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

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