lundi 28 avril 2014

NATTEFROST: Different Stages (2014)

“Different Stages is an interesting compilation of tracks which have everything to charm all the fans of soft cosmic techno and ambient dance music”
1 In Natura 4:24
2 Draconian 5:13
3 Dark Spell 3:26
4 Transformation 4:50
5 Valhal 6:16
6 Absorbed In Dreams and Yearing 6:16
7 Ghost Mind 4:43
8 Intergalactic Journey 4:49
9 Nightfall (Bonus track on the physical CD) 5:07

Nattefrost Productions | NFD-DS001 (DDL 39:49 or CD 44:56) ***½ (Cosmic techno and ADM)
As its name indicates it, “Different Stages” is a collection of live tracks that Bjorn Jeppesen has performed in various locations and through many EM festivals. From Sweden's Nordberg Festival to the Awakenings Festival of England while passing by the very famous E-Live in Holland, without forgetting his performance at the Germany's Raumzeit Festival, this 2nd live album from Nattefrost follows a chronological order of these performances which took place from July 2010 until September 2012. The album is offered as download and also in a physical CD which contains a track in bonus played in Copenhagen in October 1999. And what it is to say about “Different Stages”? Well, not a lot of things, except that it's very good but also very short.
With its nervous and curt rhythm which shakes an electronic melody and its tremulous tremors, "In Natura" sets the tone to an album where the rhythm; hard, pure and lively, prevails throughout the 45 minutes of “Different Stages”.
Nattefrost presents here a solid set list with 9 tracks where the electronic rhythms send to us some pleasant earworms which are very good to hear again. We stamp and we whistle for those melodies in a universe of cosmic techno which is similar to Jean Michel Jarre's sonic frescoes. Only the financial means are lacking to support this interesting Scandinavian artist as far as the gargantuan madnesses of the French synthesist are. Well, this is another debate. The performances turn around the presentation of the Dying Sun/Scarlet Moon album, which is rather well represented with 3 lively tracks; "In Natura", "Draconian" and "The Dark Spell". And we have also entitled to 2 great classics pulled out from the Absorbed in Dreams and Yearning album with the title-track and the superb "Valhal" and its soft contemporary touch. Bjorn Jeppesen goes as far as on 1997 with the dreamy and lively soft cosmic techno "Intergalactic Journey" and 1998 with the boiling "Transformation". And then we have another classic to be with "Ghost Mind" from the Futurized album. And in spite of the years which separate "Intergalactic Journey" and "Ghost Mind", Bjorn Jeppesen manages to cement the whole thing in order to give the illusion of a very beautiful album of cosmic techno with very current flavors, even with sound a bit aged and very automated of "Nightfall".
Without surpassing the very strong 2010's 
Live in GermanyDifferent Stages” is an interesting compilation of tracks which have everything to charm all the fans of soft cosmic techno and ambient dance music. It's 45 minutes well packed with a good update of old tracks which doesn't distort them and which gives them a bit of youth therapy. And we cannot ignore any link between the music and the artistic approach which exists between Nattefrost and Jean Michel Jarre. So that I dream of a day when both will occur together, mixing an EM which has so much in common.
Sylvain Lupari (April 29th, 2014) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: 

dimanche 27 avril 2014

TANGERINE DREAM: Chandra: Phantom Ferry Part I (2009)

“Chandra: Phantom Ferry-Part I is a nice album but I was expecting much more. But isn't what we all hoped from years?”
1 Approaching Greenland at 7 PM 7:49 
2 The Moondog Connection 3:59 
3 Screaming of the Dreamless Sleeper 6:56 
4 The Unknown is the Truth 7:31 
5 The Dance Without Dancers 5:41 
6 Child Lost in Wilderness 7:07 
7 Sailor of the Lost Arch 7:53 
8 Verses of a Sisong 7:37 
9 Silence on a Crawler Lane 4:05

Eastgate ‎| 037 CD (CD 58:39) ***½
(E-rock with a zest of pop, dark ambient and New Age)
It's of a frenzied and hyper ventilated way that opens this fascinating musical story based on a manuscript found in a military camp of Greenland, near Thule. A fictitious story where the Carlos character meets a strange entity which seems to know more on him than himself. This is a beautiful basic idea which is spread out over 9 very distinct pieces of music, from where the feeling of unlikelihood in order to create a musical story which wants to be at the height of its so surprising outcomes. Alone, Edgar Froese seems to be afraid of creating. He is lacking of inspiration, boldness and originality. Becoming then predictable, even boring by moments. Nevertheless the story of “Chandra: Phantom Ferry-Part I” seems to have an interesting musical reach for EM; a musical art which has the advantage of becoming theatrical, filmic with a pleiad of instruments able concoct a whole range of possibilities. But Edgar never touches upon this interesting possibility. Our silver fox is very drab, colourless. Not that “Chandra: Phantom Ferry-Part I” is that boring, far from it. It's a beautiful opus, but the boldness of its story is missing.
With "Approaching Greenland at 7 PM", it's clear that it sounds like a wild race. The rhythm is nervous, jerky and runs on a bass line which espouses the shade of sequences spread like keen knocks of percussions. This is a good track. A good enter with moves of funk and with sequential variances coated by fine Tangetized layers. Imho, it's too short and a real kicker. "The Moondog Connection" spits a somber sensibility with a smooth play of synth from which the lines waves in loops and a discreet mellotron are filtering harmonies through some reverberating mist.
Edgar spices the whole thing of tuneful scattered chords which decorate this soft melody of a dark greyness that continues up until "Screaming of the Dreamless Sleeper"; a black title, but without souls with these vocalizes tinted of false feelings which glean here and there on a rhythmic progress which is lacking creativity. This track is so much sounding like the repertoire of the Melrose years and seems to be way out of this work of fiction, just like "Child Lost in Wilderness" and its choirs obscured by a so fade poetic approach. Not bad, but we speak about Froese and TD here. "The Unknown is the Truth" starts with a black linear wave blown by sonic arches tinted of blowpipes. This is an intro vaporously original which switches mood for a more nervous pace, seasoned of delicious crystal clear arpeggios which float in this universe closer of chaos than of harmony. The rhythm there is sluggish and stumbles into hallucinogenic psychotronic limbos which recall the first artistic gaps of the Dream. I liked it. It's a very good track which releases an abyssal mood where the remorse shows up in all the hidden recesses. Synth with intriguing laments, fluty and discreet mellotron with arrangements of a sadness to graze the soul; "The Dance without Dancers" is a baroque black ballet which spins in a bitterness subdued of a fragile hope. I think it's a very nice track which calls back the period of Legend. "Sailor of the Lost Arch" is a beautiful ballad taken from a New Age soil. It flows well, but we are far from a well structured EM, even if Edgar adds his heterogeneous tones. And the more we progress and the more we fall in a kind of musical easiness. Melancholic themes which repeat and which only have by tasteless synth lines which glean here and there, making believe in any emotional evolution while that everything sounds so much like old rehashed.
All and all, “Chandra: Phantom Ferry-Part I” is a nice album but I was expecting much more. But isn't what we all hoped from years? An unequal album where some pretty good music parts are getting lost in pretty poor and weak moments. Moments and tracks which show all the difficulty of
Edgar to surpass himself. Edgar is getting old and becomes very gloomy. And this gloom perspires on this album where the rhythms and ambiences have difficulty to find original forms. It's good and it listens pretty well, but something is missing there.

Sylvain Lupari (Originally wrote on November 9th, 2009 and translated on April 26th, 2014) &

samedi 26 avril 2014

TANGERINE DREAM: Chandra: Phantom Ferry-Part II (2014)

“Chandra: Phantom Ferry-Part II is a fair album with a music that we are used to hear. No surprises and no deceptions”
1 3 Rotcaf Neila 8:24
2 Aldebaran 6:56
3 Dnammoc Su 5:53
4 Capricornus 9:30
5 Apus 5:57
6 Auriga 8:03
7 Columba 8:54
8 Cygnus 5:24
9 Centaurus 8:04
10 Monocerus 8:36

Eastgate ‎| 067 CD (CD 75:41) ***½
(Mix of e-rock and dark-ambient Berlin School)
How we can jump from almost being excellent with the Sonic Poem Series and switch to something very average with a studio album such as “Chandra: Phantom Ferry-Part II”. Or should I begin this by asking if a suite to the Chandra: Phantom Part I was really needed? Already that the basic idea was good and that the musical outcome seemed totally disconnected, so why going there around 5 years later. But let's say it from the start; I quite enjoyed the musical ride of “Chandra: Phantom Ferry-Part II”. And this even if I always had the feeling of déjà-heard which floats here and there. Déjà-heard which flirts with the Eastgate years of the Dream but also with the beautiful years of Froese, Franke and Baumann, from where my interest in it. I even hear, yes yes, synths with Mephistophelian fragrances of the Ricochet times here and there.
"3 Rotcaf Neila" presents a beautiful ballad whose soft airs are disconnected from the feverish bed of sequences which makes feel it keys so nervous. The style is very Eastgate with melodious and sober synth lines and discreet idle singings. "Aldebaran" is another track like we are used to hear quite often over the last years of
TD's repertoire. The rhythm is ambient, quite as a helicopter which floats with a lot of effort against the multiple synth layers a bit swampy. In the end it's just as good as easy to listen to, just like "Cygnus" which is very lively on the other hand. But we have already heard these musical structures so often. "Dnammoc Su" is a track which hooks immediately the ear with a rhythm as effective as attractive and good guitar solos. Good e-rock there! And the more we move forward in “Chandra: Phantom Ferry-Part II” and the more we let ourselves be seduce by moods which at the end seem to fit with Edgar's tale. "Capricornus" is a somber ambient melody where we have difficulty in distinguishing the chords of a melancholic guitar from chords of a keyboard/synth just as much gloomy. Synths draw shoal of nostalgia with a black elegance which suits very well to the very dark approach of the track. In the same style there is "Centaurus" which drags its shagreen on an a little more stormy structure of rhythm. "Apus" presents a nervous, a lively  rhythm with percussions of felt-tips which lets its beat to be nibble by sober keyboard riffs. The ambiences are tetanized by numerous pads of a synth and of their lugubrious aromas which float on a rhythm of which the fine modifications live within knocks of percussions. Good but without surprises, this is TD as we are used to hear whereas that "Auriga" and "Columba" exploit the same structures but with ambiences and sequences which bring us very near to the Flashpoint era. I really liked those 2 tracks. "Monocerus" ends with an approach as much sad as sinister where Edgar vaporizes his very Tangetized synth pads on a slow rhythm. One would say a march of a solitary cowboy who leaves a city that he cleaned of its bandits.
One cannot say that “Chandra: Phantom Ferry-Part II” is a bad album as well as we can't say that it's a genius one. Alone...
Edgar feels very lonely. It's an honest album which can turn out to be disappointing if we fixed our expectations very high about Edgar Froese's creativity. Me? It has been a long time since I fixed my bar of hopes at a fair height. This is probably why I like this new chapter in Edgar's fantasies.

Sylvain Lupari (April 26th, 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 24 avril 2014

ALPHA WAVE MOVEMENT: Myriad Stars (2011)

“Myriad Stars is yet another fine album of cosmic and ambient rhythms skilfully built up by Alpha Wave Movement”
1 Beacon I 2:59
2 The Dark Lure 6:22
3 Beacon II 3:10
4 Gravity Well Flux Part I 2:54
5 Gravity Well Flux Part II 5:24
6 Beacon III 3:46
7 Anatomical Universe 7:19
8 Singularities 9:30
9 Star Birth 14:05
10 73 74 61 72 5:24

HRR1011 (DDL 61:08) **** (Ambient and cosmic EM)
Dusty winds make sing their prismic particles which mutate into long guttural drones. On a carpet of finely drummed percussions and scattered noises of ballasts, "Beacon I" shakes its frail ambient rhythm which skips in sinuous hoarse voices and synth pads to the soft airy caresses. It's with pleasure that my ears get stuffed again of the very cosmic universe of Alpha Wave Movement. Composed between 2006 and 2011, “Myriad Stars” is a fascinating fusion between the very cosmic sequenced style of Thought Guild, another Gregory Kyryluk's project, and the ambient music a little more down-to-earth of Alpha Alpha Wave Movement whose cosmic fragrances are filled of influences by Vangelis and Steve Roach.
"The Dark Lure" follows with astral synth waves which float as angels' sighs. The onset is profoundly ambient with lines of synths which interlace into soft crystalline chirpings. A line of bass frees furtive chords, shaping so a cosmic rhythm which moves stealthily in order to finally adopt a tangent a little more livened up with metallic jingles and soft absent percussions which put the table to a beautiful line of sequences to the nervous jolts. Swirling and zigzagging under the caresses of a synth which prefers the cosmic moods to some brief ethereal solos, the rhythm of "The Dark Lure" becomes spheroidal and also becomes a prelude to the very beautiful "Anatomical Universe" and its cosmic fury à la
Jarre. After the very cosmic, extraterrestrial and ambient rhythm à la Roach (all this there in hardly 3 minutes) of "Beacon II", the saga Gravity Well Flux brings us in the most enveloping borders of the cosmos such as seen by Gregory Kyryluk. We would believe to be in a space shuttle, immersing from a long cryogenic sleep, with slow morphic moods of "Gravity Well Flux Part I" and its waltzing and philharmonic synth waves à la Vangelis. "Gravity Well Flux Part II" falls in our ears with a resounding intro, kind of THX, before evaporating its astral waves with the coming of a strange rhythm which is panting on a fascinating meshing of sequences from which the hatched jumps are structuring a cosmic Roach dance beneath slow and morphic synth pads. Nervous and very lively, with good synth solos filled by the Berlin School perfumes. We dive back into the industrial cosmic darkness à la Blade Runner with "Beacon III" which aims to be a beautiful and adequate intro to the very good and entailing "Anatomical Universe" where Gregory Kyryluk mixes skilfully his Jarre and Roach influences in 7 too short minutes. Brilliant! The introduction of "Singularities" shows at which point how Alpha Wave Movement handles to perfection the cosmic structures rich in sound depths. We would guess to be in a lunar base observing a dance of stars which sparkle around celestial bodies and cosmic auroras borealis. A line of bass sequence spreads chords as slow as heavy whose resonance draws a furtive ambient rhythm which swirls delicately, like a rangy stroboscopic filet, under the more and more present singings of interstellar oracles. "Star Birth" adopts the same precepts but in a longer frame and with a beautiful ambient rhythm finely drummed in tandem with more crystalline sequences. "73 74 61 72" presents a structure clearly more exploratory with a thick cloud of cosmic tones which slide over radio transmissions and the hootings of strange extraterrestrial bugs. It's an audacious track to conclude an album which mixes marvellously the ambiosonic boldnesses, the always serene exploratory moods as well as the cosmic rhythms as much lively as restful. In brief an album just as the image of Alpha Wave Movement; an artist who never stops amazed and whose discovery I strongly recommend.
Sylvain Lupari (April 24th, 2014) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: 

mardi 22 avril 2014

FRANK KLARE: Soundtrack for Dreams (1998-2010)

“Frank Klare is an amazing artist who can goes between the Teutonic rhythms as well as deep minimalist Berlin School but Soundtrack for Dreams is mainly a deep and great incursion in the filmic moods of TD. Awesome!”
1 Labyrinth 2:56  2 Unknown Excursion 3:11 
3 Orientalic Excursion 6:34
4 Through the Spheric Timegate 6:51  5 Stratospheric Impression 4:47
6 Living Illusion 1:50  7 Twilight Situation 4:45
8 Timegate through Underwater Worlds 3:42  9 Cosmic Lovescene 3:55
10 Confrontation 5:29
11 Dream-Surrender 1:06
12 Running Away 2:52
13 Vision of a Timebridge 4:57
14 Garden of Wonders 1:40
15 Awakening out of Dreams 6:51 16 Rising Back to the Dreamlands 4:29
Dreamgirl on the Broadway
- Dream or Reality? 3:42
SynGate | CD-r FK09 (CD-r 69:37) **** (E-rock à la TD)
Dark riffs of keyboard dances on heavy percussions. Lighter chords float at the same time as some very ethereal choirs. We frown and we wonder if we are not listen to a piece of music forgotten in the vaults of Tangerine Dream, periods Thief or still Flashpoint. With its rhythm hammered in a relative nightmarish sweetness "Labyrinth" spreads all the weight of its paradox between the naming of its album and the sudden way of finding the heavy electronic rock of Tangerine Dream very inviting. Playing on the various creative stages of the famous Berlin trio, “Soundtrack for Dreams” has nothing of a soft invitation to reverie. It's an album of pure and hard electronic rock which drinks of the influences of Tangerine Dream and of its more cinematographic approach with short tracks, filled of beautiful moments of ambiences, where one hears with pleasure reminiscences of the Thief to Poland while passing by Le Parc. But let's start of its genesis …“Soundtrack for Dreams” was initially realized in 1999 on Frank Klare's personal label (Traumklang Self-Released TK-CDR-9). This first version offered 11 tracks named Dream 1 to Dream 11. A first remixed and remastered version saw the light of day in 2006 on the German label SynGate with 6 new pieces of music. Rapidly sold out, “Soundtrack for Dreams” saw a 3rd edition, always on the SynGate label and on the same format as in 2006, on October 2010. Although written between 1998 and 2006, the music of “Soundtrack for Dreams” is a mosaic of heavy and lively e-rock which doesn't suffer at all from the artistic gap between its 8 years of writing, thanks to a very good mixing of sequences (made by Valleyforge's Thomas Bechholds) and a very beautiful remasterisation made by Bernd Moonbooter Scholl, such as we can discover when listening to "Labyrinth" and "Unknown Excursion".
The first sequence of rhythm of "Unknown Excursion" is directly attached to the last beating of "Labyrinth" and the track offers a strong electronic rock à la Bondy Parade or still Dr Destructo. "Orientalic Excursion" presents a superb melody imprinted by perfumes of East on a bed of twinkling sequences. The rhythm takes time to take shape. Floating between harmonies and ambiences, he flogs the time with powerful electronic percussions which pave the way to a great silky melody and therefore a catchy musical itch. Lively and harmonious, we shake of the head and we stamp of the feet such as in the summer of my 14 years with a soft perfume of Patchouly. The symphonic synths of "Through the Spheric Timegate" caress a structure of circular rhythm where spheroidal sequences are harpooned by percussions of which the hammered knocks melt down again the rhythm in a more linear approach. Still there; Bondy Parade or Dr Destructo, but in more ethereal mood. "Stratospheric Impression" offers a more evasive structure where the rhythm is slow and pounds with a certain heaviness, a little as in "Twilight Situation" and its filmic approach which reminds me of
Near Dark. Jingles and percussions hit a hypnotic rhythm that the voice of Sabine Klare overhangs of esoteric singings. "Living Illusion" falls in our ears with a wave of sequences of which the undulations flutter nervously before tumbling in the filets of percussions and their electronic military rollings. Simple but efficiently catchy! And as we go on into our discovery of “Soundtrack for Dreams” we find that the rhythms and the moods which are hiding there are all of known territories. And the music is heavy. If we hear with obvious fact the influences of Tangerine Dream, we also hear the very personal approach of Frank Klare whose creativity has nothing to envy to the multiple faces of Edgar's bands. When our ears uncork "Timegate through Underwater Worlds", we perceive a subtle different between the eight new tracks which separate both releases. Here, the recollections of the Dream are closer to the Le Parc years with a movement of sequences of which the vaporous tones remind me of Poland. The rhythm is more clear, less heavy, and remains very lively with this structure which flutters like the wings of a butterfly prisoner of his vertical tube. After a quite cute and lively "Cosmic Lovescene", "Confrontation" dips us back into the moods of a Thief perfumed of the powerful blackness of Near Dark. It's a great track with a brilliant game of electronic percussions which ends in the bouncy Teutonic sequences of "Dream-Surrender" which leads us towards something like ambiences of The Keep with "Running Away". And if we miss the moods of Optical Race, we listen to the very melodious hypnotic tick-tock of "Vision of a Timebridge" which, at times, adopts a little the harmonies of Underwater Sunlight, especially with a very dreamy guitar. The harmonies are melting in the very ambient "Garden of Wonders" which brings us up to the heavy and powerful "Awakening out of Dreams" and the very incisive guitar solos, as well as mordant riffs, of Max Schiefele which float and gallop such as of melodious threats. Very good. "Rising Back to the Dreamlands" and "Dreamgirl on the Broadway - Dream or Reality?" end a surprising album among which the essences and the spirit embrace the cradle of the influences of an artist who got himself literally the sound of TD from the 80's, as much by means of the equipments as by an obvious passion for the film music from Franke, Froese  and Schmoelling. And I, I hear souvenirs of Le Parc floating in my ears after that the last notes of "Dreamgirl on the Broadway - Dream or Reality?" have fallen.
Sylvain Lupari (April 22nd, 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 19 avril 2014

JOHN LYELL: Reflection of Time (2014)

“Reflection of Time is a very beautiful album of ambient, cosmic or esoteric music which crosses new borders”
1 The Deep Unknown 6:06
2 Above the Stratos 9:21
3 Dreaming in Sine Waves 6:31
4 A Far Away Place 7:09
5 Space Ethereal 6:46
6 Dreaming in Sine Waves II 8:16
7 Reflection of Time 6:55
8 Crossing the Barrier 7:50

Independent (CD 58:58) ****
(Ambient and cosmic EM)
John Lyell is an American musician who began his career by playing guitar, at the dawn of the 80's, within diverse rock and hard rock bands. His career took a tangent closer to the electronic art at the beginning of the 90's when he discovered the ambient and cosmic music by listening to the famous radio show Hearts of Space. Since then this musician native of Minneapolis built quietly his own studio. He became with the years a very active personality in the up universe of the cosmic digital art, we can view his numerous paintings on his web site, and the ambiospherical American music by becoming a composer, a producer and a sound engineer for various projects which were inspired by the horizons of this American cult radio show. “Reflection of Time” is his 5th album and presents a very beautiful collection electronic music pieces where the mysticism and the esotericism mix up on structures of ambient, as dark as romantic in the soft fragrances of Vangelis, where the stars and celestial bodies sing the divinities of a cosmos to the unsuspected horizons such as put in music by a passionate of astronomy.
And we enter the universe of John Lyell's intergalactic atmospheres by the main entrance with steps of a sequencer to staggering organic chords which open the fragile ambient pace of "The Deep Unknown". Our ears discover, or imagine, a fascinating intergalactic dialect with tones which adopt a delicate structure of rhythms of which the little deformed echoes resound under morphic synth pads. "Above the Stratos" roots the perception that we are almost in the psybient world by spreading its translucent seraphic pads, where fine voice filets from the oracles of snows are escaping, which cover some electronic chirpings frozen between two ambiospherical layers. This is soft and floating, just like the title-track which takes the air of an ambient funeral walking and the next 40 minutes of “Reflection of Time”. Closer to the melancholic spaces of
Vangelis, "Dreaming in Sine Waves" spreads some delicate arpeggios which sing their fragilities in breezes of Orion. It's a very beautiful piece of music soaked of an attractive ethereal approach, just like the very beautiful "Space Ethereal"; the most beautiful track, imho, of “Reflection of Time” with this superb voice of cosmic Efle which hums with a symphony of stars. "A Far Away Place" is not outdone with its heavy and slow cosmic waves which roll over the singings of forgotten celestial bodies. Soft, dark and very melancholic. "Dreaming in Sine Waves II" presents the little darker side of its first part. But if the arpeggios are ringing with so much brightness here, the ambient structure is clearly gloomier. And we cannot be immersed farther in the cosmos than with the very black "Crossing the Barrier". This long ambient track sounds like a slow journey inside a space shuttle, needs to listen to it with headphones, where, fascinated, we watch the blackness becoming blacker. Even the seraphic voices, very discreet y the way, cannot manage to uproot this perception to sink into even more dark.
I have to admit that I was a little bit sceptical at the idea of discovering a new artist who does in ambient and cosmic EM. There is so many out there that we have the impression to always listen to the same thing. Except that the music of John Lyell really has its seal. If we can make a bit of comparison, that would be with the romantic approaches of
Vangelis. As for the rest, we are in originality or something that I still don't know. We can make links with Michael Stearns, for the ambient cosmic approach, but they are very fragile. Making of John Lyell an extremely rare artist who arrives to found his place in a musical crenel aired from everywhere. “Reflection of Time” is a very beautiful album of ambient, cosmic or esoteric music which crosses new borders. To discover …
Sylvain Lupari (April 19th, 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 17 avril 2014

CODE INDIGO: The MELTdown Concert (2014)

“The MELTdown Concert is a superb mix of a great music from Code Indigo and the images which were floating with creativity in the head of Nigel Turner-Heffer”

AD Music| AD 140DVD (DVD 86:00) ****

We see the quartet which fades out behind a valence of ice which drops its gouts as it melts. A room in a somber building. Garbage scattered everywhere. Waste, excesses of the humanity. And behind these images floats the idle introduction of "Welcome to the Asylum". “The MELTdown Concert” is a very audacious project which rests essentially on the quality of the visual effects and graphics, which are interlace and melt themselves on a big screen behind Code Indigo, when the famous English progressive EM group has played the unique performance of MELTdown at the E-Day Festival in Oirschot, Netherlands, on April 6th 2013. The music is essentially the same. Intros and outros vary. Shortening or lengthening some tracks without modifying really the spirit of the album. Except that “The MELTdown Concert” is not essentially a video of Code Indigo in concert, although we rather see quite often the group in action. It's a DVD which groups all the stories, imagined and set in graphics by Nigel Turner-Heffer, which hide behind every piece of music of the MELTdown album. And these graphics are amazingly beautiful. The space, the real world, the money, stock exchange, big computers and health business. Everything is magnificently well designed and inter-connected with sharpness in the main lines of this concept album from Code Indigo which denounced mainly the financial greediness of a society which eats itself from the inside. And these images, these Nigel Turner-Heffer's visions melt themselves, coming from the ice or from the fire, marvellously with the shots of the quartet, dressed very soberly, which reconstituted splendidly this very beautiful album which is MELTdown.
I really enjoyed watching “The MELTdown Concert” and I really think that it should serve as reference in what concerns the future productions of this kind. It's a very beautiful DVD where the music serves the cause of Nigel Turner-Heffer's intuitivity. And the fusion between graphics, visual effects, short films and the images of the group in concert is just in time. There are no lengths. We see just enough of
Code Indigo and the music is the real star and not the contrary. And above everything, we can now see this very beautiful album with a dimension that we did not even dare to image in our head. Very well made and it goes great on my big HD TV screen... a little as if I was there.
Sylvain Lupari (April 17th, 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 10 avril 2014

KELLER & SCHONWALDER: Pure Relaxation (2013)

“With Pure Relaxation, the Manikin label transcends the way and colors of relaxation music such as shown by the American market under the name of New Age
1 Regeneration (Detelf Keller) 25:18
2 Floating Images (Mario Schönwälder) 24:11
3 The Inner Light (Thomas Fanger) 25:52
Manikin|MRCD9001(CD 75:26)

(Ambient and relaxing EM)

Life is stressful? The problems of the everyday life get over us and we have some difficulty sleeping? The pains eat us away and deteriorate long minutes, even hours, of daily life? If so, then “Pure Relaxation” from Thomas FangerDetlev Keller and Mario Schönwälder is one of very beautiful antidotes that I heard recently. Far from being banal New Age which exploits to wear ropes and seraphic voices too much cliché, “Pure Relaxation” is a relaxing, soothing music which fits the rules and the principles of the long minimalist works with slow, but constant evolutions, of the German label Manikin. The 3 accomplices go of their very stylized touches on 3 long music pieces where harmonies, ambiences and esotericism flirt with the very personal seal of Fanger, Keller and Schönwälder.
A little as a rough draft thought which little by little takes its shape, "Regeneration" drags its peace of mind with hesitating arpeggios of which the tones of mirrors dance in the shadows of a line of bass sequences to the motionless pulsations. The reverberations are of crystal and a somber perfume of nostalgia floats above the first seconds of "Regeneration" when another line of sequences gets loose to forge a soft melodic tick-tock which rings in the sighs of fictitious violins and cellos. These sequences swirl like ballerinas of glass, colliding their feet and elbows in a soft passive duel to finally draw a morphic melody whose minimalist approach is coated of dense clouds of mist. A soft flute rises over this harmonious pendulum where are still dragging uncertain arpeggios. The union is seraphic. The dreams take shape. And when a melancholic piano invites itself throughout the fog, "Regeneration" reaches its paroxysm of serenity. Certainly the movement is ambivalent. Sometimes it is dreamy, sometimes it is just absentee with chords lost in the trails of cymbals. But always it comes back to its minimalist basis lost in mists, thoughts and orchestrations. These flutes, as these violins and voices which roam such as spectres floating on the down of pearls strummed with anvil, call out to a serenity which accepts gladly the caresses of our eyelids over our eyes while we remember of these soft unexpected melodies of
Detlev Keller's solo works, in particular Harmonic Steps or still Behind the Tears. Very beautiful! We are in weightlessness between the cosmos and the ocean with the very ambient "Floating Images" from Mario Schönwälder which, by the way, wears its naming marvellously. It's a long morphic music piece where our ears are mixing with fascination the waves of synths which float like submarine waves or seraphic wings. We hear voices murmured, as sung, dark themes here of which the weak harmonies appear to come from the oceanic bottom. A line of bass throws furtive chords which seem to snore in dense ethereal vapors while a line of sequence emerges from this sonic silence and made zigzag its keys which chirp and trample a strange organic dance. Keyboard chords are popping up, adding a morphic depth to this long track where our ears are constantly dumbfounded by this meshing of synth lines with colors and harmonies protean. This is very deep and very relaxing. This impression to be under the water persists with "The Inner Light" and its skeleton of rhythm slightly groovy where the lines of bass create subtle effects of organic swirls. On the other hand Thomas Fanger exploits a rather tantric approach with an esoteric structure very near the Hindu hypnotic trances. Clanic percussions and effects of sitar decorate lines of synth and fine solos filled with mist which raise their harmonies on an extremely mesmerizing structure which reminds me a little Mind Over Matter's ambient and very musical rhythms, but especially of Osamu Kitijama on his brilliant and famous The Source. This is quite good.
The dreamy and romantic harmonies of
Detlev Keller to the profound ambient and meditative structures of Mario Schönwälder by passing by the delicate groovy movements of Thomas Fanger, “Pure Relaxation” brings new colors, new dimensions to the word of relaxation music. Without denying the origins of the minimalist and hypnotic structures so dear to the movement of Berlin School, “Pure Relaxation” transcends the borders of New Age such as defined by the American market. This is a very progressive, even audacious, way of doing music for relaxation or meditation where the electronic charms of Berlin School breathe in ambiences to weave waking dreams. I liked this a lot and it has landing in my IPod for night music. A DVD version is also available, just to modify the images that our imagination embroiders a little more in each new listening.
Sylvain Lupari (April 10th, 2014) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: 

mardi 8 avril 2014

JIANNIS: Nightsessions (1998)

“Nightsessions is a strong EM opus built on deep and rich Mellotron perfumes that will please for sure to the fans of analog Berlin School à la TD style”

1 Apocalypsis II 28:25
2 Zoomland I 14:25
3 Zoomland II 23:52
Spheric Music ‎| SMCD 5002 (CD 66:51)

(Retro analog Berlin School style)
If, like me, you have renewed with EM after a period of 10 years' drought, be between 1990 and 2000 (here in North America it was the New Age era and Tangerine Dream's Miramar years with some imports of the Innovative Communication label, for the most part compilations), you have missed beautiful pearls of analog and vintage style EM. Thus I like making a small return in time, well guided by friends (this time it's Lambert Ringlage) and go to the discovery of small pearls forgotten on the counter of time. This “Nightsessions” from Jiannis is one of those! Jiannis Zedamanis is a Greek synthesist who made EM since 1986. He played among others with Lambert Ringlage in 1988 on Timeless Visions and produced three other albums, of which the latter, on the Spheric Music label.
Complex and extremely attractive, "Apocalypsis II" runs its 28 minutes in several evolving phases. Electronic noises, bubbles of water which sparkle and which form a series of floating sequences, whales which sharpen their harmonies in metallic rustlings of which the roarings tear the coldnesses of a cosmos flooded by Alien's tones. The intro of "Apocalypsis II" offers a rich ambiosonic and ambiospheric texture where a swarm of heterogeneous noises gets lost in the sweetnesses of the fluty singings from a nostalgic Mellotron. A heavy line of bass sequence pierces this seraphic cloud. Vibrating and pulsating she brings with her hummings an avalanche of percussions which thunder and tumble, as well as another line of sequences, more crystal clear, of which the rotatory arabesques go up and down in the vapors of synths filled by 
Dreamian aromas. Well sat on this meshing of percussions and sequences, "Apocalypsis II" runs at very fast pace for the next eight minutes and even takes the airs of a big electronic rock with very good guitar solos. Then, it's the somber calm with noises of all kinds which scratch the dreamy sweetness of a beautiful Mellotron and of its flute of which the singings get lost in a sonic jungle which is reminiscent of Edgar Froese's Epsilon in Malaysian Pale
. We are floating in a full electronic madness with several phases of ambiences, starting with an ethereal one, always pecked by a wild sonic fauna, and we go to darker moments soaked of chthonian choirs and then to other quieter moments where the flutes let go beautiful harmonies which dance with a twinkling chain of sequences which reminds so much the magical Mirage from Klaus Schulze, but bathed in a little more dark ambiences, even of paranoia, with whispers lost in weak knocks of anvils. And "Apocalypsis II" to go deeper into more seraphic singings of which the plaintive harmonies lie down on a delicate piano and its notes soaked of melancholy. This is a great track. Really.
Mellotron and analog synth sounds are the heart of this last known album from Jiannis. And a soft fluty song covers of pink a rather lugubrious intro flooded with flights of bat and their electronic chirpings, of strange and sinuous hollow reverberations and slow sighs which switch into chthonian breaths. I hear Peter Baumann's Mellotron of
Sorcerer envelop this introduction of "Zoomland I" which is fed by sonic oddities sparkling in the airs of melodies which roll in loops in an ambience which becomes little by little as much heavy as intriguing. This chant of the Mellotron crosses these turbulences and coos on a line of sequences which forges a rhythm as innocent as the devilish ritornellos of Mark Shreeve or still John Carpenter. Glaucous pulsations flood this structure with wet riffs while that quietly the rhythm takes more homogeneity and rolls with cohesion in black ambiences always dirtied of baroque tones and luciferian choirs but which is also flavored by beautiful musical solos and by very fluid fluty breezes. "Zoomland II" is more black, more ambiospherical with a lot of Mellotron pads which glide over a sea of analog electronic tones. We are very near the floating incantations of Schulze which float in a deep Mephistophelian static sonic broth. The model is based on the structures of "Apocalypsis II" and"Zoomland I" but with a more ambient rhythm where the sequences and percussions play cat and mouse in heavy floating clouds of Mellotron; this dark object of hearing pleasure which encircles, embraces and harmonizes the complexities of an album as strange as attractive.
Nightsessions” is the kind of album that will undoubtedly please to the fans of retro analog Berlin School style à la sauce
Tangerine Dream and of its Baumann period. In fact, the more I think of it, the more I listen to it; the more I have the impression to hear an unknown session album from Tangerine Dream in the EncoreSorcerer and even Force Majeure years. This is very good. Complex, not easy to fall for it on the first listening, set apart the first track, and very rich, but very rich in ambiences, tones and Mellotron lines.

Sylvain Lupari (April 8th, 2014) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: