mardi 10 mai 2011

JEFFREY KOEPPER: Arctisonia (2011)

There are albums like that! Albums difficult to describe so much the music are rich and diversified and that, especially, rhythms rained out of everywhere and under any kind of shape. Nevertheless it’s isn’t the 1st time that my ears cross the soft music of Jeffrey Koepper. Soft! Because the American synthesist succeed to survive through this jungle of variety which is EM by offering music entirely build with analog equipments. Making it, and with the increasing experience of album in album, Jeffrey Koepper offers opuses of a musical wealth which is renewed in every new release. Arctisonia is dedicated to the tumultuous world of ices. And each of the tracks from Koepper’s 7th work tells its own story; stories where the magical of a crystal world is in perpetual movement on sequential structures as astonishing as diversify and synths as lyrical as poetic.
Arctic Sunrise invites us to this Arctic musical journey with delicate synth pads which cavort slightly, drawing a soft stumbling minimalism movement. Pads which are criss-crossing limply and waltzing, such a sea offering a thousand waves to the colors of prism beneath cosmic analog sound effects. A pulsation emerges appears and shapes a rhythmic structure which beats slowly beneath a thick cloud of crystal clear chords so to give a fine prismatic melody which spreads its harmonies over a delicate hypnotic rhythm which is melting into the linear and morphic intro of Illulissat. After 2 minutes of rippling waves the first sequential measures appear. They beat at good pace on a movement of alternation in the beatings. A hopping and bit jerky rhythm which gets covered by delicious synth layers à la Michael Garrison's fragrances. Simply great! The rhythm of Illulissat increases its depth with a twinkling rosary of limpid arpeggios which skip in accordance with the sequential approach whereas synth layers weigh down the ambiance of their threadlike twisted flights where heavy pulsations and analog sound effects punctuate Illulissat of a cosmic depth with its fragments of hesitating solos which head its evolution. Bended on this cadenced structure, Illullissat deviates slowly on its sinuous waves up to the doors of Ice Flow and its suave languishing Rumba tempo. All the opposite of its naming Ice Flow flows with a lot of heat on a sensual beat covered with tremulous synth layers which float over fine percussions moulded straight from the Latin sensual movements and in a captivating cosmic ambiance.
Snow Sequence is going in 2 phases. First of all there is this intro where keyboard keys shape a slow cold march with notes that fall and resound such as a sequential movement to delicate intertwined pulsations. Limpid beatings which move stealthily, whereas in the background a stormy and jerky sequential movement is drawing to undulates among these tinkled notes and delicious synthesized serpentines which cover this constantly evolving rhythm. A rhythm which gets stronger with this sequence which spins in ascending spiral beneath beautiful mellotron synth pads. We would really believe being in the middle of a snowflakes dance falling of a scarlet blue sky and which gradually wipes winds of a storm portrayed by a synth with breaths roaring below a hiccupping sequential carousel which is not without recalling certain approaches by Steve Roach. Glacial is a slow atonal movement where synth breezes are intermingling in a very icy universe. A track that respects its naming and idea, as with the majority of tracks in Arctisonia, and which is throwing in the turbulent Avalanche and its intrepid sequential journey where superb synth chords run and dance with a surprising cohesion with migratory solos, heavy resonant pads and nervous sequences which draw a stormy structures with a chaotic rhythm. Jeffrey Koepper maintains this infernal rhythm, except for a very brief calm in the middle of the track, throughout these 20 minutes with heavy threatening waves of synth which shape those huge blades of snows which tumble down the sides of mountains. After this soft period of calm, which last approximately 90 seconds, the rhythm becomes heavier and sequences pound an ardent tempo with undisciplined striking which resound with strength on a hiccupping structure where sinuous synths layers roll a furious structure fed by magnificent crystalline arpeggios which dance such as goblins on disasters of snows. After this enormous sequential storm we fall in the relative quiet of Greenland with its intro which undulates beneath the layers of a sinuous synth. The calm after the storm, Greenland is Arctisonia’s most lyrical and poetic track with its threatening resonant synth layers which are interlacing and floating beneath fine pulsations and chords of minimalism keyboards which draw a pace of glass. A pace of ice to rich prismatic reflections which is the strength of Arctisonia.
Arctisonia is a powerful album of EM that demands some listening before seizing all the full sound dimension of it. An album which depicts magnificently the unexpected hits of climate of the Polar world, Arctisonia bubbles on rhythms and counter rhythms which are in confrontation on structures in perpetual permutations and on musical structures where synths raise a rich sound incandescence that we simply don’t know where to give ear. Arctisonia is not really Berlin School style, on the other hand it’s a music rich in emotions and musical visions that becomes very well the needs of an author whose analog music doesn’t have secret anymore. It’s a great work from Jeffrey Koepper that will please fans of analog music, as well as Michael Garrison and Jean Michel Jarre, from his Oxygen era to magnetic Fields’, because everything here is different while being familiar. The analog EM has something very different. Relief, depth and a personal touch of his author who here demonstrates that he has no boundaries, as much in time as in imagination.


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

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