jeudi 30 juillet 2015

SOLITAIRE: Altered States (1990/2015)

“With sonic essences extract from the musical roots of mid 80's, Altered States turns out to be quite an enchantment livened up by soft beats and by beautiful minimalist melodies”
1 Indian Garden 9:37
2 Heart of the Desert 10:25
3 Splendid Harmony 6:55
4 Indelibility 7:13
5 Altered States/Secret Illuminations 9:46
6 Raindance 8:00
7 Mescalito Exit 11:10
8 Altered States & Secret Illuminations 9:06
(Bonus Track performed in concert in Berlin on November 11th, 1989)

Projekt Records (CD/DDL 72:16) ****
(Ambient EM with a zest of psy-tribal)
I remember this time when I collected all that was sold, was shared and was traded on the Internet about EM. I was like a child in a candy store! Except that I was looking for a specific sweetie; the one with big juicy sequences and tasty synth solos. And one had also proposed me this “Altered States” from a band wearing a strange name SOLITAIRE. I had found the artwork too New Age to deign to throw a bit of my ear in it. Even not a breath! Nothing! Nada! It's a luck that this good old pal Sam Rosenthal has persuaded the Elmar Schulte/ Rüdiger Gleisberg tandem to dust the tapes in order to offer a very charming 25th year edition newly remastered in a much nicer artwork sealed in a digipack. Otherwise I would have missed something very good. For the story; SOLITAIRE was a duet made up of Elmar Schulte, a true fan of the Berlin School model a la Tangerine Dream, and Rüdiger Gleisberg who was, and still is, recognized for a more ethereal, a more cinematographic and a more ambient musical style. The duet was formed in 1989 and gave a first concert a few days after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a bonus track about this event can be found on this remaster. “Altered States” was their first album. A major album in the chessboard of EM that several criticisms of that era haven't hesitate to describe as being phenomenal, as being a masterpiece in the history of contemporary EM. SOLITAIRE will produce in the end only 5 albums, among which one with Steve Roach in 1991 (Ritual Ground) before looping the loop in 1997 with Nocturnes, an ambient and dark opus.
A very beautiful piano loosens its notes to offer a quite honeyed introduction to "Indian Garden". The music makes a very movie genre, one would believe to hear Florian Fricke's Nosferatu, with lines of mists which throw a perfume of melancholy over the first 2 minutes before a line of sequences untie its keys which bewitch our senses with a spherical approach. This sequence pattern pulls "Indian Garden" into a minimalist electronic structure knotted in the wavelets of oscillatory rhythms that some  tom-toms throw towards a more astral, a more tribal dimension. The rhythm rolls in loops and the tom-toms are drumming a peaceful rhythm whereas other elements such as a Mellotron, and its perfumes of flute, wiser percussions and dramatic electronic effects, which make sounding very 
TD of Le Parc years, are grafted and bring "Indian Garden" at the most electronic rhythmical level, with "Secret Illuminations", of “Altered States”. "Heart of the Desert" leads us in the more ambient lands of SOLITAIRE. It's a very quiet track, knotted in celestial synth pads which agglutinate in a compact mass and whose big dark cloud is scolding and swallowing the lonely riffs, which shows more intensity as the seconds fly by. Let's say that it's rather invasive as minimalist melody. But that's nothing compared to the approach of "Indelibility" which, after an intro molded in samplings of voices and percussions of the Middle East, plunges us in the devilish John Carpenter's universe and his famous Halloween music theme. Astonishing and mesmerizing. We understand a little more why the music of SOLITAIRE finds its place in movies such as Heat and Blade. As for me this art that possesses this duo to blend the genres and the ambient textures is the main strength of this album which is a real musical box full of nice surprises.
The dense pads of voices which open "Splendid Harmony" send me literally in the universe of French Skyline by the American duet Earthstar, released some 10 years earlier. The onset is very meditative and spiritual. It leads towards the breezes of a warm Mellotron among which the successive and minimalist breaths, marinated with pads of more celestial voices and those of a synth to the finely piercing harmonies, are falling in saccades and draw a kind of ascending procession. It's very like an ode for desert of dreams such as seen by
Steve Roach with a strong ancestry for the genre of French Skyline. "Mescalito Exit" is a very dark ambient piece of music based on a thick cloud of drones which gurgles in the secret and the ambient harmonies of a synth and of its scarlet shadows. Even there the influences of Roach are notable. The introduction of "Altered States/ Secret Illuminations" is very pompous, kind of music theme, where the angels are tearing the coat of the human race. The synth pads crowned of a Mephistophelian aura fall with fury, flooding the first minutes of a post-apocalyptic vision. A pulsation gets loose a little before the 3rd minute, pulling some heterogeneous noises and murmurs of Cyborg towards a more electronic structure. The structure is minimalist and soaked with these pads of Earthstar's seraphic voices. It shakes its passive keys around the 6th minute, introducing a quiet rhythm rocked by the harmonies scattered by a line of flutes and by a dense clouds to the colors of the emerald. "Raindance" also exploits this approach of minimalist melody as we heard on in "Indelibility" and "Heart of the Desert", but in a more oniric envelope, with some soft perfumes of flute, and slightly more livened up by nice tribal tom-tom. That reminds me enormously of the very beautiful main themes from the Cornucopia album by Matthias Thurow which was released in 1986. And this surprising album, a very beautiful surprise for me, ends with a fine live interpretation of "Altered States/Secret Illuminations" which finds a more ambient shape here.
I enjoyed a lot going at the discovery of “Altered States”. I discovered a very eclectic album which was strongly inspired by this very meditative movement of the 85-90 years with a vintage touch for the celestial voices synth layers. I won't go as far as saying that is a masterpiece, except that the parallels and the narrow links which unite it to the music of
Steve Roach, Earthstar, John Carpenter and Matthias Thurow are very exact and confer to this album a special place among the good ones of these years. If the meditative ambient genre livened up by soft beats and by beautiful minimalist melodies attracts you, “Altered States” is completely indicated to you!
Sylvain Lupari (July 30th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on the Projekt web shop here

jeudi 23 juillet 2015

STEVE ROACH: Etheric Imprints (2015)

“How can't we be seduced by an album which mixes the ambient perfumes of The Delicate Forever, the Immersion series and the great Structures from Silence? So here is Etheric Imprints”
1 Etheric Imprints 29:44
2 Indigo Shift 12:07
3 Holding Light 17:15
4 The Way Forward 14:49

Projekt | PRO319 (CD/DDL 73:56) ****
(Deep Ambient EM)
After all this time, how Steve Roach can have something to charm us? Through good times and bad and from album to album, the magician of cerebral waves always succeeds in raising his works at a level that few have reached. And when they make it, it's only for the time of one album. After his very interesting incursion in the universe of the ambient rhythms finely shaken by the delicious movements of sequences of the modular Synthesizer System, the bard of the intimately introspective atmospheres returns this time with an opus of purely meditative music. “Etheric Imprints” proposes 4 long tracks where the sound elements sculpt the imprints of instruments that our ears recognize throughout their slow dying vibrations. It's a monument of tranquility where the shadows float roguishly, a little as to half-open the doors of another universe of perceptions
The very long title-track opens with a kind of rustle which melts into a heavy sinister shadow. Some people will hear a long muffled drone or a stringed instrument which tortures its soul and complains slowly in guttural breezes, while others will perceive only the reverberations of the shadows which fall in the notes of a forsaken piano. The magic of 
Roach operates straightaway with this way that he has to stack his notes, and especially their shadows, in a sound mosaic which often wants to be a posology against the constant race against time which little by little crumbles our life. Here the atmospheres are as much immersive as in the Immersion series, but with the reflections of the notes of a very meditative piano. Notes which fall in a endless gap and decorate the walls where whisper the rustles of huge shadows and cry the reverberations of the lines of an absolutely black synth. Lines which will always agglutinate all along the track like a thick cloud of threatening shadows. "Indigo Shift" aims to be the mirror image of "Etheric Imprints". Here the notes of the piano are becoming shadows, while the synth lines spread a sibylline aura with a heap of sonic graffiti which weaken their lines into long lethal kisses. The ambiences are heavy. So much that we lose of ears the reflections of the piano keys. The layers wrap us with a powerful curtain of sounds filled of scarlet lamentations and where roams an appearance of cacophony which perturbs the ambiences of "Indigo Shift", contrary on the title-track which aims to be a slow cerebral sexual intercourse of which the only orgasm remains the reaching of our level of peace of mind. After this long sibylline ambient ode, "Holding Light" is the music piece which is closer of Steve Roach's usual ambient elegies. The happiness is in our ears! The color of the sounds is rich with some slow and long layers of synth which float and roll like some astral waves. A little more and we deviate towards the secrets of Structures from Silence. Thus, how can't we fall under the charms of "Holding Light"?"The Way Forward" doesn't go too far from the musicality of "Holding Light" by presenting a structure which mixes superbly both extremes of “Etheric Imprints”. The textural envelope of the synth lines throws a cosmic wave while the lamentations, more visible here than on "Etheric Imprints", are really sounding as a cello that we caress with a lead bow. It's slow and it's heavy while that other synth lines, more lively here, roll calmly, like these last waves which unwind the last fits of anger of the oceans.
Literally split into two visions, “Etheric Imprints” is Ying and the Yang of an ode where the contrasts are intimately connected by the needs for each other. As much it's sibylline, as much it's seraphic. And it's also something big from
Steve Roach who mixes skillfully the fragrances of The Delicate Forever to the black moods of the Immersion Series while tickling the ghosts of Structures from Silence. And let's admit with such an arsenal, we can only be totally bewitched! Magical and astonishing, this is what Steve Roach is giving us since years.
Sylvain Lupari (July 20th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on the Projekt web shop here

lundi 20 juillet 2015

MAGNETRON: Photonic Waves (2015)

“Good old vintage moods with a zest of complexity. No, the music of Magnetron is not for all, but has all in it to seduce everyone”
1 Tachyon 22:40
2 Spherium 22:20
3 Illumination 6:20
4 Refraction 19:30

Magnetron Music (DDL 71:11) ****
(Vintage Berlin School mixed with modern England School)
Violent pulsations of white noises attack our ears from the opening of "Tachyon". The knocks are distant and are crumbling dusts of sounds which are wrapped by slow synth waves of which the caresses, as much morphic as cosmic, are floating like thoughts under the mists of a string orchestra. If the knocks persist in time, their resonances covers itself with felt-tip and their gap doesn't succeed in weaving a structure of continuous rhythm. And if the noises turn into a strange intergalactic language, the waves of synth become them some nice fluty lines. On the other hand, things evolve rather fast inside "Tachyon". A bass key skips in solo a little before the mark of 6 minutes. Whipped by sudden explosions, it draws a movement of minimalist rhythm which is braided in a solitary oscillatory movement where the fine nuances are undulating and stumbling in morphic mists. These mists and the fluty singings unite their ethereal charms, while the curve of the fluttering rhythm of "Tachyon" evolves with a subtle fluidity, if not a certain velocity with the arrival of the percussions. The rhythm became more sustained, and even rather lively. It gallops now in beautiful effects of synth where a rather hoarse electronic dialect grumbles occasionally among these soft lines of flute and these heap of fog of ether which are now the deserving morphic emperors of fine synth solos which are slightly too discreet.
We have to be in the mood in order to listen to
Magnetron. The universe of Steve Create Humphries and Xan Alexander turns constantly around the same orbits. Around divided rhythms which regenerate in the shape of minimalist loops and around psychotronic atmospheres where the perfumes of Tangerine Dream try to extricate themselves from the fragrances of Klaus Schulze. In brief! It's a rendezvous with time. This time where EM tried so much to seduce than to fascinate and where the gradation of the long music acts was sculptured in this art to want to redefine the standards but in an envelope and with a clearly more contemporary approach. We can hear it in the sound! “Photonic Waves” is a 5th album. An album that I would consider as more direct than Spherics, but which asks all the same to be as much tamed because the universe of Magnetron, even in its more digital cocoon, is as atypical as these old sonic intrigues of the vintage years. "Spherium" follows with lively beatings which drum in a dense ambiosonic envelope fed of slender and of slow sound braids and whose screeching are writing some acute graffiti over a wall of black silk. The rhythm evolves slowly by amassing the metallic fruits of the cymbals while the ambiences, a bit psychotronic, are feeding on wandering voices. Percussions and quavering sequences get grafted to the drumming while the phase of rhythm of "Spherium" moves towards a more nervous structure where a meshing of sequences and percussions raises  a structure which becomes a kind of mixture between a cosmic funk and a break-ambient-dance. A spasmodic structure which frees its minimalist hybrid shocks with a subtle swiftness in the movement beneath a dense psychotronic coat where organic sequences, graffiti of a nasal synth, fluty lines, tears of violin and solos decorate a firmament which has nothing to envy at these structures a little complex and a little bit psychedelic from the vintage years. After 3 listening, we become definitively hooked. The scattered impulses of a loud bass line which have also added an intense depth to "Spherium" are at the heart of the very ambient structure of "Illumination" which also stuffs itself of cosmic orchestration to be made redden Software. It's a heavy ambient track which finds its charms in its intensity. Here also rangy twisted tears of synth are to make the ears clean. The cosmic atmospheres converge all along “Photonic Waves” but were never so dominant as on "Refraction". Here, the orchestrations waltz slowly on a nervous structure of rhythm which unwinds its kicks under the caresses of the intergalactic violins. The main structure remains minimalist while a crowd of elements (pulsations, percussions and sequences) gets graft here to enrich its core, which remains all the same rather static, driving it gradually towards a nice crescendo, as much in the power of the static rhythm as in the atmospheres which were never so rich as here.
Yes, we really have to be in the mood to enjoy the music of
Magnetron! And when it's done, we discover an intense album where Steve Humphries and Xan Alexander provide the atmospheres of such a sonic wealth that our ears need more than one listening in order to assimilate all of these storms of sounds which suit to rhythms that we rediscover beneath another facet at each new listening. That's the mark of an album built upon creativity, on the art to want to redefine its own standards. I liked it well and my walls are still well decorated of it!

Sylvain Lupari (July 20th, 2015)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on the Magnetron Bandcamp page here

samedi 18 juillet 2015

KUUTANA: Rebirth (2015)

“I was quite surprised by the wealth of the meditative structures in Rebirth which at the end turns out to be as ambient as strangely haunting”
1 Awakening 6:01
2 Twilight Mist 8:12
3 First Light 5:29
4 Timeless 2:34
5 Warming Spirits 5:52
6 Aqua 5:04
7 Moonlight Whispers 5:43
8 Infinite Improbabilities of Life 5:50
9 A Mindful Moment 5:26
10 Morning Glory 4:40
11 One Lazy Afternoon 6:28
12 Serenity 5:48

KUUTANA MUSIC (DDL 67:10) ***¾
(Ambient Music)
After the cosmic genre and the New Berlin School, with Sequential Dreams, some smooth Chill and electronic rock, with Undiscovred Shores, and a prog music soaked by the fragrances of Pink Floyd with Midnight Airship, Kuutana returns tickling our senses and our ears with an album of purely ambient, of meditative music. This time it's mainly in the essence of Vangelis that Ron Charron, the man behind Kuutana, decided to draw his inspirations. “Rebirth” is plentiful of these slow synth pads filled by metallic colors and among which the nuances, as well as the slow crescendo, soak us of a mesmerizing halo of emotionalism. I found that very intense and very representative of its naming which aims to be a celebration of the life which is reborn at every spring.
And that begins with the rumblings of "Awakening". Rumblings which are transformed into concerto for mooing from colored winds. Winds which little by little are toning down a sibylline envelope in order to make shine some fine lines to the colors of the serenity which break out like slow astral waves. What amazes the most in “Rebirth” are these piles of lines with for tones as much solemn as musical and these dramatic effects which shake our soul like a knock from a hammer which thunders in the atmospheres. The atmospheres are also surprisingly lyrical for an ambient album. Tracks such as "Awakening", "Warming Spirits" and its ethereal voices, and "Serenity", which is very dreamlike by the way, redefine the meditative genre with sparks of tones which feed as much the curiosity as the ambient spaces. And everything is not really linear in “Rebirth”. The synth layers are speaking to us, murmuring the breezes of Fountain of Youth. "Twilight Mist" is a very intense track, molded on the concept of "Serenity", with arpeggios is which sing like those of
Vangelis in China. The tears of synth, the smothered explosions and the sound effects always haloed of Vangelis' influences confer it a vision more futuristic than passive. Like with "First Light" which plunges us into Blade Runner with threatening bass lines which will awaken a small ambient melody just before the finale. To this level, "A Mindful Moment" is deliciously more intense and the orchestrations pierce our human shell. And what about the voices which caress a melody fragmented in the thoughts of Kuutana? Doubtless one of the most moving points of “Rebirth”. A short music piece, "Timeless" is not less attractive with its hollow breezes, its lines of flutes and its delicate arpeggios embroiderer of melancholic veils which at the end are sculpting a delicate morphic melody perfumed of the Arabian mysteries. I could write at great length about “Rebirth” that I would describe sensibly the same thing; music of ambiences remains ambient music. But sometimes there is more! Kuutana imposes a vision clearly more musical if not filmic or yet very emotional. Except for the sneaky, and rather surprising should I add, rhythm of "Infinity Improbabilities of Life", which does quite like Steve Roach, the rest of this source of meditation offered by Kuutana inhales a total tranquility and is forged on a shower of multilayer of synths which bring thin lines of astral voices as well as particles of the arpeggios which are ringing and sparkling into some beautiful and rather poignant pieces of melodies lost in cosmos, as in the soft and very beautiful "Warming Spirits". And each piece of music reveals little by little a shade of harmony which goes and comes, bewitching constantly a listening which ends to be less passive. "Aqua" is soft and very luminous with good orchestrations which are going to make you capsize the soul. "Moonlight Whispers" is more passive and more austere, while "One Lazy Afternoon" blows his winds which always lift a bed of melody scoffed by the time.
Honestly? I was quite surprised by the wealth of the meditative structures in “Rebirth”. I take care of saying meditative because we are far from the banal astral territories where the winds forge linear sound arabesques to  strictly speak of an ambient work. It's obvious that “Rebirth” possesses an ambient form, but it's at the same time a form where the music and the harmonies get tangle in orchestrations welded by a good dose of emotionalism. And I have to admit that
Kuutana impresses. With all his hats and his projects, he always manages to bring his musical visions as high as very good productions which are inevitably worth being listened to.
Sylvain Lupari (July n18th, 2015)

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

jeudi 16 juillet 2015

KUUTANA: Undiscovered Shores (2013)

“If you like melodious patterns which lie on soft rhythms, then the sonic scapes of Undiscovered Shores are the place to be”
1 A Summer in Antartica 5:53
2 Undiscovered Shores 4:50
3 A Beautiful Day on New Earth 5:04
4 Ocean Sunset Romance 5:40
5 Fireflies in the Moonlight 4:48
6 Walking Towards the Light 5:56
7 Rain Dance 5:41
8 The Hidden World 6:25
9 Ion Storm on Jupiter Station 6:45

KUUTANA MUSIC (DDL 51:02) ***½
(Mix of Chill, ambient and E-Rock)
The idea to listen to “Undiscovered Shores” came to me while I was listening to the very ambient Rebirth. There are things like that which remain so inexplicable! And I was pleasantly surprised. At first, the etiquette of New Age that some attach to the musical genre of Kuutana had made me very hesitating. And even if the approach of the Canadian musician is actually melodious we are far, very far to be honest, of the New Age or soft music genre. It's melodious for sure and beautifully crafted with strong arrangements. But New Age? I'm not quite sure about it. Kuutana is the musician behind the intercontinental project of EM; Sequential Dreams. An interesting project which groups as many artists around the planet as styles. And  a little as the essence of Sequential Dreams, his music, to say the least on his 5th album, embraces a brochette of style which goes from Chill out to e-rock and then ambient while remaining always rather accessible.
"A Summer in Antartica" proposes a peaceful intro with two layers of sequences which interlace their figures of static rhythms in a kind of a rather meditative ascending movement. Delicate arpeggios float weakly in the streaks of a shower of falling stars. Their incoherent movements form an evasive melody which will decorate the 6 minutes of "A Summer in Antartica". And quite slowly the introductory atmospheres migrate to a good down-tempo heavily clubbed by double bass pulsations and good percussions. Decorated with these delicate glittering arpeggios, the rhythm is slow and lively. Also wiping the bites of a kind of e-guitar, it gets lost in a more ambient phase where the pulsations and the percussions have difficulty in following the parade of arpeggios always molded in the harmony. It's just a brief moment of distraction, because "A Summer in Antarctica" will be reborn with its mix of slow and down-tempo deliciously exhilarating. Layers of rhythms mixed in diversity which beat beneath the nests of charming melodies, the music of “Undiscovered Shores” follows the instincts of its sculptor who has the gift to seduce anytime. Let's take the title-track, which is doubtless the best moment of “Undiscovered Shores”, and its rhythm embroidered in a surprising meshing of metallic and slamming percussions a la
Jarre and good bass sequences. But its key point its harmonious envelope with a superb Asian fluty line which coos under the storm of the percussions and the sequenced keys. Our ears are leaving with it and refuse to bring it back. It's a very good track! A little more nervous than "A Summer in Antartica", "A Beautiful Day on New Earth" is a music piece which is very near Vangelis' repertoire. It's a beautiful melody, with some pretty good melodramatic arrangements and arpeggios which always breathe of these evanescent harmonies that we find almost everywhere in the 9 structures of “Undiscovered Shores”, which moves on a good mid-tempo. Moreover the limpidity of the arpeggios is an object of seduction on this opus of Kuutana. It prints melodies which pierce literally the flow of the rhythms or the passivity of the ambiences, as in "Fireflies in the Moonlight"; another good mid-tempo which nests very well between the ears. They also forge a fascinating astral melody on this rhythm full of pulsations which pound beneath this approach of clanic dance which is "Rain Dance". "Ocean Sunset Romance" is a beautiful slow dance, which bears perfectly its naming, filled with elements of tenderness which hesitates between a slow and heavy rhythm and its more or less ambient passages. A little as "The Hidden World" which eventually becomes a good Électronica with a Sino-industrial aroma. Puzzling, but fascinating. The influences of TD and of the TDI years will never have been so obvious as here. Another key point of “Undiscovered Shores” is the arrangements. At this level, the influences of Vangelis are very present and they perfume an ambient structure such as "Walking Towards the Light", which becomes a good track blown by an intensity of which we feel the ascendancy only once the first 3 minutes are passed, and also "Ion Storm on Jupiter Station" which concludes the 5th opus of Kuutana in an ambiocosmic approach knotted in the spells of these good, and somehow a little poignant, arrangements.
Now does a melodious and rousing EM should be tagged as New Age? Well, that's not my game to open and animate this kind of debate. Let say that good EM should be call good EM. And that's the story of “Undiscovered Shores”. Between Kitaro and
Vangelis, while going from Tangerine Dream and a  Jean Michel Jarre at the summits of their dissension with their first generations of disappointed fans, “Undiscovered Shores” is a rather beautiful surprise which will please above all to fans of a more accessible EM rather than a complex one. We are far from Easy Listening and from New Age because the arrangements of Kuutana are skillful. They enhance his soft rhythms and his charming melodies of a rich, of a diversified sound envelope and especially very attractive for the ear.
Sylvain Lupari (July 16th, 2015)

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

mercredi 15 juillet 2015

RENÉ SPLINTER: Frames (2014)

“Yes! Frames is another very beautiful album where René Splinter never hesitates to dig in the core of his influences for our greatest pleasure”

1 Celluloid Skyline 9:43
2 Strangers in the Land of Sunder 7:52
3 Two Wanderers Above the Sea of Fog 6:20
4 The Road to Transylvania 9:22
5 Stereopticon 7:59
6 Laterna Magica 4:41
7 Frames 3:31
8 Instant Memory 7:29

Groove | GR-212 (CD/DDL 57:02) ****
(Solid e-rock and New Berlin School a la TD's Exit era)
René Splinter had reached another level with Modern Ruins where he surrounded his melodies, the man is very melodious we have to give him that, by atmospheres which sometimes bound themselves with surrealism. And it's with pleasure that he continues in this vein with his last album “Frames”. Always proud ambassador of the FrankeFroese and Schmoelling era, René Splinter navigates on the concept of the harmonies so well made by the mythical trio on solid   structures which was so much energizing than the melodies were attractive. You will hear throughout “Frames” these sonic ingredients which have peppered the structures of the Dream; shady and shaken sequences beating and pounding around melodies fragmented in cocoons in continual permutations. But more rhythmic than purely electronic, René Splinter extirpates here, and again and again, more the essence of a Johannes Schmoelling than the acrobatic patterns of rhythms from his two famous accomplices. Even that sometimes the illusion is more than perfect.
And that starts with "Celluloid Skyline" and its superb opening coated by good rubbery bass drums and wooden percussions which peck at thin lines of sound smokes and heterogeneous noises, as well as these strange effects of synth mutters which perfumed the glaucous universe of
Tangerine Dream. A line of sequence emerges behind a din of percussions. The impression to hear a track forgotten in Sorcerer bursts us right in the face. From its ambiosonic intro "Celluloid Skyline" hatches into a beautiful melody well sat on a beautiful sequencing pattern before of seducing even more with superb synth solos which inhales so much these Johannes Schmoelling's perfumes. Boys! Let's say that it kicks off things pretty well. "Strangers in the Land of Sunder" offers a more solemn introduction with lush pads of what sounds as an old organ before running away with a heavy movement of bass sequences. Jingles dance on the movement, introducing a nervous rhythm where the fragrances of the Dream, Exit era, inhale at full ears. The rhythm becomes then more nervous. It's forged in a meshing of riffs and sequences which quaver in the shade of sober electronic percussions and beautiful layers of melodies. The sequences in the universe Splinter are simply delicious. Here, they skip as a herd of balls on the skin of a drum imprisoned into a too small box. That creates some solid, some very good e-rock taken out quite straight ahead from a session of the Dream lost in time. And not so far away so much the travel in time flies with ease. And the illusion does not irritate, because René Splinter has this gift to well water his structures of a sound wealth which transcends the universe of this time of the Dream. I like and it's rather rousing. "Two Wanderers Above the Sea of Fog" proposes a very ambio-organic intro with noises of jungle and chirping of birds which chatter on some rippling synth lines filled by the colors of reverie. That sounds pretty much like a good Schmoelling track and it goes beyond the opening of "The Road to Transylvania" which hesitates on a structure of rhythm slow to fly away.
A structure which will take more vigor with sequenced pulsations which make wave their flutterings on some too Germanic percussions while the synth pads and riffs, still trapped of very 
TD fragrances, dress the structure of melodious ornaments that we cannot like. It's a track in constant movement, like a kind of rhythmic crescendo, with a beautiful gradation in sequences and harmonies. That does very TD. We hook to it and it is as charming as its naming. I liked it a lot! "Stereopticon" brings us back towards other ambiosonic phases with a slow structure where are squeaking larvas of synth which tear up ambiences too sibylline to be ethereal. A delicate piano, and its notes somehow pensive even furious, try to connect a bit of hope to this slow and long lugubrious structure. "Laterna Magica" is a beautiful melody which exploits its charms on a light rhythm where ooze delicate rivulets of arpeggios and whistle beautiful solos of which the cooings show the colors of melancholy. The synth solos are charming and very harmonious. It's soft and melodious, even when the rhythm shows more dynamism in second half. The same goes for the title-track which is a beautiful composition centered on the piano. In fact, "Frames" turns out to be a beautiful ambient lullaby. A somber rocking chair surrounded by very good synth solos, Splinter is very good at this, and by thin lines of sequences of which the delicate oscillations undulate such as the caresses of a dreamy rhythm. Noises of an industrialized jungle also surround the introduction of "Instant Memory" which little by little gets rid of this influence to offer another beautiful melody which lulls itself on a good down-tempo. A down-tempo which intensifies its structure and rests it in a pattern of electronic ballad very well fed by electronic elements as much harmonious than asymmetrical, testifying of this René Splinter's enormous capacity to unite two bridges, to unite two visions without ever leaving anything at random.
Yes! “Frames” is another very beautiful album from
René Splinter. And each time, I am surprised by this fascinating way which he has to entail us in his souvenirs, in his influences strongly soaked by the Virgin years of Tangerine Dream without that I ever find that exaggerated or annoying. It's as if the time was stopped and that Splinter, frames by frames, leads us to a time where himself  too was annoyed as well as us by this new tangent of the Dream after the departure of Johannes Schmoelling. Beautiful, good and not at all useless!
Sylvain Lupari (July 14th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on Groove web shop here