1 Cosmic (Pre Earshot Mix) 10:32
2 Earshot Part One 11:12
3 Earshot Part Two 6:33
4 Earshot Part Three 8:30
5 Mopho Me Babe (Post Earshot Mix) 9:33
Manikin | MRCD8002 (EP/CD 46:19) *****
(A blend of cosmic, Düsseldorf and Berlin Schools)
Fanger & Schönwälder! Or the art to revisit the multiple dichotomies of the Berlin School's vintage years. Each new album, or concert, leads the duet towards new summits where we wonder when it will eventually reach a ceiling. And it won't be with “Earshot”. Presented in two halves; a 26 minutes mini concert given at the 2012 E-Live festival and some studio sessions during last winter, “Earshot” shows the art of excellence from the famous duet at digging the old ambiences of the analog years and to reshape them in rhythms closer to techno that those quieter, even if that always remains rather hypnotic, from those vintage years. It's a fight of the styles between Thomas Fanger and Mario Schönwälder where the mediator is no other than the famous guitarist and Mellotron player Cosmic Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock. And like on Analog Overdose 3, his presence brings the music of Fanger & Schönwälder towards another level.
Let's start with the concert. “Earshot” is divided into three different parts where the rhythms follow an upward tangent. "Earshot Part One" infiltrates our ears with dense morphic waves which reveal a pleasant organic fauna. A delicate movement of rhythm spreads hopping sequences which cavort in luminous sonic hoops. The ambiences are carpeted by Mellotron mists and by synth laments from which the spectral coils shape solos strolling and roaming on a rhythm which spreads its wolf steps with more vigour. Everything passes by the ears with "Earshot Part One". We hear percussions of rattlers, riffs and solos of a very discreet guitar glide among the roses of ambience, nicely sculptured here, which quietly smother a rhythm which has always pounded with sweetness. "Earshot Part Two" offers a more emphasized rhythm where are dancing the iridescent mists and sing the fluty charms of Mellotron to the pastoral odes. Both borders of Berlin School come face to face on this structure of rhythm a bit technoïd which inhales the contrariety in the presence of thick Mellotron mists, evasive flutes and threatening reverberations which smother the flow and makes it morphic on a pastel musical pattern. A Kraftwerk style of vocoder introduces us to the rhythm waving such as an anaconda on acid of "Earshot Part Three". This time the trio pushes us in the Teutonic rhythms of the Düsseldorf School with the fragrances of Mythos' Krautrock style and the robotics rhythms of Kraftwerk. Platonic percussions, cybernetics voices, black, feverish and oscillatory sequences; the rhythm flows like a starved zombie strolling beneath blue clouds. We are in a phase of dance music for broken living-dead from which the soft spasms oscillate with violence in an electronic atmosphere eaten away by fickle guitar solos and synth waves more electronic than harmonious. It's different and surprising while staying very near Thomas Fanger's repertoire.
The studio portion of “Earshot” is totally out of this world. "Cosmic (Pre Earshot Mix)" is a deep dark track which waves with the heaviness of its pulsatory synth pads. The beat is heavy. It wriggles like a torrent of decibels trapped in a long tube filled of water. If the synth pads which roll in loops forge the base of the beat, the percussions which tie up to it give it a shaded crescendo which stamps our hearing among mislaid noises of bells and anvils. Lots of noises emanate out of this cosmic fury that the guitar of Cosmic Hoffmann showers of juicy solos and savage riffs which lose a bit of power when wrapped by vaporous mists of a Mellotron which hasn't forgot a thing of its smith's role of morphic ambiences. It's very good. One of the good tracks of rhythmical EM that I heard this year. "Mopho Me Babe (Post Earshot Mix)" is all in contrast and presents a more undecided approach with bass sequences which pulse and skip with tenacity, offering a structure of rhythm that one could compare to a hopping walking with stationary moments. What holds our attention is this fluty Mellotron of which the harmonious fragrances remind of Bali Sunrise, a classic from Mind Over Matter. The rhythm is soft and the harmonies intrusive, like a beautiful summery electronic melody.
When the cosmic rock, Düsseldorf techno and vintage Berlin School couple together, it gives an irresistible mixture where the converging styles marinade in the visions of all and each. It gives “Earshot”; a superb album of an EM which is marvellously astride on the various styles of its writers, giving so a wonderful electronic symbiosis where the art of the conception, the writing breathes of its harmonies. And that it would be thus pleasant that Fanger & Schönwälder becomes Fanger, Schönwälder and Cosmic Hoffmann. It seems to me that all this talent deserves the relevance.
Sylvain Lupari (August 10th, 2013)
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: