mardi 25 août 2015

KURTZ MINDFIELDS: Journey Through the Analog Adventure (2015)

“This is an epic journey into sounds. A truly masterpiece of modern EM where the art finds its main essence if not its essential foundations”
CD 1
Dance of Senufo's Ancestors, Nodal Point Return,
Enter to Rama, Water of Eternity (Remix), Last Dance of Yggdrasill, 
Waltz of the Sandworms, Caladan Return (Spice to Travel), Melorganic Earth Part I, Walking on the Moog,
Melorganic Earth Part II, Green Ring Around a Star, Heaven's Gate
CD 2
Love on a Real Spaceship, Cybrid Poem, The Dark Canticles of Hyperion Part I, Time Delation, Intergalactic Farcasters, Tethys River, Megasfear, Dream of a Distant Earth,
The Dark Canticles of Hyperion Part II, The Dark Canticles of Hyperion Part III,  Death of the Centaur, Weintraub 1700,
Mysterious Time Tombs in the Ocean of Nightmares Part II, The Void which Binds

Independent Release (2CD 159:21) ***** (Modern EM)
A blow of bass pulsation spreads its reverberations whereas a strange voice, a bit unreal, tells something about a guy behind his electronic machines. Machines which make rain reverberations, twists and cosmic noises of all kind. A figure of rhythm is in hiding behind this decoration, making its chords waddling and deeply skipping from one foot to another. The rhythm which hatch is heavy, slow and wave-like. Like a big anaconda which tries to avoid the rain of cosmic decibels which comes down from everywhere. A delicate synth weaves some solitary harmonies while the rhythm, more lively and more captivating, hesitates between a cosmic funk and a psychedelic hip-hop. And these solos! They stream from everywhere, amplifying a totalitarian insanity which will continue beyond the 160 minutes that lasts this fantastic story of “Journey Through the Analog Adventure”. "Dance of Senufo's Ancestors" is a cannon start to an album which is going to make you perplexed for coming days. I guarantee this to you! Kurtz Mindfields is the last find in the wonderful universe of the EM. His music has no borders! Even if I can draw a slight parallel with the monumental Cords from Synergy at the level of the sound search and of the harmonization of a swarm of equipments, for the greater part analog, the music of “Journey Through the Analog Adventure” is something unique in this vast ocean which is the contemporary EM. That's saying a lot! Kurtz Mindfields is Jean-Luc Briançon's project, another cultural jewel of Lyon, who  is a graduate of the Los Angeles' Keyboards Institute. It's also the founder and synthesist of the acid jazz band Abigoba which produced 3 albums since 2003. If his tendency for the jazz, in particular for the music of Herbie Hancock, is clearly detectable on this powerful double-album, he manages to merge a panoply of contemporary and electronic rhythms into some great cosmic areas of turbulence which are reminiscent of the first excursions of Jean Michel Jarre.
Let's start the starting point! “Journey Through the Analog Adventure”? It's about 160 minutes of EM distributed on 27 tracks and on two CD containing each two virtual faces (A/B et C/D). If some claim that it's a return to basics, I see much more an updating or a kind of modernization of the current EM with equipments of yesterday. And this vision is more than enchantress. The impressive work includes a music picked in a discography of 5 albums and E.P. among whom the first one, The Fate of Arrakis, which was released in October 2012. The first object of curiosity is the naming of the 27th pieces of music which are all inspired by a cosmic and futuristic vision. A fact which is directly in connection with the music. There are few vintage elements here. Even the voices pads are extorted of a contemporary cybernetic approach. And the rhythms? If the vastness of the equipments listed is weaving breathtaking electronic ambiences, the rhythms are not outdone. From free jazz to post funk while passing from EDM to catchy Industrial synth-pop, they evolve constantly with a splendid game of the sequencer of which the nuances dance with a more delicious play of the electronic percussions. And there are some which are made of real lead with keys which dance, skip, spin and oscillate intensely inside short envelopes in constant movement. Like "Nodal Point Return" which is even heavier and more infectious than "Dance of Senufo's Ancestors". The game of the arpeggios and oscillators which form the loops of rhythms lost in synth solos very jazz progressive is more than seducing. At this level, "The Dark Canticles of Hyperion Part III" is striking while its "The Dark Canticles of Hyperion Part II" is more in the kind of pure electronic cosmic with a heavy and black rhythm. The music is lively and offers a strategy in the development of the phases of rhythms which amazes. If "Enter to Rama Part I" stays in the field of keen and lively, "Enter to Rama Part II" is more airy and its heavy chords seem to stumble in mesmerizing layers filled of an Arabian fragrance. Moreover, the first vestiges of the vintage years live here with perfumes of Tangerine Dream from the Stratosfear years. The rain of Perseids  and the reverberations of the auroras borealis which cover the voice of Wendy Martinez in "Last Dance of Yggdrasill" gives a first theatrical cachet to the music of “Journey Through the Analog Adventure”. The music is ambient but powerful with loops of parasitic rhythms which are bitten by a sharp-edged voice. The waves and the synth solos take on this ambiospherical and apocalyptic approach so dear to Vangelis in Blade Runner. And even in these ambient envelopes, the figures of rhythms are always pawing the ground. "Water of Eternity (Remix)" does very contemporary Jarre, just like "Megasfear", while "Waltz of the Sandworms" brings us in other territories with a black rhythm which waves and collapses under good solos. This is great EM my friends! The same goes for the very heavy and dark "Death of the Centaur". The synth solos, often modeled in a spirit of jazz, are unarguably the cornerstone of this album where the diversity of the rhythms holds us constantly on the alert. "Caladan Return (Spice to Travel)" is a heavy tornado which scatters lost beatings of e-percussions. This is a track which is in the pure acid/jazz vision. We can say the same for "Dream of a Distant Earth" and its heavy approach a bit intense and dramatic, even if decorated with a superb sound envelope.
The numerous electronic effects remind me the experiments of Larry Fast in the first albums of Synergy. And the unique approach in the music made in France is very present with moments of heavy melancholy as in "Melorganic Earth Part I", whereas "Walking on the Moog" hesitates between a funk and a synth-pop. It's a cheerful track which skips very well between this oppositions of the phases which represent the saga Melorganic Earth and of which the part II reminds me intensely of Geoff Downes' visions in his The Light Program, another jewel of EM. "Green Ring Around a Star" is a track of atmospheres filled with analog sounds, while "Heaven's Gate" is a lovely piece of music with the beautiful guitar, and its very convoluted solos, of Jean Michel Zanetti. The CD 2 also offers a wide pallet of styles which flood our ears with a Tangerine Dream's beautiful imprint. That begins with the interstellar effects of "Love on a Real Spaceship" and of its keen rhythm of which the movement of the undulatory sequences has nothing to do with you know what. Only the electronic elements call back Tangerine Dream, but it's very vague. "Cybrid Poem" is doubtless the most quiet track here. The start is very oniric, but the last two minutes are an escalation of sequenced keys which run away from the bite of the electronic percussions. Heavy and wave-like, "The Dark Canticles of Hyperion Part I" bewitches with its dreamy solos and its electronic castanets. There are flavors of Synergy. Here and on "Time Delation" and its deep oscillator bends. And that doesn't stop! Richard Pinhas' nostalgics will be delighted by the movement of sequences in "Intergalactic Farcasters", while "Tethys River" embraces an approach deserving of a good movie of fear. It sounds a lot like contemporary Klaus Schulze. The same goes for the slow and very sinister arrangements of "Weintraub 1700", it sounds like the false strings are trembling of fear, the only really full ambient move of “Journey Through the Analog Adventure”. The way that it appears, it would be rather a long introduction for the heavy rhythm and the oscillators of "Mysterious Time Tombs in the Ocean of Nightmares Part II" which undulates and wriggles such as a snake taken in a trap. "The Void which Binds" is the longest track of this album. It also offers this figure of black rhythm which pounds as a ball propelled in a long upward tube where the synths weave as many ambiences as solos in a structure which quietly evaporates in the banks of mystic mist and in dramatic arrangements.
Journey Through the Analog Adventure: 45 Years of Electronic Exploration” is a true bomb! Jean-Luc Briançon is flirting with genius with a beautiful pallet of rhythms which has an equal only the enormous wealth of the atmospheres. Each track is a find and a source of delight where EM finds its real essence, otherwise its essential foundations. Creative and all the same rather melodious, and certainly very lively, Kurtz Mindfields multiplies the intrusions in our sphere of astonishment with a surprising vision of an EM where the perfumes of Vangelis, Jean Michel Jarre and even Tangerine Dream, especially at the level of the sequencing, lives in a universe which embraces that of the surprising tones of Synergy in Cords. Brilliant! It's the album of the immoderation and a real sound orgy! The album is available in a limited numbered edition of 100 CD. Contact Jean-Luc Briançon on his page Facebook for more information on how to buy this CD.
 Sylvain Lupari (August 25th, 2015)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca

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