lundi 27 octobre 2014

ARCANE: Gather Darkness (1999-2013)

“Gather Darkness is a must in any collection of EM Berlin SChool genre”

1 Dystopian Fictions 16:09
2 Gather Darkness 15:48
3 Flight from Time One 14:59
4 Requiem 12:14
5 Time Will Run Back 9:31

Paul Lawler Music (DDL 68:44) *****
(Vintage Berlin School)
I'm going to be honest; I didn't really know by where to begin this review about Arcane's very first album. I had already spoken about it on G.O.D., 8 years ago (in July, 2006 to be more precise), and I really have no taste to redo this long introduction which explains the extravagant story of this ghost group set on feet by the unique Paul Lawler at the end of the 90's. I reread my chronicle and I notice that I had hardly brushed the music, concentrating rather my text on the myths and the legends of (TD/OUPS!!) Arcane! I rediscovered the music of Arcane with the brilliant A Tale of Unease, released in 2012. This album has literally given me the taste to dive back into the discography of this artist who literally has more than one string to his bow. Out of stock since years, “Gather Darkness” gets a soundlift via Paul Lawler's Bandcamp page. An excellent initiative and by ricochet an excellent opportunity to put the hands and the ears on a wonderful album which transcends the periods of the Dream, from 1973 till 1982.
A big bell resounds far off. Its reverberation drags a series of ringings, as well as a set of completely lost chords, which rustle in vaporous breezes to the chants as much sibylline as divine. It's with a soft fluty Mellotron and passive chthonian voices that "Dystopian Fictions" reveals its ambiences. The singings of the artificial flutes float on deaf pulsations, spreading seraphic airs of which the ethereal harmonies are mingling in a delicate dark choir. We are in the soils of the
Dream and their analog years. A beautiful line of sequences spreads its keys which skip loosely, a little as Bambi on an ice-cold puddle, in the singings of wandering monks and those more seraphic of the fluty breaths. The rhythm develops slowly, as a soft poetic rodeo, with a series of sequences where the keys dance and skip with their shadows. Riffs resounds here and there. Wha-wha can also be heard, as these lost chords and their echoes which ring in the shadows of the muffled pulsations. Percussions invite themselves in this passive ambient ritornello which quietly gets out of its morphic state to force a movement of a head banging which follows a quiet rhythm but constantly inviting. Paul Lawler gathers all these elements, and even more, to coordinate a structure of rhythm which gallops on the plains of the vintage EM, with a stunning meshing of percussions and sequences, where the riffs of synth takes a harmonious depth and where the seraphic philharmonic singings bicker with very Dreamish solos. Among all the copycats of Tangerine Dream, Arcane is, and by far, the most credible. So much by his famous faked story, which is of a myth as big as that of the Dream, that by the way Paul Lawler works his compositions. Alone on board, he succeeds the impressive bet to structure the rhythmic approaches, the gloomy ambiences and the so catchable harmonies of Baumann, Franke, Froese and Schmoelling. If artists such as Redshift, ['ramp]Airsculpture or Arc took and exploited very precise structures of Tangerine Dream's music to drive them admirably well, Arcane overflies with as much ease the periods of Ricochet to Logos. The title-track offers an introduction deliciously ambiospherical where a magic flute charms some threatening reverberations. One would imagine being at the time of Sorcerer. The rhythm extricates itself from these a little bit desert moods and waddles little by little in order to eventually paint a structure stronger than that of "Dystopian Fictions". A sinister wave lets smooth a threatening veil over the first seconds of "Flight from Time One". One would guess the Mephistophelian moods of Stratosfear. The flute is magnificent and the percussions stamped of gas, a la Mojave Plan, clink randomly in a beautiful intro as well ambiosonic that ambiospheric and where the notes of an electric piano roam like lost souls. It is very film and we feel this unique imprint that Paul Lawler will leave in the course of his future realizations. A pulsation resounds heavily around the 5th minute, introducing the linear and quiet rhythm of "Flight from Time One" which takes the shape of a moderated race in a sonic forest illuminated with its thousand torments and flooded with the charms of a synth filled of spectral singings and of enchanted flute breezes. The chthonian ambiences of "Requiem" inhale in full nose the spirit of its naming. We can hear a strange prayer to ooze between two dimensions. The intro evolves between two poles; the past as the future, the darkness as the civilization. A mass for hell with spherical elements! A superb sequence is waving such as tap-dancing which flutter in clouds of cotton-wool. The movement is evanescent and cavorts in vibes as astral as psychedelic before finding refuge in papal singings. A sequence and its threatening reverberations resound in this peace of mind. Its pulsations shake a nest of sequences which begins pounding in any senses, guiding this a little inconsistent rhythm through some fluty fields and the squabbles of organic sequences which do a sound brothel in a finale on the whole relatively peaceful. To speak about "Time Will Run Back" without making narrow links with Encore and of its angelic trumpets is to show misunderstanding or make proof of bad faith. Nope, Lawler does not just try to copy a style, but rather to unite two bridges with rhythmic sequences, or electronic percussions, more modern which join two legendary combinations of the Dream; periods Encore to Logos. The rhythm? The ambiences? Melodies? Well measured and especially ordered on a structure which allies a fiery rhythm to more ethereal moods where the Mellotron flute lines are breathing of a more virginal innocence. I tell you; go get this one!
Sylvain Lupari (October 27th, 2014) &

samedi 25 octobre 2014

STOCKMAN: Part of the Industry (2014)

“Danceable but swirling slowly within cosmic, even ethereal, moods Part of the Industry shows a wide range of EM sub-genres with this unique Stockman approach”
1 Monto's Production Line 8:44
2 Part of the Industry 6:28
3 Industrial Hauntings 8:28
4 Brains in Overdrive 9:19
5 In Time Delivery 7:10
6 The Factory Never Sleeps 8:41
7 No Supplies Left 7:23
8 No Supplies Left (Deep Mix) 4:41

SynGate Luna | CD-r GS07 (CD-r 60:28) ***½(IDM)
Some slow beatings of metallic wings are making the squeaking winds float lazily in a nest of reverberations to the parasitic brilliances. Their chants are caramelized by howling metal. The percussions which fall delicately awaken other chants. That of the synths. They are twisting and cooing with passion. In fact, it looks like they cry. Quietly "Monto's Production Line" extricates itself from its morphic membrane with a movement of sequences which gets closer by making its keys wriggling. Solos are always seraphic. Melodious, one would believe to hear Tangerine Dream. They float and daydream on a structure of rhythm which pounds nervously but without abandoning however its ambient shroud. Because if our feet drum on the spot; our winged arms follow the curves of the solos which feed the always rather ambient rhythm of "Monto's Production Line". And it's true! Even if the percussions and sequences shake the moods. You will tell me that you hear a kind of Jarre that I'll answer that you are not really very far! Static rhythms which pound in structures of dub-techno or of dub house rather morphics and which pull us towards a dance floor where we flutter on the spot as a bird trapped in a gust of circular wind, the music of Stockman makes a wide range of the sub-genres of EM which exchanged its clothes of ambiences for those a little more muscled of the cerebral dance. And this will never have been as tangible as with “Part of the Industry”, an album which brings us to the doors of a dark and creative dance music.
With its loops which spin in the heavinesses of a resonant line of pulsation, of a wave-like bass line and of percussions quite hampered to harpoon the rhythm, the title-track offers a floating structure of rhythm. Fragments of harmonies and hollow winds are grafted in a musical tension of which the perpetual restraint plunges us into a structure of rhythm which feeds its ambiguity in a pattern of ambient EM. There are indeed elements of tension, but nothing really explodes. Everything remains relatively ambient. This is like a storm where heterogeneous particles crowd in a long narrow tube. The walls eventually tremble with "Industrial Hauntings". After a brief ambiosonic intro; pulsating sequences and hammering percussions draw up the lines of a rather heavy and lively rhythm. Electronic castanets are flavoring this linear rhythm of psychedelic fineries while that a powerful oscillatrice line draws a wide circular aura of goa, of trance. Stockman trades his clothes of passive electronic monk for those of a DJ who makes his crowd skip until exhaustion. The approaches are always so minimalist and the ambiences remain always so cosmic, except that
Godfried Stockmans
 strives to graft parallel elements which will conquer as much your taste of throwing yourself on a dance floor than to listen to. At the beginning my ears were rather timid; we are quite far from Berlin School or from ambient music here, except that the main beat, very lively, and the lines of rhythms, always rather variable, make that one eventually liked it. And not just a little. The phenomenon also applies to the powerful, but less heavy, "The Factory Never Sleeps" which reminds me the music of the psychedelic trance of the 90's. And what to say about "Brains in Overdrive"? Its introduction is simply delicious. Sequenced keys skip in an effect of cascade in order to drum like touches of piano in the jingles of clapperboards. The movement remains ambient and jumps (hiccups) constantly under a sonic sky multicolored of thousand complaints, as of one thousand noises of a futuristic city on the point to fall asleep. Except that we do not sleep! Cybernetic gurglings invite each other in the static dance. They excite the passive nuances and guide "Brains in Overdrive" towards a heavy oscillating structure which waves lustfully beneath a brilliant mixture of percussions and bass sequences. We should crack for "In Time Delivery", a real FM kind of track. The intro is very ethereal. And want it or not, these synth lines and their seraphic signings prickle the brain. And then the rhythm comes. It falls. Oscillating on sequences to vertical zigzags, hesitating on changeable and slamming percussions, it gets wet for a suave down-tempo which sounds like a kind of slow drum n bass where are cooing the solos and plotting a cabalistic ambience. We fall for it from the first listening. The imprint of Jarre is all over the percussions! Heavy pulsations, flying percussions (and slamming), spheroidal sequences, automated dialogues and oscillations which roll like some slow sonic waves; "No Supplies Left" mixes all these ingredients to offer a solid vibrating techno with nice small ambient phases and cybernetic harmonies which give a futuristic approach to a music which is not unknown to us. Its deep-mix mixes cosmic moods in a movement of gradual trance, but not total, which burn the fast and nervous pulsations, as well as these floating riffs which rock the rambling synthesized harmonies.
The strength of
Stockman is to mix well an ambient and cosmic approach in rhythms which are more human. Bang-bang and tsitt-tsitt are well measured, the cybernetic dialogues are not too much exaggerated and the percussions click just enough in order to not want to close the sound. The melodious portion, as well as the ambient phases, is splendidly lying in good synth solos which remind the harmonious tones of the Dream, analog period. In fact, “Part of the Industry” strengthens the approaches of Kraftwerk, Element 4, Tangerine Dream and Jean Michel Jarre in an envelope of more contemporary trance. A beautiful buffet which feeds well the ears without asking too many efforts to the feet.
Sylvain Lupari (October 25th, 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 23 octobre 2014

FRATOROLER: Nano (2014)

“Nano is another fine EM album from Fratoroler whose aim to establish the links between the retro and the new Berlin School is done with a graceful ease”

1 Nano 20:24
2 Quarks 13:51
3 Macrozoom 12:32
4 Systematic Different 19:14

SynGate | CD-r FR04 (CD-r 66:01) ***½
(A mix of retro and new Berlin School)
An electronic dialect and intergalactic gurglings open the first seconds of “Nano”. The long title-track plunges towards a cosmic universe that Tomita once prepared with his brilliant Kosmos at the end of the 70's. Between the retro analog sounding and the new Berlin School, Fratoroler invites us to another fascinating sonic adventure in the heart of the Teutonic electronic experiments. Chords are ringing here and there, while "Nano" embalms our ears with electronic breezes. The silvery particles are melting in this immense cumulus of white noises of which the sparklings bleed to white the hot caresses of synths. Always, riffs and chords are roaming in search of a more tangible structure. And a crystal clear sequence goes out of this ambient slump where orchestrations sculpt beautiful listening favors. It drags a series of keys which skip of a light step, shaping an ambient rhythm which is nibbled by a bass line and its furtive notes. Both lines draw a harmonious sequences & bass duel of which the echoes draw parallel rhythms which complement each other, while another movement gets loose to forge a more fluid approach. The drizzle of breezes amplifies its stranglehold on this rather passive rhythm which, calmly, misleads its last beatings in a black hole where abstruse choruses and organi-cosmic chirpings fill ambiences which grazes the interstellar esotericism. Evasive solos, kind of Jean Michel Jarre, float over this profound ambient passage, while a sequence escapes and entails its pals in a series of rhythmic loops which drum such as a light cosmic gallop. Here is of what are made the 66 minutes of “Nano”!
Thomas Köhler and Frank Rothe exploit at full the 20 minutes of "Nano" by offering an approach of minimalist structure which divides into halves its lazily chords in order to shape figures of rhythms which split, forging so some splendid and hypnotic harmonious rhythms, and go astray in some dense ambiocosmic passages where solos and electronic effects make the link between a retro approach and a more contemporary one. If "Quarks" forces the doors of a more steady rhythm (I adore these ambient solos which float all over “Nano”) with two movements of sequences to the impulsive beatings and opposite tones, the more ambient and a bit gloomy "Macrozoom" plunges us into this delicious electronic universe where the sequences sleep, ring and float in forms of passive rhythms everywhere around suave singings of synth with sweet fluty fragrances. As for me, "Systematic Different" is the cornerstone of “Nano”. Its intro is perfumed by a sibylline approach with fogs, filled of spectral voices, which float on a cemetery where bones are dancing. An intrusive pad of a bucolic organ unveils a somber sinister smoggy chant which floats with lugubrious reverberations. We are in a pit for the black shadows, where Klaus Schulze has already been, when the brilliance emerges from the darkness and when pulsations meditate the slow ambient rhythm of "Systematic Different". Definitively, Schulze has been here. A charming flute also pierces the moods. And its peaceful singing makes undulate some astral particles, whereas that a soft movement of sequences amasses its keys which wave in the curves of a bass line and in the feather hand of the soft floating orchestrations. The rhythm may do peaceful kicks that it stays of silk and scatters independent keys which split its line in order to enrich it with an approach as much more harmonious than rhythmic. We float at full in the cerebral rhythms. And the lines of synth are parading between our ears such as celestial bodies which illuminate at times a quite black cosmos. And the solos come. Ambient and floating, they spread a musicality so vintage and so serene as the charm persists. And the sequences! Hot and juicy, they make kicks with analog tones which become entangled with the electronic dialects and which make that this music defined with difficulty its parallels between cosmic and esoteric. It's beautiful. It's very good and that completes another very beautiful album from Fratoroler. But are we really surprised?
Sylvain Lupari (October 23rd, 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 21 octobre 2014

MYTHOS: The Dark Side of Mythos (2000)

“As much unlikely as it could be, this album from Mythos will plunge you for sure up until at the door of your perceptions of theatrical fear”

1 Rose X 8:13
2 Trust No One 5:32
3 X-Cursion 5:41 
4 The Truth Is Out There 6:16 
5 Mythos X  7:29
6 I Want to Believe 7:54 
7 X-Traterra 7:27
8 Zombies´S Supper 4:18

Mythos Music (CD 52:52) ****
(Theatrical dark EM)
Mythos is quite a character, nearly a living legend if we consider his roadmap, in the universe of EM who likes to touch all the phases of his visions and developing complex works with its panoply of electronic toys and assorted instruments. From rock to Krautrock and to electronic, everything he brushes ends to be something quite tasty. A studio recording has no secret to him. Just throw an ear to his albums in the best of the German psychedelic years and you will observe this intense and very enveloping musical structure which feed all of his compositions. And this “The Dark Side of Mythos” is no exception. And if the intriguing artwork appeals you, tell yourself that it's nothing compared to the music.
It's directly from depths of the infinite hell that "Rose X" opens. Latin singings surrounded by lugubrious animal tones circulate around metallic beatings which click like the clock of the death. The beat is mainly ambient with anvil hits which shape the clock of a tenebrous world. It rests so on a lot of metallic noises as well as crying from beast or tortured souls. Dead moments punctuate short atonal phases where we guess a soul being sacrificed...or murdered. This is creepy like hell. The beat returns with a series of clinking which are flooded by monk's prayers and by mooing of unknown beasts. But don't get me wrong. The beat is very atmospherical and moves through a mechanical chain which clinks and resounds among strange moanings and howlings. This will be perfect for Halloween to afraid the sneaky ones who want candies. We can imagine the worst, so much the music and ambiences which nest all over “The Dark Side of Mythos” flirts with the satanic neurosis. "Trust no One" follows the same corridors of the darkness on a so smooth sequence move which make waving its key, some of them are organic and other are in anvil tones, in an ambient setting convenient to the satanic rhythms. This is great horror picture music. "X-Cursion" is quieter and also more musical, even with its sinister and disturbing sound effects, with a smooth sequence pattern which knocks a slow beat beneath a dense horrific sound pattern. We are indeed in the very dark side of 
Mythos. The moods are heavy and a nice Mellotron flute emerges to charm are ears with an almost sensual chant. This is a very nice passage. "The Truth is out There" follows this path of indefinite structures of rhythm. In fact, the beat is slow, almost absent, and beats through organic sequences which gurgle in a dense uncomfortable mood. Master of the ambiences and of the places, with his systematic and much chiselled approach, Stephan Kaske keeps us on the alert with slow and mesmerizing rhythms which move surreptitiously in tortuous atmospheres that he draws in order to lead us in halfway between fright and charm. Let's take "Mythos X" and its lento staccato effect. The mood is totally frightening with those diabolical whistles which float on a floating structure of rhythm a bit jerky. Intense and dark, the track evolves subtle in a more musical approach worthy of a movie where the gentle soul runs breathless, his beloved nearly turn into a vampire, in a cemetery fills of mud up to his knees. Scary but quite bewitching.  This is the best part of this ode to terror. The moods and rhythms of “The Dark Side of Mythos” go quieter and nicer as we advance on the album. Always dark, "I Want to Believe" turns out to be a very nice and ambient carousel. The movement reveals two parallels, and paradoxical, lullabies which slowly turn around in a deep setting of fear, thanks to thunders, violin mist and a sneaky march of sequences. The more the music gets in, the more we are enchanted. This fascinating spiral swirls delicately on a movement which takes its intensity in its tone, like an inverted bolero. A totally divine moment which pursues its intriguing charm with "X-Traterra" and its gloomy ambiences where are fighting segments of dark harmonies which sparkle like lonely shooting stars in a foreign universe. I sense a bit of Software there as the movement goes near the doors of cosmos. It's impossible to avoid any links between “The Dark Side of Mythos” and the apocalyptical music of Mark Shreeve, or yet some big Redshift but in a less improvised setting, and of course Jim Kirkwood. "Zombies´S Supper" ends this ode to terror with a nice melodious approach stuffed by keys with shimmered tones which swirl and swirl, such as an unfinished melody. Unmistakably, Mythos wears the clothes of a Ghost of The Opera new genre with this work, all the same intensely theatrical, which is “The Dark Side of Mythos”. In spite of the very black moods, the music survives thanks to finely wave-like rhythms. Ambient certainly, but deliciously lively. And no! Stephan Kaske has not lost his rather melodious approach which floats like a balm on these ambiences of film terror of which the sound effects bring us near to the imaginary Satanism. A music ideal for Halloween, or for your murders and mysteries evening, “The Dark Side of Mythos” will blow you literally away and brings you also towards the depths of your child fear. Fans of Jim Kirkwood music; go get this one!
Sylvain Lupari (October 20th, 2014) &

vendredi 17 octobre 2014

SEQUENTIAL DREAMS: Quantum Earth (2014)

“Solid e-rock, with a zest of IDM, flavoured of a futuristic vision, Quantum Earth has a lot to seduce those who want to rock on solid cosmic grounds”
1 Quantum Earth 6:32
2 The Universe Builders 7:26
3 Destination Terra 7:10
4 Solar Sails 6:34
5 Celestial Bodies 5:14
6 The Ice Canyons of Miranda 6:00
7 Fireflies in the Starlight 4:48
8 Infinite Improbabilities 11:52

Sequential Dreams Bandcamp (DDL 55:38) ***½
( Psybient and Psybeat E-rock)
Sound waves take the shape of air-raid sirens. The roarings are quieting down in a kind of din from where raises a heavy jerky structure of rhythm. With a plethora of bass sequences and pulsations, electronic and guitar riffs, as well as a lot of percussions with skins of Bongo drums which are thundering a lively rhythm of which the futuristic tribal approaches have quite the appearances of a solid cosmic e-rock a la Jarre, the title-track of “Quantum Earth” sets the tone to another solid album of electronic rock with a futuristic dimension from this collective project (Celestial View, The Roboter, Johan Tronestam, Kuutana and Synthesist) that is Sequential Dreams. Without surprises, the international quintet offers an album where the rhythms are sometimes raging in moods from time to time sieved by moderations and where the harmonies always hang on to the hairs of our ears. Hard-hitting, with short passages a bit more moderated, "Quantum Earth" forces our eardrums with a heavy and lively electronic approach which is lying on a meshing of sequences and percussions to which are added beautiful ethereal synth pads, filled of sweet artificial voices, which counterbalance the ferocity of the rhythm. For the fans of Sequential Dreams, we are on familiar ground. And I would add that this “Quantum Earth” is a little wilder with a technoïd approach which is very near to a loud IDM. The rhythms cross the tribal aromas, in particular because of the bongo drums, in envelopes which mix the mid and the down tempos. But it's heavy. This is strong e-rock very influenced by the periods of electronic rhythms from Jean Michel Jarre and Tangerine Dream. When to those who like an EM tortured by keen percussions and stormy sequences far from the wanderings sequenced of Berlin School, excepted for the very beautiful "Infinite Improbabilities", and closer to a type of psybeat, Sequential Dreams should appears in your notebook of discoveries to come.
"The Universe Builders" also begins with a long whoosh and a lot of short whaash. The intro is fascinating with a double speed sonic dialect which will call back the attempts of communication in Close Encounter. Soon, the rhythm begins to sparkle and gesticulate with deep sequences before falling in a kind of heavy hip-hop with a pace, clubbed by robust percussions and bangings of hands, which skips in a puddle of pulsations, gurgling and electronic winds. Break-dance or hip-hop; "The Universe Builders" skips and pounds with sequences which flicker mockingly and orchestral synth pads which make counterweight to this tempo pounding in a thousand of sound flavors. Less heavy and closer to synth-pop, "Destination Terra" crackles on a structure of electronic percussions and sequences with an unbridled flow, while the harmonious envelope crosses as much a cosmic, at both ambient and ethereal, as a synth-pop. Just like "Celestial Bodies" moreover, but which leans more towards a strong IDM. "Solar Sails" is the relaxation moment on “Quantum Earth”. Its intro is seraphic and the rhythm which holds its hand is silky slow and soaked of a dense sound fauna which brings a bit of distortion. "The Ice Canyons of Miranda" offers a structure of sequences where a line of jumping keys gallops in the harmonies of another more fragile line. The synths bathe the atmospheres of a heavenly approach which is very near the fragrances of Tangerine Dream. In fact, the rhythm moves with good percussions and with beautiful harmonies which make relive the vibe of the Canyon Dreams. It's beautiful synth-pop, as much delicate and cheerful as "Destination Terra". "Fireflies in the Starlight" brings the clock to rhythm with a heavy mid-tempo which oscillates on good sequences, as lively as those bongo drum percussions, which thunder to the ton and with solid riffs of an e-guitar which remind the Miramar ambiences, always from TD. And like on every track of “Quantum Earth”, the music dives into a more dreamy, a more ethereal passage, before taking back its shape with subtle modifications in its structure. The introduction of "Infinite Improbabilities" makes us revisit the dreamy moods of Flashpoint with a line of bass sequences of which the oscillations crawl under the charms of a synth to the singings flavored by the flutes of desert. A carpet of prisms covers this sneaky rhythm whereas the singings take on a dress of spectres. The ambiences are on the edge of the works from the psychotronic era with organic pulsations and threatening synth pads which depict the evolutionary rhythms of the Dream, periods Wavelength and Near Dark. Moreover it's about this album that I'm thinking when the percussions approach the moods with strong disordered strikes, turning upside down a passive rhythm which gesticulates like a poisoned skeleton before becoming as steady as the good passages of Near Dark. By far, the most fascinating track on “Quantum Earth” which at the end is a solid album of electronic rock to the trends always so futuristic.
Sylvain Lupari (October 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: