samedi 28 mai 2016

KURTZ MINDFIELDS: The Dreaming Void (2016)

“Wonderful, audacious and unique, The Dreaming Void is a pure treat for those who miss so much the analog years”
1 Nostalgic E.L.I.R.G (For Edgar Froese) 9:22
2 The Dreaming Void (Part One) 11:06
3 Earth Albedo 0.37 9:23
4 The Dreaming Void (Part Two) 6:00
5 Ode to a Shiny Star (for Léa) 5:14

Independant (LP 41:09) *****
(Analog Berlin School)
Sounds! Like a strata of magma which fidgets of its reddening fires, strange and fascinating flows of sounds warm up our ears. Big sound bumblebees throw themselves into these spatters which sparkle as an oil with deep fryer. Beyond the short-lived layers of voices, the hummings stretch their din to be transformed into apocalyptic sirens. Of this intro rich in color is born the last opus of Kurtz Mindfields. Here the universe is totally analog! Supported by his faithful companion and searcher of tones, Olivier Grall, Jean Luc Briançon still feeds our ears which always wanted more after his amazing Journey Through the Analog Adventure. And as the big builders of the golden years of EM, Kurtz Mindfields creates completely the universe of “The Dreaming Void” with an ethics for the authenticity of the analog tones which marks the sense of hearing. It's the music of yesterday written today with a mixture of instruments of the old days and others more contemporary. It's also a great fusion between the Berlin School and the more cosmic and more melodious model of the French School where Kurtz Mindfields redefines the borders of the analog EM with an panoply of equipments which will seduce your ears and will tickle your eardrums. The work is more intimist and less freed than the magnificent Journey Through the Analog Adventure, which is a real orgy of sounds, and is available only on vinyl, at the moment (a digital format is planned very soon), in order to preserve the mythical cachet of the analog years. And please, screw your ears to your expectations; “The Dreaming Void” pursues if not transcends the wonderful universe of Journey Through the Analog Adventure.
"
Nostalgic E.L.I.R.G (For Edgar Froese)" extricates itself from the misty colors of its introduction with a series of sequenced arpeggios which sparkle in the shadows of sirens. This first movement of a rather shy rhythm invites a heavy oscillator line to spit another more lively structure of rhythm. A structure gone up on a meshing of sequences which go and come with nuances in the forms and the tones, while that some sober percussions are structuring a good electronic rock beat decorated of cosmic fineries. The synths free some aerobatic manoeuvres with similar harmonies which run in a loops while that some pleasant solos migrate between Jarre and Jazz on a structure of rhythm of which the minimalist oscillations find landmarks in the structure to bring nuances. Don't look for anything which compares to Edgar Froese. It will be further in this album because although composed in the memory of the Tangerine Dream founder, "Nostalgic E.L.I.R.G (For Edgar Froese)" is a tribute in the electronic music of these years of creation of which the big Manitou of the Dream. is undoubtedly a pioneer. In fact, everything is very personal in this last opus of Kurtz Mindfields. Even if the name certain tracks can lead to confusion, as "Earth Albedo 0.37" and its intro strummed in the laces of reverie. We are far from Vangelis, except for the bombarding of the sequences and the acid-rock approach to the Earth years. But for the rest ... From the 50th second, a piercing synth ritornello throws cooings which roll in loops before being harpooned by a heavy and a sharply movement of sequenced oscillations. A vampiric melody, weaved in the entrails of an old rock organ, escapes and scatters its shadows which adopt the various tints and forms of solos from a synth always in retro mode. The rhythm receives the support of big metallic beatings which hammer heavily this perpetual movement of ascent of the sequences which never hesitates to fill our ears with the echoes of their shadows. Synths are simply delicious with violent solos which rage as in the time when the rock thwarted the prognostic with audacious guitars. In fact, the more I think of it and I listen to it; the flavors of psychedelic rock without borders of Vangelis are well and truly present on this "Earth Albedo 0.37".
The saga "
The Dreaming Void (Part One)" accosts our ears with tones of cosmos and with long woosh which seem to want to communicate with us. Corridors of sounds parade between our ears (here the wearing of a headphone is highly advised) as well as some long strands with stroboscopic effects ripped by an eater of sounds. The rhythm which follows is built on flowing oscillations which wind the space at speed big V, crossing waves of sounds and taming a thick cloud of intersidereal tones. A lively rhythm which oscillates now with fury, harmonious synth solos which are sometimes even spectral, multi-sound effects and stormy sequence; "The Dreaming Void (Part One)" is the true reflection of the “The Dreaming Void” dimension. The structure evolves in speed  and in the wealth of sounds to reach a movement of staccato wild which strikes a first reef of tranquillity before exploding again, as a thick cloud of centipedes on acid which feed on the fury of the solos from the tandem Briançon/Grall. Very different, "The Dreaming Void (Part Two)" adopts the delicious structures of Edgar Froese in Stuntman. The rhythm is fluid and the solos are majestic from a synth loaded with fragrances of guitar. This is big EM which doesn't stop to charm, especially with "Ode to a Shiny Star (for Léa)" which is doubtless the most melodious title, and the most accessible also, of this “The Dreaming Void” with an electronic air very French School which goes into our brain and which remains hung on very well. But here is, it's already finished!
Wonderful, audacious and unique, “The Dreaming Void” is a deserving successor of
Journey Through the Analog Adventure and shows beyond any doubt that Kurtz Mindfields is far from being a flash in the pan. This is wonderful EM which is stamped by this seal which will cross ages when the next generations will be interested again in the analog EM. Like today. Yes! Wonderful, audacious and unique at the height of the legends! And it's rather rare nowadays.

Sylvain Lupari (May 28th, 2016)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find more info on how to get this album here

mercredi 25 mai 2016

FABER: Earthbeats (2016)

“Music of the World filled of balanced nuances and perfect tribal moods,Earthbeats is another solid album of beats and melodies signed Faber”
1 Corsica 4:52
2 Dreamtime 6:32
3 Americans 4:34
4 Surat 5:53
5 Beijing Parc 5:25
6 Sheeba 3:19
7 Boi de Boulogne 4:18
8 Tangerine Moon 6:48
9 Indian Flavour 7:22
10 Sahara Queen 6:19
11 Footprints in the Snow 6:42
12 High Mountains 3:53

MellowJet Records ‎| cdr-fa1601 (CD-r/DDL 65:54) ****
(World Music loaded of beats and mélodies)
It's crazy how the mind plays us tricks! How it needs points of references. Take this last album of Faber. At the first listening, while one knows absolutely nothing of the concept aspect of “Earthbeats” (the first time I'm listening to an album I never check the artwork or the press info in order to not be influenced), I stayed stone-faced. There were voices and chants (there still there), "Dreamtime", "Americans" and "Indian Flavour", as well as an ethnic approach which is just out of the ordinary. In fact, Ronald Schmidt's electronic genre seemed to me completely absent. The 2nd listening began to leave its after-effects and I had the sting for 2 or 3titres. It's with the 3rd listening that I really hooked...
A line of bass sequences weaves a sneaky approach which gets loose as a movement of escalation playing in loops. This structure of quiet rhythm is of use as bed to arpeggios which float gently and which complete the melody with silky arrangements where the synth harmonizes its airs with some fanciful violins. No matter the genres,
Ronald Schmidt does not lose his harmonious touch as shown by this "Corsica", a quiet title which makes us derive to the door of "Dreamtime" and of its vaporous intro. Pulsations activate the rhythm a little after the point of sixty seconds. These pulsations turn into knockings and raise rumblings of percussions which structure an always quiet rhythm but which is similar to a slow ride. The synth raises some very beautiful solos which sing over a fauna of sequences a bit organic and which melt their charms in these arrangements that Faber hides in his vault of melody for melodramatic movies. We have no choice but to like this track which flirts slightly with the music of Tangerine Dream of the TDI years, but with more emotionalism. "Americans" is the first track which really gave me the taste to pursue and to discover a little more the universe of “Earthbeats”. And it's there that I seized the concept of this last Faber opus which is an impressive mosaic of rhythms of the world where Ronald Schmidt makes us travel through 5 continents with 12 music pieces which reflect well enough the various cultures which compose them.
"
Americans" is a delicious tribal music title of the first native nations. The lascivious rhythm, like a kind of spiritual trance, and the sound effects which depict the native character are coated of superb orchestrations which divide the rhythm of the lento momentums. A splendid guitar traces a very beautiful melodious approach which still haunts my ears. But not as much as these shamanic chants and those tribal songs which dig a little into Mike Oldfield's universe of The Song of a Distant Earth. We have the fever for it at once... Here and on the very lively "Surat" which is a great Arabian techno loaded with the fragrances of the Middle-East, a little in the spirit of Muslimgauze, where some sitar notes, finely pinched, decorate a very danceable soundscape. One likes sitar? "Indian Flavour" should then seduce you with a suave ballad which tucks a soft spiritual trance and which is fed by Hindus chants besides being harmonized with delicate manual percussions. Here, as everywhere in “Earthbeats”, the caresses of the synth violins tickle the threads of our emotions. "Beijing Park" is designed on the same bases as "Surat", except that the rhythm is slower here and the sitar gives way to nice arpeggios filled of Asian essences. More orchestral, with synth layers scented with the fragrances of Le Parc, "Sheeba" is a short track which allies the silky orchestrations of "Surat" on a "Dreamtime" rhythmic pattern. "Boi de Boulogne" does very France with an interesting duel between a keyboard and a very well constituted acoustic guitar. The rhythm is lively, cheerful and light like a ballad in automobile in Provinces. The percussions are simply bewitching here with a very retro rhythmic charm. Arched on two exchangeable phases, "Tangerine Moon" is the most electronic title of “Earthbeats”. The sequences trace some wide stroboscopic zigzags and their crossed movements weed a huge bank of  mist. The synth lies harmonies under the forms of very stylized solos, which sound like Tangerine Dream, while the keyboards chords resound like Rick Wright's memories. If another line of sequences makes diversion to the rhythm, the duel synth and guitar, very rock electronic by the way, gives a very interesting second part. It' a solid track which sounds out of tune in the landscape of “Earthbeats” because of its very electronic approach. "Sahara Queen" offers a good slow tempo to the delicate mystical Arabian essences with breaths of voice which bewitch the organic tones of the chirpings of sequences  and which compete with the ethereal layers of a synth loaded of nice electronic harmonies. The contrast is striking, but not as much as these tribal percussions which bring "Sahara Queen" towards a good mid-tempo and its airs of a sweet morphic trance. This is another catcher. "Footprints in the Snow" and "High Mountains" close this last Faber opus in a soft mode. The first track unveils a veil of contemplativity with arpeggios of ice which resound on an immense carpet of snow while that "High Mountains" leads us in the heights of the world with a strong dramatic presence of the winds and strings instruments. Majestic, we hear chirpings of birds in this ode in the serenity singing with the sun and the blue of the sky, showing without any doubts that Ronald Schmidt feels at ease on all fronts and that he has an undeniable talent for these harmonies and these arrangements which transcend the universe of EM and give us shivers to the soul.

Sylvain Lupari ( May 25th, 2016)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on the MellowJet Records shop here

lundi 23 mai 2016

BINAR: Another Day in La-La-Land (2016)

“Both the worlds of Binar and Andy Pickford are revealed in this Another Day in La-La-Land where beats, psy-moods and danceable music get together in an impressive sound mosaic”
1 Transcendental Space Goat 12:11
2 Another Day in La-La-Land 10:49
3 Dimanches 10:26
4 Byzantium 11:32
5 Planet Shopping 12:29
6 And the Dancing Seaweed 11:24
7 Forget the Sun 6:37

Binar Music (DDL 75:32) ****¼
(Unclassified EM and synth-dance music)
It's like a bottle under pressure to which we remove the cork and that an avalanche of sounds represses at the neck. A shout and hoarse tremors of a shamanic kind are eventually going across, as well as a shadow of vampiric bass line as well as some sober and steady percussions. Sequences sharply flash, adopting tints and forms which conjugate themselves while that subtle riffs adhere now to the bass line which goes up and down like in a good rock without drums. The sonic banquet of “Another Day in La-La-Land” has just been launched. And "Transcendental Space Goat" starts things out with a good dose of EDM and psychedelism. The rhythm is lively and entailing with stroboscopic thin lines which whip us feet. The voices, these indelible charms of the first 3 opuses of the English duet, always stay between the normality and the deformation, we even hear one goat grumbling, and they flood the rhythms with committed and outrageous comments,  forcing an attentive listening which transcends the music. “Another Day in La-La-Land” sends Binar back to its roots with a sonic, and musical, extravaganza which inhales the beautiful years of Project Poltergeist. Normal would you say because the music was written at the same time, either in 2006. Andy Pickford has discovered these sessions recently and had a good time mixing them and giving them a more contemporary envelope. And the result is as well unexpected than delicious with a hybrid album where the first part inhales the essences of Binar and the second one, those of Andy Pickford.
The title-track opens with a blooming of cosmic tones, another of the surprising effects of “Another Day in La-La-Land”, before the rhythm is settling down. It's supported, like a good rock, with lively percussions and decorated with small jerky strands as well as with sequences with an organic complexion. If the rhythm and its fineries inspire the sense of hearing, the voices are more mesmerizing here with a speech which explain the warning of Binar as for the contents possibly offensive of the texts. To note the nice and very harmonious keyboard which weaves easily an earworm. Every title here is a sonic fair, a box with surprises which seduces. Both for the nature of its rhythms, all very danceable by the way, as by the color of the music and of the effects. "Dimanches" stays in the same cosmic themes but presents a rhythmic as lively and technoïd that of "Transcendental Space Goat". The long and dying groans abound as much as the insidious charms of the multi-phases sequencing dance themes. Andy Pickford makes a remarkable work by sticking 7 lost titles which extend in a magma of sounds and voice from beyond this Earth and give an unreal color to the first 33 minutes of “Another Day in La-La-Land”. It's real good the hear Binar again because we are entering now in the more harmonious and the more synth dance world of Andy Pickford. The bass, the melody and the very Tangerine Dream effects of Le Parc will blow your ears away with the extraterrestrial, or intra-schizophrenic, ballad that is "Byzantium". We stick on the first listening on this title, as well as the very beautiful "Forget the Sun", where the effects are less dominant than those vicious lines of bass and these effects of fluty layers which embroider a misanthrope melody. Both are great melodious tracks! And each tracks stick together with totally opposite approaches, like the very dance and trance "Planet Shopping". There also the music glitters more than the effects of voices and of the psychedelism. And it's the same thing with wild and the indomitable "And the Dancing Seaweed" which is really in the Andy Pickford repertoire.From the complex kingdom of Binar to the more accessible universe of Andy Pickford, “Another Day in La-La-Land” is the perfect album for who want to discover what lies behind two committed artists who refuse any compromise. And this even in a more commercial approach, like the 2nd part of this album which is decorated with 2 superb melodic jewels. And the fans of Binar, and Andy Pickford are not outdone by this album which restores us the taste to rediscover the first works of both.
Sylvain Lupari (May 23th, 2016)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on Andy Pickford Bandcamp page here

dimanche 22 mai 2016

KLAUS SCHULZE: In Blue (1995/2005)

“The reunion between Schulze and Gootsching, In Blue is among the best works of the 90's in EM field”
CD 1
Into The Blue 78:25

CD 2
Return of the Tempel 44:38
Serenade in Blue 34:19

CD 3 (Bonus)
1 Musique Abstract / Live 1994 7:02
2 Return to the Tempel 2 / Live 1997 13:51
3 Out of the Blue 2 / Live 1998 32:20

ZYX Music 1995
Revisited Records SPV 089-304102 DCD+CD REV 008

(CD 210:45) *****

(New Berlin School)
In Blue”! Ah... the soft return of Ashra's Temple. A bit of history for me to you. I remember when I bought “In Blue” in 1995. There were few things happening in North America regarding EM of the Berlin School style. I was listening those last breathes of Software on Innovative Communication, whose catalogue was still distributed here on HMV Canada. Tangerine Dream was going further and so further away from its style with Turn of the Tides and Tyranny of Beauty. Klaus Schulze's “In Blue” was one of his rare CD which crossed the ocean to land here. And when I saw the artwork and the name who was accompanied Klaus on it, I knew that I would have my ears filled of sound pleasures. And indeed, I was! Hold your hat and take a deep breath, “In Blue” is what I could describe as being a real masterpiece of the neo Berlin School movement. It's the perfect union between two eras. Between the essences of the warm analog sounds and of the 70's and the digital coolness of the technologies of those days. A solid opus that Revisited Records has polished in order to offer it in a superb 3 CD Digipack, including a bonus CD and this so helpful booklet where Schulze talks about “In Blue”.
"
Into the Blue" is a long track of 78 minutes which comes in 5 segments. The first part is an ode to ambiospherical music. A long sonic fresco which transpires sensibility and melancholy. Chords which sound like a guitar and symphonic choirs cross a bluish sky and around the 15 minutes, the music bursts out with percussions. And "Blowin' the Blues Away" transports us in the Schulzian universe where the lines of sequences are tormented by the multiple assaults of percussions and crosshatched by wind instruments such as trumpets and oboes which are knitted in yet and still very good orchestral arrangements. All this musical mixture is struggling with intensity on sharp outbursts of rhythms which are wrapped by synth layers  which harmonize their hold with the various sequenced metamor-phases. It's an incredibly rich piece of music where Klaus is in great shape and toys with the moods while showing his incredible ingenuity to match the sequencing patterns and the samplings along the movements of the synths. The segment of 30 minutes which is "Wild And Blue" is totally divine and also wild. The rhythm is wild and Schulze plays between its vast sampling of percussions, sometimes deafening, on a bumpy structure but all the same rather uniform where wallows a magnificent synth and its trumpeter's harmonies. The structure evolves artlessly, filtering an approach to free jazz with a movement of hyperactive sequences. The crash of the percussions establishes a new chapter to "Wild And Blue" where agreements get melt in a kind of guitar, a nasal song and a sharply strummed melody. This is Schulze at his best and even if he cannot hold this wild pace, bringing the 2nd part towards more serene phases but always shaken by fragments of a rhythm which refuses stubbornly to bend backwards. The finale, "True Blue", will take care of it. Magical, vicious and infectious, "Return of the Tempel" is the meeting point between the genius Manuel Gottsching (Ashra Temple) on guitar and Klaus Schulze, them who had initiated Ash Ra Temple back in 1970. The introduction, "Midnight Blue", is very ethereal with a more or less cosmic approach filled with huge interstellar woosh. Daydreamer, Gottsching scatters his notes, a fusion between Asia and Spain, while Schulze spreads his orchestrations and light solos which coo like an acoustic guitar. And bang! "Return of the Tempel" runs on us like a train with a meshing of percussions, sober one should I add, and a line of bass which rolls breathless. Is it lamentations of guitar or of synth which wraps this rising rhythm? The magic of the sonic spectres! The guitar multiplies the effects on a structure blown up by its lively and minimalist approach as well as a great sequencing pattern which increases its dynamism as "Return of the Tempel" progresses. It's there that Manuel Gottsching seizes our ears with totally outstanding solos. A very beautiful piece of a music wild and crazy filled of audacious harmonious eccentricities! "Blue Spirits" puts back the peace which has introduced "Return of the Tempel" with a sort of Spanish guitar and orchestrations on a cosmic background while "True Blue" ends this long title with some very annoying electronic effects. A useless thing! "Serenade in Blue" sounds like a suite to "Into the Blue" so much the music and its evolutionary structures are alike.
The Bonus CD doesn't improve the greatness which is the original, but wow...!
"
Music Abstract" is an intense frenzy forged in Das Wagner Disaster's shadows. The sound quality is average, one would say a bootleg from the audience remasterised, but it's good Schulze. "Return of the Tempel 2" has nothing in common with the first version. It sounds like a track found in the vaults of The Dark Side of the Moog. Recorded some 4 years farther, "Out of the Blue 2" is a long track which respects the musical philosophy of Schulze. But I found nothing there which could let believe that it was from the “In Blue” sessions. It's a minimalist title which, once tom-toms are rolling, is of use as backdrop to effects and synthesized voices. There was better bonuses on other reeditions.
In Blue” should be part of your discography! It's an album which allies intensity and serenity in a musical envelope rich in new developments. It's great EM served to all the sauces with fine South American and Oriental essences. Klaus Schulze plays with his rhythms and his atmospheres with a surprising dexterity, going from one extreme to the other with violence or quietness. It is doubtless his most beautiful work of the 90's. Of his years of samplings where the percussions and the sequences dominate the elegances that he formerly possessed to make his synth adrift with majestic solos. The first 2 CD represent a colossal work which can be match easily  his best albums. And I always have these goose bumps on each time that I listen “In Blue”, especially the Gottsching part. The sign of a work which bloody age well....

Sylvain Lupari (Written in French on July 1st 2006. Translated in English on May 22nd 2016)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca

jeudi 19 mai 2016

ROBERT RICH: What We Left Behind (2016)

“With What We Left Behind Robert Rich is achieving the impossible in creating a music which leads us straight away near a post-apocalyptic prehistoric universe”
1 Profligate Earth 6:22       
2 Raku 5:13   
3 Voice of Rust 5:41   
4 Soft Rains Fall 4:17   
5 Rhizome 2:01   
6 Transpiration 5:17   
7 Corvid Collections 6:32   
8 Aerial on Warm Seas 9:08   
9 Never Hunger 3:22   
10 After Us 3:02   
11 What We Left Behind 6:01   
12 Meeting Face to Face 5:29

Soundscape ‎| SP027 (CD 62:24) ***½
(Ambient tribal post apocalyptic)
Songs of paradisiacal birds, rumblings of thunders and a layer of synth adorned of an halo as white as spotless, "Profligate Earth" infiltrates our ears with the approach of a survivor who scrutinizes his long road on horseback. The rhythm gets lively with a thin touch of Electronica with these percussions which click as clogs on a dry ground while the tears of the Lap Steel guitar paint the sky of a shade of a profound melancholy. With “What We Left BehindRobert Rich is achieving the impossible, for the real fans of ambiences and the cerebral film-makers; create a music which leads us straight away near a post-apocalyptic prehistoric universe with a dozen of very pensive titles. Except the kind of Electronica that is "Profligate Earth", the rhythm buried under an abstruse avalanche of strata and another soft song murmured by the flute of "Transpiration" and the splendid ballad of the title-track, where the tears of the Lap Steel and the percussions fascinate the hearing in a Earth and Fire rite, the other 50 minutes of “What We Left Behind” are rather quiet. We can hear noises of percussions and beginnings of rhythms, like in "Raku" which adopts marvellously the landscape of sadness of "Profligate Earth", but for the rest, the songs of flutes, the murmurs and the torrents of the winds as well as the meditative rhythms, tickled by shamanic percussions, fill the atmospheres of this last Robert Rich's opus. But it's not because it is quiet that it's not beautiful. Far from it! The sounds which decorate the atmospheres that weave Rich are intrusive. "Raku" is dying in "Voice of Rust" while "Soft Rains Fall" spreads its sibylline layers in a very  Steve Roach soundscape. The song of the spectres sticks to our skin! Stripped of percussions, "Rhizome" remains all the same rather dark and intriguing, as a moonless night, where the noises of the fauna get lost in hollow winds and distant knockings. The ambient, although some percussions can sow doubt on its nature, structure of "Corvid Collections" reminds me of someone who looks for his shade under rocks and gets angry in front of his eternal quest. See how the imagination can work! That can even be a dance for nomads post-apocalyptic. It depends! "Aerial on Warm Seas" is another piece of music with atmospheres which are near  Steve Roach's territories, the acuteness of winds and songs in plus. "Never Hunger" is a very meditative title where the flute loses its shadow in front of a very iridescent avalanche of Steel strata. It's very intense and the reverberations which feed its end throw themselves into the serenity of "After US" and its crackling of rattlers. One of the big strengths of “What We Left Behind” is the way Robert Rich is moderating the soothing effects of his atmospheres by inserting phases of rhythms into the strategic points of his album. If "Transpiration" awakens the sleep which would have been able to watch for our state of contemplativity, it's the same for "What We Left Behind" which is one of the good tracks of Robert Rich's directory. The meshing of sounds on an aboriginal rhythm is completely charming. "Meeting Face to Face" is a very poignant finale which would fit very well for a dramatic movie. The tears of synth and its shadows which scatter among the celestial voices is simply staggering, while the guitar is playing quite slowly a nostalgia which fades under a delicate rain.
Once again, I let myself get caught by the music of
Robert Rich. Although the style of the Californian musician is miles away from what I'm used to savour, I always find elements of an imperceptible and inexplicable beauty there. It is, in my humble opinion, the quiet strength of Robert Rich; find the inexplicable and put it in music!

Sylvain Lupari (May 19th, 2016)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find a way to get this album on Robert Rich's web shop here

mercredi 18 mai 2016

FRATOROLER: What! (2016)

“For its subtle mixture of dark cinematographic EM and a Berlin School sometimes dipped into neo-Krautrock, What! will be a dominating album in 2016”
1 Okklusion 17:15
2 Lapsang Souchong 13:24
3 Scoville 21:35
4 Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerych-wyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch 16:09

SynGate ‎| CD-R FR05 (CD-r/DDL 68:23) ****½
(Retro Berlin School)
Fratoroler became this kind of band, a little like Perge or Arcane, from which we wait impatiently for the suite of events. Since Reflections, appeared in 2010, this project which gathers Thomas Köhler and Frank Rothe, the half of Filter-Kaffee, does not stop progressing with a series of albums of which the point of maturity was reached with the fascinating Nano in 2014. “What!” is a 5th album. An album which transcends the 4 first ones because Fratoroler touches slightly the essences of the neo-Krautrock while remaining framed well in its roots of retro Berlin School. And those who loves the genre, you will be delighted to hear 4 long music pieces which changes subtly of skin, even in their minimalist phase, where the sequences dominate the ambiences which try to avoid the origins of the Berlin School.
And what would be an album, a music of
Fratoroler without these misty openings where the sounds lose a little their virginity? It is thus in an industrial atmosphere where the breaths and the hummings reign among knockings and shudders of chains that opens "Okklusion". A small sneaky pulsation rises from this din of factory, as well as some Babylonian percussions. The introduction is meditating then between a filmic approach and another one more electronic as the synth throws a long plaintive pad which snivels around the chords of a thinking keyboard. And a superb line of sequences of the vintage years escapes around the point of 130 seconds. The movement is fluid, lively and oscillating in good speed under the caresses of a fluty harmony and another  line of sequences with curt keys which streak the electronic rhythm of "Okklusion". We are in the territories of a retro Berlin School reinvented with nice electronic effects, in particular gases of vapors, with harmonies and mists of Mellotron as well as percussions rattlers which decorate the rhythm delicately shaded of "Okklusion". The synth tosses solos as bewitching than the flutes of these sonic snake charmers which invade too often our emotions. And the more we move forward and the more "Okklusion" falls a little in a Krautrock mood with riffs of guitar, a metallic heaviness and tones psychotroniques which brings it out him of the electronic Berliner bed. A very good title which puts us the ears in appetite! "Lapsang Souchong" offers a more minimalist approach, after its 2 minutes of carbonic atmospheres, with a line of sequences which makes 6 peaceful keys waddle in front of another approach of sequences which clink such as ceramic bells. Calm, the movement remains not less attractive to the ear with this line of static rhythm which answers to its shadows, which goes up and comes down under nice electronic effects, pensive guitar notes and some very good airy synth solos. We stay easily in a state of hypnosis for good ten minutes here.
A long title proposed in 4 evolutionary phases, "
Scoville" presents a long intro of atmospheres where prowl some percussions rattlers, like a snake which crumbles its skeleton, in a cosmos filled with electronic effects, of woosh and of hollow winds. A movement of sequences makes skip some keys after the point of 6 minutes. Immediately, the rhythm takes shape with a muffled and resonant pulsation which bombards a static rhythm under the airs of a hybrid synth and of its harmonies as nasal and as symphonic, reminding the trumpets of Tangerine Dream's vintage years. The pulsatory movement is not static any more. It offers a structure of gallop one minute later. According to an evolution which adopts the curve of our desire the keys burst out quietly in a charmingly anarchy figure, creating a rhythmic always so static but furiously lively if our fingers follow the imagination of a rodeo of a herd of wild horses that we draw in our head. The atmospheres which encircle this movement difficult to describe are taken in the golden years of EM, in particular the forms of Ricochet and Phaedra crepuscular harmonies from you know who. "Scoville" reaches its saturation point around the 13 minutes, borrowing a corridor of atmospheres enough near its long opening, voices and electronic effects of magma bubbling in more. Another movement of sequences, more fluid and more lively, appears some 90 seconds farther, plunging "Scoville" into a movement of more contemporary electronic rhythm, as much at the level of the sequences as the atmospheres and the songs of synth. After its introduction of shady and glaucous atmospheres fed of floating tablecloths and dark winds where wallow smothered voices, electronic noises and other noises taken out of hell "Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwll llantysiliogogogoch" (“What!”) proposes a minimalist structure which walks on the bed of gaps. A line of sequences spreads 3 keys which skip heavily and sneakily in a structure of mortuary ambiences ideal for the kind of movie where the maniac sows terror with a victim which roams in a corridor without exits. That does as well Redshift as John Carpenter with a very black movement of which the velocity increases with the addition of another line of more crystal clear and more musical sequences which rings and skips in a structure of rhythm very in contrast with the primary minimalist approach. And if the rhythm changes a little, the ambiences are always so black , always also near fear.
For its subtle mixture of dark cinematographic EM and a Berlin School sometimes dipped into neo-Krautrock, “
What!” will be a dominating album in 2016. Fratoroler fills our ears and our senses of a music which refuses all compromises by surfing outside the limits of musical genres which attract our passions. And it's the biggest charm of “What!”; overturn into the unexpected while staying near the identity that we knew of it. A strong album which will seduce you again and again at every listening!

Sylvain Lupari (May 18th, 2016)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on the SynGate Bandcamp page here

lundi 16 mai 2016

DETLEF KELLER: The Breakfast Event (2016)

“The Breakfast Event is a long sonic road which presents the many facets of Detlef Keller”

1 Eleven Years Later 45:52
Manikin ‎| MRCD 8006 (CD 45:52) ****
(Minimalist Berlin School)

Detlef Keller is among one of the best-kept secrets of the Berlin School scene. Faithful accomplice of Mario Schonwalder since 1996, we forget that he also has a solo career which brought him to produce 8 albums since The Story of the Clouds in 1994. It's also the man behind M.O.B.S. (Man Of Berlin School) who made the sublime Aus Dem Nichts in 2014. Album which fascinated the little universe of Berlin School because of the secret character of his designer and the quality of the music. “The Breakfast Event”, which comes after the appealing Harmonic Steps produced in 2005, is the recording of one of the rare solo performances that Detlef Keller gave within the framework of the prestigious Schallwende EM-Breakfast in Bochum on December 6th  2015. And as the said so well Detlef, the essence of the music is to bring joy!
"
Eleven Years Later" is a long minimalist movement which presents all the facets of the Detlef Keller universe. The music is soft and harmonious. It follows various small stages which lead us to its conclusion 45 minutes later. A layer with the perfumes of ether and with floating sibylline harmonies sway among the resonant reverberations of juicy chords, bringing the introduction of "Eleven Years Later" in its darkest territories. Some more bright chords ring there. They try to bring out this long minimalist river of its dark torrent. And a very fine sequence dances with these chords while the ringings of carillons add a more delicate touch. The harmonious bed settles down with these crystalline chords. And the movement of the sequence freezes a hypnotic rhythmic melodic with a tint of fluty voice in its series of skips. A line of bass gets grafted. It chews the delicate rhythm with small jumps and delicate pulsations. And the rhythm skips slowly with elements which are added and forge a kind of morphic hip-hop. "Eleven Years Later" follows its minimalist curve with small ambient interludes where the time stops around the tears of a synth. Details count here and Detlef Keller adds constantly elements of rhythms and very airy solos which get entangle around a minimalist pace always gently hopping. After a more shady passage around the 19th minute point, "Eleven Years Later" adopts a more fluid tangent with a series of twinkling sequences which keenly skip, such as a thousand reflections of a sun radiating on the surface of a peaceful water. The synth spreads some sibylline layers and the movement of sequences misleads the ear with fine nuances in its rhythmic flow. Even shining with these sequences, the phase is rather in an ambient mode. Like those good cosmic Berlin School! Our blissful ears, our sense of hearing follows this brilliant phase of sequences until that some beatings structure the rhythm which now makes us roll of the neck. The synth layers are soothing and have a little of Jarre in their perfumes. The violins point out and we are in the moods of the Repelen series. And always this attractive game of the sequences which parade between our eardrums with all the charms of a magnetizing EM. And the rhythm becomes more lively after the point of 30 minutes. The violins tune their harmonies with the sequences and the cosmic ambiences, making greater the depth of "Eleven Years Later" of which the changes of skin are always made in subtleties. Yeah... A damned good piece of music which ends by this movement of sequences which titillated our hearing throughout this long title of Detlef Keller which after all has absolutely nothing to envy to Aus Dem Nichts. It's very beautiful and actually the essence of this music is to bring joy. The joy to hear something as much beautiful and so refreshing than this “The Breakfast Event”.

Sylvain Lupari (May 16th, 2016)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on the Manikin Bandcamp page here

vendredi 13 mai 2016

SCHONWALDER & ROTHE: Filter-Kaffee 100 (2016)

“Filter-Kaffee 100 is yet another finerie of good retro Berlin School in a very modern sound envelope”
1 Night Shift 4:18
2 Bridge Over Troubled Oscillators & LFOs 3:58
3 Shadows of the Darkshift 6:04
4 Rebound 8:03
5 Raindrops 6:01
6 Midnight Session 16:58

Manikin ‎| MRCD 8007 (CD 45:23) ***½
(Retro Berlin School with a modern approach)
In order to close the dossier of the filter paper sizes of 100- 102, Frank Rothe & Mario Schonwalder did the cleaning in old sessions of recording and would have found some small jewels of a EM always bound to the essences of retro Berlin School. More than 45 minutes were so gather. “Filter-Kaffee 100” thus becomes so a prequel to the first 2 volumes of the series. We hear the first experiments of the Rothe & Schonwalder here who offers a Berlin School style more centered on the dark side of the glaucous atmospheres of a music which gave sometimes shivers in the back if one would adapt it to a suspense and/or horror movie.
A din sculptured around metallic doors which we open and cosmic noises are introducing the opening of "
Night Shift". The rhythm becomes fluid with a line of sequences which makes oscillate and stumble its keys in a sonorous environment stuffed with echoes of hoops which collide, whimperings of a kind of Theramin and ambient layers filled with fog. That sounds a little as the rhythms and the ambiences of Flashpoint. "Bridge Over Troubled Oscillators and LFOs" is a long track loaded of glaucous moods to which they have grafted certain elements of ambiences of "Night Shift" to white noises and hummings of machinery. "Shadows of the Darkshift" is more melodious. The rhythm is ambient with sequences which swirl in the vapors of jingles and seraphic voices before taking a slightly slower tangent. It's a slow cosmic dance where sequences sparkle from all over and a line of bass draws up a slightly sneaky structure. The mix of the voices and the orchestrations gives us the shivers and raises the hair of the arms. That makes very Repelen, without the string instruments. After an introduction sewn in the suspense where knockings, heavy  and uncertain movements as well as slow layers of drizzle, "Rebound" plunges us into a heavy rhythm Redshift. The synths throw  lamentations of the Ricochet time in a dense fog where the rhythm, which became a mix of Redshift and TD of the Rubycon era, has difficulty in making tremble the wide banks of mystic drizzle. This is definitively the key point of “Filter-Kaffee 100” with "Shadows of the Darkshift". "Raindrops" offers a Software static rhythm pattern. The sequences pour out good movements of kick while other more crystalline sequences are structuring some nice evasive harmonies in a sonic decoration filled of hollow winds and of subtle singings rigged by a synth and its false trumpets. We also hear distant spectral harmonies here, adding a sibylline charm to this piece of music which gains to be more scrutinized. "Midnight Session" is a long track of atmospheres embroidered around filiform layers of resonant bass pulsations which drag a fascinating placid heaviness. There are lots of misty and spectral tones, as well as voices rather difficult to identify, which escape from the depths of these layers also filled of greyness and of metallic dusts. Intense, due to the depth of the sounds and the layers, enveloping and even incentive to the schizophrenia of the sounds, "Midnight Session" looks like a theme music, amplified, where the suspense and the mystery roams throughout its 16 minutes, making of this “Filter-Kaffee 100” an album of more atmospheres than rhythms which drinks of this nice period of the Dream but in a more modern envelope.

Sylvain Lupari (May 13th, 2016)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on the Manikin Bandcamp page here

mercredi 11 mai 2016

ALBA ECSTASY: Dämmerlicht (2016)

“Dämmerlicht offers 3 suites which complement each other well with a beautiful transition between the moods and the rhythms which aims to be more accentuated as we move forward to parts 2 and 3”
1 Dämmerlicht Part I 11:49
2 Dämmerlicht Part II 12:46
3 Dämmerlicht Part III 14:47

Alba Ecstasy Music (DDL 39:22) ***½
(Minimalist Roumanian School with a zest of light Electronica)
The music! The colors of sounds and the forms of tones! In the hands of a sculptor-musician these sounds and these tones become notes which ring and flutter, describing bows and sound spirographs which bewitch, otherwise create a certain dependence. Mihail Adrian Simion, or if you prefer better Alba Ecstasy, is a whole phenomenon. I approach his albums with a bit of suspicion, asking me every time if that is going to be good. Is it possible to create some good music while composing it at a level of industrial way? I don't count his albums anymore that he has sent me recently in a package of 5. “Dämmerlicht” is an album designed for another project, Hieronymus, whom Alba Ecstasy has tempted to set up at the beginning of 2012. This short album proposes 3 suites to “Dämmerlicht” and plunges the listener into the minimalist jewels of Indra's works, the Klaus Schulze of Roumania, but into an approach which favors as much the musing than the soft and hypnotic EDM.
Ringings of bells and two lines of sequences which intertwine their pace and skip briskly in tones of bass and of crystal open the delicately jerky rhythm of "Dämmerlicht Part I". The movement is hypnotic and offers nuances in the routes of the sequences which sometimes draw stroboscopic shapes and sometimes forge mislaid harmonies of which the airs crystallize their charms with the ringings of the bells. The mixture of the echos of both tones whistles for an azure wind while the shadows of sequences force this herd of keys to agglutinate in a compact mass from where gets out a bass line and so gives more heat to the very moired approach of "Dämmerlicht Part I". The movement accelerates substantially with the arrived of the percussions of which the beatings shake the shadows of the jumping keys and the light bangings of metal, giving an unsuspected sound wealth to a minimalist approach which gives itself the time to deploy its factory of charms. I really enjoyed this "Dämmerlicht Part I". That reminds to me the best of Indra! "Dämmerlicht Part II" begins with a storm of winds and growls which seem to shake the chains of time. Some nice orchestrations nest on this meshing of sibylline elements while the sequences, always so crystal clear, get organized as in "Dämmerlicht Part I" to ring in a melodious approach. A line of heavy, resonant and lively bass as well as some sober percussions structure a kind of astral funk which serves as support for a synth rather jazzy. It's quite different but it listens to rather well. "Dämmerlicht Part III" is also rather different with an approach more in the kind of morphic mid-tempo. Sequences always skip by drawing arches of melodies while the pulsations and the percussions forge a steady rhythm but rather out of sync in front of the harmonious skipping of sequences. The 2nd part is livelier.
We would never know what was the future of
Hieronymus! Of what I understand, Alba Ecstasy tried to breathe movements of dance into an EM always very hypnotic. At this level “Dämmerlicht” offers 3 suites which complement each other well with a beautiful transition between the moods and the rhythms which aims to be more accentuated as we go to parts 2 and 3. But for me, "Dämmerlicht Part I" is a wonderful piece of music which makes shade to the growth and the direction of the beats of its following parts.

Sylvain Lupari (May 10th, 2016)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on the Alba Ecstasy Bandcamp page here