samedi 30 mars 2013

CODE INDIGO: MELTdown (2013)

“Without being hard-hitting, MELTdown is another small wonder from Code Indigo that speaks to us, sings to us and enchants us”

1 Welcome to the Asylum 5:01
2 Meltdown 4:48
3 City of Fools 2:00
4 Costing the Earth 3:28
5 Eco-Nomic 4:31
6 Information Cascade 6:15
7 Keep Taking the Pills 8:26
8 Black Gold 2:03
9 ID Code 9:00
10 Carbon 2:55
11 In the Dark 5:30
12 The Men who Crashed the World 7:33
13 Bail Out 3:53
14 Bankers in Wonderland 3:55
15 Greed in the Bubble 3:21
16 Bonus Culture 3:23

AD MUSIC | AD 109CD (CD 76:04) **** (Soft and melodious progressive EM)

After an absence of more than 7 years, Code Indigo makes a strong comeback with a solid album which allies ethereal progressive rock to melodic EM. “MELTdown” is a delicious concept album which denounces white collar bandits and their economic crimes. There are lots of noises and background ambiences in this finely polished album, indeed, the atmospherics remind us of Pink Floyd with voices and brief commentary of current events weaving within rhythms and ambience. The music, and its musical themes, bewitches us, both by a delicate harmonious approach and the constant progression of its splendidly content rhythms. Code Indigo forges a musical story that conjures up an image of the failure of society and the financial sharks in suits. Beyond its story, “MELTdown” is the result of a strong musical consortium where David Wright, Dave Massey, Neil Fellowes, Nigel Turner-Heffer and Dave Bareford charm as much as they amaze with an album which seems as timeless as the talent of its authors.
Winds, gratings of blue metal, rustles and jerky ringings which scroll with hesitation herald the opening "Welcome to the Asylum" which widens its five minutes in an asylum where the noises and spectral winds feed constantly a climate of paranoia. We are hearing easily the lost arpeggios which ring in an ill-assorted harmony, where tears of synths kiss the emptiness. They evaporate to make room the chords of an piano with a vague melody that hangs onto the elytrons of cymbals in order to merge into the soft rhythm of the title-track. Arched on a bass line, from which the chords are cooing in a soft undulatory shape, sober percussions and synth lines with crisscrossed tremors, "Meltdown" seizes our ears with a superb guitar which draws a haunting, melodious riff. The rhythm is fluid. Not aggressive, it sits astride a sonic valley. Escorted by azure winds, hiding suspicious lamentations, by eroded hopes as well as by lines of guitars and synth with moods torn between soft, progressive and ethereal e-rock. It buries itself in the lost ambiences of "City of Fools" and of voices tinted with scorn which curse to the black winds and spectral lamentations of floating guitars, before being reborn out of its ambiences with "Costing the Earth". The track evolves into "Eco-Nomic" and the rhythm softens into sequences which flicker in a static sphere where guitars and synth are exchanging harmonies through some suave morphic solos. The rhythm takes back its vigour to put down its last chords in the organic intro of "Information Cascade". The big wealth of “MELTdown” is its sound depth! There is no weak spot over the 76 minutes which fill this latest magical opus from Code Indigo. And this intro of "Information Cascade" is a perfect example. With the gurgling, cascading noises that fills the veils of the ether and then the tears of violins waltzing beneath a thick cloud of pulsations of which the beatings forge a pounding rhythm, "Information Cascades" pulls us between its dynamic rhythms and lamenting mood conclude “MELTdown” first segment.
Even if the rhythm is pulsating, "Keep Taking the Pills" reveals its soft harmonic veil with a melancholic piano whose relaxing notes fly through the breathe of a lunar saxophone. A duel takes shape between the guitar and the piano where the music witnesses an atmosphere of morphic jazz on a rebellious rhythmic structure that is kept harmoniously well tamed.
With sparkling arpeggios which cavort with innocence to join the chords of a guitar weaving through an embryonic rhythm, "Black Gold" surfs on a line of blue vapor, establishing the link between the atmospheres of "Keep Taking the Pills" and the incisive rhythm of "ID Code". Strong percussions and sequence lines are crisscrossed and flutter to shape the structure of an edgy rhythm where the guitars treat our ears to solos sculptured in harmonious rock. Angels with crystal breaths and synth with seraphic strata take this rhythm into an ethereal universe, giving the final part of "ID Code" with its more hammered rhythm and chords under anvil tones of solos and melodic synths spread out their vampiric veils in the edgy harmonies and solos of guitars, sculpturing “MELTdown” 2nd musical part. The further forward we move into “MELTdown” the more it wraps us in its aura of melodious and ethereal splendour. On the soft harmonious tones of a keyboard and its keys of gentle glass, "Carbon" hints at some leftover rhythms under the cover of its mislaid voices which come back to denounce constantly the power of the economic world. The mood becomes dark and we fall in the airs of "In the Dark" and its lugubrious synth line which groans over an organ like fine rain. Guttural rustling threaten this fragile balance between despair and its antagonist when angelic voices rise and chase away the agonies. Leaning on a line of a slightly humming bass, a soft guitar joins these oracles of silvered voices and morphing solos which cry out in the tranquility of a track which frees itself in the cosmic waves of a seraphic finale. And then "The Men who Crashed the World" falls on our ears like cosmic blues. Drinking in all the sonic elements which fill the mixed ambiences of “MELTdown”, this guitar navigates on a deep and increasing rhythm to be swallowed by a synth and its mystic solos. There follows a harmonious duel where the two main musical entities of “MELTdown” are trading their moods and harmonies in a superb morphic blues. "Bail Out" follows with a nervous rhythm where the pulsations and the metallic ringings forge a tempo which bubbles without ever bursting. And this melody, embroidered in a fusion of guitars and synths, forge the last part of “MELTdown” which crosses the increasing rhythms of "Bankers in Wonderland" and "Greed in the Bubble" to end in the soft atmospheres of "Bonus Culture", where footsteps fade out behind a door which slams violently.
In spite of an absence of more than 7 years and a new line-up with only David Wright remaining from the original band, Code Indigo has not stagnated. Without being hard-hitting or aggressive, “MELTdown” possesses the harmonious colours of its writers. It's an album which transports us constantly over the course of its soft rhythms and bewitching melodies to a musical universe embroidered with imagination that respects the vast musical experiences of the members of this mythical English EM band. It is not just well done, it is extremely well done. And it speaks to us, it sings to us and it enchants us.

Sylvain Lupari (March 29th, 2013)

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=15986

vendredi 29 mars 2013

TRAUMKLANG: Natural Phenomenons (2006)

“Natural Phenomenon is a crossing between floating, psychedelic and sequenced music with many nuances in a very sclerosed cosmic world”

1 Wetterleuchten 18:28
2 Nebelschwaden 24:22
3 Sternenfunkeln 23:50

SynGate |CD-R TK21 (CD-R 66:40) ***½
(Analog ambiospherical EM)

As far as I am concern, Traumklang is a riddle in the wonderful world of EM. Sometimes a trio, with Frank Klare and Peter Farn, sometimes a duet and finally a solo entity, this initial EM project conceived by Dominik Ebert and Carola Kern navigates on the electronic oceans since the beginning of the 90's without making nevertheless too many waves. And when we speak about Traumklang in the social standing, the expressions are illuminated with admiration while too little speak about the music and the works (I counted more than 20) of this musical project as much discreet as a pope's cold. It is thus with a lot of interrogation that I kissed the musical decoration of “Natural Phenomenon” which is a nice immersion in the universe of vintages tones.
We navigate in the intersidereal spheres of the cosmic music with the opening of "Wetterleuchten" which sounds a bit like that of Software in Electronic Universe II with all these strata a bit philharmonic which waltz and roam in a cosmos jostled by enormous spatial waves and flooded with analog sound effects. Our ears are the witnesses of a fusion between two universes at the diapason of their possibilities with this silky intro which awakes the nostalgic passions with waves of Mellotron which come down from an absolute blackness to surround of a cosmic sweetness the percussions which peck the heavy atonal ambiences of a more concrete rhythm. A sustained rhythm which spins slowly such as a psychedelicosmic waltz and where the memories of old electronic and cosmic rock of Adelbert Von Deyen fill our ears with a Mellotron which multiplies its layers to tones of dark organ. This outline of rhythm fails in an intensely atmospheric phase at around the 9th minute. This is a short ambiospheric moment which starts to buzz intensely, a little as on Pink Floyd's On the Run without the cymbals, with a heavy oscillator line which gurgles and deeply swirls in a circular and static chassé-croisé where the rhythm turns constantly in a broth of electronic tones, there where are hiding these old tones of organ. It is a black, heavy and lively rotary movement which is inspired by the corrosive atmospheres of Klaus Schulze. "Nebelschwaden" presents a long ambiospherical intro with reverberations, sometimes twisted and sometimes threatening, as well as resonant synth pads which wind and float among some ringings and the scattered knocks of percussions. These percussions mark the time, as a metronome and its echo, in a long phase devoid of harmonies but rich in electronic sound effects of which the effect of stereophony is quarreling for our attention. One can hear some lost mooing mutter on a structure which sounds more and more like some Adelbert Von Deyen, whereas that the percussions reconcile their strikings, hammering a rhythm of false rock which skips in the vapors of a Mellotron sticks with a bad cold. A bass line and its hopping chords adopt the shape of this minimalist rhythm which charms the ear with these waves a bit eroded coming from a keyboard and of its soft perfumes of lunar organ, while that riffs of a blind guitar finalises the basis of what we can call a smooth psychedelicosmic rock. Remember Iron Butterfly? Well, let say that it might be this US psyrock band playing EM. Under its ringings to the asymmetric strikings and its cosmic sound effects, "Sternenfunkeln" remains suspended in the purest lifelessness. Cemented in its cosmic ambience filled by floating impulses, the track evolves slowly beneath the thick sounds arms of a Mellotron synth of which the soft orchestral wanderings form a strange symbiosis with these keys in the colors of glockenspiel which sparkle in a sterile felted crescendo. It is a track of ambience, without percussions nor agitated sequences, which glides in a static universe which seems infinite. Hum … I have to admit that I stayed on my appetite with Traumklang's “Natural Phenomenon”. With comments gleaned here and there on the Net and among my friends, I expected something more hard-hitting. I am quits for a small pleasure with this mixture of both Teutonic universes which moves to the limits of their styles, without ever really nesting there in a definitive way. It is a crossing between floating, psychedelic and sequenced music with many nuances in a very sclerosed cosmic world. For those who love ambient in its many shapes.

Sylvain Lupari (September 20th, 2006 and translated on March 26th, 2013)
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=8798

jeudi 28 mars 2013

TRAUMKLANG: Homophony (2012)

“Now, here is something totally bewitching! Homophony is a pure delight of hypnotism where sweet earworms proliferate in a musical decor as charming as surrealist”

1 Längst vergangene Zeiten 4:04
2 Musique, Antique, Electronique 20:32
3 Just for Fun 4:28
4 Gleichklang 10:06
5 Cuculidae 20:17
6 More Fun 5:32

SynGate | CD-R TK24 (CD-R 64:59) ****
(Minimalist, hypnotic and melodic Berlin School)

When I'm starting a review, I begin with a lot of carefreeness. I put the silvery ring in my NAD CD player and I read or I play chess. And when my eyes frown at certain passages, I know that I have in my ears an album which has some potential. But when I am not capable any more of reading, or of concentrating to play chess, I understand that I have something very big. And nevertheless … What to think of “Homophony”? Well I would begin by saying that it is an album of a disconcerting simplicity which is build around two long epic tracks. An album which at first sight seems very accessible. It magnetizes the mind with these multiple layers of harmonies and of quiet rhythms which pile up on long minimalist structures. These harmonies and these artless rhythms infiltrate into our ears, weaving endless earworms which charm as much that they haunt on minimalist movements soaked with this Teutonic stoicism that is cybernetic Berlin School. Here we are! You have the rundown. But did I insist well enough on saying that you go to be magnetized? Here is how's that will occur.
First of all "Längst vergangene Zeiten" entails us straight in the enchanter minimalist universe of “Homophony” with a Teutonic cold rhythm. It's a kind of synth-pop à la Kraftwerk which is lacking of vitamin at the level of the automated percussions and of which every blow from it emasculates its alter-ego which rings of an ecstasy while hiccupping under the waves twisted of a black synth and of its iridescentes mists. In fact, this is a metronomic pretext to the delicious "Music, Antique, Electronique" whose hollow winds make the bridge between both tracks. And "Music, Antique, Electronique" will nail you in the comfort of your bliss with sinuous floating synth waves which raise delicate percussions, introducing a rhythm progressing softly under the layers of an organ with tones of the Flower Power years. Other percussions, more robotics, are stamping a finely jerky structure which will shell the first 13 minutes of a hypnotic minimalist movement, like a snake to bouncy undulations, to which is added many sound elements such as organic tones, scattered ringings, harmonies with criss-crossed tones and synth lines in pluralistic forms sometimes shrill, stroboscopic or abstract but always harmonious which sometimes exchange their harmonies for some solos in the shape of cosmic fog or for vampiric waves. At first listening it could sounds simplistic, but I can guarantee you that the bewitching which forges these enchanting and hypnotic earworms comes quite quickly on this structure which hiccups and rocks in an ambience mi psychedelic and mi Teutonic. Then "Music, Antique, Electronique" stumbles in a dense cosmic magma after its 13th minute when a black hole breathes of heterogeneous tones which skip in the absorbing winds of the void. A fine synth wave emerges from it and pulses delicately up to the intro of "Just for Fun" of which the start is a fusion of Baffo Banfi and Jean Michel Jarre merry electronic sambas which draw up its dance steps in a sound fauna sounding so much as a as youthful Kraftwerk with psychedelic gases (pouett-pouett, tchou-tchou). Sic!
"Gleichklang" begins the 2nd portion of “Homophony” cerebral journey with dense synth layers of which the echoing oscillations are upholstered by iridescent mist. Even cloistered in an ambient dumbness, the structure livens up delicately, pulsing with a sweetness in the puny harmonies of the hesitating arpeggios which skip awkwardly in this intense bath of lunar fog. Then comes "Cuculidae", the real jewel of “Homophony”. Drops ooze on the walls of the world, moulding a quiet halieutic symphony which let itself being caressed by the cuckoos of diurnal owls. One would imagine being in the universe of Kitaro and his famous Full Moon Story with these paradisiacal elements which surround our ears of a fascinating ode to nature. And it's in the most complete serenity that Carola Kern dresses, piece by piece, this surprising musical delight that will not stop to charm us throughout its slow evolution. You have to hear these shouts of tropical birds kiss this serenity, magnetizing our attention while that subtly a line of sequences spreads its series of keys, charmer of ears, to undulate with aphasia such as a thick cloud of small snakes of glass of which the coils fit together in the Eden of the floating water lilies. We cannot ignore the charms of Richard Pinhas' sequences movements of Iceland which embalm the harmonies of this long minimalist musical carnival while that the waves of synth coo constantly in this decor to thousand harmonious colors. This is simply magnificent and we want this charming minimalist lullaby to last even much more than its 20 minutes. A delight of hypnosis and abandon! And a little as with "Just for Fun", "More Fun" sounds out of tune with a robotic approach à la Kraftwerk where the annoying noises of the Autobahn traffic, and other iconoclastic clamours, overhang a jerky and cold rhythm interpreted by a gang of robots under painkillers.
I was pleasantly surprised by this album of Traumklang. “Homophony” is a pure delight of hypnotism and bewitchment where earworms proliferate in a musical decor as charming as surrealist. It is not complicated, even simple-minded at the limit, but magnificently well orchestrated by Carola Kern who amazes behind her consoles by delivering an excellent opus that I recommend without hesitations.

Sylvain Lupari (March 27th, 2013)
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=15985

mercredi 27 mars 2013

SYNERGY: Cords (1978)

“Synergy's Cords is a truly masterpiece and an inescapable opus of modern EM which is part of my lifetime top 10”
1 On Presuming to be Modern 3:06
2 Phobos and Deimos go to Mars: Phobos 3:45
3 Phobos and Deimos go to Mars: Deimos 3:29
4 Sketches of Mythical Beasts 3:32
5 Disruption in World Communications 4:18
6 On Presuming to be Modern II 2:58
7 A Small Collection of Chords 1:25
8 Full Moon Flyer 7:43
9 Terra Incognita 3:50
10 Trellis 3:38
11 On Presuming to be Modern III 3:25
12 Phobos and Deimos-Radio Edit 4:12 (Bonus track)
 

Voiceprint | VP297CD (CD 45:36) *****
(Electronic feast of progressive and experimental patterns)

It had been a long time since I wanted to write about Synergy; one of the most important bastions of modern EM. And I decided to sink the nail when I listened to, by boredom for these soft days forgotten in the corner by my memory, the remastered edition of “Cords” offered by Polydor. And like in 1978, I was totally stunned! The music of “Cords” is an intense journey between the abstract and the atmospheric perversions of a sound universe where the masters of that era had not still dared to go. “Cords” it's an electronic symphony. It's a real electronic symphony where sounds, gurglings, rustlings and lamentations of machines form a stunning symbiosis. And Larry Fast dissects this harmonious skeleton that is the journey of Phobos and Deimos in multitude of small segments. In thin cords which in the end can sound alike, but which have just what it needs in tones and nuances to dissociate themselves and offer a musical panorama of which the evolution establishes a climate of obsession which hangs on in every fibers of our eardrums. And no matter the stories that surround “Cords”, when we have our ears immersed in its music, we know that we are in the core of its beast to thousand cords and knobs: the Moog and the Oberheim.
In 1978, the album's vinyl is white. And when the Itok arm hits it slowly, it's a strange filet of white noises which emerges from our loudspeakers. Then fall the synth strata of which the arabesques surf on the rotations of symphonic drums. "On Presuming to be Modern" transcends the symphonic approaches of the first two works of Synergy on this opening of “Cords”. The synth layers are oblong and their descent is vertiginous. Already, the metaphysical world of “Cords” extends and gets heard in our ears with a crowd of suspicious noises, among which absent rustles, which ooze among the big strikings of percussions and the singings of the hoarse birdies. The ambience? Tetanising! Between the euphony and the rustlings of the synths, the anxiety (or the emotion?) will spread its crystal trap which gradually will bear our two hemispheres in the alert of a hallucinating listening. Welcome to “Cords”! And "Phobos and Deimos go to Mars" crashes into our ears with a battle of sequencer keys which collide in their most ill-assorted tonalities, forging a powerful and surprising electronic rock which was never equalled to this day. You have to hear this bass line, aggressive and nasty, bite everything on its passage. Whether it's the sweetness of the strata, which try to spread some lovely harmonious filets on this unbridled rhythm, or these sequences which burst as typists' strikings taken in a tsunami, the line of bass remains furious and imitates marvellously the wild races that Tony Levin does on his bass handle. It runs and climbs on a heavy rhythm and of which the superb transition within the journey of Deimos is one of the most hard-hitting points of “Cords” which moderates at knocks of sorrow the fury of its furious rhythm in the gusts of twisted solos from a Moog which complains as a child in lack of attention. Astounding! "Phobos and Deimos go to Mars" is, to my ears, the most hard-hitting and most the incisive track of the history of modern EM. Isolated chords fall like flakes of black snow and the synths spread their philharmonic strata, entailing "Sketches of Mythical Beasts" in a slow waltz where everything turns in jerky and eroded circles. Sneaky and wave-like, the lines of bass are grumbling a dialect of animal dying in the meanders of the Moog's spinning which multiplies some lines to contradictory odes; merging Straussian melodies and uterine lamentations into a musical pattern became more and more nerve-racking. Spectral, the delicate keys which open "Disruption in World Communications" remind a ritornello for kids cavorting in corridors where exactly sleeps the beast to thousand cords and knobs. A very beautiful harpsichord amplifies this approach of innocence that a heavy movement of synth is crunching of its insane shouts which turn in circles in an intense and noisy musical setting.
"A Small Collection of Chords" opened the B side with soft shimmering chords drawn in the candour of a harpsichord. They hum with naivety on a beautiful harmonious pattern. We are entering into the most atmospheric phase of “Cords”. We dive into the baroque ambiences of the time of vampires (The Fearless Vampire Killers) with this short melody which sprinkles of its innocence the walls of "Full Moon Flyer" of which the intro is as well mesmerizing as a concerto for horns and violins. But the beast goes out of its work. She goes out with the rollings of drum to moan in an organic dialogue where the gurglings are jumbling up with the real tears of a synth which feeds this dramatic scene by knocks of strata waltzing as the falls of leaves in a dry autumn. It's abominably intense and poignant. And this is magnificently weaved in the most visceral obsession. The finale is flooding our ears of howling sirens, which cover the harmonies of an organ forgotten in this surrealist staging and encroach on the feast of the lamentations which is "Terra Incognita". The intro of "Trellis" falls in our ears with its huge bass line and its groaning bites which coo heavily in ample oscillations. Everything is of madness in this short track which tries a melodious breakthrough in this unstable broth which ends in a din altogether rather harmonious. "On Presuming to be Modern III" differs from its two younger brothers with a darker and more theatrical approach. It's a finale filled with the rhythms and ambiences, finely blended and dissected, of a work that will pursue you all your life. This remasterised edition offers the radio version of "Phobos and Deimos" which is more centred here on its furious rhythm. Still, it's great.
With its rhythms and its ambiences at the diapasons of their insanities, “Cords” explain by itself all the possibilities of a musical form that the arrival of the digital technology has killed its uncountable possibilities in the egg. When we enter in “Cords”, we know that we are in a unique place. It's a little bit as if we were literally in the heart of an immense musical beast and that we hear it fight for its survival and among which its tears and groans are crystallized with all its emotions into ambient air. This is a truly masterpiece and an inescapable opus of modern EM which is part of my lifetime top 10. Hat to you Larry Fast!

Sylvain Lupari (March 26th, 2013)

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=15978

mardi 26 mars 2013

ALIEN NATURE: Distant Calling (2005)

“Distant Calling is filled by the essences of vintage Berlin School aromatized of the dark and desertic waves of Steve Roach”

1 Winter Ritual 23:34
2 The Awakening 15:06
3 Signs 9:36
4 Beyond the Northwind 10:07
5 Ice Floating 15:59

SynGate | CD-R AN01 (CD-R 74:20) ****
(Dark vintage Berlin School)

Well...After hearing Anna I got to know more about Alien Nature. Was the man behind it a flash in the pan? I dug into his collaboration with Lambert Ringlage in Hypnosphere, where 2 great albums came out of it, I through a discreet ear on Distractions and I finally hook on “Distant Calling”. And no, the man isn't an evanescent sparkle in the universe of EM. He is simply good. Surfing in the waves of the dark ambient works of Hypnosphere, “Distant Calling” is a call for a change of direction. It's a change that we clearly feel here with a great world of sequencing where the rhythms are nervous and ambiences tenebrous on a wonderful mixture of Klaus Schulze and Steve Roach.
"Winter Ritual" is this kind of long epic EM track which hypnotizes as long as it unfurls in our ears and enter in our head. It comes to life by the magical of a floating synth which frees its loud timbres waltzing among a fine rain and some threatening atmospheric drones. Very shady this synth moulds its sound arches while infusing an ambiophonic loudness from which is born a sequence pattern wrapped of a dense synth veil. On its echoing and minimalism movement, built on jerked chords, "Winter Ritual" strikes with skill the hearing of its parallel sequences dance. The movement stays slow and mesmerising, and the evolution is quite simply superb with its celestial choruses. And we are amazed by this oblong procession which transports us at the edge of the 70's, especially when the Mellotron strings unfold its wings and wrap a movement which becomes more intense and seeks to fly higher by the elytrons of the percussions' cymbals. It's a great track in Alien Nature repertoire. Surfing on a heavy breeze, a flute fits closely the fragmentary movements of "The Awakening" while infiltrating the subtle incipient modulations from a tetanized intro. A chime line emerges. Making popping its keys on a metallic nebula, it draws the birth of a heavy sequence chaotic pattern powdered of a rich sonic fauna as much harmonious as acid. These ethereal ambiences of "The Awakening" overflow over the border of "Signs" which is a more aggressive track with lot of sequences borne by multi tones nuances and a synth with the fluty breaths, combining the harmony and the softness on a structure which is lull by varied and progressive ambiences. With "Beyond the Northwind" and "Ice Floating", we are entering into the more atmospheric spheres of “Distant Calling”. Without being completely floating, these two tracks present slow evolutions which lull us of a supple windy veil. On structures quite similar to "The Awakening", Alien Nature wraps us of an increasing nebulosity on slow and minimalism sequencing pattern pulled by synths with waves and lamentations eroded by a boreal opacity.
Distant Calling” is very different from Anna. It still breathes the dark ambiences of Hypnosphere and it's not a flaw, on the contrary. It has a more progressive touch and complex structures. Wolfgang Barkowski presents an album filled by the essences of vintage Berlin School aromatized of the dark and desertic waves of Steve Roach. In all, it's an intense and immersive album that fans of Klaus Schulze and Steve Roach will like for sure.

Sylvain Lupari (February 9th, 2007 and translated on March 22nd, 2013)
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=9776

samedi 23 mars 2013

ALIEN NATURE: Who Goes There? (2012)

“Who Goes There? is an extremely powerful album where all the musical colors of the digital equipments are exploited to the maximum”

1 Mind Bridge 15:52  
2 Pattern of Chaos 11:10  
3 Tomorrows Children 10:23  
4 The Radiant Dome 18:08  
5 Galactic Corridors 12:11  
6 Torrent of Faces 9:10

SynGate | CD-R AN06 (CD-R 77:05) ***½
(Heavy base sequencer Berlin School)

For this 6th album, Alien Nature embroiders themes of spatial wars in an amazing musical pattern. Inspired by 6 short stories and/or science fiction novels, “Who Goes There?” tears our ears and make ooze our walls with passionate rhythms which hammer the musical scenarios of intergalactic duels. Robots, extraterrestrials and cybernetic creatures decorate the atmospheres of a cosmos soaked with iodized moods where Wolfgang Barkowski delivers an almighty fight to the serenity and its morphic traps.
It's in some pantings which release a feeling of fright or ecstasy that the first lines of synth float above "Mind Bridge". Ambiospherical and musical, in spite of the whispers of paranoia, this intro gives off a soft perfume of abandon with these lines of synth of which the languishing charms are increased with the fine pulsations of a suggestive bass line. The jingles of cymbals, which fight over this field of desire, light the percussions which strike a soft tempo to the look of a cosmic groove. The rhythm is finely jerky, even a little jazzy, with very good percussions. It hiccups with serenity under the singings of beautiful synth solos, bringing "Mind Bridge" towards a period of transition where are ringing chords to breaths and tones of contracted glass of which the gurglings embellish with images a dialogue of robots in a seraphic atmosphere. We clearly feel a more dramatic tendency which takes shape throughout the progression of "Mind Bridge" which ends in an anarchy finale with the big stormy and nasal waves of a threatening synth. A subtle chaos is in hiding behind the rain of the acid winds which whistle on the back of the free-running waves. Extricating itself from these atmospheres of devastation, "Pattern of Chaos", which reflects the spirit of a spatial battle, lights our interest with a suite of sequences which steal behind the cosmic pieces of shrapnel and the deaf knockings to flounder in tandem with pulsations and organic riffs. The rhythm becomes then violent. As an intense ride in the meanders of the cosmos, it runs breathless with powerful percussions and tremulous sequences, tremolos which sounds like guitar riffs, allying so a swiftness which feed constantly the strength and the aggressiveness of the deep solos from a synth which is the clarion of the cavalry. "Tomorrows Children" lands in our ears softly. To say the least for its first half that is a delicious down-tempo swirling lasciviously between the soporific synth lines and the pulsations to heavy organic gurglings. The synth throws suave solos which float in an atmosphere of abandon while that quietly the rhythm is filling the air with a latent progression to finally adopt a structure as nervous, but more poetic, than "Mind Bridge".
The longest track on “Who Goes There?”, "The Radiant Dome" is also the one which has the most difficulty in taking off. But when it does take off, you better attach your tuque with brooch. Its intro is slow and kissed by a cosmic storm filled with hollow breaths and acid cracklings which are the witnesses of an odd symphony of organic jingles. It's a soporific cocktail which little by little fills with heavy drones with doubtful twists in order to make the link between the abstract and the heavy concrete rhythm which castigates the ashes of this intro. And the rhythm is heavy. Appropriating all the tones and sequences that can undulate with fury, it is heavily beat up by percussions of which the unbridled strikings are raging in an organic fauna and its pulsations which vomit refrains shared with solos to the hypnotic loops. And this rhythm stops abruptly after a crazy race after four minutes to kiss a more ambiospherical phase. The cawings of the organic pulsations which upholster the hymns and moods of “Who Goes There?” mould a strange funky beat approach where the synths are lovely. They draw some nasal solos and morphic atmospheres accompanied with an acoustic guitar of which the harmonies and riffs roam in this magma of antibiotics for depressive aliens, while that insidiously the feverish rhythm which had abandoned us resurfaces, gnawing a finale which is dying in a concert of white noises. This cosmic tranquility goes up to the intro of "Galactic Corridors" and of its soft musical winds which spread their serenities on a soft organic rhythm. We would believe to hear the orchestral vessels of Tomita on this intro of which the charms of synth solos hide these soft hits of manual percussions which feed more and more the soft tribal-cosmic rhythm of "Galactic Corridors" whose ending is embracing a period of transition with some languorous plaintive solos before stumbling over a more nervous rhythm. Then a rhythm a bit funky stalk pops out and the jerky outlines are drawing a stroboscopic sound arc, confining it on a rhythm trapped in its circular axis. There where throne the mist of Venus and the nasal singings of a synth and of its exhilarating fragrance of organ sound. "Torrent of Faces" takes back the rhythmic ride of "The Radiant Dome". Except that this time, the running gnaws the whole 9 minutes. It's a powerful track which makes us tap our foot and shake our head with madness and where synth solos swirl ceaselessly on this structure about which we don't know if it's the tremulous riffs and sequences or the unchained percussions which boost a tempo of a marathon runner who runs at high speed and which, in the end, runs after a breath lost in a rhythmic mess which only a well calibrated EM can forge.
Phew! Needs that I apologize at neighbors! “Who Goes There?” doesn't go in for subtleties. It's an extremely powerful album where all the musical colors of the digital equipments are exploited in a firework of explosive rhythms which crush the atmospheres and melodic approaches finely detailed. It's an album of progressive EM that nothing to envy to the avant-gardism works of King Crimson, or still Van Der Graaf Generator, so much it's hyper heavy and highly unbridled. It's EM at its best and which has to be listen the ears as big as our open-mindedness. Powerful, lively and heavy! For those about to e-rock...

Sylvain Lupari (March 23rd, 2013)

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=15977

vendredi 22 mars 2013

ALIEN NATURE: Anna (2007)

“Anna is one of those CD that we listen and listen again just to be sure that it's as much good as the last listening”

1 Theme for Anna 10:53
2 Crystal Voyager 9:19
3 Day-Dreaming 10:47
4 Endolphine 8:31
5 Night-Watching 7:58
6 Where the Dead Bees Fly 7:18
7 Her Smile 6:06

Syngate | CD-R AN02 (CD-R 60:53) ****
(Melodic based sequencer New Berlin School)

This is with this album that I discover the wonderful universe of Alien Nature. A musical universe which is dark and ambient with good sequencing patterns. And even if he is recognized for that, Wolfgang Barkowski amazes on this opus dedicated to his daughter Anna. Filled by a delicious tenderness, “Anna” touches us with this mixture of softness and dark ambiences. Yes the dark aspect is still present here but it doesn't dominate and has just what it needs to attract and intrigue. The whole thing is a world of wonders, a gentle sound feast where the melody are as soft as baby's skin.
A piano crosses a wave of aqua-spatial sound effects to roll up its melody with a nostalgic fingering. It's a graceful opening that fills our ears when a sequencer comes knocking this fragile balance of softness when "Theme for Anna" spins with heaviness along a hatched sequenced line. The synths fly over this introductory track with beautiful solos which arrive from everywhere, cherishing a nervous rhythm hacked by the short breaks of a romantic piano. At high volume the effect is great especially when the synths fall to wrap the hybrid approach of "Theme for Anna". The solos are beautiful and fluid. They fly with grace on a heavy sequencing pattern which knocks with strength. Simply exquisite! "Crystal Voyager" arches on a sequence which spins with hopping its keys on a sequenced pulsation. The movement is ambivalent. Trying more to exploit its tones and to create a world of sound fusions, "Crystal Voyager" doesn't really take off. It's rather a static track which modulates some shorts and beautiful melodies on an irregular rhythm. It's rather nice. "Day-Dreaming" continues with the undulating and heavy sequencer patterns. This time the rhythm is steadier and grows among sound effects, as vocal as noisy, while that the melodic outline is quite fluid with a synth with form-hugging strata and curly solos. This is another nice track which lowers its tone while reaching its finale.
"Endolphine" is the kind of track which draws the lines of a soft musical itch which sticks to the hearing as much by its melodious side as by the ingenuity of its structure. The main pattern turns around on a nice mixture of piano and guitar chords which enchant on a rotatory movement decorated by small Tibetan bells. The impulse evolves on good Tablas percussions and is transported by violin strata with a Middle East breath in it. A drum blow gives the signal for a more fluid and edgy rotation which turns like a kind of bolero spinning on its axis. Choirs float on a minimalist approach of a hypnotic keyboard from which the pads and riffs give birth to more articulated and subdivided movements. It's a nice one. "Night-Watching" unfolds an ambience tinted of suspense and drama with a darker approach and on a structure parallel to "Endolphine". Except that its movement is less livened up and is constantly slows down by pulsations which resound among effects of percussions with some light ringings. "Where the Dead Bees Fly" is a charming musical delight. It's a splendid piece of music of an astounding Arabic sweetness with tones of freedom and young innocence. A little as in the world of Baffo Banfi, the synth is charming and circulates between felted percussions, adding a silky depth to this strange ballerina which accelerates its rotation in symbiosis with its progression. "Her Smile" ends this very good opus of Alien Nature on the somber flights of an organ from which to ample modulations are crawling under a drizzle.
Hum…In its genre “Anna” is quite a great EM album. If I say that it's an inescapable, some would say that I'm an easy target for beautiful and harmonious EM. Because it's all the story of “Anna”. An album of moods and emotions where Alien Nature weaves its musical elements towards various sound effects and rotary impulses which bewitch and amaze from on track to another. An album without weaknesses? It seems so if you like more harmonious than progressive EM. I love both but I have a weak spot for the good harmonious lines. It's stuff with beauty and tenderness and it's invades us from start to end. It's one of those CD that we listen and listen again just to be sure that it's as much good as the last listening.

Sylvain Lupari (February 9th, 2007 and translated on March 22nd, 2013)
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=9406

jeudi 21 mars 2013

LOGIC GATE: Voyages (2008)

“With Logic Gate's Voyages; the fans of vintage Berlin School, filled by the gasps of organs of the darkness running on heavy dark sequences, are going to feast”

1 Into the Infinite 9:12  
2 Voyager 12:05  
3 Starlight 4:58  
4 Permafrost 7:35  
5 The Voyage Home 14:52

Logic Gate Music |LGM 002 (DDL or CD-R 48:41) ***½
(Vintage sequencer based Berlin School)

Lines of mists are undulating lazily in an astral tranquility, like the kittens of dandelions pushed by the weak winds of heat waves. It's with this intro, filled by the soft perfumes of a Mellotron suspended in the spirits of the times that "Into the Infinite" invites us to another festival of Memorandum tribute to Tangerine Dream. A bass line spreads its heavy sequenced chords which mould themselves onto the curves of the lines of mists, pushing the tempo towards a circular movement where the harmonies plunges us in the dark atmospheres of Stratosfear. Heavy and fluid, the rhythm of "Into the Infinite" rushes into the chthonian voices before lowering its intensity under the caresses of a synth to the very detached lines of the style of Steve Grace's influences, but just as much musical. It's a brief moment of calm where the heavy rhythm takes back its rights before sinking for good into the sighs and the singings of astral bodies. Like it or not, Logic Gate comes back haunting the spheres of EM with another work which depicts the worship of his creator for the black EM of the analog years. And as on From the Silence, “Voyages” is to crunch at full ears even if Steve Grace presents it to us with a more original approach.
"Voyager" is a jewel of black and sinister ambiences. The boat is on the sea. Charming the seagulls of its copulative undulations with the waves, it's struck by a heavy dark pulsation which jumps on the spot with frenzy. These pulsations awaken these clouds of mist which fill the morphic moods of the works of Logic Gate with winds of violins which hide the discretion of the piano notes from which the simultaneity flees the one of the sequences. And slowly, this rhythm bombarded stubbornly faints in the lunar embers of a long ambiospherical passage where these notes of piano struck in the minimalist art draw the harmonies of a lullaby for cherub's imps who let gladly being caressed by the magnificence of an oboe forged in the patience of synths. This is splendid and intensely sensitive. Except that a heavy drone shakes the calmness a little after the 7th minute. A powerful hoarse breath which brings its triplets, and other more shrill breaths, disrupting so a ritornello of serenity that we would have wanted eternal and which comes back for good from this useless storm, bringing in its trail these sequences that we had lost from ears. These sequences, but also percussions, and their jingles knock out the ending of "Voyager" of a rhythm as heavy as slow which wraps itself of a very beautiful symphonic veil. It's a superb well placed 12 minutes! "Starlight" is a short ambiospherical track where cosmic tones shell their idlenesses in layers of mists and in the bed of a slow melodic approach mislaid from "Voyager". That reminds me a chthonian mixture of Rogue Element and the cosmic moods of Software, in particular at the level of the crystal clear sequences which swirl with so much slowness. It's maybe short but it remains very musical.
Trapped in heavy and dense strata of Mellotron and its gaz of fog, the rhythm of "Permafrost" is as much soporific as its horse collar of mist. A beautiful line of a solitary synth sweeps its musing under winds of an ocean of fire, while that notes of an electric piano roam with a full harmony of déjà-vu under the slow pulsations of a bass line which avoids the rhythm in front of so much ice floes of fogs. The black march may change skin at around the 7th minute point, swapping its veils of mist for an intense chthonian choir; "Permafrost" remains as apathetic as black, but always frees this soft perfume of somber night-madness which always soaks the folds under our sheets of terror. It's in these ambiences that "The Voyage Home" is wrapping us in order to immure the musical journey of “Voyages” in a bath of nostalgia. Layers of synth to timeless musicalities blow on the fine sequenced keys which dip the tip of their sounds into a superb line weaved in the black harmonies of an old organ à la Klaus Schulze (Irrlicht
) and of its ghostly singings. These sequences follow each other in single file, moulding the whims of a movement which answers of its echo in a dense vampiric musical painting. Another line of sequence, with darker pulsing keys, forges a slow upward minimalist rhythm which strides along  the void in this lyrical duel that are doing the lines of mist and the glaucous harmonies of an organ of the darkness. A beautiful fluty line re-appears from the past, caressing a rhythm which was lost in these black breaths for a brief moment before taking back its rights over a more lively circular rhythm but always draped by this intense morphic veil which retains the rhythms of “Voyages” in its beautiful prison of mist.
Different from From the Silence, “Voyages” remains nevertheless very beautiful. Logic Gate  offers a more personal album where the rhythms are more evasive and the ambiences darker. An album which exhales at full winds the reminiscences of his influences but with a bigger freedom which makes that “Voyages” offers more originality in a musical pattern where the summit seems unattainable. The fans of old Berlin School filled by the gasps of organs of the darkness running on heavy dark sequences are going to feast.

Sylvain Lupari (March 21st, 2013)
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=15965