mercredi 1 janvier 2020

SYNTH&SEQUENCES keeps moving

Dear readers and followers, I want to thank you warmly for this massive support of you in the evolution of my Blog Synth & Sequences. Unfortunatly, du to the fact that it has a lot of stuff and a long list of artist whose music is reviewed here, I have to move this Blog to a more convivial way to read it and to find reviews. So it's the main cause of why this Blog is switching for a real website.

Now SynthSequences will need a new way to search from you, but you will see the differences between it and this Blog Please take to time to dig it will continue to read here. But you will remark that reviews will diseapper and reappear on the new website. Allready, more than 235 reviews have been removed and put on my new website.

I hate to do this, but this site cost me an average of 500$ a year. This is the reason you see the Donate sign. It's not an obligation for anyone, and it will be remove once this amount is reached each year.

Thanks and advance and long live to Electronic Music :D

Sylvain Lupari

lundi 25 janvier 2016

RAINBOW SERPENT: Pulse (2000/2015)

“Pulse is a great EM album which mixes marvellously two poles, the old as the new Berlin School, with two contrasting approaches which fit so well in those intricate ambiences”
1 Pulse Trancemission 15:12
2 Part I 13:25
3 Part II 10:45
4 Part III 10:28
5 Part IV 4:17
6 Alien Nature 14:23
7 Part V 9:50

SynGate Records ‎| RSX-4 (DDL/CD-r) ****
(Progressive vintage and contemporary EM)
WoW! I completely missed this album! And it is one of the good reasons that I esteem those re-editions of the SynGate label. Year in year out, the German label resuscitates an album forgotten in time on its download platform. An album which very often is an inescapable and which remained snuggled up well inside its borders. “Pulse” from Rainbow Serpent is this kind of album. Cast into 7 tracks which are linked in ambiences as convoluted than its rhythms weaved in a creative complexity, but which flow so well between the ears, this 8th album of Rainbow Serpent is the perfect example of the duality between the harmonious approach of Frank Specht and that a little more audacious of Gerd Wienekamp.
"Pulse Trancemission" begins very slowly with sighs of computing machines of which the echoes are amplifying the presence of emptiness. Electronic effects draw an informatics language, bringing the first track of “Pulse” near the borders of cosmic psychedelism. A pad of voices unveils a vintage perfume. It precedes the first pulsations of "Pulse Trancemission" which take the shape of those of a peaceful heart beat. Synths divide these pads between effects of voice and mist, without forgetting to spread an orchestral veil which serves as onset to a shower of crackling and ambient tom-toms which resound far off. Wrapped by a cosmic choir, the rhythm of "Pulse Trancemission" thwarts the forecasts with a heavy and lively approach. It spreads its parallel curves which wave with fluidity in the tumult of the ambient percussions, percussions kind of those tribal trances in
Schulze's Totem era as well as electronic effects and solos from a synth which whistle such as a mechanical nightingale with a mutating voice. Sometimes a pulsation gets lost and tries to run away. It loses of its vitality in the wide banks of interstellar layers filled of electronic chirping and in some faded voices, as well as in the pulsations which bring us to this fascinating electronic dialect of which the well tied up loops forge a surprising sequence of rhythm. The movement of "Part I" looks like the one of a carnival that we hear far off. Very far in the cosmos! Still there the movement is fluid. It hangs on to its oscillating loops which are leaning on sober pulsations and on lively noises of cymbals. The chants of the synths are piercing and draw acrobatic tricks which spin over these indefatigable curl of electronic rhythms. The percussions tumble down at around the 4th minute. Their scattered crashes structure an ambient rhythm, a little as Grosskopf in the ambiences of Klaus Schulze. A beautiful movement of dark sequences runs away while "Part I" wraps itself of mist around the 7th minute point. The rhythm becomes fluid and heavy, like in the Phaedra years, beneath pads of mist and of voices before that some more lively pulsations lead it not far from of a morphic techno. One of the charms of “Pulse” is doubtless this fusion of organic tones and ambient percussions which sound so much like Klaus Schulze's fathomless rhythms in Totem. Except that the contemporary envelope of the sound muddles up our memory, so that the impression of already heard gives way to a form of dazzle.

Little by little the rhythm which gets organize all around becomes a kind of cosmic Groove of which the swaying of the hips makes undulating our body in an intense cosmic phase. Synths and their effects are very melodious and get closer a lot of Frank Specht in Sebastian im Traum. It's a beautiful moment of a little more celestial mood before that the lively and fluid rhythm of "Part III" brings us no more and no less near of ['ramp], of Redshift or if you prefer in the good old Tangerine Dream days. The play of the percussions, so much the jingles as the Bongo drums, adds a more contemporary electronic depth to this rhythm buried under a good chthonian choir. It's very good. It's the track which catches our attention the quickest on the first exploration of “Pulse” which dives afterward into a very ambiospherical phase with "Part IV" and its vocoder which seems to recite a prayer over the bitter sight of battle field and its mist of sweat. That reminds me enormously of Pink Floyd in Animals, Sheep. The dialogue of the machines continues with "Natural Alien", a complex track which deserves to be discovered. The first listening could displeasant a little with this voice of machine which gabbles a secret language that only people of some very former nomad tribes seem to understand, if we trust this structure of rhythm which adopts a kind of clanic trance with pantings which blow in loops. That reminds me of the aboriginal structures of Steve Roach. The first 3 minutes of "Part V" prolong the ambiospherical phase of “Pulse” with a synth which frees multi-sonic twists over the jingles of the cymbals. A bass sequence beats a little after the 3rd minute, lighting up a nervous structure of rhythm where sequences and percussions flicker without a precise plan of rhythm before plunging this last track of “Pulse” towards a fast sequencer based electronic rock which is filled by a technoïd approach hidden in this Teutonic universe of rhythms unique to the approaches of these German groups which always knew how to bring their EM jewels of the Berliner style towards other heavens. Yep... a damned beautiful album. Not easy to tame but of an incomparable wealth.
Sylvain Lupari (January 24th, 2016)

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

mercredi 20 janvier 2016

ANDERS JORGENSON: Greatest Hits (2015)

“Greatest Hits is a nice surprise which suits marvelously to this new generation of musicians which redefine the borders of the German EM”
1 The Good, The Bad and The Modular 8:30
2 Stormchaser 12:43
3 The Secrets of Stonehenge 6:41
4 Tsing Tao 9:41
5 Space Hockey 11:01
6 Monster 9:25

SynGate | CD-r ANSD01 (DDL/CD-r 58:01) ****
(Teutonic Ambient Trance and E-Rock)
I was more than delighted by the music of EFSS (Jörg Erren, Bert Fleißig, Jochen Schöttler and Christian Steffen) and more recently that of Von Hallgath. And when I heard that Jörg Erren was behind this quite new project named Anders Jørgensen, appeared on the SynGate label at the end of 2015, I didn't hesitate to plunge. Flanked by his accomplice within the band of German synth-pop Dusk to Dawn; Andreas Kleinwächter (aka Andreas Larsen), Jörg Erren forms another dynamic musical project which dives literally into these rhythms dark and tortured by sound effects that we discovered in the universes of EFSS and Von Hallgath. And no, “Greatest Hits” is not a compilation of success of an unknown band. It's rather a satiric title of which the meaning can feed all forms of interpretations. Strongly anchored in the very dynamic kind of Von Hallgath, “Greatest Hits” is the fruit of 3 studio recording sessions where Jörg Erren and Andreas Kleinwächter have structured an EM on the improvisation scale of which the main rhythmic engine is a troop of sequenced pulsations which weave heavy rhythms. Structures of rhythm many times subdivided or multiplied by the explosions of  pulsations and sequences which take on tones as musical than organic. This is candy for the ears which love that when the minimalist art widens its ramifications beyond the anesthesia of linear and sedentary rhythms.
"The Good, The Bad and The Modular" starts this Anders Jorgensen's first album with a heavy and pulsatory rhythm, kind of
Von Hallgath in Intersection. The riffs of keyboard and the jingles of percussions forge and adorn a slow rhythm. A sort of down-tempo that some percussions harpoon in a very good rock approach and which rolls like a train sliding on plains in a panoramic vision. A sequenced melody haunts the movement. It goes and comes, giving out its harmonies to some slow sibylline layers and the chirpings of soft oscillations. It's heavy, lively and melodious, and that starts pretty good this “Greatest Hits” adventure. A troop of pulsations on a bed of cracklings, "Stormchaser" offers a lively structure knotted around a sequence of oscillatory pulsations. Electronic effects, trajectories of cosmic stars, ghostly layers and an absent choir add a depth to a nervous phase of rhythm which subdivides the shadows of its oscillations in order to weave a complexity between two adjacent but discordant phase of which the effect of overlapping makes dance our neurons more than our feet. I like "The Secrets of Stonehenge" and its minimalist line of pulsations which skip such as footsteps lost in a labyrinth. If the structure is similar to "The Good, The Bad and The Modular", it offers variances in its drumming with neat and precise riffs which bring us back to the serial phases of Plastikman. The rhythm skips vigorously, the troop of pulsations seems to get fat by multiplying double linear jumps, even if surrounded with layers of ether which float with anesthetic airs. There also, the fingers and the neurons drum in symbiosis."
"Tsing Tao" is undoubtedly the most musical track in “Greatest Hits”. Based on the same principle of sequenced pulsations and railroad riffs which pound or grumble in mists of ether, the duet of friends releases here more crystal clear pulsating sequences. Their airs shine and sparkle in an always threatening envelope and especially with some beautiful effects of percussions, weaving two axes of melodies which answer themselves harmoniously. A storm of white noises and hummings assails the introduction of "Space Hockey". Pulsations, like steady steps of a jogger, forge a panting rhythm of which the absence of breath is compensated with these heavy drones which turn over and enclose this pulsatory rhythm which releases some double of sequenced chords filled of organic chirping. A line of oscillatory, and more musical, sequences hangs on to this rhythm which becomes more fluid around the 4 minutes, forcing a melodious approach with a ritornello of chirpings which later will adopt again this sensation of Plastikman in "The Secrets of Stonehenge". Three to four lines of rhythm weave a structure rich in nuances and in tones where synth lines draw sibylline airs whereas that heavy knockings forge a climate of anxiety, like in a good movie of suspense where the fright is meditating in an element of a psychosis movie. For the end, "Monster" presents an energetic structure with an oscillatory line which waves sharply in the jolts of bass percussions. Like a big snake fleeing a fire of bush, the rhythm is rapid and is decorated with agile percussions which click and flight lightly like the wings of a wooden butterfly. Synth layers, some are orchestral while others are made of 
Schulzian ether, caress the violence of the movement which is in the kind of ambient trance on a technoïd depth. A structure which is also on the edge of psychedelism with chirping sequences, organic effects and stroboscopic twists which peck at atmospheres always very near to be anesthetized by these mists of ether, otherwise calmed by some beautiful orchestral attempts. Heavy, lively and appealing ( the play and the effects of percussions are in the kind of Jarre in Chronology), "Monster" closes a first album which suits marvelously to this new generation of musicians which redefine the borders of the German EM. Ambient trance? EDM? Techno for zombies without appetite? The music of Anders Jorgensen, as that of Von Hallgath and of EFSS, is a wind of freshness for a style which is nevertheless so close to be banal. 
Sylvain Lupari (January 20th, 2016)

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

vendredi 15 janvier 2016

TANGERINE DREAM: Quantum Key (2015)

“Usually I'm not a huge fan of those things the industry does in order to take advantage of a celebrity death, but I got to admit that this Quantum Key shows something that should please us, even if a lot of us wish simply that we let the name of Edgar soberly quiet”
1 Genesis of Precious Thoughts 9:12
2 Electron Bonfire 5:05
3 Drowning in Universes 11:07
4 Mirage of Reality 7:25

Eastgate | 075 CD (E.P. 32:51) ****
(Based sequence and theatrical E-Rock)
The Quantum Years was the next stage wished by Edgar Froese for his long adventure with the sonic vessel which is (was?) Tangerine Dream. Exit the Eastgate Years! Exit the tom-toms of Iris Camaa and Linda Spa's melancholic saxophones. Here is this new generation to which is added Ulrich Schnauss and where the sound of Tangerine Dream finds a sort of youth with an approach that Edgar wants to simplify with a pleiad of electronic analog and digital instruments, set apart for the violins and the cellos of Hoshiko Yamane which are as much electric than acoustic. Except that Edgar won't see it, from this planet at least, the evolution of his baby whom he conceived and educated against all odds since Electronic Meditation in 1970. First opus of this new lineage, “Quantum Key” was a foretaste (is it always?) of what was planned to be; the album Quantum Gate. Offered in a format of an E.P. (CupDisc?) of 33 minutes, “Quantum Key” proposes 3 compositions cosigned by Edgar Froese. The duet Quaeschning/Schnauss was inspired by his last works, by the last notes of the silver fox in order to offer a mini album of a high quality which left (does it still leave?) foresee and hear a Tangerine Dream which united (still unites?) the bridges between its Virgin years, its Melrose years and its last Eastgate years.
And it's this feeling which obsesses us from the first measures of "Genesis of Precious Thoughts". The sequences are heavy and oscillate sharply such as a herd which hurtles down a plain full of symmetric dunes. Like in
Phaedra! Before arriving there, the title crosses an introduction dirtied by tones and by electronic effects which twist themselves under a troop of metallic tramplings. A heavy and vampiric movement of sequences reveals then these charms which remind so much of Phaedra. Dramatic explosions and riffs in suspension decorate the sonic firmament whereas wooden percussions eventually roll over a long riff and its effect of reverberation. The pulsations which are grafted are structuring a kind of big electronic rock which smashes its momentum on the tears of a hyper weeping cello. Some pensive notes of piano are adding a more melancholy depht to the meditative hillside of "Genesis of Precious Thoughts" which finally runs away with a furious structure of rhythm, embroidered on two conflicting approaches and where the strings of Hoshiko Yamane replace Linda Spa's saxophone airs and in the end, the synths and their solos. If "Genesis of Precious Thoughts" is a teaser of Quantum Gate, we are in heaven and the adventure then seems very promising because the music is strongly soaked with this stagey approach so dear to Thorsten Quaeschning. And it's even more true in "Drowning in Universes"; a superb and very intense track of ambiences with a dark and heavy structure where circulates the skeleton of a big anaconda which frees its sonic bones in slow circular spirals. The synths and the six-strings weave clouds of obsessing melodies which crawl upon cosmic walls, like spectres in search of warm souls. As for me, it's a solid track where the cosmos and its stars go hand in hand with the darkness and its shadows of night terror. Even if the movement of sequences can remind the rhythmic orders of the Miramar and Eastgate years, "Electron Bonfire" sounds like a wind of freshness in this new artistic environment of Tangerine Dream. The first part offers a structure of ambient rhythm which yet drums violently of multiple serial kicks of some pretty nervous lines of sequences. Dreams of an absent guitar and lines of electric mist get bicker the portion of ghostly harmonies while the sequences always sparkle with the enthusiasm of a herd of keys which are starved for some steady beatings. It's a kind of mess which ends by clearing up towards the half-time with a good nervous e-rock. Good heavy percussions and suites of hyper nervous sequences roll at top speed on these discreet ghostly harmonies that a synth erases with a surprising, for the universe of Tangerine Dream, melodious approach which make melt its airs with these strings, sometimes omnipresent, of which the long tears separate well the electronic from the acoustic. "Mirage of Reality" is a composition of Thorsten Quaeschning and Ulrich Schnauss. And well, it sounds like a  real good TD track! The structure is evolutionary. When we seized it, it changes shape in an approach always dark where the effects and the orchestrations flood a structure of passive rhythm. There are sequences which dance lonely, reminding these Chris Franke's agile movements in the Virgin years. They announce a change of orientation with dramatic effects which feed the suspense and which bring "Mirage of Reality" towards a finale hyper loaded in sounds. A heavy finale where the signature of the Sonic Poem Series roams among these structures slow and rich in tones of Ulrich Schnauss. Yes, this whole thing seems definitively good. But I continue to believe that the Dream cannot survive Edgar. Except that I am going to give a chance to these Quantum Years.
Sylvain Lupari (January 15th, 2016)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca

mercredi 13 janvier 2016

INDRA: Archives-Ruby Four (2015)

“We have here a more dancing, a more rock/techno side of Indra with a nice collection of pretty good tracks where we recognize quietly his contemporary signature”
1 Sunshine in Blue Eyes 7:30
2 Mustang Le Rouge 7:36
3 Nostalgia 8:02
4 Pyar 3:42
5 Fiesta 6:11
6 A Late Evening 11:13
7 The Nile Experience 10:08
8 Speedy G 9:53
9 X-Factor 8:14
10 Sanctum 4:23

Indra Music (CD/DDL 76:56) ****
(Mix of EDM, morphic techno and ethereal moods)
We pursue the exploration of the universe split up in the limbo and scattered between 1998 and 2005 of the Rumanian synthesist with this 4th chapters of his Ruby series which is walled up in the serial mega of 25 CD entitled Archives. And this time we get closer a little more our contemporary Indra with about ten tracks which explore more the Dance side than the melancholic poetic side of Indra and whose influences here seem to be enshroud by the structures of Jarre and his  techno Kid clothes rather than by those of a Schulze who roams an dreams in his long minimalist sonic rivers. Albeit both sides live very well together at some points in this “Ruby Four”.
"Sunshine in Blue Eyes" and "Mustang Le Rouge" bear proudly the sonic seal of the tape limitations of the end of the 90's. To start well, "Sunshine in Blue Eyes" welcomes a soft melody blown by a synthesized flute and strummed by a tenderly melancholic piano. The synth is charming with nice cooing solos and with good electronic effects which blab over a muffled tempo structured in the comfort of a good electronic ballad. That does very New Age, another facet than we did not know from
Indra and that we learn to discover in this huge collection. Tears of violins which wash over in a staccato move and which open the very Arabian "Mustang Le Rouge" drown themselves in the sweetnesses of a fluty synth while the track divides its 7 minutes of a romantic and ethereal introduction in order to dive into a soft kind of techno with pulsations and percussions which lift a duel of jerky harmonies. Composed in 1999, "Nostalgia" does very Vangelis of the Opera Sauvage years with an ambient structure where the lines of flute stroll as much as a very nostalgic piano. Then we make a huge jump in time with 6 pieces of music written in 2004. A jump in time and a jump in style with a more energetic EM which hesitates between some hard and pure techno, a softer one (almost morphic) and an EDM. "Pyar" begins with a mix of techno and of dance music where some very hatched stroboscopic lines, good boom-boom-tchak-tchak pulsations and a very creative play of percussions bear the charms of some very pleasant and attractive Arabian chants. It sounds very Jarre of the Chronologies years, in particular because of its heavy structure of rhythm raised on good percussions. "Fiesta" is livelier, yes it can be, with a  gypsy approach on a beat of lead. We find more the Indra that we discovered at the end of the 90's with the very beautiful "A Late Evening" which is very ethereal with sibylline layers which float in prismic particles. The movement is soft, very esoteric and the layers become more melodious while that quite slowly "A Late Evening" goes into a beautiful down-tempo wrapped by these silky layers which swirl in a soft torrent of emotionalism. "The Nile Experience" also proposes a long evolutionary structure. It starts with a herd of sequenced pulsations which skip in a circular structure of ambient rhythm. Electronic effects decorate this passive staging whereas subtly the rhythm increases its velocity with pulsations which gurgle and with other technoïd pulsations which redirect the capers of the introduction towards a structure animated by effects of jerks. "The Nile Experience" gets develop inside its 10 minutes without ever really exploding, preferring rather a brief ambient passage before resuming its structure of cerebral techno. Written at the same time, "Speedy G" begins with a rhythmic fury contained in the sparkling of sequences which chirp in the shadows of slow and idle layers. It's the knockings which liven up this desire of rhythm. And this rhythm becomes a good morphic techno adorned of some nice cosmic effects a la Jarre and splendidly musical synth solos. This is where Jarre meets Schulze here! It's one of the good tracks in this Ruby series! "X-Factor" is cast into the same decorative mold but with a clearly lighter and a more musical structure. Composed in 2005, "Sanctum" ends “Ruby Four” with a more lyrical, a more ethereal approach. The structure sounds so much like those long quiet symphonies of Klaus Schulze with chords and keys which roll in loops, like a sonic brook in suspension, into some slow and anesthetic layers which cover up a soft and almost absent rhythm. It's especially very soft and rather elegiac. And quietly this Ruby collection leads us towards the Indra that we know and that we recognize more and more here.
Sylvain Lupari (January 12th, 2016)

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