mardi 19 juin 2012

JOHANNES SCHMOELLING: A Thousand Times (2009)

"With its delicate melodic approach and its melancholic piano wrapped into TD's aromas, A Thousand Times is the kind of album which goes as fast as a soft wind caressing our skin eroded by years"
1 Monochrome 6:52 
2 Diorama 5:40 
3 Abakus 5:24 
4 Stigma 6:48 
5 Funeral Tears (For My Father) 5:51 
6 A Thousand Times 6:16 
7 Blueprint 5:58 
8 A Thousand Times (Reprise) 5:45 
9 Kite Runner 5:40 
10 Palace Of Dreams 5:42 
11 Footsteps 4:39

VIKTORIAPARK: VP-18 083 (CD 64:29)

When we listen to Johannes Schmoelling's music we notice his immense impact on Tangerine Dream's work. If Christopher Franke had the sense of rhythms, the strength of Schmoelling laid in harmonies. And on each of his solo albums, we discover more and more the charm of the Dream which so suddenly disappeared following the Austrian musician's departure. A Thousand Times shows all of the melodious approach of Schmoelling with a beautiful collection of 12 tracks to the soft nostalgic harmonies where we can again still seize the essence of the mythical German trio.
And it starts with "Monochrome" and its keys which are zigzaging and cross a series of piano note. From then on Schmoelling displays his melodious aura with layers of a foggy synth which cover a piano, an instrument which will be the premise of A Thousand Times, with a quite jazzy mood. Free and loosened out of any electronic hold, these notes dance on a structure with a lithe rhythm where fine percussions accompany a soft melody well watered by strata of a synth at both foggy and melodious  which reminds us some beautiful musical souvenirs. More electronic "Diorama" follows a little the same harmonious and jazzy tangent with a synth which whispers a pleasant tune on a soft rhythm punctuated by fine jolts, awakening a free style always carrier of a nice melody which weaves easily its earworm. Nice melodies, romantic, melancholic and meditative abound on this Schmoelling last opus. "Funeral Tears (For My Father)" is a nice one. The rhythm is slow and heavy with its percussions which hammer a dark march of mournful whereas the synth draws its mists of suffering in the breaths of a very beautiful melody with an oriental zest. It’s very nice and especially somber. "Blueprint" is yet another one which lets itself rock by a slow rhythm. The piano is superb and draws a soft lullaby which sinks into a more dramatic passage with poignant synth solos roaring with pain and shouting with melancholy. "Footsteps", written and played by Johannes' son Jonas Behrens, is another melody which is situated between "Funeral Tears (For My Father)" and "Blueprint" where the orchestral arrangements add a rather filmic dimension. Yep, he walks in the footprints of his father!
"Abacus" is sharply more nervous. The rhythm is curt and skips under the skirts of an attractive synth filled by aromas which seem to be taken out of the Le Parc sessions. The synth is edgy and pushes its harmonies on a beautiful meshing of sequences and percussions which shape a pace softly frantic. Everything is soft in Johannes Schmoelling's universe; the rhythms as much as the ambiences. If we want to move we turn towards "Abacus" and "Kite Runner" which offers a nervous cadence, and a melody à la Vangelis, on good sequences which hem in cascades. Listening to Johannes Schmoelling without making constantly reference to Tangerine Dream is very difficult and "Stigma" is the perfect example. A track which waltzes between the melodious moods of Flashpoint, Silver Scale and Legend, "Stigma" floats on a foggy austere intro where the synth bites the eardrums, as the rustlings of dry clouds in the middle of desert plains. Skillful, Johannes Schmoelling weaves atmospheres and structures which switch around on grave piano notes and good knocks of percussions, letting "Stigma" have a walk between hybrid paces and more ambient atmospheres. It’s one of the good tracks on A Thousand Times quite as the title-track which lets a soft melody floats on delicate rhythms and where the piano notes are merging harmoniously with a lyrical synth stuffed by beautiful vaporous waves. Slower and even more melodious, "A Thousand Times (Reprise)" floats on superb notes from of a melancholic piano which blows its tender nostalgias on a soft cadence in cascade. It’s very good and very beautiful and it’s even more when we link both tracks one after the other. "Palace of Dreams" is a great piano work. It's a tearing melody moulds in the ashes of Tangram and, yes, another magical moment in A Thousand Times.
With its delicate melodious approaches, its references to Tangerine Dream's repertoire and its melancholic piano, A Thousand Times is the kind of album which unfolds its jewels as much pleasantly for the hearing as a warm wind caressing a skin eroded by the years. We want them, again and again. In all, A Thousand Times is a nice album in the continuity of Instant City where the catchy passages as much as the moments lost in melancholic mists ask constantly a new listening. Johannes Schmoelling embroiders the perfect amalgam between his synth, sequences, percussions and piano, giving some superb jewels of which the cradle is the harmonious structure of Tangerine Dream which revolutionized the genre from a concert given at the Palast Der Republik on January 30th, 1980.
Sylvain Lupari (June 18th, 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 Johannes Schmoelling, you can visit his website by following this link:

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