1 Ride the Beach (John Dyson & Michael Shipway) 6:04
2 Song for a Friend (David Wright) 4:34
3 Strange Escapism (Eric van der Heijden) 5:25
4 Hymne (Dreamerproject) 5:14
5 Berlin Thunder (Ron Boots) 10:27
6 The Last Toy Emily Broke (Paul Ward) 4:34
7 Beautiful Day (Live) (F.D. Project) 7:01
8 Walking with Ghosts (Ambient Remix) (David Wright) 5:15
9 Escape the T.N.B.C (Glenn Main) 7:47
10 Slow Flow (Ron Boots) 21:10
AD Music | AD144CD (CD 77:38) ****½
(Mix of England, Berlin and Netherlands School)
I am quite divided when I face a compilation. Too often, it's a brochette of rather ordinary tracks which hides one or two good pieces of music. Sometimes it's the kinds which are parading pell-mell. But each time there is a thing or two which sound well, or there is a track from an artist of whom we are just a die-hard fan. Following the last E-Scape Electronic Music Festival, “E-Scape 2015” is a compilation which includes unreleased music, set apart for F.D. Project and a remix from David Wright, by the 10 artists who have performed at this festival which took place on last May 30th at the Cut Arts Centre in Halesworth, England. This compilation, which is dedicated to Edgar Froese and Steve Roberts (a very important character in the chessboard of AD Music), distances itself from the usual compilations of AD Music by offering an EM which moves away a little from the sonic signature of the English label. If we always find this harmonious music filled by the delicate perfumes of the New Age, we also find here a heavier and a more audacious music by artists whose cradle is resolutely the Berlin School style. In so doing, “E-Scape 2015” navigates between these two poles by offering what makes the best in each of them. A beautiful compilation where I was never divided...
And it begins with the delicate arpeggios which tinkle weakly in the opening of "Ride the Beach". The first harmonies of the synth are weepy and brush slightly those of a solitary saxophone. At the beginning, the rhythm is nervous and static with a series of keys which spin under the scattered hits of percussions. The synth changes tone, staging a beautiful duel of solos and harmonies between Shipway and Dyson on a structure of rhythm which eventually become more lively, even if wrapped up in a good bank of celestial mist. This is a good electronic rock a la sauce Anglaise which is painted with the coat of arms of John Dyson and Michael Shipway. "Song for a Friend" is a very beautiful ballad that David Wright has composed for his friend Steve Roberts. The rhythm is soft. A good down-tempo decorated by the very melancholic harmonies of a synth of which the very moving solos swirl in very ethereal electronic arrangements. It's very good, even if that sounds a bit New Age, and it bears with wonder the unique signature of David Wright. Less dark, "Hymn" from Dreamerproject is a little bit in the same style. The acoustic guitar replaces the synth, we can hear breaths of saxophone a la Linda Spa sauce here. One would say some Liona Boyd who's flirting with Enigma. I had quite liked the Dal Segno album from Eric Van Der Heijden. I had found his musical writing very near the one of Vangelis. "Strange Escapism" is in the same vein. It's a track with intense atmospheres of a heathen jungle which follows a slow evolution with good percussions hammered by Harold Van Der Heijden among which the rollings and the tom-toms are structuring an ambient rhythm where whistle some harmonies taken away from a native American flute. These first 4 tracks are good appetizers for what is going to follow.
We know the almost legendary Ron Boots? He is present twice rather than one on this very good compilation. And let's say that "Berlin Thunder" is in a class of its own. This jewel hidden in this compilation begins in some rippling mists. This fog is fast dissipated by a train of heavy pulsations which hammer a keen gravitational rhythm. Harmonies of a tribal mood caress this rhythm of which the convulsive skeleton suggests now lively sequences which swirl like keys crushed in a turbine. Some hiccup and others quaver, but the avid thick cloud forges a violent and black Berlin School caught by a minimalist tornado of which the speed seems varied in these dense electronic bank of mist. This is some huge Ron Boots that we have in our ears. And we can say the same thing for "The Last Toy Emily Broke" of Paul Ward who is wild and very creative here with this zest of psy electronica. A name to keep in mind but I do believe that it's a veteran of the England EM scene. Is he making a comeback? Time will tell! These two tracks are the nirvana of “E-Scape 2015”. And "Beautiful Day (Live)" from F.D. Project is not outdone. This is a good cosmic blues with juicy guitar solos. This track has some MorPheuSz fragrances in the moods, in particular from the Tantalizing Thoughts at the Dawn of Dreams era. Very good. We are literally in the pinnacle of this compilation. The ambient remix of "Walking with Ghosts" offers a more synth-pop variance from this classic of David Wright. I enjoyed it and in all honesty, it seems to me almost impossible to turn sour this small pearl. "Escape the T.N.B.C" is a beautiful ballad from Glenn Main which changes skin constantly, allying ethereal ballad to a good cosmic slow dance with a guitar as incisive as that of Frank Dorittke before dying in an ambiocosmic phase. "Slow Flow" is Ron Boots' 2nd track on this compilation. And you have to give it more than one listening before being swallowed by the charms of this long linear and minimalist sonic river. The opening is of tumult, a little as that of "Berlin Thunder". But a peaceful, an ambient tumult. Wooden percussions and tears of synth are dragging fragments of mislaid harmonies and rhythms in a fields of mist from where escape arpeggios which lost a little of their luster. Little by little, "Slow Flow" reveals its charms as a butterfly emerging from a cocoon of mist. Arpeggios sound like pale sequences. Slowly they weave a delicate morphic down-tempo which waves lazily in the metallic ringings of keyboard chords filled by the perfumes of electric piano. The synths blow absent airs which are misty of melancholy. And always imperturbable, the rhythm of "Slow Flow" drifts in a cosmos of serenity where Ron Boots adds fragments of melodies and some nuances in the textures of this ambient rhythm which becomes a real beautiful lunar slow dance full of dusts of prism and of tears of synth which stretches its sighs like long trails of sea spray in the soul. It's very beautiful and we don't feel the time pass by. That reminds me of the big compositions of Ron Boots in his albums such as Dreamscape or still his famous Acoustic Shadows. And this is a great way of concluding a superb compilation of which the eclecticism of contemporary EM will have been never also shown in such of a so attractive way.
Sylvain Lupari (June 11th, 2015)
You will find this album on the AD Music web shop here
You will find this album on the AD Music web shop here