lundi 10 décembre 2012

RAINBOW SERPENT: Voyager (1996/2006)

“Voyager is considered as being the most complete work of the New Berlin School of the 90's and I have to agree”

A) Past (22:28)
1 Overture 3:30   2 Ritual 8:23
3 Return of the Dreamtime 5:22   4 The Gate 5:14
B) Present (22:42)
5 Growing from Imagination 10:09
6 Wind, Rain and Thunder 6:06    7 Remnants 4:27
C) Future (18:45)
8 Visualities Labored for Thousands of Years 10:20
9 Final: Voyager 5:52
D) Beyond (Bonus sur Syngate) (13:54)
10 Dreams and Darkness 3:07   11 Elohim

SYNGATE | CD-R 2109 (CD-R 72:23) ****½ (New Berlin School, Teutronica)

Ah that I had difficulty to tame “Voyager”. But isn't the main quality of the timeless works? Needs to say that I so heard about this Rainbow Serpent opus that my expectations were very high. And with reasons! And if you heard Frank Specht's Sebastian im Traum before it, the taming can turn out even more tortuous because the similarity between both works is too much to disregard it. But don't give up or be discouraged, because you have between your hands a small work of genius from the Gerd Wienekamp/Frank Specht duet. Consisted between September 1995 and June 1996, “Voyager” is considered as being the most complete work of the New Berlin School of the 90's. And I have to agree with this observation. We find of everything on this 3rd album from Rainbow Serpent; big gyrating impulses of Schulzian kind of synths, a perfect balance between earthly and cosmic elements which lead the tribal-cosmic structures into perpetual indecisions, intense orchestral arrangements, hypnotic and rotary rhythms à la Software and finally hallucinogenic ambiences dear to the electronic wanderings of the vintage years with synths as much musical as lyrical. In brief, it's a musical jewel where the pleasure grows with the use and this no matter the dependence which ensues from it.
It's in the most total harmonious anarchy that begins Past. In 3:30 time, "Overture" does a very singular overview of what is expecting us on this 3rd opus from Rainbow Serpent. A piano soaked with a nostalgic approach spreads a delicate melodious approach which will be the melodic genesis of “Voyager”. This approach lasts only 45 seconds. Afterward, violent knocks of bows draw an infernal race against time until that soft violin strata unwind carpets of mists where stars and their sparkling are disrupted by electromagnetic storms. This ambio-spherical landscape is gliding until the first seconds of "Ritual" which floats downright in space. One would imagine then of being in the cosmic corridors of Stanley Kubrick and his 2001. Clanic percussions animate a vague trance, drumming out of time in a lunar waltz fed by wrapping violins. The rhythm livens up a little after the 4th minute, moulding again a circular running with sequences and percussions which pound with a balanced frenzy in veils of mists. The parallels with Sebastian im Traum continue to abound. One would believe to be in Steve Roach's roamings poems with this tribal-cosmic fusion that will guide the versatile rhythmic fauna of Past and Present. The morphic flutes of "Return of the Dreamtime" (a strange coincidence) kiss the melodious core of “Voyager” (and of Sebastian im Traum) with a delicious hypocrisy, caressing of their sweetness some sinuous reverberations which by-pass some scattered clanic percussions. Percussions with shy and scattered hits which gradually bind themselves to muffled pulsations of which the heavy palpitations go astray in suave orchestrations to mold a soft cerebral trance which gets lost again in this fragmented melody that roams throughout “Voyager”. Teasing and delicious! "The Gate" ends this first portion with a semi techno, semi disco rhythm. Frantic pulsations raise a circular sequential approach where undisciplined palpitations, the tsitt-tsitt of cymbals and the manual percussions insist on the clanic tempo of Past of which the present melody is kissing a staggering originality. Splendid, "Growing from Imagination" is a pure jewel of a crossing between Berlin School and New Berlin School. The rhythm is fluid and weaved by twinkling sequences which are swirling in the curves of a great line of bass. This inverted rhythmic spiral spins with a hypnotic exhilaration, gleaning the breaths of a lyrical synth which coos in the vertiginous furrows of its turbulence. A synth which also frees twisted solos and which plunges us into the universe of Klaus Schulze (Body Love
). And it's in this very Schulzian ambience that "Wind, Rain and Thunder" lands in our ears. A synth pierces the opacity of its nebulous intro, throwing whistled harmonies which roll in loops. And the memories of a melody forgotten in Past reappear. This melody charms due to its ethereal approach which gets lost in the violent torments of a staccato orchestral movement, where the bows plough a heavy static rhythm, leading this polyphase track towards another electromagnetic storm. "Remnants" concludes the 2nd verse of “Voyager” with another loud technoïd approach. The percussions tumble with suppleness in it, thundering in the resonances of a powerful hypnotic pulsation while that the melodious portion is subjected to weird synth lines which chant an electronic dialect in a loud ambience where scattered chords, harmonic pads and fragmented lines are twirling all around.
Future is the cornerstones of “Voyager” where the first 45 minutes have constantly titillated our hearing with this melodic approach which has always refuse to hatch. The intro of "Visualities Labored for Thousands of Years" is embroidered in the suspense with synths waves which welcome a fall of cosmic waves which float around other synth lines more undulating. A crystal clear chord raises itself between this heap of lines, amassing in its echo a rosary of other chords which form a sequence of ions charmer which skip in a soft harmonious cacophony. And quietly the rhythm gets forge. Fluid, it's harpooned by a bass line of which the heavy notes run against harmony, creating a sweet musical paradox which melts in the ear. We are charmed by this bazaar of sequences and bass chords which circulate in all senses, forging a perfect spheroïdal symbiosis to which add percussions of which the scattered movements amplify the ingenuity of "Visualities Labored for Thousands of Years" which will reach its peak with the powerful technoïd rhythm of "Final: Voyager". And this, my friends; it's a great moment in modern EM. It's like reaching a violent orgasm after the 1 hour of languishing sensual cavorts. I adore and it's more than brilliant. And it's there that the taste of listening to Sebastian im Traum reaches its paroxysm. "Dreams and Darkness", one of the two bonus tracks of this SynGate reedition, extends the very melodramatic finale of "Final: Voyager"
with powerful orchestral elements among which a superb violin which entails us in the fantasies of "Elohim" and of its Berber tribal approach which oversizes and stretches a great final that we would like timeless. I buy those tracks because they fit very well to the genesis of “Voyager”. Splendid!
Intense, dramatic and filmic; the 4 chapters of “Voyager” form a long electronic fresco where the universes of Gerd Wienekamp and Frank Specht collide in an impressive futuristic vision proper to an imagination without borders. It's an intense musical work which drags the listener among an entanglement of rhythms and ambiences from which the subtle variances are orbiting around the same melodic pattern, drawing a kind of long sexual intercourse which inevitably brings us towards a wonderful hearing orgasm. Superb! And it gives the taste to re listen to Sebastian im Traum each time, merging so two great odysseys which form only one.

Sylvain Lupari (December 9th, 2012)

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