dimanche 17 juin 2012

JOHANNES SCHMOELLING: Time and Tide (2011)

"There is no better than Johannes Schmoelling to forge a melody from a note lost in the furrows of its resonance"

1 Splendid Isolation 7:55
2 Lone Warrior 3:49
3 The Gift 6:47
4 The Answer 5:53
5 Zero Gravity 7:47
6 Beacon of Hope 5:50
7 Life in the Dark 4:26
8 Genetic Diversity 7:44
9 Time and Tide 9:11

VIKTORIAPARK: VP18 103 (CD 59:20)

A morphic synth wave comes to cover the coolness of the shrill echoes left by the imprint of a metallic chord which stretches its oblong pulsations in order to introduce the fascinating sequential ballet of "Splendid Isolation". Fine sequences pulled out of a bass line cavort under a swaying synth line. Winding invisible obstacles, they stagger among fragments of glass and iridescent breaths, moving forward and stopping like a fragile prey to emigrate towards a bass line from which the furtive pulsations awaken some reminiscences of a famous trio. Between its keys zigzagging under shrill breezes, its floating wanderings and its fragments of harmonies weaved in a sequential structure in constant uncertainty, the intro of "Splendid Isolation" is a long and superb prelude to a great melodious approach which shakes our contemplativity  a little after the bar of 4 minutes. The rhythm is frank and is based on sequences with keys which alternate in a fluid velocity. Sequences dancing as a feverish pas-de-deux into a spiral which hiccups its spasmodic rhythm under the melodious attack of a synth which divides its airs, sprinkling its fine soloing melodies through its intense melancholic mist. "Splendid Isolation" is the kick-off of another wonderful album signed Johannes Schmoelling. Very well structured, the universe of Schmoelling is nevertheless much diversified and the one of Time and Tide shows amply all the control that the Austrian musician has on his compositions. Each of them abounds of a superb musical wealth where everything spins with grace and fluidity, embracing several directions before peaking in robust melodies. With his son, Jonas Behrens, Schmoelling offers 9 new compositions to metamorphosic structures where some gorgeous melodies are hiding into ambiences sometimes eclectic and sometimes poetic and where the magic of the Austrian musician awakens the memories of a world that we never want forgotten.
Let’s take "Lone Warrior" as example. These 3:49 minutes are filled at most. It’s all start with a synth from which breaths of Jericho’s trumpets are melting into a heavy electronic ride overhung by smooth solos. Solos forger of melodies which espouse sequences as rhythmic as melodic, dragging the rhythm towards some fine ambient passages before being reborn on its horseback ride and gallops under a soloing sky and its iridescent mists. After an intro eaten away by the uncertainty of its hesitating keys, "The Gift" wakes up to the sound of heavy riffs and percussions which hammer a steady and light rhythm that a guitar and a synth are tearing with juicy solos. A rhythm which little by little loses one's point of reference to be fainted in a mist which scatters the drum strikings and slows down the heat of the riffs, driving "The Gift" towards an ambient passage that a violin is tearing from its tearful strings. Whereas the tempo tries an awakening, anarchy settles down. Knocks of percussions, wooden breaths, kind of xylophone keys and tears of violin cogitate on the shape to be taken while the rhythm takes back its rights of origin to reach the finale. "The Answer" is a splendid contemplative melody which begins with a delicate piano among which the melancholic note draw fragile tears which wrap up themselves of a veil of gloom. From angelic to melodic, "The Answer" gets free of its influence of solitude to let itself rocked by a bass line with fine pulsations and sober percussions that blades of synth are caressing of their waltzing morphic veils, entailing this soft rhythm towards the labyrinths of an indecisive serenity. "Zero Gravity" is a track divided between its melodious approach, its heavy rhythm and its dark ambiences. Electric piano notes fall by swirling in the mists and breaths of a synth shadowed by a strange aura of mystery. If the piano is melodious, the ambience is all its opposite with its ochred vapors which weigh heavily on a structure guided by sober percussions and torn between its melody and its dark side, its ambivalent rhythm and its tenebrous mood. It’s a quiet part shaken by static rhythmic jolts that a nasal synth tries to moderate with a suave romantic approach while that quite slowly "Zero Gravity" takes refuge within the ambiguity of its introduction.
Waddling in a wave-like melodious approach fed by gentle knocks of anvil and breaths of a hoarse synth, "Beacon of Hope" moves forward on a harsh and light rhythm which appropriates as much the riffs heavy of guitar as the delicate mists of a creative synth. A synth of which the beautiful whistled melody will be the only vestige of this fine harmonious approach. "Life in the Dark" is a stunning static ride forged in the curt movements of an orchestral synth with hatched lines of violins. The rhythm is heavy, as a ride in dark plains, where the guitar spits its riffs and its black solos in a hallucinating paradox of symphonic rock. Another track with unsuspected evolutions, "Genetic Diversity" begins by crystalline arpeggios which drag their wandering in an atonal corridor. These electronic chirpings in suspension are gradually forming a rhythmic swarm which moves as knocks of scissors in space to bind themselves to some percussions rolling under the cooing of a synth to the unique musical signature of Johannes Schmoelling. Whistler and nasal solos overhang this heavy and motionless tempo, which looks like a military march, which faints little by little in an inverted whirlwind, letting some fine arpeggios swirl in an atmospheric uncertainty caressed by soft solos before that heavier percussions harpoon again the evasive rhythm of "Genetic Diversity" to bring it back towards its soldiery walking. The title-track is the jewel of Time and Tide's crown. A synth moulded of staccato breaths sounding so much like in 
Tangram is covering the drumming of a xylophone kind of drum to open the slow procession of "Time and Tide". The rhythm is slow, even statics, but extremely enchanting with percussions which get loose of the initial beat to hammer a funeral march where keys are waddling in the shade of these fluty pads and dense waltzing fogs. Knocks of percussions are thundering throughout this processional bolero which stores layers of mists, reverberating effects as well as majestic solo which tear the placidity of this magnificent musical parade which, contrary to all expectations, dips us back into the most beautiful feelings of the Dream and Tangram .
Once again, Johannes Schmoelling amazes and charms me with an album of which the first listening had nevertheless left me indifferent. But Time and Tide shows to be a magnificent album. Through his suspicious and ethereal ambiences and his furtive and progressive rhythms Johannes Schmoelling succeeds the improbable by extirpating of silky melodies out of nowhere. And that is the strength of Schmoelling, as much as it was in his time with
Tangerine Dream. His works, in solo or with the Dream, are only confirming what his fans know for a long time; there is no better than Johannes Schmoelling to forge a melody from a note lost in the furrows of its resonance. Listen to Time and Tide and, as I, you will understand it...!

Sylvain Lupari (June 14th, 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=15305

* If you want to know more about Johannes Schmoelling, you can visit his website by following this link: http://www.johannesschmoelling.de/
** You can also watch a video of Genetic Diversity on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7WZ4eAmm2E

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