lundi 26 mai 2014

TANGERINE DREAM: Melrose (1990)

“Melrose is not that bad, possibly the best of the worst out of TD's American charm tour... But hey! I just forgot 220 Volts here”
1 Melrose 5:44
2 Three Bikes in the Sky 5:58
3 Dolls in the Shadow 5:10
4 Yucatan 5:16
5 Electric Lion 8:13
6 Rolling Down Cahuenga 6:43
7 Art of Vision 5:30
8 Desert Train 10:17
9 Cool at Heart 6:09

Private CD | 2078-2-P (CD 59:00) ***
(Pinky synth pop and soft e-rock)
It's with “Melrose” that Jerome Froese joins his old man to be so a member of Tangerine Dream. On the ricochet, it will also be the last album of the short association Froese/Haslinger. The latter wants to continue his career on the American West coast. The history shows that each new album of the Dream on Private Music opens a new direction towards a more oriented rock structure. It's somewhat as if TD was looking for itself in this new commercial virage. Like if Edgar was constantly looking for the miracle solution to make a lot of cash. And one has to admit that with “Melrose” this goal was nearly reached, as a lot of its music was aired on various radio shows and on MTV. It's doubtless the most ear-catching, the wildest and the most convincing album of the new Dream in its gigantesque appetite for money in the US soil. And the global result of this album belongs to the fan who has to exorcise his previous devils and understand that the Dream, era Franke, Froese and Baumann or Schmoelling is something which belongs to the past now and will never return. According to this base we can then admit that “Melrose” is the best of the worst with 9 tracks of an average 7 minutes time which are clearly more inspired than on Lily on the Beach.
The title-track is a very FM melody style with an ethereal opening where soft chords dance in dreaming on a gentle pattern of bongo percussions of which the inanimate strikings float in the pads of a synth soaked by astral mist. Rocking between its delicate harmonious envelope and its light rhythms, "Melrose" escapes with a fierce rhythm which is stupidly sprayed by Hubert Waldner's saxophone. The usual fans still don't it but bongo drums, saxophone and cold choruses without souls were going to become the angular stones of Edgar's new sense of writing and the purpose was to resolutely charm a new generation of fans. Elements that will never attract me, because I prefer a thousand times synths with symphonic and audacious sonic elements which are much richer than a sax and this, whatever who is playing it. A sax belongs to jazzy, moody music. Not synth pop or e-rock music. Those are my humble feelings. "Melrose" is a pure FM track which became the first video of
Tangerine Dream that I saw at Much Music, the Canadian version of MTV. "Three Bikes in the Sky" tempers a little my disappointment with a nice beautiful melody built on a bed of very dramatic emotions which shelters beautiful guitar solos. It's hyper melodious and Edgar rages with his guitar. Nervous sequences which are champing at the bit in winds of dismays, the structure of "Dolls in the Shadow" is rather interesting, except in what regarding a pattern of sequences which drum weakly some dry skins while that some electronic percussions plough another rhythmic direction. The approach would have been more interesting if these sequences had not the skins of bongo drum percussions. This is good but it sounds so much like Yanni. In fact “Melrose” is built on the ease. On false percussions which slam without spirit, easy melodic samplings here and there, very timid synths, too many tribal sequences patterns, sober orchestrations and cold professional studio work, “Melrose” seems to have forgot its emotions at the cloakroom of imagination. Each track let hear an inconsistent journey on structures which search to catch the hearing fast and easy for a brief moment of glory on FM. And it works. There are easy catchy passages, as on this "Dolls in the Shadow" and "Yucatán" with an empty tribal rhythm and inanimate bass lines. On the other hand I liked "Electric Lion" and its wild change of directions, as well as "Desert Train" and its indomitable structure which reminds that Edgar still has some juice in him. Quite at the opposite "Rolling Down Cahuenga" and "Art Vision" suffer from the same deficiency of the redundant rhythms and easy melodies in search of glorious glimpse of feats in order to charm MTV and all. But I got to say that I liked the 2nd part "Art Vision" which walks on the steps of Cat Scan. "Cool at Heart"? A rather melancholic track with a soft nostalgia painted on piano. Paul Haslinger's last memory?
Once again, I was very severe towards a work of
Tangerine Dream on Peter Baumann's Private Music label. At that time I hoped always and always a return to basics from Edgar. With hindsight, I learnt to listen again to these works of which the only source of motivation was the conquest of the West American Coast and the easy money. This vision turns out to be a failure even if 220 Volts turns out to be the wildest e-rock anthem. At the end, “Melrose” is not that bad. It has some very acceptable tracks on it, vestiges of a great band which could easily find back its means. It's nice, simple-minded and very catchy. In the same way as the first 2 albums from Yanni on Private Music which are clearly more inspired. But we speak of Tangerine Dream here! A beautiful album without soul, except for "Three Bikes in the Sky", which encloses the 20th century in a rather disappointing way.
Sylvain Lupari (March 2007 and translated on May 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:

jeudi 22 mai 2014

FANGER & SCHÖNWÄLDER (Featuring Lutz Graf-Ulbrich): Analog Overdose 5 (2014)

“The strength of AO 5 lies in this very good meshing of the styles which flow like a sonic documentary about the various evolutionary phases of the German EM scene”
1 Ringbahn 7:42
2 Schöneberg 5:00
3 Geisterbahnhof 11:40
4 Wannsee 5:09
5 West-Tangente 8:09
6 Zentralflughafen 5:45
7 Wintergarten 5:13
8 Funkturm 5:59
9 Frankfurter Allee 22:36

Manikin ‎| MRCD 7100 (CD 77:14) ****
(New Berlin School with a zest of Electronica)

The very first Analog Overdose (MRCD 7060) had let glimpse the great diversity of the Fanger & Schönwälder duo in order to exploit the various forms of the contemporary EM. Always very influenced by the retrograde style of the Berlin School, Thomas Fanger and Mario Schönwälder had also exploited the phases of the German progressive rock with the guitarist Lutz Graf-Ulbrich, an iconic figure of Krautrock and a member of the group Agitation Free, as well as an EM more centred on the electronica movement with light movements of groove. About 13 years later, Lutz Graf-Ulbrich comes back and lends his magical six-strings to the famous duo who thus takes the opportunity to make literally an incursion in musical genres that we considered as buried.
Shyly, "Ringbahn" starts the “Analog Overdose 5” adventure with an undulatory rhythm which gallops with fragility under a shower of metallic lamentations. Some tears of guitar are scratching this rhythm a bit minimalist which decorates its hypnotic membrane with a great sequencing pattern of which the criss-crossed jerks dance with sober electronic percussions. The ambiences are weaved in the charm with smooth scattered and incomplete melodies, blown by a delicate artificial flute, and these riffs of Lutz Graf-Ulbrich's guitar which roll in a loop like in the nice time of the Teutonic techno from Ashra Temple. We love it? We shall love then the very audacious "Geisterbahnhof" which also has this fidget's techno zombie style with a very good percussions play. The mood is more ethereal on the other hand, because of this beautiful flute with the bewitching psychedelic perfumes. "Schöneberg" oscillates between violence and sweetness by offering a heavier rhythm. It's a kind of crossing between funk and hip-hop which skips in the strength of the percussions and of their strong jerky flows and finely stroboscopic sequences. The sonic envelope is always dense with synths and guitar which throw electronic threats while that a delicate keyboard throws some nice dreamy airs. "Wannsee" is a beautiful down-tempo, rather slow and very melodious, while that "West-Tangente" is a good Berlin School track with a motionless rhythm forged into some nervous oscillating sequences which flicker under a sonic sky painted of blue breaths. Fans of
Tangerine Dream will be on familiar ground here. Leaden rhythm, agile sequences and ethereal melodies, "Zentralflughafen" enchants the ears from the first listening. This is more hammering than "Ringbahn" and the guitar play of Lutz Graf-Ulbrich brings us back unmistakably in the stylized singings of Manuel Gottsching. After the very ambient "Wintergarten", "Funkturm" sets in stage again the play of Graf-Ulbrich in an approach even more pounding and funky than "Schöneberg". This is good electronica with a huge zest of Berlin School. Written on the fly, during a car travel towards Berlin, "Frankfurter Allee" points all the technological possibilities of creating EM from iPads. This is a fascinating 22 minutes of minimalist music that plunges in the heart of the Ashra years. The rhythm is vertical. It's a kind of cosmic techno where sequences and percussions forge a sober rhythm which is deliciously spiced by Lutz Graf-Ulbrich's Gibson SG whose dexterity manages to harmonize solos and riffs accurately scattered under synth layers to the very ethereal aromas. It's already ended that we wonder where it has past.
Analog Overdose 5” is simply magic!
Fanger & Schönwälder succeed yet to charm even if their music stays in a crenel déjà-heard. The strength of this last work lies in this very good meshing of the styles which flow like in a sonic documentary on the various evolutionary phases of the German EM scene. And, needs to say it, Lutz Graf-Ulbrich brings us to the country of an Ashra Temple who plays on both progressive and cosmic dance structures. Very good! But can we expect anything else from Thomas Fanger and Mario Schönwälder?
Sylvain Lupari (May 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:

mardi 20 mai 2014


“Sparrows is a superb find where the the Brückner/Everling duo draws a surprising sonic journey into the land of modern EM and electronica”
1 The Sparrow (Vocal Version) 13:26
2 Trees and Wires 4:08
3 Crossing the Bridge 9:38
4 Gathering 6:32
5 On a Quiet Night 12:22
6 Flying North 8:41
7 The Sparrow (Ambient Version) 10:30
8 The Sparrow (Instrumental Version) 13:20

SynGate/Luna | CD-r MBDE 01 (CD-r 78:39) ****½ 
(Mix of ambient and electronica)
Quietly, Michael Bruckner is building a very enviable reputation in the circles of an EM of a more progressive kind. His last find is a rather eclectic collaboration with Detlev Everling, a player of French horn and a synthesist who also likes using plug-ins that sound just like his wind instrument. And the result is rather surprising. Even if “Sparrows” appears on the rather ambiospherical division of the SynGate label (Luna), the Brückner/Everling duet, with the complicity of Cäcilia Brückner on voices, offers an album which caresses all the spheres of a modern EM with a lively music, sometimes very near the IDM and electronica with just what it needs of ambiences to draw some fascinating cinematographic faces. A surprising sonic journey that will leave you more than perplex.
Grey colors reverberations shake the void of a skeud which little by little is biting the music with whispers which fade in breaths of French horns. From its extremely attractive sonic envelope, "The Sparrow (Vocal Version)" unfolds a magnanimous sinister veil where the breaths of horns are melting easily to those more vitriolic of the synths. The moods are ethereal. There is like a scent of astral meditation with synth lines, rich in Gothic mist, which float like threats on a field covered of foam and of morning carillons shivering of worry under the breezes of the French horns and of the synthesized similarities by Detlev Everling whose fascinating fusion spreads a pleasant perfume of medieval discomfort. And suddenly, there is as a blow of crossbow which splits the ambiences. We are in the 5th minute and quietly "The Sparrow (Vocal Version)" reveals its fascinating rhythmic phase with a heavy mantle of anxiety which covers a thick cloud of these knocks of crossbows. This passage is simply brilliant. This phase of abstract rhythm is transformed into an attractive morphic down-tempo that the delicate and bewitching voice of Cräcilia Brückner wraps of singings and ethereal breaths. A splendid duel between French horn and a synth, with the aromas delicately close, introduces a beautiful musicality which melt admirably well to the elvish singings of Cäcilia Bruckner and especially with a rhythm became lascivious, suggestive. Very good and rather surprising for an album of the Luna division! These strange knocks of crossbows, which we can easily be confuse with the flight of a hundred sparrows, get back haunting the fragile black moods of "Trees and Wires". Where synths and wind instruments sow the confusion with an ambiosonic painting fertile in sculptures of anxiety. Although a little less strange and sinister than "Trees and Wires", "Gathering" offers a stifling ambience where the synth breaths become as multi-colors as their forms which haunt like some ectoplasmic frenzies a 6 minutes cut to measure for American Horror Story. "Flying North" is in the same style, the same shape but in more experimental, in a more psychotronic way if I may add.
"Crossing the Bridge" will be your first real crush on “Sparrows”. The eclectic duet offers a kind of soft techno trance with a vertical rhythm molded in some pulsations as much sober as smothered. The charm is this fascinating vocal approach where we hear a kind of didgeridoo blowing its hoarse breaths on a rhythm which fattens its finery with a charming concert of carillons and of pulsations become freer, more oscillating. The synths are closer of the usual electronic territories with undulatory twists which float like clouds of ether with sibylline harmonies. I hook on the first listening and I always find that as much good on the 5th. It's in my iPod, section lively music. Having soaked our ears of a thick fog filled with sibylline drizzle, "On a Quite Night" fleet between two atmospheres before melting into a delicate down-tempo which oscillates like a slow equestrian walk. A little as in "The Sparrow (Vocal Version)" the rhythm is soft, to the limit lascivious, with a sonic fauna which scatters some ethereal chords in abstruse moods. "The Sparrow (Ambient Version)" is centered on a duel of French horns, as real as synthesized, with hollow breaths which float like ghost threats in a very ambient structure.
"The Sparrow (Instrumental Version)" begins with a more cacophonous approach, like incomplete orchestra which tries to adjust its instruments. These instruments are French horns and synths, with layers filled by aromas almost philharmonic, as well as percussions which seek for a beat. And it's in the soft envelope of a down-tempo with a variable rhythm that the transformation from ambient to rhythm is going. And the Brückner/Everling duo has nothing to envy to the searchers of contemporary rhythms who flood their finds in a scarlet sonic fauna with a docile rhythm which skips in the meshes of delicious sequences, lines of piano and under the caresses of a French horn filled by so melancholic breezes. It's rather unique.
Rather unique! That's what comes in mind to describe better this Detlev Everling and
Michael Bruckner's “Sparrows”. The syncretic duet succeeds marvellously in uniting some antipodes of EM in an audacious album which leaves unmistakably these traces to the bottom of our eardrums. Whether it's with suave rhythms or ambiences to make twist a crazy spectre, this impressive sonic duel between the acoustics of a French horn and two synthesizers which bicker the imitation, while dropping some smooth dark phases, is one of beautiful finds of the SynGate label which doesn't stop to amaze with an audacious artists' catalogue who are dedicated to the evolution of contemporary EM. Very good! I don't see how I can't recommend such an audacious and musical opus.
Sylvain Lupari (May19h, 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 17 mai 2014

M.O.B.S.: Aus dem Nichts (2014)

“Wow! Aus dem Nichts is something that is worth. A wonderful and truly ode to vintage Berlin School”
1 Anfang 20:20
2 Mitte 21:00
3 Ende 21:44

SynGate | CD-r MOBS (CD-r 63:04) *****
(Vintage Berlin School)
In Germany, there is Geheimdienst and IBSSTF; Intelligentsia Berlin School Secret Talk Force. A very secret project introduced in the shade of an EM festival held in Germany with the complicity of the SynGate label, M.O.B.S. (Man Of Berlin School) is a real incursion in the golden age of the analog and the vintage years EM. An amazing journey through time where everything sounds just like in those splendid days. According to the rumour, “Aus dem Nichts” would be a work of a very well known artist who has a big crush for the Berlin School kind of EM. The idea came out of nowhere, from where “Aus dem Nichts” which means out of nothing, and would have grows until this festival where this artist met Kilian CabGuy, the head management of SynGate Records. The result? Beyond my waits! From the very first seconds of “Aus dem Nichts” we are plunged in those sweet musical perfumes of our soft adolescence time where EM inhaled its first breaths.
And it's by hollow winds, of which the strength raises some electronic chirping, that opens "Anfang". Already, the listener used to the sound fragrances of Berlin School can identify some recollections of
Klaus Schulze and his Totem moods album. Particles of iodine are crackling and pounding in clouds of ether while that a strange cloud of radioactivity floats between two morphic spheres and that a line of sequences makes its keys oscillate in archaic tints and forms. The rhythm is cosmic with keyboard keys whose rough drafts harmonies sizzle in an oscillatory movement pierced by fine imperfections which draw a long finely stroboscopic sonic snake. This ambient rhythm passes from an ear to another, from loudspeaker to another, challenging a musical gravity which amasses its small jewels here and there. The ambiences are as much meditative as psychotronics with clouds and mists filled by nasal electronic gurglings which, at times, slow down the growth of a rhythm always anesthetic. A rhythm which eventually found refuge beneath splendid solos with those delicious analog perfumes. Solos which swirl and swirl, sing and sing all the decorum of the beautiful ambient works of the vintage years. Deliciously magnetizing! The ambiences of "Anfang" are of use as background to “Aus dem Nichts”. They feed its 63 minutes with perfumes and oddities of the analog years and are the cradle of the superb "Mitte" which begins with an ambient rhythm weaved in notes of a guitar whose floating harmonies crisscross their singings on beats which overflow in a random way. Here the guitar is master. It makes roll its simple notes which turn in loops in vapors of ether. Jingles of cymbals forge the basis of a minimalist rhythm which skips meagrely in an ambiosonic sphere flooded of blue gas and psychotronic gurglings. A very Teutonic drum chews up this spasmodic rhythm which loosens a stroboscopic strand, rolling up "Mitte" in a rhythmic structure braided by sober percussions, spheroidal sequences and gurgling beats. The guitar sets free a little after 8 minutes (I cannot refrain from thinking of Max "Maxxess" Schiefele here), unwinding some superb incisive solos of which the twists coil up under the strikes of a drum freed of its robotics yoke. It's very good. Possibly the best Berlin School music piece I heard from a very long time. One would believe to hear some Gottsching on the jerky minimalist axes of Pyramid Peak. The introduction of "Ende" plunges us into the ambient and psychedelic spheres of Klaus Schulze and Pink Floyd with a monstrous organ pad which unfolds a heavy dark coat. Cosmic sound elements a la Jarre overfly this tetanising mood. Chthonian choirs float over a puddle of electronic gurglings that a synth line caresses of its tearful agony. As unbelievable as it may sound, this hallucinatory sonic setting is somehow moving. We feel a sorrow, a kind of disarray. As we can also hear these synth pads a la Pink Floyd (in the 7th minute, I dive into Wish You Where Here) moan in the aggressive curves of a bass line which remains all in all rather passive. And a rhythm hatches out. A rhythm, tinted of an appearance as much innocent as devilish, makes waddle its keys with delicate floating steps which criss-cross with tones as grave as of glass into some hypnotizing ethereal mists. And like that, this rhythm becomes harmonious. It weaves a silky earworm of which the reminiscences go as far as John Carpenter in Halloween and Mark Shreeve in Legion. This rhythm so docile becomes trapped in a rotatory storm and swirls in dark choruses and electronic chirpings, creating a confusion to a listener dumbfounded by the form of "Ende" and of its finale which rests in the solitary harmonies of a keyboard and an acoustic guitar. A little as if we wanted to point out us that  Robert Schroeder also marked the very beautiful hatching of EM in its vintage years. It's exhilarating and catchy. And while we still want more of it, we notice that “Aus dem Nichts” has just shelled its last seconds. But there is a track in bonus which is roaming somewhere on the Web (yes, yet). This track (Danach-Zukunft) is available only on the first 42 CD sold of “Aus dem Nichts”. Adorned that this title is going to come to haunt the interstices of the Net very soon and that the bonzes of SynGate will have understood that a work of this size deserves an enormous visibility. I really believed that I was in the 70s! Brilliant. Superb. Magnificent! The best album so far in 2014!
Sylvain Lupari (May 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:

lundi 12 mai 2014

THE PELS SYNDICATE: Transfer of my Affections (2014)

“Transfer of my Affections is a strong album which unites to wonder both extremes of all electronic subgenres and old amnalog floating EM”
1 First Contact 4:39
2 Gates of Paradise 4:39
3 Transfer of My Affections 4:49
4 Butterflies 4:28
5 Shattered Hope 5:51
6 Reborn Beginning 5:53
7 Pleasant Hypertension 5:09
8 Horizontal Sensations 4:18
9 Floating Minds 6:14
10 Disrupted Communication 5:28
11 Closing Titles 3:55

AD Music | 132CD (55:23) ***½
(Solid electronica soaked with ambient layers)
That bangs, that booms, that rocks and unscrews heads out of shoulders! It's strong, heavy and powerful. The loudspeakers regurgitate sounds as if they wanted to give up the ghost by being dying endlessly. This is some kind of hard break-dance, psy IDM or some techno chewed on by the powerful flobs of a throbbing bass. And that starts hard. With "First Contact"! Already we hear this bass to make beat its monstrous notes in a cosmic sanctuary. At the beginning the rhythm is spheroidal. Dressed in an interstellar approach, it floats and spins on good percussions. Making hiccup its jolts like a kind of hip-hop or an astral down-tempo, it binds itself to a nice melodious approach of which the minimalist airs will sign some beautiful earworms which glide throughout this Frank Pels  3rd sonic adventure on the AD Music label. We float, even if it's heavy. Even if our loudspeakers suffer. The time freezes. And "First Contact" takes back its heavy slow rhythm. Pushed by some good implosions of bass lines and tickled by beautiful sequenced melodies, this rhythm becomes fury with percussions and stroboscopic sequences which burst and struggle all around the chords of snoring bass and of this quite fragile melody which refuses to give up the ghost. It's even heavier and it gets out of breath in a robotised finale which throws itself into the magnificent "Gates of Paradise". And it's there that we fall for! The musical itch is immediate with a so sweet melodious approach hammered by an electric piano which makes its melody swirl in the spheroidal effects of a synth and its vampiric melodious solos. These two very infantile melodies are in confrontation inside some heavy pulsations, jerky beatings and strange effects of noises which draw a freak and freaking sonic fauna. And a melody raises itself as an old memory of our childhood, haunting and chasing our eardrums many hours later in a structure of psychedelic rhythm that will make my neighbors seethe. And so “Transfer of My Affections” unpacks its 11 music pieces of which the immoderations offer a musical bipolarity with a mixture of ambient and of heavy, floating by moments and very lively. There is of everything in each of the tracks of this last The Pels Syndicate's album. And Frank Pels wants that hard. He makes that resounding and hurting for our walls, our floors, our loudspeakers (which still pound minutes later) and finally our neighbors. But this symbiosis between psybient, dub, down-tempo, IDM/Techno and all of this electronica scene is finely weaved in a sound spectre simply staggering.
The title-track presents a kind of Halloween melody quite hampered which scatters its sound shivers like pearls forgotten in the mist of an orchestral structure tinted by threats. The approach is dreamlike, but of short-term. Rumbling chords divert this delicate melodious approach towards the agonies of a heavy rhythm well sat on the jolts of lively chords which sparkle in the howling of a heavy line of bass to the deafening effects. One would say a kind of hard break-dance wrapped of synth layers with perfumes and orchestrations as ethereal as the veils of cosmos which try with great difficulty to transpose this soft melody intimidated by so much heaviness. "Butterflies" follows with a heavy jerky stroboscopic structure which breathes at big knocks of bass of which the guttural moans persist around a soft melody floating in the tears of synths and of its dreamy solos. The melodies are rather similar around these rhythms as heavy as slow which make be startled “Transfer of My Affections”. Thus, "Shattered Hope" offers a small minimalist melody which overflies a river of magma and its resonant larva which still breathes hardly without bursting nor scratching the serial notes of this other small and nice earworm. We are in the mouth of black and resonant ambient while "Reborn Beginning" proposes a beautiful psychedelic down-tempo decorated with a vampiric melody which sings and haunts on slow and heavy bass pulsations which spit humming lines in the jerks of synth pads soaked of mesmerizing perfumes of old organ. "Pleasant Hypertension" presents a rather ambient, even cosmic I should say, first part with massive bass and percussions explosions here and there and good orchestrations before that the rhythm, always very heavy and invigorating, flies away with a melody which flickers furiously in the strong currents of percussions, sequences and flobs of bass. This is some kind of energized ambient, just like the very bipolar "Horizontal Sensations" which offers in return a more lively structure of rhythm. "Floating Minds" has nothing of ambient, or floating. It's some big techno with powerful psychotronic effects and a beautiful ghost melody which breathes through a strong rhythmic tumult. A little as "Disrupted Communication" and its structure broken here and there with brief respiratory arrests whereas "Closing Titles" breathes of delicacy with fine cosmic pearls which derive in the breezes of cosmos pierced by white noises and rocked by solos of synth as dreamy as nomadic. Still there, the rhythm wants to quieten down and always amazes with this energetic bipolarity which makes the charm of an album torn between the various phases of electronica and the surrounding areas of ambient and cosmic music to the strong influences of the analog years. Very good, even brilliant by moments! To have, even if one thinks of having the electronica genre in horror because Frank Pels makes a real tour de force by uniting so well both extremes.
Sylvain Lupari (May 12th, 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 1 mai 2014

PETER MERGENER: Creatures 2020 (2014)

“Creatures 2020 is a fantastic album which bring us straight to the roots of the New Berlin School mouvement. Superb!”
 CD 1
1 God Said 4:57  2 Crying Beast 6:25  3 Creatures 2020 7:34
4 Secret Night 6:06  5 People want More 9:20  6 Aliens Birth 5:29
7 Song for the Whales 14:31
CD 2
8 The Pride of Creation 6:30  9 Animal Voices 4:40
10 Lions Dance 6:47  

11 The Moon and the Elephant 8:43
12 Whirling Waters 7:34  1
3 Insects Talk 4:49
14 Rain Forest 4:12  15 Morninglight 6:46
16 Treibjagd 3:34  17 Let there be More Light 9:04

BSCMusic (DDL 117:12) ****½
As much tell it to you at once; I fell in love again! We are at the beginning of the 90's. Here in my country EM, such as structured and played by Schulze, Tangerine Dream, Ashra, Kraftwerk, Jarre and Vangelis became absent in medias and very extremely rare on radio shows. Every Sunday, we are entitled to a national radio program which broadcasts some cosmic music and another independent radio station which broadcasts 2 hours of New Age. At that time it was kind of nice but we were far from traditional Berlin School where EM took a more digital tangent. And it's there that I heard Software's Electronic-Universe. The track, not the album. I was stroke and seduced at once by these so crystal clear cosmic tones. These sequences with glass tones which float and which also draw circular rhythms in the panting of artificial violins. And I jumped on all that Software made; good as not that good! And I always looked for this sound, years after Mergener's departure who had yet tickled my ears with his Instinctive Traveller in 1996. I finally found it with “Creatures 2020”. However this last Peter Mergener's album is not a novelty, far from it. It's a synthesis of 2 albums which preceded his first departure from Software in 1991; Creatures and another album produced in 1994, Let There Be More Light (Creatures II). Thus “Creatures 2020” became a double album where Peter Mergener revised and remasterised the 19 tracks of both original CD's, melting the epic tracks Song for the Whales and Let there be More Light into one track for each, making new versions of Creatures, Secret Night, Lions Dance, Rainforest and Let there be More Light and also adding 4 new tracks; Insekts Talk, Morninglight, The Pride of Creation and Treibjagd (it appears that Wildlife and Sinking Ship were also replaced) to this allegorical electronic sonic fresco which brings us back literally towards the wonderful cosmic universe of Electronic Universe.
And everything starts with the very theatrical opening, almost dramatic one should I say, which introduces "God Said" on thunders of symphonic drum rolls. We hear the breaths of angels there get lost in the dawns of the Milky Way's and of their artificial violins which sigh some fine waltzing harmonies. And the explosion comes suddenly! Delicate sonic particles with ill-assorted ringings explode here and there on the soft regular beatings of a cosmic heart. An outer-world voice exposes a narrative of this genesis while that quite slowly "God Said" floats adrift to roll around into the introductory waves of "Crying Beast" and of its delicate spheroidal rhythm weaved in sequenced keys to the tones of harp. The wealth of “Creatures 2020” lies in these wonderful sequences with the ringings of fragile knocks of anvil or xylophones which draw hybrid rhythms of which the imperceptible figures coil up and crisscross into forms as much allegorical as their tones. The world of
Software opens then to our ears with this delicate ambient rhythm which swirls in the chirpings of birds, ethereal singings synth lines and shouts of savage animals. A guitar scatters some dreamy solos while another line of sequences bombards a structure of vertical rhythm with its linear jumps which skip in the shadows of percussion knocks of which the hammerings look for a real structure of rhythm among jerky orchestral samplings and solos of a guitar which bites the ear with a combination of riffs. Every track of “Creatures 2020” is a cornucopia of tones and abounds of these ambivalent structures where rhythms and ambiences copulate with a so very colored diversity inside its spaces time.
And we fall in the jungle with the title-track and its mixture of percussions / sequences which lulls in the breezes of synth with very TD aromas. Quietly the pounding of percussions / sequences fertilizes a heavy rhythm of which the stroboscopic structure hiccups in very lyrical synth solos. Very good. I didn't know the original but I just like these waltzing sequences which swirl in very TD and New Berlin School moods. "Secret Night" offers a panoramic and cosmic ambient intro (I hear
Vangelis) which spreads its enveloping sonic coat towards some fine sequenced tick-tock which melt into a soft lunar down-tempo. Ambient and musical (I adore these flutes à la Fluting Electronic Universe), the rhythm remains soft and cosmic with a singing of stars which sparkle with a poetic neatness before borrowing a delicate tribal approach à la Mike Oldfield with fine sequences which drum and twitter in the belches and riffs of a keyboard filled of strong cosmic fragrances. After the very lively robotic and Teutonic rhythm of "People want More", and of its fiery guitar, its jerky orchestrations and its allegorical choruses, "Aliens Birth" leads us back to a more ethereal dimension with smooth manual percussions which drum a rhythm lost in a rather organic ambience. We let ourselves be exhilarated and rocked by this soft Software sequencing pattern and this tone of glass which waltzes in an ambient universe. A universe of paranormal which is astride an approach as earthly as cosmic where the electronic frenzies caress some very psychedelic tribal structures. After a cosmic intro, shaken by sudden orchestral impetus, symphonic rumbles of thunder and cosmic Gregorian chants; the soft sequences of "Song for the Whales" are sparkling and drawing an oniric path which rises towards dreamy intergalactic choruses. We are bathing in a deep mood à la Electronic Universe II from Software with an ambiosonic floating structure which sometimes explodes and sometimes gathers itself in the breezes of a cosmos which seems to be in narrow relation with our inner mind. The 2nd part is simply delicious with a melody forged in harmonious sequences which gets lost in a very beautiful rhythmic chaos.
The 2nd half of “Creatures 2020” presents a more contemporary musical vision of the initial work. Whether it is with the very beautiful and soft "The Pride of Creation", and of its very good beautiful filmic approach, or still the floating "The Moon and the Elephant", which sounds so much like "Creatures 2020", or the ambient march of "Morningligh"; Let There Be More Light (Creatures II) follows the contemporary tangent of the visions retouched by
Peter Mergener. And what to say about "Whirling Waters" and of its splendid guitar which dreams in an ambience as much imperceptible as its unstable electronic rhythm and which eventually ends to be quite lively? And always, we have this feeling to float within the sonic frontiers of both worlds from the co-founder of Software, especially with the very beautiful "Let there be More Light". This 2nd part of “Creatures 2020” is also more dynamic with tracks such as "Lions Dance" and its sequencing pattern of panting flute tones, or still "Rain Forest" and its dusts of stars livened up in a gurgling tribal structure, as well as "Animal Voices" which lands in our ears with these vocal samplings and its sudden orchestral arrangements so unique to the magic of Software. Magical, the rhythm is cosmic with a line of sequences which shakes its flickering keys in the void, while that another line of sequences draws a harmonious sweetness from which the tones of stars swirl beneath the muffled strikes of electronic percussions. Magnetic and exhilarating, just as the image of those 2 reworked albums from Peter Mergener.Peter Mergener was more than half of Software and “Creatures 2020” proves it by ten. This is a wonderful album where the listener, as well as the fan of deep cosmic EM, is constantly flooded by these waves of sequences to the hybrid rhythms and allegorical tones. We are submerged by the perfumes of Electronic Universe and Chip Meditation with samplings of angelic voices, cosmic choruses and sudden orchestral movements which overhang some floating movements of sequences with structures of rhythms as much elusive than seraphic. From Vangelis to Tangerine Dream, the music of “Creatures 2020” caresses the cradles of the New Berlin School with a very beautiful electronic symphony which deserves amply its place in your discography. It's just too bad that it's only available in a download format. The bitrates offered just don't give justice to this impressive sonic wealth. Let's hope for a physical CD soon.
Sylvain Lupari (May 1st, 2014) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: