samedi 28 février 2015

NATTEFROST: Homeland (2014)

“With Homeland Nattefrost goes out of his comfort zone by surfing on a great model of Berlin School which shines of a more accessible approach”

1 The Golden Age 1:30
2 Dance of the Elves 3:33
3 Norse 6:29
4 Divine Light 8:04
5 At War 5:49
6 Homeland 20:23

Sireena Records ‎| SIR4026
Nattefrost Music (CD/DDL 45:45) ****½
(Berlin School)
 Nattefrost is a worthy representative of Scandinavian. Each album, set apart Futurized, is inspired by the tales and legends of this immense territory which was the cradle of the mythical Vikings. “Homeland” is no exception! Leaving this very sci-fi approach of Futurized, Bjorn Jeppesen returns to his first loves by signing an album which is a delicious fusion between the symphonic and the filmic approach, "At War", that were on From Distant Times and his usual electronic hymns, "Divine Light", which had at once caught the attention and  made the delights of his first albums. The result is surprising and indeed very charming. In fact the electronic bard from Copenhagen presents here his most beautiful album to date. From the first minute of "The Golden Age" till the last seconds of "Homeland", Nattefrost establishes a crescendo which gives shivers. As much as in the emotions that in the spine. It's one of 2014 jewels which has nearly passed under my nose, under the radar of EM. Like almost everywhere on the music planet, Nattefrost, who is very popular in his own Danemark, presented “Homeland” in a limited edition of 500 albums in 180 gram vinyl, produced by the Sireena Records label. Sold out in this format, “Homeland” re-appears in the form of factory pressed CD on the Nattefrost label.
The cold winds from the Scandinavian plains  sweep the horizons of "The Golden Age", blowing some thick clouds of rock dusts which fragment the evanescent harmonies of the undulatory synth lines. Short but effective, "The Golden Age" spreads the dramatic elements of “Homeland” with some dark and resonant chords which leave an imprint of mystery. Hardly longer, "Dance of the Elves" goes deep to the bottom of our eardrums with some superb melodious arpeggios which draw the lines of a melody, as virginal as devilish, where every note which fall is dancing with doubtful shadows and with linear pulsations of which the fast beatings lay down all the same a structure of ambient rhythm. The balance between the light and the darkness, the warmth and the cold, is striking of reality. Quite slowly and innocently the charms of “Homeland” spread their influences. Strange black breaths inject a foggy mood. They accompany the deep movement of "Norse"' undulatory pulsations. The structure, with a melody which makes twinkling its arpeggios resounding of transparency, and the furtive approach of a rhythm drummed by bass sequences, like an  accelerated war march, borrows a bit here the model of "Dance of the Elves", but in a clearly more elaborate context and with a structure of rhythm which offers beautiful oscillations filled of variances. The race ends in a very cinematographic ambience with a long ambiospherical passage which truncates the last 3 minutes of a rhythm hypnotizing like a tribal feast which precedes a war. The nuances in "Norse" are astonishing and testify of this maturity which has seized  the signature of Bjorn Jeppesen since
From Distant Times with Matzumi. Each album of Nattefrost brings its catchy track. We could have thought of "Norse" or the babylonnesque "At War". But no, the award goes to "Divine Light" and to its very lively pace which first and before all has to get out from a magma of synth lines among which the entanglements as much embroiled as the gurgling tones are clubbed by the rollings of the timpani percussions. The combustion of this static movement spits some arcs of fires of which the radiations forge the bed of a rhythm that bass sequences are leading it away from its static environment in order to lay a fluid rhythm which gallops in the knocks of very lively percussions. From melodic IDM, the rhythm of "Divine Light" offers itself some harmonious fineries with lines of arpeggios which are parading or still which humming in banks of ethereal mist and ambiospherical elements, giving to this track an attractive oniric depth. This is going to become one of the good music piece in Bjorn Jeppesen's repertoire. "At War" is titanic. Lively and heavy, it's intensely orchestral. And the illusion to see an army of vile gnomes crossing the fields of our visions is absolutely superb. The rollings of timpani, the lamentations of the defeated, the philharmonic envelopes and the moaning noises of war beasts are created with an extreme precision. We feel the intensity, the drama in this Vangelis' kind of track
With the title-track,
Nattefrost goes out of his comfort zone by offering a long musical river of about twenty minutes, a bet that he last attempted in 2004 with The Road to Asgard.
"Homeland" offers a beautiful evolution as well as subtle variances in tones and harmonious colors tinted of dramatic effects. The cinematic ambiances are always present with waves and winds which seem to blow on a field of a battle which knew its tragic end on the edges of a Scandinavian coastline. Touching effects punctuate this introduction with dark winds, knocks of percussions and electronic chirpings. A rhythm rises. Arched on bass sequences, it vacillates such as a lost soul before hanging onto a structure solidified by these percussions whose so different tones are a big part of the wealth of “Homeland”. The synth throws fragments of harmonies, as evanescent as unfinished, while the rhythm of "Homeland" follows a more steady course. It's tinted of organic perfumes and of iridescent sequences which dance with their doubles, so giving a structure of rhythm which bubbles in a multidimensional envelope and leaving to pulsations and to percussions the direction of a rhythm which is decorated of fine nuances in order to avoid the traps of the redundancy. And it's done with success! Very electronic, between Berlin School, as vintage as contemporary, ambient parts and a kind of progressive IDM, with impulses impregnated of restraints, the structure of "Homeland" offers variances and phases with jerks here and there which enhance the charm effect. The sequencing is very good with gaps in the structure which catch the interest of any fans of based sequence anthems. And when it becomes a bit sober, the ambiences, always rather dark, augment the effect of this long track of which the perpetual evolution towards more ambiospherical lands pass in the ear without a hitch. This is well done and this long track, decorated with beautiful arrangements and with new bounces, shows the control of Bjorn Jeppesen, both on his story and on the way he has put it into music. It concludes another very good album from Nattefrost. A surprising album, if we consider its very Berlin School approach soaked in this unique accessible side of Nattefrost. In fact, style Berlin School will never have been so accessible than with this “Homeland”. Very commendable!
Sylvain Lupari (February 28th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on the Bandcamp page of Nattefrost here
You can also watch a video trailer here

jeudi 26 février 2015

PHROZENLIGHT: Black Week (2015)

“Black Week is for those of us who where in the front seat at the very beginning of EM where everything was made by instinct”

1 Dropout Time 22:29
2 Just an Sequence 30:43
3 Trying to let my Mind Explode into Oblivion 22:18
4 Changing Addresses 16:32
5 Dark Week Passed 24:32

Phrozenlight Bandcamp (DDL116:37) ***½
(Vintage psychedelic Berlin School)
Bert Hulshoff is one of these examples of musician thinker who puts on music all the fruits of his emotions. So, the more than very prolific Dutch artist has released nearly one hundred albums, for the greater part in downloadable format, since that The Beginning has landed in the tubs in 2000. Composed, played and recorded only few days after the death of the now legendary Edgar Froese, “Black Week” is already his 5th album in January 2015 only. It contains 5 long sonic rivers of an average length of 23 minutes which are all simmered on the principle of improvisation, presenting an EM very soaked by the atmospheres of Klaus SchulzeTangerine Dream and  Edgar Froese then at the top of their experimental years.Slow synth pads, with the sonic outlines shining of electrostatic tones, are hardly brightening the somber ambient corridors which smother the introduction of "Dropout Time". While that a translucent strand escapes from these alarming pads, a rhythm pulsing like an interstellar suction cup makes its keys pounding in a furious undulatory minimalist pattern. This is a big cosmic rock of the vintage years which goes in our ears. And this is pretty much what they'll get, as minutes pass by, in exploring this album made in homage to Edgar Froese. A Phrozenlight's tribute to the old silvery fox. Going up and down, such as a crazy train which has no fear of derailment, the fiery movement of "Dropout Time" maintains its infernal pace, allying at the passage sporadic jingles, by undulating fervently in delicious synth layers with the aromas of old organ, whose shadows shake some electronic chirpings, and in these delicious gases of ether filled by these psychedelic fragrances which have furnished the magic of our loudspeakers in the years of Klaus Schulze's Picture Music. "Just an Sequence" hangs onto our ears straight away with a rhythm, always pulsatory, which is clearly livelier. The oscillations dance furiously in parallel with the echoes of percussions gasified of iodine and of which the ringings spin in a structure which at times remind a Stratosfear boosted with electronic steroids and of which the crazy pulsations are loosening shadows which try to hang in a rhythmic pattern which eventually will gurgle like a big stomach starving for pulsations. Breathless, the structure ends by flickering on the spot, offering variants which ally a phase of motionless rhythm to some sinister ambiences where from are born the deep oscillations of resounding arpeggios. With its structure of rhythm arched on a meshing of sequences in forms of chirping, pulsations and organic gurglings as well as electronic cymbals, "Trying to let my Mind Explode into Oblivion", (what a naming!) is not really for all ears. It's a long minimalist pattern which misleads the ceaseless chatters of its pulsations and where the synths experiment a very experimental electronic language on a movement which presents ambiospherical variants as attractive, its finale, as very noisy, like its passage in nothingness. Needs to be in the head of Phrozenlight in order to understand. And at times, we are very close to be. "Changing Addresses" makes a reference to Edgar Froese's famous quotation; « We don't die, we are only changing of cosmic address ». The intro is very floating with synth lines which waltz with a so very esoteric and sedative approach where prisms  sparkle in a rather dark mood. The rhythm gets out of its ambient matrix at around the 5th minute, exploiting the same minimalist furies that we find all over “Black Week”, in particular on "Dropout Time", but with more nuances in its velocity which remains after all relatively serene. A serenity which is even more present "Dark Week Passed", even if the finale resuscitates these violent storms of organic pulsations and the patterns of stationary movements that will shake the temples of your loudspeakers and will make jump up the hammer of your eardrums.
Black Week” aims at the fans from the very beginning of EM, where everything was made by instinct according to the discoveries and the possibilities of synthesizers and of their oscillatrices loops which could forge rhythms that no drummers could follow. Fans of that time where the frenzied pulsatory beats were fed by these ambiences that only the analog equipments could dissipate. Except that listening to those 2 hours of “Black Week” in a row turns out to be an exercise which proves that the tolerance can have its limits. If the 5 structures offer good moments, they also offer pretty good lengths. The discovery is more attractive if we taste the album track by track over the course of one week. This is what I did. And I was amazed then to want to hear the following one. Except that there, the pattern of redundancy erases the charm. Thus, one at a time! So we shall appreciate this tribute to Edgar Froese. A tribute to his first glances on an art that will bloom thanks to his curiosity, his perseverance and especially his immense talent to put in music his Daliesque vision of the art.
Sylvain Lupari (February 26th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You can find this album here

mardi 24 février 2015

PERCEPTUAL DEFENCE: TimeLines (2015)

“Time Lines is a colossal work to the measure of Gabriele Quirici's inspirations who develops here a series of ambient rhythms that will seduce all form of listening needs”
1 Dreaming Time 8:43   2 Time Travelers 8:44
3 Time Lines 9:14   4 Meditative Times 12:43
5 Hypnotic Lines 8:16   6 Walking Time 8:39
7 Child Time 6:40  

8 The Circular Sound (Healing Time) 6:35
9 Saluto ad una persona importante (Sad Time) 4:56
10 Inner Space Time 9:36   11 Friends Time 9:04
12 Metaphysical Time 9:20   13 Ricochet Time Lines 4:09
14 Subway Time to Castro Pretorio Station 7:03
15 Silence Time 11:27   16 Cosmic Time 5:16
17 Rainy Time 11:16   18 Reflection Time 4:48
19 Moments Frail 6:47

SynGate | PD03 (CD-r/DDL 153:27) ***½
(Mix of ambient and driven based sequences Berlin School)
Sound graphic and designer for a music which is a choreography for dreams, Gabriele Quirici amassed in the course of the last 5 years a multitude of sound thoughts inspired by some emotional moments. Behind a Sequencer  and an Arpeggiator, he amused himself composing short music pieces. Rhythmic loops which suit the shape of his emotions. “Time Lines” is the fruit of these momentary strikes of emotion. Initially, these very personal reflections would had to find refuge on a double album which would have includes only the music of Perceptual Defence. But after mature introspections, Gabriele Quirici has rather decided to split the album into two parts. The CD 1, entitled Personal Time, would be very introspective, while the CD 2 would offer the possibility to some of his friends musicians to compose through these loops of rhythm a music which would be more personal to them. The result is as strange, as eclectic as fascinating. Because beyond the appearances of rhythms molded by impulses of arpeggios rather complex, the shadow of Perceptual Defence keeps a close watch on this incursion of the Italian synthesist  in the sonic sculptures of the New Berlin School and makes sure that “Time Lines” stays under the bosom of the works to the dark and experimental flavors of Perceptual Defence.
Synth lines singing such as interstellar whales welcome the fragile rhythm of "Dreaming Time" of which the race of the arpeggios is drawing movement of back and forth. This ascending movement becomes more fluid, less static, loosening even some shadows, certain more crystal clear, which pound in a more free style beneath a sky multicolored of musical lines became now more sibylline. "Time Travelers" dissipates these nuances between the chants of the synths with a violent rhythm which flutters like a seagull trapped in the tempest of the Pacific winds. Winds which sometimes moo with somber metallic impulses, destabilizing the race of the arpeggios which struggle fervently in an agile static ballet. Always in a membrane of motionless rhythmic ritornello, the title-track offers a more fluid approach where two lines of harmonious rhythms, one with a very boosted flow and the other one with a more waddling approach, crisscross their minimalist airs under the breezes of a synth and of its aggressive twisted solos. In spite of the swiftness of the arpeggios and the charm of their sometimes destabilizing cadences, the rhythms which widen nevertheless a gap between the very ambiospherical approach of Gabriele Quirici and the model of driven based sequences rhythm of the Berlin School style remains rather ambient. No matter the forms, except for the superb "Meditative Times" whose sonic decoration reminds that of the
Software in Electronic Universe. Here, the rhythm eventually imploded with keys which pound in all directions, drumming a rather abstract cadence which awakens a foot stomping. One could definitely believe to hear a piece of music mislaid in the vaults of Software. It is very good, like "Hypnotic Lines" which also adopts this ambio-cosmic approach with keys which follow each other in a crocodile line, adjusting their flickered beatings in nice corridors filled of star dusts. "Walking Time" offers a more delicate rhythm, always as harmonious, with arpeggios which skip in a mess of synth lines filled of chirpings, of rhythmic loops, of cosmic mist and of ethereal voices. The finale pushes "Walking Time" towards more psychotronic corridors with some very furious arpeggios. "Child Time" is a sweet electronic lullaby with keys which sculpture some very wide oscillations, dropping to the passage other keys which try to follow the pace. The movement is as oniric than soft with delicate structures of crisscrossed ambient rhythms which coil up each other in a beautiful melancholic veil. This is very nice! The more we move forward in the section of Personal Time and the more Perceptual Defence is offering sweetnesses. Even with its sequences which stammer in an a little more jerky approach, the rhythm of "The Circular Sound (Healing Time)" throws a captivating aura of serenity. The keys make contrast with the slow veils of the synth which wrap up a pace after all very musical.
Birds of a feather flock together! That cannot be more true than on the 2nd CD of “Time Lines”, where the music of Gabriele Quirici finds takers with the boldnesses of his friends. Let's say that it's rather eclectic and that it's necessary to be curious here. For most of it, we are resolutely in the lands of ambient and abstracted of an EM stamped of
Perceptual Defence seal. Written with Syndromeda, the storm of oscillations which pushes "Inner Space Time" at the borders of a cosmos a bit bitter and uninviting which is in the same vein as the cosmic storms of

Fear of the Emptyness Space. I don't know the music of Waveman (John Valk) but I quite enjoyed the ambiguity of the structure of ambient rhythm in "Friends Time" which unwinds its series of arpeggios in a pattern of parasitic rhythms and within a lot of cathedral sounding synth pads. It's full of carillons and the movement of sequences in the background which haunts the ear is very appealing. A beautiful surprise, while the heavy and stillness rhythm trapped in the synth layers and in the howling of guitar in "Metaphysical Time" is going to graze the timorous ears. I have to be honest here, my hearing holes have suffered! And it doesn't get any better with "Ricochet Time Lines" and its multiple oscillation loops which wave in a heavy ambient pattern decorated of very experimental tones. TD on LSD! On the other hand, I like those furious oscillating loops which eat up the pace of "Subway Time to Castro Pretorio Station" which is really shaping the race of a train in a very colorful electronic soundscape. "Silence Time" is the most beautiful moment of this album where Alluste brings us literally in the lands of old Berlin School. It's as very beautiful and poetic, like "Child Time", and the imprint of Alluste is omnipresent. The rhythm is delicate, magnetic and follows a beautiful hypnotic tangent with collusive shadows under a beautiful electronic cosmic sky. "Cosmic Time", with Pharamond, is more audacious. After a very ambiospherical intro which is knotted in sizzling synth waves and in singings of flute, the sequences run away in keen pulsations which eat up their shadows, creating a starving and undisciplined structure of rhythm which finally converges into a beautiful Berlin School which is too short. "Rainy Time" offers another structure of loud and dark rhythm which imprisons its fury into long ambient corridors. The oscillations run against synth layers which waltz in opposite currents. The track deserves to be known more deeply in order to appreciate all of its nuances. It's Michael Bruckner music! Thus it deserves that we give an attentive ear because the music is always on an evolutionary mode and is ending with beautiful undulations filled by perfumes, as much oceanic than esoteric. "Reflection Time" hides its slow and brooding rhythm, like the march of a thinker, in a torrent of black breezes from some very sinister twisted shadows. I like the echo of the tap-dancing which gives a mesmerizing depth to the rhythm. The voice of Antara Annamarie Borg carries the dark and almost apocalyptic ambiences of "Moments Frail" out of the limits of “Time Lines”, ending so a very polyvalent album where the thoughtful moments of Gabriele Quirici saw the light of day behind some great modulations of sequences and arpeggios.
When we take a closer look to it, “Time Lines” is a colossal work to the measure of Gabriele Quirici's inspirations. Contrary to the sound envelope of his
Perceptual Defence project, the Italian synthesist develops here a series of rhythms, for the most part ambient, which adapt themselves to all forms of listening. The approaches of New and Vintage Berlin School is merging in envelopes as ethereal as cosmic, allying those of Software to Schulze without denying Tangerine Dream, I think here of REWO and Pharamond collaborations. So, there is of everything for all tastes and some of the  lengths pass well enough if we really want to dive into the experimental spheres of Perceptual Defence. There are some very beautiful moments in this album which is a real demystification of the Arpeggiator.
Sylvain Lupari (February 24th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You can find this album on the SynGate Bandcamp page here
 

samedi 21 février 2015

PARALLEL WORLDS & ALIO DIE: Elusive Metaphor (2014)

“Elusive Metaphor is an album to the strange poetic aromas where dark ambient music always roams in corridors filled by unusual noises which end to build strange hazy rhythms”

1 Unspoken Shapes 11:44
2 The Dispersed Expectance 9:35
3 Wordless Arcanum 4:27
4 Dissolved Heaven 10:10
5 Fragile Imagery 6:04
6 Where We Are Not 4:17
7 Roundabout Mirages 6:00

Alio Die Bandcamp (CD/DDL 53:04) ****
(Dark ambient EM)
It's with the music of Bakis Sirros that I began to appreciate the very dark ambient music genre. Why? Because the Greek musician is very intelligent. He transcends the genre by adding sonic particles such as organic breaths, insect chants and industrial noises which make nuances and contrasts in a musical decoration where the anxiety, the paranoia is hiding in the slightest beatings. “Elusive Metaphor” is the 2nd collaboration between Alio Die and Parallel Worlds. And contrary to the somber structures of Circo Divino, the enigmatic tandem of ambient metallurgical offers an album to the strange poetic aromas where dark ambient music always roams in corridors filled by unusual noises, but also in beautiful soundscapes a bit more ethereal with discreet tempos which are modulated in the shadows of the ambiences.
Winds sing with all their apocalyptic color at the opening of "Unspoken Shapes". Vocal drones, murmurs and rustles invite these winds to take other tints while the first beatings get scatter in a structure of ambient rhythm in transformation. The evolution is slow and is decorated with a crowd of organic noises, covering our eardrums of an immense ambiosonic shroud. The details make the difference. The voice of India Czajkowska arises from the darkness, blunting the ambiences which suddenly free a delicate spectral rhythm. We are in the lands of
Circo Divino with this ambient rhythm which pounds of its muffled pulsations and which radiates of its crystal clear arpeggios of which the ringings make contrast with the somber twisted drones and the very ethereal chants of India Czajkowska. The metamorphosis goes on while the rhythm of "Unspoken Shapes" amazes with an unsuspected vigor. The ringings shine like knocks on a glass anvil and the fluid flow which rolls let us think of the bones of a crawling creature which tumbles down tops to break its bones. The whole thing makes counterweights to those laconic pulsations and the somber moods which maintain "Unspoken Shapes" in its element of dark and of introspective psybient. The term of psybient lends itself completely to this last work of the duet Alio Die and Parallel Worlds where the soft rhythms are gobbled up in an intense ambiosonic flora. "The Dispersed Expectance" presents also a long ambient intro with the somber shadows of a modular synth which float on the rustles and on the chirpings of an organic, sometimes animal and often electronic, fauna. These elements merge their disturbing charms while some of them escape in order to forge an abstract rhythm. A rhythm that we guess, and which little by little settles down with pulsations of which the symmetric debit is of use as bed to a surprising eclectic flora of which the symbiosis of the elements in place eventually forged a strange hallucinogenic hymn. Except that "The Dispersed Expectance" has something else to offer! A hallucinating finale where the shadows of the pulsations take another tint and are draining like in a tapped dropper, while that the noisy swarm of multi-sonic shades swallows this rhythm into a delicious ambient din. "Wordless Arcanum" stands out a bit from the first two structures by offering livelier tempo. One would say some kind of organic suction cups which try to eat avidly so much the beatings are dynamic, starved. Fast and always unsatiated, these beatings are also stormy as the sonic fauna which harass them. Strange and fascinating, this track finds its attraction in its evanescent envelope.
We don't dream when our ears meet the chirpings of the birds which charm the opening of "Dissolved Heaven" whose reminiscences of
Circo Divino's title-track titillate our ears. The lines of synth, even the drones of Alio Die , are translucent and we can even hear solitary guitar chords irradiating a comforting ambient heat. Knocks of clogs draw the solitary hike of a cowboy in a plain where a mass of tones as organic as heterogeneous are in symbiosis with the colors of a sonic sky of which the scarlet radiations shake the dangling of big bells. I have for the vague feeling to hear Wollo in a darker environment. "Fragile Imagery" is a beautiful ambient track, decorated with organic jingles, which is very near Steve Roach's meditative territories with beautiful synth lines which drop some nice filet of spectral voices, whereas "Where We Are Not" is a pleasant down-tempo builds around some muffled pulsations which pound in a glaucous industrial universe. "Roundabout Mirages" ends this 2nd collaboration Alio Die and Parallel Worlds with an ambient and dark structure where the quaver of the riffs and of the sonic hoops draw a delicate rhythm finely jerky. An ambient rhythm which spreads its jerks in an attractive organic universe where the ceaseless chatters of the insects irradiate moments of anxiety that lines of synth, very musical, still lock into a universe filled of Steve Roach's  perfumes.
In spite of a sonic fauna filled with a 1 000 wealths, the world of
Parallel Worlds always remains so closed, hard to get in. Released only in an edition of 300 factory pressed CD's, the Gothic meditative approach of “Elusive Metaphor” breathes the seduction, even if resolutely it goes for a restricted audience. Alio Die and Parallel Worlds have succeed this bet of not repeating themselves in a genre which offers few possibilities of avoiding the redundancy, unless being daring. Of transcending the borders which bound fright of the poetry. And it is all the charm of “Elusive Metaphor”. The duet does well marvelously in combining both extremes in order to sculpture the paths of a territory which has still so much to offer. It's beautiful and absolutely mesmerizing. Well done, it flows great between both our ears and our four walls.
Sylvain Lupari (February 21st, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You can find this album on the Bandcamp page of Alio Die here

jeudi 19 février 2015

JAVI CANOVAS: Eunomia (2015)

“As usual and without surprises, Javi Canovas proposes here another sweet moment where good vintage Berlin School takes the shape of gorgeous hypnotic rhythmic labyrinths”

1 Sophrosýne 17:41
2 Phrónesis 16:40
3 Andreía 20:09
4 Dikaiosýne 15:06

Javi Canovas Music (DDL 69:37) ***½ (Vintage Berlin School)
A sinuous wave, with metallic contours a bit nasal, crawls between our four walls while that some delicate synth pads, clouded by a perfume of Mellotron and ethereal voices, make counterbalance with a warmer and more musical tone. Roaming as an intro which searches for its dens in works such as Phaedra, "Sophrosýne" sets the tone to this last album of Javi Canovas who renews thus with his perfumes of origin where albums as Light Echoes, in 2006, and In This Moment, In This Place, in 2009, where fed on ambiences of the Franke, Froese and Baumann years. Clearly far from the very structured dozen of tracks of Axiom, “Eunomia” dives into long structures soaked of ambiospherical introductions and finales where the sequences dance on airs of improvisation and swirl of their minimalist ballets, untying some edgy shadows which feed sometimes nervous, and sometimes ambient, rhythms which remain always fascinating. We are in the lands of good vintage Berlin School!
The first 5 minutes of "Sophrosýne" dip the listener into a bath of ether. The movement of sequences which gets free from it makes do kicks to its keys which pound in a disordered frenetic shroud. The oscillations of the rhythm are ample and the shadows of the keys which get loose are taking directions, as rhythmic as harmonic, where other keys, with more crystal clear tones, invite "Sophrosýne" in an interesting ballet tinted of nuances. We have here the main structure of skipping and bouncy sequences that will feed the 4 phases of “Eunomia”, but with slightly different nuances here and there. The sequences dominate over the synths which weave ambiences with fluty singings, wrapping this first track of
Canovas' last album of a meditative aura which makes contrast with the motionless violence of the rhythm. "Phrónesis" is more speedy and proposes a catchy structure of rhythm with hyper nervous lines of sequences which go up and go down and alternate the pace with nervous fluttering, sweeping the cosmic winds of the synths which become less shy here by throwing small harmonious phases and beautiful ethereal solos. The moods recall deliciously these cosmic fogs of a famous German trio. It's a very good track, but the biggest surprise of “Eunomia” goes to "Andreía". The structure of the rhythm is soft, kind of Steve Roach's Empetus years, while the ambiences shine of the best moments from the Dream's Mellotron mist. The best part is undoubtedly this transition between Roach and the Dream which takes place after a brief ambiospherical passage in the middle of the track. This goes for our radio show; Le Murmure du Son! "Dikaiosýne" takes the same ambient cloudiness with slender synth lines which waltz in the void. One would imagine some singings of interstellar whales. Sequences drum with figures of random rhythms which fall like some allegorical serpentines all along walls aglow of electronic tones. Little by little, these switching keys become out of breath. The cracklings of the electronic cymbals reactivate the life of "Dikaiosýne". The sequencing pattern takes back the road of the crushed dances. Like bones which skip in all directions on a conveyor, the keys eventually adopt a shape of minimalist organic rhythm which beats beneath silky synth layers. Keys get away. Spitting organic strands and resounding tones, they borrow the clothes of "Sophrosýne" and its ample oscillations which run under synth lines fill up of sibylline singings. Seducing, appealing! Like good old Berlin School.
With his 18 albums over a period of 10 years, it's obvious that the style of
Javi Canovas repeats itself. The Spanish synthesist may alternate his approaches by producing ambient music, a music nearest the prog rock style or simply good old EM, his music always breathes of the same perfume of the beautiful analog years. But very often he manages to pass at another level by taking directions, I'm thinking of "Andreía", which amaze as much as charm. I enjoyed listening this “Eunomia”. At the end of the day, it remains to be a great vintage Berlin School album where Javi Canovas weaves some very charming hypnotic rhythmic labyrinths.
Sylvain Lupari (February 18th,2 015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You can find this album on the Bandcamp page of Javi Canovas here

dimanche 15 février 2015

MIND OVER MATTER: Trance'n'Dance (1990-2001)

“With a huge EM piece of anthology, Trance'n'Dance is the fulfillment of Mind Over Matter”

1 Children of the Midnight 22:06
a Night of oblivion
b The march of the seduced children
c In search of the sunlight
d The dawning of bliss
2 Spacelab 8:10
3 Jack the Bear 7:31
4 Mahatma 10:30
5 The Silence (Bonus track from Music for Paradise) 7:14

IC 710.090 (CD 55:31) ****½
(Ambient, spiritual, tribal and Berlin School EM)
What could be hiding behind an artwork where a Hindu holds composedly a guitar? A huge contrast compared with a name of an album which lets transpire the possibility of a music of dance, even of trance. It's a little at the image of Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock. The blazing German guitarist and Mellotron player creates with Mind Over Matter a music which transcends the borders of the Berlin School in order to adopt some more esoteric, some more drifting movements which are at the borders of a progressive New Age well sat on Hindu influences. It's quite a whole mishmash! That gives rather particular, sometimes uneven, but always interesting albums. “Trance'n'Dance” is a small masterpiece which totally went unnoticed. The guitar of Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock is breathtaking. And when it grinds floating strata of its harmonic solos, it transports us as far as our imagination can allows it.
A distant procession makes itself heard while that the long musical river of "Children of the Midnight" takes shape. An enchanting voice, floating such as a specter which goes to the white light, emerges. It hums a peaceful song on the shadows of a delicate and harmonious line of bass as well as on some scattered, almost lost, chords from a guitar and a keyboard. We find ourselves in a virtual meadow where ewes graze peacefully among some distant cherubs chirpings. The first chords are ringing. They sculpture a peaceful ambient rhythm which rocks itself in the shape of an ambient and very harmonious tick-tock. Mesmerizing and very hypnotic, the shadows of these chords frolic with lightness, whereas quite slowly the crescendo of "Children of the Midnight" increases in intensity with drum rolls which awaken more intense guitar notes and riffs. The guitar throws its harmonious loops which coo on the jolts of Holger Guyens' drums. The movement becomes intense and dramatic with this meshing of percussions and riffs which hammers, which pounds an aggressive hypnotic rhythm. From serenity, we dive into a heavy and noisy progressive rock style. The guitar loops are tearing and biting the moods with superb shrill solos. It's an intense, an insane moment which bites me ears at each listening. Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock's Stratocaster is striking with piercing solos, sighs and magical furies which chew a structure became more musical with its ample oscillations. Once its violence controlled, "Children of the Midnight" refugees its anger in a more ambiospherical passage where the spectral voice of Dagi Daydream-Hoffmann murmurs its dream which gets lost in the delicate singings of a hyper melodious flute and on a delicate structure of rhythm molded in the tick-tock of some delicate keyboard chords. The singing of a roaster then comes. And then some IndianTabla percussions roll and adopt the shape of these chords, guiding "Children of the Midnight" towards a delicate tribal rhythm where the frenzy of the tom-toms don't manage to slow down this sweet hypnotic lullaby which rolls its peaceful harmonies between elements of earth and of cosmos. And always, the guitar of Hoffmann-Hoock scatters its solos which float like the fogs of a waking dream. A whole classic! "Children of the Midnight" is a monument in the history of modern EM.
"Spacelab" is totally ambiospherical. Composed with
Software's very own Peter Mergener, it's ambient piece of music where the guitar is dreamy and floats on the breaths of a discreet but very melodious synth. Hypnotic the guitar of Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock suspends the time with its heavy overwhelming layers, its floating solos and its notes which are both grave and acute. A breeze of flute, violent like a blow of crossbow, gives the starting signal to "Jack the Bear". Light, the rhythm is brightened up by a harmonious flute, by some liveyTabla percussions and a mocking voice which jests on a surprising catchy rhythm. It sounds a little like this paradisiacal music from the Islands. A beautiful feminine voice enchants the moment and leads us towards the breaths of a saxophone which becomes excited, boosted by a more and more livened up pace. The movement is fluid, almost a kind of papal trance, moved by synth layers to tones of old rock organ which are used of a bed for a superb duel between voice and saxophone. This movement takes all of its magnificence by Martin Urrigshardt's very lively saxophone. In spite of this completely amazing saxophone, the guitar stays on top with piercing solos. This time it's Jochen Schäfer who throws savage solos. He challenges Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock's style with heart-rending and incisive solos. This is another magical, a brilliant and completely unexpected moment where the six-strings six multiplies the shivers. "Mahatma" is a slow undulatory movement with the essences of Hindu spirituality. Slow and sensual, the structure progresses over some yet enchanting fluty breezes as well as of a solitary saxophone and some mesmerizing notes pinched out from a sitar. Some nice synth lines spread a veil of serenity, so giving a bigger depth to an ambient track and of which those Indian essences spirituality exhale some more electronic perfumes. Too very ambiospherical, "The Silence", whom we also find on Music for Paradise, fills the space of this CD with melancholic moods which go hand in hand with Mahatma, although more cosmic.
From progressive rock to purely EM, by passing by perfumes of Asia, “Trance'n'Dance” is the fulfillment of
Mind Over Matter, of Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock. "Children of the Midnight" is a piece of anthology whereas "Jack the Bear" is literally going to blow your brain away. It's a powerful, a little bit uneven, album which resists the wear of time and which takes a whole dimension when we listen to it with a headset. Every track possesses its soul, even the most ambient ones, so much the emotion and the sensibility are there. But no matter the genres, if you are a music lover; the crescendo and the violent odyssey of "Children of the Midnight" is a musical journey not to be missed. You owe to pay yourself this journey at least once. You will so have the sting from this guitar which torn so many ambiences in the 90's. So wonderful!
Sylvain Lupari (October 2006, translated on February 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
It's possible to get a CD by contacting Klaus at his website here
You can also watch a video of Jack the Bear here