lundi 6 juin 2011

ROBERT SCHROEDER: Paradise (1983/2008)

Robert Schroeder is re editing his catalogue for the biggest pleasure of his fans from the very beginning, but also for those who discovered the music of Robert Schroeder with his come-back in 2005 with Brainchips. Fifth and last album of Schroeder on Innovative Communication label, Paradise follows the disconcerting tangent that the German synthesist has establishes with the publication of Harmonic Ascendant, which was followed by a semi conceptual album in Floating Music. Thus after magnificent cosmic and poetic Galaxy Cygnus-A, Robert Schroeder goes with another semi conceptual album in Paradise. The side A of Paradise is simply superb and is in the same lineage as Galaxy Cygnus-A and side A of Harmonic Ascendant with an extremely poetic and musical approach, followed by side B which presents a diverse variety, as well as the very first commercial success of Schroeder with synth-pop Skywalker. Initially released on IC label in 1983, Paradise was produce as a CD on Racket Records in 1984 and in 2008 Robert Schroeder launched a version with an amplified sound quality which includes a bonus track on his own label News-Music.
The conceptual part of Paradise begins with the stunning In Memory of Paradise and ends with Future Memories. It’s with the word, quite hardly audible, Paradise that begins the introduction of In Memory of Paradise. This word rolls in loops, an audacious sampling mode for this era, reproducing an effect of breathlessness on soft synth riffs and layers with noises of an analog fauna unique to Schroeder’s works. Riffs of synth follow to shape a soft ascending cadence with a sequence to slightly metallic resonances and a play of keyboard from which keys grope around as cat steps. The juxtaposition of these chords to the resonant sequential movement results in a delicate melody which follows a tangent at once innocent and dramatic with graver synth impetus, while an acoustic guitar exhilarates the tempo of its weakened notes. In Memory of Paradise pursues its hypnotic and minimalism evolution through noises of a slightly stocked highway. Even if the beat is not quite similar, it’s hard avoiding any paradox with the Autobahn de Kraftwerk, but with the more dreamlike approach even if always so hypnotic. Subtly we fall on Moments and its suave acoustic guitar which ties its notes to glass chords and a synth with delicate shooting solos. Solos which abound and encircle Moments of superb twisted momentums whereas the tempo increases its pace by more jerky riffs. Riffs that are stowing to glasses tinkling whereas Moments is flooded of a feverish synth approach with solos and mellotron breezes on the hypnotic and hopping rhythm which seduces since the first steps of In Memory of Paradise. Deep Dream moderates emotions with a rhythmic as much hesitating which serves as beginnings since the opening of Paradise with a widely staggering tempo which zigzags in an irizated sound fauna where soft synth layers lull to sleep a movement clutched by notes of a wandering acoustic guitar and so short-lived as Balance, before that Future Memories redirects the rhythm towards its introductory minimalist shape and these words of its intro which are repeating in loops.
A vacillating synth wave opens the door to SkyWalker fluid and steady tempo. Percussions and repetitive sequences hammer a flexible, minimalist and catchy tempo which is encircled by curt synth pads of which the riffs effect is mixing skilfully to light resonant oscillations frontlines to an amazing electronic guitar. Very synth-pop, SkyWalker is the first commercial success of Schroeder and sounds very much as Beverly Hills Cop or Miami Vice soundtracks. Well, it was the 80’s! Time Machine takes us back into the suave and slow rhythms of side A with a soft minimalist and hypnotic tempo. A tempo which pulses under the weight of the heavy and resonant sequences while the synth frees brief chords before shaping wave-like solos, which sing like guitar solos, on a fine metallic mist and a tempo which goes by growing slightly the pace. With its plaintive and caustic synth layers, Timeless soaks into a strange universe where time is frozen. Fine notes of acoustic guitars roam into corridors filled of embittered mermaids’ singings of which hootings float as metallic threats in a wood eroded and devastated by rains and winds. A dark and iridescent track, Timeless will remain quite representative of the very particular character whom is Robert Schroeder. This new edition of Paradise offers a bonus track and it’s a SkyWalker revamped by of furious riffs and solos of guitars which leads to Paradise’ conclusion. Wilder, more musical and just as much rhythmic, this version exploits a little more the Berlin School approach than synth-pop. Although the line remains very thin between both. I like, I prefer!
Paradise shows Robert Schroeder's great versatility, both at the level of styles and the mastery of equipments that he conceives. His synths and keyboards let hear a mixture of very eclectic tones with a strange passion for guitars of which the fusion with those of Guenther Beckers is superbly surprising. Paradise is a nice incursion in an ambivalent musical universe where emotions sail on the back of rhythms and atmospheres as honeyed as bewitching. To me, it’s an album as much beautiful as Harmonic Ascendant and almost perfect as Galaxy Cygnus-A. As for SkyWalker, which is not that bad far from it, it’s synth-pop as in the 80’s and a continuation of rhythms already touch on Floating Music. It’s also a proof that Schroeder has always kept some room a more techno, synth-pop EM. A kind that he will explore deeper in years to come. In the meantime, those who are still suspended to the musical of Harmonic Ascendant and Galaxy A Cygnus-A, you shouldn’t let Paradise passed by.


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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