mardi 25 juin 2013

EDGAR FROESE: Epsilon in Malaysian Pale (1975)

“Epsilon in Malaysian Pale is a true masterpiece which explains why Froese was considered for a long time as the soul of Tangerine Dream”

1 Epsilon in Malaysian Pale 17:00
2 Maroubra Bay 17:15
CD Virgin | CDV2040
(CD 34:15) *****
(Ambient Berlin School)

Here is one of the key albums of EM. To several journalists and specialists of the 70's, “Epsilon in Malaysian Pale” is considered as a masterpiece of ambient and atmospheric music. A dominant stage in the sound exploration of the Mellotron. A little just as in Phaedra and Rubykon, “Epsilon in Malaysian Pale” is a dark album, by moments ghostly, with heavy floating movements and a slow rhythmic evolution.
Inspired by his journeys in Malaysia, in the Philippines and in Australia, this Edgar Froese's 2nd solo album is in the same vein as Aqua. Froese exploits sound samplings which are of an edifying paradox. Wanting to denounce the overexploitation of these equatorial paradises, Froese makes a skillful mixture of tones from the aboriginal fauna with more industrial sounds, like trains on a railroad. It's on these rails that begins "Epsilon in Malaysian Pale". Splendid, the Mellotron floats with its austere waves which are pleasantly melted into a fluty breeze. And as on Phaedra the ambiance is dark and atonal, while that Froese plays the Mellotron with such dexterity that we travel between the grave dark tones of organ to those soft fluty melodies. Towards the half-time, the noise of rails gets us out from our celestial torpor to breathe life into a brief and heavy sequenced movement which hems nearby a Mellotron creator of melodiously fluty musicalities. It's a brief passage, and a very TD one, which dies out in the immense Mellotron strata which cover "Epsilon in Malaysian Pale"."Maroubra Bay" brings us closer to the soils of Tangerine Dream. A terrifying wave is springing out from an abyssal nothingness to set ablaze an apocalyptic and symphonic synth. It's a heavy and black intro which slowly draws a beautiful sequenced movement. A sequence which waves with suppleness among wandering strata which glance through a structure became melodious, crumbled regularly by breezes and waves of a Shangri-La. This is a splendid fusion of the elements of water and winds which enriches "Maroubra Bay" and which maintains its undulating road in a heterogeneous universe which fits easily to a very wrapping Mellotron.
Epsilon in Malaysian Pale” is a small jewel. A true masterpiece which explains why Froese was considered for a long time as the soul of Tangerine Dream. It's an album which could have been able to make the repertoire of the Dream so much it sounds and feels like a TD's one. An inescapable in contemporary EM and a way to discover the wonderful musicality of the Mellotron.

Epsilon in Malaysian Pale (2005)
1 Epsilon in Malaysian Pale 18:27
2 Maroubra Bay 17:33

(CD 36:00) Eastgate 003
Contrary to the remixed version of Aqua, which came after this one, this second life of “Epsilon in Malaysian Pale” comes with nearly the same artwork, with brighter colors, and no bonus track. But there is a whole sound difference. First of all, the intro and finale of the title-track are longer. But this adds nothing very new, because that the tone is more metallic and that the shouts of animals are replaced by some metal ones that we twist with mockery. The musical structure? Bof, it's nearly the same, except that the Mellotron is digital. So, it's a colder tone compared to the original. A tone which is the equivalent of the digital era and which gobbled up all of the subtlety of the analog equipments of the former days. A cold and lifeless sound. Thus this remix brings nothing new. I won't dare to write that it's a pale reflection because we are talking here about a major work. And frankly if I had not listened to the original I would say that it is completely brilliant. So there is no witch-hunt to be made … But it's might be the price that Edgar, and his fans by ricochet, has to pay to get back the rights of his catalog. Nevertheless, if you still don't have “Epsilon in Malaysian Pale”, it's a necessity to get it. This version, to encourage Edgar, or the original one. Even without the warm emotivity of the original it remains a wonderful album remixed by a lazy person. I do believe that Edgar had amply the chance and the time to remodel his masterpiece. If the grey fox had an ounce of respect for his fans and his works he would have updated it, while working with his old equipment, and enhanced it, in the same way that Jean Michel Jarre did with Oxygene. And there he could have gone for more improvisation, stretching out the music because the situation lent itself to it admirably well. And don't get me wrong; I love Edgar. It's just that I think that Edgar doesn't do as much as his fans are doing for him. But Edgar... Sometimes he is so difficult, so unseizable.
Well, I had to let it out! Keep in mind that what we have here is a true masterpiece and that if you still don't own, it go get it. Try the original version, if not this one is ok too but you will missed the true essence of the analog perfumes of the Mellotron. And the Mellotron here is the most wonderful and musical that you will hear.

Sylvain Lupari (June 19th, 2013)

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