mercredi 7 novembre 2012

MICHAEL SHIPWAY: Voyage to Venus (2011)

“In Voyage to Venus Michael Shipway draws the lines of a very good album filled by this England School aroma built by great names such as Ian Boddy, Mark Shreeve and David Wright”

1 Kingfisher 8:17
2 Mekonta 5:20
3 Silicon Mass 6:12
4 The Jungle 6:45
5 The Mekon 5:55
6 Turning Blue 7:58
7 Submariner 8:23
8 Kargaz 4:29
9 Invasion 4:17
10 Victory 7:02

MSL MUSIC | MSLCD001 (64:38) ***½
Rather recognized for his work within Volt, and quite recently Lamp, Michael Shipway is active on the scene of EM since 1995 with a first album entitled Beneath Folly. “Voyage to Venus” is his 4th solo work and a first since Spirit of Adventure in 1995. With as background the English cult sci-fi comic strip; Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future, “Voyage to Venus” is an album which goes away from rhythms and ambiences molded in the spheres of controlled improvisations to offer 10 titles a bit more structured. Titles livened up and melodious where Michael Shipway gets dressed of airs from Mike Oldfield, offering of interesting synth/guitar duels, and Mark Shreeve with a zest of Tangerine Dream of the Miramar years. The half of Volt offers a whole range of music genres in musical structures which become soaked by dialogues of this series carried on TV by the English BBC. Voices and hubbub carefully inserted which bring a very futuristic dimension to an album which is worth seeing.
Crystal clear sequences with strikings which alternate in a static broth, where voices and cosmic elements dip the listener right away into the parallel ambiences of “Voyage to Venus”, pierce the very atmospheric intro of "Kingfisher". The rhythm is light and lively. Arched on these bouncy sequences and some sober percussions, it walks around of an approach slightly jerky on the harmonies that a flute is drawing to let it float on a fine cosmic mist. And, as a great majority of the titles on “Voyage to Venus”, this rhythm explodes finely in the second half. It throbs of its resonant the under curves and complex lines of a synth that doesn't spare its solos. We distinguish through this title, and on many others likewise, the influence of Chris Franke on rhythms and sequencing. "Mekonta" offers a heavy rhythm with percussions of Bongos/Tablas styles which mold an approach to tribal and cosmic aromas with a synth to twisted lines and solos which spits the poisons of a heavy electric guitar. "Silicon Mass" presents a more fluid rhythm with sequences which skip in alternation on the ghostly breaths of Martians to spectacled. A guitar weaves fine harmonies that get lost on a rhythm become more powerful where Shipway takes advantage of the movement's heaviness to graft other furious guitar solos. It's in the dusts of a spaceship braking that starts "The Jungle". The intro presents hesitating chords which flutter with the heaviness of their resonances, fooling some surrealist dialogues which fade in the heavy strikings of percussions. The rhythm becomes then heavy, espousing the soft lascivious curves of a good electronic ballad caressed by a suave synth with strange aromas of futuristic saxophone.
After a "The Mekon" which paints the galaxy of white noises and where a dark and melancholic ambience à la Blade Runner assails our souvenirs, "Turning Blue" unfolds its fragile glass chords in a delicate spiral which swirls in the shade of the breaths of a solitary synth. If the first part shows a meditative approach, the kicks of percussions that shake the tranquility leads the title towards an alienish down-tempo; there where is swarming a luxuriant organics fauna. A fine strummed melody makes diversion while insistent riffs plunges "Turning Blue" towards a curious galactic ride where voice-over and twists of synths skin a delicate melody which always looks for a refuge in this odd chassé-croisé of rhythms, ambiences and melodies which tear up the painting of "Turning Blue". With its noises of ballast, "Submariner" vibrates on the heavy chords of a bass line and on an armada of Bongo kinds of percussions which structure a rather funky approach. And the rhythm is of lead. Encircled good synth solos, it's also gnawed by stroboscopic lines which forge a jerky funk that solos of guitars transform into  a structure that is at mid blues and jazz. Always on a background of Dan Dare, "Kargaz" proposes a delicate balladesc approach with chords wriggling in the breaths of a soft ethereal flute. The rhythm is soft, framed by the clouds of angelic mist, and the melody is drawn by an acoustic guitar skillfully played. One would be tell me that it's some Mike Oldfield that I wouldn't be certain to say no. "Invasion" proposes a similar structure to "Mekonta" but with a more nervous and throbbing approach, while that "Victory" has a more rock structure with a pace which gallops under the melodious winds of the solos from a synth as well musical as emotive. It's a very good title with a filmic approach that reminds me of Michael Shreeve' rhythmic universe.
I am of those who approach an album with samplings of voices and tumults of actions in a rather refractory way. And I have to admit that these elements, well hidden, bring a realistic touch to “Voyage to Venus”. For fans of Volt, the musical landscape offered by Michael Shipway risks to surprise. But all in all, and in tying all the 10 titles of “Voyage to Venus”, we find out that Michael Shipway is not very far from the alternating current of Volt. Me I liked it well. Michael Shipway encircles very well his structures into the rhythms and ambiences which follow the paths forged in the England School of Ian Boddy, Mark Shreeve and David Wright. And this depicts very well the original journey of a “Voyage to Venus”!

Sylvain Lupari (November 5th, 2012)

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