1 Seven Features in One Dream 11:40
2 Earthcreator 9:33
3 Dividing Waters 19:35
4 Interaction of Elements 11:00
5 Earth Core 11:59
MellowJet Records | CD-r HN1001 (CD-r 64:47) ***½
(Ambiant, cosmic and sequence based EM)
In this surprising musical universe that is the one of EM, to play guitar and synth divides many purists because the line is thin between cosmic rock, prog rock and EM. Harald Nies is among these artists with hybrid orientations who caresses as much the slow movements of ethereal synth pads than those a very guitar sedative in moments of ambiences or purely in a fusion between cosmic rock and EM of the Berlin School style. I follow his career since a while and was very pleased by his music. His last album, Horizon, was a chance for me to renew with his music. The last album I had hear from him was “Earthcreator”, his 7th opus, back in 2010. For this album, the German guitar and synth player sculpted his musical structures with mostly an ambient approach where rich and dense synth layers float and agglutinate above the harmonies and solos of his Hamer guitar. It's a beautiful musical odyssey in the territories of the unknown which is consisted of 5 tracks, of which a very long one, which evolve slowly but surely while taking tangents, orientations in continual movement where the rhythms confront on structures which cross long ambient corridors. With all these interchangeable and evolutionary phases, “Earthcreator” sets the tone to a pleasant lyrical duel of a guitar and a synth of which the only winner is the fan of Harald Nies and of cosmic rock with a zest of dance here and there.
Fine crystalline chords skip nervously in a cosmic mist adorned of ethereal choirs. "Seven Features in One Dream" infiltrates our ears with a rhythm delicately jerky and bombarded by a meshing of percussions and sequenced pulsations which drum in the rotatory charms of a sweet electronic piano. The movement unfolds its pulsatory jolts in some wrapping waltzing strata filled by scents of Schulze's old and tenebrous organ. Then the beat fades in a more ambient passage where celestial flutes sing over a dreamy structure. The moment transports us near the New Age boundaries with a zest of Eastern perfume. A synth is coloring the moods of brief solos, before that the rhythm resumes a second wind with a bass line which pounds more nervously in an attractive cosmic mist. Percussions are grafted to this figure of undulatory rhythm while the guitar of Harald Nies perfumes "Seven Features in One Dream" of its first solos. The rhythm falls then in a 2nd morphic phase, introducing synth solos which whistle in a more ethereal passage. "Seven Features in One Dream" escorts after that its 3rd phase with a heavier and slower structure of rhythm where percussions and bass pulsations shape a kind of cosmic blue decorated with good and well scattered solos from Harald's six-strings. The title-track ties accosts our ears with the rumblings of thunder which defragment in a seraphic approach. Notes of piano are kicking nervously and draw a melodious structure which dances with tribal percussions and with a bass a bit funky. Divided between this kind of funk vibe and a tribal beat, the rhythm of "Earthcreator" is fluid and very lively while the melody of the piano is poured into the tranquility of the fluty breezes and sweet astral synth pads. And slowly the music goes towards a morphic phase painted of stroboscopic ambient strands before getting heavier again and yet slow, like these cosmic blues unique to the signature of Nies where his very edged solos cry in the quiet beauty of cosmic mists.
"Dividing Waters" is the longest track on “Earthcreator”. A long music piece structured on two phases which begins in the waves of a synth to the aromas as spatial as spectral. A distant rhythm shakes the torpor with sequences which parade in timeless loops. Abstract and ambient, the introductory rhythm of "Dividing Waters" spreads this minimalist membrane which covers itself of cosmic mist. It's a long introduction which little by little drain the velocity of the sequences. Synth pads decorate this ambient firmament which sometimes hiccups of a spasm. Of a desire to be reborn. And it happens delicately, with a great deal of soberness. And it's rather beautiful, even if the feeling of having already heard something quite near in the vintage years the meditative music, even of movie, is very present. And like a ray of sunshine which pierces the opacity of celestial bodies, the rhythm hatches a little after the 12th minute. Soft, it gains in power, in intensity, with good effects and an attractive piano of which the melancholic melody drowns itself in the twists of the synth solos. I think it's quite good. Good and well developed, but it remains above all a long and very meditative piece of music. Even with a beautiful structure of rhythm which borders the territories of the New Age. The intro of "Interaction of Elements" will revive memories of Tangerine Dream's fans from the Thief and Wavelength eras. A bunch of chords and sequences are sparkling and bouncing indefatigably under the eye of a very wrapping synth, and of which the slow sinuous braids adopt the delicate moves from the salvoes of flutes. Here also there are rather intense passages. But everything stays in the field of the very quiet. The structure of rhythm flickers more that it moves with explosions scattered in a rather ambient and rather dreamlike shroud. This rather cosmic and ambient approach even persists at the opening of "Earth Core". At around the 3rd minute, a galloping sequence introduces a deafening rhythmic ride where synth solos embrace the generic credits of those westerns spaghetti movies beneath an unbridled drum play. At the 7th minute point, the rhythm fracture itself and becomes an ambient cosmic breath that a synth pushes towards the space where a sweet acoustic guitar awakens the stars with the gentle orchestrations of a synth which escapes a rather pleasant spectral solo. Solo which sinuously sneaks in the strings of the Hamer guitar and of which the symbiosis sculpts a very good cosmic bed song.
With what I heard so far from Harald Nies in the past, “Earthcreator” is the album of the change for him. Clearly more ethereal and electronic than his previous works, the German guitarist and synthesist has built up his own sonic identity and has abandoned the idea of being a new Ashra or Mind Over Matter, although at times the perfumes always roam. On “Earthcreator” he shaped a universe more ambient and richer in variations of synths, the guitar is rather shy here, in order to sign a rather ethereal work. If Harald is less mordant and incisive, he became wiser and more poetic. He doesn't hesitate to dig in his introversion. Which very often makes the difference between a good album versus a more complex and more mature album where the emotions can be very sensitively.
Sylvain Lupari (May 14th, 2010/Translated on May 7th, 2015)
You will find this album on the MellowJet Records shop here
You will find this album on the MellowJet Records shop here