lundi 31 octobre 2011

RENÉ SPLINTER: Transit Realities (2010)

Transit Realities is as good as Elmery and it's still bursting of Tangerine Dream memories!

Alaska (28:19)
1 Denali 2:08
2 Kenai 2:39
3 Alatna River 12:40
4 Bering Glacier 6:58
5 Snowmobile Race 4:10
6 Fairbanks 1:44
Metropolitain (26:22)
7 Transit Line 6:31
8 Bahnhof Zoo 6:05
8 Palast 8:15
10 The Big Star 5:31


After a first album modulated on the imprints of his influences, René Splinter offers us in Transit Realities a more personal album. An album of which we can always feel reminiscences of Tangerine Dream but where the Netherlands synthesist also shows a beautiful melodious and orchestral approach. Divided into 2 musical acts, Transit Realities is a touristic journey between the borders of imagination and reality. Alaska is written from pictures of a book on this Arctic country and offers a more poetic and romantic approach while Metropolitain follows a trip made in Germany and submerges us of a musical bath with strong Teutonic aromas. On these 2 visions totally at the opposite of realities, René Splinter weaves two long musical paintings where nervous flickering sequences forge evolutionary rhythms and melodious structures become entangled on beautiful and striking orchestral arrangements which are not without reminding us a certain Johannes Schmoelling.
Short and efficient, "Denali" opens this imaginary journey of Alaska with a beautiful symphonic approach. A pulsating and hopping bass line awakens the rollings of Bass drums as well as solid percussions which support a lively rhythmic structure, fragmented by horns impetus and violins surges. Terrific these orchestral arrangements border a heavy and staccato rhythm from where escapes a soft melody that has a tender Asian mood and is strummed on a delicate piano. A piano from which notes are melting to a sequential movement and guide us towards the romantic "Kenai". This short melancholic melody with notes and chords skipping delicately in clouds of mist and violin strings scents the beautiful melodies from the Underwater Sunlight era and brings us to "Alatna River" and its evolutionary rhythms. A series of crisscrossed sequences pummel and tumble down under diverse breaths and lamentations of a synth in tones as tenebrous as iridescent. With this rhythm in constant permutation "Alatna River" reveals a great sequencing which couple with percussions in order to form sectorial rhythms. Rhythms sometimes bombarded, sometimes staccato and sometimes hypnotically arrhythmic which border nice melodies from the Underwater Sunlight and Tyger years and where the synth spits violin lines, frees melancholic mists and merge its acute solos with those of a quixotic guitar. After an intro with tones as much heterogeneous as atmospherics, "Bering Glacier" its sounds parcels with a good progressive sequential movement. The rhythm growing on sequences and electronic percussions to rattles endings, "Bering Glacier" reveals a wonderful melodious approach with suave choirs and knocks of violins which continue in the furrows of "Snowmobile Race" whereas that "Fairbanks" encloses this imaginary journey in Alaska with a soft melody where a piano accompanies a fluty synth, waking in us the finale of Legend. These are great memories!
A sinuous resonant wave pierces oblivion, urging a pulsatory sequence to pound a hypnotic tempo. The sky streaked by iridescent synth blades, "Transit Line" opens Metropolitain with nervous sequences which pummel eagerly in a heavy rhythmic structure to couple in percussions and powerful metallic cymbals. This track built on a rich and rather complex structure is fed by an intense rhythm which rises and falls on hectic sequences, fustigating in passage a synth with heavy riffs and powerful pads. A synth as symphonic as caustic which also rocks beautiful solos and fine harmonies moulded in an urban din. "Bahnhof Zoo" sticks to "Transit Line" finale, but offers a more suave and warmer rhythmic structure. Reminiscences of Tangerine Dream abound on this track with sequences divided between a wave-like or pulsatory rhythm. A rhythm a bit hatched where slamming and echoic percussions are embraced by a splendid nasal synth. A synth which severs its melodies to offer them parsimoniously in a pleasant blend of its tones. Sometimes serene and sometimes hiccupping, this indecisive rhythm submerges us in the musical memories of Thief and Exit. The intro of "Palast" slows down the pace with a mysterious synthesized mist which floats in a lost world. A pulsation emerges and awakens a synth among which sharp breaths and ghostly laments recover a latent rhythm. Still there, recollections of Tangerine Dream stuff our ears with this veiled intro filled of an approach to iridescent tones. In the 3rd minute René Splinter lays wonderful orchestral arrangements with a thick cloud of violins which draw the harmonious shape of snowflakes fall. This hatched melody leads on a crisscrossed sequential movement of which the ascending curves are fed by good percussions, synth riffs with well known tones and solos that sound like a guitar that we would recognize among all. "Palast" hooks us with a rebellious finale to conclude towards the nebulous intro of "The Big Star" and its nice ballad which brings us unmistakably in the heart of the glorious period of Franke, Froese and Schmoelling.
More personal than Almery and less centered on the epicentre of his influences, René Splinter amazes with Transit Realities. Yes we can hear on it the musical influences of Tangerine Dream. But this time the approach is more different with wonderful orchestral arrangements which embellish the harmonies of synths as well as the solos, while revolving around a delicious mix of sequences and percussions. The result is a very beautiful album where progressive and modular rhythms support structures as much melodious as mysterious. Mesmerizing structures which feed 2 long musical acts to the antipodes of an imaginary journey, made in the heart of the episodic influences of Tangerine Dream.

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

If you want to know more about René Splinter and watch videos, you should visit his website

vendredi 28 octobre 2011

RENÉ SPLINTER: Almery (2010)

1 Tunnel Vision 7:49
2 Encom 8:05
3 The Flight of the Pterodactyl 4:08
4 Almery 8:11
5 The Laughing Magician 28:00


I discovered René Splinter music thanks to Groove compilations; E-Day 2011and Dutch Masters Vol.1 We couldn’t deny, even less keep silent, the net influence of Tangerine Dream concerning the Dutch synthesist’s musical orientations. It’s in 1977 that René Splinter met EM on his path of personal growth with Jean Michel Jarre’s Oxygene. Within years, Splinter let himself being invaded by the electronic movement and began to strum on a synth at the end of the 80’s with the Sequential Circuits Pro One. He composed and recorded his music by making overdubs on a tape recorder. And at the end of the 80’s he already composed a first album; Almery which was only available on cassette. And some 20 years later, this first opus is finally available on MellowJet Records label. And if the influence of TD perspired in tracks appearing on these Groove compilations, it's nothing compared to Almery which is a real immersion in the musical world of the Dream; eras Exit, White Eagle, Poland and beyond.
Almery lies on 5 tracks where the reminiscences of Tangerine Dream fill our ears at full strength with a stunning and wonderful enchantment for these sequences which sound as arrows pulled from a crossbow, these iridescent synth riffs of White Eagle and Hyperborea periods as well as these harmonies taken from the same era, with a clear tendency for Le Parc. In conclusion, it’s a superb album for nostalgic where the Netherlands’ synthesist pursues a work which, on the whole, seemed quite unfinished. And it’s with "Tunnel Vision" that starts this discovery of Tangerine Dream world of influences. Synth keys resound such as false bells and the melancholic broth of the Dream settles down with a beautiful bass line with boomerang notes, as in Le Parc, and melancholic synth pads and riffs. A carpet of sequences with rattlers tones rolls beneath, introducing bit by bit a latent rhythm. "Tunnel Vision" takes off with this audacious sequencing game, wrapped by a synth filled of exhilarating curves. A synth which also drops a metallic mist spawning on a hypnotic pulsatory rhythm and propelled by good electronic percussions. The rhythm is increasing and rushes at a brisk pace, accompanied by a very melodious and lively synth from which iridescent fluty breezes sound like a breathless saxophone which complains on furious and brilliant sequences. What a kick off! After a short nebulous intro "Encom" espouses a boiling electronic rock with percussions which hammer a pace of lead, encircled by a synth to symphonic layers. A crossing of Exit and White Eagle, "Encom" encounters an explosive and delicious turbulence of sequences and percussions before taking back its rhythmic road on a heavy, hypnotic and insistent tempo, always wrapped by these synth pads and layers imprinted by TD signature. So far so good! Short and melodious, "The Flight of the Pterodactyl" is more centred on synths than sequential movements, although the rhythm is always so heavy. The more we move forward in Almery and the more the link which binds René Splinter to Tangerine Dream is inseparable. So the title track is a great ballad of which the soft sequential structure sounds strangely like the one on White Eagle and where the harmonious envelope fits to a panoply of the Dream tones, except this soft flute which comes out of it.
"The Laughing Magician" is the key point on Almery and, in my opinion, a superb mixture or remix of TD’s splendour period. With those icy whispering voices which pierce metallic cymbals, we are straight in Majove Plan era, whereas that sequences and synth riffs which fall plunges us into the Poland’s one. Simply great and rather audacious, René Splinter floats over Tangerine Dream tracks by sprinkling syncretic pads, percussions rollings, riffs of steel and iridescent streaks. A rich sound universe spreads out on a mesmerizing tempo where the coming of hiccupping sequences forges a jerky rhythmic structure. And the illusion of the Dream is perfect. We have the feeling that it’s a track forgotten in the archives of the Berlin trio which resurfaces with delight. Except that Splinter doesn’t only copy the Tangerine Dream style. No! He draws his melodies and ethereal on sharper and a bit more precise rhythms with synth strata which roar as Froese on guitar. Bewitching, this jerky rhythm follows its hypnotic tangent in an incredible harmonious wealth before diving into a sea of eclectic tones which floats among knocks of anvils, electronic gases as well as mist and metallic winds which wrap a musical universe in perdition. The rhythm re-appears with a very good sequencing and electronic percussions which show the originality of Splinter in its musical testimony for the Dream and for the dishevelled finale of Horizon from the masterpiece that is Poland. And "The Laughing Magician" closes in a psychedelic finale where the dins of metal and crystallized synth breezes bind themselves to episodic rhythmic jolts which cover deliberately the magic concert of Poland, but with René Splinter’s own harmonious touch.
There were several attempts to imitate, pay tribute or continue the work of the Dream, but René Splinter is alone in its field. By aiming the glorious era of Franke, Froese and Schmoelling as well as albums from White Eagle to Le Parc, while insisting on Poland, the Dutch synthesist knocks straight in the middle of my magic period of Tangerine Dream. I liked Almery. I’m seeing in it more than an imitation of my cult group. I hear in it a music which delighted me and definitively hooked me towards the wonderful world of EM where sounds and sequences weave evolutionary structures that craftsmen dress skilfully of suave synth layers and solos. And this is what René Splinter is offering to us on Almery; a superb album and a pure delight for ears and nostalgia.

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

If you want to know more about René Splinter and watch videos, you should visit his website
You can also watch a video out of Almery album, Tunnel Vision, here:

mercredi 26 octobre 2011

LYONEL BAUCHET: The Secret Society (2011)

1 Introductory March to the Secret Society 6:26
2 Lifeworld 9:22
3 Ocean Spleen 4:19
4 Pavane K4816 7:02
5 So Much for Subtlety 3:51
6 Each Will Have His Personal Rocket 13:19
7 Dawn 4:23
8 Blissfully Ours 4:56
9 Thank You and Good Night 7:50

DiN DLL 11

Lyonel Bauchet's The Secret Society respects the precepts of DiN's label of contemporary EM; aeither be a dark and experimental music which oscillates between stagnant rhythms and ambiances on dark and experimental structures. Rhythms more implosives than explosives with reminiscences as eclectic as Tangerine Dream and Autechre while passing by Spyra and Namlook, here is of what is made this first opus of the synthesist of France. Far from being a newcomer in the universe of contemporary EM, Lyonel Bauchet possesses a vast experience at the musical level, having composed more than 2000 musical pieces for television, cinema and radio. But he haven't produced an album until then and it's to Ian Boddy that we owe this small jewel which is The Secret Society. While taming the complex and immense Buchla 200e modular synthesizer, Bauchet drawn the interest of Ian Boddy. He posted clips on Internet while explaining the process of his learning when the founder of DiN noticed him and invited him to realize his first opus. A first opus which lets glimpse interesting future prospects, as much as for us as for Lyonel Bauchet.
A metallic veil pierces the silence. A fine pulsation emerges from it, introducing The Secret Society's first stammering. Weaved in an intriguing and mysterious approach, where the indefinite rhythm beats on arrhythmic pulsations and felted percussions, "Secret Introductory March to the Society" progress in an ambiance in suspension. Ringing as Tibetan as abyssal, chthonian choirs, lugubrious mist and sinuous threatening reverberations decorate the sound setting of this track which tergiversates constantly between its ambiances and torments. A premise that will follow throughout The Secret Society. More livened up, "Lifeworld" moves in a nebulous ambiance, although its rhythmic structure is more insidious and hybrid. A somber and slow structure which progresses in a veiled approach with frenzied pulsations/percussions pounding and galloping on a circular rhythm to polymorphic core. A rhythm which increases constantly its strength with a tangent vitamined by tribal percussions, it slides towards a dark techno, kind of Juno Reactor style, to judder of a dislocated pace initiated by an array of tribal and metallic percussions. In another register, "Ocean Spleen" is a dark ambient with heavy wrapping synth waves, while "Pavane K4816" proposes a slightly more lively structure. It’s an experimental and lugubrious electronic ballad which evolves slowly on an ascending structure seasoned by tenebrous winds, sinister droning and a mephistophelic mist which wraps mislaid keyboards and\or electric piano chords and riffs. "So Much for Subtlety" is superb and catchy with its limpid arpeggios which ring and float slowly on a hatched circular structure. For a short track Lyonel Bauchet deploys it all on this melody fragmented in a shadowy eclectic universe and strongly livened up by good percussions which hammer a stroboscopic structure where the composite rhythms push the hammer of our eardrums.
Dark and in a constant and subtle evolution "Each Will Have His Personal Rocket" is a slow procession of an ambiguous and hesitating rhythm. The intro is obscure, even black, and progresses with pulsations which increase constantly their rhythmic duels beneath glaucous breeze, black winds ululating such as sirens and a bass line to humming notes. In mid-term the percussions bind themselves in this slow rhythmic procession. The tempo progresses then with the rollings of the electronic skins and a more spasmodic rhythm which gesticulates awkwardly under somber and icy synth winds. Another catchy track, but for totally different reasons, "Dawn" is the another jewel which will please undoubtedly fans of Tangerine Dream and sequences rolling as balls in Hyperborea and Poland albums. Superb, these sequences roll and follow a very nice oscillating curve beneath suave synth breezes, bringing us to memories of a good Tangerine Dream era. It’s a very great track which precedes the not less delicious "Blissfully Ours" which is as much catchy and inviting to stamp foot as "So Much for Subtlety", except the structure is curt and hatched. Another catchy tune than we don’t get tired to listening to, "Thank you and Good Night" closes The Secret Society with a supple tempo of which curves and elastic loops hang on to iridescent droning as well as to superb percussions. Percussions which shape a mesmerizing rhythmic canvas and of which clear and resonant knocks announce nice rhythmic modulations. Penetrating, the synth throws great layers as ethereal as wrapping, crossing at random lonely riffs and winds. It’ a great conclusion for an album to the antipodes of rhythms, influences and melodies.
I liked Lyonel Bauchet’s first opus. Navigating on several influences and rhythmic approaches, The Secret Society touches all the spheres and possibilities of styles that EM and synthesizers can influence. And spread out over 60 minutes, we have to admit that the variety is such that we have to quench our urge for exploration on several listening and still. Available in downloadable on the DiN website (http: //
), The Secret Society guaranteed you 60 minutes of pure magic and all the happiness which is linked with it.

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

  Here's Lyonel Bauchet website:

VARIOUS DiN: Submission 01 (2011)

1 Earthbound (Ian Boddy) 9:35
2 Summer Lawn Daze (Ian Boddy) 6:19
3 Out There (Ian Boddy) 9:18
4 Syntax (Dub Atomica) 6:42
5 Integral (Ian Boddy & Bernhard Wöstheinrich) 7:05
6 Mode 5 (Ian Boddy & Markus Reuter) 7:06
7 Rise (Arc) 10:58
8 The Bridge and the Mother (Markus Reuter & Zero Ohms) 10:08
9 Metaphore (Memory Geist) 8:13

Din label is the crossroads of experimental contemporary EM. Ian Boddy's label covers all spheres of EM, starting from ambient to somber techno while passing by Berlin School and purely experimental music. Faithful to the evolution of the alternating currents such as Internet, download platforms and social networks, Ian Boddy launched DinDDL as a supplement to his label in 2007 with the album The Final Question. As some of the following albums, it was the fruit of a concert given this time onto the waves of an American radio. As its older brother, DinDDL presents a compilation of its first 9 albums on this 10th edition. Submission 01 features so live performances and some studio works of Ian Boddy and his collaborations as well as cult groups in this label which redefines the bases of the contemporary EM.
Beautiful and sensitive, "Earthbound", from The Final Question, opens this compilation with all the delicacy of its morphic envelope. Long synth coats become entangled in a very beautiful oniric and cosmic ballet, such as waves rolling on the surface of Orion. That is a charm to hear these rangy synth lines get aroused in this slow spatial cruise where hollow tones resound in an oblivion flavoured of suave fluty breezes and tender suspended harmonies. As much intriguing with its domestic as landscapes samplings, "Summer Lawn Daze" (from the Three Dreams album) lies with an ambient solitude where misled piano notes roam among panoply of ambiance noises and atmospheres. After a gloomy intro, whipped by cold and lugubrious winds as well as by strange ghostly lamentations, "Out There" (The Mechanics of a Thought) emerges out of limbs with a great sequence of which chords alternate in a wonderful rhythmic cohesion. This sequential movement, which espouses movements of train criss-crossing mountainous valleys, accompanies a structure fed by tones as colourful as coloured with subtle variances in its setting.  Shouldering the universe of Arc, Ian Boddy displays a treasure of sound imagination to support a sequential movement of a minimalist appearance but of which subtle variations add a depth and a heat in this universe of sound iridescences. "Syntax", from Dub Atomica’s same album, leads us towards more deepened musical territories with a rhythm being situated between groovy and free jazz, harpooned by a beautiful percussions play and decorated with great sound effects. Percussions which structure a jerky rhythm covered by a synth to gleaming layers and impulsions which sound as guitar solos. More fluid and more musical, "Integral" (out of Hemispheres album) is a wonderful futuristic melody which lays on hybrid tones fine percussions, twinkling arpeggios and tearful synth/guitar which wraps this avant-gardist melody. It’s a great track rich in tone, musicality and emotion which flows like an iridescent lament made for rejected souls. Very good!
"Mode 5", from the Unwound album, plunges us into the somber spheres of a black ambient music. Floating and torn by breaths and spheres of influence of a synth which crystal iridescences howl in gaps, "Mode 5" course is besieged by metallic percussions, a panoply of ghostly winds and scattered notes of a guitar which also filters lugubrious lamentations. We are in a black and dark territory that Rise, from the Arc duet, awakens of its heavy and dark rhythm, worth of great Berlin School moments (see Rise chronic here). Markus Reuter and Zero Ohms’s"The Bridge and the Mother" is a little in the same vein as "Mode 5". The use of samplings plays a dominating role with the rustles of leaves which adds an intriguing dimension to this track which floats on slow synth and guitar strata, bringing us unmistakably at the door of Robert Fripp and his Frippertronics. Melodious, dark and enchanting, Memory Geist’s Metaphore (see full chronique here) encloses gallantly this compilation of dark and experimental music which is the privilege of the label DiN.
Submission 01is a beautiful compilation and a faithful reflection of the styles which nest within the label DiN. As for me, it’s the best way to tame this eclectic musical universe of where is hiding at least one element, maybe more, which sharpens our ears fond of tones and electronic delights. There are sure values, I think in particular of Boddy, Arc and Memory Geist works and other pearls of an audacious music and without borders which will know how to prick your curiosity. Available on the site of DiNDLL:
http: //

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

samedi 22 octobre 2011

BERTRAND LOREAU: Morceaux Choisis (2011)

1 Chuchotements 1:51
2 Soli Tune 3:16
3 Pour le Dire 2:13
4 Le Grand Voyage 13:37
5 Appel Intérieur 4:36
6 Pour Arnaud 4:02
7 Harmonie d'un Jour 4:20
8 Irisationd Part I 4:34
9 Irisationd Part II 3:24
10 Souvenir de Jeunesse 18:08
11 Pour Arnaud Part II 2:42
12 Frottements 1:32
13 Si Loin 4:19
Arpeggios of glasses hesitate to waltz in the unknown. Pushed by the winds of a quavering flute, they form a delicate glass ritornellos and whisper "Chuchotements" which flows as a river of pearl. Morceaux Choisis is another Bertrand Loreau's intimist work. After Sur Le Chemin, Réminiscences and Sequences, the synthesist of Nantes opens again to us the road of its interior and memoirs with 13 tracks written between 2006 and 2011. Very versatile, Morceaux Choisis shows the influences and a mood of Bertrand Loreau with tracks of an always enchanting sweetness and others more electronics, in the Berlin School genre. It’s a delicious mixture where Vangelis and Schulze meets in the heart of Trans Harmonic Nights' sessions (Peter Baumann) to end up in the oniric sweetnesses of a piano in the steams of Erik Satie.
"Soli Tune" continues on the call of "Chuchotements" to stroll as an aria on solitude. Keyboard keys espouse tones of a hybrid guitar where sounds of a harp blend to those of a piano to jazzy moods. Roaming in a dark night, they parade. Sometimes melodious, sometimes gauche. They parade in an uncertainty beneath pads of a fluty synth and a fine melancholic mist. Soft "Pour le Dire" flows into our ears with the same tenderness, but with more musicality, than the short opening track. It’s very good and delicate, as all these melodies that we find over Morceaux Choisis and Bertrand Loreau's previous works. I think among others of "Appel Intérieur" which turns upside down the soul with its crying flute on a bed of mist. This is a track which does its effect as the very melancholic "Pour Arnaud" and its crystal arpeggios crying the loss of a friend. "Le Grand Voyage" shows that Bertrand Loreau is capable of an extremely audacious and progressive music while staying melodious. Glass arpeggios to tones of xylophone spin. They are collided by a mixture of percussions, sudden chords, flute breezes and synth impulses. We are immersed by an influence of Vangelis, Opera Sauvage area, and Klaus Schulze, Dreams era. Twisted and incisive solos wave above this minimalist procession. High-pitched solos, sounding as laments of a solitary saxophone, escort this ascending structure of which the furtive rhythm is inlaid by dark keys which move stealthily. It’s a slow parade which swarms with a new life after the 6th minute, whereas crystal clear arpeggios turn up. More numerous, they dance and skip nervously on this minimalist cadence, before ending their journey on a dishevelled structure moved by synth and mellotron winds.
"Harmonie d'un Jour" plunges us into Berlin School structures with a clear influence for Tangerine Dream and mainly Peter Baumann era. The track waves shyly with sequences which undulate like on Sorcerer. But what strikes the most is the melodious envelope. We would definitively imagine being in Trans Harmonic Nights session with these twisted solos, riffs and harmonies which get free from it and feed a cadence which increases subtly. It is a real delight for nostalgic, quite as "Irisationd Part I" which offers a more nervous tempo with sequences alternating with more vivacity, under the aegis of metallic percussions and especially of these fabulous singings of synth which coo under a fine mellotron mist. "Irisationd Part II" offers a similar structure but with a more jazzy synth, more crystal clear and nervous sequences and electronic effects. "Souvenir de Jeunesse" encloses this Berlin School immersion with good sequences which shape an undulatory and hypnotic movement. Like an eternal march, sequence steps move and cross other ones, which are more hard-hitting and curt, in a mystic mist. The synth wraps this good sequential and rhythmic amplitude of cosmic impulses and soft shivering solos. The percussions fall and weigh down this hypnotic minimalist procession which grows rich of crystalline arpeggios sparkling among beautiful pads of an exhilarating synth. The tempo gets subdivided and enters within spheres of permutations, watered with sharpened and spectral solos, guiding the sequences of "Souvenir de Jeunesse" towards a foggy finale. After this wonderful intrusion in the Berlin School, Morceaux Choisis ends with 3 splendid tracks played on piano. These are tender jewels of tenderness and melancholy where Bertrand Loreau amazes and charms with a surprising dexterity.
As for me Bertrand Loreau is a treasure hidden in the world of the music. Musical, poetic and electronic, Morceaux Choisis solidifies my perception with a finely elaborated music where the composer and synthesist of Nantes shows off a surprising knowledge by handling styles which overlap in a surprising harmony. Whether it’s melodious or progressive Berlin School, electronic melodies or classical music, Bertrand Loreau weaves beautiful musical paintings which touch inevitably our feelings, the mark of a great composer.
Available via PWMDistrib

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

Here is the link to Bertrand Loreau website:

vendredi 21 octobre 2011

BERTRAND LOREAU: Sequences (2010)

1 Séquence Souvenir (8:20)
2 Arc en ciel (5:32)
3 Cerfs-volants (6:43)
4 Rue Colbert (6:10)
5 Libourne 2005 Part I (4:21)
6 Libourne 2004 (20:02)
7 Libourne 2005 Part II (13:22)
8 Séquence Libre (4:50)


Bertrand Loreau is undoubtedly my sudden impulse and one of my most beautiful discoveries that I made these last years. The French synthesist knows above all how to shape melodies from a simple idea or a single note. As we can imagine, Sequences is an album based on sequential movements. Inserted in a nice artwork which depicts all of his melancholy, Bertrand Loreau presents 8 tracks composed between 1988 and 2005. Some are pure skeletons slimdown of their melodies whereas others line the melodious approaches of the musician from Nantes. Divided into 2 parts, Sequences is the reference to conciliated sequences and melodies. The first part gathers together studio recordings, which can be heard without overdubs, while the 2nd part is more melodious with extracts of concerts given in Libourne and Close Encounters festivals in2004 and 2005. A truly album of free or physical expressions, Sequences is a hybrid work where goes alongside with the beauty and nostalgia that live and divide Bertrand Loreau.
Fine pulsations hatch out and hop of an arrhythmic way. Like a free ballet, "Sequence Souvenir" flies away in a sequential maelstrom where chords flutter and crisscross, creating a strange melody fragmented by surprising outcomes and abrupt stops. An experimental melody nests on this long spasmodic structure where the sound ions spin, pound, succeed one another and crisscross in all directions according to stunning sequential movements, quite as the will-o'-the-wisp which is "Arc en Ciel"."Cerfs-volants" is very representative of its naming. Imagine a kite and its unexpected movements and you have the most beautiful description for this track. With "Rue Colbert" we enter in Bertrand Loreau’s melodious territories. Played live at Salle Vasse in 1988, it shows the clear attraction of Loreau for the electronic melodies in the style Tangerine Dream on Le Parc and Underwater Sunlight. A solid piece of music, "Rue Colbert" begins with hesitating sequences which move like cat steps to dance a good electronic tango. Dressed of its melody the track progresses with nice sequences and keyboard keys which swirl delicately around its sequential axis. The percussions fall and shape a mesmerizing and lively rhythmic accompanied by a synth to soft spectral breezes. We are not at the end of our surprise that strikings of xylophone emerge to boast a stunning melody which subtly increases its cadence. It’s an absolutely brilliant track, quite as "Libourne 2005 Part I " which is a wonderful, but a wonderful electronic ballad which spins as a silky crystal carousel. A monument of tenderness and electronic poetry, this delicate dawn serenade for stars is imprinted by a lyrical melancholic and an angelic sweetness. We would imagine being in the sky, in clouds, and on earth, in the ocean, with this soft and melodious aria which is undoubtedly one of more beautiful that I heard in the universe of EM.
And Bertrand Loreau continues to amaze with "Libourne 2004". A long musical piece of about twenty minutes, "Libourne 2004" is a suite of divine melodies where we feel the influence of Vangelis. An influence which is lying on this very nostalgic and dark approach that is the French artistic expression. Some soft strata of fanciful violins come out from a spatial introduction where rosaries of sequences shell under angelic cymbals. Eclectic winds reappear and fill a psychedelic approach to this track which starts a little as "Rue Colbert", but with a more developed musical envelope. The violins and hesitating sequences weave a dramatic and mysterious canvas that a soft serpentine of sequences crosses with a shimmered fluidity. Softly, and tenderly, sequences wriggle beneath muffled synth implosions and swirl such a bed song for melancholic to isolate itself and fade in the dawn of time. At the 10th minute spot another sequential movement appears. Always very soft it resounds like guitar strings that we pinch and sounds vaguely as a harpsichord. A brief movement which precedes another one more harmonious with violins strings that we scrape with energy and which, as if by magic, brings out a delicate melody with thousands of carillons which converge towards an ascending rhythmic where choirs and sequences tumble and ride in a musical mish-mash as audacious as harmonious. "Libourne 2005 Part II" strikes in full heart in the years of the Dream, Haslinger area. The intro offers a tender rhythmic where sequences crisscross in a harmonious canvas of which the flow is growing gradually to land in a superb sequential whirlwind that a fine bass line supports of a good musical depth. Sequences fly and spin, cross and overlap on a movement full of staccatos before landing in a great sequenced ride. A very good passage which leads us towards a solitary road and a more ethereal structure where a soft feminine voice demands sweetness and solicitude on a fine movement recalling us the borders of the splendid Legend. This is another musical piece full of new developments that we don’t get tired to hear. "Sequence Libre" ends this superb work on sequences with a track where glass chords ring with graver ones. It’s a nice mixture of tones which forges a melody in two parts.
 How not to fall under the spell of Sequences? I have to admit that it was on the tips of ears that I discovered this Bertrand Loreau's wonderful work. The 3 first tracks, being more an essay on sequences than purely melodious or musical plays, slow down the ardour to dive into this quintessence of sequential movements. However once this stage crosses, we are invaded by a musical world of charms and musing; Bertrand Loreau's wonderful world. With its fluids movements and surprising melodies sculptured in the twilights of solitary souls, Sequences is an inescapable. As much for fans of Tangerine Dream, Philip Glass or Vangelis. It’s a masterpiece where the genius of Loreau assails us full ears with an incredible conciliation sequences and melodies, which is not the privilege of all. A masterpiece? Yes, I’m sure about it!

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

Here is the link to Bertrand Loreau website:

mercredi 19 octobre 2011

MYTHOS: Gallery Concerts (2009)

1 Analogdigitalpolyphomono 9:38 
2 Filtergatemania 10:19 
3 Improviflutecho 10:09 
4 Mysticauroraborealis 12:49 
5 Sequenctrumpetextasy 9:59 


It’s been a while since Mythos, or Stephan Kaske, had play in concert. For the occasions of private views, exhibitions, festivals and art galleries,  the mythical German musician began a series of intimist concerts where he shows all his dexterity, as musical as creative, over 5 tracks where finely polished structures cross a hardly perceptible improvisation, so much the tone is just. For those concerts Stephan Kaske used an array of electronic equipments, allying analog tones to digital ones without the uses of PC and/or Laptops. Gallery Concerts is the audio witness of an outdoor concert presented in Essen on August 2009. The result is a vivifying and warm EM where the rhythm evolves on sequences in crossing in the Mythos purest sound tradition, but with a more accessible approach.
Fine arpeggios waddle innocently on a sequence with airs of a lullaby on the opening of "Analogdigitalpolyphomono". A fine bass line shapes a soft and supple rhythm filled by a German psychedelico-electronic musical universe of the 80’s (Mythos, Clara Mondshine and Baffo Banfi). Charmer, Mythos integrates an electronic flora which stammers on metallic percussions, of which the rolls shape a strange automated military march, which pierces a crystalline cloudiness of a discreet groovy and psychedelic approach. A first rather quiet track before that boiling "Filtergatemania" skips and bites a hiccupping structure hoquetante. A structure livened up by cute jolts which titillates on a heavy and caustic bass line as well as a minimalism sequence drowned by good intrusions of synth to cooing chords and by good strikings of percussions. The more the concert progresses and the more Mythos tames his free public. If the first 2 tracks stick easily, it’s quite the opposite with "Improviflutecho" which wiggles on untidy arpeggios, bouncing in a shower of synth keys which come and go in a circular echo. We are at the crossing of analog and digital EM with this hiccupping structure hatched by scattered percussions and wrapped by a foggy synth and ochre ambiance, which is very representative of Stephen Kaske's eclectic sound universe. On a crushed rhythm, the German synthesist succeed in introducing a wonderful charming flute (the one we can see on the video), engendering a suite of fluty loops with languorous and sharp tones which are melting in a rhythmic to undulations which wave such as a carousel.
A very good track but there is better with "Mysticauroraborealis", the key track of this live album. A little as on the first 3 tracks, solitary keys roam in a sound world in evolution. A synth line encircles the track, such as a chipped stroboscope, which rolls on a rumbling bass line and percussions to excessive movements, creating a heavy and slow rhythm which would make Peter Gun's delights. Except that, brilliant, Stephan Kaske dresses "Mysticauroraborealis" of a psychedelic approach, from the flower power years (Iron Butterfly, Jefferson Airplane and others) with a simply delicious electronic bagpipe (which acts as an old organ) and a vocoder which seems out of its time. This is a superb audacious and inspired track which is going to make heads waddle. "Sequenctrumpetextasy" ends Gallery Concerts with heaviness. An avalanche of synth strata follows an intro with sinister tone to fall into a boiling sound puddle, hammered by percussions which find echo with heavy resonant pulsations. This synthesized intro becomes sequential, leaving all the liberties at the synth to exploit a symphonic approach with fabulous twisted solos in a structure which becomes more atmospheric and more ethereal, before taking back the heavy musical coat of its opening.
Well...I liked a lot this last opus of Mythos. Of course that I’m sold to the German synth man cause. Stephen Kaske produced so many small pearls that I fast became an addict. But on the other hand Gallery Concerts is not really representative of the works from the solitary German. It’s a rather accessible album which touches slightly the soft creative madness of Mythos, in particular with "Improviflutecho" and the superb "Mysticauroraborealis". So, fans of Kaske find their parts with these 2 tracks. While those who knew nothing about Mythos, or about its EM which is astride Berlin School and Krautrock, are discovering a complete artist who innovates and builds music to bipolar tendencies, hybrid rhythms and strangely enchanting ambiances. In short they have great performances tinted tinged with an approach which shows the innovative nature of the character.

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

Here are two links where we can view Mythos live during this homeland tour:

Also, here's Mythos Website, where you could hear some MP3 snippets:

lundi 17 octobre 2011

MYTHOS: Superkraut Live at Stagge's Hotel 1976 (2011)

1 Dreamlab Part 1 Echophase Live 9:27  
2 Dedicated to Werner von Braun 5:28  
3 There's no God (Battlefield) 9:13  
4 Eternity Live 9:07  
5 Stagge Inferno 3:40  
6 Backstage Fumble Live 6:16  
7 Message Part 2 Live 8:44  
8 There's no God (Final) 7:17


We are at full heart of the 70’s and Mythos is more and more recognized in the spheres of Krautrock Musik with musical influences as much diversified as Can, Nektar, Jethro Tull, King Crimson and Ashra Temple. Stagge's Superkraut Live at Hotel 1976 is a cultural legacy of this cult group that made its mark on the legendary OHR label. The group is then at the top of its popularity with his 75’s Dreamlab album. In March 1976, Mythos stopped for the time of one concert at the mythical pub Stagge's Hotel. The band gave an intimist performance in front of a public conquered beforehand. A concert where Stephan Kaske’s band presented tracks of the Dreamlab album, as well as one track that will appear on the forthcoming album Strange Guys and 3 new tracks unedited until now. Recordings of this show were found and are offered to you in a great presentation, which includes a digipak art and a nice booklet telling the history of those days and the concert at the Stagge’s Hotel.
A flute runs after its breath to open "Dreamlab Part 1 Echophase Live". The bass and percussions quarrel a rhythm in formation while the flute tries to pierce this rhythm which becomes heavy, slow and languishing. We would believe to hear Jethro Tull. One-man band, Stephan Kaske trades his flute for his synth and spits electronic tones of the vintage years, whereas the bass bites quite hard this tempo become totally crazy. A tempo which deviates towards a big electronic progressive rock. A little after the 6th minute, "Dreamlab Part 1 Echophase Live" slides towards more ethereal ambiances with a soft acoustic guitar which is use as melodious rampart for a suave flute to celestial breezes. A brief and soft moment that the drum wraps slowly before the rhythm starts again with more cohesion. Also from Dreamlab, "Dedicated to Werner von Braun" is a great track which brings us to the evasive and floating rhythms of the Krautrock years. Kaske’s guitar frees very good floating solos which roll in loops and weave an enchanting cosmic melody on an ascending rhythmic structure. That’s very good and we would believe to hear some psychedelico- floating music of Ashra Temple. "There’s no God (Battlefield)" is an unreleased track and features Stephan Kaske on vocals. It’s a strange track from which the evolutionary rhythms lag us in the universes of Jethro Tull and King Crimson of the Larks’ Tongue in Aspic era with a superb duel bass/synth to with still very electronic and eclectic tones. Yes, I liked it very much. Always from the Dreamlab album, "Eternity Live" opens with a very nice cosmic ballad where the flute and acoustic guitar of Robby Luizaga weave a splendid melody. It’s a good intro which permutes with violence on a jerky rhythm and which temper a little to embrace a stunning cosmic blues where Stephan Kaske shows that he is as much a good guitarist as a good synthesist.
Another unreleased, "Stagge Inferno" is a bipolar track with its tempo in constant permutation. The opening takes the appearances of furious electronic rock with heavy riffs of guitars. It’s an unbridled rock slowed by more melodious passages where Robby Luizaga’s superb bass runs and harpoons this wild tempo. Not really in tune, "Backstage Fumble Live" will be on next Mythos album, Strange Guys. This track presents a rhythmic canvas which is similar to "Dreamlab Part 1 Echophase Live", except that on contrary the 1st part is more melodious while the 2nd one espouse a more untidy structure where guitars and flute are trading riffs, harmonies and melodies on a bass moves. "Message Part 2 Live" is a wonderful and short melody where Kaske’s synth Oboe and flute fill the air with suave celestial harmonies. A solid drum solo is the main element of "There’s no God (Final)" which is also the last unreleased track on this live album from Mythos.
I’m not really a connoisseur of the Krautrock genre, so I don’t have any comparison point in order to review this live album from a Mythos that I barely knew the roots. On the other hand, I can lean on certain progressive groups that I listened to during my adolescence to try to analyze this opus which reveals me a Mythos in a shy transition towards EM. And I did like it. I was very surprised by Stephan Kaske’s dexterity and especially by the musicality which escapes from these musical structures a bit chaotic and in constant evolutions, even inside brief passages. Stagge's Superkraut Live at Hotel 1976 is an album which, I am sure of it, is going to please fans of vintage Krautrock, if I may say it that way. It’s an album that shows all the potential of Stephan Kaske. An exponential potential which explains the hatching of Mythos with superb and intriguing The Dark Side of Mythos, released in 2000.

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

Here's Mythos Website, where you could hear some MP3 snippets:

MYTHOS: Unabsteigbar! (2010)

1 Live in Bochum 8:03 
2 Aloha Hawai 8:26 
3 EM-Breakfast in Bochum 11:04 
4 Unabsteigbar! 10:04  
5 Mythos Analog 6:36


Recorded within the framework of the electronic lunches, in the city of Bochum on December 16th, 2009, this new Mythos EP is in the same vein, and even a little more audacious, as Gallery Concerts. It’s a mini concert that is quite explosive for a lunch.
A sinuous reverberation opens "Live in Bochum". Hopping keys scroll in loops and are subdivided to create a series of chords which finds its harmony in a delicate minimalism echo. A synth line escapes from it, humming a melody triturated by slamming percussions, a vocoder, orchestral crashes and these infinite sequential loops which tumble on a synth of which twisted solos can’t be count  no more. A heavy track, livened up by feverish sequences and audacious solos, opens the menu of this musical lunch where Stephan Kaske displays all of his complex sound creativity with a master’s hand. Because Mythos’ music isn’t what we can describe as easy to imagined. It’s music rich in tones and rhythms of which the main rule is the duality of harmonies in front of a very heterogeneous musical contingent. "Aloha Hawai" is a good example. A pulsating sequence livens up a suave cadence centered on a fine line of bass. This soft rhythmic, with a slightly xylophone sound, is constantly sprayed by big serpentine sounds and percussions with uneven flows while the synth is structuring a robotic voice among light arpeggios which are dawdling in a sound fauna to short melodious fragments which are constantly fragmented. It’s a very experimental track which seduces with its sequential lines and sound multiplicity. "EM-Breakfast in Bochum" is the piece of resistance of this EP. It’s a very good track with a hesitating tempo which, gradually, gets dressed of its most beautiful sound assets which is multiplying ceaselessly. A nice structure where the harmonies fuse from everywhere on desynchronized sequences which remind cat steps of a drunk cat roaming in a rich musical universe on a minimalism and hypnotic movement. An excellent track! "Unabsteigbar!" follows with its synth-pop approach immerged in a psychedelic electronic universe. Halfway between Jean Michel Jarre and Daft Punk, Unabsteigbar! Swarms of a synthesized life in an eclectic universe, while maintaining its dance-floor beat. "Mythos Analog" encloses superbly Unabsteigbar! with a slow pulsation which progresses lazily in a musical world as rich as heterogeneous where strange synth solos shape an at once strange and enchanting sound world. The more the track progresses and the more it forms itself of a sound wealth which doesn’t stop charming, as these flittering wings which fly over and float everywhere over a sequence of which the heaviness doesn’t affect its magnetism and which remind these old galleys where slaves rowed.
Unabsteigbar! is some very good Mythos. An ingenious and creative Mythos which always maintains its balance between traditional EM, synth-pop and the psychedelic approach as much attractive as intriguing. A bit less accessible than Gallery Concerts, due to its very audacious arrangements, Unabsteigbar! will know how to charm Mythos’ fans and the followers of an EM which stretches its charms until the limits of psychedelic and metallic Krautrock.

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

Here's Mythos Website, where you could hear some MP3 snippets:

samedi 15 octobre 2011

EMMENS/HEIJ: The Sculpture Garden (2011)

1 Rocky Lumps 10:33
2 Needle Tower 11:45
3 Pallisade 8:04
4 Jardin d'email 14:15
5 Concetto Spaziale Natura 10:53
6 Phyllotaxis 15:19


Inspired by a visit at the museum of Kröller Möller in the National park of Hoge Veluwe in the Netherlands, The Sculpture Garden presents 6 tracks which depict the beauty and mysticism of amazing artistic sculptures. An album where the heavy and nervous rhythms cross dark and experimental atmospheres, adding a challenge to our sounds perceptions and also bringing us near at the doors of a crossbreeding between the Netherlands School and Berlin School on rhythmic structures which smell those of Jean Michel Jarre. In fact it’s a simply delicious album where the percussions and sequences are use as ramparts to musical structures as stunning as the sculptures which they represent.
"Rocky Lumps" doesn’t waste time to make taking off this 5th work of Emmens and Heij. After an intro where sound spirals are escaping with acute tones, heavy nervous sequences pierce a metallic mist to wriggle feverishly. Soft synth pads of recover these sequences which alternate with velocity, while a range of percussions is deploying to reinforce the rhythmic approach with a superb fusion of cymbals, percussions and rattlers. A bass line adds more heat and depth to this rhythm which is cover by a nice metallic mist and beautiful twisted solos. Powerful solos which come and go on a furious structure, where permutations and modulations bring us in an enchanting fusion of Netherlands and Berlin School. It’s a little as if Tangerine Dream, with Chris Franke ahead, was secret co-workers of the Dutch duet. This perception takes more and more scale as we listen to The Sculpture Garden, in particular "Pallisade" with its nervous and slow rhythm which is submerged by a synth of which tones remind the years of the Dream. These 2 tracks are by far the most furious on The Sculpture Garden. "Needle Tower" is more nuanced in its rhythmic approach. It’s a good lugubrious track which begins with hoarse cosmic breaths, sinuous and heavy oscillations, a suave sequenced line and delicate pulsations. A dark intro, wrapped of intriguing streaks and of a mist imprinted by mystery, which progresses in a heavy atmosphere where spheres of the metallic hoops collide among delicious languishing solos. Solos that have foggy flavours and which surround the rising portion of this track which will know a delicious explosion at about the 8th minute with percussions rattlers and keys of a melancholic keyboard.
After a short atmospheric intro, "Jardin d’email" wakes up with a sequential movement which skips on the ashes of its intro. These sequences to curt oscillations throb convulsively through the breaths and synth solos to get thick to nice percussions of which the acoustic jingles charm constantly. On this sober rhythm, "Jardin d’email" continues its bewitching evolution where suave solos fade to let in a cosmic mist which frees wandering choirs and strange outer space voices. It’s a nice atmospheric passage which crashes on more nourished percussions, modifying a rhythmic axis became heavier by the presence of solos from a synth to diverse musical personalities and of a heavier sequence which paces a rhythm of which fine variations converge towards a dazzling final. Multiple eclectic tones introduce the stunning "Concetto Spaziale Natura". Slowly, these elements of an abyssal blackness are pushed by slow oscillations, drawing of elongated sound arcs, to plunge us into a chthonian universe where reminiscences of Tangerine Dream, vintage Klaus Schulze and contemporary Redshift ooze full our ears. The opening of "Phyllotaxis" continues to grow on the ambient and atmospheric roots, even skimming at passage Tangerine Dream’s atmospheres that we found on Force Majeure. A beautiful introduction where cogitates a spasmodic sequence which sneaks through an iridescent mist, icy choirs and resonant pulsations to emerge from its increasing cadence towards a rhythm sustained by brilliant percussions and daydreamers synth pads. The movement permutes in subtlety with more nervous sequences and rattler percussions which redefine another infernal rhythmic, lulled of synth solos as much oniric than lyric.
The Sculpture Garden is a major work, and doubtless the most accomplished work, coming from Emmens/Heij duet. It’s a powerful album which is in the continuity of Silent Witnesses of Industrial Landscapes, with fiery rhythms which cross intriguing ambiances and atmospheres that are finely fine-tuned. The percussions bring us to the borders of Jean Michel Jarre's rhythms while sequences return us inevitably to Chris Franke era from Tangerine Dream. But the strength of The Sculpture Garden lies in the more concrete exploration from the duet in these ambiances and atmospheres which are as much dominant as Gert Emmens' skilful solos. In brief, it’s a wonderful musical journey from which the canvas is inspired by amazing sculptures and the result inspires an audacious blend of the genres which suits well to the interbreeding of the creative and evolutionary rhythms of the Dutch duet.

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

Here's Emmens/Heij Website, where you could hear some MP3 snippets:

vendredi 14 octobre 2011

EMMENS/HEIJ: Silent Witnesses of Industrial Landscapes (2008)

1 Silent Witnesses of Industrial Landscapes (Overture) 10:06
2 Elements in Decay 12:59
3 Liquid Ore Finding its Way 13:02
4 When Night Falls 8:28
5 Point of no Return 7:55
6 Setting the Wheels in Motion 18:12
7 Silent Witnesses Of Industrial Landscapes (Finale) 8:04


The Emmens/Heij association just gave birth to a superb musical odyssey. The union of Ruud Heij’s heavy and nervous sequences to rhythms imagined and weaved by Gert Emmens shapes great EM which transcends the Berlin School and forks towards the heavy style of the Netherlands School where the influence of Ron Boots and Tangerine Dream can be heard on enchanting evolutionary structures. Silent Witnesses of Industrial Landscapes (what a title) is the 4th witness of this fruitful association. It’s an album where the musicality is comfortably sits on superb sequences, good percussions and bass sequence lines which undulate and twitch beneath great solos of a synth which also drops nice mystic mists. Elements which charmed fans of Berlin School, but this time the approach is devastatingly heavier.
"Overture" propels us in the tight-fitting spheres of Emmens’ last opus; The Nearest Faraway Place Vol.1 with a somber intro, less metallic, where we hear sequences wound in a cosmic nebulosity. A solitary keyboard punches this nervous sequential movement of its morose arpeggios, while "Overture" continues its slow ascension and ties to sober percussions while muffling oneself up under nice solos of a dreamy synth. Solos immersed by a strange nostalgia and which whistle in a beautiful melodious approach until the semi-darkness of the cosmos. Limpid sequences skip and crisscross with fineness to open the long and mesmerizing "Elements in Decay". A fine chthonian mist sprawls over this zigzagging movement and gets heavy with dense synth pads which cover sequences became more intense and which remind unmistakably the work of Chris Franke. Weighty and enchanting, "Elements in Decay" progresses underneath a sky darted by solos to wide sinuous arcs and grave under the yoke of percussions which espouse marvellously a revivified sequential approach as well as more incisive synth solos. Solos which find refuge in synth pads with tones that are very near Tangerine Dream’s soils, to re-appear in soft spectral breezes and conclude one of the great tracks on this album. "Liquid ore Finding its Way" presents an intro stuffed by very eclectic tones coming out of an abstract animal kingdom which crosses the howling streaks of a spit-fire cosmos. A great hyper active sequence comes out of this colourful atmosphere. It waves with velocity among sober and melodious keyboard keys, slow percussions, heavy sequenced momentums and spectral solos, drawing a subtle paradox between rhythms and ambiances. It’s a real whirlwind of sequences that encircles our ears when the rhythm permutes towards a solitary sequential ride, of which feverish chords alternate with a dithering speed which is dwindling beneath synth breaths as mysterious as unpredictable. Beautiful, dark and ambient, "When Night Falls" releases keys of a lonely keyboard. They lag in a cosmos full of a melancholic iridescent mist which drops fine dreamy solos among the soft shimmering of a delicate carillon to melodious ringings. Everything there is beautiful and perspires Emmens’ sensibility with these hesitating keys and these sidereal laments which merge in a taciturn cosmic landscape.
A nice ascending sequence emerges from an atmospheric intro, and a very electronic one of the vintage years, to pull "Point of no Return" out of its cosmic nest. It rises and comes down, surrounded of an iridescent mist, stars and other electronic sound effects, to bind itself with good percussions and pound a heavy and slow tempo, irradiated by curt pads. Under the thick coat of a dense mellotron, percussions and sequences bicker and shape an impermeable rhythm and a very beautiful cosmic melody. A rhythm which continues its ride under a sky filled of running streaks, cosmic mist and suave solos of a synth always so oniric. "Setting the Wheels in Motion" begins with a heavy and somber mellotron veil which releases a range of electronic tones. A sequence bass line pulses in an arrhythmic way, while another sequenced line frees crystal clear arpeggios which skip slowly under beautiful strata of quixotic violins. Sequences unite to create an untidy rhythm where chords alternate with more swiftness, in a movement which is not without reminding a mythical Berlin trio, and find refuge under intense twisted solos which came out from this huge mellotron mist. A little after the mark of 9 minutes, percussions come to assist this hypnotic oscillatory tempo. The rhythm becomes then more complex with the addition of another sequence which winds in high speed a structure always coated by furious solos and a quiet iridescent mist. "Silent Witnesses of Industrial Landscapes (Finale)" enclose this 4th effort of Gert Emmens and Ruud Heij with a similar structure as on "Overture", but with a more fluid tempo and a more present melody.
A very beautiful EM album where stormy and progressive sequences join superb melodious approaches, Silent Witnesses of Industrial Landscapes deserves a place of choice in any good discotheque of contemporary EM. The duet Emmens / Heij plunges in height rhythms on heavy and powerful structures which are the privilege of Netherlands School and which make relive the beautiful years of Tangerine Dream, Baumann, Franke and Froese era.

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

Here's Emmens/Heij Website, where you could hear some MP3 snippets:

samedi 8 octobre 2011

BRAINWORK: City Lights (2011)

1 Lights On 9:22
2 City Lights 9:02
3 Sparkling Lights 9:12
4 Berlin City 10:09
5 Dark Lights| 9:33
6 Summer Lights 7:27


The last Brainwork album (Earcatcher) had left me on my appetite. Uwe Saher redeems himself and comes fill my ears with a splendid opus. City Lights is a charming and enchanting album where Uwe Saher slips his suit of Brainwork to concoct minimalist rhythms which juxtapose and piles up into fine meshing worth of the bewitching and hypnotic Berlin School movements. The Berlin synthesist floods our ears with suave rhythms and atmospheres so diversified as jazz, synth-pop and soft techno which bind themselves in sinuous hypnotic, sometimes dynamic but especially mesmerizing movements. City Lights soaks into contemporary Berlin School where rhythms and sequences keep pace with melodious dreamlike, romantic and melancholic structures. A great album which listens with ears well opened to get all the fine subtleties of the minimalist rhythms.
Fine arpeggios with glass tones skip in a delicate movement of alternation, as a prismatic carousel, to open the very soft and romantic "Lights On". They give up their circular movement to another series of limpid chords which swirls to espouse this delicate oniric ballet. In the purest Berlin School tradition "Lights On" dresses with series of chords which follow the rotations established by the arpeggios of origins, amplifying a slow melodious and hypnotic tempo of which the fragility survives to the rotary assaults of a bass line and electronic percussions. The increasing rhythm of emotionalism, "Lights On" becomes heavier. A static heaviness supported by a splendid daydreamer melody and crossed by a synth mist which floats as a lost thought, while synth solos swirl and complain over heavy reverberations. Some furtive muffled chords undulate on a nebulous ascending line to introduce "City Lights" while crystalline arpeggios adopt this intro, joined by discreet hatched vocalizes. Quietly the tempo becomes groovy with a good bass line of which the sensual movement is hidden by good percussions strikings. Pads and riffs of keyboards add more mordant to "City Lights", of which superb solos of trumpets and saxophones crisscross on a tempo undulating of sensuality, strengthen the groovy and lounge approach of this delicious track. "Sparkling Lights" is another great track in the genre of "Lights On" except that the circular movement is slightly more accentuated. A brook of nervous sequences flows under the breaths of an ethereal voice. It’s an intensely melancholic intro that percussions and keyboard riffs liven up of a finely jerky structure. Pleasant as one wishes, the synth roars wonderful solos shouting of solitude and melancholy. Solos which criss-cross a movement where a strange sadness comes from this very beautiful track which bursts the soul. And the solos … Hem, completely moving!
"Berlin City" offers a delicious mixture of hypnotic Berlin School and rhythms a bit wilders, a little like Element 4 but less weighty. A heavy sequential line activates with pulsations skipping fervently. Another line encircles this first rhythmic pattern with more crystal clear arpeggios which sparkle furtively. Synth pads throw a zest of melody, leading "Berlin City" towards a livelier rhythm with other wilder sequences which skip furiously in an exhilarating circular movement. A frenzied movement that percussions have difficulty to follow and where moments of calm allow to take our breath a bit, on an astonishing structure of crisscrossed rhythms darted by great synth solos. The cymbals which tsitt and tsitt at opening of "Dark Lights" engage no pace to come. Even if fine metallic percussions fall and embrace sequences which wriggle as a bench of smelts encircled by whales, even if these sequences multiply in crisscrossed movements, the tempo of "Dark Lights" remains imperturbably enchanting. Turning on itself and increasing constantly its rhythmic depth, this tempo remains dark, static and melancholic even with this delicate mist which falls of a sky ablaze by remorse. All the opposite, "Summer Lights" moves on a rhythm bursting of energy, a bit as in "Berlin City", with synth pads which cover sequences skipping in a furious rotary movement. The title wears well its naming with a heavy movement which skips in a technoïd atmosphere fed by good percussions, a good bass line and sequences with xylophone tones which are harpooned by wonderful synth solos as lyrical as incisive. It’s very catchy and melodious track which suits well in this musical trip at once enchanting and melodious.
Oh that I loved City Lights! Completely unexpected, this last opus of Brainwork comes to give a second breath to Berlin School style of EM with an array of minimalist movements that Uwe Saher decorates of great surges of affection with very beautiful melodies that fill us with nostalgia. For our biggest pleasure, Uwe Saher returns to his usual style and offers us an inescapable album where melodies, sequences, ambiances and minimalist rhythms intertwine in bewitching and hypnotic structures. Brainwork’s City Lights is a must and undoubtedly one of 2011 top 10.

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

Here's Element 4 Website, where you could hear some MP3 snippets:

ELEMENT 4: Monotony in Motion (2010)

Clockwork| 7:37
Sunny Island (Element 4 Remix)| 7:34
Big Elephant| 7:53 
Deep Diving| 6:46
Motionless| 6:45 
Unusual Normality| 7:12
Stormland| 6:54
Frilly People| 6:24  
Caribbean Pearls| 8:18


After the explosive T.N.T. Uwe Saher undertakes a technoïd bend and leave the trance kind to embrace the dancing and joyful rhythms of house music. But no matter the styles, Monotony in Motion is a pure festival of minimalist techno. Up from its virtual stage, Uwe Saher swaps his Brainwork suit and puts a DJ one who gave as goal to stun his crowd. And he gets there. Monotony in Motion presents 9 tracks which are linked in fiery minimalist rhythms, where percussions play a dominating role. It’s more than 60 minutes of a furious music where dance festivals organizers would have an interest to throw an eye and all ears.
"Clockwork" begins this furious hour with a pulsating pace which is supported by a swarm of percussions. An intro which spreads all the arsenal of percussions that will feed Monotony in Motion and which fade in a resonant pulsation. Hypnotic boum-boum, tsitt-tsitt cymbals and keyboard riffs draws a tempo which gives the impression to run after its shade and that a beautiful sequential movement decorates with a good circular melody. Crystal clear arpeggios appear and over dimensioned this ascending melodious approach, which strange metallic gases accompany with the forms of hatched pads. A little as everywhere on Monotony in Motion, Uwe Saher stacks his rhythms with a surprising melodious approach based on beautiful sequencing which form the main axis of melodies, and great sound effects which add more depth to static rhythms. Rhythms which breathe with brief passages more atmospheric and which stretch among the 8 other tracks to rather similar structures. Subtly we deviate towards "Sunny Island (Element 4 Remix)" which borrows the same banging and rhythmic pulsations as "Clockwork", but with an airier and more festive melodious approach. Chords there are more nervous and flutter on a cadence which permutes discreetly towards a more accentuated rhythm while the synth draws beautiful breezes of trumpeters which float above the hopping riffs and pads. It’s a really catchy track of which the harmonious intensity increases with a progression which unblocks towards the tribal and festive percussions of "Big Elephant". A beautiful of bass line to elastic notes and synth riffs model a stubborn rhythm, interrupted by a procession of hatched sequences which pod its chords. The tempo is of lead and encircled by good sound effects which forge a stroboscopic belt on ingenious percussions, the key point of this 8th album from Element 4, and a humming bass line. "Deep Diving" pursues on the combination of hands banging, tsitt-tsitt cymbals, hypnotic pulsations and bass lines to the slow ascending curves which structure a minimalist rhythm. A rhythm which increases gradually on riffs and stationary pads where other notes are grafting and float in a hesitating harmonious shell. On a more fragmented tempo, "Deep Diving" accumulates shrill wild lines and bongo drum percussions which add more depth to this collection of percussions which are the bases of Monotony in Motion’s hypnotic rhythms. This and these indefatigable enchanting pulsations!
On "Motionless" we have the vague feeling that the tempo is more static, even if it’s always dresses by the same rhythmic elements. It’s a beat where keyboard riffs are more strewed and where their echoes get lost in the addition of metallic percussions which flit with a symmetry always so calculated. With its metallic tsitt-tsitt and chords which crisscross with hesitation, "Unusual Normality" is doubtless the least heavy track of Monotony in Motion. It’s a kind of rest for the ears just before that "Stormland" lands with its range of percussions which bicker with beautiful stereo effects to enter our ears. An incredibly heavy and ingenious track with a great fusion of reverberating pulsations, overflowing percussions and keyboard keys jumping nervously, "Stormland" is in perpetual movement and evolves by amassing superb crystalline arpeggios which cavort on an infernal pulsating and rhythmic structure. The finale is blasting and deviates all in strength towards the weighty hypnotic knockings of "Frilly People". A track where heavy resonant keys are grafting to thunderous pulsations and crisscross to furtive sequenced lines to create a beautiful harmonious blending. Lines which bloom to forge an unexpected melodious approach on a bed of stormy bangs-bangs and which forks off onto "Caribbean Pearls" and its so incisive rhythm where a so diversified melodious approach reigns and which make the wealth and the depth of Monotony in Motion.
Heavy, powerful, hypnotic and musical. These 4 qualifiers describe all the universe of rhythms and melodies which adorn Monotony in Motion. I am not really a fan of house, techno or trance. But there is always room in my ears for a music stuffed with things that catch and this last opus of Element 4 is filled of these. I like the subtleties and fluidities in permutations; Monotony in Motion is full of those. I like sequences, creative bass lines and percussions games; it’s the essence of Monotony in Motion, a rather surprising album which shows that tsitt-tsitt and bang-bang can be as well melodious as deafening.

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 :

Here's Element 4 Website, where you could hear some MP3 snippets:

ELEMENT 4: T.N.T. (2007)

T.N.T. Intro| 2:41
Floorflower| 8:14
Silky Pieces| 7:56
Syncrider| 7:00
T.N.T.| 7:14
In the Wrong Club| 7:41
Fullmoon| 6:33
Elastic Beats| 10:08
Driven| 8:01
Fullmoon Remix| 5:44
T.N.T. Remix| 7:41

Explosive? Absolutely! You like it when it’s heavy? When that bangs and that the hairs in your ears vibrate in your eardrums? Here something that will intermingle them! T.N.T. is not simply a title chooses at random in order to throws dust in someone's eyes. No! It’s gunpowder for ears. It’s an album abounding of furious rhythms which gallop on tsitt-tsitt and boum-boum skilfully nuanced by a Uwe Saher in great shape. Beyond Moonbooter, Kraftwerk and other EM artists who make moderated techno, Element 4 bangs with strength a bit like Juno Reactor.
True that the intro is rather floating. An intro closer to Brainwork’s ecliptic atmospheres. But maybe it’s to better prepare our cardiac pulsations for a torrent of furious rhythms which take off as soon as the first pulsations of "Floorflower" can be heard. Heavy pulsations which hammer an unbridled intro and which are twinned to an undulating bass line to caustic reverberations. Hesitating between a syncopated rhythm or floating ambiances, "Floorflower"s intro matures its technoïd direction on ambivalent strata with waltzing harmonies. But a metallic serpentine slides above this hesitation, shaping the model of an explosive music on jerky sequences where tsitt-tsitt and cymbals of the same type are graft to synths streaming melodious vapours. A passage initiating a heavy techno filled of short morphic fragments which float universe of torrid dance floors. "Silky Pieces" continues in the same stride, while "Syncrider" and "Driven" are more of hypno-zombie techno style to turn pale Juno Reactor. With its curt hammerings to Kraftwerk whirlwinds (Trans Europe Express) "T.N.T." unwinds on a synth to nervous chords. Rhythmic pulsations adopt others to sucker tones on a wriggling line which surrounds a robotic techno structure to lunatic obsessive pulsations. It’s a track which is a bit less unbridled, quite as the melodious "In the Wrong Club", which offers a rhythm always so furious but on a more nuanced structure. A structure where harmonies and oscillating sequences go of pairs with heavy pulsations and a synth as psychedelic as stroboscopic. Pulsations accelerating on hypnotic tsitt-tsitt, "Fullmoon" waves on a strange bass line and a structure without precise rhythm. It’s a composite universe where percussions and robotics sound effects magnetize a lively structure on a very elastic bass. The Remix tempo is as much and always grooves on a bass to cawing reverberations. More wriggling and heavy, "Elastic Beats" offers also a rhythm all in nuance with a syncopated line girdling a structure which hesitates between a pure techno and a vaporous dance music. This is another nice track where the indecisive rhythm is stuffed with harmonious synths to catchy tunes.
With its 11 tracks which unwind with heaviness and its melodious instincts, a powerful album which addresses mainly to a public fond of techno and trance, but which can also pleased to a wider audience liking an EM strongly sequenced and lively. It’s a rather melodious opus where trance cohabits with synths to wrapping and harmonious strata, and this whatever the strength of percussions and syncopated sequential lines.

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

Here's Element 4 Website, where you could hear some MP3 snippets: