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:

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:

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)

mercredi 14 novembre 2012

ALLUSTE: Cold Gate (2012)

“Cold Gate offers rhythms tinted of a harmonious parallelism where fragile sound arcs and morphic spirals à la Software are carrying soft melodies, a bit neurasthenic, moulded in Johannes Schmoelling's imprints”
1 A Day with Rain 5:21
2 Mothership Landing 7:46
3 Cold Gate 5:43
4 Darwin Array 6:45
5 Loneliness Earth 4:58
6 Order and Disorder 10:42
7 After Hibernation 5:36
8 Arctic Storm 4:29
9 Winners and Losers 4:47
10 Eternal Darkness 6:14
11 Pulsating Moments 5:38

INDEPENDANT DDL | DDD (67:59) ****

If you are a fan of EM of a New Berlin School style and if you still don't know Alluste, you definitively miss something. Hardly 5 months after having delivered his very beautifulEuphemisms&Aphorisms”, Alluste returns with a more melancholic album. Weaved in an enchanted and a fragile universe of ice, “Cold Gate” offers rhythms tinted of a harmonious parallelism where fragile sound arcs and morphic spirals à la Software are carrying soft melodies, a bit neurasthenic, moulded in Johannes Schmoelling's imprints. It's another beautiful album for this new Banfi who is more logical on the other hand than the precursor of the Italian EM.
"A Day with Rain" opens this Piero Monachello's 6th opus with a frosty wind which drops fine melancholic crystal keys. Gloomy arpeggios flowing along the trails of the North winds which weave a sad melody to be made Suzanne Ciani blushes. Sequences activate themselves, sowing the doubt in the listener mind who will constantly be trapped between melodies with a saddened aroma and the light rhythms which are in contrarieties in this harmonic balance. They flutter in the breezes of voices, waiting for the soft train of the silky pulsations which modulate a rhythm as delicate as the tones of blue glass which feed the tones and ringings of sequences. "A Day with Rain" is very representative of what is going to follow because the universe of “Cold Gate” is forged of these fine melodies which let glide, spin and clink dreamy arpeggios from which the jitters and furtive jumps are resounding in mists of ether. Take "Mothership Landing". After a rather cosmic intro, sequences swirl in a soft spiral. They spin around under the jingles of cymbals, flying towards a bidirectional rhythm from where pops another line of sequences with movements more quavering. These harmonious contrarieties, which are synonymic of hearing curiosities, abound on “Cold Gate”. We have to think of "Loneliness Earth", which reminds me enormously the universe of Yanni and the somber "Winners and Losers" as well as the splendid "Eternal Darkness" with its sequences which flutter as fireflies, of which the crisscrossed and unfinished flights dance under some dense organic strata. The intro, which hides a structure off the wall, takes its flight towards a surprising melodic approach frozen in a whirlwind of ice where the rhythm gallops slowly on the ice floes of infinity. The title-track proposes a slow rhythmic evolution where ghostly streaks tear up an ambience fed by astral voices. The rhythm is forged by small kicks which skip and accelerate finely the pace in an ambience tetanised by ochred sails and dusts of stars.
"Darwin Array", quite as "Pulsating Moments", offers a morphic rhythmic structure with strings of sequences with unpredictable rotatory movements. And quietly we move forward in the cosmic phase of “Cold Gate” with "Order and Disorder" and "After Hibernation" which use perfumes of intergalactic elements à la Jarre. Wooden bells resound in void, entailing in their echoes the genesis of a rhythm which moves forward stealthily. The rhythm is deploying in finesse with a meshing of these bells, the furtive pulsations and the fragile sequences which ring in an attractive melodic cacophony. The synth loosens clouds of ghostly tones which roam on a structure in continual movement. And without ever overflowing his soft morphic setting, Alluste insufflates to "Order and Disorder" another spiraled rhythm which encircles solitary arpeggios and harmonious fragments wandering on a structure more ambient than rhythmic, but rich in heterogeneous tones faithful to the electronic harmonisations of the vintage years. There is a lot of research on this track which is, and by far, the best on “Cold Gate” and possibly of Piero Monachello's career. And we feel in it a clear influence of Tangerine Dream of Le Parc and Legend era. Softer and more seraphic, "After Hibernation" present a more fluid rhythm which jumps up with a restraint fury in a meshing of percussions/pulsations to analog tones. And we move forward to the boiling "Arctic Storm", a title which reminds me of Clara Moondshine's stubborn rhythms with its sequences of glass which ring in fine harmonious kicks. Supported by the jingles of flickering percussions, these sequences are running at high speed towards a rhythm pure. A rhythm arched on pulsations and muffled percussions which roll through the wintry mists and under the melodious breezes of a synth which reminds us the magic of Johannes Schmoelling's contribution to the works of Tangerine Dream . It's very good and this track adds to a list of fascinating tracks of which the rhythmic approaches swim in full contradiction, explaining why this last opus of Alluste is also solid as “Euphemisms and Aphorisms” which is one of the beautiful surprises of 2012. Seriously, if you don't know Alluste yet, it's high time to put you to it.

Sylvain Lupari (November 13th, 2012)

samedi 10 novembre 2012

DAVID WRIGHT: Beyond being Connected

First thing first David; congratulations for your last album. It is another beautiful album.
Thank You. Yes, I'm very, very pleased with how it turned out.

Trinity, The Spirit of Light, Music for Angels, In Search of Silence and now Connected. All titles with a spiritual connotation. Did David Wright undertake a spiritual bend in 2010?
No, not at all. Hadn't really connected the titles in that way.
What is the message, the vision and the emotions that ties Connected to David Wright?
Connectedevolved through 2012 from a live piece of music (the first 45 minutes, tracks 1 - 8) and originally the title was Constant Perceptions. It went through many processes and versions before the final album version, including a vocalist (Carys Swinger) and library vocals from the Hearts of Asia library. Tracks 9 - 11 were one track from “In Search of Silence” sessions that was going to be the closing track before I wrote "Worlds Beneath". The music fits much better on “Connected. The final 3 tracks were from the “Continuum” era, and was a piece I had forgotten all about. When I revisited it and completely re-arranged it, I found the perfect ending to the new album. I initially wanted to call the album Constant Perceptions but I found it difficult to imagine an artwork for the album. I suddenly discovered the album image and the idea of perception and being connected just fell into place. I deliberately chose the titles to reflect the psychology of perception and also being connected by the worldwide web - all deliberately pretentious! The other reason for the shorter titles is purely for the commercial download market (tracks need to be less than 10 minutes for individual downloads).
Even if the musical envelope is rather different, we feel a transition between In Search of Silence and Connected, if only in their conceptions (Two long chapters each with a more electronic touch for each of them, a weak Berber touch on ISOF and a big one on Connected) and their titles. What are the links, and their inspirations, which brought to the realization of Connected and In Search of Silence?
Well, my answer will probably sound quite disappointing; because there are no conscious links. I make only one conscious decision with each new album. That is to attempt something different to the previous album. I think probably I felt a greater affinity with my synths on the last 2 albums than ever before, perhaps a more relaxed approach just to explore the musical possibilities available to me. Also though, I returned to more hardware based synths as my main method of composition and mastering and this, paradoxically in today’s technological age, I found better, more liberating even.
Talk to us a bit about these two albums. They are very introspective. Is David Wright in search of a peace of mind or he is only bewitched by the immense musical possibilities of the Arabic electronic art?
None of these things! This will sound selfish, arrogant and self serving, but, as I already stated, I write music as a means of expression. Something within me wants to communicate through musical ideas and most importantly, through the emotion in music. When I incorporate ethnic influences, I deliberately do this as a gentle influence to be part of the music, not to take over the music. The process of creating does, in itself, create the emotional connection with the listener, because the music creation and the music are interconnected. So I am not consciously trying to incorporate any influences. If they happen, they happen because they feel right for the music. The sitar for example on ''Threshold of Perception'' was a last minute addition because it worked better than guitar. Also, the Eastern vocal texture gave my chord structure a more dynamic edge that was better than using conventional western vocals, which is what I'd used for the live concerts.My point here is that it's always about what works best for 'the music', first and foremost, nothing else. Also, it is important to note that once the album is finished, so too is my emotional investment in it! I no longer have any interest in it. I pass it on to the LISTENER - it is the LISTENER who should comment on the music, who should interpret and discuss the emotional content. As the composer, I am only interested in the next musical project.
Your solo works are immensely touching, emotive and moving. How to explain all this emotionalism, all this depth which surrounds intimately your works? Do you believe that the fact of being alone in studio bring you to exteriorize at most the state of your feelings?
Being alone in the studio affords me some time without distraction when I need it, but it's about what's inside me trying to get out, that is always the main thing. Certain exterior influences make that easier and help the process and as I already said, maybe a journey or another piece of music inspires me. Sometimes a good feeling, sometimes a sad feeling like 9/11 that made me sit and write the “Walking with Ghosts” theme. Or the children's home in Albania described to me through poetry by a friend that inspired “Dissimilar Views” way back in 1995. Or the USA concerts in 2007 that inspired “Momentum”. Even back to my first recording “Reflections” that I wrote after the death of my first wife in 1988. Emotion is what people define as my style, whatever the music I perform, that emotive style is what people recognise as David Wright over so many different CD releases in 25 years.
How do you approach the composition of an album? Does the concept come before the music or vice versa? For the benefit of those who claim that writing and playing EM is so easy (we just have to press on knobs and turn some switches); how do you proceed to write a title? Let’s take "Elemente der Psychophysik", out of nothing to its whole.
My music is an emotional expression and each album is approached the same way. Firstly, I ensure that there are no distractions. I shut myself away from everything and Elaine, my wife, knows that I am not to be disturbed. This can be difficult because obviously there are many business and family matters to be attended to, but usually I take 2 -3 weeks away from everything to start the album. There is no set way in which I approach the composition of the album. My inspiration may be the artwork or it may be just musical ideas in my head and these can be from anything; a journey, an event, hearing other music. Tracks usually evolve from the spark of the original idea through many stages. Sometimes the evolution of the music can be easy, other times fraught with difficulties. Imagine taking a block of marble and starting to chisel away. Something begins to emerge from the marble and gradually, the detail is added as more and more of the marble is slowly and delicately chiseled away. How long this takes is dependent on what appears out of the marble. Sometimes though, too much marble is chiseled away and the idea is scrapped in favour of a new piece of marble.
So, there is a process, yes, but what is that process? If I knew that I would bottle it, sell it and become a very rich man! The process cannot be explained, I cannot explain and I don't think any artist can. The music evolves naturally over time and often, I am so involved in the process that only when each part of the creative process is finished am I aware that there has, in fact, been a process. Sometimes there may be a sequence pattern, other times a sequence of chords, other times a rhythmic element. It really does vary and often I cannot remember how a track starts. I have many ideas in a folder waiting to revisit. Usually though, I have the basis for the album within those first 2-3 weeks. But, then, the completing of the album, the mixing, the sound choices, the mastering, this can take many months. It is the time on the detail that makes the album!

How do you manage to do the difference between your solo works and your collaborations projects?
All these projects produce a different style of music, so I approach each project with the style of music in mind for that project. Also a consideration of the dynamics of the writing and recording process with the members of each project. They're all different and mostly it's about the practical, domestic arrangements required to ensure the projects run smoothly. The creative process is ALWAYS the same, whatever the project. Ideas are brought to the table by individuals and developed by the collective and the music just evolves.
Sometimes there's a plan, like with Code Indigo, where a theme evolves and the music grows around the theme. “For whom the Bell”, for example was about life and the human condition, so it was easy to find lots of sample to add to the music to provide a kind of narrative. That album developed from a collaborative project between Robert Fox and me into a band with the addition of Vaughn Evan and Nik Smith. It also set the template for future Code Indigo albums, “Uforia” (sci-fi), “Timecode” (time) and “Chill” (global warming). The new album, set for April release and being premiered at E-Day in Holland, is “MELTdown” and uses the financial crash as the backdrop. We also felt it was a logical follow up to “Chill”. Code Indigo offers me the platform to do things I wouldn't otherwise do as a solo performer. Obviously, sometimes the style of Code Indigo  spills into my solo work, that's only natural, but I try to avoid it if I can.

As far as the writing process is concerned, there is a very deliberate plan to ensure my input is not too David Wright. That may seem strange, but often when I compose music, I put certain tracks to one side because I think they could become a better Code Indigo or Callisto track(Robert Fox used to do the same). So I try and approach the project with a blank canvas, both of ideas and sounds, and make all best efforts to respect the music of the project and not take it over by making it a David Wright album (not that the other collaborators would allow that, ha ha).
Is it easy to strike a balance?
Sometimes, yes it is, in the sense that solo work is much easier by definition. Collaborations can be stressful and requires a certain amount of compromise. The main thing is that when doing a collaboration, I'm deliberately trying to do something different to my solo work, and I think collaborations help a musician to develop and mature in ways that wouldn't be possible if always working alone. It's obvious if you think about it.

If there is a difference between Code Indigo or still Boddy/Hoffmann-Hoock/Wright (Trinity) we can't say there is too many between Callisto which is as much harmonious as your solo works.
I think there is a HUGE difference between these styles?! Code Indigo is definitely NOT like David Wright music! It's electronic rock and an amalgamation of the various musicians involved. Similarly, Callisto is NOT like David Wright music but deliberately Tangerine Dream style sequencer based music and much of the sequence ideas actually come from Dave Massey in Callisto. Dave Massey is hugely talented at sequencing and I have learned a lot from him over the years. I do not perceive my music to be that Tangerine Dream in style, certainly not in the sequencing sense. Of course my music nods in their direction occasionally, but no more than it does so towards say, Vangelis, or Mike Oldfield or Kitaro. As I have said before, what you hear in all the different projects is the emotional core of David Wright and it is that that you recognise as my 'style' even though the music is quite different.
And regarding Trinity; how do you manage to separate the David Wright of Walking with Ghost, or still from Connected, The Tenth Planet, and others of that of Trinity? Do you succeed in taming this style of relaxing music?
Well, again, it's about recognising what the style of music is. Relaxation music is not easy because it requires subduing natural instincts to develop the music and add dynamics. The relaxation music style keeps everything very slow building and without the dynamics that I would normally aim for. Again, it's recognising what the music is about and balancing that with my musical input.

In the chessboard of conventional EM; let be Berlin School, England School, Dutch School or New Age; where is situated David Wright?
My music crosses all of these, while being situated in none of them. I don't really think about it and I suppose I have no real interest in the discussion.

Do you consider yourself now as being a New Ager? Does EM has to be labelled with all its sub-genres? Is melodious EM (Vangelis did some great melodious works and I do feel his huge influence on your music) necessary New Age or Easy Listening kind? I would like to hear you about that?
I suppose people/fans need a reference point. As I mentioned already, I don't think about it beyond what we have to do as a label for distribution. We label our music as instrumental, new age, electronic, space music. In my experience, people have different interpretations of those genres, so I'd rather not waste time giving it headspace - it academic and it's subjective.
Does it annoy you to think that one can label you as a new New Ager?
Only if they don't listen to my music as a result! Bottom line is that my music is actually quite organic, which is, arguably, counter to the definition of electronic music. My music sometimes has ethnic influences but it isn't 'world music'. My music isn't always space music but it is probably best described as instrumental new age space music. At the end of the day, if people chose to listen to my music and like it, they won't care (or at least I don't see why they should care?!) whatever it's categorised as. I have fans in the electronic music market and the new age market, so as I answer before, this is a 'non' discussion to me and I don't understand the fascination with the questions about genres.......sorry!
What are your main influences that push you to do music?
Life and a love of music.........
Music and EM changes, evolves constantly. How do you feel about these changes (Equipment, styles and new artists)? Do you think that EM is going in the good direction or it's stuck on the same place?
Change is inevitable, it doesn't bother me. I use the changes in technology that work for me and ignore those that don't. Despite the advances in technology, I think music has, sadly, become a disposable commodity to be given away free with breakfast cereal. I'm fortunate to have been involved in music for a long time and make a living from it, but I would hate to be starting now, it's very difficult. Part of the problem is that it's so easy to make music. That's great, but technology and the internet has allowed for everyone to get their music 'out there'. There's an old saying; "Everyone has a book in them" (or an album). Well, that may be true, but it doesn't necessarily mean it's a good book (or album)! Also, now I believe there are more people and websites selling the IDEA of being successful at music than there are musicians! It's like the X-Factor has spread to the internet.
As far as the direction of EM is concerned, I can't answer that, I honestly don't know and don't really have an opinion on it. My concern is my music and my business, AD Music, both of which are intertwined in making my living. However, I will say that I think em suffers like all other genres with falling CD sales, online piracy and a general apathy derived from the scene being flooded by music, a lot of which is average at best! Add the global economic situation and it not a pretty picture!
A favourite one lately?
Apart from AD Music releases, I've been to busy to listen to any new em this year aside form old favorites. I listen to things like The Beach Boys, new CD That why God made the radio. Or Diana Krall or my CD collection of  The Moody Blues, Santana, Pink Floyd, Genesis etc,etc.
However, just this weekend I listened to the entire Klaus SchulzeSilver Edition”10 CD box set! Awesome!!
What are your next projects?
I'm going through the live recordings from 2012 with a view to a double DVD release in 2013. The music will be set to Dave Massey's excellent graphics with a few live extracts.
Do you have an idea of what your next album will be? Collaborations ahead? Concerts?
I have a few solo ideas knocking around in my head, but nothing to talk about yet, sorry. I hope to get together with Ian Boddy for the follow-up to “Shifting Sands”, maybe later in 2013. We both want to do it, but it's finding the time. I have a concert with Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock in Germany at Bochum Planetarium on December 30th 2012. Details are online. The first half of 2013 is all Code Indigo, with the new album “MELTdown” and concerts in the UK and Holland in April and June, with maybe another European concert later in 2013. I have one UK solo concert planned for September 2013, details of which will be announced soon by the promotor. In 2014 I will be performing 3 concerts with BasBroekhuis DetlevKeller & MarioSchonwalder; one in the UK (Bungay) of 1st June 2014 plus others in Berlin and Amsterdam around that time. This is something we've been talking about for years. They're great friends and great musicians, so it should be fun and produce some great new music.
If I asked you to point an event that marked you in 2012, which would it be and why?
Probably the Gatherings Concert in Philadelphia. A thoroughly enjoyable concert where everything went as planned.
Talk to me about an album, a book and a movie which particularly seduced you recently.
The Dark Night Rises was stunning. But a great independent film I saw while in the US was Robot and Frank. Best film I've seen in years! Album-wise, I'll go for The Beach Boys' That's Why God Made the Radio for pure nostalgia! Actually don't read that much anymore, never seem to find the time!
AD Music knew a revival during the last years. Speak to us about a few new orientations of your label. There are new and very interesting names (Divine Matrix, Sylvain Carmel, Dead Beat Project, Geigertek, etc.) Many new names for as much styles.
Well, strangely,  I don't perceive it as having a revival at all, we've been here since 1989 growing and selling CDs, surviving while many other labels have gone, We embraced the digital revolution from the start while I have made a successful living with good CD sales and publishing. That fact seems to have passed the EM community by over the years. I just think more people in the EM genre have taken notice of the music in recent years, that's all. We've been here all the time though, doing what we're doing! That said, perhaps the one thing we've done differently in recent years is to take full control of the releases and been far stricter with artists over album content and artwork. There were some poor decisions made in the past when we tried to maintain the artists 'artistic' vision and sometimes that simply backfire commercially. Bottom line, AD Music is a business! I'm obviously pleased with all the new artists and albums, which help expand the labels footprint and we'll see how these artists develop over the coming years. One of the main reasons for expanding the artist and genre styles is for the up-and-coming Library Music website.
How you manage to decide between your role of producer/talent scout and the one of composer/musician? What are your big surprises so far regarding this new direction and your new artists?
I'm NOT a talent scout and hate the idea that anyone would remotely think of me as such! I produce where necessary as part of my role to ensure good quality product is released by AD Music, that has always been the case from as far back as my discovering of Bekki Williams in 1995 and producing her first 2 releases and having a hand in the other two. Oh there is no new direction, it's just that people only discover this fact and my activities now!
What plans for AD Music for 2013 and the years to come?
Due to the economic climate and dwindling CD sales, there will be changes. We have a couple of new releases in the pipeline for 2013 but mainly it's going to be repressing and re-issuing older titles that are out of stock. Perhaps a couple more compilations, we shall see. Our main focus for 2013/2014 will be our Library Music site.
David thanks for your time and kindness and on behalf of Synth&SEquences' readers, the best of luck with your musical projects.

Sylvain Lupari (Interview made during the week of November 1st, 2012)

vendredi 9 novembre 2012

PARALLEL WORLDS: Obsessive Surrealism (2007)

“On his first album Bakis Sirros already knew how to separate darkness from haunted melodies”

1 Beneath Fear 6:06
2 Different Pathways 5:18
3 Empty Human Cells 3:38 
4 Increasing Complexity 5:52
5 Into the Caves of the Mind 4:50
6 Interlude 2:09
7 Reflective 9:32
8 Mindmists 8:49
9 Pale Yellow Sky 5:42
10 Distracted 6:57
11 Crying Spells 4:15

DiN |DiN26 (63:04) ****
A dark and buzzing sound wave hops delicately on the opening of "Beneath Fear". It's a spotted intro which let emerge a fine strummed melody frozen in a dense sound fauna. This soft melody is sharing its harmonies with a thick cloud of tones as much mottled as that fear can have reasons with flutes, whistling synths to melodious theme, hopping and bouncy percussions drumming in a light and lugubrious ambience. If the tempo is of equal appearance it becomes more implosive towards the end, hammering the rhythm with the strength of its dismay. Interesting? Extremely! Parallel Worlds is the name that the musician of Greek origin Bakis Sirros has chosen to present us his surprising “Obsessive Surrealism”; the perfect merger between EM and ambient electronica. It's a musical universe with rich sound textures and puzzling tempos that fit harmoniously to sound effects and samplings accurately chosen and measured well by Bakis Sirros.
This defender of analog tones creates an extraordinary effect of wealth in a juxtaposed dimension, like in a parallel world, which amazes and which changes the order of things in a musical world where sound machines have no borders. What gives some additional languishing effects on titles as "Different Pathways" and the aggressive "Into the Cellars of the Mind", where some artless principal lines are absorbed by sound effects which spread opposite rhythms. This is an incredible and subtle sound molding, as if my invisible clone walked in front of me and absorbed me when he reaches me. So I mould into it and it moulds into me. Well...I gotta say that I smoked some good grass here :-). But it’s totally brilliant. These strikes of genius teem from all over on “Obsessive Surrealism”, which nests on the avant-gardism DiN Records label as it says “a fine purveyor in or of Contemporary Electronic Music. With its vaporous gaseous jets "Empty Human Cells" presents a static intro. Gradually a circular tempo settles down, pressed that it is by a deformed bass and sound effects which click like fluttering percussions while the mood becomes schemer on shorts symphonic strata. With a title as striking as "Increasing Complexity" we could expect an insane whirlwind. But we are entitled to a soft tempo of a kind of Caribbean islands with knocks of percussions which sound like xylophone keys. The beauty of it is this line of distortional electronic percussions which shape a suave and smooth tempo.
A good slow down-tempo tempo awakens the senses of "Reflective". Slow like a morphic hypnotic pulsation, it's tying up to another fatty sequence which oscillates among synth pads to float softly on yet another more bouncy sequence. A fascinating series of violin strata crosses this quivering movement that takes the shape of a wavy-like jazz structure which glides over the mesmerizing bends of a lyrical synth and percussions with more than effective hits. While that "Mindmists" makes us visit the strange and deviant lanes of "Empty Human Cells", but with more variances in the rhythms, "Blade Yellow Sky" is rocking us with a beautiful rendezvous between a piano and a cello in a soft lounge mood filled of amplified percussions. Still the tempo is lonely and is sculptured around sound effects and samplings. Aggressive but delicious, "Distracted" strikes us quite hard with a heavy electronic approach. It's a powerful music piece and a pure analog fest that is between some rude Redshift and loud Ramp. "Crying Spells
" sounds like its naming! It's an intense paranoiac bolero with daunting choirs on luciferian pulsations.
Well! “Obsessive Surrealism” is a whole opus for a first one! From the first chord to the last one, we are thunderstruck by the musical approach of Parallel Worlds who gives me the same impact as Brian Eno did once with Nerve Net. Everywhere, samplers and sound effects decorate the music up and down, over-sizing the structures while giving them an artistic depth of a surprising paradox. It's as darker as that can be good and it's especially very refreshing. And throughout these musical corridors to endless depths, we perceive this parallelism intrusion with a stunning subtlety. A sign of a completed symbiosis between the blackness and its unreal harmonies.
Sylvain Lupari (March 22nd, 2007 and translated on November 6th, 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: