vendredi 28 février 2014

EMBRASE: Another Day, Another World (2014)

“A very musical album, Another Day, Another World travels through the various phases of a more contemporary EM with soft appealing ethereal harmonies which melt into suave synth solos”
1 Another Day 2:30
2 After Eight Years 5:53
3 Daydreaming 6:08
4 Touch 5:51
5 Change your Mind 5:07
5 Time 4:27
After the Rain Comes the Sun 5:56
8 3.33 AM 1:41
9 Moving Silence 6:59
10 Inspiration 5:42
11 Amazing 4:52
12 Another World 5:49
13 Back to Normal 3:37                                                
14 Another Day, Another World 5:32
15 Where Does it End 3:22

  (CD/DDL 73:31) ****  (E-rock and harmonious New Berlin School)
Some dense synth layers which float like tears of violins among the rustles of angelic choruses open the very ethereal "Another Day". The sonic envelope is quite impressive for a so short track. She is tied to a philharmonic approach which inhales the influences of Bernd Kistenmacher's last opuses. By the way, what jumps in ears with this comeback album from Embrase is this meticulous musical scenery by Marc Bras. “Another Day, Another World” comes 8 years after Dreamworld. To make history short; Embrase is the Dutch synthesist Marc Bras who had seduced the electronic world in 2005 with a first album (Dreamworld) which, according to what I read here and there, was strongly influenced by Tangerine Dream of the 80's. Eight years later Marc Bras delivers to us a strong album where the rhythms, which evolve constantly inside their minutes, are superbly coated by synths among which the charming solos, rather lyrical I have to say, unveil some nice electronic harmonies which harmonize their charms within sighs of violins, choirs with some dense seraphic veils and ethereal mists. With its 15 tracks scattered among nearly 80 minutes, “Another Day, Another World” offers a great electronic sonic parade with very contemporary rhythms which are immersed in approaches as ambient as ethereal.
"After Eight Years" gets a grip at this seraphic intro with a harmonious approach of which the first morphic veils float as in "Another Day". The rhythm is slow, mesmerizing, with fine tribal percussions and where the heavenly choirs hum an evasive melody and unite their singings to the tears of synths and to their violin layers which blow among strongly lyrical solos. We always stay in the soft comfort of the ambient rhythms with "Daydreaming" whose intro reminds me of Leftfield and their Africa single. The rhythm is softer on the other hand with a structure of floating down-tempo where the synth gets dressed of breaths of trumpets as much sensual as nostalgic. After an introductory structure which is also inspired by the sweetnesses of "Daydreaming", "Touch" shakes a little bit the meditative ambiences of this Embrase's last album with good percussions which set ablaze a rhythm delicately jerked. A rhythm always wrapped up by synth pads which this time are as much twitchy than the harmonies of these choirs which submerge of pastel heat the ambiences and the electronic rhythms of “Another Day, Another World”. These harmonies are always tinted with these heavenly choirs of which the empty singings get lost in the iridescent fogs of a synth which subdivides its moods with good nasal solos. That goes down very well. "Change your Mind" embraces a synth-pop structure with very nervous sequenced arpeggios of which the harmonies skip in the hubbubs of percussions. We dive in the 80's with this rhythm which merges synth-pop and very accessible world music on harmonies which are divided between sequences, celestial singings and solos of a synth which multiplies its nasal breaths like airs of snuffly trumpets. A synth which spreads breaths of panpipes, as well as very musical solos, on the contemplative, although livened up by a delicate paradisiacal mood, "Time". Dreamer and lonely, "After the Rain Comes the Sun" is a very good electronic ballad, just like the very beautiful "Another World" and its delicate rhythmic gallop deafens by scattered rotations of percussions, and of which the delicate structures of rhythm are decorated with soft pensive airs.
"3.33 AM" opens the 2nd part of “Another Day, Another World” as "Another Day" had begun it. A 2nd part clearly more livened up where the influences of the electronic rhythms by Robert Schroeder and
Tangerine Dream overheat the loudspeakers. After a very floating intro, "Moving Silence" borrows a structure of rhythm of which the soft oscillations are harpooned by the roars of percussions. The synths are pleasant and coo some airs of jazz a bit lonely in dense shrouds of electronic mist. And the comparison with Robert Schroeder is very tangible, especially with the very funky approach of "Inspiration", while the curt and nervous rhythm, encircled by a delicately stroboscopic line of jumping keys, of "Amazing" reminds me rather of Tangerine Dream from the Miramar years, just like the lively "Back to Normal" and its good synth solos, as well as the very rhythmical "Another Day, Another World" which leans a little more on Jerome Froese's kind of techno-electro music. But no matter the rhythmic influences, Marc Bras' harmonious envelope is resolutely his with synthesized harmonies which are constantly harmonized with the ethereal choruses. "Where Does it End" assuages the overheated ambiences of the second portion of “Another Day, Another World” with a beautiful lunar ballad where the synth layers cry in a cosmos flooded by dusts of stars and their seraphic singings.
Forged in rhythms as noisy as the mellifluously pensive atmospheres, “Another Day, Another World” travels through the various phases of a more contemporary EM. Here is the very beautiful album that will please undoubtedly to fans of electronic rhythms. But its main strength is not these rhythms, although they are very lively. It's rather these appealing ethereal harmonies which melt into some suave synth solos. Calling back these years when synths were more weavers of dreamy solos than the cold and calculated harmonies, as those whom we find exactly in these contemporary rhythms. If you like the Robert Schroeder's 2nd wave, as well as the Miramar and TDI years of
Tangerine Dream, “Another Day, Another World” will undoubtedly be well in your ears. It fits rather well in mines.
Sylvain Lupari (February 28th, 2014)
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

samedi 22 février 2014

TANGERINE DREAM: Shy People (1986)

“Shy People is a poor, very poor, album which only shows how Tangerine Dream were one day a band more interested in money than its artistic direction”

1 Shy People (Vocal version) 7:50
2 Joe's Place 2:10
3 The Harbor 4:00
4 Nightfall 4:00
5 Dancing on a White Moon 3:03
6 Civilized Illusions 3:50
7 Swamp Voices 3:13
8 Transparent Days 3:00
9 Shy People (Instrumental version) 5:00

Varese Sarabande VCD 47357 (CD 36:06) *
(Melodic, e-rock and synth-pop)
An element of collection among TD fans, I saw it at 90$ US on eBay, “Shy People” is the last chapter with Christopher Franke in the story of Tangerine Dream. I read several posts of many TD forums that Franke's decision to leave the adventure has been strongly motivated with this phase of intense composition for music themes during this session of recording. Fact or true? Anyway, the supposedly easy adventure planned by Andrei Konchalovsky, the movie director, and Edgar Froese turned out to be a real nightmare. Himself a musician and composer of classical music, Konchalovsky established some very demanding working schedules of 16 hours a day in a context where the inspiration was lacking. In 2 months of intense work, FrankeFroese and Haslinger had composed only 84 minutes of music. At 4 days of deadline, the album was still not complete. One can imagine Edgar's head! But one day, the album had to be completed...Bad tongues are still expecting that day.
And the result is far from being proportional to the effort, nor to the incurred problems. The vocal version of "Shy People" could have been able to be on
Tyger, so much the melodious portion sounds like it. The floating synth pads which forge the introductory ambiences and the guitar are beautiful. The whole thing sounds a lot like the opening of Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here. Only Edgar's guitar riffs are more mordant. The lamentations of Jacquie Virgil flow with sensitively. She has the same intonations as Jocelyn Bernadette Smith and the similarity with Tyger is too obvious not to think of it. The lack of heat and passion is also too obvious and this annoys, because it's either a poor remix of Tyger or a title botched for lack of time and of means! "Joe's Place" is a short ambiospheric piece of music which is very near the ambiences of Legend with a fluty approach and a floating synth. This is a good track which gets along well, just like "Transparent Days" and "Swamp Voices"; two tracks with smooth ethereal moods but which also sound and seem incompletes. "Harbor" is a big symphonic rock with guitar solo and trumpets harmonies à la Phil Collins. That leaves me of ice! "Nightfall" is a rather colourless piece of music built upon dull symphonic arrangements. Always, we look for passion, for depth."Civilized Illusions" is a track which sounds quite familiar to the new musical horizons of Edgar for the next couple of years. This is just synth-pop watered of effects on a synth and a beat-box too aggressive to be attractive. But it's not that bad considering what is coming. Shall we open a debate to known what is the most horrible and stupid title of TD? I vote for "Dancing on a White Moon". According to my taste, and well I do believe that I have some, that's got to be the most worse music piece that Edgar and his henchmen had ever wrote. And yes they have written a couple of bad ones. It's empty of sense and candy pink. I cannot believe that TD has wrote and put this thing on CD. But maybe I don't know music after all because this track was chosen to be the single of “Shy People” (sic!). The musical version of the title-track ends this soundtrack with a clearly livelier and more harmonious approach, but the synths made a bad decision by blowing melancholic airs à la Wish You Were Here, synth-pop version, in the passages where Jacquie Virgil sang.
How can they go from
Near Dark to this?
Shy People” is another disappointing album from Tangerine Dream. But one needs to know how to put things in perspective because it's also an album which knew how to please a new generation of fans lovers of a more harmonious EM which is closer to easy listening and New Age. It's a pity that the end of a so beautiful association between Franke and Froese ends on a so false note. Although this and in spite of all the stories here and there surrounding the fracture of Franke/Tangerine Dream, it's the end of an era because the Dream is well and truly resolved to try a very financial artistic journey towards the USA and ... somewhere else!
Sylvain Lupari (February 21st, 2014) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

lundi 17 février 2014

BRAINVOYAGER: Drifting Memories (2014)

“With its mosaic of e-beats and floating ambiences, Drifting Memories is a pleasant discovery which shines of the influences from Robert Schroeder all over its 80 minutes”
1 Awake in Swirling Dreams 16:46
2 Drifting Memories 25:02
3 All That has Been 18:34
4 Ascension 21:17

Bandcamp (DDL 81:40) ***½
(Mix of upbeat and ambient EM)
Internet, and more exactly Bandcamp, became a real opencast mine where sparkle some underestimated talents in all the music forms. And it's even more true with EM. We have that to think of Gustavo JobimDigitalSimplyWorld, E-Musikgruppe Lux OhrChristopher Alvarado and Sequential Dreams to hear all the talent which expresses itself in this virtual universe. Brainvoyager is also a part of this new wave of sound creators who expose their works on the Web. If the name seems to you familiar it is because it's inspired by the album of the same name that Robert Schroeder released in 1985. “Drifting Memories”, even here the mixture of both names brushes two albums of Schroeder, is the 2nd opus from Brainvoyager and presents 4 long minimalist music pieces which border the 20 minutes and among which the slow evolutions present continual fights between rhythms and ambiences. And if we can make a narrow correlation between the famous musician of Aachen and this project of the Dutch musician Jos Verboven it would rests exactly on a mosaic of very contemporary rhythms which beats some iconic measures in electronic ambiences apparently inspired by the model of retro Berlin School.
The stroboscopic filets which wind the introduction of "Awake in Swirling Dreams" get couple to some fascinating vocal samplings of which the childish singings get melt to a meshing of jerked pulsations and beatings. From the outset, Brainvoyager propels us in a universe of House and Jungle Music with brusque tempos which lose their deafening beatings into nice more ambient spheres. It is what happens after the first 4 minutes. The winds of Orion, I hear the slow cosmic waltzes of
Software here, caress the last rhythmic palpitations of "Awake in Swirling Dreams" entailing the listener towards a superb paradise for dreamers with a slow movement of cosmic waltz which gets lost in some zigzagging pulsations where the revival of the rhythms restarts slowly. "Awake in Swirling Dreams" is thus divided into 4 segments where the rhythms have precedence on ambiences with synths of which the charming vocal harmonies melt themselves marvellously in a structure of rhythms as much stroboscopic than jerky which, at times, chose the ambient sweetnesses of more morphic synths in order to expose better its latent velocity. This is good! But it's quite necessary to listen more than once to get into it. And at the end, we hang on it. I hear some Geoff Downes and a Schroeder more contemporary to Brain Voyager there. These synths weavers of awaken dreams feed the very nice ambio-cosmic intro of the title-track, I hear Tomita here, where the diverse movements embroider a symphony for cosmic drifting. The synth waves which roll in countersense are splendid. They beautify a rich electronic musicality which little by little turns into an astral choir of which the peaceful singings wrap a soft structure of passive rhythm. And it's there that the influence of Robert Schroeder jumps to ears. "Drifting Memories" presents these keyboards with the talking keys, exploited so well by Schroeder at the turning of the 80's, which overhang an ambient rhythm and its stroboscopic threads which go and come, roam and drift in a dense ambiospherical fauna.
This influence of Schroeder on Brainvoyager can be felt more and more as long as we move forward in “Drifting Memories”, in particular on the Ambient House style "All That has Been" and its introduction which binds itself to that of the title-track with soft chords sparkling into cosmic mists. Lines of synth, as the astral voices, are cooing and floating over the rollings of the percussions as well as the dance of the keys and their crystal clear tones, while that quietly the rhythm, subdivided between jerked pulsations and random beatings, is melting into an ambient mass in order to be absorb by these slow cosmic waltzes, these sibylline singings and these floating synth solos which swallow all of this diverse rhythmic fauna of "Drifting Memories". This is a quite good track. The voices and the Berber singings which introduce "Ascension" don't deviate it from the axis of the Ambient House and Chill Out styles which surrounds the minimalist envelope of the impromptu and explosive rhythms of “Drifting Memories”. The rhythm is clearly more present, even if always it gets lost and is magnetized by dense morphic envelopes.  It inhales of this duality between the hypnotic movements of Berlin School and those of the more current electronic music scene while being very near, but very near, of
Robert Schroeder's influences.
I would say that this “Drifting Memories” from Brainvoyager is a pleasant discovery. It's necessary on the other hand to be patient to tame well these structures which are all alike while being rather different. Contradiction you will say? Well, it's often the lot of those long minimalist works. I like this mixture of contemporary rhythms with those more sedentary and hypnotic of the Berlin School. But I would say that the strength of “Drifting Memories” lies in the ambiences and these sonic flashbacks which remind so much the evolutions and the changes of skins of
Robert Schroeder. To listen in solo and with earphones in order to really let us drifted with our memories.

Sylvain Lupari (February 16th, 2014) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

jeudi 6 février 2014

NODE: Node 2 (2014)

“Powerful, striking and extremely attractive; this Node 2 is in the class of the best Redshift, Ramp, Arc and Arcane”