mardi 29 octobre 2013

JAVI CANOVAS: Cracks in the Air (2013)

“Cracks in the Air breathes of these fascinating figures of ambient music which drinks of Steve Roach's meditative spheres”
1 No Place to Stay 6:36
2 One Existence 4:38
3 Overtime 4:42
4 Fatum 4:20
5 The Structure of Illusion 4:28
6 Paranoid Voice 8:34
7 Memory Dismantled 8:58
8 Cracks in the Air 3:08
9 Aevum 8:50
10 Ultimate Nature of Mirage 5:34

Independent (CD/DDL 59:48) **** (Deep and dark ambient music)
Slow synth layers spread their passive wings of which the contrasting tones float such as the breezes from an oasis of melancholy. "No Place to Stay" is the entering door from Javi Canovas' 14th album; a quiet album, the den of contemplativity. After an album bubbling of clanic rhythms, released earlier this year, Javi Canovas comes back to present us a much more peaceful album. “Cracks in the Air”, a title which depicts with poetry all its musical structure, joins the somber meditative reflections that we found on Behind the Shadows in 2010. Set by 10 titles which vary between 3 and 10 minutes, the Spanish synthesist walks on Steve Roach's hollow territories, "One Existence", and sounds his chloroformic horizons, "Overtime" with an enigmatic album where the ambient music is tint of a restful musicality.
"Fatum" embraces a somber aura of mystery with its sibylline breaths which grumble between the sinuous spaces of monoliths and raise sonic particles so much bitter as the sands from the deserts of rocks. We comfortably sit in Steve Roach's Australian territories, percussions less, with an album filled with dark winds. Winds witnesses of a faded civilization while that "The Structure of Illusion" illuminates a little the musicality with fine chords of an acoustic guitar which commune with themselves in melodious winds. Dreamer, "Paranoid Voice" lies down its somber strata filled of nostalgia in the soft winds of voices which sound like the worn breaths coming out of those Vuvuzela. "Memory Dismantled" marries a little the abstruse ambiences of "Paranoid Voice" by spreading a sonic shroud where the veiled singings of magnetic resonances bring us towards another level of mystification. The synth lines with delicate breaths of oracles rest on these darker strata, they are even more lugubrious, showing this surprising parallel between the blackness and the brightness which crosses the 56 minutes of “Cracks in the Air”. I say 56 minutes because the title-track offers a bouquet of sequences which dance calmly on an attractive ambient structure. This is a great based sequences track which shows all the rhythmic prose of Javi Canovas. After this fleeting rhythmic interlude "Aevum" plunges us back into the morphic sweetnesses which filled the airs of Steve Roach's Structures from Silence. It's a very beautiful ambient title which completes marvellously the too short "Overtime", while that "Ultimate Nature of Mirage" turns around the same torments of these wild winds which moved "One Existence".
A little as in Behind the Shadows, “Cracks in the Air” inhales these fascinating figures of ambient music which drinks of Steve Roach's meditative spheres and even Robert Rich. It's an album of dark ambient music, even very sibylline, where a subtle duel between the tones of black and white clears a restful musicality. This is why I do love ambient music.

Sylvain Lupari (October 29th, 2013)
Cette chronique est également 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=16480

samedi 26 octobre 2013

CHRISTOPHER ALVARADO: Ancient Doors (2013)

“Ancient Doors is a stunning sonic adventure which mixes psybient, ambient and tribal rhythms in a dense texture of all kind of noises and sounds”
1 Andromeda at Dawn 5:55
2 Civilizations 4:09
3 The Lock of Past 4:48
4 Dakini (Sky Goer) 4:32
5 Dunes 5:23
6 Jewel of the Jackal 4:48
7 Lady of the Skirt of Snakes 5:48
8 Dunes (Drifting Waves Mix) 5:23
9 Pixiu with Fortune 4:16
10 Adhene 4:30
11 Sculpture of the Yali 5:15
12 Andromeda at Dusk 6:00

Bandcamp | AuralMusic (DDL/CD 60:50) ***½ (Psybient and dark indu)
Making music for a movie which doesn't exist. A movie which takes place in our head but that we would want to show to everybody. To say the least, to more possible people as it can be. Such is the vision of the Aural Music label. Such is also Christopher Alvarado's challenge on his album which aims to be a sound journey in the ancestral spiritual borders of the Aztecs. “Ancient Doors” is as much puzzling as fascinating. It's an album powerful of its uncountable synthesized impulses which paralyze implosive rhythms. It's also a very intense album where the synth layers to iridescent tones conceal many surrealist voices, where the undecided percussions build approximate rhythms, where the orchestral arrangements decorate film atmospheres, where the spectral voices draw spiritual choreographies and where the industrial noises take esoteric tints. But it's before all an imperceptible album which is going to please to the diehards of black atmospheres and to fans of very abstracted psybient EM.
"Andromeda at Dawn" begins the sonic adventure with hesitating chords which are rocked by a enveloping aura of mystery. Ectoplasmic groans, disturbing knockings and fluty breaths decorate an intro where the atmospheres are as well sinister as charming. Percussions draw the debit of a gallop. The slow debit of a ghost metronome which beats and faints in some dense abstracted synth pad to the colors of blue powder. This absent rhythm which constantly gives the impression of exploding but implodes is “Ancient Doors” source of charms. The rhythms here are evasive and buried beneath dense synth layers adorned of aromas more psychedelic than harmonious. One has the vague feeling to float in a burning sonic magma and that these strikings of uncertain percussions weave an imaginary road towards an unreal world. If the avalanche of sounds and tones may disrupts a little bit the passions, "Civilizations" reconciles us with its beautiful Bedouin percussions which drum a hypnotic clanic rhythm. I'm hearing Mike Batt with these gurglings of a vicious bass line. This delicate oniric intro is violently snatched by a thick cloud of eclectic tones which paint an impressive Gothic industrial pattern, in particular with these noises of chains and these lost voices which try to wrap "Civilizations" of an angelic approach. It's a good and very magnetizing track. "The Lock of Past" is an intense ambient track with the tribal approach of a tribe living under concrete ruins. And this is a bit the paradoxes of “Ancient Doors”. If Christopher Alvarado wants to impose musical structures of old ancestral people, he grafts to his music so many sonic particles that the whole thing is degenerating into an impressive magma of metal in fusion. Encircled into psybient structures, the rhythmic approaches are attractive and their attractions live in this intense fusion of sounds, tones and noises which slows down the pace. Let's take example on the cold and very acid "Dakini (Sky Goer)"; its frame of abstract rhythm freezes in a noisy industrial carousel livened up by jerky cawings.
The ambiences are rich. We don't have enough our two ears to assimilate all this sonic energy which overflows in each track. "Dunes" and its beautiful orchestrations which wrap up some delirious voices and also the intriguing "Lady of the Skirt of Snakes" are as well attractive as disturbing. This morphic wrapping is quite appealing because Alvarado knows how to play with his rhythms and his atmospheres. So the very good "Jewel of the Jackal" turns into a suave organic down-tempo. The sitar embellishes the twisted ambiences which teem such as industrial spectres over a virgin forest. It's very good, especially when the rhythm livens up of heaviness. I'm hearing Death in Vegas here. "Dunes (Drifting Waves Mix)" is another beautiful example with a very good down-tempo with some tribal airs of the Middle East. And the sitar is a real small delight to pepper the atmospheres. Black and very psychedelic, "Pixiu with Fortune" contains a claustrophobic cachet where some gone off the rails percussions resound like drops of water in a cave. The music adventure becomes more and more soaked with a veil of psychedelism. After a slow and imposing sound intro, "Adhene" explodes of an infectious sonic madness which risks to blow up your loudspeakers. "Sculpture of the Yali" plunges us into a universe of horror with its organic rhythm which beats under uncountable voices of witches on the hunt. "Andromeda at Dusk" calms down things a little with a more clement approach where the rhythm keeps silent in an immense immersive sound magma. It's always noisy, it's always intense but it's a little less wild than the rest of “Ancient Doors” which is a stunning album where the industrial ambient music crosses black rhythms. It's not for all the ears but that remains extremely fascinating. To listen to with the same open-mindedness as Christopher Alvarado.

Sylvain Lupari (October 26th, 2013)
Cette chronique est également 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=16478

NEAL GARDNER: We Are Infinite (2013)

“We are Infinite is a quiet album filled of sensibility and by a lot of emotionalism but also dark and very melancholic. Remember Harold Budd?”
1 The Universe Revealed and we Wept 2:31  
2 The Truth, Magnificent Upon our Weary Shoulders 3:44  
3 Memories Fade, Dreams Recursive 4:58  
4 Horizon on the Shore Eternal 5:32  
5 The Unknowing will Set you Free 2:48  
6 We are Infinite 5:24  
7 Requiem 5:02  
8 The Photograph Hangs on the Mirror, and I Miss You 4:28  
9 The Rain will Fall| 4:54  
10 Mandala 6:42

Bandcamp | DDL (DDL 46:07) ***½
(Ambient meditative New Age)
Ah Internet! … Facebook, Bandcamp, CD Baby, ITunes, etc. … All platforms which allow, and encourage, a more wide selection for the consumers and a bigger freedom for the artists, the musicians. Neil Gardner is a very known on the social networks. He is behind the ambient music Facebook page while being a composer very appreciated for his ambient music fills by strong cinematographic aromas. “We are Infinite” is his 6th solo album and presents a dark, melancholic music which is a little similar with the beginning of Forrest Fang's career and mostly with Harold Budd s meditative music and acoustic approaches.
We are going to the discovery of Neal Gardner's musical world with "The Universe Revealed and we Wept"; a delicate oniric melody which makes sing its fragile fluty chords in the stitches of a delicate hatched structure of which the soft jolts answer to the outlines of felted percussions. The beauty of “We are Infinite” lies in the elegies of its piano of which each and every note penetrates tone by tone the wall of our indifference. If this piano maybe downright austere and sinister, as in the very beautiful "Requiem", it can also be very melancholic, like in "The Truth, Magnificent Upon our Weary Shoulders", where it draws the frame of a sweet night-romance. The somber acoustic melody hangs onto the hearing, just like with "The Photograph Hangs on the Mirror, and I Miss You" and its moving sonic duel guitar/piano. This is very beautiful and each of the notes has the gift to make shiver the soul. And is to say about "Horizon on the Shore Eternal"? Its black piano is soaked of nostalgia and scatters its melancholic notes into some iridescent mists. It's the kind of melody that accompanies a broken heart on the ice floes of his solitude. It's as much disturbing as that may be that beautiful. And we could say the same thing about "The Unknowing will Set you Free".
"Memories Fade, Dreams Recursive" plunges us into this soft whirlwind of a silky rhythm with a fascinating sound ballerina where every chord is hammered with sharpness and acuteness. One would say a symphonic ballad for children's stories. "We are Infinite" is a very ethereal piece of ambiospherical music where the synth lines outline the voices of a celestial choir which fights with its devils. "The Rain will Fall" sounds out of tune in this deep mourning mood where the spleen reigns as an insatiate mistress. The structure of rhythm marries a fascinating down-tempo which gallops in circles around a myriad of chords of which the harmonies are drawing some furtive moments of happiness. "Mandala" closes this initiation into Neal Gardner's universe with a soft pulsating bass line of which the pulsations paint a somber procession accompanied by strange harmonious breaths. Intimidated arpeggios dance over the waveforms of those minimalist pulsations, entailing "Mandala" in its continual delicate morphic spiral.
This “We are Infinite” from Neal Gardner is indeed a very beautiful album. A quiet one filled of sensibility and with a lot of emotionalism but also dark and very melancholic. Those who love the kind of meditative piano, whom is the ideal companion of our solo walks, will be delighted by this album to black's perfumes which deserves amply its place in an IPod beside Harold Budd, Forrest Fang, Darshan Ambient and even of these first works from Vangelis which titillated constantly any sort of nostalgia.

Sylvain Lupari (October 26th,2013)

vendredi 25 octobre 2013

FRANK KLARE: Solomode (2012)

“Solomode completes with wonder this trilogy of a mix between retro and New Berlin School started with the superb Solodreams”

1 Ultramode 12:55
2 Solomode 19:44
3 Polymode 17:49
4 Melomode 9:34
5 Computermode 18:17

SynGate | CD-R FK012 (CD-r 77:52) ***½
(Retro and New Berlin School)

Solomode” is the dark side of Solodreams. Composed at the same time, the music has remained hidden in the recording tapes that the time mislaid in Frank Klare's musical boxes. With the revival of Solodreams, SynGate had the good idea of dusted these tapes, entrusting the remastering and the mixing to  Pete Farn. The result is a trilogy of CD stemming from the same period which presents us an absolutely brilliant work, Solodreams, whose remainders are also fascinating as the main course.
"Ultramode" awakens our hearing with a heavy buzzing line which serves as a long resounding brook to the synth breezes formed by musical breaths which are very familiar to us. A rosary of sequences escapes and draws a finely jerked pulsing rhythm which hiccups beneath the aegis of synth solos just as dreamy and spectral as in the beautiful analog period of Klaus Schulze. The rhythm of "Ultramode" follows its minimalist curve with a subtle gradation in the movement of which the intensity is much more nuanced by these mocking solos which try to put to sleep the a thousand and one spasms of a hypnotic rhythm which will drains its 13 minutes under the indefatigable attack of twisted solos. The title-track flies away delicately with a magma of layers in tones and fragile hybrid harmonies. We hear more musical lines elaborated some twisted solos which are contorting in the chthonian vapors of the slow layers of old organ, while that quite delicately is pulsating a sober lineal movement. This absent rhythm is like a homebird metronome which waddles in the stitches of a beast and its thousand sonic cables. A very beautiful movement of sequences comes to cheer up the frugality of "Solomode" and of its floating ambiences, accentuating a circular rhythm which dips the end of its musicality into a sonic puddle to the colors of sulfur. These harmonies cavort, run away and come back galloping in a series of small rhythmic and harmonious circles, a little as they was frightened by this tetanising mood which marks out a structure which is more ambient and more passive than livened up.
"Polymode" offers a structure of rhythm more lively with a series of sequences which is drumming with fury in the drumming rolls of the percussions. It's an infectious rhythm, as much violent than hypnotic, which kisses a little the temper of Monomode, where the swiftness of sequences and percussions keeps staying on course of an infernal vertical dance tinted much more of harmonious nuances than rhythmic. There is enough in here to dismember the neck! As often, Frank Klare takes a jealous care of papering his long minimalist structures with ectoplasmic oddities which roam like erudite bats, as well as vampiric solos escaped from the orgies of spectres that we hear on Klaus Schulze's Body Love. It's very good, even if very furious. And the resemblance with Stardancer, in the conception and not in the finished product, takes all its meaning with its infernal finale. Always sat on movements of sequences which sparkle on heavy metronomic pulsations, Frank Klare always succeeds to develop structures of rhythms of which the slight differences make all the charms. Let's take "Melomode" and its very beautiful ectoplasmic melody which floats on a heavy rhythm where sequences, pulsations and percussions weave the frame of a Teutonic, minimalist and hypnotic electronic rock. I have to admit on the other hand that the bad quality of the original sources can affect a little bit the tolerance to the listening. But it gives you an idea of how good is the composer. And the more we move forward in this “Solomode” and the more we clearly hear the origins of Monomode, as well as the influences of Klaus Schulze's digital era. This is the case with monumental "Computermode" which, except of its intro stuffed with gurgling of extraterrestrials, kisses the Teutonic rhythms of Dziekuje Poland. If the rhythm is hammered of good mathematical percussions, the atmospheres come from an experimental cacophony where everything is holding up by magic. Frank Klare jumps from one subject to another with New Berlin School, good cosmic rock (do I hear a guitar bite its riffs?) and purely solid e-rock. It's a sound feast for risky ears. Still there, it's a pity that the whole thing comes from old tapes because the sound degrades by moments. But nevertheless, we can admire at full satisfaction Frank Schulze's great talent. Oops … Klaus Klare. Ergh…You know what I mean.
Solodreams, “Solomode” and Monomode are 3 inseparable works of which the musical main lines turn around the big works of Klaus Schulze while adding to it some rhythmic themes closer of Frank Klare's visions. It's a superb crossing between the retro and New Berlin School where I just can't figure out how this music was able to escape the timid invasion of the international markets begun by Software and the Innovative Communication label in the middle of the 80's. Although “Solomode” is not exactly Solodreams nor Monomode, there is some great EM all over it which is amply worth its purchase. And don't forget when you buy Solodreams and this “Solomode” you get Monomode free. This is quite a great way of approaching Frank Klare's universe that will always be faithful to his roots and his influences.

Sylvain Lupari (October 25th, 2013)
Cette chronique est également 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=16460

jeudi 24 octobre 2013

FRANK KLARE: Monomode (2012)

“Monomode is a huge electronic symphony which will please all of all those who fed on these huge improvised surges by Klaus Schulze”

1 Monomode 51:53
SynGate | CD-RFK13 (CD-r 51:53) ****½ (Berlin School)

SynGate develops with panache a plan to make discover besides borders all of Frank Klare's talent. Those who have the chance to know the Berlin School style since the moons, appreciate the works of Frank Klare; a synthesist very inspired by the analog years of Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream. “Monomode” is an album offered in bonus when you buy Solodreams and Solomode; two works which highlight all the talent of the German musician to compose hypnotic structures and Teutonic rhythms of Berlin School with a subtle orientation towards the New Berlin School. Consisted of the two long parts of Monomode, that we find on Solodreams, linked into a long piece of 52 minutes, “Monomode” remains a major work that Frank Klare has composed in 1986 while he was with SYNCO. At that time, only the 2nd part, entitled simply Monomode appeared on Solodreams. The republications of his albums on SynGate was going to give birth to this majestic work where Frank Klare dusted his souvenirs and offered the 1st part of Monomode that Pete Farn remixed into a long track of EM which is going to please to the ardent fans of Klaus Schulze.
A soft line of synth drags a shadow of an old organ to open the first seconds of "Monomode". It's a floating, soothing intro a bit filled by mystery where are hatching out some electronic tones which quietly invades our ears. Another delicate synth line develops sweet ethereal singings which float like these old messages of Klaus Schulze in this ambience where grumble some resonant sighs. And we hear! A little before the 5th minute, we hear this movement of sequence make waddle its ions through the soft analog perfumes of a charming synth. The rhythm remains as delicate as its atmosphere which doesn't stop hatching it. We hear sparkle and sing the shade of the keys which rock and run such as imps in a forest enchanted by the twisted singings of synthetised hummingbirds. As much quietly as subtly, the delicate hypnotic rhythm of "Monomode" evolves throughout its nuances, both in rhythms as harmonies. The elytrons of steel give to this rhythm more cracklings while it's teaming up to a scraggy melodic shadow and its fine solos which grind like some witches' caresses on a structure about which the fragility keeps silent to let dance more starving keys. These hypnotic keys continue to skip on the spot. Their rhythmic jolts reach a bigger velocity and entail the stubborn beat of "Monomode" in the heat of a heavy bass line. That's beautiful. Hypnotic and charming, "Monomode" hits strongly our eardrums with a rhythm, always so minimalist, which becomes heavier around the 18th minute while this rhythm swindles the ambiences with a heaviness and a velocity organized by pulsations which hammer a linear leaden rhythm, rock kind of percussions  and sequences which flicker with restlessness. We are deep in a fusion of Body Love and Timewind. The atmospheres are hiding in some evasive waves of organ and ghostly synth lines of which the musical veil is pierced by solos which cut out, with a superb musicality, a rhythm which pulses with some more of vigour, while sequences get more aggressive and solos more assassins, as long as our ears demand a truce.
And this truce arrives around the 29th minute when sequences are glittering in a soft dreamlike ballet. One would say a small bed song which wants to charm both darkness and brightness with these small sequenced carillons which sparkle like the stream of sequences in Mirage. Yes, "Monomode" seems like a tribute to the big minimalist works of Klaus Schulze. And the movement amplifies its heaviness and its swiftness to kiss a fiery electronic rock where the layers of organs lay out the pattern of heavy symphonic rock. We stamp of the feet and we shake of the head on this rhythm viciously lively where the synth solos throw  spectral nuances, marrying the fine jerks of the orgiastic strata of old organ. And always "Monomode" pursues its indefatigable minimalist rhythmic ride up until tread upon on the digital lands of Audentity and Dziekuje Poland in a sound slaughter where the rhythm is encircled of majestic solos and a subtle melody which floats as a souvenir of which one don't know its origin. And this breakneck pace ends in such a crash that elegiac dusts are floating everywhere around the last breaths of "Monomode", recovering so a finale more ethereal where the ashes of a huge album, which makes a surprising journey in the heart of Klaus Schulze's analog and digital years, are scattering by leaving in the ear an immense desire to re-hear
Link into a long piece of music, I have to admit that I so prefer this way, or still pricked in Solodreams, “Monomode” remains an inescapable work for all those who fed on these huge improvised surges by Klaus Schulze. It's an electronic symphony where the minimalist art was never so lively. Brilliant and the time have no hold on it.

Sylvain Lupari (October 24th, 2013)
Cette chronique est également 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=16459

mardi 22 octobre 2013

FRANK KLARE: Solodreams (1986/2012)

“Already Solodreams was an essential work of Berlin School EM to have, the way that SynGate now presents it makes of it a must!”

1 Monomode (Part I) 29:15 
2 New Age 5:09  
3 Sequence Spheres 2:54  
4 Fantasia 3:45  
5 Rhythm Runner 4:38  
6 Living Dreams 4:59  
7 Monomode (Part II) 23:14

SynGate | CD-R FK11 (CD-r 73:56) **** (Berlin School)
Thank you SynGate! Thank you for making us discover some EM hidden treasures, in particular from the Berlin School style. Frank Klare is a brilliant German musician/synthesist whose talent has never overtaken the borders of his country. Strongly soaked by the musical vapors of Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream, he is interested by EM at a very young age and created with Mirko Lüthge the group SYNCO (for SYNthesizer COoperation) in the middle of the 80's. The duet buys then equipments and instruments from Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze. They compose an EM which is inspired by the new wave of electronic digital sound, while having a strong penchant for the long musical structures of former days. SYNCO will release 5 cassettes between 1985 and 1993, all out of print since years and of which we can find the charms on the other hand on 2 compilations offered by SynGate. In parallel Frank Klare begins a solo career which comprises about twenty cassettes or albums since his very first one; “Solodreams” back in 1986. Firstly released in cassette, “Solodreams” was out of print for a long time and popped out on bootlegged versions during the Napster years. The German label SynGate, always in its quest to make discover the most beautiful jewels of contemporary EM, dusts the tablets of time and releases a version, remasterised by Pete Farn, of “Solodreams”. Sat up on the same precepts as SYNCO, we hear through “Solodreams” a clear influence for the fiery rhythms and the melodic structures of Tangerine Dream and especially for the long hypnotic crescendos of Klaus Schulze with the magnificent "Monomode (Part II)" which is high inspired by the Timewind and Moondawn eras. The project of SynGate is ambitious. Besides remasterised “SolodreamsPete Farn works on some unreleased new music that Klare wrote in the course of his first solo years and mixes an album entitled Solomode. Now each album, “Solodreams” and Solomode, can be bought separately. But if you buy both albums you will also receive a bonus album which consists as a long remixed track of both "Monomode (Part I)" and "Monomode (Part II)"; the Monomode album. Audacious project, because the limitations of the sources are sounding with all the charms of former days. In brief, it is a real return in time with the wonderful surprise which opens “Solodreams” for the greatest pleasure of the Epicureans ears.
We can't speak about "Monomode", both parts, without making constantly links with the ambiospheric and floating structures of Klaus Schulze and of his Body Love years. The hooting of the electronic bats and the fine shy solos which unwind their twisted harmonies in some nebulas mists which catch the crescendo of a ghost rhythm are magnificent elements which converted thousands of followers to the music of Klaus Schulze. And this is just not an imitation. It's a work that would have easily slide in between Moondawn and Body Love. I will speak more in depth about "Monomode (Part I)", which is a bonus track here, and "Monomode (Part II)" with a coming review of Monomode. Except that I can already say to you that we have here 55 minutes of pure analog happiness. Simply magical! Soft synth lines are waving in a paradisiacal sky where stars sing with delicate dreamy solos. After this soft oniric intro, "New Age" hangs on to a Teutonic rhythm which pounds with its arrhythmic jolts under some fine solos of which the harmonies, as fluty as digital, remind strongly the universe of Tangerine Dream. This is a very charming track. "Sequence Spheres" lets hear a pulsing conveyor where the sequences stamp ardently around heavy pulsations. It's a rhythm in two lively parallel phases which evolves subtly towards a heavy synth pop where are singing lyrical and melodious synth solos. "Fantasia" pops out from the electronic limbs with harmonious slender impulses from synthesizers which quietly let hear a sonic and rhythmic pattern which breaths the Thief soundtrack still from Tangerine Dream. Although the melodious approach differs, the linear rhythm of "Rhythm Runner" approaches the one of "Sequence Spheres" with indomitable sequences which sparkle and skip on the resonances of the pulsations and the gallop of the percussions. The harmonious envelope is rather difficult to describe, but the musical ambiences of the Dream are teeming all over the 4 minutes 38. As well as these surprising percussions and/or sequences which resound as wooden castanets. This is quite catchy and really brilliant. Also very ear attractive, "Living Dreams" weaves a superb musical itch where the rhythm and the harmonies embrace those soundtracks of the romantic French movies of the 70's. It's a beautiful electronic ballad of which the analog perfumes flow all over these very catchy melodic phases that the Dream used to hide in their long structures of former days. "Monomode (Part II)" enclosed a cassette, from which the charms should of never have been cloistered, with a heavy pulsating rhythm where the crystalline spectres of Schulze decorated a heavy crescendo that I will speak to you in Monomode.
In spite of its old-fashioned sounding, its limited tape sources, its Teutonic rhythms and harmonies which remind indefatigably the beautiful years where EM exploded of all its charms, as analog as digital, this “Solodreams” from Frank Klare remains an essential work to have. It is a real hearing journey in time with structures, rhythms and melodies where we can affix it a sigh, a souvenir. We close our eyes and we remember ourselves the harmonies of the Dream, the sequencing of Chris Franke and the breathlessness of the rhythms fed by his bucolic percussions. And Monomode? Ah...this is another story. And a whole quite one which is simply brilliant.

Sylvain Lupari (October 21st, 2013)
Cette chronique est également 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=16458

samedi 19 octobre 2013

SUNDOWN CAFE: Sunset Dreams (2013)

“The music of Sunset Dreams lives through an extremely melodic pattern where the harmonies have no difficulty to create earworms”

1 White Sailboat Out on the Blue Sea 4:51  
2 Surrender to the Night 4:00  
3 Sunset Dream 6:56  
4 When I Feel the Rain 4:45  
5 The Cosmic Touch 5:49

Bandcamp | DDL (DDL 26:22) ***½
(Chill, Downtempos, e-synthpop and New Age)

Sundown Cafe is a musical project which brings together the man behind Sequential Dreams, Kuutana, and an Austrian artist who works under the name of Celestial View. They join their respective styles to create a music style which caresses shyly the structures of morphic Chill and Downtempos. Very melodious, with well structured compositions that could all be played on radio, “Sunset Dreams” listens to as we would want to sing romances to our beloved. And I have to admit that I was as pleasantly charmed as my soft loved one was.
"White Sailboat Out on the Blue Sea" begins with pleasant sighs of romance. The intro floats in a paradisiacal envelope before succumbing to the slow rhythm of a nice melodious down-tempo. The synth layers drag some metallic furrows which bring us near to the darker side of Vangelis. The track falls in a kind of cosmic groove with an interlude slightly jerky where wind instruments, kind of saxophone or trumpet, caress at the tips of airs Linda Spa's harmonies from Tangerine Dream. Harmonies which are even more present when "White Sailboat Out on the Blue Sea" takes back its harmonic rights with its delicious introductory rhythm. Those sax caresses can annoy the purists, I have to say that I also have difficulties with those, but they bring to the universe of Sundown Cafe a harmonious dimension which crosses the stitches of Tangerine Dream, Spa and
Jerome Froese era, as well as a bit of Robert Schroeder and his Chill and Downtempos project; Food For Fantasy. And in this regard we can quote the fiery "Surrender to the Night".
"Sunset Dream" is by far the most beautiful electronic anthem of “Sunset Dreams”. Although the rhythm is ambient, it remains heavy. It floats into the vapors of ether on a meshing of percussions to heterogeneous tones. More powerful than fast, the pulse increases its pace, but not its swiftness, hanging on to a superb fluty synth which throws spectral sighs on a rhythm of which the latent evolutionary shape is simply exhilarating. The harmonious arpeggios take on the melancholic clothes of Vangelis on this very melodious rhythm which pierces the heart so much the slow resonant beatings are powerful. Very beautiful! "When I Feel the Rain" is a beautiful electronic ballad which flirts more with melodious New Age than Chill. The rhythm is slow and the harmonies are blown by a very dark saxophone source. Those who like the genre are going to be crazy about it. "The Cosmic Touch" is another beautiful ballad which is more ethereal. The tears of synth are stealing the soul of a wounded guitar and sing with the discreet complicity of a saxophone always so dreamy on a structure of ambient, even cosmic, rhythm. There where the stars sparkle on the bed of a rhythm which scatters some floating stroboscopic filets.
Although rather different from what I am used to listening to, I quite enjoyed this first rendezvous with Sundown Cafe. The music is beautiful. It lives through an extremely melodic pattern where the harmonies have no difficulty in creating earworms. So it's a nice and charming album where we find without any trouble the bases of Sequential Dreams, be the influences of the Dream and Vangelis, flooded in the paradisiacal moods of Food For Fantasy. This is Chill and Downtempos in New Age clothes. The duo has recently launched a full new album entitle Close to You Heart. It's a bit different, more of a mix between Easy-listening and New Age with some strong tints of Jazz. For those who might be interested, just click on the Bandcamp link above the track listing.

Sylvain Lupari (October 18th, 2013)

jeudi 17 octobre 2013

STEVE ROACH: Live Transmission - From the Drone Zone at Soma FM (2013)

“Live Transmission - From the Drone Zone at Soma FM is simply phenomenal!”
CD I
1 In the Light of Day 21:54  
2 Zone of Drones 7:46  
3 Looking for Safety 14:32  
4 Reflecting Chamber 11:31  
5 Kairos Portal 4:39
CD II  
1 Vortex Immersion 32:26  
2 Westwind 16:49  
3 Today 16:40

Projekt 293 | (DDL/CD 126:17) *****
(Ambient and tribal EM)
It may be just ambient music, it remains not less fascinating! Steve Roach does it again and blows out our minds with a stunning live document. Yes, “Live Transmission - From the Drone Zone at Soma FM” sounds like most of the Californian synth charmer works. But as every time, Steve Roach brings a little something different. Whether it's a momentary source of inspiration or an idea collected in the air of time, the great master of the long ambient structures is still capable of making sing the wind and to make roar out rocks with a renewed energy. Recorded live in the SomaFM studios in San Francisco, this last Steve Roach's sonic adventure offers a fabulous balance between the enveloping ambient spheres and the bewitching shamanic rhythms which seduced so much on Dreamtime Return. Proposed and delivered without any overdubs, “Live Transmission - From the Drone Zone at Soma FM” offers two long phases, and a magnificent conclusion, which give all the latitude to Steve Roach to exploit completely his concepts of evolutionary structures which present breathtaking sonic landscapes.
The intro of "In the Light of Day" is used as pretext for the magician of dunes in order to warm his synths. The atmosphere is of silk with these abstract tones which interlace into iridescent colors between our ears. The headphones well in place, we appreciate this sonic mixture where the shadows of seeping caves are dancing with tears of synths. We hear fine sibylline voices there? Certainly! But also oniric singings swirling like the winds of a passive cyclone. It's Steve Roach's magic. His sound pallet moves the colors of our desires. We let ourselves be caressed by his dreamlike sighs which get lost into groundswell and which soothe the oblivion while that quietly we hear far off the first stammerings of percussions. Byron Metcalf drums a rhythm which stamps like a runner in search of his breath. A finely jerky rhythm where the spasmodic jolts are quivering in a rich sonic texture where breaths of unknown origins, as charming as puzzling, are raging of their spectral harmonies. The magic is instantaneous. You have to hear these percussions thunder in loops. Their echoes shape a fascinating line of ambient rhythm from which the organic tremor is structuring a delicate line which encircle our ears in a sonic landscape where the ghostly hootings sound like some intriguing black incantations. And quite slowly, "In the Light of Day" plunges into the ambient spheres of "Zone of Drones" which, with its atmospheres of sadnesses, its vicious twisted waves, its sibylline breaths and its spectral shouts, wears well its title. "Looking for Safety" is like the breakthrough of the day further to a dark night of remorse. Its slow translucent flight leads us to a superb ambient tribal rhythm which awakes our souvenirs of Dreamtime Return. It's like thunders and lightnings right in the sun, where a handful of sonic clouds wraps with a musical tenderness an organic rhythm of which the wet palpitations resound in a fascinating spiritual trance. The rhythm fades out in the morphic sighs of synths and of their idle singings, pouring the vestiges of "Looking for Safety" into the guttural breaths of "Reflecting Chamber". Although the drones draw hostile clouds, the atmospheres are less dark than in "Zone of Drones", mainly because of the beautiful lines of the Fujara flute that Dirk Serries caresses with tenderness. And little by little, Byron Metcalf  rums a slow and bewitching tribal rhythm where the tom-toms resound like oblong lassoes in search of air in the curves of the harmonies of a black synth and the sneaky hoarse breaths of didgeridoo. And when the howling winds tip over the bridge between "Reflecting Chamber" and "Kairos Portal", Steve Roach's aboriginal rhythm takes us by short as much that it runs after its percussions in a powerful final where the abstract nature from Roach bursts out with passion between our two ears which have never got wind that the time has passed so quickly.
After such a strong first part, "Vortex Immersion" gets between our ears with an impressive ambiospherical pattern filled by gurgling and by deformed sound serpentines. The synth lines pile up and dance with their shadows in a heavy arrhythmic movement where only the soft impulses of the synth strata and the rustles of an organic fauna liven up an abstract debate. The phase shifting is rather slow and Steve Roach uses the first 10 minutes of "Vortex Immersion" to weave a fascinating sound scenery which takes all of its dimension in a pair of earphones. Quietly, slyly the rhythm appears. Deaf pulsations resound in an industrial hubbub, plundering on their resonances and drawing the plan of a rhythm which takes all its time before hatching. The sonic atmosphere is enveloping and we can hear far off the hand percussions getting out of the imprisoning shadows coming from synths howler. And after 20 minutes the rhythm goes finally out of its den. It drums in a sonic scenery as much imposing than a still tornado, marrying these frenzied spasms which draw movements of locomotives running away to heavens and landing in the hiccupping convulsions of "Westwind", there where the fury of winds knocks down a tremulous structure of rhythm. Caressed by winds which feed on astral voices, they skip energetically and swirl frantically, a little as a helicopter in distress, in a dreamlike and organic sonic pattern which quietly shapes a very ethereal finale. Written for his 58 years on February 16th 2013, "Today" is a wonderful piece of music which awakens in me memories of Structures from Silence. It's like if Reflections in Suspension was dressed in the suit of Quiet Friend in a delicious organic pattern. It's 17 minutes of pure happiness where the alchemist of sounds embroiders a soft structure where the delicate sequences crawl in a sonic pattern a bit ghostly. The concert of locusts and the sweetness of the elegiac singings bring us in another cerebral comfort level which is the privilege of Steve Roach's works.
Live Transmission - From the Drone Zone at Soma FM” is simply phenomenal! It's a musical journey more than enchanter around the ghostly landscapes that haunt and torture the fascinating universe of Steve Roach. And I recommend you strongly to visualize his performance at the AMBIcon in 2013, which is available on YouTube, to seize better all the dimension of “Live Transmission - From the Drone Zone at Soma FM” and of Steve Roach in concert.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNqs9qa9pGM
Impressive!
Sylvain Lupari (October 17th, 2013)
Cette chronique est également 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=16456

mardi 15 octobre 2013

LOOM: 200 002 (EP 2013)

“Loom's 200 002 shows a strong complicity between musical styles of which the rather contrasting approaches harmonize in an interesting duel of harmonies and rhythms”
1 Rejuvenation 8:19  
2 A Long Time Ago (Live 2012) 9:16  
3 Jet 5:55  
4 Streethawk (Live 2012) 8:40

Viktoriapark |VP LTDCD-001 (EP 32:12) ****
(Melodic and rhythmic EM)

Do I have to talk about this new Loom EP? Not even 2 months after its release, whom the pressing was 500 unities, “200 002” was already sold out. Thus, what's the use to speak about it? Because it's already hanging around on eBay at a prohibitive cost (It appears that there are still some unities left on Ricochet Dream)! Because it's the story of  Tangerine Dream and of its spiritual heirs. Maybe one day “200 002” will come out on a 2nd pressing. Hum... this I doubt! Or maybe it will be available in downloadable format? It’s to be wished. Because those who didn't even get wind of its release ask for it loud and clear, and with reason. While others to who it passed under the ears demand for a review, just to see what they have missed. OK, here you have it! “200 002” present two strong new tracks as well as interpretations of a very beautiful track from Johannes Schmoelling and a classic of Tangerine Dream. And effectively, you missed something!
And we feel from the very first chords of "Rejuvenation" that Loom became a real group where the styles of three accomplices mix harmoniously in a sonic pattern in constant boiling. Riffs of guitars are dragging around with a scent of melancholy. The onset reminds me of Jerome Froese's solo works. A fine movement of crystal clear sequences dances in background and takes the guides of a beautiful melodious approach disrupted by an indomitable sound fauna. The rhythm is on the balance. Beating on pulsating sequences, it swirls on the spot, gleaning here and there fleeting harmonies which spin such as some delicious harmonic dragonflies which tease the hearing. The rhythm takes shape gropingly with broth of sequences which roll in cascades, shaping an evasive stroboscopic approach which gets lost in dreamy ambiences while that as much softly as slowly, "Rejuvenation" takes the look of a heavy Guitartronica constantly called to order by the soft melodic baits of Schmoelling and Waters. The 8 minutes are built around tormented structures of rhythm where the furies of riffs, heavy and pulsing sequences get lost in structured harmonies and ambient passages painted by soft melodic reverie before concluding in a harmonious finale where strong reminiscences of Legend throne in a surprising meshing of styles. "A Long Time Ago" is a small wonder that Johannes Schmoelling laid on the Instant City album. It's a soft morphic musing where Johannes' piano surfs on iridescent mists. But contrary to the original version, "A Long Time Ago" marries a rhythmic crescendo which ends with heaviness. The synth solos exchange their lyrical incantations with the heavy riffs and solos from  Jerome's guitar, sharpening a finale which revels in of its soft and dreamy introduction.
"Jet" offers a violent structure of jerked rhythm. Heavy and pulsating sequences bombard with rage a deeply oscillatory tempo. And this tempo rolls with fury under a cosmic storm where roam fine fragments of melodies. It's a rather intense track which transpires Jerome Froese at full pores. When we see "Streethawk" on the back of the sleeve, lengthened to 9 minutes, it's obvious that we wait to hear it with as much curiosity as impatience. The intro brings us towards ambiospherical spheres where are dragging notes of guitar and piano mislaid in the furrows of some synth waves with Zen aromas. We re-know hardly the harmonies of "Streethawk" in these piano notes which suddenly rage of impatience. The musical adrenalin reaches our ears at the same time as we hear percussions hesitated to whip the beat. And "Streethawk" lifts off with the same magic on a rhythm cheered up by percussions and sequences a bit ahead of the rhythm of origin. The beat bears marvellously the harmonies and synth solos. The track plunges moreover in a duel of solos and heavy riffs before kissing the hesitations of its intro where Johannes Schmoelling's delicate piano is dreaming in a passage impatient to take back this symbolic rhythmic flight of the electronic harmonies of the Dream. Different, but this rush of adrenalin is nailing us to our listening.
After the wonderful Scored and the shy 100 001, Loom spreads its assurance with an EP which demonstrates a strong complicity between musical styles of which the rather contrasting approaches harmonize in an interesting duel of harmonies and rhythms. Whether it's the strong disjointed approach of "Rejuvenation", the violence of "Jet" or still the reinterpretations of the works from the patriarch and from the trio that put him on the map, Loom shows a reassuring homogeneity deserving of Schmoelling, Froese and Waters origins. It's a pity to see that only 500 pressings were done and were sold that quickly, although I would verify at Ricochet Dream, because “200 002” is a solid EP which is the witness of the ambitious birth of a super group in modern EM.

Sylvain Lupari (October 15th, 2013)
Cette chronique est également 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=16455