dimanche 29 novembre 2015

PETER MERGENER: Take Off (1992-2015)

“Here is another nice reedition with extra music which show another side of Peter Mergener, but Take Off? As usual this is great New Berlin School”
CD 1 (59:31)
1 Take Off 6:28
2 Icarus' Flight 8:34
3 The Eagle 5:25
4 On Wings 9:40
5 Between Worlds 2:24
6 A Moment to Look Back 2:31
7 Freedom of Space 8:49
8 Return to the Blue Planet 11:31
9 Landing 4:04
CD 2 (46:01)
1 Hawking's Universe 4:42
2 Solarsailer 7:22
3 Strange Voices 5:41
4 Nightflight 5:24
5 Sunlight 5:13
6 A Little Bit of Something 8:18
7 When the Wind Blows 5:06
8 Extreme Conditions 4:11 
Prudence | 398.6850.2 (2 CD 105:32) ****
(New Berlin School with a mix of e-rock, cosmic rock and synth-pop)
There is certain craze for Peter Mergener. For his music! Having remixed and fused the both passages of Creatures in a single album, Creatures 2020 in April 2014, the German synthesist revisits Passage in Time in October of the same year. And now it's the turn of “Take Off”, his 3rd solo opus which appeared on the German label Cue Records in 1992. Like with Passage in Time, this new version of “Take Off” includes a remastered edition of the original album as well as a bonus CD which includes music, and that's not completely clear to me, composed quite recently as well as some different versions (I find that indeed Sunlight can sound like The Eagle and that A Little Bit of Something has some similarities with On Wings) of tracks which appeared on the first edition. The whole thing is carefully presented in a 2 CD digipack which however offers almost no information. And on the album and on Peter Mergener! Amplifying so this perception that there is still a culture of secret around the mythical musician who left the Software adventure at the end of the 80's. And as it's only quite recently that I discovered this period of Mergener, I cannot pronounce on the differences, good or bad, between both works. All that I know on the other hand is that it's a very good album! We find here this magic which was behind the first 3 years of Software, from 85 to 88, with slow harmoniously jerky structures of rhythms, such as stroboscopic filets falling to pieces, which progress in a great deal of cosmic effects and in jolty orchestrations.
Outer noises, like voices or dialogues of cosmonauts or still whistlings of shuttles as well as noises of machineries, have always decorated the cosmic soundscape of
Software. And by ricochet the one of Peter Mergener. We thus find them massively on “Take Off” and this is what open the title-track. Winds of Orion and dust of cosmos are sticking to some slow intergalactic woosh while far off a staccato movement reveals orchestrations which are similar to a sequence of suspense film. Layers of voices cogitate around this orchestral swing of the pendulum where sequences are grafted and waddle with a pace of mocking goblins. Already, the Mergener (Software) magic invades our ears. Lively and harmonious sequences, percussions and electronic jingles, riffs of keyboards and jerky violins are structuring a rhythm which passes in an accelerating mode, as a ride in the cosmic plains. A rhythm pecked by diverse elements of percussions and wrapped by the beautiful harmonies of a synth among which the seraphic layers weavers of earworm add some more of depth to the soundscapes of “Take Off”. It's lively! It's a  good electronic rock of the 80's with a great sound aestheticism. "Icarus' Flight" is a very beautiful track is which uses completely all these facets, and from cosmos and from synth software. Cosmic woosh and wiish are pushing sound prisms which always sparkle in the breezes of Orion. Electronic effects are chirping and the synth layers adjust the tones with a delicate approach tinted of nostalgia while the tears of violins and the fluty caresses add to this elegiac dimension. It's delicate and rather oniric. We are near New Age! Winds become more strident, awakening a thick cloud of sequences which hesitate to structure the rhythm of "Icarus' Flight" of which the approach remains furtive and get snuggled up in these sighs of flutes. And the sequences dance. They dance, like in Electronic-Universe, with jerky orchestrations, structuring an ambient rhythm. A cosmic lullaby which little by little exchanges its passivity for a structure as much lively than morphic, rather similar to the progression of the title-track, which is so close to these progressive and rather ambiguous structures of rhythm which make the charms of the Peter Mergener's repertoire. Each track of “Take Off” is soaked of these sound subtleties rich in contrasts and in colors. "The Eagle" is a beautiful slow dance with a poignant guitar and jingles on the background which remind me the duet Seiler/Lorenz in the Passage album. Wonderful, "On Wings" is literally sculpted in the sequenced harmonies, you know all these glass ringings which sing and shape an ambient rhythm, of the Electronic-Universe saga. And always there is this fine gradation in the envelope, as rhythmic as orchestral, which gives so much depth to the structures of Mergener. "Between Worlds" is a little moment very ambiospherical which is tied to the rather melancholic piano of "A Moment to Look Back"."Freedom of Space" proposes an ambiospherical structure fed by carillons lost in suave lunar orchestrations. Electronic effects, cosmic voices and hollow breezes weave an astral shroud where jingles of percussions and cymbals get carried away. Voices of NASA and murmurs of cosmic Elves are borrowed from the decoration of Software whereas that the soft drumming of the sequences shape an anesthetic lunar march. It's rather morphic and the sequences hammered on a musical anvil forge a kind of lunar ballet which loses its hypnotic charms in an electronic language filled up of organic tones. "Return to the Blue Planet" is more or less modeled on the same principle with a slow ambiospheric and ambiosonic intro which turns its gradation of the ambiences for a structure of ambient rhythm fed by balls of sequences which wind in spirals. These balls swirl into minimalist loops in a structure of rhythm which grows with jingles of metallic percussions, a little as in Cosmic-Excursion from the Electronic Universe II album but with a more fluid tempo. Layers of violin and cello harpoon this rhythm skipping with the orchestral jerks which cut out the ritornellos of sequences and direct the second portion of "Return to the Blue Planet" towards these structures of rhythms all contrasts, between the ambient and the lively, of both Software and Peter Mergener universes. "Landing" ends “Take Off” with a good very lively electronic rock where the sequences reveal all the wealth, as rhythmic as harmonic, of Peter Mergener. We love at the first listening!
CD 2 proposes us structures which are far enough from what we are used to hear from
Peter Mergener. And that begins with an all ambiospherical piece of music decorated by its lot of sound effects as well as synth layers and guitar laments which remind of the universe of Pink Floyd in Wish You Were Here. The voice of Stephen Hawking is dawdling around in the background and remains less attractive than that of a virtual woman. If we like the hollow atmospheres where we feel at light years from home, "Strange Voices" and "Extreme Conditions" with its huge waves of old church organ will know how to fill your expectations. We stay in the very Pink Floyd domain with "Solarsailer" which is a good electronic progressive rock with lively percussions, loops of guitar and nice orchestrations. It's rather different of the Mergener/Software universe but we roll on the neck and we slightly tap the thigh. And the guitar of Achim Elsen, who is very good by the way, does very David Gilmour. We are more into ballad style? The slow and very poignant "Sunlight" and its heavy resounding guitar, one would say a hard rock ballad, is going to eat your soul. "When the Wind Blows" is also a beautiful ballad but in a more New Age style. "Nightflight" is a more electronic track, well at least for its intro, with a circular movement of very crystalline sequences which clink in a spectral shroud. Impetus of a line of bass and wrapping synth layers, perfumed by the shadows of an old organ, give a night-depth to a music, which does very Mark Shreeve by the way, which takes back the guides of another electronic rock filled of pastiches and of sound glitter of the 80's. "A Little Bit of Something" will keep its electronic identity throughout its 8 minutes, it's quite a piece of EM my friends, with an approach which is a little similar to "On Wings" but with a clearly more lively rhythm where the perfumes of Mergener/Software  exhilarate our senses with a touch very TD from the Underwater Sunlight years.
Is the second CD necessary? I read negative comments that I do not share. If we are a little far from the
Peter Mergener's usual repertoire, the music remains very nice. And I always like that when an artist goes out of his comfort zone. And it's obviously the case here where Peter Mergener touches a lot of styles; New Berlin School, E-Rock, ambiocosmic soundscapes, New Age and Synth Pop. There is for all tastes and I believe that it's the purpose of a bonus CD offered in a special remixed edition. Regarding “Take Off”? Well...It's another fine jewel of New Berlin School which is very near of what Software had given to us during the Mergener/Weisser years. Isn't  what we wanted?
Sylvain Lupari (November 29th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca

You will find this album here

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