1 Sounds of Atoms 10:34
2 Subatomic Particles 7:40
3 Kinetic Energies 6:00
4 Cyclotron 11:42
5 Oscillating Fields 8:07
6 Retrospection 6:14
7 Cosmic Rays 5:27
8 Angular Momentum 8:30
9 Particle Beams 5:18
10 Atomic Age 8:08
Sayer Music (CD-r/DDL 77:40) ****½
(Driven Based Sequence EM)
Oh boy! “Sounds of Atoms” is a real bomb for those who like the kind of driven sequence based EM. A music which abounds in furious rhythms and in catchy melodies. Sayer is an American musician/synthesist who is in the field of EM since almost 25 years as producer and, at his hours, composer. His vast experience brought him close to all the musical currents and gave him so the chance to seize all of its nuances. In so doing, his music is surprisingly well structured for a new name in the sphere. A newcomer? Not really. “Sounds of Atoms” is his 3rd album after a silence of 12 years. Either after the release of Past-Present-Phuture in 2001. In all, Sayer has produced about ten albums which brush all the spheres of modern EM. Released in January 2014, “Sounds of Atoms” is a real gold mine for those who like an energetic, heavy, dark and energizing EM which won't sacrifice at no moment a melodious approach embroidered in the corridors of the cosmos. It's heavy. It's powerful! There is a clever mixture of all Tangerine Dream's all periods, in particular at the level of sequences and atmospheres, and of Jean Michel Jarre, for the rhythms, the percussions, the cosmic atmospheres, the melodies and the synth solos on this album which amazes at each track, at each musical bend.
The title-track starts with a suite of oscillating sequences which parade in swirling. Percussions click and resound, redefining so the ambient rhythm of "Sounds of Atoms" towards a soft and morphic down-tempo. Pleasant and lively, the rhythm cavorts slightly below a shower of organic chirpings, of cosmic tones as well as of rippling synth layers which caress it of a harmonious tenderness. The structure "Sounds of Atoms" follows a soft evolutionary bend introduced by a succession of jumping keys which hang onto the shadows of the others. The rhythm so becomes heavier, more hopping with strikes of more accentuated percussions. Then sequences get loose, some with tones of Vocoder's organic effects, in order to forge an adjacent movement which draws some rangy stroboscopic lassoes. The oppositions of the phases are well balanced and represent one of the charms of “Sounds of Atoms”. Another one being the melodies. As on "Subatomic Particles" which attacks our ears with heavy, dark and lively sequences. A track weaved on multiple jumbles of sequences and good muffled percussions, "Subatomic Particles" pitches at us a wonderful cosmic melody which is going to feed the Gigabytes of my I Phone. Two harmonious phases are present on this piece of music, as well as on many others, which bubbles of its hyperactive sequences. One is coming from the synth which is simply superb, both in the solos and in the melody, and the other one is built on sequences which isolate a segment with arpeggios which are clinking like knocks on an anvil finely banged over a structure of rhythm very lively. This is very good! And the more we move forward and the more we collapse under the weight of the heavy and very lively rhythms of Sayer. "Kinetic Energies" is going to bite your eardrums with this meshing of sequences, percussions and pulsations which have made the walls tremble since that the title-track got loose from my loudspeakers. The rhythm here is wild. Battered with ferocity, it also changes of skin while the synth, its solos and its melody, is just as much effective than in "Subatomic Particles". Sayer multiplies the lines of rhythms with movements of sequences as well heavy than so agile. The rhythms change constantly of suit, raising beautiful cosmic soundscapes.
We stay in the field of the heavy electronic rock, but in a more dancing shape, with "Cyclotron" and its multiple changes of rhythm which switch shapes without ever reaching the threshold of ambient music. The sequencing is rather impressive. There are some keys which flutter around, some which hiccup while others disguise in sneaky pulsations, weaving a structure of rhythm which bursts under the charms of a synth and of its very catchy solos. Certainly the rhythms can take a kind of ambient phase, like in here, but they remain lively and lapidary. "Oscillating Fields" moderates the ambiences with a ritornello of crystal clear sequences which dance lightly and oscillate with a fascinating delicacy. Yes there are percussions with tones of gas, cosmic effects, chirping of sequences and organic reverberations which always remain present in the sound decoration of “Sounds of Atoms”, giving to each track a depth which hypertrophies its initial conception. We fall a little in the synth-pop style with "Retrospection", which is very Jarre but not as much as the very surprising "Particle Beams" which is closer to Jarre's London Kid, with good synth solos flying over a rhythm which is jumping up as a thick cloud of kicks. The beat eventually softened its pace to move in a beautiful and very harmonious ethereal gallop a la TD. "Cosmic Rays" is heavy and nervous. It's a strong track forged in this dynamism of sequences and percussions which tug the rhythms of “Sounds of Atoms”. "Angular Momentum" leads us towards another level of EM; a soft and ambient ballad which is evolving slightly with sequenced arpeggios of which the hesitating steps draw an ascent towards a cosmos decorated with bright filaments which are perfumed by vintage cosmic analog tones. It's very beautiful, almost oniric, and, evidently the structure increases appreciably its pace and preserves all of its innocent charm. After the rather danceable structure of "Particle Beams", "Atomic Age" ends this 3rd album of Sayer since his comeback in 2013 with a structure which gets closer to "Angular Momentum", but with more restlessness in these rotary half-impulses.
Heavy and powerful with structures of rhythms in half tints and melodies that will hook a smile to your bank of souvenirs, “Sounds of Atoms” is a very beautiful discovery. I don't remember having heard a so voracious EM album in an envelope of 77 minutes which knows no respite and which does not get on nerves. The rhythms are powerful and don't diminish these very beautiful cosmic melodies which decorate a very interstellar sound decoration. Jean Michel Jarre, Faber and Tangerine Dream! Points of references and of nuances which explain a little better why I was so much charmed by this album of Sayer. I would even add Synergy for the black rhythms of the Cords period. A whole cocktail which explodes deliciously in your listening room.
Sylvain Lupari (March 24th, 2014)
You will find this album on the Sayer Bandcamp page here
You will find this album on the Sayer Bandcamp page here