jeudi 29 janvier 2015

FRANK AYERS: Different Skies (2014)

“Different Skies is a big surprise filled by splendid sonic perfumes. A travel through time where EM shines of all its assets”
1 Different Skies PART.I 6:43
2 Different Skies PART.II 4:38
3 Different Skies PART.III 5:40
4 Different Skies PART.IV 6:18
5 Different Skies PART.V 5:24
6 Different Skies PART.VI 6:24
7 Different Skies PART.VII 6:21
8 Different Skies PART.VIII 5:54

Frank Ayers | Bandcamp (CD/DDL 46:37) ****½
(Cosmic, astral and melodious EM)
It has been a long time that I talk about it; France is becoming little by little the new nerve center of EM, a little as Poland was it in the turning of the 2000's. There are fine artists who emerge constantly. I think of Sequentia Legenda, Pharamond (Sylvain Mazars), Kryfels and now Frank Ayers. There is also the ones of the old guard like Olivier Briand, Alpha Lyra (Christian Piednoir), MoonSatellite and Bertrand Loreau who, from time to time, come by to surprise our ears with works always eager of the new contemporary tendencies wrapped by old analog perfumes. That is without forgetting the experimental side of EM which remains the pride of the French electronic art (one remember of Messe pour le Temps Présent de Maurice Béjard?). And where is situated “Different Skies”? Far from the experimental! In fact Frank Ayers is doing melancholic and outstandingly romantic with a cosmic work where Vangelis, for the melancholy, Jarre, for the cosmic rhythms and ambiences, Klaus Schulze, for the minimalist rhythms in jerks, and finally Tangerine Dream, for the very melodious approach of the Schmoelling years, enchant our ears in what I call a delicious electronic sound feast.
From the first astral blows of wind of "Different Skies PART.I", we agree about the New Age control that Frank Ayers has on his vision of electronic harmonies. The tone is warm. I have flashes of Nik Tyndall which light my ears. The movement is celestial with peaceful larvas of synth which interlace and glitter in the echo of arpeggios' ringing of which the reflections of prism are tanning in the sun. We are in the sky of the gods. “Different Skies” is an immersion into unknown heavens. An astral journey inspired by distant and enigmatic soundscapes which are drawn from the imagination of sci-fi books authors such as Arthur C.Clarke and Frank Herbert. The approach is very soft, very musical. A sinuous reverberating line is winding among prismic stars, cosmic spherical bells and dreamlike orchestrations which will remind the first works of Kitaro. A synthesized language perfumes the astral oceans with delicate solos which will awaken Tim Blake's memories. Solos which quite slowly divert the peaceful moods of "Different Skies PART.I" towards a rhythm delicately sequenced with keys which skip and waddle from an ear to another, caressing the harmonious rhythmic patterns of the Halloween genre, from John Carpenter. As you read, there are a lot of references here. And the list will grow. This sequence of minimalist rhythm is running away saves from embraces of mists to dance all alone in the intro of "Different Skies PART.II". The shadows get loose and dance with more delicacy, in order to weave a more harmonic parallel figure. The effect of cascade in sequences is quite attractive, even if it sounds familiar, and the duel rhythm / harmony unveils a delicate intensity with the addition of another line of sequences as well as pulsations of bass sequences. An interesting pattern of ambient rhythm begins then to glisten, as to resound under wandering synth pads and breezes a bit nasal. We are still in the edge of “Different Skies” and everything gets harmonize with delicacy. Then comes the very ambient and cosmic "Different Skies PART.III". The synth pads float lazily in oniric cosmic fogs, reminding me a little of Thierry Fervent's universe.
This slow ambio-cosmic movement serves as bridge between the delicate rhythm of "Different Skies PART.II" and the one of "Different Skies PART.IV" which is more lively and deliciously seducing with these lines of sequences which run and stumble in an always rather ambient figure. Voice pads and sweet solos, whistled by very warm breezes, invite us in a feast of the beautiful analog years whereas the rhythm is always offering these upward spirals where the keys are running against the tide, forging these rhythmic paradoxes so unique to the Berlin School. The race stops a little after the 4th minute, diving "Different Skies PART.IV" to a beautiful dreamlike and relaxing passage, before that "Different Skies PART.V" is whipping our ears with a lively and jerky structure of rhythm. The jumping keys agglutinate, skip on the spot with fury and crush their shadows in a kind of staccato cosmic full of traps and pitfalls. The serpentines of sequences and the spasmodic jerks parade in an astral decoration (do you hear these gongs?) which is wrapped by these stellar mists, by these intergalactic dialogues and by cosmic effects where
Jarre and Baffo Banfi are meeting (you remember Earthstar?) in a sonic sky sprinkled with delicate solos. Frank Ayers wanted absolutely to revisit the golden age of EM.  And he didn't miss his target, that's for sure. We are on cloud nine here. "Different Skies PART.VI" brings us to another level of contemplativity with sonic auroras borealis which are coloring brightly a horizon broken by drum rolls and tears of metallic percussions, but charmingly decorated with shining stars of which the solitary songs get lost in the long night gaps. It's there that "Different Skies PART.VII" makes jump our ears with a lively and shrill rhythm which couples with another line slightly less piercing. Then comes a strange ballet with oscillations shortened of curt movements. One would say a continual  movement of allegorical kicks where sequences sparkle and glitter into some uneven figures. Synth pads to the silvered charms add a very TD electronic dimension to this rhythm which makes move more the ideas than the members but which remains charmingly lively. The kicks get out of breath and "Different Skies PART.VII" embraces a brief moment of misty ambiences with winds, rustlings, howlings of dented bodywork as well as a panoply of cybernetic elements and some rather avant-gardist electronic effects which remind all the wealth and the borders of the electronic art. Wealth which bursts even more violently in "Different Skies PART.VIII" and its bouncy structure of rhythm. Ambient, this rhythm quivers with an alignment of bright hoops which collide their stroboscopic shadows under the laconic pulsations of a bass sequence. The sound structure glitters with fragrances of Vangelis and Tangerine Dream with rolling of percussions, Babylonian breaths, serpentines lamentations and synth lines decorated of modernist which adopt the madness of this electronic staccato of which the fine nuances avoid the traps of redundancy. And that ends in banks of mist, strengthening even more Frank Ayers' vision which offers his “Different Skies” a subtle mixture of genres and times. A very beautiful and musical album that you will still listen to in 10 years.
Sylvain Lupari (January 29th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this CD here at PWM Distrib
You can also view a video trailer here on YouTube

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