lundi 2 mars 2015

PALENTIR: Refuge in Fantasy (1994)

“Very different because so much full of samplings, Refuge in Fantasy is like a precious stone that we rub and so discover all of its shine”
1 The Gardens 5:44
2 Orange Dream 6:25
3 The Waters of Life 11:48
4 Ocean 8:57
5 The Old Forest 7:20
6 Gil-Galad (Starlight) 8:51
7 Fountains 3:33
8 The Flight 3:52
9 Falling Down 3:45
10 World in my Head 6:35
11 Time Loop 2:14
12 Elapsed Time 6:19

Spheric Music | SMCD 3001 (CD/DDL 75:27) ***½
(New Berlin School with a zest of New Age)
Hum... that didn't really tempt me! It has been a while since that Lambert Ringlage sent me both albums of Palentir. And each time I put myself into it, the taste to pursue the experience became blurred in the middle of "The Gardens". I had quick glances here and there and I had the same feeling. By respect for Lambert, and because to date all the albums from Spheric Music pleased me enormously, I decided to really plunge into this strange universe of samplings which chew the music of Palentir following a recent listening of Johannes Schmoelling's  Wuivend Riet. The link? I'll talk about it later. Inspired by the world of fantasies of J.R.R. Tolkien, Christian Schimmöller forms his Palentir project (you know this small crystal ball called Palentir in the Lord of the Rings?) at the beginning of the 90's. Only 4 albums, including a collaboration with Lambert, will come from these very progressive ideas of Christian Schimmöller whose very harmonious, almost poetic, style breathes of a sound creativity finely developed by an impressive pattern of samplings
Sharp stridulations attract birdsongs and the tom-toms those of very ethereal tribal voices. "The Gardens" spreads its artificial charms with a variety of samplings. We can hear harmonies of guitar and singing of flute on fine clanic percussions here, giving to this first track of “Refuge in Fantasy” a rhythm as mesmerizing as lively where the flute amazes the ears. It's delicate and very musical. We are in Johannes Schmoelling's
 lands with sound shavings which remind strangely those of Wuivend Riet. Here and in "The Old Forest" where the samplings and the vibes stick very well to the spirit of the music. Moreover it's the first thing that jumps to ears after an attentive listening of this first album of Palentir on Spheric Music. The music is very relaxing and rather melodious, almost in a New Age way, where the influences of  Schmoelling, in solo or as a member of Tangerine Dream, glitter in rather hallucinogenic sound structures. Some connoisseurs will compare Palentir with Gandalf, but I don't really know the music of Gandalf. I'm just pointing that out. "Orange Dream" makes very Tangerine Dream, are you surprised here, with nice synth pads which decorate an introduction sung by a flute. The rhythm which comes is lively. Decorated by the flute, a variety of ringings and some bohemian piano lines, it rolls on some bass undulating sequences and on sober knock of percussions. The duel flute/piano, although rather smooth, gives a very New Age melodic cachet, while the multiple phases of rhythms and ambiences, always very accessible to the ears, give a more progressive depth to a music which inhales the atmospheres of the Dream, circa 85-86. In that respect, the moods and the arrangements of "Ocean" remind a little those ones, very sinister, of Legend. The same goes for the very beautiful "Falling Down", even with some nice passages which are going to remind to some of you the cosmic flutes of Software. We can easily also include "World in my Head" in the lot. All long structures with very removable sound décorations.
Suddenly, what annoyed in “Refuge in Fantasy” ends by eventually charmed. The samplings! Omnipresent, they are sensibly inserted and stick with the thought of the music. The music comes very often in second plan or is presented in short phases with random collages which are of use as fineries to noises of jungle, to singings songs of insects and of birds, to impulsive and jerky orchestral arrangements, to percussions as clanic as symphonic, to harmonies of piano and of flutes. Many singings of flutes with misty tones, as in
Tangerine Dream, or with cosmic moods and beats, as in the universe of Software. The intro of "The Waters of Life" is rather claustrophobic with its thick clouds of droplets which fall from everywhere. We hear a kind of Kyoto there which pinch its notes and a flute which throws floating singings in a mood a bit glaucous. Sweet twinkling arpeggios wind these ambiences which little by little melt themselves with an ambient rhythm shaken by hits of percussions which escape some rolling shadows. The melody is slow. Molded in the singings of the flute, it inhales an esthetics which gives it appearances very New Age. Even if "The Waters of Life", just like "Gil-Galad (Starlight)" and its structure of sequences a Berliner, as well as very beautiful "Elapsed Time" from which the melody, the arrangements and the carillons make me regret having ignored for a such a long time this album, scatters its 11 minutes into rather evolutionary phases to bear in a so singular way the New Age seal. Except for "Fountains" which is a beautiful ballad, less dark than "Falling Down", which charms with its simplicity. Only "The Flight" is kissing totally the lively and undulatory rhythms of the Berlin School, while "Time Loop" is a soft musing with a quite delicate piano which floats on sinister noises that we can easily confuse with a big clock of which the mechanism spreads its noises and its depth beyond the limits of "Elapsed Time".
Surprisingly, I quite enjoyed the
Palentir experience. Very different because so much full of subtleties and of sound effects, “Refuge in Fantasy” is as a precious stone that we pick in a muddy ground. When we scratch it, when we rub it, we eventually see its charms. And it's still so much more true with earphones.
Sylvain Lupari (March 2nd, 2015)

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

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