vendredi 28 septembre 2012

TANGERINE DREAM: The Keep (1983)

“To me The Keep is the more complete soundtrack that Tangerine Dream has ever produced”

1 Puer Natus Est Nobis 3:09
2 Ancient Powerplant 4:28
3 The Silver Seal 3:07
4 Voices from a Common Land 4:06
5 Arx Allemand 4:24
6 The Night in Romania 3:15
7 Canzone 2:51
8 Sign in the Dark 4:19
9 Weird Village 3:23
10 Love and Destiny 3:31
11 The Challenger's Arrival 4:32
12 Supernatural Accomplice 4:07
13 Parallel Worlds 4:29
14 Truth and Fiction 2:52
15 Wardays Sunrise 3:20
16 Heritage Survival 4:13

TDI010CD (CD 60:06) ****½

Mythical album which knew so many childbirths as miscarriages, “The Keep” is the Blade Runner of Tangerine Dream. Composed while they were on Logos tour, this soundtrack of a somber horror movie that has worship only the rarity and the legends surrounding its music breathe all of the quintessence of the metallic and melodic works of Tangerine Dream, era White Eagle to Le Parc. This 2nd collaboration between Franke/Froese/Schmoelling and the film-maker Michael Mann (Thief) got bumped to all kind of delays and copyright problems, taking 15 years before being lying on CD in the strictest legality, and in limited edition, on Tangerine Dream International's label at the end of 1997 and later in 1999. Nevertheless Virgin was ready to release the record as soon as in 1984 (legend would whisper that a handful of vinyl were already in circulation) but had to take away the project for a copyright problem. In fact several announcements were made by Virgin but none became a reality and bootlegs got released by hundreds in the shade of those promises, among them the famous Blue Moon and Orange Records editions. In all 7 bootlegs came to manure the machine of legends whereas TDI finally released 2 editions for a total of 450 official copies. Another factor that amplified the craze around “The Keep” is the confusion around the titles and the portion that was really used for the needs of the movie (we talk about 3 or 4 titles only) while the recording sessions would have left nearly 150 minutes of music. So, let’s talk about the music!
An electronic version of Thomas Tallis' Midnight Mass wrote back in 1554, "Puer Natus Est Nobis" opens this somber album with a delicious choir with virginal voices chanting under the soft orchestral arrangements of a dreamy synth. The voices push the angelic melody in the high spheres of the emasculated singers, strongly turning over the feelings and making raise the arms’ hair with a surprising duality. If this track looks out of tune from the Dream repertoire, quite as the powerful "Canzone" and its Gregorian choirs which float on synth breaths as much philharmonic than mephistophelic as well as "Parallel Worlds" and its glaucous pulsations which trample fluty breezes à Le Parc, "Ancient Powerplant" sets things straight with a scheming intro where the vapors of synths sing a distorted melody. The mood is tetanised by a veil of apocalyptic blackness while far off we are hearing the percussions to come as reinforcement to establish a rhythmic among which the electronic castanets, of which we find all the fascination on the light and cheerful "Voices from a Common Land", bites to the full the cosmic melodies whistled by a whimsical synth and harmonized by a guitar to discreet elusive notes. "The Silver Seal" is a melody without rhythm of which the approach exudes the ambiences of Hyperborea and Flashpoint, while "Arx Allemand" entails us in the baroque spheres of Wendy Carlos, displaying all the paradoxes that a soundtrack from a movie with black and supernatural atmospheres can allow.
"The Night in Romania" is a soft pensive tune that percussions bear of a dreamy and slow rhythm. The synth spits harmonious filets of mists which go so well with the powerful ambience of the orgiac choirs of "Canzone" who belt out on idle synth lines. "Sign in the Dark" brings us back in the metallic jolts of Mojave Plan on a rhythm which gasps the desertic ambiences of Flashpoint. The sequences are gorgeous and crisscross, both in forms and tones, forging a delicious rhythmic ride which gallops against current on the waves of synth dying of vaporous harmonies. With "Weird Village" we enter into the more atmospheric phase of “The Keep” with a slow onset which calls back the hesitating metallic brightness of Silver Scale. Although more melodious, "Love and Destiny" borrows the same ambiophonic paths on a track which has doubtless inspired the works of Destination Berlin, while titles like "Supernatural Accomplice" and "Truth and Fiction" are offering supernatural approaches with vocoder voices with ghostly breaths floating on clouds of mist. "The Challenger's Arrival" and "Wardays Sunrise" are two tracks built on very similar grounds of which the sensual and dreamy slow rhythms are caressed by the very melancholic guitar of Froese. "Heritage Survival" ends “The Keep” with rhythm and strength on a lively and melodic structure drawn on Logos finale.
To me “The Keep” is the more complete soundtrack that Tangerine Dream has ever produced. Although only some titles have been put along the movie, the totality is really inspiring this fusion of Gothic horror and war in the most complex folds of unhealthy spirits. There is a fascinating correlation between times and ambiences of which the only connecting thread is an impression of Luciferian madness which binds 16 titles tortured by temporal contrasts. The work is titanic and gets inspiration out of this splendor era of Tangerine Dream which exploded its concerts halls with unedited material that landed on this soundtrack, from where the legendary passion for “The Keep” and its derived bootleg productions. Material that would spread its reminiscences as far as on Destination Berlin in 1989. Unfortunately “The Keep” is still out of print. Thus you’ll have to watch Ebay to put the hand on a used copy or still on one of those famous bootlegs until Edgar empties his vaults and offers us finally all the musical adventure of “The Keep”; a major and inescapable work which explains all the phases of the metallic years of Tangerine Dream.
Sylvain Lupari (September 28th, 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=15546

mercredi 26 septembre 2012

MICHAEL STEARNS: M’Ocean (1983)

“M’Ocean is an inescapable musical work where poignant and intense ambiences influenced a whole musicians' generation”

1 Sirens 5:32
2 Marriage Chords 9:36
3 M'ocean 9:36
4 Lightplay 7:06
5 Vicki's Dance 5:24
6 Fireflies' Delight 10:22
7 Walking Song 2:28

GROOVE| GR-047 (CD 46:38) *****

How not let ourselves being enthralled by so much luminescence which glitters around rhythms lost in musical envelopes decorated by thousand of tones with brightness of diamonds? It's been a while since I want to talk to you about “M’Ocean”, but each time I was intimidated at the idea of approaching this chronicle. I wonder how to find the words and how to formulate my sentences to describe aptly all the beauty which hides behind every note of this Michael Stearns' extremely poetical work. “M’Ocean” is a symphony of luminosities and iridescent tones which irradiate on passive rhythms and oceanic ambiences of which the eddies are weaving enchanting seraphic structures. It’s a wonderful album soaked with an abyssal magnetism in the multiple crystal clear tones which glitter as pearls of water on the blades of fire from a burning sun, creating a superb mixture of oniric moods and paradisiacal rhythms.
A first surge of bottom comes to snatch us and "Sirens" entails us in the abyssal ravines of “M’Ocean”. The intro is nuanced between its lyrical layers and others darker which undulate in the swirls to crystalline reflections while the descent is striking of a morbid reality as a drowning in the lands of Poseidon. And there, the nymphs of the bluish depths let hear their singings of astral mermaids with tones which sparkle as prismatic songs in the Eden of immortal exhilaration. And as on the great majority of the structures filled by glimmering musical mirrors, the morphic envelope of "Sirens" sings to us the infinity between the light of the darkness and the blackness of its bites to vanish in the abyss, like being sucked up by the nothingness. With its lines of synth waltzing in indecision, "Marriage Chords" caresses delicately our senses. Soft sleep-inducing impetuses, floating as astral jellyfishes on a twinkling bed of starfishes, weave a lakeside reverie which draws its strength from the slow undulations of strata from which the iridescent outlines run aground on a cosmic bank. These waves which withdraw from sands are slightly bubbling and implode of their fine whitish particles in a splendid soporific whirlwind, awakening the thoughts of the majestic title-track which melts in our ears with all the harmonic presence of “M’Ocean”. Guitar riffs and delicate percussions lift this poetic rhythm which sparkles of its thousand musical prisms, tickling fine passive undulations which let themselves carried away by delicate waves of surface. And "M'Ocean" to swirl lasciviously around a bass line with elongated silent notes, plunging into sea beds and scattering the debris of a submarine fauna which sings of its million prismatic particles. "Lightplay" deepens, with all the dramatic intensity, the melodious portion of "Sirens" second half. It’s an extremely poignant and powerful title where mermaids sing, whistle and chant in a twinkling torrent of synth layers in a heavy moving crescendo. If the first part is bursting out of emotion, the second one entails us towards a more melodic stream where shine thousands of crystalline tones, as sea bees around the hive of Poseidon. Sweet silvery ringings pierce the aquatic dunes, guiding "Vicki’s Dance" towards voices of Shamans which cast the spell for the dance of shady waters. The rhythm becomes dense and espouses a heavy rotatory movement which displays its sequences as rhythmic lappings around an ephemeral spiral. In spite of the movement’s power, "Vicki’s Dance" preserves all of “M’Ocean” oniric cachet with a finale as much poetic as the poems of the marine nymphs. With all its sequences which crisscross and swirl in a stunning immortal dance, "Fireflies' Delight" decorates “M’Ocean” of an apotheosis finale. The intro floats of its glittery veils, awakening one by one some sequences which swirl around a sober and dramatic line of bass. The fireflies are flitting and spinning with the grace of their suppleness, creating a rangy swirling wave which widens its exhilaration in a delicate musical tumult where Caribbean percussions and passive swiftness preserve all the harmonic ease of a finale which lets predict that life comes from oceanic tears. "Walking Song", a short reprise of an Igor Stravinsky's title, ends a powerful opus of which your ears will ask for more, again and again, for years to come.
Innovating with a first hybrid synth (Oberheim OB8) which catches and restores all the depth and the nuances of an art divinely lyrical, Michael Stearns pushes away the limits of the astral musical poetry with an album powerfully poetical that has words only its immense magnificence. “M’Ocean” is a work apart where no comparison holds. On the contrary, it’s the album which influenced a whole musicians' generation and of which these influences can be hear a lot on almost everywhere in the chessboard of the contemporary EM. This remastered edition, released by Groove back in 2000, reflects finally all the depth of this grand musical work which had shaken a handful of initiated during its first version in 1983 under the title of Light Play. It’s an inescapable work. A classic of ambient and melodic EM and if you don’t still have it, say to yourselves that you are definitely missing something!

Sylvain Lupari (September 26th, 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=15545
* You can hear and watch most of  M'Ocean on You Tube by clicking on this link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scaTdcyNDyM

lundi 24 septembre 2012

MICHAEL BRÜCKNER: 100 Million Miles Under the Stars (2012)

“100 Million Miles Under the Stars is a big work of EM like those made in the forgetting of the 70’s opus that I strongly recommend”


1 Memo for Nemo Part I 7:25
2 Memo for Nemo Part II 6:21
3 Cycle of Fire 12:29
4 Paradox Planet 11:30
5 Monokosmos 11:27
6 Waves are Chasing the Wind 13:13
7 100 Million Miles under the Stars 15:32

SYNGATE: CD-R MB01 (CD-R 77:59) *****

Hum … What a pleasant discovery! It’s through a splendidly charming sound and musical decoration that Michael Brückner's first work arrives to our ears by the means of a major EM label. Michael Brückner is a veteran in the circles of EM with a more or less dark ambient style. Active since 1992, he composed and realized 99 albums which are available on various download platforms. For his 100th album, the Syngate label took the bet to make known this talent hidden in the webs of Internet. “100 Million Miles Under the Stars” is a superb album which reveals all of the splendours of an EM which renews with its first role; weave some rhythms and cosmic harmonies in an electronic galactic universe. It’s a great collection of 7 titles where the floating and atmospheric intros are used as pretext to undulatory rhythms moulded in the harmonious oblivion of the analog synths. Rhythms which emerge out of cosmic abysses created in envelopes of stellar tones to be made dream the driest of the imaginations. It’s a very favorite. My very favorite for 2012 that I hurry to share with you.
Pulsations forged into hollow wood are raising hoops with eroded outlines, like some lost steps would raise mislaid partridges, and splendidly the musical fauna of “100 Million Miles Under the Stars” makes itself known in our ears with a veil of iridescent mist which floats in the echoes of the hollow pulsations. A strange perfume of an industrial world floats with quirky tones which stroll around mists weaved in the laments of fanciful violins, whereas that "Memo for Nemo Part I" shells its first minutes in an intense atmospheric broth. An uncertain rhythm is settling down a little after the 4th minute. Fed by more amplified pulsations, of which each pulse is bruising the movement which drops shrill lunar lamentations, and a mixture of percussions/cymbals flickering of nervousness, this rhythm debauches a violent line of frenzied pulsations which makes the bridge between both parts. This splendid spasmodic rodeo crashes into an atmospheric cliff and its brightnesses fall into "Memo for Nemo Part II" which runs away with a delicious stroboscopic movement of which the slow undulations are structuring a cosmic down-tempo where the rhythm, always uncertain, topples over between an exhilarating and occasional velocity, constantly decorated with an attractive cosmicolectronic sound fauna. "Cycle of Fire" is a slow cosmic tribal procession. If the intro offers ringings of sidereal bells which ring among sinuous and long soloing breezes of a synth a bit tinny, the rhythm is wiggling with the arrival of clanic percussions of which the frantic tams-tams sculpture an enchanting oniric dance. The irregularity of the rhythms is in the heart of the charms of “100 Million Miles Under the Stars”, creating a musical happening which tergiversates in a cosmos starry with tones that are similar to the galactic poetries of Tomita and Vangelis. And the tribal rhythm of "Cycle of Fire" is as much parcelled out between its frenzied tams-tams and its soft cosmic ambiences that a synth is wrapping of a soft astral layer, taking good care of the scattered piano notes which float in a Milky Way in thousand stellar tones.
Like some oblong pulsations lost in an ascending heart rhythm, the rhythm of "Paradox Planet" emerges from beyond hollow winds to oscillate of a hypnotic velocity on the gyrating valleys of a minimalist movement which is melting into a linear spiral before dying out in the breezes of the void of a black cosmic finale. These rhythms livened up by synth waves which run and roll in loops are one of the wonders of “100 Million Miles Under the Stars”, the other one being these deep atmospheric moods which bubble and shape those abstract rhythms drawn on timeless loops. "Monokosmos" borrows the same rhythmic and atmospheric phases as "Paradox Planet" except that the rhythmic loops are curter and roll with a more increased pace. The iridescent flutes of "Waves are Chasing the Wind" sing of their sharpness breaths on a more tribal rhythm. The approach, which is similar to an audacious dance of the desert winds with chaotic percussions/pulsations, embraces a fiery rhythm from which the vertical snails form a cadence a bit dislocated which goes contrary to the mesmerizing singings of the wind flutes. The way that the title-track takes place reflects all the sound wealth of “100 Million Miles Under the Stars” with cosmic atmospheres rich in tones which sparkle and sing from every corners of the universe. Magnificently drifting and musically dreaming, the intro floats in a cosmic broth which hovers all over the 7 titles of this Michael Brückner's 100th opus. The sidereal winds are rich and warm. They groan in a swarm of musical stars which shine with all the inconceivable wealth of the depths of a cosmos within the reach of any imagination, while the rhythm wakes up with the silvered jingles of hoops which melt themselves within their rhythmic rings. The rhythm is weaved in a strong undulatory current, pounding with power under the charms of a flute which has no secrets anymore for our ears and of a synth which disperses its cosmic harmonies on a galactic rodeo to thousand spasmodic kicks, concluding the wonderful paradox of a cosmic poetry on its conceptual reality.

Yes “100 Million Miles Under the Stars” is a big work of EM like those made in the forgetting of the 70’s by artists such as Synergy, Jarre or Vangelis. An opus that I strongly recommend. Hat to you Michael Brückner!
Sylvain Lupari (September 24th, 2012)

Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=15537

vendredi 21 septembre 2012

NISUS: Electronic Medication (2012)

“With fine variations on musical patterns rather similar Electronic Medication is a beautiful album where the cosmos is witness of a minimalist music on imperceptible rhythms”


1 Kingston Coffee 9:58
2 Magnetic Miles 11:17
3 Electronic Medication 38:04
4 Black Body Ballad 9:50

INDEPENDANT| (DDL 69:11) ***½

EM inspires more and more some young artists who are inspired by pioneers' works such as those of Klaus Schulze or Jean Michel Jarre. And it’s these inspirations that guided the very first work of the Belgian musician Evert Vandenberghe and his project Nisus. “Electronic Medication” is his first album. An album which turns around 4 long tracks with minimalist approaches perturbed by fine variations while being lined by attractive melodies tinted with cosmic crystals.
Sequences and ions skipping like balls in a too small abacus for all to contain them are starting the delicate approach of Gang Street that introduces the peacefully chaotic rhythm of "Kingston Coffee". This claustrophobic rhythm feeds the rhythmic structures of “Electronic Medication” which fluctuate between a slow and a mid-tempo hampered to be mixed up in soft technoïd approach. It skips slowly on "Kingston Coffee" with a passive approach which ignites with keys in muffled and glaucous tones, stamping on a minimalist lineal movement pecked of sober knocks of percussions and subtle variations which are perturbing its tranquility. Without being dominant on the whole “Electronic Medication”, the synths draw cosmic lines which coo, stammer and roll in loops to raise young harmonies in a cosmic magma fill by the analog tones of Jean Michel Jarre. These sequenced ions which vibrate to create the illusion of a heavy rhythm are also welcoming "Magnetic Miles" which takes the appearances of a comfortable cosmic funk and which would have been able to be a suite, maybe it’s this, to "Kingston Coffee" so much the rhythms and analog ambiences are alike in there, but on a more accentuated rhythm. "Electronic Medication" offers a slow intro splashed with patches of jerky fogs which expire gases of mist under the cooings of synth to morphic harmonies. We are floating in a cosmos soaked of tetanised atmospheres, like on the first works of Schulze. A murky pulsation pops out at around the 14th minute, offering a destabilized rhythmic approach which quickly increases the pace with an enchanting undulation to finally nest towards a cosmic mid-tempo where the vapors of ether get dissipate little by little on a more steady rhythmic progress. The resonant sequences are stumbling of a repetitive grace, borrowing the movements of the first 2 titles and pushing the evolution of "Electronic Medication" towards a soft cosmic techno. This is a very good track where the minimalist side is skilfully covered by fine variations which make a passive listening as fascinating as pleasant under beautiful lines to repetitive semibreve harmonies. "Black Body Ballad" ends “Electronic Medication” with the same approach that fed this first opus of Nisus. A little faster, the tempo skips with the delicacy of a soft mid-tempo or a morphic techno that lines of synth decorate of fine ornamental melodies while wrapping "Black Body Ballad" of a layer of violin veil, like those synth-pop of the New Wave years.
With fine variations, as rhythmic as atmospheric, which charm on musical patterns rather similar  “Electronic Medication” is a beautiful album where the cosmos, and our ears, are the witnesses a fight of jumping ions stamping on a minimalist music in rhythms as imperceptible as hypnotic. I quite liked well this first opus of Evert Vandenberghe, a.k.a. Nisus, who demonstrates a beautiful maturity at the level of the control of his atmospheres, a bit tetanised of rhythmic chloroform, which free a soft hypnotic perfume which caresses the hearing as if Klaus Schulze (post Dreams) would meet Jean Michel Jarre in an oniric cosmos.

Sylvain Lupari (September 21th, 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=15523

mercredi 19 septembre 2012

RON BOOTS: Ghost of a Mist (1991-2002)

“Ghost of a Mist is the meeting point between lunar atmospheres and passive rhythms evolving with a minimalist approach drawn in the shade of angelic melodies”

1 Ghost of a Mist (The Sleepwalker) 15:16 
2 In Timeroom Spirits 9:29
3 Ghost of a Mist (Ring Mist Mountain) 15:34
4 On the Field 5:28
5 Flowing Forces (Bonus track) 9:20
6 Desert Clouds 18:47

  GROOVE| GR-073 (73:55) ***½

Here is an album that is stopped by briefly in the universe of EM and which nevertheless is equal to the quiet works of  Steve Roach and Michael Stearns. Quiet, but not that much! “Ghost of a Mist” abandons the pure and static rhythms of Dreamscape for sleepy ones which teem of passive sequences. This Ron Boots' 2nd opus on Groove is an intrusion in the clanic atmospheres of the American, or illusory deserts, such as put in music by Roach and Stearns. Flanked of Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock on "Desert Clouds" and fort of a splendid bonus track (Flowing Forces), “Ghost of a Mist” is among these albums that time can’t erode the fragile astral beauty of it.
"Ghost of a Mist (The Sleepwalker)" plunges us into these lunar phases and rhythms with unctuous synth layers which float on a sound fauna black-spotted by quirky tones. They glide over the horizon, between the Earth and its stars, with fine contrasts in their musical tints, going from foggy to iridescent and discreet to evident to increase their swiftness or idleness with the power of our hi-fi volume. Like clouds sailing in infinite, these contemplative strata draw invisible hands which caress the nothingness while percussions in tones of light metal are ringing in an ambiophonic frenzy from where emerges an attractive unrealistic gallop which sways hips such as a solitary cowboy in the dunes of another planet. True to himself, Ron Boots wraps his structures, as much abstracted as rhythmic, of a melodic veil unique at his signature which never stops charming the hearing with a troop of sequences to tones so different than ambiguous. Hypnotic sequences which pound and wriggle by hardly skimming the ground, cutting through a mystic mist coated of distant voices with more incisive and curter movements while taking care of not perturbing the singings of the crystal arpeggios which sing like the reflections of Klaus Schulze on Mirage. And then the nasal synth layers with tones as apocalyptic as philharmonic fill our ears, displaying all the depth of the harmonious approaches of Boots who, whatever it’s on a ambient or rhythmic music, always succeeds in drawing these melodies which roam between the ambiences of Roach and Schulze without getting lost as the breaths in the winds. "In Timeroom Spirits" drops a filet of a Berber synth, introducing a dance of shimmering arpeggios which ring with scattered tom-toms to enchanting clanic trances. Another synth wave shows its charms, awakening the glass arpeggios which clink and draw an enchanting contemplative melody from which each key sings off-key on the knocks of percussions. "In Timeroom Spirits" loses its soft rhythmic and melodic approach to stumble towards a heavy ambient passage where the synth layers are crying to the moon, crystallized in a cold of which the collateral damages let hear some spatial rustles.
Delicate tinkling arpeggios climb the sides of a musical mountain to weave a hypnotic cosmic melody which enters our ears as the vestiges of the tribal works of intergalactic deserts imagined by Steve Roach. Other epic title of “Ghost of a Mist”, "Ghost of a Mist (Ring Mist Mountain)" begins with this delicate oniric approach of dances and spiritual trances from nomads of a planet fill by deserts of clay with soft glass chords which flutter and dance in warm winds, like petals carried by paradisiacal breezes. The first part is bewitching while the second, which is setting to motion at around the 8th minute point, offers a more rebellious approach where percussions strikings replace the arpeggios of glass, harpooning an imperceptible rhythm that only the fluty breaths seem to contain this idle mutiny which bursts on a still rhythm watered by delicious blows of synth in Hispanic aromas. With its heavy approach which lurches between rock and a fed by jerky spasms, "On the Field" sounds out of tune among the fragile ambiences of “Ghost of a Mist”. But as all that Ron Boots touches, the harmonious envelope of synths (which inhale the elegiac blows of Mark Shreeve) that rolls up to the heavy and knocks of percussions, as well as the lascivious hummings of a bass line is of a breathtaking musical wealth. "Flowing Forces" is a bonus track and it’s a wonderful one. Fine sequences and/or percussions resound in the trail of their echoes, drawing a delicious minimalist approach that is very close to Mike Oldfield's tribal serenades, I think in particular from the hollow percussions of Incantations. The synths slather their veils of mist and soft angelic voices which whisper in the harmonies of fine harmonious solos, juxtaposing a sheet of additional emotion on this track which has a profound dreamlike impact. It’s just a great track! "Desert Clouds" parades an intro similar as on "Ghost of a Mist (Ring Mist Mountain)" but with a slower pace. It’s a slow morphic procession with arpeggios which ring in each corner of our ears and of which the emotive crescendo is soothing itself among smooth strata in shrouds of mist. The movement gets lost in mists at around the 6th minute to explode violently in the incisive bites of Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock's guitar from which the violent solos tear all passivity. His solos with twists and angelic bruises run out little by little, renewing the morphic approach of "Desert Clouds" which skips shyly towards a finale where the angels chant in a seraphic universe.
Ghost of a Mist” is the meeting point between lunar atmospheres and passive rhythms evolving with a minimalist approach drawn in the shade of angelic melodies. Less striking than Dreamscape, this 2nd effort of Ron Boots on Groove is nevertheless an intensely musical work where the Dutch synthesist amazes by his mastery of tribal atmospheres in a musical envelope and where the synths prevail on soft passive sequences but quite even strongly presents. It’s another extremely interesting album that shows another side of Ron Boots who, as usual, has the art to wrap his music of a delicate and beautiful harmonious envelope. To dream about the open eyes!

Sylvain Lupari (September 19th, 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=15524

lundi 17 septembre 2012

RON BOOTS: Dreamscape (1990-2002)

“Dreamscape is a very beautiful album which shows that Ron Boots has his place beside Klaus Schulze, Manuel Göttsching, Edgar Froese, Vangelis and Steve Roach”

1 Cougarland 6:45
2 The Stand 14:02 
3 Silent Nature 11:14
4 Rivers 7:35
5 Cry of the Heart 8:40 
6 Dreamscape Part I 9:20
7 Dreamscape Part II & III 12:00
8 Rivers (New 2003 recorded version) 7:43

GROOVE| GR-074 (77:37) ****½

By glancing through Ron Boots' biography we are capable of noticing the impressive road map of the founder of the Dutch electronic movement (Netherlands School) and the internationally recognized Groove label. The career of Ron Boots began in 1987 with Linear Waves, an opus realized and distributed on cassette format. Format that was going to support the release of his 5 following works. Initially realized in 1990 on the Synteam label, which became Groove, “Dreamscape” is about dreams. Reveries and lucid dreams which are skillfully transposed on a music where rhythms and ambiences are separating the melancholy from hope. With this album, which was chosen as the best album by the German Schwingungen Club, Ron Boots had aimed at the summit and stayed there since. In fact, “Dreamscape” explains by its structures and music all of Ron Boots' impact on the chessboard of contemporary EM.
It’s with hesitating pulsations to outlines eroded by silvery echoes that "Cougarland" is settling a slow rhythm fed by a sequential approach which has difficulty in climbing a spiral ascent. The rhythm is heavy and slow, as the steps of a puma that surrounds his prey. Looking for the support of some fine percussions of Tablas kind, the tempo swirls under the scattered breaths of a flute which loses its harmonies in the singings of a synth with dreamy solos which harmonizes its harmonious reflections with suave choirs, wrapping the delicate staccato of "Cougarland" of a soft oniric approach. "The Stand" is a wonderful title which displays its 14 minutes by interposed phases where the rhythms are switching forms for ambiances into hybrid spaces. One would believe to hear the first sequential stammering of Steve Roach and Edgar Froese's Drunken Mozart in the Desert on a tribal approach of Vangelis and his Opera Sauvage. The intro takes back this charming fusion of slightly jerky synth breaths which sound like flutes and choirs chanting a celestial nursery rhyme. Chords sounding like hollow knocks of xylophone come to cavort around this delicate approach while gradually Ron Boots surrounds his long procession of a beautiful musical pattern which goes by increasing with all the sweetness that commands reverie. Little by little "The Stand" becomes besieged by a threatening veil while the rhythmic path goes astray towards somber pulsations which bite the ambience and make it swirl in a beautiful spheroidal movement filled by harmonious sequences which twirl around beneath heavy resonant sails where the harmonies and rhythms are embracing in a surprising allegorical symbiosis. The energy dissipates and the sequences are changing skin, borrowing the delicately jerky breaths of a synth which subdivides constantly its lines into flutes and angelic choirs of which the dreamy impacts are delicately harpooned by these tinkling of glass and Tablas percussions which roam in search of a rhythm to be shaped in a space became ambient and idyllic. As for me, "The Stand" and the surprising bolero with a philharmonic crescendo à la Vangelis that is "Rivers" are two inescapable titles of Ron Boots' repertoire to nest on “Dreamscape”. "Silent Nature" is a beautiful ambient musical landscape with uncountable synth layers, some passives and others more musical, which float and surround the ephemeral pulsations of a sleepy nature.
This sort of ambient structure which encircles a fauna of mislaid percussions is also on "Cry of the Heart" where synth layers to silvery breaths cogitate with choirs and lamentations of whales. A warm breeze of Orion frees fine star-studded particles which ring on a carpet of mist and "Dreamscape Part I" enters into our ears with its tones of musical anvil which shine among keyboards riffs fluttering into an enchanting harmonious ballet. Like a storm of sonorous ions, this long prelude to a 2nd part totally independent inhale the peaceful harmonies of a static ballet à la Steve Roach with its sparkling arpeggios which turn in a delicate stationary spiral and its choirs to hatched timbres which wrap this virginal approach. "Dreamscape Part II" begins with a beautiful ballad where Ron Doesborg's acoustic guitar caresses the voice of Desiree Derksen who recites, in Esperanto, a poem of Reina de Jong. The dreamlike approach is fading little by little into the scattered percussions and resounding breaths, plunging "Dreamscape Part II" towards some more steady percussions which hammer a rhythm of lead nearby shimmering arpeggios. Heavy synth waves wrap up this implosive storm while the keys of xylophones blown in glass are courting the heavy tribal tom-toms and the hoarse breaths of an illusory trombone, plunging "Dreamscape Part II" in an intense static bubbling which calm down its lyrical anger in the soothing blades of synth to iridescent prisms. A new version of "Rivers" ends this edition of "Dreamscape" on  Groove and its pulsations which increase their boleric heaviness are always so intense. Only the layers and lines of synth are taking a profound philharmonic essence, restoring to this intense title such a nobility that was lacking to it but of which we hardly noticed on the original version so much it’s immensely beautiful.
Dreamscape” is a very beautiful album where the powerful or motionless rhythms embrace sweet seraphic ambient phases. And whether it’s through his ambiences or his rhythms, the strength of Ron Boots lies in this capacity to structure and tie melodies with an uncommon ease. It’s an inescapable that I recommend strongly and which will introduce you to the musical universe of an excellent composer who has his place beside Klaus Schulze, Manuel Göttsching, Edgar Froese, Vangelis and Steve Roach. Big names in EM from whom we perceive a clear influence on Ron Boots.

Sylvain Lupari (September 17th, 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=15525

vendredi 14 septembre 2012

ROACH&SERRIES: Low Volume Music (2012)

“Low Volume Music is mainly for lovers of a very immersive ambient music”


1 Here 8:01
2 Whisper 12:44
3 Closed 8:12
4 Bow 14:28
5 Haze 15:14

PROJEKT| PRO277 (CD 58:42) ***

Like the tears of violin chiselling the emptiness, "Here" wraps us with a profound morphic veil with a suite of synth layers which float, intertwine and coil up among a fine drizzle of angel dusts to mould an enchanting ethereal approach. The heaviness of the deployment of these passive synth waves made of oblong curves of ether made hear an intense ballet of which the slow movements are fragmenting the swarmings which torments us, in order to bring us in the profound tranquility of spirit that commands the listening of “Low Volume Music”. Nearly 10 years after Innerzone, Roach/Obmana comes back with a new album on the Projekt label. Dark and intrusive, “Low Volume Music” presents 5 long very ambient titles where the eclectic duet, king of somber immersive approaches, displays all the control of their minimalist art with fine variations in their somber soporific structures fed by fine filets of harmonious dualities, destabilizing thus the amorphous announced by a musical genre which constantly need to draw from creativity to avoid redundancy.
If "Here" is made of black ink, "Whisper" brings its first nuances to this last work of Roach/Serries with a series of underlying chords which roll in loops in this intense morphic pattern to thousand of synth layers of ether. One would say to hear some discreet chords of an absent guitar which shines of its sweet sound iridescences particles to glitter in a stagnant void. "Closed" continues on this impulsion of crossed tones and propels us in time with its wrapping ochred waves of which every embrace frees filets of absent voices. One would believe being at the dawn of M' Ocean (Michael Stearns) or at the edge of Western Spaces from Roach, Brennan and Braheny. The approaches are as well seducing as soothing with these slow lines and arcs of synths which speak to us, sing to us and murmur in our ears with an infinite immersive tenderness. This is when that “Low Volume Music” divides its approach with two different tones, one always somber and the other one brighter, which tangle up in a firmament filled of seraph passion. "Bow" and "Haze" are also floating on this duality of phases with strata with mixed tones which glide like the wings of a redeeming angel, drawing some contemplative curves in which we just have the taste to hang on in order to flee reality.
Low Volume Music” is, above all, for lovers of a very immersive ambient music. The eclectic duet to somber wrapping approaches didn’t age at all and offers a musical journey filled by serenity with floating ambiances which surround us and seize our imagination to bring us towards a necessary tranquility. It’s the ideal album to relax and find again our inner peace, there where is always hiding this taste to hear the sounds of Steve Roach.

Sylvain Lupari (September 14th, 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=15507
* For more informtions and hear MP3 extracts on Low Volume Music you can visit Steve Roach's website here: http://www.steveroach.com
or the following Projekt web page: http://projekt.com/projekt/product.asp?sku=PRO00277

jeudi 13 septembre 2012

LOREN NERELL: Slow Dream (2012)

“Profoundly ambient and wrapping, Loren Nerell's Slow Dream is a beautiful balance between mysticism and musical poetry”

1 Mentation 28:40
2 Slow Dream 10:29
3 A Sense of Presence 19:28
4 Persistence of Dream Imagery 8:31

PROJEKT| PRO00271 (CD 67:10) ***½

Loren Nerell is an American composer and musician who likes dark ambient music and Balinese Gamelan, a musical style made of various gongs and metallophones from the Indian and Malaysian origins. “Slow Dream” is his 7th opus. It’s an album of an extreme inner tranquillity where the drones of silvery breathes caress our senses with an infinite contemplative serenity. Set apart the opening track, “Slow Dream” is a somber reflection on musical universes which recall with delight the heavy and ambient music of Steve Roach whom the presence on mastering is directly reflecting on drones and passive curves of this last effort of Loren Nerell.
"Mentation" plunges us into the fascinating musical universe of Gamelan with its long cyclic adventure carried away by the intonations of the gongs and metallophones which quietly forge an enchanting spiritual approach, like some oniric songs caressing the grooves of our ears. This longitudinal title which clocks the 30 minutes length begins with breaths of life which espouse the reverberations of the gongs of which the ringing are singing of their silvered reflections an ode to peace of mind. I have already heard this contemplative approach on The Sky of Mind from Ray Lynch which is however more melodious than “Slow Dream”. Here, no rhythms or melodies. Everything is centred on relaxation and mental appeasement which evolve among fine and subtle variations brought by a synth to breezes of mist. Breezes which subdivide their breaths, bringing a delicate poetic contrast on the metallic stanzas of the gongs which are hiding between sound and silence of souls. The title-track encroaches on the lugubrious finale of "Mentation", pursuing this long atonal odyssey among the somber breaths of an absent synth which float as black angels on an earth of perdition. Less Gamelan and closer to the electronic spheres of a dark ambient musical universe, "Slow Dream" widens its veil of mysticism through its delicate drones which crisscross a subterranean world to the thousand rustles of a strange immersive paranoia. By moments, one would believe to relive the wonderful and quiet world of Steve Roach's Immersion series with this heavy meditative approach which puts to sleep "Slow Dream", as well as on "A Sense of Presence" from which the hollow breezes shake the curves of opposition to progress and awake a strange fauna of a hybrid world. The more we move forward and the more the breaths of synths implode into somber cataclysmic tumults, awakening a universe stuffed with avenging spectres which blow their disagreements among intense drones with incantations as much mephistophelic than celestial. "Persistence of Dream Imagery" ends “Slow Dream” with the same Balinese approach of "Mentation", except that this time Loren Nerell adds some vestiges of a western universe with metallic noises which roam here and there, lost between silence and noise, between day and night. Like a reflection of an industrialized universe mislaid in the immersive universe of the meditative contemplations on Balinese Gamelan music.
I always said it; there is only Steve Roach to draw curves on lines and it’s the enchantment behind “Slow Dream”. Profoundly ambient and wrapping, this last opus of Loren Nerell is a beautiful balance between mysticism and musical poetry. It’s as darker as it can be beautiful and, especially, it’s as well charming than it’s quiet. For fan of dark ambient with a beautiful exploratory touch.

Sylvain Lupari (September 13th, 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=15506
* For more information about Loren Nerell and listen to MP3 files, you can visit his website: http://www.lorennerell.com/
or the web page of Projekt: http://projekt.com/projekt/product.asp?sku=PRO00271