jeudi 29 novembre 2012

DETLEF KELLER: Behind the Tears (1999-2011)

“Detlef Keller's Behind the Tears is a superb fresco of a minimalist electronic art which depicts with wonder the Teutonic electronic universe”

Tears 1 13:24
Tears 2 3:42
Tears 3 6:18
Tears 4 6:03
Tears 5 13:55
Tears 6 21:58
Tears 7 5:14
Tears 8

SYNGATE | CD-RMR41 (CD-R 77:52) **** (New Berlin School)

One of the big disadvantages to like a more marginal music is to notice the pure and simple disappearance of jewels that have ennobles its crown. Released in 1999 on Manikin label (MRCD 7041), this “Behind the Tears” from Detlev Keller is a very beautiful album that is out of print since moons. Thanks to the SynGate label, which specializes in the re releasing of great EM works lost in the lack of financial resources, this superb fresco of a minimalist electronic art is for available level in a version which respects the sound depth of its originality.
Right from the beginning Detlef Keller shows all his control of the Teutonic minimalist art with "Tears 1" which widens its 13 minutes with rhythmic and harmonious elements which get juxtapose in a mesmerizing minimalist structure, builder of earworm. The intro begins with a rippling metallic which spreads out an intense melancholic veil. Gliding on ochred mists, it debauches a shy line of piano among which the crystal clear notes skip in uncertainty before following the soft gallop forged in the pulsations of a bass line. Quietly "Tears 1" takes shape. The synth lines instill a dramatic approach à la Vangelis, enveloping a harmonic pattern which is amplifying on a velocity augmented by the skipping of the line of bass. And the whole thing is toppling over finely towards the 4th minute when the piano elaborates its harmonious approach with some subtle variances in the movement and tone, while that the rhythm becomes heavier, more pulsatory with hypnotic knocks of percussions. Fluty lines are appropriating the strummed melody, while percussions of Bongo style drums adorn a cadence perfumed of these lines of apocalyptic Vangelis synth. And the rhythm explodes at around the 6th minute. Heavier, curt and steady it skips firmly keeping jealously the harmonious lines of its genesis which fatten a musical itch lost into uncountable layers with sinister ambiences. "Tears 2" offer a soft lullaby like we heard with these ballerinas which swirled in the musical boxes of our youth. The musical envelope is very poignant with its line of acuteness flute, its dreamy choruses and its orchestral pads which wrap up a wonderful innocent bed song which widens these harmonious ramifications up until the beginnings of "Tears 3" which takes the rhythmic airs of Chariots of Fire. It's another very beautiful track showing an excellent hold of poignant melodies from Detlef Keller. "Tears 4" presents a splendid cinematographic structure with violent hits of bows of which the hatched pads forge an echoing structure. Fluty lines and nostalgic piano are hooking in a heart rending mood finely depicted on a music of the most dramatic. And of its serial dexterity, Keller spreads his musical armaments which intensify a structure become as heavy as the sorrow that it transports.
"Tears 5" transports us in an a little more experimental sphere of “Behind the Tears” with an approach closer to studio improvisations than of a coherent minimalist montage. The intro is filled with a thick mist where hums a synth of its ghostly line. Riffs of guitar are structuring a latent rhythm which gets organized in the background whereas that the bass line is more direct by freeing pulsating chords. The minimalist shroud pierces this cerebral introduction with a rhythmic structure which settles down little by little, elaborating a furtive pace which beats under suave twisted solos and short lines of sequences. This shy rhythm is of use as basis to a structure that will explode a little after the 6th minute, offering a sharply more homogeneous rhythm where sequences and percussions hop with firmness under the breezes and intense solos of a synth as harmonious as acrobatic. "Tears 6" continue the exploration of more progressive musical structures and closer to the soils of a calculated improvisation. The intro is of ether with Bernd Franz Moritz Braun's guitar (Arcanum) who scatters his notes and his evasive melody in the scattered breaths of flutes and breezes of synth which throw a black meditative ambience. A line of crystal clear sequences shakes its keys which glitter as a circular prismic movement, while "Tears 6" goes out little by little of its rhythmic languor to swirl in the silvery furrows of sequences. These sequences stretch out their impacts, chiselling the ambience of scissors snips of which the crisscrossed steps flicker around percussions and jingle of cymbals which are on the watch. They watch this slow rhythm which increases on the rotating dance of sequences. And "Tears 6" goes out of its torpor in the halfway. Pounded by pulsatory percussions, the rhythm is linear and hypnotic. It lays the foundations for a Teutonic movement that nervous sequences are amplifying of a frenzied pace, giving free rein to a synth and a guitar that are exchanging great solos, as in a jam of e-blues. "Tears 7" knocks down the order of things and is the witness of the very big versatility from Keller/Schonwalder
's other half. The rhythm is fiery, tilting sharply into Jean Michel Jarre's techno style with intensive hammerings of a hypnotic bass-drum, agile rolling of percussions and lively sequences of which the crisscrossed movements team up very well with the vertiginous orchestral arrangements that had made the delights of dance floors. Look out for your walls and floor slats! These influences of  Jarre can also be found on "Tears 8", which on the other hand is quieter, although very intense, with heavy and dark layers of a black organ that reminds me the period Revolutions. The structure is dark and dramatic. It's built in the mould of the tear 4 but with a more somber approach and intensely more melancholic. A soft melody swirls there. Flogged by dark pads, it isolates itself to get lost in intense layers of a big black organ which swallows all its delicate fragility.
In the numbers of the excellent initiatives of SynGate, “Behind the Tears” revolves at the top of list. This superb album of Detlef Keller has the right to a 2nd life. Its minimalist structures, its rhythms of lead, its heart-rending melodies and its ambiences of cerebral mysteries make of it an inescapable in the Teutonic electronic universe.

Sylvain Lupari (November 29th, 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

mercredi 28 novembre 2012

ROBERT RICH: Echo of Small Things (2005)

“Although difficult to encircle for a fan of base sequenced EM Robert Rich does all his effect on Echo Of Small Things” 
1 Pathways 9:36
2 Fences 4:57
3 Circle Unwound 9:00
4 Passing Terrain 6:09
5 Glint in her Eyes 6:25
6 Scent of Night Jasmine 9:09
7 Summer Thunder 4:27
8 Hollow Rings Longer 5:19
9 Weightless Morning 6:1
SOUNDSCAPES | SP008 (CD 61:14) ***½ (Ambient Music)

Usually I avoid ambient music (We are in 2007. Like what things really do evolve). I find it boring. I have the feeling that's an easy thing to do and that it's totally divested of interest, never managing to reach on me its first purpose; either leading me to an inner reflection. Robert Rich is among this artists' cream that are not afraid of evolving on this sphere of immobilism. And the reason is very simple; he converts to the perfection the feelings that he feels, captivating the listener in his soporific world where the space is full of senses. “Echo of Small Things” is his 8th opus of the Soundscapes series offers a collection of reflections from images from the photographer David Agasi. And, exactly as the sound could result from an image, Rich returns an arid and a surrealism ambience where the ambient music moves breathless.
From the first shadows of "Pathways", the musical curves monopolize an attention already fixed to the soundscapes effects. The music evolves through the breaths of its elements to get melt at a musical astral body in evolution. The movement is slow, crystal clear and constant. It transposes emotions that we grind when we roam on a path that we ignore, but which enchants us just as much. The breezes which cogitate here and there give a surreal aspect, a little as if we would be frozen in time. And slowly "Pathways" is melting in the immovable meanders of "Fences" where the synth cylinders raise themselves as fences posts, cutting of dream from reality. The American synthman deploys a treasure of creative imagination by juxtaposing his music on photos which inspired his last opus. The sound wealth on "Circle Unwound" is such as we feel ourselves being lifted in a slow spiral which unwinds into a heavy symphony with hesitating, but how much persistent, chords and keys. Of course we don't listen to “Echo of Small Things” with the conviction that we are going to rock. It's rather a soft rendezvous with emotions that comes in term with a motionless musical poetry. If "Passing Terrain" flows as an inactive brain wave, it returns a tangible emotion. It's quite as the very quiet "Glint in Her Eyes" and "Summer Thunder" which answer to the sculptural vision of Robert Rich. A little as on "Pathways", "Scent of Night Jasmine" is of a surprising correctness and a sensibility. The sound structure is of a wealth which invades our senses, showing the immense conception skill of Robert Rich to reproduce the feelings that transcends him. On discreet Tibetan gongs, of which the reverberations pierce the orchestrated silence, "Hollow Rings Longer" and "Weightless Morning" end this epic musical photographic on an abyssal sweetness where the space is in suspension looking to forming itself.
Although difficult to encircle for a fan of base sequenced EM, Robert Rich does all his effect. It's dark and poetic ambient that comes to reach us and which leads us to the soft reality of an everyday life which tolerates dreams only when we are on its quest.

Sylvain Lupari (October 1st, 2007 and translated on November 24th, 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

lundi 26 novembre 2012

ERIC G.: Illusions (2010)

“Complex, lively, poetic and surprising of crisscrossed rhythms, Illusions is this kind of album which amaze and charm at each listening”
1 Mowing the Moon's Grass 23:43
2 Model III 17:33
3 Finally found the Missing Glass Piece 15:04

ELMUCED MUSIC | (CD-R 56:19) ****¼ (Vintage Berlin School EM)

Nowadays, the warm tones of a Berlin School EM style becomes more and more flooded in an enormous musical cornucopia where technologies and numeric (digital) equipments (Midi and PC Synth, Virus, etc.) strip a bit the nobility of this art finely exploited in the 70's by artists innovative and extremely creative such as Klaus Schulze, Edgar Froese and his cult band Tangerine DreamJean Michel Jarre as well as Ashra Temple. Today, artists like Ian Boddy, Mark Shreeve, Remy, Marcel Engles, Gert Emmens, Mario Schonwalder and many more are still exploiting this sonority of former days, but with a mixture of new technologies, creating hybrid sonority where soft steams of a retro Berlin School are next to a more technical, more updated tone. A little as Brendan Pollard, Eric G's musical universe soaks in a fabulous world of analog tones, plunging the listener and the nostalgic fan into a forgotten art. With “Illusions”, the Swedish synthesizer crosses the wall of time to offer a fabulous timeless album where retro Berlin School comes alive again and floods our ears with 3 long and magnificent titles which charm and exceed the threshold of the sound illusion.
Like his 1st album “Conclusion” in 2001, “Illusions” is made of material written at the beginning of the 80's. In the middle of the 90's, Eric G replayed and rerecorded his compositions to finally integrate sounds and tones of Minimoog and Mellotron in 2007. A long process and a long maturation that results in 3 long titles with unanticipated rhythms and where sequences become entangled in superb random cadences, supported by synths to analog colors and poetic lines. Divided into two parts "Mowing the Moon's Grass" introduces this nostalgic feast with a long morphic intro. An intro which opens under spasms of a heavy reverberation, multiplying a full array of warm heterogeneous tones which boil lazily below a rippling synth line. A splendid sound universe of psychedelic nature wakes up slowly under the soft caresses of an old organ and a synth with arid breaths and delicate austere solos. Solos that are twisting of a warm suavity to overfly this sphere of imagination under fine bass lines, molding a beautiful depth which is not without recalling Pink Floyd on “Wish you were Here, and whose dark choruses flooded under the caresses of floating Mellotron brushing in the way the gaps of the Dream on Ricochet and Encore. On halfway the first sequential pulsations awake a tempo that beats shyly the measure. It's a hesitating rhythm which moves stealthily and which is subdivided with the appearance of another more hatched, nervous and slightly funky bass sequenced line. The tempo hiccoughs delicately beneath the mist of a wrapping Mellotron and a hybrid synth with cosmic waves and eroded solos, such as ducks squeals, which merge through this cadence becoming as complex as harmonious before it faints in the intersidereal spheres on a soft ambient blow from a fluty Mellotron. This long track is a very good musical piece which represents splendidly the nostalgic and complex musical world of Eric G.
Those who love the universe of Froese will be seduced by "Model III" which also embraces a vaporous intro where the Mellotron draws heavy cosmic fogs from which the cloudy veils undulate lazily in the middle of synth lines, among one which pulses with acuteness. A sequence is waving in cascade and shapes a frenzied rhythm which goes amplifying with the addition of another unbridled sequential line, doubling the impact of the rhythm under an aggressive synth which multiplies its corrosive solos in a magical ambience where synth lines undulate and hiccough in harmony with sequences. It's a maelstrom of synth, sequencer and Mellotron which crosses ambivalent rhythmic spheres before falling on a solitary sequence whom hatched spasms accompany a fluty Mellotron and a synth with caustic harmonies to embrace a soft etherized final. "Finally found the Missing Glass Piece" shows in which point Eric G's style can be disconcerting. After a surprising introduction which belongs to the cosmic-poetic universe of Klaus Schulze (the Body Love
 years), percussions tint of glasses introduce a cadence which gets free at dropper on nervous cymbals. The sequential move is amplifying with heavier and more nervous chords, forming a flow which undulates restlessly with keys which float in solitary around a synth and its sinuous solos. Like on the first 2 tracks the rhythm is becoming more complex and tortuous to finally calm down underneath keyboards chords à la Pink Floyd on “Animals” before resuming on a tempo splendidly drawn by synth loops and heavy resounding sequences which pound loudly under the anvil tones percussions à la Jarre Percussions which are ending this tergiversating rhythmic, creating a heavy tempo of which the unbridled knocks are rolling beneath some long serpentines solos to caress the beginnings of an analog sound world.
Complex, lively, poetic and surprising of crisscrossed rhythms; such are the first qualifiers that come to mind to describe this Eric G's second opus. “Illusions” is this kind of album rich in electronic tones, which overlap both universes, and deep in rhythms, as increasing as decreasing, which amaze and charm at each listening. There are, here and there, superb sonic elements that make of this album an inescapable for fans of this era, at once electronic and progressive, which filled our 70's listening hours. It's more than a simple imitation of Schulze or Froese. It's a wonderful meshing of two musical ideologies of a circa rich in innovations and sound creativities. An excellent album!

Sylvain Lupari (July 17th 2010 and translated on November 26th, 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

dimanche 25 novembre 2012

['ramp]: doombient.two- a declaration of war (2006)

“['ramp]'s doombient.two-a declaration of war is above all a work of perspicacity and passion for music”

1 a declaration of war 7:00
2 shapes of things to come 16:00
3 slow deaths 17:15
4 ground zero 10:38 | (CD-R 63:35) ****

Recorded during the Emil EM festival held in Langenfeld on March 15th 2003, “doombient.two - a declaration of war” is above all a work of perspicacity and passion for music. This festival proceeded under difficult conditions which involved delays in the proceedings as well as sound problems. But it was also an enriching experiment where the duet caused an unaccustomed rise of decibels for an EM concert under the avid eye of a stroboscope which has let some spectators astounded. A strong and noisy concert, with steel sheets and slide guitars noises and screeches as well as big sequencers, for a duet who usually exploits a floating industrial e-music, making of “doombient.two - a declaration of war” a work divides between its irascible progression and its need of appeasing.
A slow breath gets transformed into strident and aggressive cries of siren which travel on its arches of reverberations. We have the vague impression to be lost in the entrails of an immense spaceship stuffed of Aliens. The ambience is more than dark. It's nothingness. A musical oblivion which survives on waves shadowed of black and which flow slowly, as in a paranoid dream which is taking place in an ochred mud. With suffers from hell, "a declaration of war" pours into "shapes of things to come", which preserves the same linear emptiness.
The soft piano of Stephen Parsick rings in these musical nebulosities, amplifying the beauty of blackness. It traces a strange melody which suffers in these metallic distortions, showing the coldness of the tenebrous duo towards the odes of softness which leads to the very astonishing "slow death". A lugubrious walk gets set. Metal sheets ruffled with ingeniousness create a monster turbulence which animates the heavy and resounding sequenced pulsations à la Redshift, justly forged in the den of the Big Sequencer Moog of Mark Shreeve. Atonal and immensely dark, "slow death" progresses on continual pulsations, imitating the human beats that are submissive and are waiting for the very end. It's a dark procession that clamours of an angelic synth choir try to appease in an astonishing work which reveals the subtleties of the evil towards the good. And "ground zero" is the calm after the storm. The appeasing after anger. Floating and gliding on metal dust, a rough quietude is to be found. As if anger still thundered in spite of the comprehension of ['ramp] of the weakness of the ungodly.
doombient.two - a declaration of war” is an intense opus, even frightening, with an extremely powerful sonority. According to data; the strength of the decibels has exceeded concerts of Motorhead and Nine Inch Nails, and this under extreme conditions, in particular on the sound level. It must have taken a monk's labor for the mastering in order to produce a CD that would give justice to the atmosphere of this concert which has marked the small history of this festival. On the level of music, it's a confrontation and a reflection between good and evil which reflects a growing anger towards the cupidity of senses and people. This is great ['ramp] with its sense of creativity and its desire to explore all sound dimensions of its universe.

Sylvain Lupari (March 27th 2007 and translated on November 21th, 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

samedi 24 novembre 2012

CONNECT.OHM: [9980] (2012)

“[9980] is a small jewel of an EM which this time embraces the aromas of a Berlin School lost in the lascivious dances of the haughtiness morphic down-tempos”
1 Evolution 1:1 8:33
2 Snow Park 9:02
3 [9980] 8:10
4 Mol 9:09
5 Fossil 11:07
6 Take Off (album edit) 6:53
7 Gentle Perception 5:14
8 Time to Time by Time 7:55
9 Winter Sorrows

ULTIMAE RECORDS | INRE054 (CD 76:13) ****

Silvery breezes whistle like cosmic sirens over the breaths of spatial machinery, revealing an extraterrestrial fauna which feeds the intro of "Evolution 1:1" and of its heavy and slow down-tempo. The breaths of apocalypse espouse the strikings of percussions, merging into a strange organic rhythm which trembles of its heavy bass line. The rhythm heavy and morphic, "Evolution 1:11" kicks off this collaboration between Hidetoshi Koizumi (Hybrid Leisureland) and Alexandre Scheffer (Cell) who respects the atmospheres and the organicosmic rhythms whom enjoy the vast majority of the works that we find on the Lyon based label Ultimae Records. Realized between Tokyo and Paris, “[9980]” is a mosaic of lunar ballads which float and waltz into morphic ambiences. Lunar ballads which sometimes are alike and are charming with a shady identity on rhythms and melodies finely chiselled, sleeping in an electronic fauna where the subtleties abound and bring the necessary nuances to those duels of cosmic sensualism which dance on great morphic down-tempos. A great album (are we surprised?) with musical and sound textures which put us height ears and imagination.
Of the uncertainty of the winds of Orion and the reverberating breaths of space shuttles, which drag their smoke dusts in astral corridors, is born "Snow Park". Slow, the rhythm pops out of its heavy drones to hop weakly on sober percussions. The bass line is as much strong as soft. Its haunting curves draw a morphic slow tempo, hatching a splendid melodious line which sings of its fragile arpeggios under the breaths of a seraphic choir of which the breezes get melt into the rustlings of synth. But there is even softer and more lunar with the title-track which beats of its morphic pulse in a musical dream mellow for cosmic coitus. As almost everywhere on “[9980]”, Connect. Ohm sprinkles its structure of extraterrestriales tones and starry dusts, forging fragments of melodies which complement each other by interposed segments. "Mol" espouses the same rhythmic model with few variances close. The rhythm is also slow but imposes a crescendic procession with timeless loops (which appeared in the 2nd half of "[9980]") that steal the ethereal choruses which abandon little by little a soft tempo. A tempo always so morphic which implodes with good percussions of which every blow imposes more heaviness to accompany this bass line which bites presently all rhythmic vegetation that grows throughout “[9980]”.
Molded following the same precepts, "Fossil" offers a fine line of hyperactive sequences which ring in the absolute void before merging in a rhythmic structure which ages of its latent evolution. Sequences are bustling nervously. They pound and surround the arrhythmic strikings of pulsations and percussions, so winding an undecided rhythm trapped in its toxic cloud of galactic tones. And the embryo becomes a butterfly when the heavy down-tempo encircles our ears with percussions which slam around a trembling bass line, freeing one of these melodies which lovely tease the hearing. The movement of sequences reminds me the melodic rhythms of Tangerine Dream and that's even more convincing on "Take Off" which bathes in echoing loops and riffs of guitar dragging around in the dreamlike vapors of a wandering melody. "Gentle Perception" is a beautiful track that we don't hear coming but which does its effect. Deprived of rhythms but rich in lunar ambiences, the movement soaks in an organic ambient landscape where is lapping a thick cloud of indefinite jingles. Dreamlike and floating, the structure reminds me strangely the slow processions of Solar Fields which are dying before imploding into a suave morphic down-tempo there where we waltz under a rain of Perseids. The synth multiplies its dreamy lines which float in emptiness, freeing breaths of angelic voices and a fine melodic filet, like in the long ambient phase that is "Time to Time by Time" and its metallic drops which fall into oblivion. "Winter Sorrows" concludes this very ambient/ spatial ode with oblong metallic drones which waltz against current in an ocean of atone synth lines. We hear the breaths of machineries in it to sculpture these lines avoiding with fright the thick cloud of stroboscopic circles that falls down on "Winter Sorrows" peace of mind which stirs up of its internal mutiny.
Once again the Ultimae Records label releases a small jewel of an EM which this time embraces the aromas of a Berlin School lost in the lascivious dances of the haughtiness morphic down-tempos. And nevertheless the taming of “[9980]” wasn't an easy thing. Connect. Ohm throws a lot of subdued ambiences where circulate a thick cloud of cosmic tones on evolutionary structures which sound alike a lot. It's under the shells of my earphones that I finally succumbed to the charms of “[9980]” which abounds of a mass of nuances and subtleties which increase as we tame these perpetual structures. Musical structures which hide an incredible sound fauna that will delight the most whimsical of audiophiles.

Sylvain Lupari (November 23rd, 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

vendredi 23 novembre 2012

['ramp]: debris (2009)

“Debris is a great mixture of vintage ['ramp] and the one of the Doombient series”
1 Rails 4:35
2 Skeletarl 13:50  
3 Girders 2:30
4 Wreckage 4:20
5 Pieces 5:08
6 Debris 7:08
7 Coventried 4:19 
8 Hamburgised 5:32
9 Dresdened 2:54
10 Bridges 8:35
11 Slow Corrosion 13:52  
12 Residual Oxide 3:26

DOOMBIENT.MUSIC | ramp006 (CD 76:08) ****½

A heavy caustic synth wave wraps the intro of "Rails", while that a starting engine sends an ochre vapor which spreads a strange cosmic aura in a world somehow industrial. Recorded in the turmoil of a stormy separation with the other half of ['ramp], “Debris” will take 3 years of making before being born. The result is an album that allies the legendary dark heaviness of ['ramp] to tempestuous and stunning violent sequential movements.
Following the hard knocks of steel wheel from "Rails", which ends on odd metallic percussions, "Skeletarl" gropes into the half-lights full of squealing and sweating on a bass line to arrhythmic pulsations. A sound violence is pointing out. It's latent and it's shouting out along spectral rustles and sparse flickered percussions on a hesitating movement which moves ahead on roller coasters that have difficulty to pull their wagons. With its corrosive reverberations and its industrial sound environment "Skeletarl" plunges us into a heavy and violent sound universe where the resonances are devouring our eardrums on a rhythm strangely vague of which the essence is pulled out of the somber depths of Redshift. This track depicts marvelously the raw and metallic mood which overhangs this last ['ramp] release with its sinuous movement that winds the meanders of lifelessness while shaping the edges of the steel walls by sharp claws in order to feed a twisted and howling metal. From "Girders" to "Residual Oxide", ['ramp] passes by all the subterranean levels to offer a sound slaughter, sometimes static sometimes sequenced, to haunting and terrifying roundness' from a ruined factory.
Some ['ramp] but also some Stephen Parsick who likes the concreted moods filled by ambient aromas. A Parsick who also exploits sequenced movements of a heady intensity as on "Wreckage" where drum rolls on contaminated oil barrels get entangled to an abrasive sound universe full of howling sequences. Sequences which get melting to the sieved lights of "Pieces" to continue pulsing in an industrial world to the adrift before sliding on the ball bearings of the title track which tears simply away the metal from the tarnish tower before that the sequential heaviness of "Coventried" and "Hamburgised" ends this work of demolition. Sunk into hardened steel into only one long track segmented into 12 parts “Debris” offers few ambient or quiet moments. In fact if there is a moment of tranquility it begins with "Dresdened" and its long atonal breaths which circulate among the fragments on the ground of a steelworks. Although heavy and incredibly sinister, "Slow Corrosion" hiccups of its heavy sequences of which the random migrations are beating loudly under metallic and flickered percussions. A movement with an approach as much sinister as on "Skeletarl" but which doesn’t explode and which preserves the oscillatory linearity of a big starving tortoise who ruminates upon her appetite until the last biting breaths of "Residual Oxide".
['ramp]'s “Debris” is a great find. Whereas we had become used to the calm universe of tetanized ambiences of the Doombient series, “Debris” arrives with its big clogs and kicks the atonal armature of this suite as cold as caustic. In fact “Debris” is a sublime mix of both universes. Stephen Parsick molds subtly and skillfully his metallic and biting drones with sequences of which the heavy reverberations are literally melting the last vestiges of the Doombient series. It's a must for fans of Dark Ambient with heavy resounding oscillations. The underworld of Redshift!

Sylvain Lupari (December 2nd, 2009 and translated on November 22th, 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

mercredi 21 novembre 2012

['ramp]: astral disaster (2012)

“Astral Disaster is an electronic feast where Stephen Parsick's passion for the art transcends the heart of his influences”
First Set - Flatten Them! (37:55)
1 Forever Returning 7:15
2 Blast 11:08
3 Rather Far Out 5:51
4 Halo Inductor 13:41
Second Set - Doomsday Is Family Time (38:32)
5 The Nameless is the Origin 9:30
6 Oscillator Planet 5:20
7 Astral Disaster 8:03
8 Jericho 15:39

DOOMBIENT.MUSIC |  ramp009 (CD 76:27) *****
Chthonian choruses breathing in the vestiges of a fallen society, heavy reverberations floating as a smell of death on ambivalent rhythms and devilish pulsations of machinery moulding some indistinct paces; such are the sound elements that decorate the mephistophelic universe of ['ramp]. Recorded in concert at the Bochum Planetarium, “Astral Disaster” continues on the stride undertaken by Stephen Parsick with his powerful Steel and Steam and Return; two albums which appear in my 2011's Top 10. Well sit behind his range of synths and analog electronic equipments, the German synthesist weaves the main lines of a black Mass which makes shiver and moan the most unbelieving of ears, so much that's powerful, so much that's ... powerful!
"Flatten Them!" starts this ['ramp] live performance by a distant dying wind which divides its decline in order to free a series of pantings which swirl like some oblong apocalyptic lassoes. "Forever Returning" plunges us straight away into the somber and theatrical luciferian universe of Stephen Parsick. This track (stemming from Return)
is a slow non-rhythmic procession painted by dark waves and breezes of satanic machineries which float in a darkness of which the opacity is slightly perturbed by a chain of bright hoops which stream over a flood of souls mooing reverberating sighs. These hoops ululate of a contrasting transparency while the breaths of machines continue their slow hammerings up until the heavy pulsations of "Blast". And quietly a rhythm settles down. A rhythm, as heavy as slow, with heavy resonant pulsations that have difficulty in getting rid of the hold of the chthonian choirs. A line of sequences appears, making swirl its chords which flutter with fright while that the heavy pulsations increase the pace, pushing "Blast" towards an intense unsteady gait. A bewitching mephistophelic melody is clearing a harmonic way between these two convoluted movements of which the paradoxes will sow a superb cacophony, as harmonious as rhythmic, that will drive us to the temples of "Rather Far Out" and of its fallen angels who cling to timeless lanes. Flickering sequences are emerging a little after two minutes, drawing crisscrossed loops which flutter in the depths of some loud infernal mooing. This shaky irrational rhythm swirls with fury in a distraught spiral from where are escaping the bits of an abstract melody which separates the rhythm of the non- rhythm in a strange ballet for gnomes to the wings of fireflies. "Halo Inductor" spreads its fragile rhythm with fine keys which dance on the ashes of "Rather Far Out". Delicate, this rhythm remains uncertain. It makes its sequences of black glasses skip on a field of ochred mist where angelic choirs sigh out of tune all over this setting of electronic cataclysm. Swirling in a harmonious carousel, propelled by spasms of discreet machinery, "Halo Inductor" waltzes with the nobility of its oniric blackness. No kicks. Just a delicate rhythm which flutters on the spot, encircled by a chain of keys which sparkle in a parallel universe where the stupefying seraphic choruses lead it to its last beating in a serene finale to make dream the most of the rebel souls.
Quieter, the 2nd half of “Astral Disaster” ("Doomsday Is Family Time") is a long suite of dark breaths, oscillating waves and electronic tones drawn from the cavern of the VCS-3 and in wires of Mellotron as black as musical. It's a return in time when the floating and psychedelicosmic ambiences collect in their tones some rangy ectoplasmic lamentations, resuscitating recollections of Pink Floyd on Echoes and Ummagumma as well as the first experimental works of Tangerine Dream on Zeit and Atem. Thus "The Nameless is the Origin" and "Oscillator Planet" are moving forward as spectres crossing the deserts of Doomstown up until the powerful "Astral Disaster" (from the Return album) which spreads its slow vampiric veils on this very dark and ambient portion of this concert under the stars of the Bochum planetarium. As heavy and booming than "Blast", "Jericho" concludes this last opus of ['ramp] with a characteristic approach of the slow but powerful rhythms which mark out Stephen Parsick's works. Halfway between the aphrodisiac heavinesses of Redshift and the staggering rhythms of Arc, "Jericho" strikes hard the neighbouring walls with dazzling resounding heavinesses in which the echoes are wrapped up by choruses to hybrid singings and Mellotron mists before bursting of all its power in a stormy finale. Ears won’t hold the time in headphones...but one ask for more.
Arc, Redshift  and ['ramp] are the standard bearers of a genre that few dare to approach so much the risks of losing the listener in boredom are immense. Except that one gets bored at all, from it. “Astral Disaster” is an electronic feast where Stephen Parsick's passion for the art transcends the heart of his influences. It's a powerful album among which every detail and every line are carefully declutter then replaced in an impressive collage of structures which breathes the beauty of its mephistophelic magnetism. It's a bewitching work. Extremely bewitching, where the rhythms and ambiences are melting into a splendid electronic symphony sculptured in DoomHell's coat of arms. To add to the collection of Debris, Steel and Steam and Return …and hurry up, it's available in a limited edition of 300 numbered copies.

Sylvain Lupari (November 21th, 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

mardi 20 novembre 2012


“If you like a visual art which is melting to a music that is the mirror of its imagination, then Atlas Dei becomes an inescapable”
Chapter 1 Earth 11:00
Chapter 2 Mythos 14:00
Chapter 3 Platonic 12:00
Chapter 4 The Convolution 15:00
Glint in Her Eyes
Chapter 5 Deconstructions 11:00
Chapter 6  Passages 9:00
Chapter 7 Terra Meta 11:00
Chapter 8 Elegy 9:00

SOUNDSCAPES | SP011 DVD (93:00) ****½

There are two ways of describing “Atlas Dei”; the album which contains 13 titles resulting from a soundtrack to the movie of Daniel Colvin and the movie itself which shows incredible images and the word is very weak, on the luxuriously ambient and relaxing music of Robert Rich. But there is more. “Atlas Dei” should be, and is, what EM (ambient or sequences based kind) is all about; the witness of a visual art without borders where the imagination is unlimited as the sublime images of Daniel Colvin. The symbiosis is unique, not to say completed. The images are melting on themselves, merging with a slow music with atonal evacuations which leave a sound imprint that the 3D visual effects wrap on a poetic juxtaposition. Either we like or not ambient form music, we aren’t indifferent to the digital and artistic beauties of Colvin. Images which set foot on retained musical impulses of a Robert Rich in complete control of his vision artistic towards this whole movie which last more than 1 hour and a half. A bit like the creation. Of what the genesis would have been. The visual effect is striking. Title after title the surprise is total so much the creativity is high-level.
On a relaxing and very contemplative music, the magic operates under our eyes. The images of a beauty of outer-world are moulding in a music that we hear of another ear and we imagine under another shape. And, as a craftsman proud of his work of sounds visionary,
Robert Rich shows his magnificence serenity which invades us with a fascinating symbiosis of sounds and images. Slowly, and with a softness among all conducted by a music to virtues that only the tranquillity can suggest, we the privileged witnesses a quirky merger where the art copulates under all its forms. “Atlas Dei” is superb audiovisual journey on the borders of a reinvented cosmos, as well as its resolute and insoluble mysteries, in a magical musical ball to endless reveries. The good moments are legions and the borders of the inconceivable are all visited. Whether it's arid lands of Nevada to the hybrid stars of a cosmos in fusion, Daniel Colvin composes an unreal world to the colors of pastel on a music with movements that are serenely apocalyptic. It's as good as it's incredibly beautiful. The music of Rich fits to all the facets of Colvin imagination. The rhythms are fluid and the sequences are swirling on movements of an ambient peace of mind. And for “Atlas Dei” the American synthésiste has retouched some of his works and wrote new material, offering thus a variety and diversity in tones which embrace with subtlety all of Daniel Colvin's imagination and of his coiled movements of a visual art which has only as frontiers that the drying up of the digital art.

Sylvain Lupari (October 20th, 2007 and translated on November 15th, 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

samedi 17 novembre 2012

DARSHA AMBIENT: Falling Light (2012)

“The music of Darshan Ambient floats in the ears to reach the soul by taking on the skin of an author torn by risks of everyday life”
1 Falling Light 6:07
2 Small Blue Ones 6:09
3 A Boat beneath a Sunny Sky 4:59
4 Out to Sea 5:08
5 Second Thoughts 3:50
6 The Night Coming Home to Sleep 3:57
7 Clothed In Wakefulness 4:19
8 Who Will Answer 3:57
9 To Look at In Winter 4:34
10 The Immense Window 7:02
11 Water for Horses 6:59
12 Forgotten Sky 3:54

SPOTTED PECCARY | LSM 25 (CD 60:55) ****½

If there is an artist whom I appreciated to discover these last years it has to be Darshan Ambient. With a very eclectic approach Michael Allison succeeds in doing a meshing of a music to the tributaries of folk and neo-folk styles, caressing slightly some jazzy, even bluesy, aromas to offer an inspired and inspiring music. Imperceptible and unclassifiable, the music of Darshan Ambient floats in the ears to reach the soul by taking on the skin of an author torn by risks of everyday life. Surfing on the harmonious and melancholic furrows of his very beautiful Dream in Blue, Michael Allison lays bare his tramp's soul with “Falling Light”, a collection of 12 poems bared of words but not feelings. Words with musical timbres wrapped of an inviting dust filled by the fragrances of our torments where the delicate spiraled rhythms are swirling with a mesmerizing cerebral attraction.
The title-track gets out of the void with silvery reflections which sparkle on the walls of time. Piano notes wave and twirl slightly, seeking for a beat when it falls softly. "Falling Light" offers its soft and indomitable rhythm. An electronic ballad which gallops like a ride without legs, turning of his its melodic spiral in the breezes of a spectral melody and under the knocks of percussions which try of accelerates a rhythm trapped in angels' caresses. Sparkling dusts and vapors of an alto sax à la Mark Isham dragging around uncertain ambiences of
Patrick O'Hearn, "Small Blue Ones" abandons its oniric intro to burst out of a pure and curt rhythm. This most livened up portion of “Falling Light” borrows the vague tunes of an apocalyptic country-western music with these chords of a slide-guitar which float on a structure hobbling of its nonchalant rhythm, offering the best of Michael Allison's harmonious dualities. Knocks of bow cut the stillness of a morning mist, molding a furtive rhythm which ignores the passive melody of a melancholic piano, as well as the dreamy chords of a solitary guitar; "A Boat beneath a Sunny Sky" is the first pearl that our ears meet on “Falling Light”. Following an evolutionary curve, this shy movement is flogged by a soft staccato which is fed by knocks of bow that are more and more incisive. This lascivious rotatory movement espouses a more rock phase with percussions and bass which nourish a tempo to irregular paces. Absent until there, the lap-steel guitar spreads its layers which float and roam such as souls lost on a strange procession of a bolero to ambiences of bluesy-jazzy country music. "Out to Sea" brings us at the doors of contemplativité with a piano droning out its nostalgia in the breaths of a dreamy guitar. A guitar which presents its vampiric tones on "Second Thoughts", which sounds as if it's got out of some lost chords of "Falling Light" so much the structure is very near. The rhythm is soft. And the harmonious portion is deployed by a guitar which delirious with its numerous intonations. Then, we enter into the enchantress world of “Falling Light”.
"The Night Coming Home to Sleep" introduces us to the lullabies and the ambient ballads of
Darshan Ambient's last effort. Here, no rhythm. Only notes of a dark piano droning out its evasive melody that a lap-steel guitar is courting from its ochred laments. A guitar which strikes down the soul on the cosy "Clothed In Wakefulness" and its morphic melody which swirls such an angel on a bed of stars. "Who Will Answer" is another beautiful musical caress which begins by a hesitating movement. The guitar chords are hanging around in boredom, joining ringing carillons, while an immense mist caresses the wandering. And bang! The tempo grows heavy with loud percussions, molding a slow dance for angels. A slow dance for us who are looking around, and this from our eyes and our heart, the loved one. "To Look at In Winter" is yet another delicious ambient nursery rhyme which shakes up our emotions with its duel of serenity between a dark piano and a nostalgic guitar. "The Immense Window" is the pearl of pearls on “Falling Light”. You have to hear this piano which is crying on the strange tears that perturb the delicacy of silence. It traces its way! The pace is soft. Worn by percussions and its delicate strikings of broom sticks and a lazy bass line, it swirls with the sweetness of a silk carried by the winds of Eros. While the piano continues to draw the tears of remorse, the guitar comes to cover this cerebral sweetness of fine spectral layers, feeding this superb title which reaches its emotional pinnacle with an angelic choir. It's really very beautiful. After an intro of duality between a piano and a floating guitar, "Water for Horses" changes the tempo of “Falling Light” by offering a more sustained rhythm. It's a slightly jerky ride which walks of its curt steps on an imaginary plain drawn by these enveloping violins which embrace the hybrid moods where the piano and the guitar unite their melancholic chords to weave another melody that will haunt our ears, as it's raining since the silvery reflections of the opening track. And it's with a little darker, even tenebrous, note that ends this last Michael Allison's offering. Borrowing a funeral march sculptured in the shade of the astonishing "The Immense Window", "Forgotten Sky" concludes “Falling Light” like the credits of a disturbing movie about a life which ends in the sighs of angels. And unmistakably, we grab the CD player remote and push on key 1 in order to listen again to this last and brilliant opus of Darshan Ambient.
Far from the psychotronic spaces of an EM of the Berlin School style, the music of
Darshan Ambient shines with its irresistible eclecticism. On “Falling LightMichael Allison is a charmer who multiplies the layers of his steel guitars to shape tones of loving metal around delicate lullabies which find their sources in the inexhaustible tears of a melancholic piano. New Age? Not really! And then … The important is that it's beautiful. And it's precisely more than beautiful. This is great music that will shake your emotions and will rock you up to the window of your dreams.
Sylvain Lupari (November 17th, 2012)

vendredi 16 novembre 2012

VANGELIS: The Dragon (1971)

“The Dragon is sharply more musical and more melodious (than Hypothesis) where we can feel the next orientations of Vangelis”

1 The Dragon 15:18
2 Stuffed Aubergine 11:17
3 Stuffed Tomato 9:32

West Line Coop | WL111 (36:07) ***

Recorded in June1971, “The Dragon” follows the same mouths of Hypothesis without nevertheless sounding like it. Set apart "Stuffed Tomato", which looks like the irrational structures of Hypothesis, this 2nd session of the now famous recording sessions of the spring of 1971 presents better structured titles with good melodious approaches which are the cradles of what the self-taught multi-instrumentalist Greek will offer on its subsequent works. To say the least, until the nebulous Beaubourg that will go out about 7 years farther.
Orgiastic, the title-track is a powerful musical fresco with a lot of scents of Mediterranean festivities which lurches towards a heavy LSDish psychedelic style. The rhythm is heavy and fluid with waltzing strata coming from a heady violin which swirls in a suave approach of a tribal fete. The percussions knock out this Greek ritornello with knocks of a symmetry which recalls more of wild dances than the Hellenic festivities, while that Brian Odger ploughs his bass bow with a disturbing caustic suppleness. This is pure progressive music. Vangelis? Well he is quite shy behind this vibrating psychedelic festive ode which is much more a duel violin/guitar under a curtain of heavy reverberating waves. It's rather on "Stuffed Aubergine" that he is more present with shy electric notes of a piano which float around delicate guitar chords. The ambience is very near of the one on L'Apocalypse Des Animaux and Ignacio with this fusion of acoustic and electronic elements which is rocked by fine manual percussions. Little by little "Stuffed Aubergine" develops in a beautiful ballad with a more musical approach which is similar to the progressive folk song of the 70's. It's a beautiful title which follows a harmonious boleric tangent with a soft mellotron (or a flute?) which mixes its harmonies with a spectral mist. Very good, even if that put years on.
The Dragon” is sharply more musical and more melodious than Hypothesis. Except that, as its brother of sessions, the quality leaves something to be desired. But, all in all, it's a faithful reflection of the orientation change that made the link from Aphrodite's Child to his solo works to follow. I think that's for the die hard fans of Vangelis who will seduce us even much more with works such as Fais Que Ton Rêve Soit Plus Long Que La Nuit  et L'Apocalypse Des Animaux; two claps of thunder that will start an impressive career.

Sylvain Lupari (November 15th, 2012)

jeudi 15 novembre 2012

VANGELIS: Hypothesis (1971)

“From the strictly musical point of view Hypothesis isn't the kind of album which depicts the future of Vangelis. It's wild improvised free-jazz

1 Hypothesis Part I 16:00
2 Hypothesis Part II 16:10

Affinity |CR 3037 (32:10) **¾

After the adventure Aphrodite's Child Vangelis took refuge in London where he gets acquainted with a musical fauna in full effervescence. By the contact of the producer Giorgio Gomelsky, he meets studio musicians with whom he improvises enormous jam sessions in May and June1971. Recording sessions fed by a kind of progressive free-jazz style that Giorgio Gomelsky himself had recorded on tapes. Except that these recordings, of an average sound quality, were not intended for a wider public or to be released on vinyls. They were private sessions. But the name of Vangelis begins to circulate more and more in the circles of progressive and electronic music with albums such as Heaven and Hell (with Yes' singer Jon Anderson) and La Fête Sauvage. Then came Albedo 0.39 and Spiral in 1976 and 1977. This is when that an English record company (Charly Records) puts in circulation, via a sub-division named Affinity, two albums without Vangelis' consent which grouped the material of the May sessions (Hypothesis) and June's (The Dragon). Vangelis decided to bring the case in court and won his point, thus both albums were removed from sales. But the evil was made. “Hypothesis” and “The Dragon” would serve from now on the cause of bootleggers and, gradually, we could see these recordings resurfaced here and there on various labels. The last edition being Visions of the Future released in1985. But what about the music?
Surfing on the popularity of Vangelis and his cosmic music, the thinkers of Charly Records envelop “Hypothesis” of a futuristic artwork deserving of a poster of a sci-fi movie. A quite dishonest approach because, contrary to what Vangelis produces at this period, the music of “Hypothesis” is rather of free-jazz style. And a style of free-jazz disorganized which crashes into dishevelled structures, as it should be in jam-sessions. Nothing is really coherent on these two tracks that sound strangely as Emerson Lake and Palmer fighting a raging toothache. But still there, the die-hard fans are divided. If some adore this album, others denigrate it vehemently, going as far as saying that it's about the worst work from the Greek multi-instrumentalist. But it's not that bad, except for the sound quality. If we like rambling music structures, we will enjoy “Hypothesis”. "Part I" begins like a train in station which hesitates to take off. The tones of old organ are delicious. An old-fashioned organ sounding so much like Keith Emerson' coos and hiccups under the bites of a bass line which follows all of its whims and by percussions which lay the foundations rhythmic of a Jazz Fusion. But we grow tired a little bit fast of this long improvisation which is dying of going rounds in circles, and this even if the quality of the musicians is undeniable. The second part of "Part I" offers a Vangelis in clouds with a beautiful improvised piano partition. I like this part. After an intro which wastes its minutes, "Part II" falls in a mood that is more bluesy than jazzy with an approach which becomes sharply more musical. It's a short part which loses its melody in a bad patch which offers nothing really interesting, except the soft violin of Michel Ripoche which murders the ambience by his tears of steel falling in a rhythmic cacophony which has doubtless inspired King Crimson
From the strictly musical point of view, I don't see the necessity of possessing or running after “Hypothesis”. It's an album with a sound quality below a bootleg's one with an improvised music which offers few good rare moments scattered on a court 32 minutes.

Sylvain Lupari (November 15th, 2012)