening to a more heart-rending reality. The soft breaths of flutes add a dimension of sadness and melancholy which have only an equal Picture Palace Music's gloomy theatrical musical universe. Poetry Metropolis encloses this last PPM opus with a suave ballad where Chris Hausl's beautiful vocal is of pleasant one harmonizing with a soft synth line which floats among gentle percussions as manual as electronic. It’s a sweet ballad that ends in serenity an opus filled with torments that is Metropolis Poetry.
After an album rather mitigated in Midsummer, Picture Palace Music returns in force with a thematic album where all the creativity of PPM finds the originality of its first works. Metropolis Poetry is an album all in contrasts and nuances where superb melodies to fluid and furious rhythms are next to dark and tenebrous atmospheres and ambiances which float and haunt in a universe to thousand ordeals. If Symphony For Vampires, Natatorium and Fairy Marsh Districts pleased you, Metropolis Poetry will make it just as much. It’s a great album which is amply worth outlays.

We can watch a video on You Tube:


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

ROBERT SCHROEDER: 30 Years After (2009)

It’s already been 30 years that Robert Schroeder is charming us with his music that follows constantly tangents as innovative as disconcerting. And to celebrate the event, the man to thousand tempos presents an album that does want to be a sonorous flyby of these 30 years. 30 Years After is not a compilation but a rather creative fresco which represents the various rhythmic orientations of an artist who is the precursor of an EM that one named down tempo, hip-hop and groove electronic moods.
30 Years Before opens with a short review of Harmonic Ascendant released in 1979. Beneath voice ochre of a silvered veil Robert Schroeder explains the hazards of an era where the creativity was the major stake in the conception of EM works, with as musical theme the fabulous intro of this cult track. Slowly we are moving towards the more modern tempo, but still as much suave, of Hypnotics with a sequence built on percussions and a hypnotic rhythmic bass where an E-guitar scatters its notes among a solitary piano and spontaneous avalanches of percussions; a trademark of Schroeder rhythms. Layers in loops, enslaved by veiled choirs, overhang this musical sweetness which is molding in a spatial approach. All You Can Dream increases a little bit the pace with nice E-guitar notes and with groovy style percussions which are enfolded in a wrapping synth and a nice sensual bass. Slightly stroboscopic, sequences encircle a movement which lulls between cosmic mood and down tempo on brief oratorical incursions from the German synthesist and a superb piano which is melting to an uncertain sequenced approach. Here, as everywhere on the opus, the synth espouses slinky movements and floats with a dreamy cosmic wandering reminding the first movements of EM. Percussions, little as arrhythmia pulsations, open Modifiers which roars of a caustic synth. Soon the movement becomes hatched and explodes on percussions which roll as a quixotic thunder in a sphere slowed by heavy synth pads. At around the 2nd minute point the rhythm becomes steadier on a good percussion play and a loud hiccoughing sinusoidal move, draped by a heavier synth. A track that is very near from The Chemical Brothers sound world (of which the Schroederian inspiration is evident) that has great punch and will make vibrating all dance floors, especially with its heavy reverberating bass.
Let it Flow makes in another register with a more unctuous and softer approach. Pulsations, bass and pulsating chords evolved on a tempo slowed down by an oniric and dragging structure. It’s beautiful, soft and sensual as only Schroeder can make with its synth sparkles that are surrounding as a finger makes wavy circles on calm water. The impetuous intro of Destination Galactica rolls with oscillations in cascades, enfolded by a catchy synth and encircled by a rotating sequence in a sonorous mould collided by percussions with strong randomly rumbling. It’s a long lively track with paces fractured by supple permutations of which synth layers fly over heavy hatched reverberations. A New Message is the pearl of pearls on 30 Years Before with a languishing rhythm on an E-guitar which frees its notes in the shade of a romantic nostalgia of which breezes are leaking away in sweetness of a slightly undulating cadence. Floating, dreamy and magnificently soft it’s pure candy for the soul and ears. Heavy and tribal hammerings merged to a sensual bass and a floating synth to liven sparkles as well as cooing percussions, here is the structure of Mood Control. The longest track of Schroeder 20th album exploits a hypnotic rhythm with brief cosmic incursions. Humming and hawing between space music and vitamined rhythms, Robert Schroeder encloses 30 Years Later with 30 Years After. It starts by a cosmic intro which is lighting by percussions knocking on cosmos doors, debauched by a suave and languorous coming out of a waltzing synth from which saxophone solos perfume the atmosphere by beautiful harmonious tirades. This is electronic poetry draped by mellotron choirs which teem marvelously on an opus which wants to be a splendid and poetic comeback from one of contemporary EM big names.


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

vendredi 27 mai 2011

JAVI CANOVAS:Gravitational Waves E.P. (2011)

After 2 very ambient albums Javi Canovas offers us an EP full of sequenced and heavy rhythms. It’s a desirable return to the roots wished by those who had succumbed to the tempting rhythms of Nights of Brightness. Gravitational Waves is a 3 tracks EP filled with sequenced adrenalin. A heavy EP with rhythms and resonant sequences which are sometimes wrapped by soft mellotrons. In fact Javi Canovas makes a temporal journey, there where heavy and mysterious Berlin School was the prerogative of the analog years; the 70s!
And all of this compressed power begins with the hard-hitting Solar Dome whose opening passes by a line of twisted synth where fragile arpeggios roam there and dance too. They skip on oscillating curves of caustic reverberations while a heavy sequenced movement frees big juicy and frenzied chords. The rhythm heavy and nervous, Solar Dome unfolds then at great pace with a powerful undulating sequential movement of which zigzagging chords abound in a boosted resonance. It’s a heavy and infernal rhythm which sinks into lines of a synth to foggy and ghostly breezes that is not without recalling the murky depth of Tangerine Dream or Redshift. Feverish arpeggios twirl around and dance on this infernal structure where the rhythm is forged in a powerful sequential movement with chords that still splash with their reverberations, while very slowly this sequenced fury is quietly going slow. But it’s a much nuanced calm which brings with difficulty Solar Dome at doors of more limpid sequences but as much feverish on a stationary rhythm and encircled by a synth of mist. After an intro where metallic choirs sleep in the abysses of chthonian sub-soils, Elephant Trunks in Space livens up with a crossed lines sequential movement which flow rapidly. Chords open up at full speed, leaving on their passages trails of metallic mists which sigh under the heat of the speed. Another sequence joins the leading one. It flickers nervously with hybrid tones and nervous ascension beneath a superb fluty mellotron. As much hard-hitting than Solar Dome, Elephant Trunks in Space is more melodious and exalts of a splendid depth with its heavy crossed sequences which criss-cross a hyper rapid movement beneath fine parts of a fluty mellotron. That’s a wonderful track that allies sequential strength and melody and which ends its exhausting race beneath breaths of a solitary synth. After an intro to strange murky breezes, Dispersionl offers a beautiful melodious sequential movement with chords which skip finely. Another sequence is adding and draws an echo shape in the shade of a soft fluty mellotron filled of the analog year’s sonorities. Quietly the movement is growing in size and heaviness with chords which cavort and resound, wrapped of a fluid synthesized fog. In spite of its chords which skip nervously and with a heavy resonance, Dispersion evolves between heaviness and tenderness, a little as a blend between Solar Dome and Elephant Trunks in Space, but with a mellotron to more accentuated and fluid breezes.
We can say that it’s a luck that Gravitational Waves is only an EP of a 28 minutes length because I doubt that my ears and my loudspeakers, as well as yours, can take as much heaviness, resonances and tortuousity over a longer period. Gravitational Waves is a monument of weightiness where the melody invites itself in strangely powerful musical contexts. It’s an EP that wants to be a revival for the heavy sequenced music of analog years. In short, an EP all indicated to fans of TD (Franke era), Redshift and Ramp. It‘s very good and strongly livened up, as EM should be a little more often. Gravitational Waves is a solid EP that we can get at MusicZeit download site for the price of a song!

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

jeudi 26 mai 2011

REMY: i-Dentity (2011)

WoW! This 11th festival from Vic Rek’s Ricochet Gathering held in Berlin between October 15th and 18th, 2010 will have made a whole noise. After the superb Let it Out! from Bernd Kistenmacher, there is Remy who’s offers us his portion of concert given to this festival. It was a while since that we haven’t heard something new from Remy. In fact we have to go back in 2008 with This is not the End. And the waiting was worth it. I-Dentity is an album of change for Remy. He who liked sieving his works of a veil imprinted of mysteries he offers in I-Dentity an album to progressive rhythms which respects marvellously the basic idea of this festival where the Berlin School style popularized by Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze was for the honour. But in the evolution of the 4 tracks, 5 if we take the downloadable version at MusicZeit, we feel the mysticism of Remy’s works resurfacing, so much and so that fragrances Exhibition of Dreams appears here and there, making of I-Dentity a hard-hitting album stuffed with a sulphurous mix of genres.
It’s with a fine carousel of glasses arpeggios that I-Dentity opens this live event. Destination: Berlin - Part I unfolds with a parade of a bit timid and uncertain arpeggios which sparkle with the clearness of a glass xylophone. Chords swirl with a light gap in harmony and a delicate variation in intonations, beneath the breezes of a synth from which hybrid sonorities remind soft nostalgias of a solitary saxophone. This soft minimalism glass melody loses its hopping arpeggios in the warm breaths of a wrapping and comforting synth to plunge us into the musical uncertainty which wraps Destination: Berlin - Part II. The opening offers spectral waves which roam and wave above a fragmented rhythm. A rhythm waving in cascade which goes, disappears and returns beneath a musical sky invades by heavy mists and fine ghostly oscillations. In fact it’s Destination: Berlin - Part II rhythmic pattern which appears by fragments and which is exposing entirely around the 7th minute by a mordant guitar, a warm lyrical synth and technoïd kind percussions. Whereas ghostly synth solos pierce the rhythmic ambiguity, Bill Fox's guitar solos spin in loops on wild percussions. We attend to a duel synth / guitar on a heavy and hypnotic tempo which quietly deviates on orchestral synth pads. Pads which float and oscillate such as in the hallucinatory world of Exhibition of Dreams (Lunascapes), evolving with a beautiful dramatic approach and threatening chords which pound a hypnotic beat beneath the screams of a guitar thirsty for juicy solos and furious percussions. Some nice synth layers are winding around fine nasal arpeggios. Destination: Berlin - Part III’s intro is tinted with a romantic that has only an equal in the dark melancholy which surrounds the works of Remy. Fine pulsations emerge out of this slow synthesized maelstrom where nice and shrill synth layers hoot in their solitudes to give way to the nervous tempo which wriggle of a mixture of pulsations and percussions to metallic resonances. Hypnotic, the tempo remains still and is joined by nasal chords that hit such as quacks of a cold duck while pulsations of any kinds feed this vertical rhythm where fine and suave synth solo hang on to it with a certain lasciviousness. At around the 11th minute the rhythm becomes more mordant with clearer and incisive beatings. Synth solos continue to pierce this rhythm a bit chaotic in which the reminiscences of a certain Klaus Schulze abound with an incredible exactness in the musical structure.
In facts, Destination: Berlin - Part III is a remarkable track which espouses as much the contemporary approach of Remy as its roots and influences of Klaus Schulze and his unique Berlin School style. This is a track that fans of Schulze are going to highly appreciate, whereas Destination: Berlin - Part II is going to please Tangerine Dream fans. I-Dentity, the title track, was conceived with the Internet technology and the collaboration of Francis Rimbert, Gert Emmens and on synth and sequences and Erik Wollo on guitars. That gives a lot of rhythm and synths solos which start rather slowly with a minimalism line of which bass chords evolve stealthily on a fine choir wave. Another line appears and its more limpid chords cavort around the lead one while the multiplicity of synth lines to variable sonorities continues. Mysterious, I-Dentity undulates on its arpeggios of glasses surrounded by slow enveloping waves when the drum falls and hooks a more frank and chiselled rhythm that a line of bass bites of its warm notes. At mid-term the rhythm breaks. Crystalline arpeggios, which ring as xylophones’ chords, are isolated and only the drum completes this dance of glass while a suave synth gives a second breath to I-Dentity which becomes subtly more languishing. The track forks of onto an arcade amusement tangent with an array of electronic heterogeneous tones which invade a rhythm become more mordant and agile beneath a fusion of hard-hitting synths solos. Solos substituted by Erik Wollo's guitar which makes a superb duo with a synth to crystal clear chords while I-Dentity pours towards a little technoïd tangent à la Tangerine Dream, completing thus the identical elements of the Berlin School evolution. Available in a downloadable format on MusicZeit site, Vulnerable is the equal of bonus CD that use to come with most of Remy’s releases. Written for his show on the E-Day 2011 festival, Vulnerable is a long and beautiful track which begins by an oniric and melancholic piano. Delicate, notes are as much sober as shrill and are wrapped with a fine synthesized mist while the constant progress of Vulnerable brings it towards heavy and tortuous roads. A style so familiar to Remy, especially with those splendid stratums with dark organ tones that recall so much a dream told some years ago. 
We don’t get used easily to Remy’s work. Mysterious and mesmerizing, the music of Remy sometimes dives into complexity, otherwise perplexity and I-Dentity doesn’t escape this rule. As much melodious that he is, Remy remains a complex being whose personality transposes on his compositions, making the charm of music that we discover listening after listening. I-Dentity is as height as Remy best work. It’s a work that embraces various retro Berlin School phases while keeping this key of influence for Schulze’s digital era works and this touch of madness so characteristic to Exhibition of Dreams. With such a cocktail it is evident that I-Dentity is an album to get because it depicts marvellously the evolutionary identity of the Berlin School EM style.


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

REMY: This is not the End (2008)

Sequential variations on eery themes, This is not the End is a daring opus where EM crosses the obscures meanders of a progressive contemporary music on limpid sequences girdled by synths with flavours as apocalyptic as its choirs sound. This is not the End is a catalyst opus which will undoubtedly liven up your evenings of questioning and anguish for sure.
Return to the Dream opens on an abyssal intro. Frictions of strings from an imaginary cello animate errancies that gently float in a Dantesque cosmos. A dark ambiance of steel reigns over this hermetic droning sphere, shaping a world of paranoia which wakes up under the soft tinkling of a crystalline sequence, premise of an attracting hypnotic melody which flickers in the fog. Soft, soft! The movement borrows a dramatic tangent with orchestral arrangements worthy of a nightmarish thriller with fine synth streaks which wrap a much heavier ambiance. These
reverberating waves espouse threatening stratums, opening the door to a final which explodes of sensuality with a beautiful bass line, good percussions and a grumbling synth.
There's Something In The Air continues in this surrealist atmosphere. Strange sound circles mould an astral nebulosity where galactic choirs and ethereal breezes of ghostly mermaids grow in a suggestive atonal half-light world, stuffed of clattering and typist kind percussions. It’s a world of arcade games that sinks in the stratified softness of Because It’s Said and its intro felted of soft percussions and resounding waves which are crushing in oblivion. Gradually the tempo is liven up under a fine bass line and nervous fluttering metallic sequences. Awakening from its lifelessness Because It's Said accentuates a processional velocity before melting in a powerful chaos where feverish percussions are moulding to a zombiesc spiral sequence, a loud bass full of resonances and its submissive choirs. An exceptional musical theatre which reveals an audacity unique to great’s contemporary composers.
Those Days touches lightly an ambient shape which wakes up languorously on a kind of groovy jazz tempo with a synth sounding like an accordion that caught a cold. Superbly lascivious with its very musical synth, Those Days is smouldering of abstruse desires before sinking into the frenzied madness of The Great Escape and its rhythms/non rhythms game on boosted synths. A track which borders Klaus Schulze madness and which evolves in a very musical complexity, supported by a solid synth play and great percussions. Delirious and delicious EM that we unfortunately hear rarely! After these delusions we have the splendid You and I takes us out to daydream with its soft introductory sequence which undulates in the obscure corridors of Return to the Dream finale and its indolently sensual line. The Day Before we Die takes back this sequence with a more crystal clear approach. This intro is waddling on a limpid minimalist nursery rhyme surrounded by a synth with semi spectral and sharp breezes. This track could easily be a strange soundtrack of a virginal nightmare which takes back its choirs moulded of bewitching draughts and which charm beneath strikes of typist kind percussions. A beautiful finale imprints from the poignant prelude of Return to the Dream.
Remy’s 7th opus is a daring one, full of musical bounces to sequential similarities which astonish and charm so much by their unpredictability than their lyrical, even poetic, denouements. This is not the End is the kind of opus that we heard too rarely in this sometimes asepticized universe of redundancies that surrounds EM. Remy has this touch and ability to create great obsessive music that haunts and astounds on each listening! This is why he recalls me so much of Klaus Schulze.


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 24 mai 2011

STEVE ROACH: Immersion Five-Circadian Rhythms (2011)

Was there something to add after the first 4 chapters of Immersion? It needs to believe that with Steve Roach we are never shielded from the surprises. Immersion Five-Circadian Rhythms is a surprising album where a strange musical fauna lives through Steve Roach's instruments. If Shroud of Night is a long meditative introspection, Circadian Rhythms swarms with a finely peeled microscopic life.
Circadian Rhythms is a musical reflection on the fascinating kingdom of animal and vegetal. The circadian rhythm is a biorhythm of 24 hours. More visible to plants it’s also very present in unicellular bodies, like mould and bacteria. And it’s a little bit this tiny world filled with multi-form creatures that Steve Roach puts in music. Circadian Rhythms-Phase One begins with strange tones of an effervescent world of which tiny latent movements are finely explained with amplified sonority. Those who are familiar with the musical universe of Roach will not be disoriented because tones very finely elaborated here have already seen the sound of days on Possible Planet. Thus long and threadlike serpentine movements to metallic sliding grow and circulate in a world of shadows where guitar notes jib weakly among dark varied oscillations. It’s a journey in the inside where swarms thousand eclectic tones and a world to multiple tones of quixotic insects which seethe with a surprising musical life. From this babel of spongy and microorganisms sonorities emerge soft astral waves which gradually win in opulence and cover this Lilliputian fauna of soft floating molecules which derive in the ending of a world in stigmatization. Layers of synth over those of guitars on a slowly stormy tempo, Circadian Rhythms-Phase Two is quite in contrast with the tranquillity of the slow Immersion that we heard on the first 4 volumes. Steve Roach multiplies there guitars and synths layers which are entangling and dying of elongated caustic riffs over a more and more precise rhythm. This is a clan rhythm unique Roach where percussions have this strange impression to be forged straight from the bells of rattlesnakes and heterogeneous elements which drag under the rocks of Arizona or Australian desert plains. I have the strange image of vultures on diet flying over the rests of a civilization to be spared when I listen to this 2nd part that bathes in the soft atmospheres of recent works of Roach such as the very beautiful Landmass and especially Destination Beyond. Little by little, Circadian Rhythms-Phase Two's fervently still rhythm calms down with beautiful soothing synth layers which cross a finale which espouses the hesitating rhythms and which march past stealthily of Circadian Rhythms-Phase Three. This last portion of Circadian Rhythms offers a fine balanced rhythm which leans on a soft hypnotic sequential balance and a suave line of bass which fidgets among hiccupping chords, the whole this is coated by beautiful layers of synth which undulate on a delicate oniric rhythm. We are in the lands of Dreamtime Return and Western Spaces but with a zest of musical freshness that leans Roach evolution.
There is not much to write about Shroud of Night. It is a long and atonal night-lament which respects the precepts of the Immersion series but with a more accentuated abyssal depth where a mix of synth and guitar layers float in an immersive serenity, , a little as if we were in communication with the aquatic world from which whales feed our subconscious of slender enveloping laments. And it’s doubtless Shroud of Night's great beauty. All along we have this vague impression of being submerged by a quixotic suspended ocean where cetaceans float in diapason with our immense need of immersive tranquility, a little as in First Light from Immersion: Three. True to him, Steve Roach filled every diameter available on the CD so that our subconscious is invades of this suave tranquility begun with Immersion: One in 2006.
With Immersion Five - Circadian Rhythms we have the best of both Steve Roach's worlds in a single album, which is not to be disdained.
We have the tribal and progressive rhythms to atmospheres as seducing as heterogeneous on Circadian Rhythms and the best of the ambient and dreamlike music on Shroud of Night. Immersion Five - Circadian Rhythms is at the height of its kind of album that can help to tame two Steve Roach's main genres.


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

STEVE ROACH: Immersion: Four (2009)

You know! There were days that I disliked these long ambient works. I found those meaningless and without harmonies. It’s with Steve Roach and his superb Structures from Silence that I learnt, on the very late, to appreciate the magic and tranquility that brings these works that I find comforting during period of introspection and stress. Then I enjoyed more ambient works. But still Structures from Silence and Michael Stearns’ Chronos are my best shots to calm down. With Steve Roach we are never sure of what will coming out and I have to admit that I didn’t believe that he could again exploits the abyssal depths of sleep, auras and intra personal relaxation, without falling in repetition and boredom. Well, needs to believe that master of dark and heavy ambient can recreate again a sound dialect within his meditative thought.
Although more hermetic and more claustrophobic than the previous works of the Immersion series, Immersion IV brings a warm vision to our personal mantra, the one we create from our visions and faiths. Immersion IV is an oblong musical ode which is spreading under long warm breezes, transporting us to the doors of our subconscious quite as the enveloping Artifact Ghost from Immersion II and Immersion III’s Sleep Chamber. Moreover to seize the full measure of Roach atonal works it’s preferable to be sit, or lay down, in order to relax and be taking off by these soft sound sonorous fragrances and synth layers. Stratum with breathes at once spectral and serene which are intermingling in a slow maelstrom and tickle our ears with an oscillating heaviness which forms the life in these long spiritual quests. We can attend as well to personal things, as read, write or even making love. Especially making love and caress, taste the skin of the being love by following these slow fluctuations of this music so personal. Try for once …
Here, as on all the works of the Immersion series, the music doesn’t move. It’s the companion of our spirit and senses to guide us towards an introspective journey where the relaxation and the awakening toward ourselves are loosening us of our immediate responsibilities. A little as a 3rd eye that shows us things from another perspective and brings a new lighting to that seemed so dark to us one hour ago. And it’s one of doubtless important reasons that makes that I love this man and his music. His music, to slow threadlike oscillations, brings an internal dividend which makes it good to listen to. Immersion IV is the annual rendezvous, although there was several this year, which Roach offers us so that we will recharge our batteries. I do not how it can be missed. It‘s soft, beautiful and extremely intuitive. And yes, I did that music once…


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

STEVE ROACH: Immersion: Three (2007)

Here is the new, maybe the last one, chapter of the slow and floating immersion of senses. This time Roach strikes hard and offers nothing less than a huge 3 CD boxset, totalizing more than 4 hours of a submarine music where the movement is completely flooded by groundwater which flow into dark earthly subsoil. Of course that Steve Roach is repeating itself. After all, how to reinvent the ambient kind album after album while maintaining a newest interest? Steve Roach succeeds in it by bringing subtle variations in tones and color to his music. And Immersion: Three is different because it’s music of ambiance, for those who want to think and meditate in a very hermetic environment. A claustrophobic milieu where elements of the air meet those of water.
First Light is a slow rise of senses that is hanging to a halieutic meditation. An underwater dream where fishes seem to be the answer to our aphonia. Listening to this at high volume and the feeling of immersion can’t be more than real and it’s the reassuring side of Roach’s works who seems to always reach his goals. On the other hand we are in an atonal world where only senses can hope to communicate with these low variations of movements. Without really frighten waves, waters’ debit is quieting down with its progress to embrace a more ethereal phase.
And this soft thought on inertia continues with Sleep Chamber where everything seems to be in conformity with its naming; long moving synth layers which swim in a cerebral cortex in order to bring us towards a medieval sleep in as much as the sword is not too much shaken. Recovering the monotonous heaviness of First Light, Still always represents the non-place and the non sequenced oscillation to offer a long spiritual litany which seeks its inspiration.
Enigmatic, experimental or simply subliminal Steve Roach's Immersion series continues its musical quest to seek peace and existential tranquility. This 3 CD boxset is a long musical exercise which may look at first sight a bit heavy, but it is about a work which transcends the kind to bring us there where only Roach can bring us; in the immensity of empty spaces and the harmony of the closed ones.


Sylvain Lupari (2007)

STEVE ROACH: Immersion: Two (2006)

Fans of ambient and long interpersonal journeys for the quest of a total and deep relaxation, Steve Roach offers his 2nd volume of the Immersion series. Immersion: Two’s Artifact Ghost is a long breeze, hardly mutable, which penetrates with idleness into the spheres of tranquillity. For Steve Roach the Immersion project began with this sonorous texture that we can hear on Texture Maps: The Lost Pieces Vol.3, released in 2003. Obsessed by its serene charm it fast became one of the favourite track of his repertoire having even requests to explored much more the floating charms of this night kermis.
Atonal this long ceremony where the body communicates with the spirit moves with atmosphere, as rustles of leaves caressed by a warm wind. All along, lightness in movements takes us towards a comfortable highlight where the quest for rest and peace of mind is not a dream anymore. Although very ambient Immersion: Two possesses an energy which spurts out of these synthesized breezes. Deep breaths which are harmonizing with tranquillity to find our interior quest. If Immersion: One charmed you with its dose of compressed peace of mind, Immersion: Two has the same depth and charm and is completely indicated to you. And if ambient and abstract music seduce your inner mind, Steve Roach is the undisputed master of floating music.


Sylvain Lupari (2006)

STEVE ROACH: Immersion: One (2006)

I am going to get straight to the point; I don’t really like ambient music. To me, most of it is meaningless and has no reliefs. Within years I learnt to tame by means of Klaus Schulze, Michael Stearns and Steve Roach music. Ambient and atmospheric music with depth, relief and emotion and in the last years I discovered Steve Roach's wonderful works (Structures from Silence, Western Spaces, Dreamtime Return as well as the Fever Dreams series).
Immersion: One is the first opus of a series that could stretch in the time; so much Steve Roach masters the ambient and abstract art. Moreover Immersion: Two should go out soon, if it’s not already done at the writing of this chronicle. The album contains only one long track. A long atonal movement where waves of synth submerge us as in the nice time of the New Age music where birds and whales sing on a beautiful oceanic serenade. Except that the music of Roach is darker. It’s a slow whirlwind of synth layers that interlace and succeed one into another in an elongated musical spiritual litany. Point of movements, nor of synth surges but long linear stratums which follow each other in a beautiful parade of angels. Abstract music? A rather music invisible as would say the ‘‘ex’’. If it’s true to say that nothing is really happening, the depth of synth chants is remarkable and demonstrates quite well the skill of Roach to compose a universe absent in movements but rich in atmospheres and depths. Did I like it? Not at the time I discovered it I have to admit. But with years and discovery of other volumes of the Immersion series, and other ambient music too, this music accompanies me now regularly to help me find the road of sleep.


Sylvain Lupari (2006)

jeudi 19 mai 2011

PARALLEL WORLDS & IAN BODDY: Exit Strategy (2011)

Ian Boddy's label DiN always specialized to offer a music that transcends the usual borders of a conventional even progressive EM. Imprint of mysticism and strangeness, unique to the sound universe of the duet Ian Boddy and Bakis Sirros, Exit Strategy is an album where the musicality has only equal in the creativity of this very eclectic duo. Weaved straight from ambient sculptures with composite tones of Bakis Sirros and dressed by slow and languishing layers of Ian Boddy's caustic synth, Exit Strategy is a fascinating industrial music which nests between the heavy atmospheric zones and hesitating rhythms à la Redshift and Arc. It’s a nice dosage where the music is like anything that you never heard of. Here, as in a parallel universe!
Portal leads us to the obscure and tenebrous corrosive universe of Ian Boddy and Parallel Worlds with sombre mephistophelic mooing which float over felted percussions. Percussions / pulsations that sound like suction cups and resound in a universe streaked by harsh howling and fine crystalline rosaries which unfold in a pure abstract atmosphere where diurnal lamentations float such as wandering souls before that Portal turns to a heavy and infernal static rhythm. It’s a short but heavy moment where spirits are revolting and calming down to seep into the more musical world of Impresario. Feeding also of abstruse atmospheres and percussions to heterogeneous tones Impresario evolves between different rhythmic segments. It slowly flies away with nice synth layers, as well as pretty nice mobiles and rippling orchestrations, on a movement which takes a more livened up tangent with a heavy and slow tempo undulating beneath sinuous reverberations, stratums to dreads roaring and metallic-eclectic percussions / pulsations. It’s a heavy movement with a rhythm a bit blurred where reminiscences of Arc and Redshift are made hear on murky pulsations and a delicate devilish piano which unfolds a light snigger over a rhythmic structure in perpetual renewal. The intro of Soliloquy wraps us with a soft serene veil. Far away and just in background we are hearing tick-tocks which beat in an arrhythmic way and a beautiful bass which draws a slightly heavy structure while Soliloquy deviates on a slow soft and sensual rhythm draped of nice comforting stratums, although always a little bit dark, where the piano escapes and mixes its notes with beautiful crystalline percussions. It’s a very beautiful track, between beauty and blackness, that dissipates the dark mists of the first 2 tracks and which is a great interlude before diving into Entwined, a long ambient track full of dark atmospheres where heterogeneous tones furnish a long movement filled of dark breaths which expire in a sombre garden infested by metallic locusts.
The intro of Exit Strategy soaks into a very grimy ambiance. I hear inspirations of Schmoëlling whereas the tempo livens up heavily with chords which transcend in ascending spheres. Chords which climb on a heavy and slow sinuous movement perfumed of heavy silvered layers and livened up by heterogeneous percussions and a good line of bass. The beat glides in indecision where superb and strange sonorities shape astounding percussions on an endemic structure where suave and poignant silver layers fly over nice melodious snippets. Hidden is a little in the same mould as Entwined. It’s a dark and ambient track which sets shape with a nebulous intro where fine scattered pulsations awaken a gloomy world with lugubrious layers and lamentations of synth to metal breezes which float and roar vaporously among ringing hoops to musical clickings. Quietly Hidden goes out in the intro of Return and its uncertain rhythm which pulses in a very intimist ambiance where mellotrons sing beautiful poignant melodies on a hesitating tempo. Oscillating between two rhythmic phases, ambient and divided rhythm, Return progresses with slow wolves which steps over a cadenced evolution constantly slowed down by eclectic musical elements and restrained élans that mellotron synth movements embrace and enfold of their vaporous musical mists. That’s a wonderful way to conclude a very album of music always to the antipodes of its rhythms and harmonies.
Not to doubt it, Exit Strategy is at height as what we can expect from a duo as eclectic as much unpredictable as intriguing. It is a very good album where the darkness meets the melodious lights of day sieved by the heavy veils of mellotron and synth as misty as celestial. Fluctuating between slow heavy and straight rhythms as well as darken atmospheres of the unicorns of obscurity, Boddy/Sirros succeed on creating a unique musical tapestry where Bakis Sirros sonorous peculiarities are moulding marvellously to Ian Boddy's very avant-gardist musical vision. Exit Strategy is an album to listen to with wide open ears and eyes will follow this amazing musical route.


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

mercredi 18 mai 2011

BERND KISTENMACHER: Let it Out! (2010)

Let it Out! Let yourself go and let off steam out! This is what one might conclude at the listening of this awesome music piece that Bernd Kistenmacher wrote for the famous EM festival; Ricochet Gathering 2010 promoted by Ricochet Dream Records’ own Vic Rek. For the German synthesist it was an opportunity to take stock of and build the bridge between his Berlin School influences and his current EM tangent which is more symphonic. And it's true that Bernd Kistenmacher has totally give vent to his feelings... if not went entirely running riot! He did Let it Out!
The whole thing starts with a movable synth line coming out of cosmos and stars to glide lovingly among waves that come and go in a soft and delicious musical maelstrom. Waves of synth that are intertwining and amassing over a multitude of synthesized waves, of which some stand out and throw short melodic fragments whereas huge symphonic drum rolls suddenly appear. They are the signal to launch a swarm of symphonic stratums where synth layers sharpen their metaphoric bows to draw curt and quick stationary orchestral élans. And there go violin mellotrons which are dandling with fury on rolls of symphonic percussions whereas lines of synth all so symphonic fly over this soft ferocity coming of the hits of quixotic bows on a structure becoming more and more dense and heavy. We are at the 7th minute point and the atmosphere is explosive with this furious orchestration which continues to tumble down under warm mellotron strings and Greco-Roman choirs which add a depth already filled at high volume. Toward the 9th minute the rhythm is crashing on the orchestral cliff, freeing piano notes which hesitate to make themselves heard and which are quick snapped by a hatched sequential movement. It’s a jerky movement which crashes into as scissors of a psychotic barber whereas that the piano finally develops its harmony under a sparkling dam of sequences and waving synth lines. The rhythm drumming, Kistenmacher dresses Let it Out! of all his musical assets. This time it’s acoustic guitars notes’ turn to join in to make a sweet melody with the piano’s, under a sky streaked by shrill lines of synth. And the whole thing is reforming abruptly in a heavy and dense orchestration where a Berlin School is flooding of marvellous dense and intense orchestral stratums whereas the symphonic approach is moulding to superb exhilarating sequences. A sequence is isolating towards the eighteen minute. It divides up the rhythm to pound alone a movement which zigzags beneath sinuous reverberations. Let it Out! undertakes then a pure Berlin School turn with a powerful hypnotic sequence which hammers a ghostly tempo flied over by streaks and discreet solos of synth while, demonic, keyboard keys ramble and knock with fury to scattered in a totally wild rhythm.
Let it Out! continues his furious rhythmic élan on a sequence which by moments is splitting to finally move at high speed such a nervous and frenzied TGV on a very nice bass line which waves in length undulations. The more this long music piece of Kistenmacher evolves and the more he impresses by his wealth in the choice of virtual instruments and by the addition of all his musical layers that weighs down Let it Out! of a fascinating musicality a bit mad and crazy but constantly poetic. That’s all a lesson of EM that Bernd Kistenmacher is serving to us with this epic track which pursues its unbridled crusade while piano notes return haunting Let it Out! with striking percussions hits. Memotron stratums return and are even more symphonic. They wrap this wild rhythm of a tight melodious influence where lines, layers and stratums of synth are uniting to unify their breaths in a wonderful celestial clarion which sings and charms under frenzied hits of percussions, breathless sequences and this line of bass which supports this rhythm of a surprising cohesion with its thick cooing undulations. And quietly this infernal rhythmic train enters its station. It slows down its pace, letting drag the dust of its clarions, piano notes and sequences to only make hearing an acoustic guitar that sings beneath the jolts of still alive rhythms and breaths of a synth to hybrid layers, between the symphonic and Berlin School there where choirs breath in under mellotron stratums and hits of philharmonic big drums.
There are no doubts in my head, Let it Out! will be a piece of anthology in contemporary EM. We attend at a real tour de force where Kistenmacher is a real musical whirlwind. Throughout this heavy sequential and symphonic maelstrom, Bernd Kistenmacher maintains a fascinating melodious approach which is the soul of this long hypnotic musical piece where every stage brings its melodious freshness and the poetry so unique to the musical universe of the German synthesist. It is a pure masterpiece which is available in downloadable format on MellowJet site. I think it’s useless to specify that it is a must have. As far as I’m concerned it’s the best EM album in 2011 so far.


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:

vendredi 13 mai 2011

NORYANI: Northeast117 (2011)

A little gift from Sweden, Noryani doesn’t really consider himself as an artist but rather as a music creator. We must listen to it before agreeing to such a statement!  Because the Swedish synthesist, or sound sculptor, has a superb talent to create a melodious music which dives into rhythmic storms as dynamic as varied and unexpected. Northeast 117 is his first album. A nice one carefully thought through which presents 9 tracks all so melodious one from the others which soak into cadences and sequences in continual permutations. Suave, synths are vaporous with nice orchestrations which are not without reminding the silky angelic world of Vangelis more exactly in the periods of Direct to Voices, while passing by Blade Runner.  
A fine sequential carousel with sonority of a limpid circular harp opens the first measures of Destinations-Northeast. A synth puts down light pads of mist whereas the carousel waves with more insistence. Some percussions to hybrid tones frame the pace which beats beneath arrhythmic pulsations, wrapped by suave synth solos with a scent of saxophone. The rhythm slightly more accentuated and a more fed structure, Destinations-Northeast evolves towards a sequential whirlwind where notes of a quixotic harp sway on a pounding rhythm and synths to symphonic breezes. After a noisy metallic click Monumentos (El Primer Círculo) offers a soft movement of melodious synth which multiplies its harmonious layers such as a Vangelis soundtrack. The movement is smooth and bended on a fine sequence which softly waves, dragging Monumentos (El Primer Círculo) towards a very nice synth lament. It’s a very nice track where the hair skin raises quite as the spine so much the resemblance with Vangelis is striking, in particular with Monumentos (El Segundo Círculo) and its dramatic structure to Middle East fragrances fed by beautiful orchestral arrangements, good beatings of symphonic percussions and synth filled with suave stratums and dark choruses. Aroma de las Naranjas pursues this musical quest very near Vangelis’ soils with a heavy and atonal track which spins of its heavy metallic synth stratums. If the first phase mixes choirs synths layers to reverberating curves, the second phase livens up of a fine line of percussion which skips nervously, but subtly, beneath a symphonic synth duped of heavy rippling stratums. The tempo becomes more precise at the end of the road with keyboards and piano keys which dance on a more lively structure where hoarse metallic breezes are fitting on a slightly syncopated sequence.
Canela is another beautiful track that shows all the sound work created by Adrian Noryani on Northeast 117. A track which shows several unexpected developments and which subjugates by the beauty of its approach a bit jazzy. Movements of rail trains unfasten the intro. They stop there, where a sulphurous synth to saxophone solos glean on a rhythm which settles down. Sensual, Canela opens a hybrid sequential movement where sequenced chords pulse and are subdivided into balanced chords and others which take the shape of industrial jingles that we heard almost everywhere on Northeast 117. Subtly the tempo deviates towards a tribal approach. But it’s a short detour before it takes back its cruising speed with a surprising hybrid sequential movement which charms beneath the breezes of a wandering saxophone. Caramelo moves on with a short ambient intro fed by a multitude of eclectic tones. Percussions fall and mould a jerky rhythm that a good line of bass embellishes with its hopping notes. Synths are always as vaporous as harmonious and sing on a rhythmic structure struck by good percussions with anvil sounds and encircled by a light syncopated movement. New from far Away is a strange ballad. Strange because beautiful with its tearful synth which draws an approach of a solitary cowboy and by those percussions which tumble to mould an indefinite rhythm that winces more than it moves. It’s a nice track that, like most of the tracks on Northeast 117, suffers of a kind of musical bipolarity because it always eventually bursts of a still rhythm on a soft fluty synth. Solid State (Interpolar) is a blend of techno and very energetic free-jazz with its pulsating percussions and its warmth synth lines. It’s a real knocker! Re-Set encloses this first opus of Noryani with a superb melodious approach hunted and torpedoed by a solid syncopated rhythm. Delicate notes of an acoustic guitar are pinched with firmness and plot a soft melancholy which drags its sadness on a mellotron cloud. Threatening reverberations break this ethereal melodious combination, opening the door to percussions which strike shyly the pace on a finely jerky sequential line. Quietly Re-Set dresses itself with a range of composite tones, before biting the rhythm on a jerked sequence which explodes in a fiery movement of a very schizophonic techno. It is the proof by nine that Northeast 117 is feeding on unpredictable rhythms and musical styles more than varied on structures initially very melodious. Here is a nice album of a beautiful musicality that one listens to as we breathe the freshness of the wind and where Noryani is as well enigmatic as very promising.


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

PRZEMYSLAW RUDZ : Cerulean Legacy (2011)

Rudz Przemyslaw is one of the finest new artists to emerge from the EM scene since a couple of years. Strongly inspired by sci-fi and the music of Jean Michel Jarre, the Polish synthesist builds albums in the measure of his visions with a skilful mixture of rhythms, sound effects, samplings and atmospheres. Cased in nice artworks that depicts the ideals and minks without ambiguities, Rudz Przemyslaw’ works soak into pure energetic cosmic rock. Cerulean Legacy is the cry of an artist so that our descendants have the right to aspire to a better world, a world of azure where it would be good to live in it, as the one our ancestors built.
Farewell to Tranquil Existence opens this 4th Przemyslaw Rudz work with a long and sinuous synth wave. Soon, other waves are adding. Graver and more resounding they float and get entangled become with variable tones in a long musical cortex where they waltz and float casually in search of a sequence, a rhythm. Little after the 7th minute a discreet guitar riff appears. This riff rubs an abstracted rhythm behind a maelstrom of synth layers agglutinating in a cosmos filled of very Jarrian tones. This riff tumbles in loops, being astride a persistent plasticized electronic where joyful and shrill human voices are out of tune among twisted and sharp synth solos which try to tear this opaque veil that is the sound barrier of Farewell to Tranquil Existence. With its rhythms and sudden outcomes Mystery of ALH 84001 is the craziest track of Cerulean Legacy. It starts with a very eclectic intro where fine tinkled arpeggios wind and glean among very heterogeneous tones, not to say very extra – terrestrials vocalizes. A fine hatched sequence emerges out of this glass magma to dance of a hesitating movement. It circulates in limpid circles and scatters the glasses ringing whereas a warm synth veil wraps up Mystery of ALH 84001. A thick fog settles down, imprisoning Cerulean Legacy’s longest track into an inertia where circulates and embraces a thick cloud of morphic stratums. Another sequence appears. This time it cackles such as a galactic duck while a drum shakes it skins with hardihood to shaped a rebel and chaotic rhythmic which draws the bedazzled rhythm of Mystery of ALH 84001. Solos and synth layers bite this wild rhythm, as a cosmic free-jazz, while percussions are isolating to hammer an unexpected solo. The beatings fall with a robotics precision while a low sequence with resonant chords encircles this solo to mould a syncopated tempo which hiccups beneath nice synth pads and cherubs' shouts lost in a notion of the time that only Rudz Przemyslaw seems to overpower. A little as Farewell to Tranquil Existence, Of Gaia Prophetic Dream floats in a cosmos filled by caustic and slinky synth stratums. Notes of guitar are dawdling there. Wandering and solitary, they chatter with the chirping of quixotic birds which sing in the shade of a synth from which sclerosed layers and metallic stratums roar under droning pulsations.
Two Days After Extinction begins with a beautiful cosmic choir which extends beyond the first notes of a lonely piano. A beautiful and soft intro where we feel all the gloom and the melancholy of 2 days which follow some disaster. The piano there is superb. Notes are strummed with the sadness of a pianist forgotten in a night-bar where some metallic clamours can be heard. We navigate between several parallel musical worlds. I’m hearing there some influences of Schulze and Schmoelling, as well as Stearns and Mondshine on a slow movement which smells distress, a little as in the universe of Blade Runner. And this illusion takes all its sense with languishing synth solos that tear the opaqueness of sadness beneath fine mellotron mists. At around the 5th minute spot, a heavy sequential movement shakes the apathy of funeral laments, there where voices continued to murmur their sadness in the shade metallic crows croaks. It’s a short sequential movement which serves as rhythmic link between Two Days After Extinction and the lively The Power of Mind. The bewildered rhythm of a jerky and stroboscopic sequential movement gets moulding to those psychotronic beatings of Mystery of ALH 84001and to a hiccupping bass line in order to forged a wrecking rhythm where the heavy technoïd approach marine very well with a crazy free-jazz. The Power of Mind is wild and fed by the beatings of a curt and incisive drum whereas synths wave and stroll without too much instigation on an unbridled rhythm. A rhythm which quietly goes astray towards a more cosmic tangent beneath the story of a fragment of speech held by Stephen Hawking in Mars 2002. Still there, we feel the strong influence of a Jarre with synth layers there which are waving and embracing with sonorities from En Attendant Cousteau.
Surprising, mesmerizing and puzzling are the first qualifiers that come in mind to describe this last musical odyssey of Rudz Przemyslaw. Cerulean Legacy is an opus just like its title. A powerful album where the blue-sky tears two universes of which the parallelism is next to a kind of improbability and where the soft ambient and morphic music caresses wild and ambiguous rhythms. Navigating between the complexities of a musical world to sinuous atmospheres and rich in composite tones as well as in rhythms at once explosive and reserved, Cerulean Legacy is this kind of story to be listened to with all the attention which deserves its conception.


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

mardi 10 mai 2011

JEFFREY KOEPPER: Quadranteon (2009)

There are a lot of sounds reminiscences that cross my ears while I’m the intro of Quadranteon Part I. From No Man’s Land (TD’s Hyperborea) to Equinox (JM Jarre), Quadranteon’s intro starts on cosmic fragrances which wave such as auroras borealis and roll such as waves to starred meerschaum. Hard to catch? Well that’s the musical world of Jeffrey Koepper. That’s a soft intro with slow scented oscillations of synth breezes which mould a sweet and progressive rhythmic tangent that skips in a sound universe stuffed with synth to droning waves. Of this fine movement, animated of a warm synth life, frees tones of felted sirens which criss-cross a spatial nebulosity grabble with permutated sequences and fabulous solos of a poetic delicacy. Jeffrey Koepper's musical world is in constant harmony with a warm and boiling spatial music. Euphony made aptly by his analog equipment and his personal vision of a quixotic cosmos to shifting constellations.
This 6th studio opus from the American synthesist pursues his mythical collection of cosmic sounds elaborated from sound searches, analog equipments, a creative imagination and a strong work of composition. Quadranteon is divided into 4 parts: 2 are full of sequencing rhythmic lives and the other 2 are more atmospherics. It’s a musical skillful blend where the rhythm gets quieter nearby ambient tranquilities and where the listener plays with the 2 musical paradoxes that reign agreeably on Quadranteon. If Part I is slowly animated by a suavely progressive rhythm, Part II is plunging us into the spheres of a distant cosmos that we gravitate with a sweet sense of exhilaration, as an ascension slowed down by the effect of weightlessness. Arpeggios float in echo, orbiting slowly Quadranteon timeless stairway. The sound world is skillfully built. Dressed it is by super analog effects which sway lazily on nice slinky and waltzing strata as well as minimalism chords which show and trace out the celestial way to be followed. A length (it’s the first impression that we get) but delicious journey as astral as meditative which overflows on the wild and mordant Part III.
Juxtaposed synth waves float with romantic at the opening of Quadranteon’s best track. Part III is livening up on a synth to caustic reverberations, announcing a pace which hems with a felted heaviness. Linear and minimalism chords follow with a sober frenzy which is accentuating with a new layer of keys as much minimalism, but intertwined by more limpid ones. Part III becomes more ardent and fuses of melodious synth tones which are perfectly mixing up in this astral jungle filled of variables rhythmic pulsations that feed a structure more and more complex, all wrapped it is of heavy pads from a synth to multiple musical variances. A brief atmospheric moment cuts the track, which returns with a new rhythmic structure mainly bended on a beautiful bass sequence wrapped progressively by a synth as much vaporous as warm. It’s a very beautiful and powerful track that goes along analogical lineages of the French era with Jarre on Equinoxe and Frédéric Mercier on his delicious Music from France. It is in a peaceful spatial mood that Quadranteon is concluding, with the morphic and unctuous Part IV. There, where the effect of floating in our head is also omnipresent as on Part II, but in a shorter way. It’s a sweet and slow dark waltz where furtive cadenced glidings prevail on these binary measures. Nice and soft, warm and inviting! Reflecting in all this beautiful and poetic cosmic ode of Koepper who, year after year, invites us to his so unique analog musical rendezvous, in these days of digital EM.
If Jean Michel Jarre's first works appeal you the music of Jeffrey Koepper will do the same, except that it’s a bit more progressive and complex.


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:

jeudi 5 mai 2011

TANGERINE DREAM: The Island of the Fay (2011)

"Without a doubt, The Island of the Fay is a strong opus and one of the very good made by Tangerine Dream since ages"

1 Marmontel Riding on a Clef 7:46
2 Breath Kissing Matter's Mouth 8:59
3 Beauty of Magic Antagonism 5:58
4 Fay Bewitching the Moon 11:01
5 Cycle of Eternity 6:461
6 Death in the Shadow 9:08
7 Moment of Floating into the Light 9:27
8 Darkness Veiling the Night 8:44

EASTGATE: CD 049 (CD 67:52) ****½

Wow! I have to admit that I am impressed. Inspired by a work of Edgar Allan Poe, “The Island of the Fay” is the first of a dark series of musical poems. And yet another Edgar Froese ambitious musical project which shows that the old fox possesses several strings to his bow. Like many TD fans I was subjected by “The Island of the Fay”s musical wealth. And this is for this reason that I took the time to review it and after some listening I understood that this last album of the Dream sounded exactly as the honeyed works that Edgar offers us for since the TDI and Eastgate years. Except that it’s supported by 6 musicians who enrich a sound structure which would have exactly rung as Views From A Red Train, Chandra and some works of the series Nagasaki if Edgar would have been alone and that he surmounts his fear of sounding as in old TD from the Franke and Schmoëlling years (Beauty Of Magic Antagonism and Death In The Shadow) while giving a wink to Klaus Schulze (Fay Bewitching The Moon). Making it, “The Island of the Fay” enters a zone that Edgar Froese seemed to avoid and denied at all costs; that of Tangerine Dream.

A swaying synth line introduces a frenetic sequential movement among which pulsations and hybrid palpitations form a strange fusion with the sonorous waves and sinuous synth lines that introduce the very lively "Marmontel Riding on a Clef". Absolutely brilliant this heavy intro to multiple sequential lines, that a bass line bites of its hatched notes, is decorated with delicate pads of a discreet synth in tones always so divided between the symphonic approaches and vocalizes that become so dear to Edgar. This melodious approach is inserting by shy snippets on a colossal sequential structure which unfurls at high speed and is feeding of its wriggling structure with the adding of nervous doubloons, chords to jerky flow that are spinning in almighty rhythmic spirals, good curt percussions and varied jingles which strengthen a surprising and stunning circular rhythmic approach of which the synthesized melody remains still. "Marmontel Riding on a Clef" is a great track of which the dark depth is dissipating in furious sequential movements while "Breath Kissing Matter's Mouth" offers a more temperate, even static, rhythmic approach. The intro is dark and imprinted of mystery with its heavy pulsating chords and its notes which are circulating in loops among flickering sound effects and percussions. Slow, the rhythm meets a nervous sequential movement from which crystal clear chords flutter in an unbridled staccato to rotary spirals. With its 2 parallel rhythmic structures "Breath Kissing Matter's Mouth" bubbles beneath its sequences which dance of a circular fury on synth layers to astral choruses and sinister violin lamentations. "Beauty of Magic Antagonism" is a nice silvered melody with a nice Tangerine Dream zest from the years of Le Parc and Hyperborea. The rhythm is slow and metallic, bent on good percussion strikes and nervous sequences. The synth there is very melodious and let flows a beautiful approach in the harmonies of the Dream in the 80-90’s years, quite as "Cycle of Eternity" which is, on the other hand, more nervous and closer to contemporary tones of the Dream with Carmaa's lively percussions. "Fay Bewitching the Moon" is one of the strongest moments on “The Island of the Fay” with its swaying intro to magnificent orchestral arrangements where melancholic impulses of strings instruments slide on a shagreen. A movement which is not without recalling Klaus Schulze on X. Afterward we penetrate into the sombre universe of the Dream in the Cyclone era with a tempo skipping on synth pads to reminiscences that we cannot denied. The percussions of Iris Carmaa add an unreal depth to these metallic synth pads so unique to Froese. The violin of Hoshiko Yamane caresses "Fay Bewitching the Moon"s hopping and jerky rhythm which is really at the musical doors of the 2 pole apart from Tangerine Dream. This is simply a wonderful track that smells the genius to full ears.
The sequential movement and percussions "Death in the Shadow" intro remind me a lot of
Warsaw in the Sun catchy beat. Little by little the rhythm becomes more nervous and skims over by hybrid synth layers. A little as everywhere in “The Island of the Fay” the rhythm is still, even if bubbling, and is centred on a fusion sequences / percussions which drums a nervous pace, always on the edge to explode but which holds its implosion near a line of bass to slender cooing note. Synth layers adopt angelic vocalizes while scattered pads add a depth filled of musical fragrances of the Pinnacles and Stuntman years to a track which wins in ferocity as it progresses. "Moment of Floating into the Light" is a long ballad that glides on beautiful nervous but stable sequences that splendid guitar solos from the old silvered fox betray his nostalgia. It’s a very beautiful poignant ballad where the heavy rhythm never overflows and the fusion synth / guitar flows throughout a slightly hopping sequential movement. "Darkness Veiling the Night" is the other very strong moment of “The Island of the Fay”. A track that brings us in territories even darker and more mysterious than "Breath Kissing Matter's Mouth" with a languishing tempo which begins its growth with percussions of which felted resonances strike in a strange world to atmospheric and eclectic tones. Notes of a wandering guitar cover the stride of this odd diurnal march where notes of a solitary piano cross the striking of percussions that sound like a xylophone in an atmosphere where romance goes alongside apocalypse. That’s a delicious mix of Picture Palace Music and Tangerine Dream on sumptuous orchestral arrangements which add a romantic depth to this heavy and powerful track, as much as its languishing tempo than its suave arrangements to made melt a rock. Yet it’s another splendid track that the blackness of the character whom is Thorsten Quaeschning.
Without a doubt, “The Island of the Fay” is a strong opus and one of the very good made by Tangerine Dream since ages. In fact it is the so long awaited album by the fans of the Dream whom, year after year, hoped to hear an opus where the spirit of the old Dream would roam over Edgar Froese's new ideas. It is now done. Certainly “The Island of the Fay” doesn’t offer these long tracks where TD changed its rhythmic structures in an instant, but it offers 8 robust tracks where the sequential avalanches are grafting to very nice melodies that would suit quite well in the Franke, Froese and Schmoelling era. We have heavy and nervous rhythms surrounded by synths to hybrid layers and suave guitars which soak into good orchestral arrangements. In brief, it’s a strong EM which crosses the decades of the Dream to dive quite hard into a story that should continue with a volume 2. This is simply magic and delicious, a return to one’s roots strongly hoped since moons and that didn’t just expect anymore.
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

mardi 3 mai 2011

PETER MERGENER: Phonetic Society (2010)

Those who doesn’t know Software or Mergener / Weisser duet misses something at the level of contemporary EM culture. This German duet knew how to mix the evolutionary technologies of EM equipments to create a unique musical blend where the variety of rhythms where shaping perfectly well with spatial atmospheres. After the end of this period, Peter Mergener got lost somehow in EM labyrinths. Though he was very creative and composed nearly 15 albums since the beginning of 90’s and, for some, his albums had a touch closer to synth-pop than EM if it wasn’t purely New Age with his association with Alquimia. But no matter the styles, Mergener always had this structured approach where melodies prevailed. With Phonetic Society, Peter Mergener returns to the fold. He renew with his Software roots by presenting a strong opus where criss-crossed rhythms born and kick down floors on nice oniric structures. Phonetic Society; a soft return towards the future!
The introductory rhythm of Mindflow is cooing. Arpeggios roll while floating in a nice and suave electronic mist, drawing a hesitating pace which skips with big stealthily in the breezes of a hybrid synth of which choirs are leaking away among lyrical layers. Survivor of this heavy mellotron veil, an isolated sequence waddles ingeniously and embraces soft fragrances of a dreamlike flute while another more wavy sequential line subdivides the rhythm which grows heavy by good strikes of percussions. Mindflow turns into a nice melody where limpid chords flutter on a rhythm encircled by a sequential line with strumming hits in a thick cloud of keyboard keys which are colliding on a rhythmic supported by good heavy percussions and criss-crossed sequences. Between the hard rhythm and the very electronic approach, Mindflow preserves its melodious approach with its ethereal choirs and flutes which disguise up a rhythmic a stalk syncopated and innocent. Arpeggios emerging out of Starflight cosmic intro breathes dance with lightness. It’s a strange dance where a gloomy draught protects this carousel to sinister chords which suddenly twirl with strength in a furious sequenced maelstrom where they are crossing, overlapping and multiplying in an infernal race. A robust track without concrete rhythm, Starflight becomes a powerful circular dance where a hyper active minimalism moulds a perpetual gyrating movement of a violent implosion. Shiva Connection is a good track where the cosmos meets techno with, in background, a tribal approach of the people of sands. Suave voices of celestial nymphs chant in a cosmos streaked with fine blades of synth to lead towards a Berber prayer recited on the ethereal breaths of its galactic intro. A delicious sequential movement with chords which alternate and spin in spirals emerges out of it. Sequences twirl and dance among tablas percussions and a strange line of bass to delicate pinched and hopping notes. The ambivalent rhythm of Shiva Connection, where the strength of a soft techno à la Element 4 and Moonbooter crosses a more ethereal beat, progresses with very good arrangements where the clan prayers unreel in dense mellotron pads and in a very electronic musical universe. Timepassengers starts with delicate crystalline arpeggios which cross their strikes on a rippling synth line, shaping a cosmic and oniric intro where euphonies flutter freely on a sequence with a heavy pace and chords which are intertwining in nervous doubloons. A subdivided tempo is grafting to this intro and criss-crosses its sequential lines beneath pads of a keyboard filled of old organ consonances and sinuous solos of a hybrid synth which drops its sound blades and discreet choirs among string bows in an atmosphere which becomes more and more explosive. Feverish rhythm and chords cackling beneath heavy mellotron pads, Timepassengers progresses in a multi-sequential Bolero with fat and resonant chords under a swarm of bows hits of which the violence isn’t limiting at all the sensual delight of its progression. A progression that runs out of steam to offers a peaceful final that a harmless tick-tock permutates in a clashing and noisy ending which, when we think of it, can only ends in such a way.
Rotation is a fiery and very techno track that rages better on a dance floors than our dreamy ears. It’s a heavy but well structured track that shows how Mergener has the sense of rhythm, a heavy and coherent one where we cannot avoid stamping. Transformation is a short track where ambiances surround an indecisive pace which revolves in sonorous elements as electronic as eclectic. I like those heavy mellotron pads that wrap this track, an element where Peter Mergener feels very at ease and which adds great depth to Phonetic Society. On the title track, Mergener exploits a very dance and techno approach heavy resonances which act firstly as sequences. Sequences on which leans another sequential movement with crystal clear chords that spin on a structure which grows heavier by good percussion strikes. Abraded by murmurs and heavy electronic sound effects, encircled by a beautiful synth line to oscillations lost in a noisy musical mass and swindled of a resonant bass line to jazzy cooing, Phonetic Society plunges the auditor into a stunning universe of futuristic techno where grand-sounding electronic sound effects are the key of a heavy techno which swirls of its crystal clear glass keys. Floating Energy closes this Mergener last opus with a soft cosmic intro that a line of bass to pulsing notes disturbs the tranquility. Here, as everywhere else on Phonetic Society, the synth spreads its hybrid layers where the metallic mist embraces ethereal choirs on an intro which is gradually livened up of a pre-technoïd heaviness with fine crystalline arpeggios which spin in a melodious carousel. Floating Energy is quietly letting lead in a progressive rhythmic with resonant chords which pound around a twinkling synth line of which synthesized strands flow between choirs and a dreamlike sweetnesses of a track divided between the calls of cosmos, the sensualist of its bass line and the firmness of a rhythm diverted of its lascivious sweetness by good percussions strikes. Just like the old days of Software!
Constantly torn between morphic and cosmic sweetnesses as well as evolutionary tempos overflowing towards alive and kicking rhythms, Phonetic Society is a very nice continuity of Software (Electronic Universe II and Digital Dance) works with a very good touch of contemporaneousness. Every track is forged straight from the roots of Software, phase’s evolution and equipments in more. In fact I would not hesitate to qualify Phonetic Society as being Peter Mergener's musical and electronic resurrection that, without denying his last works, finally draws from his musical recollections to offer a robust opus of a surprising musicality which is listening with the charm of sound discoveries that fly over these 8 tracks imprinted by rhythms superbly surrounded by this cosmic approach so unique to Software’s era.

BSC Music : Prudence(398.6808.2)

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

MERGENER & HOFFMANN-HOOCK: Visions of Asia (2006)

Peter Mergener and Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock are 2 pioneers of the German EM scene. In 1989 Mergener, then member of regretted Software duet with Michael Weisser, participated in Mind Over Matter's album; Trance’n’ Dance. Since then, they collaborated on several musical projects. Visions of Asia is Peter Mergener's personal thought on his numerous journeys in Asia. Knowing Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock’s immense passion for this culture, he asked him if he would like to collaborate on this project by bringing to it his own musical vision. It results from it in an album where the cultural points of origins of these two old accomplices are criss-crossing to give a nice EM opus to fragrances as varied as musical approaches of Mergener and Hoffmann-Hoock.
A light violin strata opens the road to a Chinese guitar, which pinches its ropes with address, and a splendid fluty mellotron filled of Asia’ scents. Soon sober percussions give a light rhythm, like a ballad style, to Cinnamon which coos on a beautiful movement of bass. Circular, and hardly hatched, the tempo is wrapped with a harmonious sound wealth; a dense synth, solos to miles spins, spiralled harps and a small Chinese guitar refrain that comes to haunt us leaving a musical scar after each passage. Pearls of chime ring water open Waterchimes which becomes a harmonious carousel where notes on limpid tonalities bewitch as much as the echo mermaids’ breezes. The movement metamorphoses with an infinite softness, drawn by an enchanted flute on a slightly hopping movement which is dressing of its most beautiful harmonious strata. The hypnotically slow tempo of Road to Mandaly brings us closer of a tribal civilization. The mellotron and guitar float in a desertic atmosphere, where we hear short moaning of the intro. The rhythm becomes more sustained with heavy strata which flutter lasciviously whereas the tempo accelerates its pace to fall under the lightings from the powerful Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock’s guitar solos. And what solos we have here! We would believe being into Mind Over Matter's psychedelic era. That’s a must to all KHH fans.
If Road to Mandaly is nearer of MOM’s soil, Dreams of Tibet is on the other hand a very Mergener style track. A very tender and lyrical track where an intro filled of cosmic ambiances is slowly turning into a spatial carousel which floats among moving strata that dance among delicious mellotron harmonies. It’s quite a nice track loaded of an infinite tenderness which reminds me of Mergener’s first works. Deuda is an atonic Hindu hymn on electronic sitar. Shakti pursues this brief intrusion on nomadic territory with tribal percussions which lose their ancestral fragrances to adopt a beat more and more cadenced. A strange synth line splits the atmosphere to bring Shakti near a more modern era by a hatched sequencer and sound effects which bite on a rhythm bordering soft techno’s style. Visions of China ends this fabulous travel with an atmospheric intro which introduces a rotating impulse on percussions and notes filled of a strong Chinese essence. Slamming, the percussions increase a circular rhythm caressed by a mellotron in the nostalgic harmonies.
Visions of Asia is a strong album. Mergener and Hoffmann-Hoock managed to build 7 stories of a sculptural beauty. These are superb tracks with lot of cosmic ambiances and atmospheres at once magical and astral. It’s a hearing symbiosis of a great creation where sensibility flirts with nostalgia. This is great music by two legends that pushed the limits of creativity beyond their experiences and reputations. Visions of Asia is certainly one of the good albums of EM in 2006. I simply hope that we won’t have to wait another 20 years before hearing another collaboration from these 2 great EM legends.

BSC MUSIC: PRUDENCE (398.6729.2)

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