samedi 3 septembre 2011

SCHONWALDER & ROTHE: Filter-Kaffee 101 (2011)

Filter-Kaffee 101 saw the light of studios from coffee-houses between Mario Schönwälder and Frank Rothe, a crew member for Broekhuis, Keller and Schönwälder’s concerts, in 2007. Around these coffees, these mates discussed their passion for analog music and, one thing leading to another, this passion got transposed in brief recording sessions scattered over a period of 3 years. In January 2011, the duet listened to their demos and found out that there was enough material to make a good album of EM, Berlin School style. By means of Gerd Wienekamp (Rainbow Serpent), who did the mastering, Schönwälder and Rothe cleared up these recordings to place them in an order where everything will form a long musical suite of around 70 minutes, giving to Filter-Kaffee101 a Berlin School's pure musical effusiveness, where wandering atmospheres embrace minimalist rhythms in a beautiful merger of genres; retro and modern which meet in the crossroads of analogue and digital for the biggest pleasure of Berlin School fans.
"Cup 1" opens Filter-Kaffee 101 with a sinister approach where a slow and sinuous wave of a floating synth spreads its heavy foggy vocalizes. A sequential movement emerges and beats with a frank and crystal clear rhythm. Accompanied of a discreet bass line with sober pulsating notes, the sequences skip and pound insistently a minimalist tempo which zigzags in ambiances of a synth with slightly fluty solos. Subtly some Tablas percussions substitute themselves to the sequential approach, of which chords lose their gloss of limpidity by hiccupping more weakly for disappearing in sinuous synth solos which undulate among chthonian choirs. We are in a Touareg universe, at the crossroads of Broekhuis, Keller and Schönwälder’s Repelen series and Rainbow Serpent music with a more fed rhythm thanks to tribal percussions, faded but effective sequences and more fluid harmonies. "Cup 2" presents an oblong atonal intro where gloomy synth layers, which travel in clusters or in solo, become entangled in an immense morphic immersion filled of caustic reverberating erosions. Against all odds, a frenzied sequential movement rolling as a ghost train pierces this dense membrane calcified of stormy pulsations. Sequences to hybrid tones strike a wall of reverberations, making re-appear choirs which moan beneath the arrhythmic beatings of a mislaid sequential movement and looking for a direction in this tetanised immensity. And "Cup 3" becomes the solution with its disorderly sequences which cavort slowly on a chaotic movement, as complex as enchanting, encircled of long chiselled solos floating in an electronic mist filled of wandering choirs. Poetic and just livened up enough; "Cup 3" transports us on to the paradisiacal borders with this slightly jerky beat which crosses an array of discreet rhythms, above the suave Martenot or Theremin waves, adding a strange spectral approach among ghostly solos which roam on  disrupted sequences. This lively rhythm darkens little by little around heavy twisted waves, from which morphic vocalizes merge with sinuous reverberations, bringing us so to "Cup 4" and its melancholic piano notes which fade among heavy pulsated reverberations. In spite of its twisted waves which teem ceaselessly, there is something beautiful that lives in the isolation of "Cup 4" where piano keys resound with strength, among some more delicate, shaping a melody for souls abandoned in the lost territories.
It’s a strange softness which finds comfort in a hesitating sequential movement which makes flee a bit the caustic resonance, building little by little the rhythmic structure of "Cup 5" which hatch out of a syncretic merger to pulse heavily beneath a sky fills with metallic striations. "Cup 5" sits its rhythmic structure on a powerful sequence of which the heavy minimalist strikes widen a long pulsating circle which swirls with a delicious ambiguity, a little as it was tipsy by its constant rotating, under a sky darted by languishing synth layers. Synth which gives up solos for the benefit of an intense and dense mellotron wrap, dropping here and there some shouts of twisted metal. After this rhythmic maelstrom uncompromising, the short "Cup 6" brings us in a universe imprinted of moroseness and strangeness where roar winds of anger and ghostly restraint. As much brief as intense, "Cup 6" is a short journey in the heart of the meditative madness. It’s strange that a track as much lugubrious precedes the jewel of Filter-Kaffee 101 with a superb piano which disentangles very beautiful ritornellos in a heavy electronic mist. A great minimalist unwinding, " Cup 7 " swirls delicately of its notes a little disturbed by insert of a synth which throws its scattered pads among dark and Gothic choirs glittering with beauty and gloom, it is according to, throughout Filter-Kaffee 101 which concludes with the enigmatic "Cup 8" where chords pulse and strum an abstracted movement inside an imperfect circle, drawn by a sinuous wave to eroded twists and turns in spectral lamentations. That’s a strange and very experimental track which is a bit out of the Berlin School frame to embrace the Krautrock style with a conclusion closer to stars that the other 7 cups of coffee sipped throughout Filter-Kaffee 101.
Mario Schönwälder still has several strings to his bow and every new project shows it clearly; the man still has the passion of his music. Although different, Filter-Kaffee 101 is drinking with a good dose of curiosity for the taste of the adventure that gets the discovery of this liquid to aromas strongly diversified, and it is the way of approaching Filter-Kaffee 101. If Schönwälder and Rothe serve us a nice cup with "Cup 1" and wonderful ones in "Cup 3", "Cup 5" and "Cup 7",other cups ask for a bigger listening but they all have very nice aromas that only time will deflower with all the beauty that’s in them, but I have to admit that "Cup 8" can become tepid before seizing all its texture in it. In brief, Mario Schönwälder wouldn't put his name on any product and that’s what we have to retain. Filter-Kaffee 101 is a good album where fans of Mario will be overwhelmed and those who try to penetrate into his universe will certainly find 5 to 7 very nice entrances there. To recommend for the fans of Schönwälder and for those who like the abstract and progressive textures as well as Krautrock style.


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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