vendredi 29 juin 2012

NATTEFROST & MATZUMI: From Distant Times (2012)

From Distant Times is a great album that I recommend to everyone who love driven based sequences EM, especially those who miss Jean Michel Jarre”
1 First Movement 2:19
2 Evolution 6:05
3 The Ancient Land 8:28
4 The Portal 7:56
5 Rise of the Phoenix 5:53
6 Time Passing 9:01
7 Medieval 6:19
8 The New Dawn 6:59
9 Cold Midwinter Nights 8:20

GROOVE: GR-190 (CD 61:17)

I like comparing the musical approach of Nattefrost to that of Jean Michel Jarre. Like the French synthesist used to do at the beginning of his career, Bjorn Jeppesen produces a title that hooks from the first listening on each of his albums. A title that would be a radio hit if the FM stations were still interested in EM as in the years of free thought and cultural creativity. And From Distant Times does not make an exception to this rule. Flanked by Matzumi (Kathrin Manz), the Danish synthman pursues his electronic odyssey in the lands of cosmic rhythms. It’s without surprises that this tandem, who had stunned our senses with the powerful "Die der Erde" (DyingSun/ScarletMoon), meets the interesting challenge to unite the poetic and filmic approaches of Matzumi to the heavy and static rhythms of Nattefrost, depraving so the very beautiful electronic melodies which overhang From Distant Times.A big gong, as in the introduction of Matzumi's In Mutatio Tempora, opens the very atmospheric and cinematographic "First Movement". Synth layers to very orchestral fragrances are waving around there with some slow uncertain movements, creating a dramatic mood while zigzagging among choirs roaming in the calm of ambivalent musical territories; there where pulsating sequences flicker as some wings of dragonflies in wait of an apocalyptic signal. This intro sets the tone in a powerful album where orchestral momentums surround indomitable rhythms. "Evolution" rocks in the orchestral ashes of the introductory track when From Distant Times' first rhythmic rides go downhill in a slow hesitating staccato. A spasmodic pulsation shakes this uncertainty introduction, tumbling down the rhythmic plains of a balanced gallop greeted by fine solos flooded in the mists of ochred voices. Although every track of From Distant Times is different, there is always a link that connects them. "The Ancient Land" espouses the tangent begun with a fluid and lively rhythm where keyboard keys weave a circular melody which leans on sober percussions. Always so warm the synth throws some sweet melodic solos which are mixing their harmonies to fine filets of ethereal voices gliding in a surrealist setting. The more we move forward and the more the rhythms liven up of a fascinating heaviness. Rhythms embroidered inside a superb mixture of sequences and percussions, as on "The Portal" and its melodic approach which spits reminiscences of Tangerine Dream on Underwater Sunlight. Scalable the rhythm is at first fragile and progresses with beautiful sequences of which the fast oscillations are slowed down by a beautiful play of percussions to varied tones and forms. The angelic voice of Kathrin Manz collects this portion of rhythm which switches shape towards a surprising heavy and aggressive structure, to pound on a heavy undulating bass line as well as some echoing percussions which find refuge into this smooth melody drawn in "Song of the Whale", before melting in a finale all in atmospherical and filmic effects.
Jean Michel Jarre's influences perspire all around From Distant Times' hidden recesses. If it's not at the rhythms level, it’s on the melodic ones. And "Rise of the Phoenix", with its hoops which flutter as wings of dragonflies gathering nectar on the petals of a rhythm filled by jerky steroids, is the perfect example. And when I wrote about immediate hit, I referred to this catchy track where the rhythm, bombarded by a street gang step and drawn by sequences which plough the cosmos as snips of scissors in emptiness, has difficulty to climb the slopes of a heavy stroboscopic ascension which perspires of its cymbals and galactic tones while the melody, divinely electronic, is silkily forged in wonderful synth solos. Solos floating and singing into mists filled by iridescent vocalises to forge a delicious ear worm. Built on a bed of sequences swarming to alternating strikings, "Time Passing" offers a slow hypnotic rhythmic journey where the voice of Kathrin Manz roams among layers of a synth sometimes cosmic and sometimes orchestral. "Medieval" wears the nobility of its naming with a very theatrical envelope released by synths from which strata intensely orchestral brings us back in the time of the medieval battlefields. Heavy and slow the rhythm is no less powerful and drags its sequences which come running beneath the envelopes of a synth to singings of war, quite as in "The New Dawn" which follows with an even heavier rhythm wrapped by a synth full of orchestral veils and twisted harmonious solos. If the percussions and sequences weave convoluted rhythms which are not pull any punches, the synths are incredibly musical and embroider some passages which attract the hearing, both by solos and harmonies and especially ambiences. Following this premise "Cold Midwinter Nights", with its nervous rhythm contained in its film element and its solos scattered in the winds of a harmonious discord, is at the height of all that surrounds From Distant Times.
This first collaboration Nattefrost & Matzumi gives birth to a great album. From Distant Times is a powerful and lyrical opus, forged into Babylonian, cosmic and musical ambiences which wrap melodies floating such as silky winds on sequences and percussions which pound rhythms as creative as electrifying. It’s one of the great albums to be released this year that I recommend to everyone who love driven based sequences EM, especially those who miss Jean Michel Jarre.

Sylvain Lupari (June 29th, 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=15329

* There is a nice video trailer of From Distant Times on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/v/QmD6L1OPnrw 

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