dimanche 31 juillet 2011

TANGERINE DREAM: Purple Diluvial (2008)

A little as its 1st Part (Groove EP GR153- with Ron Boots), the intro of ''Armageddon in the Rose Garden Part II'' goes with a vaporous synth which zigzags according to choirs with breathes of silvered alto. The sequence is light and strums a more fluid rhythmic flow among a synth to symphonic run-ups. The musical whirlwind is stirring on yeller synths, recalling the anarchic sequences of Pinnacles and Stuntman on vocalize à la Purgatorio. Adversarial between so different eras, this 2nd edition of CUPDISC is also staggering as the 1st. This is some great Tangerine Dream as we wish it for years thanks to Thorsten Quaeschning contribution that seems to have the same impact as Johannes Schmoëlling on TD musical direction. If there is still someone who didn’t hear his work with Picture Palace Music, it’s about time to remedy it.
Speaking about Schmoëlling, ''Purple Diluvial'' opens with a soft romantic piano. We would believe being exactly in the Schmoëlling times with this piano sensitive to suspended resonances which float in a mystic foggy. This superb introductory melody embraces a rhythmic moderated of nice crystal clear xylophone chords which chimed on a fluty synth to obsessive harmonies à la Underwater Sunlight. A synth chiselled by choirs, of which strata are melting skilfully between riffs and lamentations of a whinny guitar. That’s a heady finds which pique someone’s curiosity in this sequential maelstrom which spins on wild percussions, initiating a feverish and muddled rhythm which spins without really embracing a melodious pace. This musical effervescence melts in the tranquility of a linear synth where a piano roams on guitar riffs and softened choruses. Babylon the Great Has Fallen starts with a melancholic synth with a whistling more acute than harmonious. It’s a soft sequenced ballad which borrows a shimmering path with a striking melodious approach. A bit more and we would be in snivelling New Age so much it’s that soft. A slow introductory procession which artlessly overturns on a slowly syncopated rhythm which we didn’t expect with hatched riffs, a hemming bass and anvil percussions. Still there Quaeschning disconcerts with a fusion of choirs and sumptuous melodious strata to guitar riffs and juicy solos on a more incisive tempo and more frenzied sequences. It’s another superb track which shows a quite interesting talent in Thorsten Quaeschning.


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
: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=11051

samedi 30 juillet 2011

TANGERINE DREAM: Zeitgeist (2010)

Launched during the European Dream 2010 tour in March and April, Zeitgeist is the 5th Mini Cupdisc from the Cupdisc series. A series which already has 8 releases since the very first one in 2007 (One Times One). Would Edgar be short of ideas? It would seem, because this Mini Cupdisc offers 2 remixes, a cover version (already the 4th) of a Beatles song and only one new track. It’s a very cute mini CD which goes slowly into the ear as a good breeze in a period of heat wave. But look out, cute means cute! Something well done, that one listens to without shouting to genius. One needs to put things in perspective and understand that the Tangerine Dream adventure became a story of big money with some brilliant moves strewed on a long road filled by a lack of imagination and inspiration.
"Rubycon 2010" gets a soundlift. After an intro filled with heterogeneous tones, the heavy sequence which is so much familiar to us jumps up with its unbridled chords which shape a nervous chaotic rhythmic accompanied by a bit more delicate synth. The big strength of this remix is doubtless the reconstruction of sequences and percussions which are more violent and noisy in halfway. As for the rest, "Rubycon 2010" offers an updated tone where we really seize the orientations to come from the Baumann, Franke and Froese trio. It’s good but was it necessary? As far as I’m concern it didn’t erase the feelings and nostalgia left by the original.
"Zulu" is the new unreleased track on this 6th Mini Cupdisc. And when I say unreleased, it’s with a vague hesitation so much I have the strange feeling of being in heard ground. Is it of the period of Tyranny of Beauty? Lily on the Beach or Destination Berlin? Because the sequences play is quite heavy even if fluid and is also near the Hiroshima series. I hesitate because that sounds so much as what Edgar made since the last15 years. It’s good but not really brilliant; especially that it precedes another remix in "Order of the Ginger Guild 2010" which is also very near "Zulu" sounding, exception made of the African choirs. I like this sequenced heaviness which sits in the middle of the track but I am not really a connoisseur of this Tangerine Dream era (1997) to draw a credible parallel. Let’s say that it’s a big synth pop rock. "Norwegian Wood" is a solid version recorded in studio, instead of the live version that we find on Under Cover-Chapter One, and it’s always as good.
There’s not a lot to talk about this 6th Mini Cupdisc from Edgar Dream. It’s evidently well done and it rocks solid. Edgar seems to have fast seized that the pockets of his new generation of fans seem deeper than those of his older's one. Them who never stop hoping in some brilliant moves from old Edgar and who cannot be resolved to get rid of this old girlfriend that gave us so many great moments.


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
: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=14509

vendredi 29 juillet 2011

TANGERINE DREAM: One Times One (2007)

Here’s Eastgate and its money-man new whim, create mini albums from 30 till 40 minutes that we will taste at tea time with friends. They call it CUPDISC. WoW!!! A biscuit with that? How not to be more commercial and salesman and no matter what the product is? By moment Edgar and his court really look like money maker machines...without having what it takes to sell! Without being great music, One Times One is surprising. The old man knows his things and how to make music of it. One of the problems is that he is inclined to forget nuances. But is it that important? Are we looking for music or catching old souvenirs? In a very metallic ambiance, the old lion to long teeth gives a particular charm to his cup of tea by imitating certain unbridled sequences from Franke.
"Sadness of Echnaton Losing the World Child" floats on a beautiful fusion of synth and artificial voice. The rhythm is progressive and steady on chords from a well chiselled keyboard. The tempo is tribal with good percussions and well developed sound effects around a nosy guitar. By moment we would believe to hear Jerome Froese. On fossilized arrangements, Froese manages to extract a very rock musical structure with slinky synths filled by quite some ethereal spectral breezes. Cold and sometimes long, it’s a fiery track where the cup of tea risks to shake a lot, quite as on "Modesty and Greed"; a hard track which rocks the house on good percussions and sequenced movements à la Franke. Froese’s guitar is splendid and floats with ardour on icy rhythms, forgetting all subtleties and nuances in tones. The big weakness of this CUPDISC. Above that it’s another heavy and catchy track which rocks, like "Gleeful Poets Crying Softly" which has no same impact but possesses a tribal charm on great sequencing which sounds oddly like Hyperborea.
The honeyed side of teatime, coffee or fine herbs comes from "Man (Instrumental)" which came out of Madcap's Flaming Duty and which is without vocals here, but with vocal samplings! No matter what, I prefer this version. "Loved by the Sun", without Jon Anderson, is idem as the one on 86’s tour with a more incisive guitar. It’s a nice interpretation that’s worth the live recordings from this era. "Daughters of Time" is ethereal with a very crystal clear vocal sampling on balanced sequences. It’s a track which pours gently on a tribal ambiance and synths as melodious as the artificial voice.
Four new interesting tracks and two remixes as much interesting; Edgar is on fire! One Times One is a pleasant surprise where Edgar Froese makes a beautiful transition between the insipidities of the last years and the wonders of the 80’s. A nice find which however loosens an element of annoying coolness, requiring listening with scattered doses. Good but cold, as tea sometimes turns, with nice sequenced movements and Pappy Froese's so special guitar. No, Edgar is not still short of ideas but a bit of warmth would help.


Sylvain Lupari (2007)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream
: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=10697

jeudi 28 juillet 2011

FRED YARGUI: Berlin Experiment (2010)

There is something very beautiful in Berlin Experiment. At once romantic, nostalgic and oniric, this 1st album of the French musician Fred Yargui is tinted of a Berlin School approach where movements are wrapped by a poetic and captivating musicality. There’s something going on in France. The progressive and experimental EM is in full expansion; in particular thanks to Olivier Bégué's implication with is Cosmiccagibi magazine as well as the label and Patch Work Music association that I’m writing you about since a few months. Beyond that, there are other emerging artists such as Awenson and Fred Yargui. Fred Yargui composes EM since 1984. Over the years he built a good studio and composed several tracks strongly influenced and inspired by Tangerine Dream, in particularly the Schmoëlling years, and Berlin School style where heavy mellotron embrace minimalist rhythms. Berlin Experiment is a superb example.
A brief synthesized chant opens "After a of Day’s Work" which loosens its rhythm with a sequential line with chaotic chords being divided in two in an echoing harmony. Sequences rolling as balls with a low tone which espouse another sequential movement filled of chords as much hopping and more crystal clear. A soft, warm and very captivating synth surrounds this fine rhythm of a musical veil which wraps this very nice introduction. Doubtless, we are in Berlin School soils, more precisely in the divided rhythms introduced by the sequential approach of Chris Franke. The mellotron mist intensifies its charm whereas heavy reverberations lash delicately "After a of Day’s Work" which is allying of a beautiful flute tone. Percussions fall a little after 6 minutes to slightly shake this sparkling minimalist rhythmic which marks a beautiful evolutionary pace with beautiful solos of a very lyrical synth, coated of a suave and mystic mellotron approach. "The Photographer" is a very beautiful track with a fine rhythm which unfolds on a super synth / mellotron combination of which the delicate and scraggy chant bewitches and awakes any melancholy which slumbers in us. It’s a very beautiful piece of music which amazes due to its enchanting structure, quite as the title track "Berlin Experiment" which is a small jewel of the minimalist art of which frames is not without recalling us Peter Baumann's first solo works. The rhythm is built on a series of hopping sequences from which the brilliance shines among nice and bit spectral wanderings of a synth / mellotron to hybrid singings. Enchanting and enigmatic, "Dark Journey" is really in the spirit of its naming with a slightly jerky minimalism rhythm which is supported by a dark tone of a tenebrous organ. Heavy and resonant solos from a gloomy synth feed the mysterious entity that is "Dark Journey" whereas suddenly appear beautiful solos of a more musical synth. Solos singing on a dark and hypnotic rhythm which in the end are embraced and wrapped of an impenetrable mellotron mist.
It is with hesitation that "D428C Part 3" settles down. Fine and crystalline arpeggios shining with a hybrid tone skip on a sober pulsation. Quietly the tempo is stealthily outlined. It’s slow and besieged by a multitude of chords which resound and cavort lazily until percussions liven up and hammer a pace as slow as heavy. A pace adorned by solos of a synth as sober as "D428C Part 3" structure which continues to vibrate towards its hybrid arpeggios. It’s all the opposite of "Mind Break" which offers a similar rhythmic structure but sharply more lively with nice Froese style synth solos. "Clayton’s Serenity" ends Berlin Experiment in softness and beauty. It’s a damn good track which starts with a heavy synth to resonant dialect. An intro a bit acid which becomes milder with beautiful mellotron veils surrounding "Clayton’s Serenity" of a strange and enchanting tranquility whereas that a fine bass line is coming out of it to pulse under this mellotron  blanket which doesn’t succeed to contain these reverberating chords. Just before the 6th minute, and through this mellotron heaviness, emerges a fine sequential line provided with delicate hopping chords. Chords which draw a musical frame slightly, but uniformly, chaotic such as a fine spiral waving beneath the yoke of a mellotron threat. And percussions fall. They fall in a completely unexpected way and shape a great languishing and sensual tempo, as a beautiful long electronic slow dance, which thread one's way through this beautiful sequential movement and brings us near serenity.
As beautiful as described, Berlin Experiment is a very nice opus which brings us near an EM of a more contemporary Berlin School style. It’s a terrific musical journey in the lands of Tangerine Dream, of the Schmoëlling era, with just what it takes to awaken even more distant memories but always so delicious. There are small pearls on this opus where the accessibility goes alongside to a sometimes more complex approach but which is taming with all the nostalgic sweetness which submerges this Fred Yargui's first work.

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
: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=14512

mardi 26 juillet 2011

TANGERINE DREAM: Booster IV (2011)

Was Booster IV necessary? Booster IV follows a lean year where the Eastgate factory seems to tick over. In 2010, Eastgate (or Tangerine Dream or Edgar Froese) produced 9 albums and 1 DVD, but only 1 original album (The Endless Season) and 1Mini Cupdisc (Zeitgeist) which already contains 2 new mixes and one interpretation of a Beatles song. The other 8albums are albums in concert (Izu and Zeitgeist concerts), compilations, cover versions (Under Cover-Chapter One) and DM V which was remixed by Jerome Froese. Thus, admit that the sauce was very crystal clear to explain the need of a Booster. But we have to believe that year in, year out Eastgate Froese seems to be missing small change.CD 1 begins with a new version of "A Streetcar Named Desire ", with a Mellow Tyre Mix (hic!) where rhythms are alike but intonations differ. Nothing very original here, that’s TD’s last years’ familiar sounds. But that kicks out quite well this new compilation which, needs to be honest, is just honest. Follows a version in concert of "Alchemy of the Heart", one of the good tracks coming out of the Franke, Froese and Haslinger era. And I got to say that I quite enjoy this live interpretation made by this new version of the Dream. "Culpa Levis 2010 "? Can't stand it! I am not capable to stand this rhythm totally deprived of mordant and which leaves room to soulless tribal vocalizes. "Warhol’s New York Walk" is a new composition and it’s sounds exactly as some good old Froese but without the complex searches. It’s a nice e-ballad which brings us back at the time of Pinnacles, quite as "Thorns from Heaven" which has more character with beautiful rhythmic arrangements. "Dominion 2010" got to be one of the worse interpretations that TD ever made from one of their tracks. There’s a lack of imagination and conviction on this remake. What a shame! "A Snail’s Dream" is another new one which goes straight into rhythm on a synth hooked on the same refrain. I prefer the 2nd part which has more punch but which really brings nothing new in the discography of the Dream. Idem for "The Lion of the Law" who is a languishing ballad with melancholic guitar solos roaring on a pace which goes by increasing, while the last new track ("Artic Sunrise") is doing on a ballad which leans on delicate riffs of guitars and synths, fine percussions and chords as light as those synthesized vocalizes. An aspect where Edgar misses definitively dexterity, except for "Solution of all Problems (Think Pink Mix)'' which came out of Madcap Flaming Duty but presented here without vocals. It’s very moving and dark and a nice track which strengthens my opinion on this album. If you still don’t have the excellent Mini Cupdisc Purple Diluvial (which is OOP) this Booster gives you the chance to repair this grave omission because it’s a splendid musical jewel and the 3 tracks on it (" Babylon the Great Has Fallen ", " Armageddon In The Rose Garden Part II " and "Purple Diluvial") are on Booster IV, but with a new version for the title track.
When I’m talking about a band which looks for itself and, sometimes, misses cruelly of imagination "Mombasa (Tuareg Remix)" is the striking example. Taken from DM V, the musical structure of this track is nevertheless full of potential but Edgar, as Jerome, will never manage to blast off these static rhythms which go round in circles... around a synthesized voice. Placed here, "Zulu" seems to possess more charm and its bass and undulating sequences sound really better in this context that on the Zeitgeist Mini Cupdisc, except that in a long run it’s flat and boring. Please, give a little juice of arm my dear Edgar! Hum...I love this new version of "Going West 2009 ". It’s wilder and much nuanced at the same time. This version played in concert in Japan (Live Izu 2009) shows that the Baumann, Franke and Froese trio was really ahead of its time. The acoustic guitar makes contrast to Linda Spa's flutes and I find that it gives a quite new depth. I know that some hated … With its tinted approach with a strong melancholy and a pain to survive coming from his guitar shrill of lamentations on a soft slightly wave-like tempo, "Devotion" is one of The Endless Season's beautiful track, quite as "Breaching Sky" which is on the other hand more nervous. "Long Island Sunset on 2010 "? Can’t stand either! ''Paddington at Five" from Flame is always so frustrating. We have the feeling to go round in circles there. It seems to me that all the ingredients are there to make it an explosive track. This version of "Purple Diluvial" seems to me wilder with abrupt rhythmic changes and more nervous sequences. The differences are small but considerable. Both versions equal because they possess the same structures and modulations.
Lean years give a so-so compilation and Booster IV is less honest than the quality of its tracks. It seems to me that Edgar, or Eastgate, should have wait another year or even 2 years. But the damage is done, needs to be flatter and to find reasons for being there. The complete insertion of Purple Diluvial is a sensible and respectful choice for the fans that were not lucky to get this excellent mini CD. The Endless Season's tracks are also a good choice whatever I would also having chosen Virtue of Hope or The Seven Barriers instead of remixes of A Streetcar Named Desire or Dominion 2010 or Long Island Sunset 2010. That would have been different, while respecting Booster’s precepts. By the way, do they exist? In fact, all the possibilities are probable so much there are holes badly filled on these compilations which years after years are looking for a reason to being other than to make some cash. Not evident the world of Eastgate … No, not evident!


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
: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=14508


What is wrong with me? Why I am not enough satisfied by Tangerine Dream’s works or compilations? On Guts of Darkness (http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/home.php) there are a lot of diehard fans who find me unfair when I’m reviewing a new release from TD. Is it really me or...? Obviously, I looked somewhere else on the net to see of what fans and ardent supporters of the Dream thought of it; and wow, that hurts! A strong majority claim that it is possibly the best of this series and others affirm that Mombasa is an excellent, even a magnificent track. How could I hear it that way? Because I was not so infatuated by this Booster III and read why.Compilation pulled from those following 08-09 albums; Views from has Red Train ("Sound Of A Shell"), Winter In Hiroshima ("Nexuses", "Transition", "Key Moment" and "Ayumi Loom's" extract) and Chandra ("The Dance Without Dancers", "The Unknown Is The Truth" and "The Moondog Connection") as well as Mini Cupdiscs Fallen Angels(''Two Drunken Angels At Trafalgar Square"), Flame ("Morning Star", "Lord Nelson" and "Synth Affection") and Birds In Search Of A Cage ("Kiew Mission") and the single Das Romantische Opfer among whom 2 parts are interpreted in inverted order, Booster III offers also 5 unreleased tracks with "Mombasa", "Sunshift (Moonmother’s Mix) ", "Astrophel And Stella (String Version) ", "Remote Viewing", "The Halloween Cast" and "Kilimandscharo". I already see connoisseurs frowned and said; ‘‘But there are tracks that aren’t new ones at all! ’’ Exact, because only "Mombasa" and "Kilimandscharo" are real unreleased tracks, the others being only remixes. And those who read my reviews (still in French but one day all in English) about TD on Guts of Darkness know all the good and the bad I think about albums and Mini Cupdiscs listed higher. But a brief reminder will indicate you that I didn’t like at all Winter in Hiroshima, Chandra and Birds In Search Of A Cage, while Das Romantische Opfer pleased me a bit and Flame had pleasantly surprised me. Thus you see the rundown?
And if I started by talking about the new to say stuff? Let's go with "Mombasa". It’s a dark track which draws its origins on nasal synth lines and fine percussions to African flavours. The intro is particularly good except for choruses which remain as platonic as a cold distributing machine. On the other hand, Papy Froese exercises a beautiful control of his synth pads, which are rather sober, of which he does a skilful mixture with his guitar strata. The music is dramatic and increases gradually its level of intensity without really exploding, a little as on the Nagasaki albums where Edgar seems to want to keep any forms of explosive rhythms underground. In brief, it’s a long track in which the interest decreases with minutes hard to grape out. "Sunshift (Moonmother’s Mix)" was originally on Booster II. It’s a track that I hadn’t even noticed and which move on nervous sequencers, embracing the same endless structures that Edgar cheers for the last years where nothing is really going on and is original. A music with a pale rhythm where everything seems to lean on these damn mechanized vocalizes which remove any emotions out of those nice mellotrons, creating a sweet rhythmic paradox in a track of which the length has no justification. Third new release is "Astrophel and Stella (String Version)" and I got to say that it’s very good. It’s a nice remix which makes forget an insipid original nesting on an album to be forgotten and which takes a quite new form with its synthesized violins. I really liked "Remote Viewing" new mix. In fact, I quite like most of the retouches that Edgar is doing on TD’s original works. It doesn’t any harm. Even that sometimes it sounds better than the original as it’s the case here with a beautiful addition of percussions which suits quite well to the original sequences. It’s a nice remix that fills me well. Another remix that gives me an enormous pleasure is the one of "Kiew Mission" (I know, it is not a new released – as listed by Eastgate- but I want to speak about it) where I can finally appreciate the new mastering and the dust removal without getting stuck to myself with this damn mechanical voice which turns in loops on the very not necessary Birds In Search Of A Cage. These 2 remixes from Exit are particularly well done.
On numerous sites and Blogs devoted to Tangerine Dream, several fans describe "The Halloween Cast" as being Edgar's last wonder. Well diehards, I don’t want to upset you and be kind and pleasant to incur your sympathy but explain me what is so special about this track? After a droplet à la Meddle from Pink Floyd, choirs and whistling synth roam in a foggy before that the rhythm bites this funeral prayer. A tempo became cheerful where riffs of acoustic guitar are moulding to automatons keyboard keys which glean in a sound world stuffed with percussions. There are permutations in the rhythm which deviates towards a little Far West approach with nice guitar notes and a synth which whistles on the plain of percussions and sequences which tumble and tumble. In short, if we want to be honest, it drags on and Edgar looks like a one-man band with all these percussions (rather good I may add) which hammer a strongly orchestrated structure. But from there to shout to genius! There is a margin that I won’t cross. With its percussions slamming in a universe of mist, "Kilimandscharo" is of a beautiful melancholy. Edgar goes of beautiful guitar solos there to make dreaming on a structure used so many times by the same man. As if the originality and permutations in TONES was a thing that Edgar had left to his ex colleagues. Take ''Ayumi Loom's'' new version as example, it’s much diversified as in rhythms and orchestrations. When Edgar wants, he sure can!
In brief, Booster III ...well I’m looking carefully for my words but nothing comes in mind except that it’s an average compilation. How he could it be superior to Booster II when Thorsten Quaeschning (the new soul of TD which is not used enough) is not even there?


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
: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=13731

lundi 25 juillet 2011

TANGERINE DREAM: Booster II (2008)

If Booster Vol. I disappointed me a bit; this 2nd try from Eastgate has the merit to offer a more intensified music on 2 CD almost fill up in time with a good track selection which, on the other hand, is supported on a false advertising representation. On Eastgate website it’s writing that this latest compilation from TD contains 8 unreleased tracks and unpublished remixes. Obviously if we don’t possess all the latest works from Tangerine Dream we can go for it and believe this promotional lie, because Booster Vol. II contains only 3 original tracks and 2 unedited remixes on a grand total of 20 tracks. Tracks which mainly come from recent albums such as; One Times One ("Modesty and Greed" and "Sadness of Echnaton Losing the World Child"), Autumn in Hiroshima ("Oracular World" and "Trauma"), Fallen Angels ("Angel in Barbed Wire Robe"), Views from has Red Train ("Hunter Shot by has Yellow Rabbit" and "Fire on the Mountain"), Hyperborea 2008 ("No-man's-land") and Anthology Decades ("Boat to Mocked", "Exit to Heaven" and" Huckebee’s Dream").
"Cloudburst Flight 2008" is among new tracks but not "Scrapyard 2008"! Try to understand something on Eastgate management! However these 2 new versions are more rock, with good guitars and synth solos in a Froesian ambiance. "A Streetcar Named Desire" is a real new think. It’s a track in the purest TDI mood which starts with an ethereal wave floating on a bass as discreet as choruses. The movement is livening up on a keyboard with flickering chords. The percussions come along and we are in the mould of the 90-00 years with the touch of Iris Camaa. Nothing very new there, it’s TD of what could be more simplistic and even Edgar seems to sweat behind his guitar. Another new track is "The Last Wave". It’s a pretty good one with a beautiful sequenced percussions play, encircled of nice wrapping strata and these damned insipid choirs that Edgar lugs everywhere on a tempo which crescendes with many feelings. Another new one? "Desert Dream" is classified as unreleased material when in fact it’s an extract of Monolith from Encore which was also on Tangent. Argh....
We have to wait until "La Boca Race" to really put something new in our ears. Another very Froesian track that smell the Pinnacles/Stuntman era with a nervous synth and mad sequencing which spins in wide loops. And yes... always those damn choirs. But I got to say that it’s quite a great track that will amaze more than one, quite as "Tomorrow Never Knows" reworked by Thorsten Quaeschning. "Sunshift" is another unreleased track which seems to be coming out of the Hiroshima project with its morphic approach which grows on a nervous sequence but surrounded with very pronounced chorus. "Beyond the Cottage and the Lake" is a superb melody which goes out of Legend mould. One would almost believe to hear a remix.
Don’t get me wrong here; Booster Vol. II is a nice and good compilation. If you possess everything from TD, it’s still worth it because certain new tracks and remixes are very good. And I got to say that the tracks selection is quite thoughtful and I also like a lot the versions of "Cloudburst Flight" and "Scrapyard". We doubtless find there good moments of TD from the 2007 and 2008 eras (Yep...) annexed to other tracks from an imprecise period. It’s heavier and more rock electronic with good arrangements. In fact there is really no weakness on Booster Vol. II except at the level of the marketing... which is a big lie.

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
: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=12004

TANGERINE DREAM: Booster (2007)

Another TD compilation! And is it really necessary to talk about it? I think so, because Booster is a different collection that TDI (or is it rather K-Tel?) is used to offering. A 2CD that has certain charms for Tangerine Dream collectors. And God knows that there at least 500 or 600, maybe more...But enough kidding and let’s talk about that double set compilation rather short on time because there is enough room for more material, at least 40 minutes empty to put more of Ça Va - Ça Marche - Ça Ira Encore, Space Flight Orange, 40 Years Roadmap To Music or Metaphor.But I guess that’s the way it works when greediness takes over rational. It gives compilations that have all the appearances of traps for idiots.
With Booster we are far from being in the kingdom of great music. It’s pure contemporary TD; cold, acid and devoid of sound creativity. Edgar is definitively the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde of contemporary e-music, because there is a whole world of difference between both opuses of Nagasaki, these EP on this compilation, the remixes as well as the new tracks which seem to be created on artificial feelings. We find 3 out of print EP which are sold at high price on Ebay; One Night in Space, Bells of Accra and Sleeping Watches Snoring In Silence. We also have extracts of Metaphor, 40 Years Roadmap to Music, Space Flight Orange, Ça Va - Ça Marche - Ça Ira Encore, remixes and 2 new tracks that aren’t absolutely worth the spending.
Of course, those who have all these EP are also targeting be Eastgate which considers them as compulsive buyers with this advertising: "Of course you will hear music you've probably heard before -- no-one forces you to stress your credit card again! :-). But for some of you it will become a collector's item as a pack of tracks which definitely will become 'classics' out of the first decade of the new musical Century. The first 200 CDs will come with a signed card by Edgar Froese himself." Hum … Genius as advertising stratagem. So, are TD hard fans and collectors innocents and simpletons? According to Eastgate promotional citation, it looks like it.
As new releases we find "All Thirsty Angels Pass" and "World Away From Gagaland", 2 tracks to soft structures and very New Age which have nothing to do with the heavy rhythmics to technoïd tendencies that the Dream is pushing in our ears with track as "Lady Monk"."Big Sur and the Orange from Hieronymus Bosch" can be interesting if Goblins Club or Tyranny of Beauty had an effect on you. It’s a nice track but which doesn’t brings anything new in TD’s world with light rhythm and felted guitar. Logos is slightly modified with more hammering percussions while Tangram (Chin Part) would have made it on any Dream Mixes. On the other hand if you don’t have any of those EP, I think that the purchase of Booster can be a good thing, because there are good tracks as Bells of Accra, where Edgar finds a breath of creativity, Hyper Sphinx (Yes I do like the honeyed guitar) and Metaphor which is however incomplete.
Booster is another Tangerine Dream compilation which has the defect to be incomplete and incondescendant, as high as Edgar and his accountants can be. But I also do believe that the advertising quotation spreads the values of Eastgate and that the fans should protest by a boycott. But I also know that there is and still will be always impulsive fans that will hang on to the Dream. But who doesn’t?

Sylvain Lupari (2007)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream
: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=10698

samedi 23 juillet 2011

WINTHERSTORMER: Ground Connection (2011)

More than 3 years passed by since WintherStormer’s last opus, the fascinating Electric Fairytales. And the Norwegian quartet didn’t modify at all its approach by offering an anti-commercial album which ties the links between spheres of EM for atmospheres as hybrid as imperceptible and of progressive music to strong psychedelic tendencies. Navigating always on these ambiguous waters, WintherStormer thus offers an always surprising music where the charm hides behind a musical complexity which only asks to be tamed. And Ground Connection is the kind of album that will be tamed more easily because for very first time WintherStormer puts away its extreme psychedelism to offer a very nice album stuffed with catchy passages.
The superb and amazing "Summer Breeze II" opens Ground Connection with a light hopping rhythm. A rhythm which sparkles on its cymbals, a little as the spirit of the jazz from the years of Soul Music, and which undulates of a beautiful bass line. Resonant sound effects glance through this intro which quietly overturns towards a more electronic approach with a synth with zigzagging chords, recalling the melodious approaches made by Edgar Froese on Drunken Mozart in the Desert. Metallic breezes, strange hootings and creams of synthesized owls feed this pleasant melodious approach which waves such as a cascade. Cymbals make heard their delicate sparkles while "Summer Breeze II" continues to evolve between Krautrock and electronic with a pleiad of sound effects which cross more aggressive synth pads. At around the 7th minute the rhythm calms down and we enter a more atmospheric phase where white noises move around and collide into thunders of a parallel world imprinted by statism. Tabla percussions draw a soft rhythmic ascension at around the 11th minute, grounded up by caustic sound effects and tickled of light guitar notes. A delicate rhythm which increases the pace with steady beatings of an unrestrainedly drum whereas synth solos roar on a structure closer to progressive rock than electronic music. A sensation amplified by the appearance of solos from an incisive electric guitar which weaves the ramifications between progressive rock and EM. With "Connection Lost" we enter into WintherStormer’s psychedelic and abstracted musical universe. We are into Pink Floyd’s own Ummagumma era and its colourful sound effects where drum with ill-timed and metallic rollings are also noisy as the heterogeneous tones which appear from synths in rut. It’s a long track more experimental and abstract than rhythmic, if we make exception of the kind of free rock at around the 4th minute which shakes the house, but the exercise is short-term because "Connection Lost" loses any connection with a sustained music to take refuge in musical, there where everything is allowed without any restraint; that is cymbals forgotten in sound gases, knocks of anvils lost in the statism of white noises, eruptions of synth scratched by heavy riffs of a metallic guitar. In brief, an intense cacophony divided up by short passages liven up by chaotic rhythms.
"Beneath the Roots of all Things" is a very good track which takes root with a guitar to echoing loops rolling on pulsations from the bass-drum. It’s a track which takes Arabian airs with a good steady tempo, where synths and guitar trade riffs and solos which transcend in a tribal world with oriental fragrances. Short, catchy and efficient, "Beneath the Roots of all Things"s refrain is the kind that creates earworms. "Ground Connection" is a long mesmerizing minimalist track which starts with a delicate synth wave, adorned by fine bells’ ringing and guitar notes a bit discreet. The synth singing is surrounded by a fine reverberation from where begins a subtle caravans of dunes procession with a bass line with weak undulations and Tabla percussions. And "Ground Connection" will evolve in a minimalism mode on its long journey wrapped with light riffs of guitars and synths as well as spectral layers of a synth to Arabian aromas. A little after the 16th minute, the tempo increases gradually but without ever exploding. It follows a hypnotic tangent, draped that it is by multiple layers of synths and guitars, and always livened up by latent and hypnotic tribal percussions which will guide it towards a more astral finale.
Ground Connection is a very nice album which unties the links which are entangling between progressive, psychedelic and electronic music. WintherStormer reached his) musical maturity by offering an album where the harmonies are more present and less scattered than on his previous works. If the album is less caustic than Electric Fairytales it remains nevertheless more nuanced and accessible, thanks to a very delicate subjugating melodious approach. Except for "Connection Lost", which can be difficult of approach, the rest of Ground Connection is taming as easily as its progressive bewitchment.


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
: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=14507

WintherStormer's website is at: http://www.wintherstormer.no/music/groundconnection.html

You can also view a short promotional video on YouTube:

WINTHERSTORMER: Electric Fairytales (2008)

With Electric Fairytales, WintherStormer redefines the very hermetic and impenetrable style of Woodwork. Recorded live, but in a studio recording, this 2nd opus of the Norwegian quartet offers this tortuous and progressive approach that charmed so much ears fond of sonorous curiosities, but with an approach closer of Berlin School roots. It’s resulting in an album still difficult to tame, but a bit less than its predecessor. A superb musical excursion that allies the Krautrock complexities to the atmospheric escapades of EM, but with a zest of musicality tinted with a sensibility which was piercingly lacking on Woodwork.
Noises, heterogeneous sound, rolling in waves in a cosmos sparkling of sounds limpidity open Cucumber Salad. It’s an intro high in acoustic colors which unlocks on a heavy sequence to eroded hesitations. A sequence which hiccups a tempo with chaotic undulations, wrapped of a beautiful fluty mellotron and vaporous keyboard keys which recall the musical years of Tangerine Dream. Once these 3 first minutes gone, Cucumber Salad takes a more accessible musical direction, while maintaining its aura of complexity where a rhythm is skipping nervously and measures beautiful mellotron pads which float around the lamentations of an electric guitar and twisted synth solos. Odes at once spectral and attractive which sail in shady waters, purified by moments of nice vaporous stratums which sometimes ease and sometimes illuminate this pace built in abrupt and random beats. For the Love of all Things Electronic present another side of WintherStormer. A WintherStormer clearly more musical and poetic which spreads beautiful ethereal layers from which oniric sounds waltz around soft pulsations which shape a thin languishing pace. An impromptu sensuality which is taking refuge in soft waves à la Göttsching guitar, from which solos glides among a cadence a bit accentuated by the striking of a heavy drum and encircled by reverberating circles, bringing a surrealist touch to a beautiful music inspiring for making love.
Rising Ashes intro is plunging us again into the very psychedelic and multicolored musical universe of WintherStormer with an elongated intro where cosmic tones flood in with an acuteness worthy of an anarchical world. At around the 7th minute, a soft pace pierces this oxidized din to mold a nervous rhythm which rests on good percussions, a strong bass structure and a fusion guitar / synth which explodes a ferocity equal to the hammerings of a more and more punctuated drum that’s getting solidarity of this rhythmic which becomes more and more furious. This psychedelic heaviness crosses less ardent corridors where steams of ethereal Berlin School moderate the aggressiveness of a structure which spreads its striking to the heterogeneous meanders of its intro. It’s a heavy and long track, faithful to Woodwork frame, which pursues its sound imprints on the title track which is a fusion of noises and diverse tones shaping brief musical inserts in a rebellious sound universe.
Electric Fairytales shows the commitment of WintherStormer for music without borders and identities. Music which oscillates between some very daring psychedelic moments and beautiful electronic passages that are situated in the era of Schulze and Ashra Tempel. It’s an album where the creative paradoxes swim contrary to the harmonious poles, but which is taming a little better than Woodwork. For very curious and risky ears!


Sylvain Lupari (2010)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream
: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=12956

vendredi 22 juillet 2011


Phew! Sharpen your ears because it’s going to pass tightened! Bernhard Wöstheinrich is a colourful character who migrates between the various spheres of EM; IDM, ambient and experimental with a rather audacious dexterity. His project, The Redundant Rocker, consists in creating an EM with a more rock, progressive and industrial approach than ambient or simply Berlin School electronic style where a palette of style permutes in rhythms and atmospheres at once heavy and eclectic. Heart is moulded in this concept with of heavy and fluid rhythmic structures where percussions and bass form an intense rhythmic structure, whereas synths whistle for beautiful harmonious snippets. Awesome, Markus Reuter’s guitar chews rhythms and melodies by splendid solos when it isn’t by heavy riffs à la Robert Fripp.
"Gold" opens the ball with a bipolar electronic rock where pinched and edgy chords flow on a fluid, but a bit jerky, tempo to dance on guitar riffs and an acute synth to whistling singings while a cantatore voice, who seems a bit lost, tries to follow the parade. There isn’t 30 seconds to the chronometer that yet a bit anarchic symphony of sounds seizes our ears. And percussions fall. They are heavy and harpoon this limpid tempo. "Gold" becomes then a heavy postmodern rock which flirts between the melodic and cacophonic approach on a rhythm becoming curt, sharp and strongly wacky. A  tempo hammered by heavy percussions, bitten by a bass with incisive notes and grinding up by a guitar with languishing solos which converge on a cantatore who sings delirious psalms in a rhythm with a din split up by soft melodious snippets. "Hypostasis" is a bit softer and presents a jazzy-lounge approach with a soft keyboard which drops its keys on a nice structure moulded by echoing percussions and a bass line a bit grand-sounding. The rhythm fits to an oscillating line where synths free nice dreamy and silky layers which permute into more solemn singings while kind of anvil percussions pound short refrains. More discreet the guitar will let slip some good solos in loops furnished quite well on a structure which will keep its harmonious touch throughout its 6 minutes. With its melodious approach flooded in an avalanche of percussions "Compress" offers an excellent facet of the rhythmic duality which dominates in Heart. Keyboard keys draw circular arcs and twirl around in a harmonious limpidity whereas "Compress" is fast snatched by lively percussions. The bass is weighty, percussions are noisy and the rhythm is powerful but things quieted down a bit with inserts of whistling synth and keys of keyboard which turn in spiral. And the heavy and tumbling down rhythm resumes its ride beneath a delicate crystalline serpentine which hems of its limpid chords, accompanied by a synth with resonant layers, multiplying the harmonious dualities. "Renée as Yoko" is what we could call a beautiful ballad which shells its melancholy in a heavy atmosphere. A soft tinkled intro fed by crystal clear chords drive us towards reverie when a drum drops heavily its sticks on a resonant skin. Fluid and suave, "Renée as Yoko" swirls with the lightness of his heaviness under beautiful mellotron layers and a synth with tenderly hybrid breezes. It’s a very nice track which oscillates between tenderness and blackness, quite as "Alluvium".
Heavy and stationary, "Omnipotence" begins with pads of a synth violin while percussions fall and shape a curt but heavy tempo and while the bass stretches its heavy notes. We enter in a more orchestral sphere of Heart with many hatched violin pads which provide an orchestration of the most unpredictable. A synth embraces this languid rhythm which evolves inside the parameters of paranormal with a very dark approach, schizoid and imprinted by mystery with these hardly perceptible lamentations which hoot in secret beneath resonant guitar layers which are crumbling in fabulous solo. A punchy beat, sometimes ethereal, "Omnipotence" progresses on a tempo permuting subtly in a heterogeneous sound fauna wrapped of nice strata from a little bit metallic synth and a heavy pulsating bass, but above all a very Crimsonian ambiance. More rhythmic and very aggressive, "Odilon" offers also a structure very near the Crimson soils, in particular because of the demonic guitar and percussion beatings à la Bruford and also bass notes which harpoon a rhythm between free jazz and post progressive due to its structures as unpredictable as modern psychedelic. It is heavy, incisive, jerky and sometimes very fluid and it is also ground up by a very aggressive guitar. You shouldn’t trust the rather honeyed intro of "Heavily Dependent", because the track topples over a universe of the most anarchic where the rhythmic and harmonious structures of "Omnipotence" and "Odilon" are seen again and corrected with a more daring, heavy and just as much unpredictable approach, where quixotic violins scrape the pulsating rhythm while making it waltz between cacophony and melody. Let’s say that it’s a track for well evolved ears. Selected for an Austrian advertising "Alluvium" is Heart 2nd ballad and a very good one otherwise. It’s an electronic ballad which evolves on the other hand on a heavy rhythm and which begins with delicate twinkling arpeggios which make the flock on a tempo weighs down and slows down by good drum strikes. At once taciturn, sensual and heavy Alluvium progresses with wonderful tinkled notes which cross of tender and dense layers of a docile synth which flees its solos and hooting loops in a din tamed by its soft arpeggios which go and come, reminding us all the sweetness which is at the origin of this great track. Very beautiful! "A Change of Heart" concludes Heart with a track which has very elaborated orchestrations on lighter rhythms. A rhythmic structure which is a little less complex even if constantly evolving where everything rests on the strangeness of sounds and a very progressive philharmonic approach. Although evolutionary, the rhythm remains alive on beatings of more fluid and clear drum and the harmonies are being made by a synth with light solos which mixes marvellously the symphonic approach to a little more soppy progressive rock.
I have to admit that it is with an obvious apprehension that I approached the music of The Redundant Rocker. I imagined a musical abstract world where the sound fauna and the heterogeneous noises would fill the minutes, but it was all the opposite. Heart is a powerful album where the sound effects accompany an EM which goes out of its bed to flirt with a more rock, indie and progressive approach on surprising rhythmic structures to unpredictable forms. Always melodious structures, even in the most anarchic and intense moments, when each of 9 tracks of Heart possess a musical imprint of a previous track, pushing even farther the already very fickle musical reflection of the tandem Wöstheinrich / Reuter. You can get the album as a free download at;


Sylvain Lupari (2011)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream
: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=14506

mardi 19 juillet 2011

SENSITIVE CHAOS: Seeker after Patterns (2011)

Sensitive Chaos is the musical project of the multi-instrumentalist Jim Combs who lives in the Atlanta, Georgia area. Seeker After Patterns is his 4th album, an album which navigates between delicate, very Southern rhythms, with a little tribal touch, and ambient structures. Rhythms are mainly minimalist grafted to a palette of very heterogeneous tones, giving to Seeker After Patterns a rich musicality which pokes through in every listening.
The discreet hopping chords which introduce the title-track, "Seeker After Patterns", are fast harpooned by bass notes which juxtapose a slightly zigzagging rhythmic approach. A metallic synth with hedging chords is joining this rhythmic while dropping some fluttering pads to give "Seeker After Patterns" a strange harmonious envelope wrapped up by silky synth lines and twinkling electric piano notes. This jerky rhythm which livens up "Seeker After Patterns" evolves by following its minimalist cycle to which is added diverse instruments as the suave and melancholic saxophone of Brian Good which precedes a very ambient moment where electric piano notes dance in a mellotron mist before that the rhythm, which moves stealthily, takes back its tempo with a more incisive approach. "Warm Glow of the Atomic Fire" is a soft floating track with fine oscillations which fly in delicate echoing loops to subtle and different variations. "A Piece of Stars" follows with delicate arpeggios skipping on a binary synth line, with one which frees a suave constant blow while the other throws oscillations in a threatening manner. It’s a very nice track with a delicate tribal approach by its tom-toms and Amerindian light winds which evolve on a minimalist structure where percussions dance with these arpeggios slightly spasmodic, due to their nervous tempo, on suave breathes of a gyrating synth and instruments which shape the movements of winds (EWI). Another ambient track, "L’Ascension" navigates in inter-sidereal spaces among synth gentle winds which are not without recalling the melancholic complaints of Vangelis.
A rhythm galloping on notes of wriggling guitars and undulating bass gives to "Sensitive Chaos" a curious western- indie structure. A catchy rhythmic structure to subtle variations that I can imagine quite well as a track in a Tarantino off-the-wall western movie. "Thoughts of Home in a Sand Storm" offers a jerky structure rhythmic where chords and pulsating sequences are criss-crossing to those of a synth / keyboard with curious cackled tones. A soft and warm synth, as in "L’Ascension," wraps of its warm layers this tempo which stutters of a greater intensity. It’s kind of odd, a little like the title-track, but it is a nice listen because of the discreet and subtle sound fauna which revolves around a rather unexpected rhythmic structure."Psychic Twins of Gemini" is a kind of electronic bed song which swirls of its delicate crystalline arpeggios. A track of an incredible simplicity, because of its timeless sound glass carousel, "Psychic Twins of Gemini" charms by its cherub approach. I quite liked it. Percussions and felted pulsations flutter while notes of bass and riffs of guitars fall to drown into keyboard keys, so drawing the very ambiguous and unusual rhythm of "Simon Stilites Dreams of Rain", a very IDM track. Heavy layers and twisted solos from a caustic guitar are binding in this very metallic fusion where knocks of anvil percussions are fading in this very iridescent which is hiding a subtle approach of a lonely cowboy avoiding discreetly the places of his riot. This latest album of Sensitive Chaos also offers two versions of the title-track "Seeker after Patterns" for radio needs. It is the same track but divided in 2 parts. The 2nd part starts from the section of piano notes floating in a mellotron mist. I prefer the original version, but what radio needs...
The music of Sensitive Chaos isn’t the most known in the spheres of modern EM. It’s not Berlin School, not even techno, but a skillful mixture of various styles which bind themselves in beautiful minimalist structures. Catchy structures where we perceive all the artistic work achieved by Jim Combs. I already heard, and reviewed, Leak back in 2006 and I come to the same conclusions there; Sensitive Chaos creates flowery experimental music with a minimalist approach which allows dressing its musical structures of different variations and instrumentations. Pleasant compositions which are listening very well and shelter nice melodies here and there.


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
: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=14505

You can view a video of Seeker After Patterns, here on YouTube:

Here's Sensitive Chaos website: http://sensitivechaos.com/


Sensitive Chaos’s Leak, is a fusion of atmospheres. On the title track, a nonchalant synth drags its virtual guitars keys which resound in an empty atmosphere. Gradually, these chords are joining by an isolate sax and percussions which become more present, in an environment of abstract soft jazz. Sensitive Chaos, is Jim Combs, half of the very experimental American duet TouchXtone. In Leak, he presents us his compositions written and recorded during the 2 last years. Very experimental, with a quite personal approach, the style of Sensitive Chaos reflects its identity, of sensitive chaos. Let’s take Android Cat Dreams Of Mice. Bottles sound percussions ring in a placid environment. Gently, one synth is coming with its soft and cherishing notes. Gradually all becomes more intense; strange whirrs mix with low and raucous notes, on islands beat to very sensual movement. A beautiful structure with looped modulations, which return in the same harmonious path, always adding a new musical element, rising a notch the waiting and the curiosity. Both worth the blow. A beautiful melody, with weak chimes, emerges from a night rocked by the breaths Brian Good sax. Starry Night is a superb title which goes up in crescendo with powerful percussions. Superb, the sax laments on hatched rhythm, by a beautiful set of percussions and discrete layers which intersect this bewitching movement, where the small rung melody floats always in the ambient air on a night that we would wish every days.
The beginning of Painting Earthtones In Orbit exploits the rung notes with inaudible synthetic voices. The rhythm takes shape in loop on felted percussions and a good bass line. The rhythm increases on synthetic pads which seem to be sought, but tablas percussions hammer the beat on a confused rhythm, nearer a static atmosphere than a sequenced evolution. Short, but sweet Bullet Train could have made the intro of my favourites adventures or police television stories of my youth. The percussions are incredibly corrosive. Nightshift At The baby Mecha Nursery is the only studio track of Leak and finishes in the same harmonious and rung atmosphere which made the charm of this first effort of Sensitive Chaos.
Sensitive Chaos’s Leak is an experimental EM album. The rhythms are balanced between the rung keyboard keys and percussions to varied essences and sources. With a structure definitely more abstract than the conventional EM, Sensitive Chaos manages to maintain a harmonious level which captivates the attention. And a title as Starry Night is not with the range of any kind of composer. A very beautiful track, on an album which is overcome rather easily. For fans of experimental music, with a very harmonious side.

Sylvain Lupari (2007)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream
: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=9316

lundi 18 juillet 2011

VARIOUS: Close Encounters of Electronic Music (2009)

One thing is sure, French EM is alive and back on its tracks to go across its borders. It's been a while that I write about Patch Work Music, a musical association setting up by Olivier Briand and Bertrand Loreau to promote the French progressive EM, and its numerous artists who bring a very French touch to EM universe. Closed Encounters of Electronic Music is a recording of a kind of festival held in Lilbourne on August 7th and 8th 2004, where artists and public could exchange on the actual musical tendencies. This musical event gathered 6 artists whose very different styles are melting in a meshing of the most heterogeneous on an album which risks to amaze more than one.
Awenson, who was known under the name of Awen on these days, kicks things off with the core of the boiling Witche’s Trance from the album Shadow. A track which is a powerful mixture of Schulze and Tangerine Dream styles of the vintage years. Here there is no floating intro. Witche’s Trance tumbles with great heavy sequences hits of which chords cavort on a wave-like movement. Tom-toms hammer an echoing tempo which is flew over by acid and metallic synth layers which tear a heavy psychedelic atmosphere with blows of synthesized claws. The rhythm is furious and spits its sequences and unbridled percussions, surrounded by incredible twisted solos from a weighty and nasal synth. Simply powerful, even if extremely minimalist! Nightbirds, from whom it’s the very first time that my ears cross their music, follows with a nice minimalist carousel in System Merge Part I. Calm and mesmerizing, with some sparkling of cymbals, System Merge Part I turns delicately on sequences and arpeggios which skip slightly among beautiful mellotron pads. This gyrating arpeggios’ dance is fading away in a mist filled of lamentations and metallic streaks while being fly over by iridescent shouts. It’s a steel kind atmospheric finale imprinted of a multitude of composite and experimental sound effects which spoils a bit the beauty of its intro. La Dixième Dune’s intro is punctuated with this fusion of silvery sounds which are intermingling to delicate layers of a soft romantic synth. A synth from where appears a fluty sonority which fly over a series of sequences moulding a hesitating tempo which feel one’s way, indulging Bertrand Loreau's very fluid melodious style. Subtly, this entire introduction with fragmented harmonies converges on a structure to divided melodies which flows with an astounding sweetness beneath a soft synth and a string of sequences sparkling of a chords multiplicity to echoing doubloons on a fine rhythm with hypnotic pulsations. And, towards finale, violin strings tear up this mesmerizing arrhythmic march with soft slow and poignant movements, leaving room to a delicate sequence which swirls sensitively, depicting Bertrand Loreau’s entire romantic universe.
Olivier Briand's Libourne Dream’s is doubtless the most amazing surprise of this concert. It’s a track of a strange complexity where the rhythmic approaches postpone beneath superb influences of Tangerine Dream from Hyperborea and Poland years. A very abstruse track due to its phases which are linking, Olivier Briand reproduces a hybridity of TD’s which join these albums (No-Man's Land and Tangent) on atmospheres of a surrealist jungle, rhythms in constant permutation and wonderful amalgams electronic sequences / percussions. Very good and especially very impressive, I don’t recall having heard being so near of the Dream sonorities of Poland years. There was indeed Danger in Dream, but this Libourne Dream's is very different, especially with its out of tune violins which borrow the paths of Beatles in Sgt Pepper years. Simply brilliant, Hat to you Olivier! Christian Richet is a whole character in the universe of French EM. Very unpredictable, he is capable of melodies as cacophony. Here with Live at L. - The First Step, he offers a powerful and strange cacophonous parade tinted of an edifying paranoiac delirium. Heavy pulsations are building the canvas and mellotron strata fall as axes to tear this secret passage which take desperate spirits, trying to escape the Black Hand. Horrifying and extremely uncomfortable, the ambiance which is reigning through in this demoniac track is of a heaviness and metallicity to cute all the gathered breaths, even if the finale throws a stalk of harmony. A curt and jerky harmony which tries to avoid this infernal tempo. Fairway / Seabirds from JC Allier is a track in two movements. Fairway is a powerful minimalism movement with strong sequenced beatings which strum heavily a circular tempo. Keyboard / synth chords dance, sing and are courting on a circular movement which turns until drown itself in the waves of Seabirds and its nice approach of a melancholic fluty synth that a more wonderful piano accompanies with its nostalgic notes which fall as tears of souls.
Closed Encounters of Electronic Music carries admirably its naming because we are discovering in it an impressive variety of EM. Honestly, and without complacencies, I don’t see how one couldn’t like this opus so much it covers a vast ground of EM styles. There is of everything in this compilation which is nevertheless drawing in only 6 tracks; stationary ambient to curt, wild and dark rhythms with long melodious surges which fit so well the varied temperaments that can live in us. There are reminiscences of vintage Berlin School quite as those Dream last strikes of genius. It is an excellent compilation which shows that there are effectively lot of things happening in the lands of Jean Michel Jarre, Space Art, Frédéric Mercier and the other pioneers of the 70’s French EM.


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
: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=14504

lundi 11 juillet 2011

AWEN: Shadows (2005)

Here’s Awenson very first album. Released in 2005 under the name of Awen, Shadows got quickly a big praise from the critics among fans of vintage EM style. It’s an album quite difficult to tame with 5 long structures more ambient and atmospheric than sequenced. Structures that abstract and with musical fragrances being situated in the experimental years of Schulze. Certainly there are more intense moments where the rhythm displays a heaviness which is quickly weakened by metallic strata and soporific synth layers perfumed of silvered ether.A slow eroded oscillation introduces Paradise Lost’s first humming. A cosmic ambience is settling with a very spectral synth full of which Martenot waves are moulding to celestial choirs singing in a galaxy filled with stars. Sparkling stars, as Schulze liked making them shining with his use of analog sound effects, on tom-toms which trickling away its stratified pulsations to forge a linear sequential line pounding of an indefinable rhythm. An acid track to psychedelico-cosmic implosions of the 70’s, of Paradise Lost soaks in a broth imprinted of statism all the way to the 10th minute. There were a wave-like line of bass brings some heat with an ascending undulation which winds a universe stuffed with cosmic sound effects and sinuous twisted solos. Witche’s Trance is a powerful track that starts with a heavy atonal synth veil from which layers seem to come from a distant crack in time. A heavy sequential line with nice oscillatory curves is piercing the mystery to bring Witche’s Trance intro in a powerful undulatory movement that recall Tangerine Dream’s obscure Rubycon. Hypnotic with its minimalism sequence which spins on the same pattern, Witche’s Trance leaves its metallic synth breezes to embrace sulphurous solo which spin on a rhythmic structure in permutation. A structure livened up by nervous cymbals and sequenced percussions that leads us through a powerful psychedelico-electronic frenzy with great reminiscences of Tangerine Dream from Rubycon to Force Majeure years. Atonal, Armageddon moves by its movements of synth which cross various musical phases. A long line of spectral synth hoots discreetly among fine oscillations and cosmic effects to multiple eclectic tones. The swiftness of the synth breath permutes in a heavy industrial droning from which the roaring of the hatched circles modifies the structure of a linear movement waving of its slow fluctuations. Armageddon progresses gently with its threadlike astral layers which float idly in a synthesized broth from where are freeing solos of quixotic organs to spread an oniric sweetness which glides in a pleiad of static white noises and slow silvered layers made from the iridescent musicality of Klaus Schulze.
Builds according to the same precepts, Dark Light is nevertheless warmer with its synthesized approach more musical than caustic, although the heterogeneous elements of silvered streaks are always omnipresent, in particular towards finale. But it’s a long dark and cosmic track which begins by a suave synth breeze hooting among tones as caustic as cosmic, including astral gongs which resound around delicate modulations being transformed into delicious solo. In spite of quiet inherent to its naming, Chamane is a duel between serenity and anxiety. A long 22 minutes track it starts with a distant light wind which is shaping to keyboard pads to move backwards and forwards in a mysterious ethereal mist. It’s a soft introspective procession which is quickly swallowed by resonant metallic hoops which hem in loops. And throughout its evolution, Chamane will borrow the astral charms of Armageddon and Dark Light to confront them with an odd aggressiveness to synth layers and streaks with tones of bellicose metal. It’s a long journey in the lands of Irrlicht and Picture Music but with a steel sonority that sometimes can be annoying. But a little before the 17tth minute spot, a delicate dangling impregnates by a synthesized charisma too absent in Shadows comes to wheedle these ears a little fatigued by this very cold and abstract sound incursion, showing that Joël Bernard can do much more than sclerosis abstract music.

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
: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=14490

AWENSON: Beyond the Galaxies (2009)

This Awenson’s 3rd opus begins with oblong synth layers with vaporous sounds of sitar without strings which weave the opening of Shangri La, a long epic track with very eclectic meditative approaches. Monastic bells resound, widening their circles of resonances with different chimered tinkling which ring among industrial impulsions à la Blade Runner and great twisted solos which float among ethereal astral layers and choirs.
Although very ambient, the introduction of Shangri La is very musical with its waves of synth at once caustic biting and celestial which cross a universe of cosmic meditations where every movement is juxtaposing to those already in place. Towards the 15th minute a warm cosmic wave wraps this colourful intro, both in tones and essences, to bring it a little farther in the land of stars. From caustic to cosmic, Shangri La livens up of an electronic life with this floating mellotron veil which meets sequences of which fine resonances are multiplying the number. Arrhythmic pulsations jump up in a strange cosmic fauna where synths reborn of their nasal breezes and mellotron wings are moving such as astral spectres. We are beyond 20 minutes and Joël Bernard's synth makes his solos floating in a long spatial crusade where pulsations travel as asynchronous transmissions and where Vangelis tones wander with those of Schulze and Kistenmacher before falling again into the notes of this stringless sitar which had given birth to this long epic to strange eclectic tones. As its naming suggests Inner Light is a long introspective quest moved by slow synth waves seeking for contact with our cerebral cortex. Although ambient and totally devoid of rhythms, the slow oscillations that are droning draw threadlike synthesized strands which resound slowly forming an odd sound screen where we can hear the making of astral choirs. It’s a strange musical experience that has more depth if we listen to it at high volume and will please for sure fans of Steve Roach's long musical quests. More dramatic with its huge of musical tolls which resound in heavy synth layers, Fairies Gate closes this long cosmic escapade with a track without sequences but full of glaucous oscillations which resound in a strange musicality. Purely ambient and completely atmospheric, Fairies Gate is an incursion in the hidden and unknown side of a cosmos that can hide indeed some horrifying "gosthiques "creatures.
Beyond the Galaxies is a real cosmic musical journey. A very special musical experience the rhythm is building on impulses and where the sound wealth abounds with more intensity and heat than on Awenson first 2 works. A Awenson which seems to have reached his cosmic maturity with an ambient album as much powerful and poetic as works of Steve Roach and Michael Stearns. If we always perceive the influence of Klaus Schulze, and even Vangelis, it’s doesn’t wrap nor annuls all the personality of the French synthesist who goes out of his shell to produce a more personal album. We are feeling quite well the big lines that will lead him on the way to the wonderful Wizard one year later.

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
: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=14489

vendredi 8 juillet 2011

BRUNO SANFILIPPO: Subliminal Pulse (2011)

The Argentine Bruno Sanfilippo is a musician, a sculptor of sound and a composer since nearly 20 years. Similar to Vangelis’, his music floats above our dreams with soft harmonies which wind around sometimes abstracted, ambient or simply melodious structures. Subliminal Pulse is his12th solo album since his very first one realized in 1991(Sounds of the Light) and his very 1st to be released by the Californian label Spotted Peccary. He depicts Subliminal Pulse in these terms; "Sometimes, the poetic language of music reveals what cannot be seen. It shows a reality that has nothing to do with words. With my electronic instruments I take the universe's 'Subliminal Pulse', and I try to build a bridge between my inner pulse and the pulse of the outer space." It’s a very nice way to define this very poetic and oniric album, among which 9 tracks enclose delicate harmonies which move like feathers in space.
The Third Geometry introduces to the soft poetic universe of Sanfilippo with a very fine ethereal line of synth which oscillates of its sparkling chant on a delicate structure livened up by a mix of soft percussions and pulsations. It’s a mixture which shapes a soft and suave rhythm with strikes that roam in an iridescent synth mist, weaving an eclectic unreal universe both ambient and tribal. A musical world imprints of mystery with this electric mist which bewitches on a sparse rhythmic structure and a soft synth so near astral singings. Santa Luminosa’s intro is tearing by a heavy metallic reverberation before finding again the tranquility settled by The Third Geometry. It’s an oniric peace of mind with this soft and bewitching astral singing that the synthesist who now live in Spain likes to sculpt from his synth. A little as on The Third Geometry, the delicate rhythm of percussions and the twinkling arpeggios which skip among pulsations is ennobled by synth layers which sing as celestial mermaids and lamentations of violin, creating a thousand of illusions and passion from a Middle East tribal universe. Continuing in the same vein, but with a clearly more ambient approach, Spirit Allies flood our ears of a sulphurous melody which bewitches with its lamentations sculptured in the tones of a synth with soft poetic tendencies. It’s a superb track impregnated by a strange serenity, quite as Slipped Time and its piano from which solitary notes pierce drill a beautiful mellotron mist as well as Pulsum Sacrum and its great choirs which float around astral bells and synthesized pulsations à la Vangelis. It’s quite nice!
It’s with long synth breeze in slow oscillations that Intrinsic Fluctuations begins. Synth layers are interweaving to form an oblong mist procession where the echoes of an odd tribal world can be heard midway. Delicate lonely arpeggios sparkle there and skip delicately on a glass fauna, among misty flute breathings that sound like Berber tribes tones and of repenting souls walking towards an enchanting world where oasis are outlining on the horizon. Imprint of mystery Subliminal Pulse evolves on nice pulsations surrounded by oniric spectral chants. Like in Alchemical Powers, the rhythm is hardly present if it’s for a delicate alternation in fine pulsations which beat in a universe buried by a subliminal tenderness. Mantram is another delicacy coming from Bruno Sanfilippo's hybrid tones synths. Between tearful lamentations of heart-rending violin and a mystic morning mist, Mantram unwinds as an ode to sadness or a call to melancholy.
As Bruno Sanfilippo describes it so well; Subliminal Pulse is an astral musical journey where inner impulsions try to converge on those more cosmic. At this level Subliminal Pulse is an opus of an infinite tenderness where astral chants are moulding perfectly well to the soft ambiances of a world of which tribal fragrances seem to be the key of our spirituality. Like most of the Spotted Peccary label works, Subliminal Pulse sails between celestial ambient and progressive New Age, evolving through a strange and stunning fusion of a cosmic and tribal universe with delicate rhythms, breaths and Berber lamentations and a synth divided between its singings of celestial sirens and the tears of its violins which shape strangely unreal odes. It’s a nice nightly opus where reminiscences of Vangelis can be heard here and there, but on more honeyed than complex structures.


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 have more info on Bruno Sanfilippo by visiting his website here:

You can also view a video of Subliminal Pulse on YouTube:

mardi 5 juillet 2011

REDSHIFT: Wild III (2009)

Here’s Redshift’s 3rd  and last volume of the Wild series. As on the first two ones, Mark Shreeve concocts us a fabulous journey in time with live recording of the very first Redshift concert, as well as 2 unreleased tracks; one live and the other one in studio. It’s a stationary journey, because we mainly are in the first years of the band, but an intensive one with great live performances which let hear all the sequential spite of this group to chthonian harmonies.
Recorded in concert at the Hampshire Jam VII, in November 2008, Redshift 08 is an adaptation of the eponym track from the very first Redshift album released back in 2008. We find on it the same spirit and the same fusion between the ethereal ambient and the heavy rhythms of the original, but with an airier and a suppler approach. Fans of TD will be delighted to hear a spectral finale which contains the beautiful mellotron lines of Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares. Shift to Blue is a new version of Blueshift which encloses the first Redshift. It’s a reworked version which suffered of a sequencer performance, during the concert. A problem corrected from the rehearsal recordings where Mark Shreeve mixed both performances giving thus a superb result. Beyond this problem inherent to live performances, Shift to Blue is shortened by nearly 20 minutes focusing much more on the sequential rhythmic approach which oscillates between the sweetness and the fury, on superb melodious synth layers and a divine mellotron which preserves the main part of the ethereal movement but without the soporific part of the 1st version. I do prefer, and by far, Shift to Blue to Blueshift that I found rather long on Redshift first opus.
Schlachthof-fünf is the last encore, and the missing one, of the2004 Eindhoven concert which gave us Toll. This way, we finally have the whole concert. It’s a wonderful track in the purest Redshift tradition which starts with scattered electric piano notes which float in an ethereal cosmos. Limpid, these keys are wrapped by spectral breezes and bizarre noises which may come from doors of darkness or dusts letting dragged by fallen angels who furrow the purgatory. From this oblivion in suspension is drawing a sound arc which is waddling as a devilish bed song, kicking away a sequence which roars out its heavy reverberations to introduce the booming guitar, with riffs of steel and howling solos, of James Goddard. Yet this is another great track which allies the fragility of spectres to big metallic reverberations beneath Goblins’ mechanical sniggers moulded in tempered steel. That’s some great Redshift there and the best track on Wild. A caustic breath opens the first measures of Broken World, an unreleased track written in 1996. The breathing is turning into dark choirs which float in between world, on a symphonic synth which filters a harmony that is very near the soil of Mark Shreeve on Legion and Assassin, there where psychedelic streaks penetrate this long dark intro and open the way to a sequential movement which hiccoughs beneath an austere synth. Broken World doesn’t explode. It follows a harmonious tangent in a dark universe, on sequences sometimes heavy and howling sometimes docile and peaceful in a harmonious musical paradox. A paradox that is the links between Mark Shreeve solo works and Redshift first opuses.
Wild 3 is a wonderful Christmas gift that every Redshift fans have to possess. And for those who still doesn’t know that band, it’s an excellent way to discover it because the English group cuts in ethereal lengths to exploit profoundly the heavy sequences which are the trademark of Shreeve and cie. Redshift 08 and Blueshift are two amazing reconstructions of Redshift early works. If it can offend some purists it’s going to please those who, like me, believe that the music has to evolve with its time and its gears during concerts. Mark Shreeve invites fans of the mythical group to a sound orgy which gets out of darkness entrails. You have to admit that it’s kind of hard, even impossible, to refuse such invitation.


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
: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=12694