mercredi 8 juin 2011

RAMSAYGEE: Ways (2011)

With Exotic, released in 2010, RamsayGee offered us a musical bouquet of freshness with tribal rhythms characteristic of the African cultures. In Ways, the South Africa synthesist does it again by offering a very clannish album with a more world approach. On rhythms always so suave and ebullient we can hear a lot of diversified world flavours as Oriental, Mexican, Latin and African. A little as in Exotic, Gareth Ramsay plays enormously on variety to offer 11 tracks of which tribal savours often border a soft techno synth-pop filled with strong multicoloured samplings. I feel there a curious and attractive scent of Software, Digital Dance era and post Chip Meditation II, and even Jean Michel Jarre on percussions and sequences structures, with brief intrusions toward the musical approach of DJ and their nasal and synthetic vocalises that tilt a bit on the easiness of Teen-pop. But be reassured, RamsayGee has known how to keep intact his sounder spirit.
Heavy resonant chords which slide on mix tones open noisily Vortex Ethnicana. There are a lot of things that happen on this 3:33 length track! And this is the way that Ways goes; a lot of sounds and tones on short periods of time. The fervent rhythm is moulded in heavy syncopated sequences which quiver among heavy and curt riffs of synth and metallic percussions à la Jarre. A tempo which is relenting by brief inserts of Latin guitar and a very nice passage of Arabian kind tribal percussions. That’s a hell of a start. More exotic and strongly tinted with oriental vocal samplings, Universal Nomad turns on a circular tempo with ascending sequences rhythmic structure. We have beautiful orchestrations, stunning nomad peoples’ vocal samplings and beautiful mellotron layers which are winding around this syncopated rhythm to maintain a pace accompanied by a soft melancholic violin. The multiplicity of sounds on very commercial phases finds all its sense on Island Flowers which begins with chimpanzees’ shrieks. Shouts which cross a heavy sequence and percussions pounding a steady beat, the whole thing is wrapped by a subtle mellotron synth. A felted, nasal and very synthetic voice (a bit in the mould of Lady Gaga, Cher and Britney Spears) is showing with shouts of whale and Island Flowers stumbles over an abundance of sounds on a very catchy rhythm. The kind we hear everywhere on commercial radios these days. It’s not that bad but it sounds very Teen-pop mixed in a fauna of very fluid and tribal sound samplings. Love Mirage is in the same vein but a bit more unctuous, languishing and exotic with its heavy sequence which pulses among synthesized voices and gypsy violins. Homelands pursues the African world quest with a nice electronic ballad where sequences and percussions shape a slow hypnotic tempo that a fluty synth accompanies towards more fluid rhythms. That’s a nice track which changes from ballad to in sweet synth-pop on a circular and finely hatched tempo. The flute here is particularly superb, especially in duel with the acoustic guitar. That track would fit very well in a soundtrack for a documentary about the African savanna. Always in the same register, Loona Faze flows slowly on a fluid rhythm with strong African tendencies.
Tennis is a very good track which brings us back in the Software era with an intro furnished of volatile sequences which flutter in a gyrating movement when percussions fall with Arabic flutes. A nice intro where the acoustic guitar is grafting to this musicality which deviates to borrow a chaotic rhythm à la Kraftwerk with a use of vocoder. The nasal and robotics voice talks on a nervous structure fed by hopping sequences and banging which are colliding as balls on a tennis court. And the suave musicality of the intro re-appears to sink again towards an even more hard-hitting and robotically technoïd tempo. It’s one of Ways’ best tracks, quite as Zeros and Ones and its heavy rhythm eroded by a hatched structure and this great diversified musicality that we find on Ways. Vocuitar is a sweet ballad with a languishing and oscillating rhythm on warm suggestive vocalizes. After a soft oniric intro where a synth hems above bells and a smooth synth/ sax spreads its melancholy, Ways the title track, borrows soft Arabic tribal paths with fine percussions which drum with pulsations while the cadence is accentuating to pours into a tribal techno worth’s of great word music. The Path to You concludes with a heavy rhythm which turns in a quite robust ballad sung in a man / woman vocal duel on a tempo à la Mike Oldfield. It’s quite out of key when we listen all around Ways, with its pop approach.
I quite enjoyed Ways, as much as I appreciated Exotique. Gareth Ramsay is forging himself a style that it strands him out from this very fluctuating universe that became EM. It’s not Berlin School style. I would say that it’s a delicious blend of Software, Kraftwerk, Jarre and Oldfield styles. Surely there are tracks that left me of ice (Island Flowers and Love Mirage), but it’s quite little if we compared to those 11 very diversified tracks that weave the musical canvas of this RamsayGee’ 2nd opus.

AD Music: AD89CD-R

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

You can watch videos of RamsayGee here on You Tube:
Universal Nomad: 

If you want to know more on Divine Matrix, visit his web page on the AD Music web site:

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