dimanche 30 août 2015

TANGERINE DREAM: Booster VII (2015)

“I'm going to miss you, Edgar. Well, it already started”
CD 1: 70:09
Tamago Yaki 2015, Industrial Life, Diary of a Robbery,
Chilly Moons, Rotcaf Neila, Pilgrims to Elysium,
Apparently Lunatic Hierarchy, Gate of Saturn, Dnammoc Su (Neat Mix), Light Cone 2015

CD 2: 77:35
Parallel Worlds, Polar Radius, Heart Throb,
Matter of Time (Red Canyon Remix), Rim of Schiaparelli,
Barnabas the Messenger, Burning the Bad Seal, Silvery Ice Lake, Shadow and Sun, Morning Sun, Le Combat des Épées (Director's Cut)

Eastgate ‎| 072 CD (CD/DDL 147:46) ****
It's over! The end of an era! Here is the very last compilation of the Booster series. I always liked these compilations, even if at the beginning I questioned the artistic character of the project. Afterward I let myself charmed by the main idea behind these compilations which is to introduce the greenhorns to the music of Tangerine Dream while giving to the aficionados some rare, unreleased, remixed and new music. And throughout the seven volumes of this series, the goal aimed was always respected, even if sometimes the new tracks were not really new and even if the remixes had this knack of scratching my patience. And I don't know why, but here I find that this “Booster VII” is bloody better done.
It starts with a new version of "Tamago Yaki 2015", a track that we find on the Kyoto released in 2005. It's an album loaded with music forgotten in the vaults which was composed by
Edgar Froese and Johannes Schmoelling around 83. I had found this album good, nothing more. A little bit disappointing, considering the impact of Schmoelling's departure on the direction of Edgar's band. But no matter, here it sounds quite good. The arrangements make very Froese  of the Stuntman years, while the moods flirt with the era of The Keep. Always from the same album, "Industrial Life" is more dynamic, but leaves me a little bit cold. It's a lot of noises for not much. But surprisingly, after some listening (especially in my car) it flows pretty nice. "Chilly Moons" is a delicate ballad which is also the fruit of this collaboration. The wild race of "Diary of a Robbery" (oh do I hear the skeleton of Silver Scale here) comes from GTA5: The Cinematographic Score
 which is a strong album. "Bad Seal" is a good track also taken from this album where the play of sequences and the sequenced rhythms plunges us in the Franke/Froese years. I never liked Chandra: The Phatom Ferry, PartII, but inserted here the ambiospherical ballad that is "Rotcaf Neila" appeals me a little more. That's what makes the strength of the Booster series. Everything becomes different, as if by magic! And guess what? I also quite liked this surprising remix of "Dnammoc Su (Neat Mix)". The melody which roams in the background throw me a heck of an earworm for days after. "Pilgrims to Elysium" is a new composition and a very good one of which the peculiarity is to cross marvelously the bridge between the Schmoelling and Haslinger years. A little more dynamism and it would have given quite a whole result. The track grows ceaselessly but without ever overflowing really its minimalist road. The effect of violin on the other hand embraces the ethereal atmospheres of the more contemporary years. Afterward we are entitled to "Apparently Lunatic Hierarchy", pulled out from the Franz Kafka:The Castle album. It's a short intense track filled with strong atmospheres while "Barnabas the Messenger" is rather average. Let's say that there are far much better tracks on this album, making of this selection a debatable choice, except if it's for Edgar's six-strings solo.
"Gate of Saturn" doesn't need any more presentation. It's an inescapable track in the most recent years of the
Dream. "The Light Cone 2015" closes the first CD with a beautiful remix of this piece of music pulled from the very good Pinnacles, a wonderful album solo that Edgar signed in 83. This track is at its third version and the work is fine here. Its key point? It gives this taste to hear again this all time EM classic! We find "Parallel Worlds" in The Keep and its presence seems to serve much more a hidden introduction to the surprising "Polar Radius" which is a very interesting new track from Froese and Schmoelling. A track which plunges us back into the ambiences of Flashpoint and The Keep with a cheerful finale which throws us literally in the golden years of the Dream. This is as unexpected as very good. "Heart Throb" and "Shadow and Sun" are two tracks written by Edgar Froese and Ulrich Schnauss which let glimpse immense possibilities for the Quantum Years. It's a good mixture of e-rock where the EDM approach floats in structures which bicker constantly between ethereal phases and others more boiling ones. There are Jerome's perfumes in "Shadow and Sun", the best, according to my tastes, of these two tracks here. That's always pleasant to hear "Matter of Time (Red Canyon Remix)", and this no matter the flavor that we give to it. Its remix doesn't manage to destroy this delicate morphic lullaby which hesitates to lull and to perturb our idea of sleep. "Rim of Schiaparelli"? It's a powerful track pulled out of the brilliant Mars Polaris album; one of the very good albums of the TDI era.This I have to write about one of these days. "Silvery Ice Lake" is also a new track which wears the seal of the Sonic Poem Serie ambiences with very dark, very melancholic atmospheres, surrounding a rhythm which grows gradually without ever exploding. Other real newness, "Morning Sun" is a beautiful very gloomy ballad which follows an always aggressive tangent. That reminds me the kind of the Melrose years. But it fits very well here. In this big envelope of diversity which surrounds the 21 secrets of this Booster, it flows very well. "Le Combat des Épées (Director's Cut)", written by Thorsten Quaeschning was always my favorite of the Jeanne d'Arc album. This reorientation offers additional minutes but modifies not at all the structure of the music where  Picture Palace Music's aromas float all around it. It 's a good Electronic Post Rock, as Quaeschning  likes so well describing his music style.
Go get this without hesitation! This “Booster VII” is quite a sonic and a musical cream where all the flavors of
Tangerine Dream, periods 83 to13, float with this irresistible desire that the fans from the very beginning have to blubber as to cherish. Damn Edgar, I am going to miss you!
Sylvain Lupari (August 29th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca

mardi 25 août 2015

KURTZ MINDFIELDS: Journey Through the Analog Adventure (2015)

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lundi 17 août 2015

REDSHIFT: Ether (1999)

“Surely one of the Top 25 of classical and dark EM, Ether is not to be missed”

1 A Midnight Clear 23:59
2 Bombers in the Desert 8:23
3 Static 5:13
4 Ether 27:29

Redshift Music (DDL 66:05) *****
(Classical Berlin School)
How to survive to a first opus when it marks a generation? The first album of Redshift answered a need; fill a gap that Tangerine Dream has created by going away from his dark moods and sequenced rides in the years of Rubycon and Phaedra. This era where the heavy sequencers and the Moog were king. This time where the slow movements got out of the limbos, on the back of huge ambient and heavy rhythms which progressed with hypnotic sequenced movements and which became little by little unchained on the dark mooings of Mellotron. Redshift had made a success of this mythical approach with a first opus fills of vague hopes. There was of course Node, but the group disappeared in a short time. Thus, “Ether” was expected with impatience. And nobody can be disappointed. Because from its first breezes we are assailed by the Redshift atmospheres. This unique atmosphere which allied slow and sinuous movements of which the fragrances had embalmed the first opus. Undulations of ether which float in a dark atmosphere where the knocks of a big sequencer, a Moog Modular, strike with strength and surprise. Even in concert, the British quartet manages to transposes his dark universe into the heavy steams of the 70's. And we have here the main lines of “Ether” where A Midnight Clear and the title-track were played and recorded at the famous Jodrell Bank Planetarium.
A big industrial humming intensifies the introduction of "A Midnight Clear" which adorns itself of luxurious iridescent synth lines. A chthonian choir embraces these dark breezes which glitter in a sibylline universe. This strange duet floats like spectres in search of a soul whereas the heavy hummings reappear, amplifying this abstruse climate. Delicate ringings emerge a little after the point of 6 minutes. They haven't stop irradiating like a childish singing that a line of lively sequences diverts this fragile approach to transform it into a solid line of rhythm which oscillates through dense fields of the mists of Mellotron. The loops of rhythm accelerate the pace and the and mists undulate like some Arabian caresses. We nod of the head and we make our fingers drumming. In this tumult where the synth pads and the guitar riffs try to take root, the evolution of "A Midnight Clear" goes by a brief ambiospherical phase and other phases of more or less ambient where only the sequences wave by doing lively cabrioles in a temperate silence. All the sonic arsenal of
Redshift is present; synth pads as harmonious as devilish, bass sequences, felted explosions, choruses of satanic monks and lines of flutes accompany the tearings of "A Midnight Clear" which gradually gives back its rhythmic weapons in order to embrace a more ambient mood. A powerful track! A sonic fresco which allies all the harmonization and the electronic voltage of an era that we considered gone. Following a misty intro, where the harmonies of darkness ooze sibylline breezes, a guitar and a synth are squabbling for the resonant hopping rhythm of "Bombers in the Desert". Beneath some suave lamentations of the electronic machines, the movement of sequences weave a heavy and fluid rhythm (one would say that it breathes) which keeps a good cadence under the bites of Rob Jenkins' six-strings. His solos waltz and cut through the ambiences fed by the lamentations of synths and beneath the eye eager of a sequencer ultra heavy which will blow up a wild and indomitable tempo. This is doubtless the first track in Redshift repertoire to have marked our ears of a more accessible approach. Rhythm, non rhythm, the English quartet likes playing with the paces and with the atmospheres without a warning. All in surprise, as in disappointment, similar to a coitus interruptus.
"Static" breathes as a starving animal which will never feed. It's a pool of pulsations eager for tones where revolve a thick cloud of heterogeneous tones as well as singings of spectres which will always stay in suspension. That's heavy, kind of threatening, and that remains ambient. After these two tracks recorded in studio, the long title-track brings us back to the ambiences of the Jodrell Bank concert. It's a totally delicious electronic movement, as much delicious as "A Midnight Clear", which starts with a heavy ambiosonic and ambiospheric intro polluted by an immense geyser of machines' rustlings. The synths and guitar fill a heavy ambient movement joined by a chthonian choir. Delicate ringings emerge a little after the point of 6 minutes (remember the structure of A Midnight Clear?), drawing an electronic melody soaked with a John Carpenter's devilish aura. This line of sequences swirls into nice spirals beneath the bites of a six-strings, which haunt the listening, as well as beneath the muffled implosions of a bass line. This is simply haunting and delicious. Big sequenced keys, resounding and full of juice, skip with heaviness (this legendary heaviness of the
Redshift movements), structuring the rhythmic thorn of "Ether" which continues its eternal sonic ascent beneath the caresses of synth solos and of its neighboring harmonies. The movement amplifies its heaviness, vitamins its growth with heavier and more incisive sequences, flooding on its passage all the sound decoration which accompanied it since the first steps. This is pure Redshift with its heavy and lively rhythm where thrones a multitude of electronic tones, which often are bringing out of hell, and guitar solos as enigmatic as vaporous. And while we imagine a long ambient finale, "Ether" surpasses our expectations with a more lively rhythm which will crash in superb chthonian singings where the six-strings spit heart-rending solos, where the Melltron continues to place its mystic mist and where the synths continue to decorate an ambiance deserving of Méphistophélès' passions. As I told you: this is big Redshift. It's among the best, my top 25 list, of classical EM. And those who missed this not that far era, you have plenty of time to catch it. After all, this is what I did!
Sylvain Lupari (August 17th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find info on how to get this album on the Redshift Bandcamp page here

jeudi 13 août 2015

JEAN-CHRISTOPHE ALLIER: Ephéméride (1996)

“A small rendezvous forgotten in time, Ephéméride is the reflection of the very contemporary approaches of the French EM movement”
1 Ephéméride 9:05
2 Angel Sex 7:19
3 Vision of the Heart 3:23
4 Wonderland 4:16
5 Planisphère 4:22
6 Rain Day 4:39
7 K.S. Motion 10:57
8 Country Land 2:39
9 Indian 3:32
10 Voyager 3:17
11 Catalipsys 5:38
12 Saint-Malo Dream 3:42

PWMDistrib (CD 63:00) ***½
(Melodic contemporary EM)
Peaceful and harmonious line of flute which float among the bongs of the astral gongs! Hum... That sounds New Age. Winds of Orion which blow and knock down  the drops of a metallic rain! That sounds like music of futuristic atmospheres. Longs metaphysical wiish of synth lines and discreet thunders! That sounds like dramatic theme music. Rolling of big symphonic drums and ringings of bells! That sounds definitively Vangelis. With all these electronic elements which bicker between a desire for futuristic melody and its ambiences, this long opening title-tack  from the album “Ephéméride” plunges us straight into the universes of Jean-Christophe Allier where everything is cut with the precision of a jeweler. Although this name is not quite familiar to us, Jean-Christophe Allier is a dominant, almost a legendary in the circle of initiated, character in this ascent of French EM which rebels so well against the rise of the various schools of thought since the end of the 80's. One of the founders of the Patch Work Music association, the electronic bard of Nîmes is also the most discreet at the level of the production as proves it his discography which counts only “Ephéméride”, released in the end of 96, and La Rosée, an album which was composed and released in tandem with the Swiss singer Rose Marie Doblies in 2009. On the other hand, he writes and produces a phenomenal quantity of music for movies and television. He also writes jingles for commercial or credits for TV programs and/or radio shows. We can also find him behind a studio console, assisting various personalities for the needs for their recordings. In brief, it's a man-of-all-work who is involved in all the artistic facets besides giving a lot of free concerts for various events in order to promote the beauty of EM. So! What is the music of Jean-Christophe Allier? Strongly inspired by the genius of Klaus Schulze, the musician/synthesist from Nîmes is more freely inspired by the style of Vangelis with a strongly melodic approach which is trapped in the contemporary structures which are clearly more omnipresent in its music. To say the least in “Ephéméride”!
Merged between some twinkling arpeggios and some breaths of suggestive voices, the ambiospherical procession of "Angel Sex" also leads us to this conclusion. It's a thing where the simplistic melody, embroidered in breaths of sexual voices, approaches our ears with ease. Our subliminal senses will seize later all the work at the level of the making of the ambient rhythm with arpeggios which are hammered with an effect of xylophone of brass band and the effects of percussions which click like cosmic gases, sculpting thus an envelope of rhythm which skips finely in an effect of jolts. It's a thing which sounds very Robert Schroeder. Parts of ambient melodies which knit themselves to the contemporary moods, the music of “Ephéméride” lets also fall some beautiful small jewels of tenderness which have an equal only
Bertrand Loreau's very melancholic side. "Vision of the Heart" and "Saint-Malo Dream" are delicate strummed lullabies which charm in those nice electronic ambiences, while that "Country Land" is a beautiful ballad perched on an acoustic guitar of which the notes sing with the birds. "Wonderland" is an ambient track loaded with sonic effects which remind me of these opening that Tangerine Dream used during their 86 European tour. Throughout his ambient structures, Jean-Christophe Allier strews fragments of melodies, so giving a depth to his more meditative structures. Molded in the same rules as "Wonderland", "Planisphere" is another nice example with its arpeggios which dance with the ambient and melodious synth lines. We are near meditative music here. Almost of cosmic New Age! "Rain Day" and "Voyager" are two dark pieces of music which bring us closer to the ambiospherical influences of Vangelis and of his futuristic vision of Blade Runner. "K.S. Motion" is a tribute track to Klaus Schulze. All in all, it's a nice amalgamation between the moods of ether from the German Master and his more contemporary tones. A small track with a spirit of Hindu dance, "Indian" sounds very out of tune with its joyful rhythm compared with the darker ambiences which surround the limpidity of the arpeggios which dance all over “Ephéméride”. It's pleasant and festive, while "Catalipsys" carries marvelously the atmospheres of its naming.
A small rendezvous forgotten in time, “Ephéméride” is the reflection of the very contemporary approaches of the French EM movement where the melancholy of the poets of the 1800' s breathes in every reverberation of the chords and the synth lines as well as their shadows. I like this very
Vangelis approach. But a Vangelis of the 70-80 years when his melodies was often weaved in electronic tragedy moods. This is mainly the backdrop of “Ephéméride”.
Sylvain Lupari (August 13th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find info on how to get this album on the Patch World Music page here

mercredi 5 août 2015

TRAUMKLANG: Stardust (2015)

“In spite of this feeling we have to hear a bootleg of a recording session lost somewhere in time, Stardust contains a melodic spine that will enchant you for hours”
1 Stardust Part I 14:08
2 Sputnik 9:22
3 Stardust Part II 19:00
4 Solar Wind 9:15
5 Solar Wind (Raggae Mix) 12:20
6 Stardust Part II (Space Mix) 15:20

SynGate TK26 (CD-r/DDL 79:58) ***
(Mix of vintage and New Berlin School)
When chaos engenders harmony! When simplicity sets ablaze the beauty! Two quotations which fit like a glove to this odd opus of Traumklang. What jumps in ears is this very retro sound envelope which perfumes the ambiences of this last album from Carola (Kern) Zauchner. It sparkles with its comestible interferences at the opening of "Stardust Part I" and widens like a cloud of radioactivity on a movement of sequences which makes alternate its keys in a kind of continual coming and going for rabbits terrified by the obligation to skip in a very restrictive minimalist pattern. If the pulsations make resound a charm of lunar techno(the rabbits always limp), the waves of old organ well dirtied by sound dusts spreads an ambience that we have considered once lost in the vaults hermetically buried by Klaus Schulze. Let's add to it the percussions which titillate the ears like a metronome on Prozac and we have without a shadow of doubt all the ingredients to forge a superb monument of Berlin School which mixes marvellously the flavors as much as the past as the current days. A pure marvel of the Berlin minimalist movement, "Stardust Part I" skips in our ears by taking good care to make marinate its analog sonic  ingredients by bringing in it its nuances, both in the rhythms and the harmonies. It's a wonderful magnetizing piece of music and it's also the soul of “Stardust”; an album whose inequalities make of it its main asset!
First of all, let's go with the very stodgy "Sputnik" and its enormous industrial pulsations which will get through the patience of the most diligent fans of
Traumklang. I had the impression to return 30 years back, where the developers of sonic thoughts experimented all the stages of the synthesizers. I like Traumklang, but these are 9 minutes of the most useless. But it could be as the beauty and the beast. A little as if everything is too beautiful we grow tired? Because "Stardust Part II" reunites us to the cause of Carola Zauchner with an beautiful structure of rhythm braided on a sequenced ritornello which cavorts with the innocence of cheerful cherubs. Still there, the sensation to navigate in the disorder of a recording studio assails our ears with an panoply of background noises which gets lost in good electronic effects, such as cacklings of cybernetic ducks and effects of hoarse zombie voices a la Zoolook from Jarre. The synth pads to the colors of the analog days add a perfume of psychedelism and the electronic chirpings make contrasts to those hypnotic Teutonic percussions which sound always so vintage. And there is also this line of bass and this gradation tinted with nuances which propel "Stardust Part II" to the same level of seduction as "Stardust Part I". And it's fascinating because there is a lot of things not working properly in the recording and the mixing of this album. This just shows that the charms are not always linked to the perfection. If we imagine exactly the winds of the sun, we shall not be disoriented by the Schulze (the Cyborg years) very ambiospherical visage of "Solar Wind". There is neither rhythms, nor melodies. But only some slow and idle synth pads which spit their radioactive dusts. We like the experience? Traumklang liked it quite well because she proposes a Reggae version of these radioactive moods. And if you are able to find the bases of "Solar Wind" in this Reggae mix, you are quite a real connoisseur. It's more musical? True! But it's not really my cup of tea. Although, still there, the synth pads remain rather seductive. After a slow introduction sculpted in the disorder of sounds and tones, "Stardust Part II (Strange Mix)" blooms like a necessity. A little as if Carola Zauchner tried to apologize to have present an album which is sorely lacking depth, both at the level of the production and of the presentation. Sometimes, it sounds like a bootleg of a recording session. But what a wonderful excuse! Because the chapters of the title-track are simply divine. An album of 49 minutes would have propelled “Stardust” to the rank of the inescapable works of Traumklang.
Sylvain Lupari (August 5th, 2015)

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

dimanche 2 août 2015

DIRK SERRIES: Disorientation Flow (2015)

“Immersive like the Immersion series, Disorientation Flow is the best way to plunge in your need of quietness”
1 The Imperative Edge 13:40
2 Metamorphosis 12:52
3 Disorientation Flow 15:47
4 Blistering 9:02
5 The Lament Broke 13:30

Projekt Records | PRO0316 (CD/DDL 64:51) ***½
(Ambient Drone)
With the years, and especially with the kind collaboration of Projekt Records and of Spotted Peccary, I became clearly more open to the form of ambient music. I have learnt when to listen to it and how to hear it in order to finally enjoyed it, especially when the sleep taunts my tiredness. I so discovered a universe of perceptions where every detail enriched the peace of mind with slow movements which tuck the silence with such a sensibility that we eventually end to get lost in time. And it's very exactly what happens with “Disorientation Flow”, a second opus about the forms of silence and meditation that Dirk Serries proposes via the American label Projekt Records. Nevertheless, Dirk Serries is not a newcomer. It's a sound project parallel to the career of Vidna Obmana, the famous Belgian composer of ambient music who is as much prolific than  Steve Roach. And it's not a coincidence if both seem capable of creating symphonies out from the solitudes of the winds. I had precisely heard the music of Dirk Serries for the first time with his collaboration album with Steve Roach on Low Volime Music in 2012. The fusion between the tears of guitar and the morphic, the enveloping and the rather vampiric synth waves had fairly seduced me. “Disorientation Flow” is built upon the same ambient mirages. A little less black and less amorphous than Steve Roach's Immersion Series, it's nevertheless a deep ambient work, an almost silent one, where every piece of sound is brood by a surprising sonic presence. Totally improvised and recorded in real time, “Disorientation Flow” is presented in 5 long morphic chapters where Vidna Obmana establishes a kind of meditative communion between a solitary author and his numerous fans who only dream about a solitude shared with the company of others.
Purple shadows, where the imagination dreams about groans of guitar which flatter the morphic delicacy of the synth lines of which the slow flights are haloed by the singings of astral nymphs, squeak over the brief serenity in the opening of "The Imperative Edge". The tones are lively and are sparkling. They shine of an aura dirtied by the deep scarlet moods of an introduction where the peace of mind bickers with the iridescence of a huge sound magma which threatens every second of pierce the walls of oblivion. A bassline a bit idle spreads slow eddies of which the larva draw the delicate movements of a passion full of restraint. Between the peace and the passive agitation, the ambiences raise themselves in an opaque monument which little by little unfolds a crescendo of emotionalism where the colors, rather lively at times, of the sounds tame the quiescence of a silence torn by an avalanche of strata in tints as rich as their forms. "Metamorphosis" gets loose from this purple envelope with a thick cloud of drones, of hoarse breezes which pierce the remaining shadows of "The Imperative Edge". The communion is intense because the shadows float like tears in suspension while Dirk Serries multiplies the effects of reverberations, forging a compact mass of ambient sounds which shows all of its sibylline nuances. This mixture of guitar tears, of synth sighs and of half-silent voices is the backdrop of an intensely meditative work where Dirk Serries takes good care to play with his shades. There are small pebbles of
Structures from Silence which float throughout this ode to a darker but also more harmonious silence. And it's even more convincing with the title-track which is the most seraphic of “Disorientation Flow”. "Blistering" brings us to another level of contemplativity with a very dark introduction. Little by little the colors of the silence, these sobs in the tears of a very intrusive six-strings, come to haunt the darkness of "Blistering" which renews with passive spectral melodies of “Disorientation Flow”. We reach a point where the time loses its dens and where our spirit confuses the silence and the sounds when "The Lament Broke" spreads a nice thin line of musicality, always very astral, on the silence of the shadows which little by little has tamed this soft rebellion against the calming of our inner senses.
Sylvain Lupari (August 2nd, 2015)

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