mardi 31 mars 2015

MOONBOOTER: Still Alive (2014)

“I really enjoyed this album where Moonbooter mixes all the styles in EM with a great symbiosis for such opposites”
1 Until Eternity 9:34
2 Dont Move 7:00
3 Number 43 5:02
4 Eternized in Crystal 7:55
5 Impact of Mind 6:30
6 Transition 6:07
7 Still Alive 8:02
8 Automode 7:29
9 Born 4:39
10 Tranquility 5:24
11 Adieu! 5:21

MellowJetRecords | CD-r- MB1401 (CD/DDL 73:03) ****
(New Berlin School IDM and Electronica)
We evolve! I do not know if it's this crush that I had for the Ultimae Records albums, but I quietly migrated to the psybient and towards a kind of trance EM. IDM will say some people, electronic trash will say others or simply Électronica! I am not a big connoisseur in the domain. I would rather tag the style in New Berlin School IDM. But no matter, I know just that it is as much energizing as beautiful! The link with Moonbooter? Well, the alias of Bernd Scholl does in a musical genre which unties the borders by unifying all the styles in a mosaic of rhythms charmingly rested by beautiful moments of atmospheres. Dedicated to the memory of his mother, “Still Alive” is a concept album on the painful passage towards the afterlife. If there are rather ethereal moments, even touching by moments, the music leads us where Moonbooter feels at ease as well as a fish in the water with this mixture of up-beat, dance, psybient and even synth-pop knotted in the nebulosity of the Berlin School and/or its by-products. And I heard wonderful small jewels there...
"Until Eternity" starts this sonic adventure in the land of varied rhythms with an approach as much hazy as ambient. Lines of synth intertwine their passive energies in a cosmic landscape tinted of metallic colors where the stars are ringing. They agglutinate in an immense ambient mosaic. A movement of rhythm is emerging. It makes sparkle its jumping keys in an elongated stroboscopic strand which sneaks among the slow caresses of a bass line. Darker layers draw a gloomy approach while we sense those muffled pulsations to try of awakening the ambiences. There is a good dose of intensity in this track which wakes up with samplings of manual percussions and electronic groans that we could confuse with a guitar which spits long riffs rather ethereal. Although slapped by these percussions, the structure of rhythm of "Until Eternity" splits up its approach between evanescent jolts and meditative atmospheres, just before embracing its last 3 minutes with this meshing of percussions and of nuanced pulsations which are whipped by metallic bangings while welcoming a soft melody hummed by a dreamy piano. What strikes the most in the music of
Moonbooter, in particular in “Still Alive” is this marigold of the detail. The sound is rich and decorated with a thousand of subtleties which increase the pleasure of the hearing. The passage between the furious rhythms and the morphic moods calm the anxiety provoked by these ardent beatings and restore also the taste to hear them. Like a good Chef, Bernd Scholl knows to measured his recipes. Even if sometimes we dive downright into Electronica, like in the pulsatory rhythm of "Dont Move" and its stroboscopic lines which encircle a brusque and lively tempo where roams a melody struck on a glass anvil. It's kind of very Orbital (In Sides), except that the lines of synth and the strands of sequences which swirl all around remind constantly the sources of Berlin School. Berlin School which is strongly present on the superb "Eternized in Crystal" and its magnetizing minimalist movement which invades the senses. The introduction offers two lines of sequences, one which winds of its crystal clear keys and the other one which chirps of its electric tones. Both are criss-crossing in a cosmic ballet which is tickled by a pleasant spectral voice. The line of crystal clear sequences gets loose and draws a slow hypnotic spiral whom we constantly feel a threat of blowing up with a crescendo which will explode at any time. The arrangements, the orchestrations will hook a tear on your soul. And, after a delicate oniric moment, the sequences flutter with strength, entailing the wonderful "Eternized in Crystal" into a strong up-tempo where the pulsations reverberate on sober technoïd percussions, and others which would make jealous a rattlesnake, while that synth layers float such as ethereal caresses and among which the tenderness and the arrangements accentuate the depth of a finale that we do not wish at all. This is a great music piece which found the road to my IPod; category best tracks of 2014! Moonbooter can also exploits purely ambient approaches. Like with the very ambiospherical introduction of "Number 43" where a cello and a piano are exchanging bits of melodies which stroll in sonic walls oozing of droplets. If the rhythm settles down little by little, it's quite the opposite with the very somber but serene "Transition" and its ectoplasmic choir.
This mood can also be heard in the intro of "Impact of Mind". A track which is more or less static with its thick cloud of silvery sequences which skip ardently while jesting of a very metallic tone. These keys go up and come down in huge sound effects which place the track in an intense envelope of emotionalism while the tempo, tinted of nuances, tries to pierce a rhythmic approach which wraps itself, just like the strummed melody, in a dense blanket of foggy voices. The title-track is some crushed dynamite. If "Dont Move" showed some restraint, "Still Alive" is more the kind of track that will make burst a dance floor in a Rave party. My ears are still bleeding! Jumping from a style to another without too much difficulty, Bernd Scholl masters marvelously the fates of “Still Alive”. After the powerful and explosive title-track, which is filled of sound effects which will make tremble the walls outside the dance floors, "Automode" calms a little bit the ambiences with a beautiful down-tempo, although rather lively, tinted with a lot of
TD tones, during their years on Miramar. The rhythm is charmingly bumpy and offers to our ears these percussions stolen in the tail of a rattler as well as a soft cosmic melody whistled by a dreamy synth. Let's say that it feels good after the relentless rhythm of "Still Alive". Except that "Born" does it again with a rhythm which is as much furious. "Tranquility" wears quite well its name by offering a nice peaceful structure where the sequences are astride, like riffs in a desert flooded with atmospheres of a Far West, beneath a sky which suffocates of heat and where rattlers are waiting for the meals. And finally "Adieu!"! What a beautiful, a great track! Never dance music will have been so attractive in my ears. The percussions are superb. Rattlers glitter in a bumpy rhythm soaked with a cosmic approach where the sequences eventually forge a melody, but not as so catchy as these violins which will mold a wonderful earworm; deep, deep in your eardrums. The progression is delicious and the arrangements are exhilarating. The beat pulses, the music moves and we feel here a soft melancholy floating. That track is also in my IPod! And I don't know if it's because my ears are still soaked with ashes of "Adieu!", but I quite like, and a lot, this album from Moonbooter. An album where all styles get intertwine with a surprising symbiosis for all of those antipodes. Very good!
Sylvain Lupari (March 30th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on the MellowJet Records shop here
You can also watch a nice video of Adieu! here

jeudi 26 mars 2015

GIVENS & PADILLA: Life Flows Water (2015)

“Even if strongly tinted with a huge dark veil, Life Flows Water remains a rather poetic album knotted in these subtle sequenced ambient rhythms”

1 Opening to New Perspectives 19:08
2 Awakened Conciousness 5:35
3 A Step Achieved 6:30
4 Reflection and Metamorphosis 6:56
5 Tide of the Opposition Moon 7:56
6 Life Flows Water 12:06
7 Shavasana 10:26

Spotted Peccary | SPM-9091 (CD/DDL 68:38) ****
(Ambient Pacific School EM)
A hollow, a black and very reverberating breath besieges our ears. Kind of Tibetan bells resound in these dark winds while that another synth line, a little more translucent, makes the counterweight to this rather dark introduction of “Life Flows Water”. Other synth lines draw clouds of mists which steal very slowly around this dense opaque layer, while others are spreading strands of prism that one would guesses is escaping from a heavy and slow intergalactic vessel filled up with cosmic oracles. Immersive and very floating, "Opening to New Perspectives" multiplies its sibylline colors like we watched dumbfounded this water which waved while being a prisoner of its rectangle. I find hard to believe that “Life Flows Water” was recorded live, so much the wealth and the colors of sounds form a symbiosis with the slight crescendo of the ambient rhythms which invade our loudspeakers, in particular with the superb "Awakened Conciousness" and "A Step Achieved". Craig Padilla needs really no presentation. Those who know his works know also to which point he likes sculpturing ambient soundscapes decorated with delicate structures of ascending rhythms. For “Life Flows Water”, he teams up with the founder of the American label of ambiospherical music Spotted Peddary Howard Givens, that some define as being a creative guru. It results in a very dark ambient album with a multitude of reverberating lines which pile in order to draw up a kind of apocalyptic surrounding. With these 7 tracks which interlace in a long ambiospherical saga of 70 minutes, the duet Givens / Padilla aims at creating a Zen ambiance here, but those dark synth waves which get entangled indefatigably bring it at the edge of a Mephistophelian spiritual story. The ambiences are intense, reaching even some peaks at moments with splendid rhythmic crescendo which disconcert marvelously this very dark envelope of  “Life Flows Water”.
The long dark synth waves get entangle such as metaphysical lovers. They float and decorate the nebulous soundscapes of "Opening to New Perspectives", whistling amorphous chants with slow lines inflated of reverberations. On the cusp of this blackness, fine hiccupping arpeggios forge a series of drummings which pound and sparkle in a sonic sky to the colors of Morpheus. The ambient crescendo is pouring now into "Awakened Conciousness". These sequences cavort now. They flutter awkwardly within dark winds whereas other sequences are pounding an intrusive sonic framework which dresses itself of a dramatic fur. And the percussions fall. They thunder for a short while on this spiral of dislocated sequences which decorate its line of ambient rhythm with delicate kicks, just before that the heavy atmospheres of “Life Flows Water” shut it down and make silent its tumult. Long lassoes of reverberations float like a scent of threat over the singings of those birds which open "A Step Achieved". A delicate movement of hypnotic rhythm makes clink its sequences, plunging the listener into his so delicious souvenirs of 
Michael Stearns in M'Ocean. This is a wonderful two tracks set that the tandem Givens / Padilla is giving to us. Here, the crystal clear arpeggios are ringing on a charming ascending movement always painted by these long twist filled by echoes. Superb! "Reflection and Metamorphosis" brings us in the heart of the gaps of “Life Flows Water” with shrill singings of sirens. Still there it's heavy and dark. Except that a bright period turns up on the horizon with the arrival of "Tide of the Opposition Moon" where some fine arpeggios shine in another movement of sequences with keys which weave an occasional rhythmic turbulence. The title-track is the nirvana of “Life Flows Water” with an ambient rhythm which winds groundwaters suspended, like a lake between the cosmos and the earth. The slow impulses which push the ambient rhythm, drawn by a series of sequences which sound like the skeleton of a snake crawling on a bed of rock, create good moments of intensity which seduces the listening. The most serene moment of the album, "Shavasana" brings us towards this Zen zone aimed by Howard Givens and Craig Padilla. Certainly, the hoarse breaths are always intrusive. But the more radiant synth lines hide a bit the repulsive approach that these long boas with ample and slow serpentines, ochred of sulfur, draw almost everywhere around the 68 minutes of “Life Flows Water” which loops the loop with this last track. And even if strongly tinted with this dark veil, this album remains a rather poetic work. A work mainly ambient which is knotted around beautiful gradations in its rhythms among which the ringings and the drumming are the secret of its charms.
Sylvain Lupari (March 26th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on the Spotted Peccary Bandcamp page here

vendredi 20 mars 2015

FORREST FANG: Letters to the Farthest Star (2015)

“Letters to the Farthest Star is very poetic, very intrusive and a nice ambient Folk album where perfumes of the West and the East are battling in very nice and mostly dark soundsapes”

1 The Unreachable Lands 18:39
Part I Sunsail 2:01   Part II Song of the Camel 3:45
Part III Water Village 6:55   Part IV Hermitage 5:58
2 Burnt Offerings 11:30   3 Veldt Hypnosis 8:02
4 Fossils 6:14   5 Seven Coronas 7:19
6 Lorenz 6:30   7 Lines to Infinity 10:33
Bonus Tracks

11 Water Village (ambient remix) 8:09
12 Burnt Offerings (ambient remix) 9:38
13 Song of the Camel (ambient deconstruction) 6:28

Projekt Records | PRO00312 (CD/DDL 133:14) ***½
(Ambient Folk)
Although very far from the style of usual ambient music, the music of Forrest Fang wears a unique cachet with this fusion of ambient Folk to perfumes of East. As much comfortable with a range of oriental acoustic instruments (on "The Unreachable Lands" Turkish Lute, the Chinese violins and the Indonesian percussions dominate the atmospheres, the rhythms and harmonies) that with electronic instruments, the Sino- American musician and synthesist like to draw these breezes and these winds from synths in order to weave harmonious landscapes which give some more of colors, more reliefs in an ambient music delicately shaken by surrounding areas of ballad anchored in the American Folk song. The outcome is always rather attractive. Split into two parts, “Letters to the Farthest Star” remains a meditative and melancholic album. If the "The Unreachable Lands" proposes rhythms of World Music into paralyzing atmospheres which are punctuated with harmonious and lively interludes, the rest of the album plunges us into the somber universe of Forrest Fang where the dark moods swallow rhythms as much evanescent as the melodies which decorate them. In the end, it gives a poetic album where both poles of Forrest Fang get mix without ever really merging .
It begins quietly. A wave of winds rises to sweep the horizons of iridescent colors where the singings of a brilliant blue get lost in muffled and somber reverberations. The quadrilogy of "The Unreachable Lands" unties its first part with the notes of a pensive guitar which gets out from the winds of "Unsail".
Forrest Fang leads us from then on towards a slow rhythm. Towards the ballad of a Bayou kind of "Song of the Camel". We roll of the neck. It's delicately lively. The percussions shape a delicate movement of spiritual trance while the line of bass sculptures a kind of blues very tribal and while the flutes release festive harmonies coated by a perfume of East. This is very appealing and the ambient remix version is even better enticing. The somber winds return to decorate the atmospheres of "Water Village" of an opaque sibylline veil. The first two minutes are dark. They are the sober prelude to a structure of rhythm as much pleasant and lascivious as the one in "Song of the Camel", the bass line on it is lasciviously lively, and that a Chinese violin covers of an ambient shroud. This is pure ambient Folk a la Loggins&Messina. It's the reference point which comes to mind like that and which I find rather relevant. Moreover the music of Forrest Fang is a sublime mixture of American and oriental Folk that perfumes of EM embalm of a comforting meditative aura. "Hermitage" concludes the saga "The Unreachable Lands" with a pensive approach where the violin, one would say an harmonica, cries in the sobs of a piano. It's soft and very melancholic. It's also the small thread which leads us to the other hillside of “Letters to the Farthest Star”.
"Burnt Offerings" exchanges its introduction, knotted in hollow winds, for a rhythm always so slow and folk. It's end to be an ambient ballad which gets lost in the winds of its intro and splits up its acoustic notes in the turbulence of the synthesized winds. "Veldt Hypnosis" brings us in territories a little more electronic of
Forrest Fang. A thick cloud of synth waves with rippling lines and sibylline chants forge a strange ambient melody of which the spectral singing shakes ropes filled of bells. The rhythm which hatch comes from two lines of percussions. One is fluid with lively knocks which sculpture the electronic walking of a millipede with castanets instead of feet. And the other one is heavy and loud with thunders of drumming which forge a furious and noisy mood. Both lines reduce in a state of almost absence a delicate melody drawn from the multiple bells. A melody which pierces this thunderstorm of tom-toms, of which only the fluid and lively knocks knew how to resist the wear of the 8 minutes of "Veldt Hypnosis". The effect in a living-room is simply staggering. The atmospheres are heavy and always threatening, as in the very ambient "Fossils" and its notes of a six-strings which look for its harmonies in the winds howlers. A discreet line of sequenced drumming sculptures the ambient rhythm of "Seven Coronas" which ascents a very meditative landscapes with tears of violins which flow on the harmonies of the carillons. It's sad and the violin is rather poignant. "Lorenz" proposes a night of falling stars of which the wakes in the black firmament weave some harmonies mislaid in dark and dense winds as  much black than hollow. We are in an ambient mood, dark and very wrapping such as the glove of a black night. And it's even truer with "Lines to Infinity" and its notes of guitar which scratch a melody which is always looks for its shape in a thick strata of synth in colors as dark as these long passages through caves without lights of the American deserts. We are entitled to 3 tracks in bonus if we buy the downloadable version of “Letters to the Farthest Star”. And I have to say that it's not just of filling. The ambient remix version of "Water Village" is very good. The feeling of being in the Californian deserts at the time of the cowboys is much more present here with a clearly more lascivious rhythm. We perceive even better the very discreet harmonies of the harmonica here and that gives to the track a beautiful approach of lugubrious, almost apocalyptic Western mood. I also prefer better this version of "Burnt Offerings" where everything is far better nuanced, in particular the play of the percussions which are heavier and more detailed. We dive literally into the works of Steve Roach's Californian deserts. Very good! On the other hand, I prefer the original version of "Song of the Camel". Here, in its demolition version, we have difficulty in finding its essence.
I quite enjoyed “Letters to the Farthest Star”. I know it's different from the Berlin School and the sequence based style of EM, but it is still very appealing.
Forrest Fang is resolutely less arrhythmic there that on Unbound, even that sometimes he shows a good dose of wild violence which sounds like a troop of horses which trample on nests of ants. There are a lot of good atmospheres and fascinating depths, both in the ambient phases and in the rhythm ones. And these short melodious interludes which go and come add some more of charms to an album which nevertheless asks for a good dose of curiosity to those who don't know Fang or are simply not interested in the genre. For the others, you are going to adore. But in any case; like it or not, knowing him or not, Forrest Fang's discovery should stay in your schedule of exploring the ambient form of EM. After all, he is this delicate link between the worlds of Steve Roach and Robert Rich
Sylvain Lupari (March 19th, 2015)

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

mercredi 18 mars 2015

WLADYSLAW KOMENDAREK: Deformator (2014)

“Insane!? Much more than that! Deformator is a huge mosaic of psybient electronica wrapped of Berlin School's primary elements”
1 Consciousness Mill 7:53
2 Guards of Silence 9:31
3 Nude Lips 6:14
4 Love Daughters 8:13
5 Totalitarian Engineering 6:08
6 World Great Slogans 8:30
7 Wife-Beater 9:35
8 Slaves of Mythology 3:58
9 Deformator 8:16

Ricochet Dream | RD076 (CD 68:18) ****
(Experimental, Techno and IDM)
Definitely, the sound universe of Wladyslaw Komendarek is weaved in the originality! We would like to believe that the wizard of the Polish sounds, because he nests on the Ricochet Dream label, would make a style of EM concentrated on the Berlin School model. It not is nothing! “Deformator” continues where Chronowizor had stopped; either in the lands of the music without borders. An EM where the very experimental kind, the techno, the Ska, the Drum'n' Bass, the Hip-hop and the IDM spiced by psybient sauce invade our ears and makes our neighbors to shout. Certainly there are perfumes of Berlin School, in particular for the sequenced rhythms and the uncountable and very good synth solos. But for the rest, this last album of Wladyslaw Komendarek wears admirably well its name with disconnected rhythms, and melodies which are just as much, which nest in an impressing wall of percussions, voices as annoying as attractive and of dense orchestrations samplings which slow down the fury of the rhythms. It's an album with an even more trenchant and a more mordant Komendarek. A Komendarek who likes to take Frank Zappa's clothes in order to deform his satiric visions of the society and its global current events with a totally aggressive and off-the-wall music where the structures get lost and deform allegories which refuse any shape of esthetics. It's hard to tame but at the end we end by finally enjoyed this huge madness of his.
Percussions, bass pulsations as much agile as the sequences. The movement of "Consciousness Mill" is bombarded in a lively and fluid way. It jumps from an ear to the other with a series of 5 steps which stumble at times. It's a huge up-beat, almost a speed-beat, with curt and felted hits where the rustles in background and the jingles of tsitt-tsitt are panting behind our ears. If the rhythm beats of its minimalist pattern, the melodies which go and come show a beautiful diversity and make contrast in this rain of sound effects and iconoclastic stammerings which feed the very psybient side of “Deformator”. We like these structures of wild rhythms? We like to become breathless because we are dancing and jumping to madness? We are going to love the very driven and gluttonous "Nude Lips", which is real rhythmic marathon for the ears ... and the legs. The voice might annoy a bit but you better get used to it because Komendarek uses a lot of voices samplings, if not his own, by singing mad and rough tunes. And it fits perfectly to this setting where the immoderation is appropriate. "Slaves of Mythology" is a bit nuanced and its up-beat approach is flooded in a kind of Frank Zappa's quite unique jazz-blues approach. I like to think that it's the track that my neighbors hate to most! After an ambiosonic tinted by voice pads a bit angelic, certain are more warlike, "Guards of Silence" clubs our ears with jerky pulsations which make symbiosis with others more organic. Divided between its ambiences and its rhythm which becomes technoïd, "Guards of Silence" adopts an approach which reminds me that of Prodigy in Music for the Jilted Generation, in particular on Break & Enter.
Wladyslaw Komendarek is like a crazy horse and kicks in his structures with a total absence of commercial filter. The sound effects are intrusive and disruptive with big twists filled of reverberations and big sonic regurgitations.
Here as everywhere around the crazy rhythms in “Deformator”,
Komendarek uses in knowledge his synth pads filled of prisms and of orchestrations, giving an ethereal feeling to his indomitable structures. Rhythms which sometimes appear to us a little more in the Lounge style, a little quieter too, as in the Arabian charms of "Love Daughters" and its samplings of percussions, clanic flutes and singings which are flavoring a structure which jumps as when a vinyl album was jumping on our turning table. At first it's annoying. When the effect of surprise is over, we find out that it remains pretty attractive. Especially if we want to make our visit freaking out. A heavy beat which hammers our ears with notes of sitar over a structure as much unseizable as an oiled pig, "Totalitarian Engineering" brings a techno approach (tsitt-tsitt ) flooded in uncountable samplings of deformed voices and heterogeneous noises. It's rather indigestible, but the fans of psybient kicked down with hammerings and with effects of break-dance will be delighted. The Persian flute, the Tabla percussions bring a very eclectic tribal dimension which demonstrates that Wladyslaw Komendarek has no border and manages to inject effects and arrangements that will captivate your curiosity for sounds and tones. Off-the-wall and totally wild! "World Great Slogans" is, and by far, the most accessible track in “Deformator”. The approach is very Berlin School with a beautiful line of hypnotic sequences which rolls in loop in clouds of sound radioactivity. The music dives then in a moment of ectoplasmic ambiences before getting back with a more musical structure. There is good solos of a rather discreet synth. I liked it well and we stick to it at the first listening. "Wife-Beater" is as crazy as its naming. It flows with a zombie-like techno with pulsations clubbed with the regularity of a metronome, well as for its first part, before the rhythm becomes a little more unstable in second half. The riffs, voices, shouts and other sound elements are on the menu of this track which is doubtless the least creative in “Deformator”. It just gives you an idea of what the rest is made of. The title-track offers a wide range of unusual noises, cracklings, voices from beyond the grave and psychedelic sound effects on a soft rhythm. On pulsations which pound shyly in order to make more space to a these thick clouds of samplings which perfume the very avant-gardist, the weird artistic vision and the craziness of Wladyslaw Komendarek.
If you want to approach “Deformator” in one single listening, it would be possible that you run away and leave your perplexed shadow behind. One needs more in order to tame this sound painting soaked of boldness that is this last album of
Wladyslaw Komendarek. Techno - trash or IDM molded in high-level psybient! We are far from Berlin School and even from its by-products. Nevertheless the sequences, the arrangements and the synth solos cannot deny the paths dug up by Komendarek to be where he stands now. It is just necessary to dare. Accustom our ears to something crazy. And sometimes, it goes well. “Deformator” is to be tasted at small doses. Even if sometimes we judge that we can go through it without too many difficulties. A big A for the originality.
Sylvain Lupari (March 17th, 2015)

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

dimanche 15 mars 2015

KLAUS HOFFMANN-HOOCK & BERNHARD WOSTHEINRICH: Conundrum (2007)

“Enveloping guitar and sitar layers with soft electronica rhythms, Conundrum leads the listener to the borders of a psychedelic work”

1 Virupaksha  8:00
2 Bowed Visions  8:12
3 Conundrum  9:21
4 Phased Realities  5:55
5 Swarmandel  10:07
6 Flavia's Paradise  6:40
7 Moonlit  8:17

DiN 27 (CD/DDL 56:45) **** (Psybient electronica)
Further to the publication of my review on the album Trance'n'Dance from Mind Over Matter, I received an e-mail from my good friend Bernhard Wöstheinrich who was wondering if I was willing to talk about his collaboration project with Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock and the album “Conundrum”. The title reminded me vaguely something. Having searched my archives I finally noticed that I had talked about this album some very long time ago. Here is of what it returned. Resurrection of a review and a music that I had forgotten in the corridors of time.
With the multiple carillons which resound, we are expecting a very ethereal moment, even pious, while that a nervous bass line and agile bouncy sequences forge a structure of rhythm as much elusive as the murmurs which flitter around it. Fluid and well sat on these elements a bit funky, while being well pounded by flexible percussions, "Virupaksha" skips in its psychedelic plumage on a provocative beat, on a kind of dance music. Between a morphic techno and a spatial disco, the tempo is flavored by psybient elements and by uncountable synth strata, by electric guitars and sitars of which the evanescent harmonies coil up over percussions and sequences which weigh down gradually the pace. Although relatively discreet, the squeakings of the guitar obsess the senses. And this will be like that all around “Conundrum”. Although the album is not explosive just as much, the duet Hoffmann-Hoock/Wöstheinrich, flanked by
Markus Reuter and Ian Boddy on percussions programming and the sequencing, dives at the heart of an ethnic riddle by exploiting the floating, the celestial and almost vampiric layers from guitars and sitars over movements built around progressive and moderate rhythms. The mixture brings the listener to the borders of a psychedelic work with ambiospherical elements which get closer to Indian tribal essences.

It's moreover a tearful guitar strata which opens the rather celestial atmospheres of "Bowed Visions". Strata which multiplies its shadows. These make glitter some dense shrill lines, and others more felted, which intertwine in a huge ambient sonic magma. A rhythmic structure emerges a little after the 3rd minute. Delicate, it scampers like a soft ballad without stories. The title-track exploits a little bit the same vision with an intro where the tears of stringed instruments get mixed in the hubbub of the synth pads to the colors of nothingness and the rustles of an astral voice to the ethnic breaths. A beautiful intro, very ambiospherical, which serves as starter to a very beautiful rhythmic phase which explodes a little after the 4th minute. Lively and a bit jerky, it gallops a little more than it scampers with a beautiful meshing of bass sequences and percussions of which the subtle swiftness eats up downright the listening. It's very beautiful, very intrusive and the guitar of Hoffmann-Hoock chews on its rhythm and its ambiences, while "Conundrum" becomes more and more fluid. I smell through this track some elements which would have influenced the madness of Thorsten Quaeschning and his guitar in the superb Utopia from Bernd Kistenmacher. It's a solid and very beautiful piece of music. "Phased Realities" bites our ears with a bass line filled of gurgling chords. The rhythm is suspended and sneaky. It's snatched up by percussions and tickled by the elytrons of cymbals. We enter the lands of electronica with electronic percussions which clink and spin around a Groove movement decorated with a mixture of synth and guitar layers from which the slow harmonies weave psy-soundscapes. Some warm synth pads (or is it guitar?) are stuffing the very ambient intro of "Swarmandel". We hear pulsations to stir up a rebellion, as well as electronic hiatus which reveal the celestial harmonies of an esoteric guitar. The rhythm is dozing and is snoring. It rebels a little after the 3 minutes spot, either after the last tickles from Hoffmann-Hoock's six-strings. It sparkles and skips with nervousness, guiding the pace of an up-beat without gravity which goes, dies out and gets back in the oscillations of a bass line and of the dislocated serpentines of an ethereal guitar. This structure of rhythm linked between semi-ambient phases finds also its niche on "Flavia's Paradise" with movements of bass which waves with strength before sneaking under clouds of perfumed sibylline ambiences drawn by a six-strings and synths. There is a ceaseless noise over this track as well as some beautiful more ethereal passages. Moments decorated of chirping and of tears of a guitar which remind us the psychedelic essence of “Conundrum”. "Moonlit" ends this eclectic accord between both universes of Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock and Bernhard Wöstheinrich with an ambient track where the guitar of KHH lets float some mourners harmonies in winds filled of sonic particles from Wöstheinrich's synth.
Conundrum” is within the spirit of the DiN label. It's an album with some tasty heterogeneous and experimental essences well served by rhythms which touch by the tip of their sequences, their bass lines and of their percussions the lands of electronica. Therefore, there is a beautiful mixture between these rhythms and of rich ambiences sewn with a fascinating obsession to make it quite difficult to be tamed. It's exactly the principle of a riddle. It pricks the curiosity. It becomes obsessive. And we eventually end by finding answers. Here, these answers find the shape of a music of which the borders always define themselves a little better in each new listening. You should not forget that we are in 2007. I underline this fact because we hear here and there elements which seems to us familiar, in particular in the universe of the psybient and of tribal ambient, demonstrating the rather avant-gardist approach of this duet rather eclectic.
Sylvain Lupari (March 14th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You can find this album on DiN's Bandcamp website here

samedi 14 mars 2015

GERT BLOKZIJL: Interaction (2015)

“Interaction is a solid album which has easily its place between Mirage and The Dark Side of the Moog IX”

1 Interaction I 17:24
2 Interaction II 52:34

Gert Blokzijl Bandcamp (DDL 69:58) ****
(Minimalist Berlin School)
What is a classic? I would say that it's an album that leaves resolutely its imprints, its influences on time and as well as on several artists who continue to get soaked by it many years later. Mirage from Klaus Schulze! Its long minimalist movement which carries some nice dreamy electronic harmonies on a structure with subtle permutations is this kind of album. And it's the essence of the charms of this last Gert Blokzijl's album. Dutch self-taught synthesist who discovered the numerous possibilities of the minimalist electronic music, as soon as 4 years old, after having made the discovery of a broken harmonium in a family barn. Since then, he has never stop developing an EM inspired by the visual art; movies, photos and paintings. From the 90's to nowadays, Gert Blokzijl has composed and produced more than 20 albums which now get accumulate on the download platforms since 2011. His style hangs onto the influences of Berlin School with the points of reference for Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream. While for the moments of atmospheres, his influences go from Steve Roach to Biosphere. Klaus Schulze and Biosphere are in the heart of “Interaction”; a superb album which simplifies extremely the minimalist movement and where the photo of Newton's cradle on the artwork explains itself the content of this enchanting sequenced music.
A sibylline breeze, painted of delicate ringings, of cracklings and amplified by muffled implosions, is floating over the first two minutes of "Interaction I". A first line of sequences emerges from this short and nebulous astral phase. The keys are crystal clear. They skip and push themselves in the back, winding in single file a minimalist path which draws a slender spherical movement. A delicate bass line is pulsing in the background. Its pulse adds another parallel rhythmic schema which reminds a movement of Tubular Bells. Other sequences get in. This time the keys are flickering such as some Will-o'-the-wisp which are trapped in the eye of a tornado. The bass accelerates the pace and the shadows of the Will-o'-the-wisp get excited just as much. Magnetizing, the simplistic and very charming movement of "Interaction I" wraps itself of heavy and rippling synth layers filled by aromas of old organ which draws vampiric harmonies as much frightening as attractive. The charms of these harmonies float at countercurrent over the movement while the percussions which fall are just adding a little more velocity to "Interaction I" which continues its minimalist gyrating ballet until sequences are getting short of breath and until the movement takes refuge with the atmospheres of its intro. Five minutes of ambience for twelve minutes of ambient and minimalist rhythms; "Interaction I" is the kind of thing to which we stick instantly and which obsesses the senses. It's also a similar pattern for "Interaction II" which offers 4 superb phases of rhythm bogged down in dense sonic magmas and the somber atmospheres a la Biosphere.
The whole thing begins with a line of bass which pounds slyly, scattering its pulsations which draw an imperfect but obsessive ascending movement. Sequences ring all around the movement. They sparkle and flicker while the 1st phase of "Interaction II" gets expanding. But it's all remain static. If the keys make harmonious cabrioles by drawing rotary figures a bit jerky, the movement stays peaceful. It's like to hear a thick cloud of rubber balls to sparkle in a too small jar. Lines of synth release some furtive melodies which have difficulty to nest. They remind me of
Klaus Schulze's with tones filled by a soft Arabian perfume. Little by little, this 1st phase sees itself be buried by heavy buzzing lines and hollow breezes which furnish the atmospheres for a short 3 minutes. We hear bangings and ringings there, amplifying a feeling of anxiety, claustrophobia which glides everywhere around the lifeless phases of “Interaction”. If the first movement drew the path of the curiosity, the one which emerges near the 17th minute brings us straight away in the best moments of the union Klaus Schulze and Pete Namlook in the The Dark Side of the Moog IX. The rhythm is slow. It's quavering with a drum of which the knocks get reverberating in an echo painted of ghostly breaths and jingles. The movement is hypnotic and drags us on a soft soporific slope where the minimalist art shows an absolutely intrusive sonic ornament. It's not too long, nor too short. It's a beautiful 7 minutes phase where Gert Blokzijl leads us near the audiophile slavery. A violent storm of winds, of wiish and of whoosh comes down on our ears at the 25th minute spot. We have the longest ambient passage of “Interaction” there. Winds roar and squeak with tones sometimes hollow and sometimes acute and with tints  occasionally dark and other times translucent over a long period of 8 minutes before that a structure of rhythm a little more fluid than the phase 1 invades our senses. More lively and more dynamic, even a little bit funky, the rhythm skips with a mixture of delicacy and hardness in the ringings of sequenced serpentines of which the glass tones scatter a bordering rhythm to the percussions and to more bouncy organic cawings. It's little like a baby angel who would play the xylophone to calm a herd of toads and to tame the jumps of the grasshoppers in an arid area. And yes, we always have this feeling to hear the spectres of TDSOTM IX to roam around our ears. In any case, it gave me the taste to hear it. It's a lovely passage which goes beyond the 42 minutes spot, there were a seraphic choir and its sibylline singings are waiting for us. It's a short and a rather intense moment which precedes the last chapter of "Interaction II" and of its last delicate ambient rhythm. The sequences skip in the shadow of the last one, forging a superb harmonious serial movement which rolls in a loop by its echo. It's hypnotic and that invades both ears tightly tied to our earphones. This phase gets intensifying with jumps and more lively sequences as well as the percussions which guide them towards the singings of synths always a bit nasal, always a bit seraphic. Synth always so present but of which we forget so easily the role in all these charms of the sequences and the minimalist rhythms of which they have the plans. Sequences and rhythms which do not stop improving their fineries with an impressive mixture of nuances, both in tones and tints, and of their agile, almost dreamlike, jumps and cabrioles. Yes my friends, “Interaction” is a solid album which has very well its place between Mirage and The Dark Side of the Moog IX. Is this what we call a must?
Sylvain Lupari (March 13th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You can find this album on Gert Blokzijl's Bandcamp page here

jeudi 12 mars 2015

THOUGHT GUILD: Third Voyage (2012/2015)

“Poetic and cosmic with influences which vary between Kitaro, Roach, Vangelis and Jarre; Third Voyage is a cocktail of harmonies, rhythms and ambiences that will lead you through the analog times”
1 The Ebbing Universe 7:21
2 Iridescent Resonance 8:25
3 Last Train to Lyon 4:00
4 Retropolis 8:47
5 Moon Blossom Meditation 3:59
6 VCO VS. DCO 7:31
7 Titanium Ashram 4:09
8 Celestial Glossolalia 8:28
9 Ki 7:54 (Bonus Live Improv 2004)

Harmonic Resonance Recordings | HRRJC2015 (CD/DDL 60:37)
****½ (Cosmic Pacific School EM)
For those who don't know the universe of Thought Guild let's say that their music is situated in full heart of the analog years when the improvisation in studio was driven by fine sequenced rhythms. The strength of the American duet, consisted of Christopher Cameron, who died in August 2001, and of Gregory Kyryluk, the man behind Alpha Wave Movement, Open Canvas as well as Within Reason, is the sound. A warm sound where we really feel a cosmic and celestial influence over our senses. Just remember Kitaro, from Astral Trip to Silk Road IV .
Initially released in 2012, “Third Voyage” is the 3rd and last collaboration between Cameron and Kyryluk. The album was initially planned for 2006 but diverse problems and a miss-alignment of the planets pushed away the project at the beginning of 2012 with a homemade CD-r edition of 50 hand numbered copies. It was the full stop of a trilogy begun in 2002 with the Context album. The 
Harmonic Resonance Recordings label decided to re-release this album in CD and in downloadable format with a bonus track, "Ki", which was lost in the vaults for 10 years.
Clouds of prisms and an angelic choir extricate themselves of a deafening sound wave, a little as the reactors of a space shuttle, which open the first moments of "The Ebbing Universe". Already the serenity of
Thought Guild seizes our ears with very beautiful and ethereal synth pads which lull the movement of delicate sequences of which the keys climb slowly the tops of an astral mountain. These keys are fragile. Pinched like a harp, they put boldly the step in an aphrodisiac mix of seraphic voices, of celestial ringings and of synth pads in the colors of the Pacific School as well as Steve Roach's very own fragrances where muffled impulses and fine permutations in the play of sequences thwart the passivity of the listener and add emotional elements and elements of charms in a structure already very rich in seduction. "Iridescent Resonance" is a superb ambient piece of music with tears of synth and guitar which cry  just like Steve Howe used to make cry his Lap Steel Guitar in Soon. Cosmic and futuristic influences of Vangelis also stuff this wonderful track high in emotions and will also perfume the introduction of "VCO VS. DCO". "Last Train to Lyon" is a blink of the eye to Jean Michel Jarre's cosmic rumbas. The rhythm is delicate and respects in all aspect the charms of these rhythms imprisoned into the old organs, while the sound effects of the analog years and the cosmic clouds sweep our ears with delicate dusts of stars which float in the perfumes of a cosmic guitar. It's this kind of music which hooks on the first listening. After a dark intro, oiled by hollow winds, caressed by distant drones and made iridescent by sibylline singings, "Retropolis" emerges with a bounding structure of rhythm which metamorphoses into a good cosmic rock. The winds of Orion, the singings of the stars and beautiful astral layers caress the calm strength of a rhythm which always bursts a little more with the addition of sequences, as rhythmic as organic, sometimes peaceful and sometimes tremulous, modifying constantly a course which accepts the support of some very good synth solos. This is good old cosmic rock at its best!
Dripping water, ringings and fine arpeggios which sparkle in tears of synth, "Moon Blossom Meditation" is a short astral lullaby filled of Buddhist perfumes. As far as I'm concern, "VCO VS. DCO" is the cornerstone of  “Third Voyage”. A strike of genius dropped by Christopher Cameron and Gregory Kyryluk. It's with pleasure that we renew with the whimperings of "Iridescent Resonance" which bloom in an ambient intro, delicately cut through by serpentines and their mad races. Synth pads come to commune with themselves here, highlighting even more the futuristic imprints of
Vangelis and his magnificent  Blade Runner. It's too short? We want more? There is always "Iridescent Resonance"! Because here, there is a rhythm which emerges from this astral beauty. Except that here, the percussions are panting with muffled knocks. Lively sequences flutter around by flickering all around the percussions. And other sequences filled of gas release tones of Tangerine Dream in Poland. A whole rhythmic mishmash which answers of its three crisscrossed structures among which the wild races and the opposite directions are accompanied by some really synth solos with hybrid tones. Superb! "Titanium Ashram" brings us in the heart of an open-air cave where we can see stars tearing the blackness of the cosmic nights and hearing the walls to ooze some songs made of sonic drops. We always stay in the spheres of contemplativity with a thick cloud of astral lines which draw the sonic auroras borealis of "Celestial Glossolalia". The ambient music can be so very beautiful. As much beautiful as it can be meditative. And Thought Guild shows it with seraphic voices, pads from a tearful synth and other pads soaked of an ethereal mist. The mixture becomes as sibylline as angelic, especially when a delicate ambient rhythm is drummed under a dense veil whose singings are also attractive as those of the sirens in Ulysses' odyssey. The tom-toms burst again in "Ki". They sculpture a fascinating heathen dance and drum beneath of flutes. Improvised in studio, a little as most of the material of Thought Guild (a thing that I ignored), the rhythm, as the ambiences, become more steady and more precise. A line of sequences makes its keys pounding, playing thus in the shadow of the tom-toms and subdividing harmoniously the rhythmic approach, while the airs of the flutes become less tribal, more ethereal. Everything is evolving in the universe of Thought Guild and "Ki" doesn't escape this rule by taking the road with a more frenzied rhythm. A rhythm closer to rock and progressive music while the chants of the flute get melted in the harmonies of a very Rick Wright kind of keyboard, and while the synth takes on the clothes of Mellotron by scattering its fluty tunes in some enveloping astral mists and orchestrations. And say that it had slept 10 years in the vaults!
Definitively, the Gregory Kyryluk planet breathes of freshness. In solo or in duet. Whether it's with new music in the clothes of
Alpha Wave Movement or old ones which have escaped to our attention; his music is a huge sonic cornucopia where the diversity and the warm sounds remain as much charming as the feelings which they transport. We have here some very beautiful pieces of music. Poetic and cosmic with influences which vary between Kitaro, there is enormously and especially of the Ki era, Steve Roach, Vangelis and Jean Michel Jarre. A cocktail of harmonies, rhythms and ambiences which make of “Third Voyage” a magnificent journey in time. I simply adored it and there are some beautiful small pearls in there!
Sylvain Lupari (March 11th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You can find this album on the Bandcamp page of Alpha Wave Movement here