lundi 31 mars 2014

KLAUS SCHULZE: Beyond Recall (1991)

“Beyond Recall is build within an audacious pattern of samplings which transcends all the borders of the anti-music to finally give a poetically musical work... if we dare to force the listening”
1 Gringo Nero 26:54  
2 Trancess 12:50  
3 Brave Old Sequence 11:02  
4 The Big Fall 11:35  
5 Airlights 14:34

Virgin CDVE 906 (CD 77:07) ***½
At both audacious and fascinating, “Beyond Recall” is an album difficult to access which blows aromas of Miditerranean Pads on approaches that I would consider a bit more harmonious, but on rhythms which are strangely fuzzy. Imprecise rhythms which are confronting to very colorful samplings and which compete with notes of piano and guitars, but rarely with sequences and synth momentums, on percussions of which the strikings ignore rhythmic patterns quite structured. The result is an enormous musical collage where Schulze exceeds the nonconformist borders by presenting an album which has more sounds than music and where the harmonies distinguish themselves in a sea of tones as eclectic as sometimes musical. And this long multi-sonic journey begins with the sublime "Gringo Nero". Sublime because of its structure but I'm not sure about its musicality. I guess it's depending of your degree of musical curiosity.
Became a classic of
Schulze's repertoire among adepts of sonic samplings (we can hear on it a multitude of these samplings on groups such as Future Sound of London and those bands of successors of an contemporary EM filled by psy-techno moods), "Gringo Nero" is a long piece of music with sound strangeness which come from the depths of rain forests on an electronic musical pattern which sounds strangely like what Schulze and Gottsching will lay down in In Blue. It's a hazy and hallucinogenic tempo, to the limit funky, where smooth bodies waddle with hypnosis and contemplation in the reflections of an acoustic guitar which pulls up its notes on the skins of composite percussions with strikings as much scattered as their tones. Flutes, many tribal flutes, are flavoring this cerebral mood where humming ahumahumahum are praying for a passive approach among breaths of desires and passions which float and dance in an eclectic universe of which the surrealism would light the desire of Salvator Dali, and Vangelis for the documentary approach. An amazing track, "Gringo Nero" is brilliantly rich in tones which transcend the imagination and which deceive a fuzzy rhythm of which the indistinctness is the cradle of a melodious madness which draws a surprising harmonious path. It became a cult track which is also the main structure of “Beyond Recall” and whose sonic ashes and de-merged rhythms will also furnish the un-orthodox approaches of the strange kind of smooth Jazz which is "The Big Fall" and the dramatic "Airlights" and its heavy acerbic piano which dips its cold notes into some imperceptible vocalizes and a boreal finale which remind me a little of the Dream samplings within the Le Parc era. It's totally out of this world and completely beyond what Schulze had created to date (we are in 91).
A lugubrious intro, with austere cellos which caress a hesitating piano, opens the somber horizons of "Trancess". A soft flute, of which the tone reminds me the work and the melodious spirit of 
Audentity and that we also find on "Airlights", and a feminine very ethereal voice are crossing the 13 minutes of "Trancess" which floats in a world of ambiguities with its heavy and mordant strings and its percussions scattered in a structure of hybrid rhythm which is divided between improvisation and structuring. This is quite a good track with a great mood of distress and strangely fascinating that would fit perfectly in a good horror movie, little in the kind of Dresden 4. Crystalline arpeggios flutter in the intro of "Brave Old Sequence", one of Klaus' contemporary classic. An intro which is not without recalling the poetics Crystal Lake, even if the approach is livelier. Besides we have this strong feeling that it's a kind of remix of Crystal Lake so much the dreamy mood is breathing with a more liven up pace and samplings which wasn't just there on the original. The melancholic gloom is well anchored there and rests on vocalizes a little bit suggestive but hardly perceptible. The rhythm, sat up on glass tones, pursues its quest with a crescendo which peaks towards an unusual world where vocal samplings melt themselves in tribal flutes before returning to its initial harmonious and crystalline approach. This is a very good track and indeed, a brave old sequence which returns haunting us. Wasn't it the spirit behind it?
A little as contrasts which get attract in order to form a heterogeneous union, “Beyond Recall” is quite a whole cultural boldness. It's an album which transcends all the borders of the anti-music to finally give a poetically musical work, if we dare to force the listening. At the end it's a music without concrete rhythms and unexpected moods but with a creative madness which has made developed the contemporary electronic music world with the hatching of DJ and their panoplies of sound samplings. I quite liked this audacious approach. But I'm a fan of
Schulze. On the other hand and before all I am a fan of feelings, reveries and poetries which show that borders have no beacons. We find this a little bit here and there but it's necessary to listen closely and between notes in order to feel them. If the adventure tempts you, just keep in mind that it's an album to be listen with all attention to seize the whole character whom is Klaus Schulze… But if you still haven't tame or seize the world of Schulze, I would recommend you to begin with a less experimental album. And don't jump to "Airlights" if you haven't tamed "Trancess" or yet "The Big Fall" yet because the sensation of metal which grazes your ears could run out of patience.
Sylvain Lupari (Firstly written on April 2009, translate on March 29th, 2014)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
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=12465

samedi 29 mars 2014

ALPHA WAVE MOVEMENT: Archaic Frontiers (2014)

“On ambient and esoteric rhythms which thunder delicatly beneath musical and lyrical desert winds; Archaic Frontiers is a very beautiful album where Alpha Wave Movement draws visions that we can easily feel and even see”

1 Cloud Sculptures & Desert Dust 10:25
2 Natural Light 7:44
3 Wunder 5:59
4 Storyteller at the Mesa's Edge 8:29
5 Quiet Realm 5:20
6 Promised Lands 7:15
7 Red Earth Reverie 8:42

Harmonic Resonance | HRR140004
How to describe the music of Alpha Wave Movement without making links with Steve Roach? Beautiful and extremely enticing, with a delicate ambient approach tinted with these lines of synth which tickle as much that they attack the passivity of soundscapes, the music of Gregory Kyryluk is strongly imprinted of this West Coast School such as defined by Steve Roach or still Robert Rich. Composed between 2009 and 2014, “Archaic Frontiers” is more down to earth and has only as cosmic touch some astral and starry winds. It's rather an album which drinks more of this mythical ambience where the tribal rhythms lay down their meditative hold in esoteric moods that make sing dusts of lands lived by the impressive sculptures that are arcs and monoliths of the American deserts. It's a very beautiful album filled by quiet moods which go between our ears like the most warm and musical winds which caress and mould within times these superb architecture of castle trapped in mountains made of sands.
And from the first tears of synth which meditate in the throat of a cave and its solitary seepages, "Cloud Sculptures & Desert Dust" drags us in the moods of Steve Roach's American deserts. And as aforesaid higher; we can speak about Alpha Wave Movement without thinking of Steve Roach's universe. The first moments of "Cloud Sculptures and Desert Dust" are of an absolute calmness. We are literally floating all over the lands of Desert Solitaire but with a more musical synth. The tears of synth intertwine in a fascinating sonic sexual intercourse, warming the esoteric spirits which quietly wake up to the sounds of delicate tom-toms. A sneaky line of sequences invites itself to the dance of the pensive spirits and makes glitter its keys which skip and snake in tones of melodious glasses. The rhythm makes itself at ease without being out of phase. He pounds with an aggressiveness which is contents by the embraces of a synth became more sorrowful with tears and groans which merge into other more musical lines, depicting aptly the fight of desert dusts against the strength of the passive winds. The astral waves of "Natural Light" are brighter. They float such as angelic sighs on a very meditative introduction. Except that "Natural Light" extricates itself from this morphic influence to offer a delicate rhythm which skips in a very harmonious way. Shamanic percussions energise this rhythmic impulse which becomes then more boosted. Panting beneath its tremulous rhythm, "Natural Light" becomes a kind of motionless running of which the passive flow accepts gladly the multiple caresses of a synth and of its so numerous approaches, as harmonious as ethereal. "Wunder" is my pearl in “Archaic Frontiers”. It's a wonderful ethereal melody with clear tints which sing as voices of angels on a smooth tribal rhythm. With its tears of synth which sing as much as they cry and its melody which makes ring its arpeggios in the crystal of the tears of solitary beings; "Wunder" is a kiss-curl track which is going to give you guaranteed shivers. An ambient piece of music as tribal as spiritual minded "Storyteller at the Mesa's Edge" makes the winds sing which blow their hollow chants throughout the obstacles of the huge desert stones. Dusts of sands enlighten and set ablaze. Their tones of carillons are sparkling into the dense aerial currents where the synth waves share their movements with some astral voices which float on a bed of soft manual percussions. In spite of its fragile membrane of night-time, "Quiet Realm" frees an innocent melodious carousel with a tinkled song which drags its solitude in some of silky layers of synths to the fragrances of solitary moods. Short and as much beautiful than "Wunder"! "Promised Lands", a little as "Natural Light" moreover, offers a finely jerky structure of rhythm with delicate quavering riffs which sigh on 3 dancing chords of which the recurrence forges a kind of upward spiritual trance that a beautiful ethereal voice confirms of her celestial singings. Percussions support the basis of the hypnotic rhythm while modifying its route by subtle knocks which accelerate or slow down the pace, so giving more visibility to a beautiful line of sequences and its harmonious cabrioles which skip in enveloping mystic mists. Like winds swirling against the rotations of ground turbulence, "Red Earth Reverie" ends “Archaic Frontiers” with strong winds which have difficulty in containing a slow but very present rhythm. The ambient canvas, and its winds which murmur as much than they embrace, takes back the main lines of the pensive rhythms which fed the ambient and tribal odes of Steve Roach and Kevin Braheny in 1987's Western Spaces.
Once again I let myself be caught, then charmed and even bewitched, in the delicious harmonious filets of a music that only the reason seems to define. Gregory Kyryluk, and this no matter his clothes, is undoubtedly one of the best-kept secrets of this latent American invasion which quietly extends beyond doors of perception. With its meditative ambiences shaken up by delicate rhythms, as harmonious as tribal and abstruse, “Archaic Frontiers” is a very beautiful album where
Alpha Wave Movement draws his visions that we can easily feel and even see with a music which is to the service of imagination.

Sylvain Lupari (March 29th, 2014)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
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=16921 

vendredi 28 mars 2014

STEVE ROACH: Spiral Meditations (2013)

“Spiral Meditations is an another amazing voyage from Steve Roach in the lands of ambiant, magnetizing rhythms and bewitching, meditatives ambiences”

1 Consumed by Sunlight 7:53
2 Sand Painting 11:26
3 Spiral Meditation 8:38
4 Helix 3:44
5 Spiral Meditation Part Two 17:14
6 The Feeling Expands 9:45
7 Sustained in Soul Light 11:35

Timeroom Edition | TM29 (CD 70:15) ****
(Esoteric rhythms and ambient moods)

Imagine a spiral! A horizontal spiral which swirls in front of your eyes. Closed eyes which see a spiral and its circles livened up by multidimensional sound waves swirling as the blades of a helix which leave its blurred shades drawn hypnotic and ceaseless sonic circles of which the speed makes sparkled some reflections hatched like the lights of a big sound kaleidoscope. Now, imagine a wizard. A wizard of sounds who uses many psychedelic geometrical figures which swirl endlessly in order to take up your aura. You thus have Steve Roach. You also have all the background of “Spiral Meditations”.
We had a foretaste of this last
Steve Roach's album on the impressive collection
Possibilies of Circumstance of the American label Projekt Records with "Consumed by Sunlight" and its ambient rhythm which meditates in the delicate sighs of a bass line and some chimed ringings. Little by little this rhythm livens up with fine percussions among which the light drumming, kind of manual thing, mutter with embarrassment in the ethereal singings of a floating synth. Finely, "Consumed by Sunlight" passes through towards a more swirling structure of rhythm. It's the passage in the heart of the circular rhythms to the strong fragrances of hypnotic trance of “Spiral Meditations”. In an organic sonic envelope where gurgling and strange duck cackling decorate an ambient soundscape drawn by fine blades of synth, the rhythm of "Sand Painting" spins around with sound loops trapped in a fine meshing of percussions and sequences. We guess these Steve Roach's tender attachments for the tribal rhythms with this background of rhythm which drowns itself in a perpetual mass of circles of which the shadows and doubles swirl at the speed of a hyperactive trance. We lend an attentive ear and we hear these structures of whirling sequences which filled the hypnotic infernal rhythms of Empetus. Except that here, the sound canvas is so dense and so intrusive that we are stuck in a bewitching state of voluntary hypnosis. It's a dance into a kind of pensive trance which is at the height of Steve Roach's meditative visions. The title-track brings us towards a more silky level with a multitude of wavelets which stream in an impressive repetitive pattern. In spite of a structure of rhythm which besieges the comfortable hypnotic sweetness of its undisciplined percussions, whom would fit pretty well on a dishevelled rock structure, some organic jingles and a line of bass a little bit funky, "Spiral Meditation" charms the hearing with this gleaming sound texture which sings like a concert of cybernetic nightingales on the bases of a nervous and jerky rhythm. Lively and restful! Is it possible? The answer is in this mesmerizing album to the very soothing trances that is “Spiral Meditations”. "Helix" flies away solo with geometrical figures which spin as of indefatigable sonic shoelaces which refuse to tie the knots. Short and extremely musical, "Helix" has to be the bridge that links the cerebral rhythmic trance of "Spiral Meditation" to the soothing waters of the very beautiful and meditative "Spiral Meditation Part Two" which reminds me intensely Structures from Silence. Moreover what strikes the most on “Spiral Meditations” is this insurmountable perception of hearing Steve Roach's cradles; from Now to Landmass while passing by Dynamic Stillness or The Magnificient Void. "The Feeling Expands" takes us back the road of the delicate rhythms and the hypnotic structures a bit chipped of "Spiral Meditation" while that "Sustained in Light Soul" returns us literally in the sonic landscapes of Dreamtime Return, the rhythm a little more shivering but always also morphic.
Steve Roach has the gift to develop his visions, his feelings with a musical dexterity which makes of him a unique character in this big sound sphere that is EM and its derived. From album to album, he refreshes his ideas which bear a new skin in some sonic envelopes textures which seem endless and especially always innovative. Of course we shall rather have the impression to hear his wonderful universe paraded in our ears throughout the conquest of “Spiral Meditations”, except that there is and will always have an element of magic which goes out again from it and which makes of the music of Steve Roach be as an old friend whom we are always happy to hear.
Sylvain Lupari (March 27th, 2014)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
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=16920    

lundi 24 mars 2014

LOOM: The Tree Hates the Forest (2013)

“The Tree Hates the Forest is a good album of e-rock filled by too many and obvious musical blinks of eyes to Tangerine Dream universes, both of Schmoelling and Jerome”
1 Polaroids from Anywhere 8:09
2 Cloud Walk 4:35
3 Quantal Highways 4:17
4 The Vedic Ritual 8:39
5 A Grand Solar Minimum 7:07
6 Bandhu 9:33
7 A Night out at the Cirqus Voltaire 6:17
8 Chants Beyond the Underworld 5:07
9 Emerald Suite 8:27
10 Tachycardia 5:54

Viktoriapark Records | VP 18 123 (CD 67:19) ***½ (Melodic E-Rock)
A beautiful fluty chant reflects in smooth and discreet orchestral arrangements. He announces the turbulences of "Polaroids from Anywhere"; a track filled by the vicious approaches of Jerome Froese and of his best moods of Neptunes. This is a track which hooks me straight from the first listening. After an ambiospherical intro blocked by a host of noises of which the roots recall the metallic ambiences of the Logos years, the tears and laments of synths bring to mind the White Eagle years. Sequences and percussions? The Hyperborea and the Poland years. Here is all the discomfort of “The Tree Hates the Forest”! "Polaroids from Anywhere" feels one's way forward by the means of good flickered sequences, effects of cotton gases and the jerky riffs from Jerome's Guitartronica. Between its phases of heavy but static rhythm and its floating melodic ambiences where each sonic morsels is as a fusion between Jerome Froese's universes and that of Johannes Schmoelling in Tangerine Dream, "Polaroids from Anywhere", just like "A Grand Solar Minimum" and its orchestral perfumes as well as "Emerald Suite" and its very Schmoelling harmonious envelope, does its stand-still of a way which teases constantly the hearing, but without ever taking off. It's good, but something is missing. And this observation is for the height of “The Tree Hates the Forest”.
Oh... do I have some difficulty with this last album of
Loom. Not that it's not good! It's not just great. I would rather say that it's not as high as the expectations. To say the least, mine. And the waits were very high, with good reason, further to both EP and especially after Scored; a superb live album with some appetizers of what should have come later. Cornered between the Virgin, Jive and Miramar years of Tangerine Dream, the very stylized harmonious approaches of Johannes Schmoelling as well as the rhythms and heavy and hatched riffs of Jerome Froese, the best of the examples is "Bandhu", “The Tree Hates the Forest” seems to be a victim of the egos of the trio's members. Each track is flooded in ambivalent structures where we have the vague impression that each member of Loom tries to impress and to challenge the other ones. So is missing a form of cohesion complicity, contrary to Scored or even 200 002. We find very good ideas which are not enough exploited because the track goes towards another avenue, always so good, but always so briefly exploited. There are piece of music that we listen to and which gives us more the taste of listening to some Dream albums or yet to Jerome's music. The essence of Schmoelling? Mostly we find it everywhere. I don't really think that it was the effect looked for by Loom. To say the least, it's not what I was expecting. If we have good flashbacks of 200 002's Rejuvenation, we rather notice pretty fast that each track on this album is a kind of sonic Babel tower where too many ingredients, peculiar to each and to their roots, are bubbling up in structures quite rather inviting. Very promising and flooded in sound effects à la Exit, "The Vedic Ritual" lands flat. If we like the approach of dreamy ballad of "Cloud Walk" and its notes of electric piano, which slumber in a kind of Logos' moods and as well as on a chain of circular sequences, we try to understand in which mood are situated the boiling "Quantal Highways" and "A Night out at the Cirqus Voltaire" which sound like big New Age symphonic e-rock à la Vangelis and Yanni. It's not bad, but something is missing there. And this in spite of the very good solos from Schmoelling. At this level "Chants Beyond the Underworld" is more successful. The influence of Schmoelling remains and his clothes of Vangelis perspire very dramatic filmic inspirations. "Tachycardia" is a bomb! A hyperactive track which would have without a shadow of doubt figured on Jerome's album or still Robert Waters' so much the rhythm, powerful and dynamic, diminishes not at all the fine melodious breezes.

As you can read, “The Tree Hates the Forest” is not that bad. It's a lively and dynamic album where the vast experience of Johannes Schmoelling seems to retain the enthusiasm of his two young accomplices. In so doing, each track of “The Tree Hates the Forest” explodes of these various visions and approaches of Schmoelling, Froese and … Waters. Strange, I was going to write Franke. At doing too much, at loading to the rim each of the structures and by wanting to embrace the egos of all and each, Loom missed its blow. Each music piece abounds of personal imprints from the members of the trio which too often tries to cross the most promising or the most commercial lands of the Dream. As would say my love Lise; too much it is as not enough. But what else could we expect from Loom?
Sylvain Lupari (March 24th, 2014)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
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=16842 

jeudi 20 mars 2014

BEYOND BERLIN: Cosmic Nights (2013)

“Music for Cosmic Nights is a great cosmic rock album of the analog years when the dreamy rhythms of Klaus Schulze failed to cross the chthonian moods of Tangerine Dream”
1 DA14 22:13
2 Clippings 18:12
3 Brussels Return 21:16
4 Clippings - Reprise 5:32

Independent Bandcamp (DDL 67:19) ****½
(Vintage Berlin School and Cosmic Rock)

Oh that we find beautiful EM around the webs of Internet. “Music for Cosmic Nights” from Beyond Berlin is an album which passed totally under my radar in 2013. And it's undoubtedly one of very beautiful surprises of this year. Evidently with such a name, Beyond Berlin, eyebrows swell of skepticism, but ears always remain so curious. But they still ask for more of that kind of EM. Recorded within the framework of the cosmic nights' Festival at the Planetarium of Brussels on May 17th 2013, “Music for Cosmic Nights” is a real ode to Berlin School of the analog years when the dreamy rhythms of Klaus Schulze failed to cross the chthonian ambiences of Tangerine Dream. Rene de Bakker and Martin Peters make us travel between Timewind and Phaedra in cosmic moods which awaken in us the need to listen the music of Jean Michel Jarre. But the most attractive element of “Music for Cosmic Nights” is without a shadow of doubt the magnificent footbridges of sequences which modify the courses of static rhythms cut out by keys to lively and impromptu movements. A little as if Chris Franke had engendered pupils still unknown by all.
The drizzle dripping with walls of an oozing cave offer their crystal pearls to a brass band of synths and their slow and wrapping singings filled by aromas of apocalyptic organs. Synth wave are rolling with a soft effect of backwash whereas that the eschatological singings smother the lapping of drops in suspension, shaping an introduction from which the macabre motif brings us silently towards a delicate dance of jumping key. Tenuous in a Mephistophelian membrane, the rhythm of "DA14" sparkles and skips more that it moves. The movement is static and hypnotic with keys shining of harmonic tones as clear as some marbles clacking on a conveyor. Softly, this string of sequences scatters its keys which spread some weak adjacent rhythmic lights that the chloroformed envelopes of the synths are caressing of their sweetness. Another line of sequences emerges from this shining fog. We will hear a weak oniric singing which rolls in loop on a delicate line of rhythm which makes dance its keys skipping like feet of children on an ice-cold pond. The dance of the sequences which follows and its keys which skip in the shadows of others, molding these fabulous movements of sequenced canons, reminds the nice era of
Timewind. Simply bewitching! Synth lines roll like cosmic waves on the intro of "Clippings". This time, the onset of the rhythm is hastier. It's a beautiful movement of sequences which skip in harmony with an ambient rhythm that synth waves wrap of an astral tenderness and of very melancholic breezes. The movement is very cosmic. But it starts to stir a little after the 7 minutes point with keys which jump and slam. Another line of bass sequences swirls and sneaks between the bangings, creating a protean rhythmic motif among which kicks and jolts burst in a pattern always rather cosmic with synths solos and breezes which remind me of Jean Michel Jarre's very cosmic universe. Afterward Rene de Bakker and Martin Peters offer us a course about the art of sequencing with keys which skip and tumble under the mocking singings of synths which sometimes awaken vague memories of the Dream. "Brussels Return" is the most ambient music piece of “Music for Cosmic Nights”, and this even with some great and delicate movements of the sequencers which embroider static and harmonious rhythms. They swirl in orbit, coated and sucked up by synth waves which roll and coo in soft astral chants. Needs to hear all the nuances with a good set of earphones. Wrapping and magnetizing. "Clippings - Reprise" takes back the very livened up portion of "Clippings". It's a beautiful way to be entailed straight away in the grooves of an attractive album which shows that the retro Berlin School genre has still some more charms to make listen. A great cosmic rock album! I'm looking forward to the following one.
Sylvain Lupari (March 20th, 2014)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
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=16840    

mardi 18 mars 2014

CODE INDIGO: Take the Money & Run (2014)

“Take the Money & Run is a splendid album which ends one of the very beautiful histories of the contemporary England EM scene; the one of Code Indigo”

1 Eden to Corruption 10:36
2 Call of the Earth (Ambient Mix) 6:00
3 Return to Gaia 7:30
4 Ashes and Snow 14:27
5 A Question of Answers 11:39
6 Memory Code I  6:12
7 Memory Code II  8:25
8 Memory Code III  2:03
9 Memory Code IV  9:00
10 Memory Code V  2:52
11 Memory Code VI  5:30
ADMusic | AD106CD (78:55) ****½ (Progressive, melodic e-rock)

It's over! “Take the Money & Run” is the swan song of one of the rare groups of musicians who mix deliciously their EM in the harmonious caresses of New Age, in the dreamlike structures of the English progressive music and in the heavy and devastating rhythms of the England School style. It's a delicious mix which has seduced thousands of ears since the very first Code Indigo album released in 1996; For Whom the Bell. More than 15 years later and 9 albums farther, Code Indigo loops the loop with a last album which makes a lap and revisits some of the big works of a committed band whose very esthetic music always denounced the excesses and injustices of our modern world. Except that “Take the Money & Run” is not a compilation album. Behind a concept approach very near MELTdownDavid Wright and Nigel Turner-Heffer have revisited and retouched some of the big tracks from the Code Indigo catalog. Music pieces mislaid in compilations (E-Day 2010), in sessions (MELTdown) and remixes of tracks which became immortal of the England band.
A line of sequences, full of keys which gurgle in the noises of machineries, goes round in circles and looks for its rhythmic aim in the reflections of synth streaks to the metallic rustlings. Like a dance of lost steps walking round and round in a disused factory, "Eden to Corruption" leads us into the universe to thousand paradoxes of
Code Indigo. Between a heavy and aggressive rhythm, suave and ethereal harmonies, and ambiences at both Berber and contemplative; the music of Code Indigo travels through its very personal colors. Those who are familiar with the group will recognize Eden to Chaos from TimeCode, as well as Eden to Chaos (Corrupted Time Mix) which appeared on the E-Day 2010 special CD from the Dutch label Groove. In fact, "Eden to Corruption" is a delicious remix of both tracks which are melted together in a new sonic envelope. The rhythm is circular. It swirls heavily with a line of bass sequences which leans on good strikings of electronic percussions. Heavy and spheroidal, it embroiders a fine stroboscopic line to which Andy Lobban's very aggressive guitar nibbles with ferocity while keeping a little of energy for very musical solos and more ethereal strata. We stamp of the feet on a very lively rhythm which goes and comes, as we meditate on the very sensual groans of Louise Eggerton and the very nostalgic passages from the pianos of David Wright and Robert Fox who exchange their dreamy melodies for Andy Lobban's very penetrating bites. We are had on familiar ground and especially very comfortable with this remix which introduces marvellously the next 60 minutes of “Take the Money & Run”.
"Call of the Earth (Ambient Mix)", always out of TimeCode, is unrecognizable. This ambient bewitching lullaby, of which the soft rhythmic swarm lays on fine tribal percussions, is restructured around the very seraphic of Louise Eggerton while the lines of synths with whistle for dreamers is replaced by a magnificent piano and its very melancholic melody. This is very beautiful and more contemporary. We still remain in the oniric domain with the wonderful "Return to Gaia"; a new version of Gaia that we found on this
E-Day 2010. Between Pink Floyd and Moody Blues, "Return to Gaia" offers a delicate rhythm, almost oriental tribal, with fine percussions which weave a mesmerizing ethereal dance on which Andy Lobban's guitar floats and scatters solos in the tears of a piano and of its clandestine harmonies. The arrangements are of a seraphic neatness to make melt the concrete. Without being aware of it, we have just passed throughout 25 minutes of pure magic when "Ashes and Snow" falls in our ears as an unexpected present. Written during the MELTdown sessions, it offers a slow rhythm with fine synth pads of which the fluty aromas are mixing up in our ears with the very ethereal voice of Carys. A little as in MELTdown, a male voice roams all over around a structure and its evolution which goes alongside of "Eden to Corruption". The slow rhythm part dives into a kind of jerky progressive rock à la Pink Floyd where Dave Bareford's guitar does all the work of seduction. "A Question of Answers" is a studio version of this famous track built around evolutions as much stormy as poetic that we found on the much acclaimed album Live at the Derby Cathedral 1996, released in 1998. This is a great track which exhales all the nuances of Code Indigo (e-rock, e-rock prog, New Age and England School) where the ballad genre turns into a light easy listening, then into a solid e-rock with zest of England School which is shadowed in the pastels of a light fusion between jazz and blues. The synths are very lyrical. They sing with a dark mood over an evolving structure where futuristic and retro ambiences are intertwined on a slightly bumpy structure drown on wonderful orchestral arrangements and suave synth solos perfumed of saxophone breezes which melt themselves in the divine voice of Carys. This is great music that we have here. From ambient to down-tempo then harder rhythms, "MemoryCode" is a sonic journey in all through the periods of Code Indigo. It's a kind of potpourri which overflies the TimeCode, Uforia, For Whom the Bell and Chill albums with reinterpretations of tracks such as Rapture, Syncgate and Lost Radio Close-Down in a more contemporary envelope which breathes all the musical intrigues of MELTdown, the last classic of Code Indigo.
Take the Money & Run” is a splendid album which ends one of the very beautiful histories of the contemporary England EM scene.
Code Indigo was a big group which broke ranks in this universe where the complicity lived often solo, from where the very mesmerizing musicality of the English band. The presentation of the album, the artwork is as much well presented as its music, with a very beautiful booklet which includes nice photos of the members and which also explains the origins of the 11tracks offered in it. Except that there is a last chapter to this end. Indeed, the band offers a DVD of the MELTdown concert played at the E-Day Festival in 2013. An inescapable and a very beautiful production. Yep....Sadly, Code indigo dies just here, between our ears. But will always remain there for years to come.

Sylvain Lupari (March 17th, 2014)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
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=16831 

dimanche 16 mars 2014

PERCEPTUAL DEFENCE: Illumina Tenebras (2013)

“Experimental EM, the challenge of Illumina Tenebras is very daring. But we are having some very good moments in it”

1 Illumina Tenebras 45:19
2 Tur Vinum 24:55

SynGateLuna | CD-r PD02 (CD-r/DDL 70:14) ***½
(Ambient, experimental theatrical EM)

The universe of contemporary and experimental music of Perceptual Defence serves the cause to evenings of modern dances. Shows in sounds and movements where the Italian synthesist draws his music on the dance steps of the contemporary dancers. Recorded during shows of ritual Butô dances, given in Italy during the summer of 2013, “Illumina Tenebras” sounds like a communion between art and music. Gabriele Quirici harmonizes his music with the graceful movements of the dancers whose impulses, as elegant as sneaky, throw dark shades which float in heavy ambient phases, as exult and excite hectic rhythms of which the tornados always end to embrace the contemplative sweetnesses of movements became more seraphic. Thus, from ambient phases to wild rhythms, the music of “Illumina Tenebras” crosses the twilights to illuminate the atmospheres of singings as much colored as the ringings of carillons.
Recorded on June 22 in the town of Scarzuola, during a dance show depicting the life of St-François d'Assise, "Illumina Tenebras" is well anchored in its dark sonic cocoon. There where are roaring unfathomable winds. A symphony of hollow winds, of which the velocity lifts a swarm of hollow sonic prisms, uncorks its first minutes. Fine subtleties in the speed of winds, which crawl in the corridors of the chthonian sub-soils, as much as in their forms and their colors, bring out the long sound saga of the title-track towards some bewitching changes of phases where the sepulchral breezes become long sighs of a ghostly choir. The movement is slow, without rhythm, with winds which become breezes and finally rustles of mass whose sinister singings whisper solitude. These singings create a musical world by lifting prismic particles which little by little become breathless and change sound skins to become some soft chirpings of birds of which the beatings of wings try to get them out from the chinks of darkness. The breezes turn silent and a crack in the darkness is made. Now, seraphic voices accompany the magnetic birdsongs. Darkness to light, the somber movement of "Illumina Tenebras" gets out of its shadows to embrace the soft rays of life with a passive choir and its papal singings which plunge us in a quiet meditative state of mind. Eddies, caused by blades of synth which get entangled like a pile of grey clouds, darken the latent morphic phase and create the first movement of rhythms of "Illumina Tenebras". It's a spheroidal rhythm, where we swirl more that we move, with synth layers which whirl like static winds, dropping sonic strands which illuminate a passive tornado where the black and white, the darkness and the light bicker the last minutes of a spiral which finally chases away all ambiguity and leads "Illumina Tenebras" towards a very beautiful seraphic final. Up to the doors of serenity, where the babbling of children goes hand in hand with Jean François D'Assise's aura. It's very theatrical and, although less violent, it reminds me the music of Jean-Pierre Thanès.

The music, as well as the ambiences, of "Tur Vinum" turns around an old Etruscan ritual. Recorded on July 6th in Toscana, the music is clearly more livened up than on "Illumina Tenebras". It's also less dark with chirpings of birds and their paradisiacal serenades which flutter inside heavy synth lines with colorful tones of carillons. A meshing of sequences and electronic percussions drum a strange heathen dance. Their rollings resound in synth lines draw with strange angelic singings this time. Technically, it's a kind of tornado which takes shape here with tom-toms and carillons which ring and resound in fluty singings. The movement becomes anarchic, even violent. It swirls vigorously with gurglings which invite themselves in this dance. An infernal dance where the elements which turn around lose all rhythmic senses but remain charmingly coherent, while the melody, weaved in celestial and childish harmonies, becomes little by little an earworm that will haunt once again the storm of percussions and sequences, of which the rumbling increases subtly, will reach its nirvana of tranquillity. This is a great moment in “Illumina Tenebras”. And there, the ethereal and meditative moods will rest the feet of the dancers whom we imagine to float between the shadows and their reflections. And the finale adopts a little bit the soft seraphic moments of "Illumina Tenebras" with carillons and lines of synth which sing in harmony with serenity.
Between twilights and lights, between devout and its devils, between the morphic ambiences of dreams shaded by darkness and rhythms of heathen dances which crush the bones of feet to turn them to dust; the music of “Illumina Tenebras” flirts with all the paradoxes of the contemporary dance and its high-wire moves which exceed the imagination of the most demanding choreographers. The challenge of
Perceptual Defence is very daring, because to put in our ears a music which finds its strength in the movements of its antagonists is far from being obvious. Even by closing eyes and by giving way, we don't even reach the mood, the spirit of it. But we are having some very good moments, especially with the explosive "Tur Vinum". For lovers of experimental and visionary contemporary EM.

Sylvain Lupari (March 16th, 2014)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
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=16830 

vendredi 14 mars 2014

TANGERINE DREAM: Booster VI (2013)

“Booster VI is a fair compilation that has the defects of its qualities and with a possible insight of what we could expect from TD next”
CD I| 74:35
1 Convention of the 24 9:26
2 Asheville Sunrise 8:35
3 Ancient Powerplant 4:28
4 Season of the Birds 5:29
5 Finnegans Excessive Wake 8:14
6 Sahara Storm 5:15
7 The Velvet Meridian 6:11
8 Sphinx Red Lightning 4:57
9 Dream Catcher 7:02
10 Twilight in Abidjan 4:53
11 Agony of Suspense 6:03
12 Sibirian Lights 4:02
CD II| 75:23
1 Betrayal 2013 (Sorcerer Theme) 6:32  2 Weird Village 3:25
3 The Warring Forces of the Twins 4:33  4 The Crystal Ship 5:30
5 Rain Forest 2:28  6 The Dangerous Mile 5:44
7 Mothers of Rain 5:16  8 Pier 54 (2013) 5:41
9 Madagascar 6:31  10 Voices from a Common Land 4:09
11 Marrakesh (2013) 8:15  12 The Silver Seal 3:10
13 Ghazal 5:10  14 Tutankhama 5 :30
15 Puer Natus Est Nobis 3:17

Eastgate 064 (CD 144:43) ***½
Ah... the very beautiful universe filled with Edgar Froese's controversies. I like the Booster series. I sincerely think that it's a good compilation and a great way to enter into so diversified music world of Tangerine Dream, with a very emperor glance on the various phases of the impressive career of Edgar's band. Proof? This “Booster VI” spreads its sonic charms from Sorcerer to One Night in Africa, while passing by The Keep and Optical Race and taking out surprises from Ça Va - Ça Marche - Ça Ira Encore and Transsiberia. Well...Yes there are 10 new titles. Ten new!? Ah, a first controversy … In fact, there are only 6 new compositions, with 4 strong ones by the way. Among the 10 new tracks identified by the Eastgate label, 2 are Froesentized ones, one is an interesting orchestral version "Sorcerer Theme (Betrayal 2013)" and a Quaeschningized version of "Puer Natus Est Nobis" which whipped up the ire of certain fans around social networks. Other controversy? A very lazy remix of the boiling "Tutankhama" which demonstrates the same problem in the mixing as that appearing on Ça Va - Ça Marche - Ça Ira Encore and the Tang-Go compilation. This is not doing really serious! Well, there are about 20 other goodies on the compilation among which some very beautiful surprises, things that we like to rehear and others that should have stayed in the anonymity. But all in all, this “Booster VI” thing is a very pleasant compilation.
At the level of new music that is good to re-hear, let me quote "Convention of the 24", from the Plays Tangerine Dream album, "Ancient Powerplant", "Weird Village", "Voices from a Common Land" and "The Silver Seal" from the album
The Keep. Were they remodeled? Remixed? It's not that obvious. It seems to me that it sounds slightly different. I hear new pads here and there, where it seems to me that there was not. But it's also could be just the strength of the sound that was amplified. But the most important thing is it's always pleasant to hear this great stuff. "Asheville Sunrise" is my first beautiful surprise. Pulled out from the Knights of Asheville live album, the ambience here is quite mysterious with chthonian choirs, layers and tears of synth as well as lamentations of guitar which float such as metallic spectres on a rhythmic motif knotted with sequences among which the beatings and the irregular debits tune their arrhythmic dances in the resonances of pulsations and heavy percussions. A beautiful dark and mysterious track. There are also "Finnegans Excessive Wake" and "The Warring Forces of the Twins". But we don't really miss these because Finnegans Wake was released in 2011. I also like re-hearing this modified part of Sphinx Lightning in "Sphinx Red Lightning". A small defector of Transsiberia? Why not with the soft ballad which is "Sibirian Lights"? "Mothers of Rain"? How could we forget it and not like it? And the too underestimated "Rain Forest" from Sorcerer? Very good and especially very appropriate to rediscover it some 35 years farther. On the other hand I would not mind if we haven’t have to hear again "Ghazal", from Optical Race as well as "Sahara Storm", "Twilight in Abidjan" and "Madagascar"; three tracks out of One Night in Africa which is too recent. Unless we try to boost its sales, but it's not with these tracks that it's going to help. Rain Prayer would have been a better target. At the level of the novelties now? Ah … There are some nice candies here.
I like "Season of the Birds". The rhythm and the dark ambiences, and what a beautiful sequencing pattern, have nothing to envy the big titles of
TD. We remove these so lifeless choirs and we plunge in the Flashpoint years, just like "Dream Catcher" and its nervous sequences which skip ardently in the fluty drizzle of a synth which also abounds of these annoying infantile choirs. I also like the slow rhythm and the bewitching ambiences of "The Velvet Meridian". Very good! One would say a mixture of the melancholic atmospheres of Atomic Seasons and of Sonic Poem Series's supernatural moods. I listen to and I am always bewitched. Seriously, this is a very big TD track. More black, more intense with a sonic motif very near the kind of horror movie and with a slower tempo but more punchy, "Agony of Suspense" is also a very pleasant surprise which is poured into the same mold as the last ones from the SPS. "The Dangerous Mile" wants to go on the same paths, but he becomes short of breath and colors. The last new track is "The Crystal Ship". It might be new to the world of TD but not for the one of rock because it's a version of a The Doors track that Thorsten sang during the North American tour of 2012. Do we smell here the basis of a new chapter of Under Cover? Now there are the false novelties! Remixes of "Betrayal 2013 (Sorcerer Theme)", "Pier 54" and "Marrakesh". Nothing to write to mom, especially that I didn't like "Pier 54", and "Marrakesh" never felt good between my ears. But "Betrayal 2013 (Sorcerer Theme)" takes a very orchestral form. Not bad at all! I like it and it gives another rather interesting dimension to it, especially with the sequencing pattern which is clearly wilder here. Does grandpa Froese reserves us a great surprise with the music of TD played with a symphony orchestra or mixed with symphonic arrangements? That would be a blast! I wrote about "Tutankhama" on top of the review. I have nothing more to add. Now "Puer Natus Est Nobis"! This new version of Gloria (The Keep) made enormously chatter in the circles of Tangerine Dream. Some see a kind of sacrilege there. Desecration? I find that the idea to replace the artificial choirs by real voices is rather interesting. In fact, the whole of it sounds quite well. Even more moving. Except that there is no beginning. No intro! Thorsten Quaeschning
 takes a portion of Gloria, either the middle, and makes of it a more ambient track. A more ethereal track. It's not bad. I read that there is a flaw, a mixing error on it. My ears didn't detect it!
All in all, “Booster VI” is a fair compilation that has the defects of its qualities. By travelling at so random way through his ages,
Tangerine Dream gives to his new fans what the old ones, whom I am, appreciate least. And the opposite applies. I am very curious further to the remixes of "Sorcerer Theme" and "Puer Natus Est Nobis". And with Thorsten Quaeschning, I say to myself that the future of Tangerine Dream is between good hands.

Sylvain Lupari (March 13th, 2014)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
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=16822