vendredi 12 octobre 2012

MICHAEL STEARNS: Chronos (1985)

“Michael Stearns' Chronos has changed my perception of EM where I understood that EM could definitely have a soul”

1 Movement
2 Corridors of Time
3 Essence and the Ancients
4 Angels, Bells and Pastorale
5 Escalator
6 Voices
7 Portraits
8 Ride (Finale)

SONIC ATMOSPHERES| RB1 4009 (CD 41:44) *****

When I first dig into the EM spheres I was rather looking for sequenced kind of EM, like TD's Ricochet or Klaus Schulze'BlackDance. Then came Jean Michel Jarre, Synergy and the digital eras of the Dream,  Schulze' and Software. But I was never attracted to purely ambient kind of music until I accidently fall on Ron Fricke'sChronos” documentary. The images were stunning and the music flowed so well with it. But what struck me the most was the ending with this huge impetus that reminded me of Jarre's cosmic sequenced moves. There I decided to buy the soundtrack and what a great move I did! “Chronos” is more than 40 minutes of a floating music with spatial modulations and subtle divisions in tones which gets discovered from listening to listening, bringing constantly a new hearing vision. We cannot be closer of cosmos and the life of Earth that by listening to “Chronos”; a deep cosmic symphony which unfolds into a long 43 minutes musical act segmented in 8 parts. With the use of his big Serge Modular Synth System, Michael Stearns draws the lines of an exceptional timeless journey that fits so well to the marvellous documentary of Ron Fricke. Each note, key, modulation, humming, movement, sequence, percussion, bite of bass and spiraled descent as ascent are magnificently depicted with a surprising parallelism that we are entitled to wonder if Ron Fricke hasn’t modified the editing of his documentary to give all the latitude to the music of Stearns, because no soundtrack is in so narrow contact with what it represents. The ground and air space, the long plains, the cosmos, the big cities and the image of the spiritual and physical lights which follow like luminous auras each movement; Stearns moulds every breath of the film with a surprising precision and an outstanding creative vision. “Chronos”, for time, is an astonishing musical and visual journey which doesn’t stop dazzling with the accuracy of the physical and musical elements.
Weak ringings are tinkling in a profound darkness where fine synth layers are interlacing with fragility beneath the gyrating eye of a cosmic black lighthouse. That’s the way "Movement" is getting into our ears. From dense and dark, “Chronos” illuminates itself with the superb harmonious strata of "Corridors of Time" which flow and flow with a surprising cosmic poetry. Intense and morphic, the synths shine of their strata with suave celestial harmonies which are merging in a powerful empirical crescendo to get lost in the atmospheric limbos of "Essence and the Ancients" where are crying these strata which are now divested of rhythmic cradle. Such as ghosts' sighs these strata roam in the borders of emptiness, embracing the chords of Constance Demby's Space Bass to run away towards the heavy cathedral sounds à la Jean Michel Jarre which separate "Essence and the Ancients" from the soft and very meditative "Pastoral Angels, and Bells". Still there, Michael Stearns amazes with so much tenderness and delicacy. The spectral sighs get transformed into fluty singings, which also espouse the same shapes, bringing the listener towards a concert of temporal bells which ring and resound around a weak prismic faint light and the jeremiads of a synth to absent lines which requests a last wish before of climbing the steps of "Escalator" where every note draws the imaginary steps which are transformed into a powerful vertiginous whirlwind. This furious spiral suffocates in the celestial bodies with the voices of "Voices" which whisper and sing the promise of time on a delicate movement became a sweet ethereal choir which blows silky filets in a ghostly ambience. Quietly we move towards "Portraits", another delicate passage that we would like endlessly. The synth cries tears of crystal which fall under the charms of a fluty breeze. These winds tickle of carillons which ring delicately among these absent voices while we guess a heavy and threatening explosion which thunders with crash, freeing the babelic fury of  "Ride(Finale)" which loops the loop with a very Jarrish approach and confirming “Chronos” in a timeless work.
This Michael Stearns'album has changed my perception of EM. It’s with this opus that I understood that EM could definitely have a soul. The sweetnesses of "Voices" will remain anchored in my memory until it remembers. And the beauty of “Chronos” gets multiplied by ten with the vision of the film-maker Ron Fricke. If the viewing of this documentary is not an obligation in order to appreciate the wealth of Stearns' music, it’s nevertheless an excellent complement to a work which didn’t take a wrinkle since and which will stay in my lifetime top10, in spite of the avalanche of EM that I devour since the 70’s.

Sylvain Lupari (October 12th 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

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