jeudi 30 décembre 2010

PRZEMYSLAW RUDZ: Self-Replicating Intelligent Spawn (2010)

It’s a bit difficult to tame Przemyslaw Rudz’s musical universe. A sound world full of paradoxes where the Polish composer and synthesist is delighting in introducing there a multitude of tones as eclectic as electronic on musical structures in constants permutations, and this no matter their lengths of time, in soft atmospheres sometimes cosmic, oniric, morphic and intensely rhythmic. Self-Replicating Intelligent Spawn is the last part of a trilogy begun in the end of 1999 with Summa Technologiae. A trilogy taking pattern as each of the first 2 albums was released and which tells the story of mankind during 21st century. A 21st century EM tale and a surprising album where, as its icon Jean Michel Jarre, Przemyslaw Rudz destabilizes his listeners with an astonishing variance of styles.
Stroll Along the Paths on a Chip opens Self-Replicating Intelligent Spawn with tablas and congas percussions, adorned with some hissing cymbals. Piano notes add a night club melodious dimension with a zest of lounge tendency. A line of bass is detaching and waves with strength, surrounding itself with heavy felted pulsations and interrupting this suave jazzy intro, plunging Stroll Along the Paths on a Chip into a more electronic atmosphere. Keyboards and sequences keys sparkle and skip, molding a stormy and nervous pace which jumps up with good percussions whereas that a synth with brief melodious breezes and twisted solos assumes the melodious portion. Stroll Along the Paths on a Chip hooks instantly the hearing, quite as the very nervous and livened up The Race Towards a Knowledge with its hybrid solos and its roaring rhythm as well as the technoïd and heavy Short Message to Tomorrow which would peel off a dancefloor while bringing us to dreamlike territories with its romantic refrain and symphonic synths. Short tracks which are interlacing between more audacious ones as Neuronal Disorders Inside a Silicon Brain, a track that wears well its naming with its hyper syncretic intro which scratches cerebral cells. Enormous caustic synth strata tear linens of a cosmic oblivion to stimulate nerve-cells of a latent schizophrenia. They roar with their metallic magnetisms between the pure stillness and a disparate melodious movement which tries to pierce this heterogeneous wall. Behind these syncretic sound panels with heavy reverberations, we perceive a dramatic effect being drawing. A tempo takes slowly shape at around the 6th minute with a fine sequence with subdivided chords. Chords which are subdividing beneath a sky stuffed of intriguing reverberations and sound serpentines disentangling such as pearls of a broken necklace. A strange tempo nests in the hollow of a nervous, but static, structure which sways on a long motionless circular movement. A long cosmic and static bolero, Przemyslaw Rudz is dressing it quietly on a melodious pattern percussion which redoubles one’s efforts on powerful reverberations and strident silvered streaks, before that foggy mellotron pads and a hopping warm bass line try to make us forget its long eclectic intro.
The 20th Century Dark Echoes still plunges us into a duality as rhythmic as harmonious that furrows the works of Przemyslaw Rudz. The rhythms in constant permutation, the initial tempo begins with a wooshy pulsations sequence which crosses another, more ephemeral and militarized. A wave of synth mist glides above this tempo that percussions hammer in a dysfunctional way, a little as in the finale of Neuronal Disorders Inside A Silicon Brain. And the imperceptible complex universe of Przemyslaw Rudz takes place in our ears with pleasant synth strata which fly over a cadence in constant permutation under warmth streaks reminding the musical universe of Jarre on Les Chants Magnétiques. At around the 6th minute, synth solos float and are embracing themselves in a firmament filled with a mellotron mist and serpentine streaks, plunging the finale of The 20th Century Dark Echoes towards a abyssal musical world where a heavy organ draws a somber dark line, while a delicate sequence dances there in secret. An intro, extremely musical long, introduces us to Giant Leap for Mankind. A light and celestial wave floats among reverberations and stellar streaks which disentangle in a musical decoration so much morphic than psychedelic. A long intro where the recollections of the first cosmic albums of Kitaro with a very Floydian floating synth, are feeling at ears tip. At around the 9th minute, a cosmonaut voice that we too often heard emerges out of this morphic intro, moving forgotten rhythmic ashes of Short Message to Tomorrow with stormy and nervous sequences which are colliding. Sequences which skip without really shaping a cadence and which undulated with a heavy floating synth as well as samplings of Japanese guitars. More than 5 minutes farther, a bewitched minimalist rhythm hammers our eardrums, seconded by a syncopated sequential line which is agitating on a synth with twisted solos and an array of cosmic electronic laments. An infernal tempo which warms up even more with a heavy line of bass, wrapping Giant Leap for Mankind's finale of an infectious heat. Home Again concludes with a magnificent hybrid ballad. Piano notes are getting astray at high tide while Home Again progresses to embraces a swaying line of synth. A stunning poetic union which goes towards a soft hypnotic and chaotic with strange sequential chords that are coming out of a cold duck throat. Przemyslaw Rudz dresses Home Again of a surprising sound and rhythmic variety, unique to his style. So notes of piano, sober percussions, a warm line of bass, tinted keys as a xylophone’s and a suave saxophone send Home Again in a sulfurous musical world where the minimalism allows this dreamlike poetry which lulls the cortex of the unloved and tortured ones. I adore this track!
Self-Replicating Intelligent Spawn is as complex and tortuous as Cosmological Tales, but we feel this evolution and this desire to seduce which liven up the creative instinct of Przemyslaw Rudz. If the album presents a little more difficult passages than others to tame (Neuronal Disorders Inside A Silicon Brain, The 20th Century Dark Echoes) it hides some great tracks that show that EM does not stop evolving and amazing; two of the most great artistic qualities of Przemyslaw Rudz.

Sylvain Lupari (2010)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream :

BRENDAN POLLARD: Expansion (2005)

Brendan Pollard is a member of the English duet Rogue Element, the same which gave us the 2004’s master piece, Premonition. So it’s without surprises that he presents here a solo opus with divine sonorities of analog years. Expansion could be considered as a suite to Premonition that we won’t be surprised at all.
Solitary chords float in a dark atmosphere with mysterious lapping and sound effects resembling to cosmic cetacean. Choirs with monastic voices emerge from this artificial oblivion embellished by sounds from a flute. An idle bass line undulates with strength and resonance, beneath a delicate sequence and elusive synths. Tegula takes shape on reverberations coming from this bass sequence tinted of abyssal voices and superb synth solos. The track deviates in an atmospheric sphere where dark pulsations reflect on numerous sound effects that espouse a thousand and one forms. It’s under heteroclite noises, creating atmospheres bordering an electronic schizophrenia that Toxic Blue moves on. From flute to dark choirs, while passing by violin breezes, the mellotron floats in this iconoclast sphere where a soft floating passage succeed to touch us, right before the rise of the wind. A solitary cello takes back this softness on sad chords with cold metallic sonorities. Gently, preludes of a sequential impulse are drawing on a bass which hiccups towards a floating mellotron. The rhythm becomes lively on superb sequential snippets which twirl around resounding pulsations, accompanying a light synth and flute before overflowing on a furious sequence which rolls at high speed on a rhythm exploding of power. Another sequential passage is opening around the 16th minute point beneath mordant synth streaks. In staccato the rhythm rolls such as cascades on analog sound effects and a string chord mellotron, whirling with intensity that even a virginal flute can’t slow it down. A superb and totally insane passage! With Nebulous we are entering a sphere where sound effects mix with strange voices on vaporous mellotron passages. A track worthy of Pink Floyd psychedelic atmospheres, but with a very nowadays sound freshness. Valve first pleasures start as Nebulous finishes. But after a few seconds, a whirling sequence takes the lead with beautiful layers of an allured synth. The movement takes more depth when a bass line replaces the sequence and undulates with accentuated speed over a fluty mellotron. Aquarius encloses Expansion on a suave and melodious mellotron, which sails on a calm and idle water, like the sublime flute which comes to close the harmonies of Expansion.
With or without Rogue Element, Brendan Pollard exploits the analog structures of the 70’s, with his own personal touch. Beyond the mellotron passages, the English synthesist exploits a more daring sound environment, with more psychedelic and edged passages than Premonition. Writing a track like Toxic Blue alone shows an attractive audacity that could be suicidal, because only one movement in less, as in more, could have tip up this track in a total indifference. Idem for Tegula. But Brendan Pollard known how to arrange extremes with subtlety, creativity and emotionalism. Expansion is an album that we listen with the passion that it took to create it. And with headphones, the effect is unique.

Sylvain Lupari (2006)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

mardi 28 décembre 2010

PRZEMYSLAW RUDZ: Cosmological Tales (2010)

It’s with a full blast from a metallic synth Through the Planck Era opens. These are shots across the bows that strike, making us jump, among which synth resonances and residues spread their tones over fine twinkling notes, paving the way to strong twisted solos of synth which roar in a powerful electronic atmosphere. After this deafening intro, Through the Planck Era floats between two zones of rhythms with multidirectional chords sequences which mold a serrated pace. An ambivalent rhythm with slow synth sparkle which wave under fine twinkling of glass, trapped of heavy pads of a foggy mellotron. Inside its8 minutes, Through the Planck Era reveals the musical duality that reigns towards the 6 tracks of Cosmological Tales. If Przemyslaw Rudz had seduced and gained the charm of new fans with Summa Technologia, this 2nd opus risks to disappoint them because the musical approach of the Polish synthesist is different and transcends the zones of comfort of music to thousand possibilities.
The God Particle's Dance is the kind of musical piece which hangs instinctively the hearing. A beautiful track which has all the elements to please and which begins with a mellotron waltz of which foggy pads float lasciviously with a set back soft synth whistling its melancholic air. A soft oniric intro disrupted by a sequential line with chords that skip and hiccup with good percussion strikes which hammer a pace silkily wrapped in a mellotron mist. Synth solos fuse and get entangled around sequences coupled to limpid keyboard keys, creating a cozy bed of twinkling arpeggios caught in a mellotron mist. Let There Be Light presents the first atmospheric and atonal moments of Cosmological Tales with unusual synth tones which collide in a cosmos perfumed of dark hooting and whooshing pulsations which pulse among chain of fine crystal clear tones scrolling eclectic snigger. A curious psychedelic-electronic world which slowly takes a more musical shape when latent synth waves wrap this heterogeneous introduction to make it waltz in a cosmic oblivion from where appears a delicate sequential movement with doubled chords. Chords which waddle in a zigzag hunted by reverberations and synth serpentines, before acting alone in an ephemeral tranquility rushed by heavy synth strata with edgy orchestrations. Let There Be Light espouses then a rhythmic structure which skips such as street gangs’ allures in an environment punctuated with sequences which tinkle among suave solos of synth.
Islands of the Universe is an intense cosmic ballet that will end as it begun. A long track, more atmospheric than atonic, which presents us another facet of Przemyslaw Rudz. The intro plunges us into a musical universe submerged by strange breezes and reverberations of a cosmic tribal world. Rumblings of galactic thunders and shooting streaks accompany this mixture of tribal elements, reflecting the universe of magmatic fusion of Jarre on Les Chants Magnétiques. This atmospheric intro makes room to a more melodious segment where strata of a hatched synth waltz such as pleasant snowflakes, reminding the fabulous structure of Snowflakes are Dancing. These synth strata dances with soft notes of a solitary piano before being melt in vast synth breath which recovers the middle of Islands of the Universe by a somber abyssal coat. A cold silvered sequence à la Stuntman from Edgar Froese is coming out of it. She waves and pulses under a rain of cosmic streaks, embracing Frédéric Mercier's analog and oniric universe in Songs from France, while another short-lived sequence is joining to strum brief fast flows, before Islands of the Universe dives back into the tribal and morphic approach of its intro. Always in ambient and melodious mode, We Live Here presents us a magnificent ode to melancholic with a magnificent piano which spreads its solicitude a pouring rain and thunders being serve as its companion. Very beautiful and sensitive, it is the kind of music that melts the ice around the misled souls. Disputable Future encloses this 2nd album of Przemyslaw Rudz with a more rock approach where nervous and feverish sequences are joined by unbridled percussions and where the synth with stormy undulations and twisted solos is supported by a heavy rock guitar. A heavy and powerful track which doubtless tries to rally fans a bit confused whom had discovered a more rhythmical and melodious Przemyslaw Rudz on Summa Technologia.
Although very different from Summa Technologia, I quite liked the musical adventure of Cosmological Tales. I discovered there a musician who, without denying his influences, goes out of his comfort zone to offer an album where rhythms still heavy are mixing quite well with atmospheres as poetic as oniric. Cosmological Tales is an album divided well between rhythms and atmospheres with all the power and the sweetness which livens up these two paradoxes which live pretty well on this Przemyslaw Rudz 2nd effort.


Sylvain Lupari(2010)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream :

PRZEMYSLAW RUDZ: Summa Technologiae (2009)

What strikes the most when we are listening Przemyslaw Rudz is the richness of an analogue sonority which caress the electronic beauties of Jean Michel Jarre as well as beautiful artworks which decorate the eye while the music cares about ears. Another nice discovery from the Polish label, Przemyslaw Rudz is a Polish synthsist strongly inspired by the French School style (Jean Michel Jarre, Space Art and Thierry Fervant), but with an even more progressive approach and, by moments, a more rock one. This gives a multi- dimensional album, where soft melodies travel through a strange sound fauna tinted by heterogeneous tones. In fact, Przemyslaw’s first opus Summa Technologia is a beautiful sound adventure where the cosmos is the front door of a fascinating musical world.
Dilemmas begins by a rather eclectic intro. Varied tones compose a sound fauna of the most eclectic where everything is forming and hearing through strange felted pulsations, threadlike reverberating serpentines, hoops and chinking which are colliding and floating in a cold cosmic atmosphere, while a sequence with curt and hatched chords pound an odd rhythm which zigzags beneath this thick cloud of colorful tones. In spite of this staggering sequential frenzy, Dilemmas is in static mode and boils up in a dark cosmos where a linear sequence hiccups beneath a sky streaked by brief synth solos, crystalline arpeggios, intriguing dark breaths and crystal clear keyboard keys which sculpture momentary harmonies. A musical world of contradiction which embraces a new tangent in the 8th minute whilst another sequential line, a bit lower while being also heavier, give a second breath to the static broth that is Dilemmas. A sequential line with chords which caw and which is held by sober hits of percussions and keyboard keys while a discreet mellotron synth amplifies this rise of cosmic adrenalin around sound prisms which sparkle and wave in loops. And quietly, Dilemmas fades in time with a soft mellotron mist which turns off the last breaths of a rich and diversified analog life. Two Evolutions is what compares the most with the musical universe of French School EM. An ascending and threatening sequence à la Jarre evolves in it beneath strange electronic vocalizes which remind Clara Mondshine's schizophrenia. Two parallel musical universes which are harmonizing beneath the somber layers of a synth with superb swaying and cosmic waves of which harmonies sparkle artlessly before the rhythm explodes with good percussions, throwing Two Evolutions towards a more rock tendency. The edgy and steady rhythm of Two Evolutions is constantly illuminated with beautiful synth passages which recall strangely Thierry Fervant's musical world while the rhythmic flickers under the fragrances of Space Art, in particular with the crystalline chords which hammer and are subdividing to stir nervously at the end of the road. This is a very good Revival French School EM that ends in a foggy mellotron, introducing the ambient and floating world of Space Civilizations. Heavy sequences bubble nervously on Intellectronics, propelling us in an aggressive world of sequenced turbulence where sequences pulse, are intersecting into wavy cascades and flicker fervently around synth striations which glance through and scatter with crash and acuteness on a title as boiling as motionless.
After this enormous sounds storm, Prolegomena To Omnipotence brings us in a shelter under cover with a soft and oniric track where eclectic tones glance through this soft electronic procession. Haughtiness, Phantomology is the cornerstone of Summa Technologiae. A soft intro, very celestial in fact, charms our ears with a synth filled of layers that waltz and are entwining languishingly in a warm cosmos. Fine arpeggios sparkle at around the 4th minute, making resounds their echoes in a quixotic cave crossed by heavy dark winds while a first sequential movement livens up the serenity of Phantomology. A sequential line which staggers to bind itself to slightly metallic percussions which drum delicately under heavy spectral winds. Towards the 8th minute Phantomology rhythm is well settled around sequences which wave in loops, nervous percussions and a synth with a kind of talk box. A nervous and fragile rhythmic that heavy synth solos is wrapping, freeing in their attacks some shrill streaks which wind in a multicolored electronic universe of a rhythmic as complex as unusual. It’s a good track that shows all the complexity surrounding the suave and frenzied rhythms of Summa Technologiae. Determinedly more rock, Creation of the Worlds begins with a dramatic intro where the synth waves and winds in a sphere of resonance. The rhythm becomes heavier and faster with weighty sequences which hem with robust percussions while the synth is waving there while fleeing laments wrapped with a beautiful mellotron fog. With firmness, Creation of the Worlds goes astray towards the more crystal clear sequences of Pasquinade On Evolution which collide delicately in the shade of a synth of which delicate solos perfume a synth aura where strange rustles of pastels are getting lost in the mists of a cosmic mellotron, concluding a first opus of Przemyslaw Rudz which lets glimpse an artist with a very convincing potential.


Sylvain Lupari (2010)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream :

mardi 21 décembre 2010


We could never separate the compositions, as well as the music, from Free System Project and Brendan Pollard with electronic and scenic exploits of a Tangerine Dream fossilized in our nostalgic cultural souvenirs. And the addition of Michael Daniel (Hashtronaut) doesn’t make anything to ease these memories of an analog musical world which seemed to be without borders in those days. Mind out of Time answers Time out of Mind! Improvised and recorded during Time out of Mind sessions; Free System Project, Brendan Pollard and Hashtronaut are the undeniable proof that the art survives time. Because even with a music constantly revisited corrected and replayed on its same precepts Mind out of Time will find a way of seducing and awakening vestiges of an EM that some people thought it had make its time.
Shadows and Fog is the reflection of its naming. A long track of nearly 40 minutes which offers a long intro as atmospheric as atonal. A slow morphic intro where a pleiad of electronic tones winds in serial oniric poetry where chirpings unscramble around somber moving pads and an abandoned flute which hums a lyrical ode in a forest stuffed of 1 001 tones. Shadows and Fog’s intro is make of shadows and mist, but also of eclectic tones which evolve beneath somber mooing, humming and intriguing reverberations. Spectral pads which slowly move around layers of synth and ghostly guitars whereas isolated guitar notes and caustic synth streaks pierce a heavy astral nebulosity. An intro which espouses those whom we find on Time out of Mind, but in a more slender format which quietly highlights certain nuances of the Dream. In particular this hesitating sequence which pulses nonchalantly among spectral streaks and a more crystal clear flute, towards the 22nd minute. A sequence which finally shakes the slowness of Shadows and Fog with an unbridled rhythm which routinely pounds a pace to odors of déjà heard on very symphonic synths and nice mellotron pads, chthonian choirs and discreet guitar solos. A metallic bow kneads strings of a fragile cello, grinds the ropes of making squeak and scold The Upper Chamber's opening on a thick cloud of electronic diurnal birds. A deliciously strange atmospheric intro of which we cannot ignore the recollections of embryonic Phaedra with misled synth layers and spiraled filaments which accompany a soft mellotron flute. Contrary to Shadows and Fog the intro doesn’t seem eternal and is well dosed between atony and rhythm. An edgy rhythm which emerges from fluty sweetnesses towards the 7th minute with a sequence strumming nervously a minimalist pace. A pace of which powerful resonant chords are crawling before being intersecting and coupling with beautiful rhythmic permutation, in the shade of a magnificent foggy and fluty mellotron which waltzes of its ethereal pads beneath a sky streaked with multiple synth chirpings. The Upper Chamber maintains this feverish cadence on heavy sequences which pulse by resounding in an oniric mist of a hybrid mellotron and a synth of which discreet solos overfly laments with analog tones.
As its title indicates it, " Option C " (Slight Return) is a return to the original sources of " Option C " from Time out of Mind opus. Longer, " Option C " (Slight Return) explores more deeply the atmospheric ambiances which divert on a wavy-like and spherical sequential movement. A feverish and nervous sequence which gallops on a mellotron with dense foggy pads, chthonian choirs, movements of enchanted flutes and a synth with nasal solos and hatched layers which surround a circular sequential movement. Obviously the whole thing inhales Tangerine Dream to full nose, but from the Encore area with its very symphonic synths which become entangled harmoniously well with mellotron strata and minimalism sequences which hammer a good hypnotic rhythmic. The finale there is very beautiful with its solitary notes of piano that drag around this mellotron mist. A mist wrapping a quixotic forest where centaurs charm birds while accompanying their chirping by fine fluty odes.
Free System Projekt, Brendon Pollard and Hashtronaut succeed again to plunge us into its nostalgic atmospheres which definitively seem to miss to a legion of Tangerine Dream fans, Phaedra years. Mind out of Time is the reflection of Time out of Mind and this need of a whole generation to relive the magic of morphic intros, stuffed with heterogeneous tones, which led to those same sequential movements. Structures heard hundreds of time and which always succeed to captivate. Why? I don’t have any clue at all. All that I know it’s that every time I listen to this music I still fall under the charm. As this puppy love that was full of innocence and reverie.


Sylvain Lupari (2010)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:


I already see you frowning of the eye, ears waiting but skeptics or out of phase by another album from Pollard and cie. After all, are we not tipsy by all these electronic musical creations which copy the Tangerine Dream style of their years of glory? Well, it looks like it’s a need! Time out of Mind is the ideal name for this other collaboration between Brendan Pollard and other artists who flood their musical melancholies in the very vaporous and cosmic spheres of the 70’s. Brendon Pollard with Free System Project and Hashtronaut! A gang of chums which meet and jam a couple of days. That gives a hell of an opus. No doubt the best album of EM, Berlin School style, in 2009 and even beyond!
The Valther Twins begins in a soporific cosmic universe with thick clouds of stellar dusts which float among psychedelic sound particles. An intro where the composite sonorities float in a cosmos covered with brief caustic synth layers. A sweet intro which caresses softly the psychedelic era of a Floyd on LSD and the one of a dreamy Schulze who looks after the universe’s door. Superb I would say! A superb temporal journey which dazzled even more with a symphonic synth which blows the measures of the Dream on Cherokee Lane, dispersing spatial ashes to make room to a splendid sequence which exchanges its swaying chords beneath semi-darkness’s of a rising bass structure and a mellotron with breaths of a romantic sweetness. The rhythm is traps in this astral journey and spreads its aftereffects on fine percussions whereas that a synth with mephistical loops howls to silence on a sequence which accelerates the pulse with a heavy imperceptible zigzag in the howlings of an ethereal guitar. This is a great Berlin School there à la sauce psycho-progressive that we have there. The vaporous intro with psychedelic breezes of Exodus is shorter. It soaks in heavy reverberations which act as circular lighthouses, enlightening a sweet hopping sequence which initiates an innocent rhythmic but whose flow becomes more fervent, espousing Phaedra’s somber heaviness. This cadenced gravity filters a charming mellotron flute which perfumes this wild air of a paradoxical sweetness, while the sequence is more frantic and the synth more perverse with its layers which surround a closed place from where escapes good guitar solos.
Time out of Mind is the epic track of this opus with very Tangerine Dream sound aromas. Made in the shape of the introductory structures of The Valther Twins and Exodus, Time out of Mind opening is slower and rests on a suave mellotron with diverse flute tones which cross the paths of a cosmos with austere choirs. We feel the bass frequency of a heavy cosmic resonance, such a slow impulse of a space shuttle, which has difficulty to moves among this stream of cosmic particle. This reverberation hatches its linearity, propelling a heavy sequence which spawns in a strangely poetic astral nebulosity. A synth dresses this sequence of beautiful vaporous strata in a musical sphere where mellotron, sequences and synth merge in a complex harmony but so soft at the ear which we do not see, nor hear the time fly. " Option C " encloses this brilliant opus with the same concept as the longer tracks, except that the sequence is more caustic on a mellotron of which flutes cross a synth with rippling layers which imprison the musical uncertainty into the synth symphonies of the Dream.
It is obvious that with such an artistic panel of so talented musicians highly inspired by the music of Tangerine Dream from the 70’s, as well as the Berlin School style from the same area, that Time out of Mind would of be tinted from the first note to the last one of this musical influence. And it is. But it’s well done and well structured. In fact Time out of Mind is a superb Berlin School EM album which uses perfume aromas of Phaedra, Rubycon, Atem, Zeit, Ricochet and Encore with zests of dreamy Schulze and Pink Floyd on strong hallucinogen essences. Admitted that such a cocktail can only be divine!

Sylvain Lupari (2009)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream :

vendredi 17 décembre 2010


First released on Manikin label in 2001 and rereleased by Groove in 2004, Viermal Drei (4x3) from Grosskopf, Baltes, Heilhecker, is a pure extension of Ashra’s works, but with a more industrial touch, always binding itself within psychedelic approach on a fine technoïd structure. A great album which contains 4 extremely interesting tracks.
A desert wind which is transforming into a hoarse apocalyptic siren opens Blue Lake. It’s an acid lake with heavy and metallic waves which hems in a prehistoric atmosphere, although very progressive. A forgotten world. An industrialized universe which hops on nervous sequences, in a sea of squeezed strata which crisscross an increasing and frenzied rhythmic. Harald Grosskopf's percussions draw an atmosphere of carnival, while slowly; the loops of Axel Manrico Heilhecker guitar merge with this celebration rhythm under hot breezes of a discreet, but very effective, synth. This musical set up makes us forget the rhythmic progress of Blue Lake, so much our ears are invaded by an unimaginable sound horde. A vicious progression, under guitar loops à la Ashra and percussions more and more frenzied with tom-toms which are stirring up beneath striations of a six-string filled with heath. And yet, we only are at the 8th minute point. Minutes which increase constantly under an intense musical influx where guitars and percussions are in the front-scene. Grosskopf takes the control and beats the skins of its drum furiously beneath a hiccoughing guitar and an apocalyptic synth, announcing a rhythmic fracture under a solo of percussions …before the tempo explodes in a soft techno movement à la Juno Reactor, under an avalanche of striations, coming as much from the synth as the six strings. A guitar that roars and shoots magnificent solos, below a frenetic rhythm. Blue Lake is a magnificent opening, as sublime as Echo Waves and Niemand Lacht from Ashra in Japan or Sauce Hollandaise.
Crazy Snake starts without ambiguity. A strange rhythm, without movement but noisy, with metallic percussions flickering under a static and booming guitar. Suddenly the rhythm is shaping under a fuzzy guitar which hems under a storm of industrial sound percussions and effects. A heavy title, less technoïd but more fluid than Blue Lake, which soaks in a surrealist atmosphere. Very good and especially very audacious. I like this metallic frog which caws in this musical shanty town. A fine low pulsation opens White Deer Skin Dance's tempo. Striation of guitar and synth brood the progression of this track which borrows a nervous rhythm under guitar jerky chords. Less laborious than Blue Lake, White Deer Skin Dance remains very interesting; wild rhythm, bordering techno atmospheres, under a psychedelic industrial sound fauna. The work of Grosskopf is splendid and takes all its excess in the 2nd part. Another very good track that gets closer to the subdivided paces of Blue Lake. The Long Walk is a more static track which begins in a paralyzed atmosphere where guttural vocalizes are molding to metallic thunders. The wind there is dark and the lightning stream beneath a deaf increasing pulsation and strata of a misty guitar which floats as a ether perfume in a magnetic desert. In middle course, the piece livens up with a heavy slowness, under strident guitar loops, stowed to percussions which run lazily on a more " psychoprogressive " than electronic musical structure.
Grosskopf, Baltes, Heilhecker’s Viermal Drei (4x3) is a splendid album filled of composite tones which is leaning on wild and indefinite rhythms. Hard and pure rhythms, with a technoïd approach which made the delights of Sauce Hollandaise and the 2 Ashra albums in Japan. A loud, musical and rhythmic album that I recommend without hesitations.

Sylvain Lupari (2009)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

jeudi 16 décembre 2010

HARALD GROSSKOPF: Synthesist 2010 (2010)

Expect the Unexpected! That’s the warning we can read on back of the inside inlay of this 6th studio album of the famous German percussionist. And it’s completely true! Synthesist 2010 is a violent album. Full of rhythms, in constants permutations on minimalism and linear structures, Synthesist 2010 lurches between the wild techno and the intelligent one with a stalk of melancholy that betrays the nostalgia for this mythical character. Ashra Temple’s drummer (and also for other EM bands and artists, among whom Klaus Schulze,) Harald Grosskopf built a solid reputation of percussionist and machine man of electronic rhythms within the small world of progressive and EM. I had the chance to hear Digital Nomad and I was quite impressed by his very eclectic vision of EM and his much diversified approaches towards his rhythmic modulations. Synthesist 2010 is a continuation of the first solo album of Grosskopf released in 1980, simply entitled; Synthesist. Except that Synthesist 2010 is not a reprise of the original work. Only a work which complements the evolution of Grosskopf over the years and his fellowships with various groups (Sunya Beat, Ashra, Wallenstein to name but a few). A boiling and heavy album where rhythms cross minimalist techno and melancholic melodies in a rich sound fauna, stuffed with musical samplings as brilliant as hard-hitting, which exceeds the capacity that our ears have to assimilate everything in the same listening. But we were informed: We have to expect the unexpected!
As soon as Vivacissimo Con Moto starts, the musical universe of Grosskopf is drawing; heavy minimalism rhythms hammered by strong percussions which pulse in a heterogeneous sound universe. An odd cosmic reverberation is opening its first measures. Mellotron pads float and cross notes of guitar trapped in this heavy sound whirlwind. A heavy zombiesc waltz sways, while guitar notes are transformed into ethereal loops, forcing a rhythm which explodes with strong percussions hammering a heavy and lively rhythm, embraced by synth strata that waltz around a furious structure. We think that our ears are full? Error! Much more unctuous strata wrap Vivacissimo Con Moto which pulses with frenzy on a rhythmic structure interrupted by short moderate passages, hooked by sound serpentines and strata which creak as violin strings in flame on a furious rhythmic. A good track, quite as Vivacissimo Con Brio which is on the other hand heavier and more incisive, of which notes pianos merge with xylophones to give quite another technoïd dimension. More moderated Andante Amoroso is a fine romance which evolves on a structure with dark wavelets. Loops which continue to infinity and which hoot as an owl in the moonlight on a minimalist pace. A long track of nearly 11 minutes, Andante Amoroso is constantly transforming on a hypnotic tempo, taking melancholic airs with its soft nostalgic piano, ethereal airs with a synth filled of spiral loops which wrap a structure lurching constantly between a quiet hypnosis and semi techno. We observe the same phenomenon, although more eclectic, on Vivace Lugubre.
Heavy percussions, tribal tom-toms, syncopated sequence and big grand-sounding bass line, Allegro Con Fuoco criss-crosses a furious movement of which the run is drawing with a wild piano which zigzags desperately in permutation with a heavy hatched line. A superb heavy track, but lively, contrary to the slow and very weighty Largo Con Dolore which moves with big hits of bass, shaping a tempo which waves with gravity on beautiful synth layers. As much heavy, with its mordant bass, Moderato Giusto is livelier and is a nice mix of Allegro Con Fuoco and Largo Con Dolore. Ingenious and hard-hitting, Presto My Non Troppo brings us in a more techno universe and always stuffed with great sound effects. The tempo oscillates and skips on percussions which caw and chuckle strangely, as well as the other percussions which always add this strange impression that we are flying over a surrealist jungle. The synth spits hatched violins strata on wrapping mellotron pads. The duality of rhythms and melodies, which is attacked by a crowd of sound effects all so delirious some from the others, is as delicious as unsettling. While we believe to have heard everything, Andante Mosso is adding more with its spectral intro, where anvil percussions woo cymbals and where a slow hawing synth layer gets sort out and spits a rhythm of Irish parties. The tempo becomes rapidly a kind of techno with fractured movement and grinded by fine chiseled synth solos.
Synthesist 2010 is a bomb! A heavy and powerful album, full of live and which spits decibels at the same speed as Grosskopf harpoons its percussions. Filled with rhythms fragmented by surprising permutations, it is an intense album which demonstrates all the sense of rhythms which lives in Harald Grosskopf as well as his affinities with samplings his sound samplings which teem of 2010 heterogeneous tones. To listen at high volume…if we can!


Sylvain Lupari (2010)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

HARALD GROSSKOPF: Yeti Society (2004)

Yeti Society for a world of ice! A world where the courage and the bravery is read through the story of the Endurance boat equipage and which is listening through 7 tracks and 2 videos where the dry and hatched rhythms are flooded with percussions and sequences as nervous as unforeseen. It’s flanked by his accomplice Steve Baltes, that Harald Grosskopf weaved his 5th solo album inspired by this amazing historic epic. A dramatic story which is not nevertheless depicted with the same musical approach, because even if Grosskopf throws beautiful synth and mellotron layers as melancholic as dramatic here and there, he prefers an irradiant approach of steady, alive and technoïds rhythms in surprising musical structures where the duality is always the prerogative of its furious cadences.
A tribal song on a synth waltzing wave opens Circumspection, losing Chamanizes in its trail. A curt rhythm, fed by sudden sequences stops and go, breaks this strange prayer which was transformed into popular clamor. Already, we know that Yeti Society's tracks will be coated by a heterogeneous sound world where the harmony will cross multiple sound samplings. Incisive strikes of percussions hammer a nervous pace and shape a hatched rhythmic which hiccups of a strange echo, while keyboard keys circulate on a nervous and frenzied structure. A little as some vague musical loops which wave on a sea of harmonious contrariety where the brute rhythm gobbles up all the circling harmonious fragments behind this strange rhythmic pattern. Bravery moves on with a heavy sequence, stuffed with chords with echoing harmonies, on an avalanche of percussions which tumble down as in a sulfurous progressive jazz-rock. The tempo becomes hemmed by syncopated loops which spin around crystal clear and melodious chords, on a structure broken by nervous percussions which strike with indiscipline among varied samplings. A fine ethereal wave awakens the first jolts of Elephant Island which wave on Tablas percussions and a pulsating line with hatched coos. Electronic percussions with varied tones and tribal singings live up a structure which stirs up in a brief moment of frenzy before embracing a duality, both in the harmonies and rhythms, with very exhilarating and captivating synth mellotron strata which are griping with a hesitation, forging a soft lascivious echo.
With its arpeggios which skip in loops on a nervous musical structure and its drum kit which hammers a heavy, constant and weighing rhythm Endurance is a nice techno interspersed of a brief atmospheric passage. A soft harmonious passage before the rhythm is taking back more vigor with a syncopated line which winds around heavy thud hammerings, forging a rhythmic worthy of rave parties and dancefloors, as on Broad Liquids which is on the other hand more in a lounge style. A distant reverberation with tribal fragrances opens South Georgia. Guttural loops are unwinding in musical hoops, while crystal clear chords stroll around heterogeneous percussions on an ambivalent structure, mi atonal and mi lively. The tempo kicks up in the 2nd portion of South Georgia with resonant riffs and percussions which drum a soft structure dressed of brief catchy melody. Endeavourance closes magnificently well Yeti Society. It’s a soft electronic ballad starting with a delicate avalanche of crisscrossed strata, which are dissipating to make room to a very charming feminine voice which blows a tribal ode on a dramatic organ line background. Delicate crystalline arpeggios circulate in an air revived by waves of a reverberating synth and oniric choirs, while hesitating percussions fall, as sound the knell. Quietly, but especially dramatically, Endeavourance is getting free of its atonal grip to embrace a slow rhythm, livened up by flickering percussions which click under heavy layers of a grand synth.
A synth of which its thick dramatic coat will never mute these arpeggios so fine and delicate which swirl such of crystal tears in a sea of bitterness.
Yeti Society shows once again that Harald Grosskopf controls as much rhythms as melodies and synths as percussions. Even if yeti Society's rhythms are based on percussions, as acoustic as electronics, and sound samplings, there is a subtle mixture keyboard / synth and percussions / samplings which modulate beautiful melodies often taken by the constant rhythmic influx which develops on each of the track of an album to emotional antipodes.


Sylvain Lupari (2010)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream :

vendredi 10 décembre 2010

RAINBOW SERPENT: Live @ Liphook 2007 (2008)

When we hear Live @ Liphook 2007, we have difficulty to conceived that this album was recorded in concert, so much everything is held and linked with a surprising complicity. Because Rainbow Serpent music is not so easily tamable. It is of a kind of progressive and experimental Berlin School which is constantly evolving. Compositions structured around heterogeneous sound elements in which are grafted beautiful harmonious passages. Recorded live during the 2007 Hampshire Jam Festival, Live@ Liphook 2007 presents us a Rainbow Serpent in very great shape. The colorful Serpent accompanied by Thomas Kagermann on violin and Eva-Maria Kagermann on ethereal vocalizes. And faithful to their trademark, the Berlin group offers us his complex music with electronic melodies divided by sound effects and noisy inserts, like those thunderous percussion strikes, creating a stunning musical paradox where powerful melodies abound in unsuspected contexts.
Gerd Wienekamp and Frank Specht don’t waste time. Straight from Le Vent dans la Plaine opening, Rainbow Serpent plunges us into meanders of a musical world full of sound imagination. Le Vent dans la Plaine starts on badly calibrated motorcycle. A bike with a bad cold that a huge sound wave covers from a synth of a metallic coldness and which exhausts its din in atmosphericosmic strata, before that brutal percussion strikes ring a rhythmic awakening with a slow and sensual beat, coated by a synth whose spectral waves undulate lazily. Le Vent dans la Plaine displays then its wonderful melody with piercing synths cooing of hypnotic circles and sinuous lines which charm and sing on heavy percussions. Synths which split their lines creating melodies on melodies, coated by intense mellotron strata, and moulding a very emotional dramatic approach on a structure hammered of a suave and heavy tempo. A little more and I would believe to hear the splendid Sebastian Im Traum from Frank Specht. Le Vent dans la Plaine slides towards Twelve Celli and its ambient structure which recalls Bernard Xolotl's musical universe on Procession. A slow and very atmospheric movement where Thomas Kagermann’s violin and the spiritual incantations of Eva-Maria Kagermann glance through an arid structure which wakes up on heavy Indian percussions. A slow procession which gains in rhythm with beautiful sequences that flicker on a yet indecisive structure, nibbled by a hesitating violin. Tangram starts with shimmering notes which flutter in a sphere with colorful reverberations. A great sequenced movement comes from it, undulating with limpidity reminding the universes of Tangerine Dream on Tangram, while the fluty mellotron recalls the poetic-cosmic universe of Software. Another great track which navigates on Rainbow Serpent quirky currents, while respecting this so melodious touch which is his. Calais offers, within 5 minutes, the multiple facets of Rainbow Serpent. An ambient intro adorned by the soft dreamlike voice of Eva-Maria Kagermann which coos in a dark cosmos, while percussions and line of bass shape a fine languishing rhythm which ends its course with a drum roll, plunging Calais into the caustic twilights of its introduction.
En Passant is Live@ Liphook 2007 highlight. A synth with symphonic layers which flow such as soul sighs, a little as the solitary saxophone that we hear on Vangelis’ Blade Runner, is opening its intro. A poignant intro on a mellotron with angelic vocalizes, but also with strange percussions which caw and drum randomly with cymbals that flicker in an eclectic mist. In brief, a universe worthy of Rainbow Serpent that wakes up with an uncertain sequential movement and zigzags in a heterogeneous sound universe. Beautiful pads of a symphonic synth recover this rhythmic finely hammered by great sequences which espouse marvelously all percussions variety revolving around En Passant which dives into heavy atmospheric, but never atonal passages, with brief awakenings sequenced and hammered by a grand-sounding bass-line. A long track as beautiful as strange, which suffers undeniably of a melodious bipolarity syndrome. After a soft melancholic ballad in Memories, Rückblenden emerges from a smoothing cosmos saturated by atmospheric strata à la Schulze. Composed with Mario Schonwalder, Rückblenden seems out of-key with its sober structure which livens up on a nice hypnotic sequential movement, wrapped by fine ethereal strata. A pulsation bites the rhythm which grows slowly, as in Schulze’s Moondawn, before crossing a passage where percussions modify the rhythmic structure as if we listened some good old Klaus Schulze.
Rainbow Serpent’s Live@ Liphook 2007 is a monumental work that passed by my ears and which I finally rediscovered with Stranger. A superb album filled by creative music and diversified rhythms but which leave room to surprising melodies. This is great progressive Berlin School which makes its winks of eye to Tangerine Dream, Software and Vangelis with whole range of musical memories that furnish a pleasant moment of contemporary EM.


Sylvain Lupari
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream :

mardi 7 décembre 2010

RAINBOW SERPENT: Stranger (2010)

Does Enya on acid interests you? That could be interesting and it’s what is happening on this last Rainbow Serpent album which risks to let fans of the German duet a bit stunned. With Live @ Liphook 2007, Rainbow Serpent had already made an incursion in the world of vocalizes with a small tribal approach with Middle East fragrances. On Stranger Gerd Wienekamp and Frank Specht took the bet to couple both extremities of EM; either a very progressive Berlin School to soft and honeyed New Age melodies. The result? Well that depends of your expectations, your mind opening and on your patience to tame this unreal and virginal voice of Isgaard which shapes very well with synth layers and which resists the stormy assaults of sequences and aggressive rhythms of Rainbow Serpent. Even if Stranger brushes the romantic and oniric nuances of New Age, Rainbow Serpent always exploits their boiling rhythms on stormy and nervous sequenced structures seized by superb atmospheric passages which are, by moments, gobbled up by the unctuous voice of the Angel of sands.
A long musical saga of nearly 70 minutes, divided into 13 acts which are entangled in a long musical piece, Stranger begins as an avalanche heard from faraway. Intense announces itself with a distant dark and sinuous wind which floats above percussions and heterogeneous tones, while splitting its breeze to create a thick cloud of synth layers which waltz slowly in a cosmic oblivion. Orchestrations tear this atonal winds dance while percussions fall and tumble down such a dramatic ride on desert dunes, closing Intense to divert nonchalantly towards Elements1and its reverberating breezes which moo in a metallic universe. The percussions take back the rhythm. They hammer a furious pace, supported by a line of bass with fast and wave-like flows, as well as a sequence of which the undulations are molding discreetly with keys of jerky keyboards, to circulate in syncopated loops. We are dealing with beautiful and powerful Rainbow Serpent there which takes place in our ears with complex and crazy rhythms surrounded with a synth with heavy layers which whip among heterogeneous tones covered by the suave pleasant voice of Isgaard, before diving into Elements 2 and its chords which waddle among amphibian sequential pulsations. A carousel of sequences with random surges which swirl around a beautiful melodious synth line of which the circular flights are caressed by orchestral strata and smooth juvenile vocalizes. Leave and Love tempo gallops on a sequenced bass line with heavy undulations. A syncopated movement which spins around melodious synth lines and Isgaard ethereal voice blows which, as a synth, wraps its tune. A beautiful sung title which is out of tune in the baroque and complex universe of Rainbow Serpent by its immediate accessibility. It’s the kind of track that hooks instantly and whose tone sticks on ears without really knowing too much why. And quite slowly we dive into this universe of duality where rhythms, sometimes wild, and soft harmonies of Rainbow Serpent are coupled to oniric vocals of Isgaard. Beyond New Worlds arises from a magnificent cosmic and aquatic fusion. A meeting point between the cosmic and analogue universe of Jean Michel Jarre and Rainbow Serpent. A slow synth layer floats and flows into weightlessness, embracing a sequential line with split chords, shaping a chaotic tempo. Isgaard voice comes to wrap this rhythmic as a synth veils rhythms. And the magic of synth strata and ethereal vocalizes fusion is doing its charms, plunging nevertheless Beyond New Worlds in the full musical paradox, there where EM meets New Age fragility. There where the complex musical universe of Rainbow Serpent is dissipating in the lightness of siren of sands voice. And it is doubtless what can stumble in Stranger, for fans of Berlin School EM style.
Except that the German duet maintains its standard of high musical creativity by shaping beautiful atmospheres and rich melodies which evolve around wonderful lines of synth and powerful sequences (Gateway, Arl and the magnificent Memory Leaves), forging a robust opus with tribal flavor. On the other hand, some of its melodies are veiled by the very beautiful voice of the German singer. Tracks as Beyond New Worlds, Wide Open Spaces (which is sublime by the way), Rub Al-Chali, Stranger and the silky Beautiful Child are melodious jewels. Melodies among which Isgaard voice bewitches, as Enya, Sarah Brightman and even Kate Bush, but who also immerses Stranger in a musical duality where the line between New Age and EM had never seem so thin. In spite of this indecision to label the musical genre of Stranger, I have to admit that I did like it quite well. Tracks as Intense, Elements, Arl and Memory Leaves are magnificent pieces of heavy, powerful and progressive EM. My girlfriend falls for Beyond New Worlds, Wide Open Spaces and Stranger which are of delicious ear worms but which also are very far from Rainbow Serpent usual musical mood. In the facts, I think that Rainbow Serpent succeeded where Jean Michel Jarre and Tangerine Dream failed. The German duet dared an incursion in a more accessible and more commercial musical world, while keeping its own creative and innovative touch. Gerd Wienekamp and Frank Specht rather integrated the harmonious approaches of Isgaard vocals into the music of Rainbow Serpent and its heavy and complex world of sequences, creating so a sultry blend which has all ingredients to please both fans of progressive Berlin School and New Age detractors….. Me first!


Sylvain Lupari (2010)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

lundi 6 décembre 2010

FOOD FOR FANTASY: Fruits of Fantasy (2008)

Guitars! Big and heavy guitars with bluesy, groovy and rock styles! Synths, sequencers and electronic percussions! Fruits of Fantasy is a beautiful opus with disparate blends which cross all styles of splendidly harmonious EM. For their 2nd collaboration, Schroeder/Molto decided to filled up our ears. Produced with the BIT technology, Fruits of Fantasy is of an astonishing sound clearness. And this in spite of the multiplicity of the instruments, chords and styles, from sequenced Berlin School to a little more ambient and synth pop, while lightly touching the nostalgic saga of Double Fantasy 1st adventure.
Reverberating hoops hem in a sound fauna more poetic than eclectic. A short astral intro that an intense drum awakes with strikes which ram a weighty beat, while Phil Molto’s (who’s in realty Robert Schroeder) six-strings draws its melodious axes with finely chiselled notes. Fruits Of Fantasy opens this 2nd Schroeder/Molto fictive collaboration with a powerful title, where the pace hammers electronic effects with suction pads alike pulsations, in a musical universe where electronic rock is moulding surprisingly well to the ambient and cosmic structures of a Berlin School with multiple sound effects. Between the blues and Californian synth pop, Sweetest Thoughts ravels on sustained percussions and a groovy bass which moors with a beautiful guitars/synths fusion in a smoothly and softly mellotron context. Once again Molto’s guitar cuts out the melodies with the precision of a scalpel, cutting out the first works of an electronic blues. A romantic track, just like Digital Reflections, though more progressive and sequenced with a splendid astral guitar.
Windcraft brings us into more complex progressive EM territories. Percussions roll a nervous and random rhythm, in a heavy canvas where sound effects amplify the ambiguity of a structure which was announced like surfing techno. The guitar is mordant and espouses the ethereal loops of Manuel Gottsching on a wild and heavy tempo. By far it’s the most mordant and incisive track on Fruits of Fantasy. After such a sound surge, Dreams Come True seems a simple melody of happiness. Except that after some listening, we notice that the melodious aspect is rather progressive, even frantic, showing the wild intensity of Windcraft. Listen to the Radio is nice a synth pop which finds its effectiveness on a good play of drums, a vocodor of a futuristic kind and a guitar which sings more than plays. A light and cheerful track, just like Experimental Spaces!
Floating Energy is more electronic than rock, jazz or blues. A slow track, tinted of a cosmic sensuality, where slow pulsations intermingle with felted percussions as well as dragonfly like cymbals. A beautiful and charming track with metallic breezes that go deepen into the hearing and which divert on a superb percussion passage. The final is tinted of a bluesy galactic spirit, unique to this nice musical jewel which is Fruits of Fantasy. An opus which is more than just EM that I recommend without hesitations….


Sylvain Lupari (2008)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

FOOD FOR FANTASY: The Secret Of Dreamin' (2006)

Food For Fantasy (Food 4 Fantasy) is the 2006 version of the famous one album duet, Double Fantasy. On IC label, Robert Schroeder (alias Dreamstar) and Charly McLion released in 1986 a superb album, Universal Ave, one of the rarest EM opuses to reach the US charts. Labelled as being ‘‘Californian Dreamin’’ music, Double Fantasy linked synths with strange and robotized guitar sonorities. For various contractual reasons, there had never been a following to this free style EM exotic opus. Nearly 20 years later, Double Fantasy lives again under the name Food 4 Fantasy and, always under the hands of Dreamstar and a new guitarist in the person of Phil Molto (who is in reality Robert Schroeder), reserves us pleasant surprise.
The intro of Remember Double Fantasy carries proudly its appellation. From the first notes, we remember the honeyed introduction of Heartbreaker on Universal Ave. Synth floating shade, whose principal line swerves subtly of its axis, with percussions in the background which intensify the tempo, on a floating synth which moans languorously. What a delicious return in the past! If the track was melting into The Secret of Dreamin', the illusion would be perfect. Because the groovy beat, on a slippery bass and mordant guitar, is completely in conformity with this first catchy track that filled up walkmans in the summer of 1987. These are not the only tracks that have this directly influence; Long Running Highways has the chords, the moves, the guitar, the summer sensual rhythm and the warm synthetic breath of Universal Ave. Just like the superb The Spirit Of Freedom with its pulsating hypnotic rhythm, its sharp guitar and dense enveloping synth layers on daring percussions. A track that has lights island fragrances, just like the audacious Keep on Searching and its sensual beat on superb mellotron synth strings and plucked guitar, sitar style.
The guitar moves, on an ambient mellotron background, in Create Yourself, recalls the beautiful psychedelic years of Pink Floyd. If this soft guitar moment on atmospheric pads appeals you, Fundamental Relaxing is in the same pattern. Another beautiful moment on guitar, a little more liven up, can be heard on Fantasy Refresher, where the acoustic guitar slipped with ease on a synth pulsating and undulating setting, wrapped of beautiful floating layers. With Fast Food we enter into a more progressive category. Pendulum effect percussions taunt a synth whistling a cherub refrain which sticks to the tympanums with a disconcerting facility, like a nice ear worm. Big symphonic sparks modulate the rhythms sustained by good guitar riffs and aggressive percussions whereas synth layers are mixed with guitar ones which kick out in a movement with multiple jolts and bounces. A heavy track, with metallic industrial drafts, which undergoes a pleasant transformation on the snack version.With its rumble drum, little bluesy style and Hispanic lounge approach, Night Lights hooks the attention. A rather particular style that we simply do not expect on an EM opus. Guitar is great and flirts cheerfully on a synth which sometimes is austere and other times lighter with its trumpet intonations. We will think of Carlos Santana doing EM.
If, like me, you have delighted of Universal Ave, you will love The Secret Of Dreamin'. Less atmospheric and more rhythmic, Robert Schroeder succeeded where several broke their noses. Symbiosis between guitars and EM instruments is quite simply divine. Even if, at several places, the guitar is strongly ahead, the electronic essence remains with superb synth and mellotron layers on highly elaborate passages and rhythms in constant evolutions. A very good opus with various musical flavours, which contains several small jewels that hang and hang even more, as we are listening to it. The signature of great works.


Sylvain Lupari (2006)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

dimanche 28 novembre 2010


Hummm…! Robert Schroeder's musical adventures are rich, both in tones and varied rhythms where the funky flirts with the groovy on heavy percussions surrounded of a universe full of synths with rich tones. A mixture of kinds, rich and smooth as the cream and as Cream; the 22nd solo album of the mythical German synthesist. An at once heavy and limpid album, so much notes and details are finely chiseled on sweet and stormy rhythms. Tempos broken, interrupted and wrapped by synths which separate their pads to mold choirs, mists and angelic breezes among voices, vocoders and murmurs of all genres. An album with mesmerizing intros and varied rhythms, hammered by heavy electronic percussions, as bongo and conga style. In brief a powerful album with ambivalent rhythms which cross periods and musical styles of Schroeder, and this since Paradise in 1983.
Arpeggios skip awkwardly on Magnetics opening. They espouse a delicate line of bass which molds a discreet funky rhythm on fine percussions, while beautiful mellotron pads float slightly above this atmosphere sieved by cosmic sound effects. A little as everywhere on Cream, Magnetics pours and moves in rich and unctuous sound cream where various instrumentations come to enrich its minimalist and hypnotic structures. Synths flow with abundance and nuance there, mixing skillfully the sweet vocalizes, melodious solos and ethereal pads which glance through a soft rhythm sometimes shaken by scattered percussion strikes and keyboard keys which gossip as a galactic duck. Groove Electronically is a very beautiful track with its notes of piano which are spreading in a cosmic ambiance where whispers, very plaintive synths and sound effects hatch this strange ethereal intro. Hesitant pulsations light finely the tempo, trampling on the romantic series of these minimalist piano notes. Percussions tumble down and increase the rhythm of a notch. But Groove Electronically remains secretly delicious in spite of this full array of percussions and tones with colorful forms which break out on a constantly evolving tempo of which cadenced contrasts can be hear under strata of a shrillness and spectral synth, percussions rolls, hatched keyboard keys and a tempo which gallops under undulations of a wandering synth such as crystalline prisms which hoot between brief and delicious solos. A tempo rich in tone which dies away in the notes of this piano so delicious even if minimalist. The world of Schroeder is complex and harmonious. On each of Cream tracks, the German synthesist sprinkles quantity of instruments which kick away thick clouds of tones as intriguing as attractive. So The Zong starts with heavy metallic sounds, as monsters robots of The War of Worlds. Percussions unfurl with strength, but remain indecisive, while others more nuanced forge a soft rhythm livened up by a fine bass pulsation and encircled by a synth with extraterrestrial waves which hoot at once pleasant and childish laments. The rhythm became heavier and more intense; The Zong evolves in an ambiance of the carnival with a mi funky and mi groovy tempo which zigzags on circular keyboards keys and among glaucous pulsations. A world of strongly diversified rhythm which is wrapped by a synth with foggy pads and wandering choirs.
Funky Spacetrip is very representative of its title; a big cosmic funk with vocoder, strong percussions and a tempo vaguely wavy accompanied by a magnificent synth whose lines are subdividing to create a rich atmosphere where solos go alongside ethereal pads. A very rich track which is near Groove Electronically structures. Languishing and sensual, Foaming Waves is simply captivating with its soft rhythmic which flows as a graceful exotic dance under soft foggy pads. Suggestive and daring, Foaming Waves embraces almost the textures of an electronic and cosmic blues, on a cadence which increases gradually the pace with its subdivided chords beneath a synth with delicious laments. A great track from which the musical intensity keeps increasing, bringing us near Paradise and Time Waves era with smooth synth solos which flow under pulsations of an enticing bass line. Hesitating piano notes, sensual murmurs and sensual pulsations open Simply Cream. Bongo percussions unfurl on a languorous rhythm, between funk and groovy, coated by magnificent strata of a foggy mellotron. The synth there is suave, the rhythm suggestive and keyboards draw fine hatched lines, crowning a catchy synth melody and Simply Cream disentangles such a sensual hymn in a shape of musical retrospective of the first 5 tracks of Cream.
Rich, Cream is! Rich in sounds and tones of any kinds and in diversified rhythms, Robert Schroeder handles his synths with an incredible address and makes us discover a rich sound fauna where reliefs are as much feel as hear. A pure marvel where we are riveted to our loudspeakers so much the rhythms, atmospheres and ambiances are finely cut and returned to us with a surgical precision. A beautiful, rich and unctuous cream which dilutes very well in the universe of dreams where the music of the 80’s, with the technology and the sonorities of today, floods our ears with soft, suave and stormy rhythms unique to Robert Schroeder's world.


Sylvain Lupari
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

jeudi 25 novembre 2010

AXESS:Fusion (2010)

More than one year after the superb Voices of Dawn, Axel Stupplich gets back to charm our ears with an album where ambivalent rhythms are grafting to hydrides structures. If some tracks are unambiguous (Speed of Light and Schwerelos), other tracks of Fusion evolve in an environment where the rhythm is latent, such as slow solar implosions, with feverish and savages sequences which nourish musical canvas at the opposite of their cadenced structures. An album where Axess spreads out as well his romantic side as cosmic and melancholic ones, while passing by his small techno and upbeat approaches, without ever disavowed his Berlin School roots. In short an album of all and for all tastes.
A dark wave did not finish undulated that already a cloud of frantic sequences falls down on the very energetic Speed of Light. A breathtaking track with its range of sequences to multiplied and diversified chords which are collide in a powerful rhythmic structure where electronic percussions and twisted waves strike and resound, adding thus a heaviness at a speed which exceeds the light of the good old German EM. Between the frantic techno and the upbeat speed, Axel Stupplich lays down soft ethereal pads of mellotron and shapes synth solos sometimes suave and sometimes strident, reminding us his Berlin School roots. Fusion is the calm after the sequenced storm that was Speed of Light. Suavely poetic and languorously hypnotic the tempo of Fusion is relax and progressive, evolving on good percussions strikes, bass drum pulsations and sequences at the same time moderate and frantic. A rhythmic amalgam wrapped of a splendid synth line which subdivides its layers, and their wanderings, in a warm ethereal harmony. A soft mellotron covers this cadence sometimes soft and sometimes stormy, like a lustful oniric waltz or a fine bolero, at the same time moving and dramatic. Cawing of cosmic birds overhang the black cosmos of Pictures and its intro as metallic as cosmic. Dark the movement waltz awkwardly, brushing even an ambiance slightly distressing, with a dark synth line with wavering reverberations from where escapes whispers, linear embros, metallic hoops and flickered percussions which weave an oddly hatched structure. Strange and slow sound maelstrom which is gradually dissipating to let heard a fine sequential movement which zigzags in ascent of its hesitant chords under synth pawing. A fine synth line undulates and hoots, like a phantom threat, on this ambivalent structure from where the first bites of Maxxess guitar are made hear with good riffs emerging around the 7th minute. They espouse wonderfully this hesitant structure which takes its take-off with mellotron wings and fine percussions. Pictures adopts then a suave and languorous movement where superb and celestial guitar solos fly over heavenly mellotron pads and delicate fluty breezes to tangle up in a soft cosmic daydream. A very beautiful track tinted of a romantic magnetic.
Nefilim is built a little in the same mould as Pictures, guitar in less. A strange circular growl opens its intro, such a machine which is quietly getting on, under a scintillating sound prism. A fine pulsation draws a sober march girdled of a superb synth with very moving layers and spectral solos which undulate under a cloud of sequences. Sequences which dance and hop feverishly, pointing out the universe of Software while illuminating Nefilim of an oniric beauty, whereas percussions mold a slow rhythm moderate by a synth with melancholic solos. Splendid Nefilim is torn in its evolution with its percussions which seek to explode the rhythm. A tempo smarmily captive of its sequences, which whirl without ever wanting to leave its rhythmic corridor, and of its synth to suave solos, flowing such as tears of sounds. A very beautiful track, just like Pictures and Fusion! Schwerelos offers a beautiful groovy structure of which premices are a beautiful bass line, keyboards keys a little funky and good percussions which shape a sustained and hatched rhythm, coated of beautiful misty layers. Simple and effective, Schwerelos sticks to the ear instantaneously, like Speed of Light but without its explosive mordant. In this regard, if Fusion, Pictures and Nefilim charmed you, wait to hear Under a Starry Sky. Quixotic blowpipes breaths tear an intro as cosmic as atmospheric before that a superb sequential line with chords that hop and undulate don’t wake up the very beautiful Under a Starry Sky. And there, a superb synth dandles our ears of musical nectar where solos and melodious pads dance under a marvelous carrousel of sequences quite as eurhythmic. Sequences gambol with fine percussions, giving to Under a Starry Sky a soft and suave tempo which swirls like an oniric bewitching before being huddled in the hollow of a splendid musical refrain worthy of Vangelis greatest moments. A very beautiful track that makes arm hairs rise and melt moments of nostalgia in fine tears of delivery.
It remains little to write after a track as Under a Starry Sky and its innumerable mellotron synth layers that lull stars while exhilarating us of oniric softness, except that this track depicts all the ambiance as much nostalgic, melodious and astonishment liven up which surrounds this little marvel that is Fusion. From furious Speed of Light to melancholic Under a Starry Sky, Axess 6th opus is filled of softness which scatters on ambivalent and hybrids rhythms which pullulate on throughout Fusion. As far as I’m concern Fusion is a big heartthrob with 50 minutes of music filled of hybrid fragrances which glean between sweet space rock and true Berlin School with sequences as limpid as crystal. One of the top 10 of 2010!


Sylvain Lupari
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream;

AXESS:Chamaeleon (2003)

To hear the sound fauna and vocal effects of the intro eyes closed, the link with The Alien is automatically made. A superb hopping sequence, whose certain notes are disarranged, whirls with force and heaviness. A discrete pulsation supports this sequence, surrounded of sound streaks. The pulsation emerges more and more, with felted metallic percussions and a synth which flies over this intense and plentiful movement. The drum hammers an accentuated tempo on another melodious sequence which rolls in cascade on synths with floating pads and tuneful lines. Firmly anchor on its rhythm, The Alien forks on a softer passage, before taking again its animated sequence for finally dying out in the atmospheric stripes with extra terrestrial languages. With its pad pulsations and dark sound effects, Desire presents a lugubrious intro, à la Redshift style. Far away, we can hear pulsations approaching with a sequential line whose harmonies are stuck to pulsations which accelerate their tempos. Very melodious the sequence follows a minimalism tangent, turning on the same circle, which grows rich of superb serpentine notes on rich and dense violin string layers. The more Desire advances, the more the addition of sonority seems to modify its rhythm, whereas it becomes simply more harmonious with a superb subtlety in arpeggios, which give a deep enveloping melodious. Floating is a strange stationary maelstrom where synth notes and streaks whirl around this floating movement. If you are lucky enough to listened Floating on high volume, do it. It’s at this moment that it takes all its width and splendour, before bringing us in the atmospheric spheres of the title track, with its sound effects that enfold the floating synth pads.
Synth is soft and moves with a harmonious slowness through dark breaths. A sequence is forming and agitating on the vertical, freeing scatter synth strips in its axis rotation. Violin string layers encircle the implosion whereas a line of percussion tambourine a minimalism tempo. A superb synth throws itself in a synth eulogy that will nail your skin on the wall. The synth turns, spins and ripples on fluid and twisted impulsions. This is synth acrobatics that tears the hair from its root. WoW! This is a great synth move there. Around the 7th minute Chamaeleon pours in the space spheres where everything is in suspension. Streaks and grooves tear the horizon with tapered particles, whereas a synth movement is forming on breezes with tuneful instincts. A sequence, at horizontal this time, emerges by whirling, filtering short harmonious lines which follow the sequential rhythm. Some pulsations later, the sequence modifies its fluid tempo to be harpoon by dry percussions, techno kind, and a very beautiful synth refrain which modifies its course to take back the audacity of its consistent solos to close Chamaeleon.
Dark and heavy, the intro of The Sirius Mystery is completely... mysterious. With its slow movement that is wiggling on keys in cascade and percussions which mark an excited tempo. Nervous, the synth multiplies layers with various tonalities which surround this semi techno rhythm, slows down by violin string layers. On the second part, there is nothing to hold the rhythm which circles freely on nervous solos and keys. Dream Is Always A Dream closes Axess second solo opus on a more intimate and relax mood. On a suave tempo, the synth pushes melodious segments until the rhythm whirls more liberally, increasing its rate on string layers. A light swirl which become a marvellous synth ode and where the synth blows nostalgic harmonies which wrap us in the comfortable heat of a timeless ballade. A superb ending for an album that we would like endless.
I was very impress by Chamaeleon which contains some beautiful jewels. With his second solo album, Axess shows that harmonies, melodies can cohabit very well with random movements with multiple bounces. A very beautiful album which leaves instantly its sound imprint.


Sylvain Lupari (2006)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream;

AXESS: First Light (2001)

Axess is Axel Stupplich, one of the three synth players from German progressive EM band, Pyramid Peak and First Light is his first solo album. An album very close to Peak sonorities and we won’t complain about. It is rhythmic and well sequenced with beautiful small jewels of tenderness or bludgeoned sequences. An opus that we have to listen carefully in order to catch all subtle progressions that open a first extremely convincing album for Axess.
Mellotron layers, as Pink Floyd’ Shine one you Crazy Diamonds, float in a vaporous ambience. Awekening atonal intro is short because a heavy sequencer bags the rhythm on good sequenced percussions which accelerate a tempo daze by sublimes whirling synth layers. The musical depth is developing with keys that circle on a heavier sequence, pierced by superb solos, à la Peak sonorities. A pulsation resounds in the magnetic field of Distant Sun, where scatter notes and percussions are graft with a vertical sequence which espouses a jerked movement. Synth layers, astral choirs and metallic streaks cover the waves of a sequence where the rhythm crescendos subtly, making Distant Sun a kind of static half bolero. Echoes of Eternity is a strong track. Rhythmic, the musical structure is moulded like the one in Distant Sun. The impulsion is struck by clear notes and solids percussions, subtly diverting its course among multiple synth surges, including fabulous solos. A true intense musical swirl which dies down in semi course on an atmospheric rain shower, where synth streaks float sinuously among analog and metallic sound effects. On the echo of a lost drone, arise a superb hatched sequence on slamming percussions. A rotary sequence accompanies by superb solos, tearing and harmonious which we would like to hear again and again.
Notes of First Light form a sequence in loop on violin mellotrons. On vibrating pulsations, the sequence becomes more limpid and undulates on strikes of a quixotic bow, calling for a violin charge. A more liven up pulsation on intense sequence, synth solos overhangs with the Peak sonority a methodical movement which follows a sober itinerary. Shadows Of Dawn begins on a slow tempo. Dragged by sound effects and tuneful streaks, the beat becomes animated slightly with fine felted percussions and a more wrapping synth which whistles, as much as it fuses, short harmonies. A beautiful line of bass moulds the ambiance which arises on nervous keys and heavy sequence, which turns towards a techno dance beat on a more lively rhythm with tinkling percussions and synths with melodic solos. The intro of The Sermon is superb and the melody reminds me of Vangelis on Albedo 0.39; Alpha. A shimmering melody that a ballerina would furrows with grace. And even more when one sequence is moulding to it, adding heaviness and sensuality on a slow move to overwhelming and symphonic synths. A superb electronic ballade! Tibetan gongs on wrapping layers open Infinity. We expect a title with Tibetan ambiance, when short streaks oscillate on a rolling sequence, giving the signal to a rhythm whirling with fury. Sequences with smashing and limpid chords wind on multi spins and squaking percussions to shape a metallic techno flooded of virtual breathless choirs. An aggressive track that will light up your Zombie-Rave parties!
First Light deserves that we stop on this first Axess solo project and gives a good hearing. Don’t do as I did; throw the album to oubliettes without really giving it an attentive listening. Because on Fisrt Light, we go from an extreme to another; beautiful Berlin School to hypnotic techno trance dear to Axess structures, which slightly touch the Peak style. First Light is an opus with multiple sequences that subdivide rhythms on catchy melodies, stamp feet techno with synths to sonorities equivalent the many colours of prism. A truly good CD that’s worth the buying.


Sylvain Lupari (2006)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream;