mardi 14 février 2012

TMA: SynthsOrganics (2011)

"SynthsOrganics is a rich album both in tones and in musicality..."

1 Modulus I 16:49
2 Ghost Whispers 8:16
3 Modulus II 13:35
4 Didge on the Ridge 12:02
5 Dreamland 6:45
6 Steve and the Art of Creating Friendship 6:17
7 Dan's Feeling 6:26

Syngate Records CD-R TA03

Torsten M. Abel is part of a core of unrecognized artists who through good times and bad enrich the cultural and musical universe of the underestimated Syngate label. A curious and multitalented artist born in Recklinghausen (Germany) in 1967, he was first interested in the synth-pop movement of the 80’s with the music of Gary Numan, Human League, John Foxx, and Thomas Dolby. It’s through this musical current that a friend introduced him to the world of sequences and hypnotic rhythms of Berlin School, by the music of Tangerine DreamKlaus Schulze and Ashra. And one thing leading to another and from synth to synth, Torsten Abel built his studio and composes his music. After a first album (Escape in 1993), the synthesist from the region of Ruhr takes a break and sell his equipment to concentrate on photography as a creative counterpart. At the same time he is always interested in the evolution of EM and the world of synthesizers. He slowly starts the creation of his own wall of modulars; a dream that he cherishes since he discovered the monsters of Klaus Schulze and Chris Franke, besides being active in the musical movement with the band Ambient Circle. It is moreover through this movement that he met Wolfgang Barkowski (Alien Nature) in 2008, a determining get-together which gave a 2nd élan to Torsten Abel with whom he collaborated for the realization of Medusa. Since then were released Sequentrips, in solo, and Hydra, with Alien Nature, in 2010.
SynthsOrganics is a more particular project which distances itself from purely electronic works of TMA and Alien Nature. It’s an audacious album where Torsten M. Abel mixes the tones of his synths and sequencers, as analog as digital, to tones of more conventional instruments instruments like guitars, played by Martin Rohleder who besides having helped TMA in the composition on 3 tracks amazes by a superb guitar play which adds the same depth as Maxxess to Pyramid Peak or Frank Dorittke to Ron Boots, percussions, didgeridoos and bullroarers. SynthsOrganics presents a surprising musical diversity where fragrances of jazz, clan trances and soft techno pierce hypnotic rhythms and melodic approaches arisen from this fusion of a retro Berlin School to the one of the digital years; Berlin School of the Innovative Communication years which saw the emergence of the key groups such as Software (Mergener / Weisser), Mind Over Matter and
Robert Schroeder.
With its spiral sequential movement which zigzags among hoops of metallic resonances, "Modulus I" propose a very Berlin School introduction. Sequencer chords sparkle and flutter increasing and decreasing in minimalist lines, creating a hypnotic melodious rhythm which divides its flow by the addition of doubloons which collide in the cosmic clouds of a morphic synth. "Modulus I" becomes then source of charm with a soft synth which sings its solos on a rhythm fed by crisscrossed sequences. Timid, the percussions come to support these sequences which split the permutation of a static rhythm. And although it doesn’t seem like it, "Modulus I" leans on a rhythm become more refined and more complex, even if always so hypnotic and minimalist, with this dance of sequences which crisscross under superb synth solos played by Marcel Dude, recalling ceaselessly the wonderful musical universe from the hatching of the Innovative Communication label in the middle of the 80’s. Simply delicious! The sequential movement of "Ghost Whispers" borrows appreciably the same trajectory but with a weak nuance in the rhythmic flow. Slower and more lascivious, the rhythm swirls such as a soft soporific carousel. Frank Makowski sculpts some great soloing lamentations of a synth filled by
Vangelis breezes which criss-cross a tide of celestial choruses of which certain whispers awaken a paranoia that sequences with delicate melodic volutes don’t stop feeding of an eternal lunar dance. It’s as much beautiful as it can be mesmerizing! "Modulus II" continues this exploration of those circular and hypnotic rhythms from the Software and Double Fantasy's years out of the IC label, where a spherical sequential movement swirls around cosmic sound elements and violins of galactic cathedrals. The intro teems with frayed serpentines which parade among sequences of which the beatings as much regular as timeless tick-tock scatter mists and cosmic choirs. Percussions bind to these sequences which undertake a slight movement of spiral, accentuating the pressure of a valsique rhythm which rushes into the furrows of an ascending tempo embellished by riffs of guitars. And it’s on a tempo build on an air on déjà heard that suave solos emerge. Sometimes from synths and sometimes from guitars, these solos run a rhythm that has these soft melodic reminiscences which call back these misfit years where Berlin School passed in transit through the analogue and the digital.
"Didge one the Ridge" begins another musical reflection of SynthsOrganics. After 3 long tracks where the majestic beauty of Berlin School was reflected through the very beautiful melodious approaches, the second portion of SynthsOrganics sets ablaze a bigger diversity as much rhythmical as musical. Although the basic idea was of use to 
SteveRoach's universe, the result remains not less very attractive here. After a slow intro where quirky breaths of didgeridoos and rhombuses, skilfully modulated by Jens Mechler, adorn a somber immaterial ambience, the strikings of percussions fall and resound in the hoarse reverberations of the clanic exhalations. The rhythm then becomes hard and pure with incisive hits of drums which fall with violence on an ambience stigmatized by a shamanic torpor. Synth layers which float and roam such as shy and hideous spectres caress the strength of those strikings which hammer a bewitching rhythm of tribal trance that solos of guitars water of splendid shrill élans. That’s a great track which reminds me a lot the era of The Leaving Time by SteveRoach and Michael Shrieve, back in 1984. "Dreamland" pursues the risky journey between harmonies and its tones of metals crystallized in a toothless crusher. Tones belch of pain, such as twisted metal sheets, to be gradually melted in the hypnotic melodic setting fed by guitar riffs and keyboard keys floating lightly, good edgy percussions and sequences a bit limpid which are use as rampart to good guitar solos and fluids hypnotic serpentines which flow with a harmonious ease conferring to "Dreamland" a melodic approach which is as much near the innocence as the harmfulness. "Steve and the Art of Creating Friendship" borrows a style closer to jazz-rock with solid drumming to nervous strikes whereas "Dan's Feeling" ends SynthsOrganics by a technoïd mood where metallic jingles, percussions, cymbals, banging and tsitt-tsitt eat away pulsations with funky-groovy gallops.
SynthsOrganics is a rich album, both in tones and in musicality, where crisscrossed sequences, curt and edgy percussions weave evolutionary rhythms which are coated by a beautiful fusion of soloing synths and guitars layers. The diversity of the genres insufflates a particular cachet to this album which sways mainly towards the influences of a Berlin School filled by the fragrances of the mid 80's. These years where the mythical Innovative Communication label saw new comers such as Software, Baffo Banfi, Double Fantasy, Mind Over Matter and others bring a new sound dimension to a music that imperatively needed a second breathe, which is exactly is SynthsOrganics.

Sylvain Lupari (2012)
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 the sound world of TMA, you can visit his website here:

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