mercredi 29 septembre 2010

PICTURE PALACE MUSIC:Fairy Marsh Districts/Music For Sunken Monasteries & Castle Moats (2010)

As you have might guessed; I have enormous soft spot for Picture Palace Music music. As far as I’m concern, Thorsten " Q" Quaeschning is a puff of fresh air which reinvigorates the world sometimes too placid of EM, quite apart from the fact that he certainly gave a 4th breath to Tangerine Dream when Edgar gives him a little freedom. In fact, listening Picture Palace Music is like going on an astral journey in the mythical Europeans campaigns where sorcery, alchemy and magic of all the colors wandered in the long corridors of wood and medieval forests. Quaeschning writes his music with strong theatrical tendencies which whip our imagination since the release of Somnambulistic Tunes, back in 2007, while always wrapping its works with very expressive titles. Fairy Marsh Districts/Music For Sunken Monasteries & Castle Moats is another ode to the perversity of temporal voyages where dramas jest of monastery heresies.

Superb and strongly inspired of Middle-Ages Juffer Vey's Minnesong debauches this PPM 10th work with a romantic acoustic guitar that a storyteller scrapes in front of his mass market audience. A Mellotron with strings of a misty melancholic violin wraps these first notes, getting out Juffer Vey' S Minnesong of our baroque thoughts to redirect them much close to Sahara with fine tabla percussions. From then on musical paradoxes confront with the appearance of a sequence which tumbles down nervously, accompanied by electronic percussions which collide like a whip tail under the aegis of a more limpid Mellotron. From a silky counting rhyme of the medieval mass market, Juffer Vey' S Minnesong is turning into a superb electronic part where the nervous rhythm hardly hides its first influences. And there goes the odd musical universe of Thorsten " Q" Quaeschning; between primices of an ancestral world where horses furrowed green virgin plains beneath shades of dark clouds and its synthesized knights who ride a universe to thousand contemporary sonorities, "Q" hacks himself a place of his own between dream, illusion and reality. Spring-Water-Fall follows with fine xylophone arpeggios which fall like a melodious rain in suspension. A strange shower of rain encircled of choruses, veiled layers and discrete cymbals which little by little evaporate themselves to leave an enchanting clearing where bathes a strange mystical aura with celestial solos which howl among heteroclite sonorities, paving the layout of Fairies & Fairies and its hatched tempo which dances with gipsy guitar notes and a synth to discrete breaths. A minimalism rhythm where sequencer keys hiccup and undulate, such of wavelets, below heats vocal breaths of Gothic mermaids. It’s in this quietude of a world peppered of magic illusions that this 1st portion of Fairy Marsh Districts ends.
Damsel's Dive opens the 2nd part with percussions stumbling down to split a nervous rhythm, supported by guitar chords and a sequencer with lines that fly furtively, moving towards a superb refrain which flies over an adjacent structure animated of a soft bewitched madness which is not without reminding the splendid Añoranza from Curicculum Vitae 1. Around the 4th minute, the drum divides the tempo which plunges towards a psychedelic approach with a furious guitar that hiccups of fierce chords, covered by a synth to hungry witches’ streaks. As strange as violent, Damsel's Dive will need more than one listening before seizing all of it subtlety and fineness on a hard and frenzied rhythm pierced of soft ethereal inserts. This is what I call a bomb which deviates on the very beautiful and romantic Nun Exclusive where a soft dreamy violin frees fine charming solos which overhang a discrete piano and a secret acoustic guitar. Quite as much static, but more intriguing, Marsh Mellow Dea/N MArtins Gans/Z Oder Gar Nicht/S Destotrotz is built on a world of pulsations. Light beats pulse near a sequencer to multiple lines of anarchistic percussions, joining other percussions of typist machine style which beat among short synth inserts, reminding Tangerine Dream electronic sonorities from the Schmoelling era. The more this music piece goes on and the less we can’t be unaware of this influence, because the new sequences lines and t pulsations plunge us into the time of Flashpoint and Exit. Help, Murder, Help falls heavily with a powerful musical structure where guitars and drums combine on a title much more the Heavy Metal style than purely electronic, even if heavy layers of a black and dark synth flies over Help, Murder, Help from start to end. A title that says it all and which breathes all the ferocity of its name. Lunatic Asylum plunges us in the corrosive universe of PPM with a rhythm as slow as heavy, imprints of loud and sinuous layers from a morphic synth which spreads out its feelings of abandonment. An intense and very introspective track where the dark melancholy amalgamates with the soft frustration of a latent bipolarity, a little as all that surrounds enigmatic works of Picture Palace Music.
As on every Picture Palace Music work, Fairy Marsh Districts/Music For Sunken Monasteries & Castle Moats gets discover on the tip of ears. Once the first listening passed, we end up discovering all the enchanting musical universe of Thorsten " Q" Quaeschning, which is more than daring by painting a music with temporal antipodes where the Middle Ages goes along with a harmoniously contemporary approach on a canvas at once dramatic and romantic. Would I take you by surprise if I tell you that it’s a superb opus? It might be too early to state that Quaeschning is the new genius of a hybrid musical crenel; electro-theatral-rock, as it would be too early to say that Fairy Marsh Districts is another small masterpiece from PPM. But one thing is sure; " Q" continues to astounded with a unique musical approach that is a pure breath of fresh air. Simply sublime for those who can see all the magic in music.

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


It’s easy speaking about future when we do it at the present time! I’m explaining. Who would have thought that Jerome Mixes series would have survived? Who would have thought that Jerome would have become a skilful studio beast, endowed by a very good sense of writing, when he made his first steps with his father in 1989? Not a lot of people, me first. Today, force is to admit that JF earned his place in the world of EM, even if his approach is less ethereal. With years passing by, Jerome pleased himself to remodel the music of his paternal and the Dream. As many TD fans, I heard on the tips of my ears JF’s Mixes, in particular the splendid version of The Scale with Prime Time on The Past Hundred Moons (DM III) and each time I wrinkled eyebrows until I seriously attack the small phenomenon which is Jerome Froese.
Right from the start I’m telling you straight away; I liked this DM V. Yes! You read it well. In an era where Papi Froese works on new versions of TD’s works, Jerome’s approach brings dynamism and another vision of the musical phenomenon that was Tangerine Dream. And the more JF advances in his mixes, the more he attacks colossal works, like Rubycon and Poland. The Return of the Time is a mix of Rubycon. A completely metamorphosed Rubycon which keeps his entire aura of mystery, amplified by discrete layers and choirs of a sober synth while being hammered by good percussions, sometimes rolling and frantic, other times heavy and hammering. Jerome makes a skilful mixture between hatched and syncopated rhythms and passages more or less vaporous, a little as if he wanted to preserve the primary identity of Dream’s classical works. With his percussions that roll down with a zest of ‘‘metallicity'’, on an intro which points out with astonish Flashpoint, Flow Path is a worthy descendant of Exit, but with a clear amelioration on cadences than on the original. Here, like everywhere else on DM V, Jerome brilliantly uses his panoply of percussions and heteroclite sound effects which hop and collide on great lines of bass, drawing frantic rhythms, tinted of a mythical ethereal aura. If Jerome respects the premices of original works he isn’t shy at all to cover them of powerful rhythms, as on the heavy and powerful Meshwork (Das Mädchen auf der Treppe), Code to Zero (Midnight In Tula), though least heavy and Alien Sitcom (Mojave End Title) which per moment knocks down the house. If loud rhythms is DM V factor ‘‘uno’’, we also find magical and more tender passages as Polar Circle which is a very beautiful version of Miracle Mile’s Running out of Time and Mombasa (Touareg Remix) which is as banal as the Booster III version and this in spite of the crescendo effect which Jerome tries to insufflate. Scope off Minds and Hinterland are splendid versions of various segments from Horizon where JF maintains all harmonies and sequences while accentuating the approach of sequenced percussions on structures where rhythms fit with wonder these new percussions incursions. On this level, Hinterland is an impressive success.
As far as I’m concern, DM V is a superb surprised. And I must admit that its hearing pushed me to discover the others Mixes of Jerome Froese. If the son of father Froese had strongly impressed me with Shiver me Timbers and The Speed of Snow, he hooks me intensely with these new mixes of Tangerine Dream works. I won’t push my pen as far as writing down that they supplant the original ones, though it’s rather difficult to do worse than Rockoon or Lily on the Beach and other musical adventures of the 90’ and 2000, but they bring a good rhythm of freshness and audacity to titles that we would never considered in another way.


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

lundi 27 septembre 2010

TANGERINE DREAM: Green Desert (1973/1986)

What stories and anecdotes around Green Desert release in 1986! Something to feed those long debates around Tangerine Dream history and legend. According to nebulous bites of stories, Green Desert was due to come instead of Phaedra in 1973. Moreover, the recordings would have been made in August 1973. For some obscure reasons, some speak about the musical contexts whereas Virgin would have wished a more commercial sonority than Ohr Music space rock of 70’s, the recordings would have been lost and it was Phaedra that came out instead. More than 12 years later, the recordings come out on Zomba Music. And even there, fans and music historians are skeptics concerning Green Desert origins. Pure and die hard fans are outraged because Edgar Froese couldn’t prevent from adding synth lines and overdubs on the original tracks, with equipment which did not even exist in73, before the final appearance of Green Desert in 1986, creating even more confusion around it of its source.
Ah yes… The music! Well it’s quite simply sublime in the full spirit of TD’s first works.
Itself the title track passes through all musical currents of this gorgeous area; long ambient intro on a floating synth to which joins a fine sequential bass line, Chris Franke drumming (he was quite good) and Edgar’s space blues guitar. The rhythm is evasive and covers the limits of floating to a much harder of the psychedelic space rock of this time. It’s like put in box sequential spasms and analog shouts of Master Schulze on Body Love. A strong music piece of which I doubt that it was completely written in73, so much the similarities with Sorcerer and Stratosfear are present. Speaking of Sorcerer, White Clouds has many of its appearances. Analog breaths on a suave synth and a superb rolling of drums cover a very beautiful melody. Astral Voyager (the main point regarding the debate around Green Desert) is a formidable music piece builds on an ultra nervous sequencer which rolls at high speed. The kind of sequences that we weren’t used to hear and this era. But it was also then that Franke and Froese locked themselves up in studio to produce a multitude of newborns sound which later will be the musical stamps of this experimental fever. So, round rhythm on a solid sequence scented of beautiful layers of a fluid synth with Mellotron essence of Froese (Pinnacles) solo works. An excellent track! Indian Summer is an ambient passage where notes fall with intensity in a calm sea of sounds, lulled by a soft dreamy synth. The kind of music that made the delight of floating music fans from the 70’s and of which you can feel the imprints on Wavelength.
Was Green Desert really written and produced in 73? May I have my doubts? It might be written in the 70’s, but I would guess the post Phaedra era that is to say 76-77. But anyway, the main thing is its remains an excellent CD. One of the best that came out of the 80’s even if nobody’s but Edgar and Co really know. A must, only if it’s only to understand the enchantment of greatnesses that surrounded this strange duet which was Franke and Froese. Some great contemporary electronic art that should find its place in all TD fans collection. And far beyond…!

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

TANGERINE DREAM: Alpha Centauri (1970)

Here’s what I could call the first EM album ever. Even if Alpha Centauri is much more ambient than sequenced, it’s the very first EM album to shows moves and moods, not only noise on noises or experimental abstract music. An album made in the late 60’s and early 70’s Alpha Centauri influenced the world of rock music and changed the way artists imagined prog music and later, world music and techno.
After the experimental Electronic Meditation, Tangerine Dream is amputated of 2 members; Schnitzler and Schulze. Edgar Froese won’t change his mind and wants to pursue his exploration of sounds and its ambiguities. He recruits in turn Chris Franke and Steve Schroeder to reform the Dream. The new trio introduces VCS 3 synth new measures, which Pink Floyd will use on Dark Side the Moon some two years later. More structured than Electronic Meditation, Alpha Centauri is distinguishing by a deepen approach of organs which Froese and friends had the leisure to test during 3 weeks, just before starting Tangerine Dream superb musical adventure. Distant guitar chords pave the way to Sunrise in the Third System. A low droning rolls up this intro where organ float in an atmosphere both tenebrous and celestial. Floating and spatial movement, Sunrise in the Third System tergiversates in the cerebral limbs with a morphic softness. The sound experimentation becomes more complex with Fly and Collision of Comas Sola intro. Caustic oscillations bite eardrums, swirling in imperfect circles, leaving a sonorous powder drags which buries first measures of timid guitars and shivering organ. The cacophonous intensity decreasing, one is seized by a melodious traditional approach of an ethereal organ, though heavy, accompanied by a dreamy flute. Under cosmic thunders, the movement becomes more rock with a superb performance of Franke which unrolls his drum skins with fury, obstructing in no way Udo Dennenbourg’s flute. One of the first good TD structured music piece which lurches between Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma and Green Desert atmospheres. The title track is a splendid mixture of EM and prog rock. Floating cymbals introduce a heteroclite hovering sound fauna, but a quite intense one, plunging the listener in the curious musical world of Floyd on Saucerful Of Secret but with the addition of the VCS 3 synth. A musical universe which glitter beneath a beautiful use of flute and celestial choruses, in a dark and atonal cosmos, a little as if an Aurora Borealis could turn his colors and specters into sounds. A small musical jewel for progressive music die hard fans, a style which borrows random paths of a being born EM.

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

TANGERINE DREAM: Electronic Meditation (1970)

Written and recorded as the very first days of Tangerine Dream formation, Electronic Meditation is everything except an EM album. In fact we could qualify it as the first electronic punk album which was, at the start, a pure jam-session in a disused factory in Berlin in the autumn of 69. Smelling the probability of a German Pink Floyd band, Ohr’s management made it the very first Tangerine Dream album.
A sonorous bric-à-brac sprawls in a psychedelic tumult with stunning melodious passages. Deviating organ on percussions as random as celestial, Schnitzer’s cello bites in the very ambient overture of Genesis. Here the rhythm is absent and the music is abstract. TD is a quintet whose search itself and which grants its instruments before an avalanche of percussion strikes Genesis aboriginal psychedelic rhythm which becomes louder in spite of Thomas Keyserling beautiful flute. Journey through a Burning Brain get going on the cacophonous final of Genesis. Here, Edgar explores his guitars sonorities. A track which becomes more poetic, with a very Floydian savor, thanks to an organ biting Froese incisors guitar strings. Hallucinatory and rather incoercible after a good joint! Ambient sonorities oscillate between skidding organs which are straightened up to that ghostly sinuosity, Journey through a Burning Brain blazes up on a flexible and discordant rhythm where guitars spit a rock'n'roll venom on a surprising Schulze percussions play whereas the flute founds a jungle climate. Completely crazy, but surprisingly attracting, Journey through a Burning Brain equals Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma sessions. Cold Smoke is hallucinatory smoke worthy of LSD trip. Sweetie intro with a gliding organ, the track is constantly dazing by dry strings of a delirious violin and demonic Schulze on drum, whereas the organ remains always placidly harmonizes with a solitary quest, excludes quintet disharmonies. Odd and anti musical it still has good passages, especially when Froese’s guitar solos tear the wall of steel in a delirious innovating pre progressive. To tame but quite gently!
Ashes to Ashes is a kind of psychedelic blues distorted by Conrad Schnitzler machiavelic spirit, excellent in the art of working strange sound effects. Resurrection buckles the loop with a very pastoral intro which floats in delirious vocal, before taking again a sinuous and lazy heaviness, molding the intro of Genesis.
For a first album, Electronic Meditation is not that easy to tame. One told me that it’s a cacophonous symphony that I would agree. On the other hand one clearly feels the influence of Pink Floyd from Saucerful of Secret and Ummagumma eras. But deeply in the details, we clearly hear Rubycon and Phaedra first steps.

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

mercredi 22 septembre 2010

DANIEL BLOOM: Event Horizon (2010)

For fans of Berlin School EM, ambient or sequenced, Ricochet Dream became one of the top in EM. Over the years Vic Rek's label produced very good opuses of EM, while organizing mega thematic concerts in 4 corners of the planet to celebrate or underline an event connected to Tangerine Dream; the cultural heart of Ricochet Dream. Since its existence, this New Jersey label made back to life the music of TD’s ex-members and made us discover splendid artists whom were either forgotten or in embryonic state, I think in particular of Spyra, Picture Palace Music, Polaris and the last one; Daniel Bloom.
Native of Poland, Daniel Bloom stood out as the leader of the Poland School movement with the use of analog equipment and musical structures which get closer to Tangerine Dream roots. Event Horizon is his last album and his first one for more than 5 years. A first album on Ricochet Dream, which includes music released and recorded in his "Two Minutes Elsie Studio ", between 2003 and 2005. An album where the cosmic rock moulds cheerfully to Tangerine Dream and Krautrock influences. Horus plunges us head on into the intriguing musical world of Bloom. Heavy ethereal spark with a synth of which dark and spectral words are disappearing in a subdivision of layers and synthesized mists which get lost on a flickering sequential movement, Horus borrows the paths of a cosmic rock with the entire full array of the psychedelic sound effects of the 70’s. Heavy rhythm on nervous sequences waves like pulsations in cascade while guitar bites a tempo on a synth to spectral waves and juicy analog effects. A short title which fills up the ears and shows all of Daniel Bloom's capacity to integrate his music on parallel universes. Other short track, Megalit offers a dramatic intro with its powerful drum hammerings which pestle an intense rhythm stuffed with cybernetic strata which coo in loops in the shade of a brief melodious tune that felted percussions feed of a beautiful musical poetry. Short and superbly efficient quite as Glacial Lake and its fascinating atmospheric approach, worthy of a nothingness which takes life difficulty on a very beautiful Wavelength sequenced movement.
Longer track on Event Horizon, the title track starts on a synth to intriguing astral waves which move through as specters in an empty spaceship. A sequential movement, marinated of flickered cymbals, pierces this nebulosity which ripples nervously and cruelly in an envelope of analog sound effects that a synth with breaths always so spectral and a Mellotron to vaporous layers surrounds of a mystic aura. Out of nowhere appears a soft synthesized refrain. A melodious refrain which dances lasciviously around this combination of rhythms suspended between its delicate harmonies and wadding wanderings, before sinking into the abysses of a heavy cosmic rock with a roaring guitar that spits its twisted melodies below lookouts of a sequential movement always so hard-hitting and a synth of which minimalist loops emerge out of a sordid corrosive universe. If Event Horizon immersed us of a complex musical universe, Mount Meru does not take us out of it with its sequences which hem in cascades under resonant strata of a hybrid synth. A synth where short melodious inserts revolve around twisted rhythmic permutations of which syncopated movements are constantly seized by resounding waves. A title difficult to tame and where all its complexity evaporates next to superb Into the Galactic Nucleus and its Flashpoint and The Thief sequences which roll at very fast pace under strata of a synth to analog fragrances. A very good title which increases its potential with an extra terrestrial approach à la X-Files on sequences to subdivided doubloons which stamp one’s feet beneath a synth as so spectral as spatial. Duat encloses this Daniel Bloom's first album on Ricochet Dream with a very lively structure where sequences and percussions modulate a tempo supported by a synth to multiple melodious pads. From suave to dramatic, Duat is a mixture of the powerful rhythms of Horus and Megalit on a melodious structure at once complex and harmonious, as we find on the title track.
Complex, hazardous, progressive and spatial; Event Horizon is a subtle mixture of the dualism between the harmonies and the extreme structural modulations where melodies get lost in the borders of a musical universe both complex and charming. This Daniel Bloom's last album does not tame that easily as an album from Spyra or Picture Palace Music will do, although both universes live easily. On the other hand, once anchored well in the hollow of our ears, there are magical moments that go on. Magic moments that will push the listener to a bigger introspection, and this is where we discover the pure jewels which are hiding behind the complex, and sometimes melodious, musical universe of Event Horizon.


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

lundi 20 septembre 2010

KISTENMACHER in 31 Questions

1- The Year 2009 marks the return of Bernd Kistenmacher on the scene of EM, with the release of your 16th opus; Celestial Movements as well as some concerts in France and Germany. Can we say that Bernd Kistenmacher is really gone out of its den? If yes, what we may expect for 2010
B.K.: All those years I was never completely “away” from music, but after many years of work in my studio, I started in 2009 with the return on stage. This concert in Paris was initiated by the French association “Cosmiccagibi”. At the same time the German label “MellowJet Records” released my first solo-album “Celestial Movements” after 8 years. So the concert in Paris was also the “world-premiere” of my new music.
2-Why is also a so long silence between 2001 and 2009? Was Bernd Kistenmacher always active artistically and\or musically?
B.K.: Yes. In the first years after 2001 I felt very comfortable with doing things which had absolutely nothing to do with music. For example I visited a university again to make some studies in economy and IT. I really do not know when the moment was, but one day the longing for music returned. I felt that I was missing something. And so I returned to my synthesizers. Indeed this “return” wasn’t so easy as it sounds because my whole recording stuff was full analogue…and it was old. After a move into another apartment I learned that most of the equipment was “electrical” dead. This was the moment where I decided to switch on digital recording and I rebuilded my studio step by step. I also changed a lot of synths. The technology had not stood still in this time. Anyway, most of the time I was “thinking” about music. This was a good sign! In 2007 I was ready to do new recordings.
3- Why did you feel the need to make a comeback? Did you think that you had something to prove, to go deeper in your musical perspective or you simply avid to retie contact with your public?
B.K.: At first it was not my aim to “comeback” because I was never really away from the music (emotionally). But honestly 8 years are a long time and I learned that I had changed (my mind) and the things around me had changed too. I had got some distance – also to some people. And this was not the worst. I had freed myself from a lot of things. One consequence of this was a deeper concentration on my music. I had nothing else to do but making music. Wonderful! But of course others must judge if the result satisfies enough.
4- Were you nervous in front of the reaction of the media and your public toward this comeback? Did you think that your public had forgotten you?
B.K.: A difficult question! I tried to expect nothing and to do my best. Of course I was nervous. It is not easy to return after 8 years. Much more had to proved: the technique, my presence on stage, my music. The event was successful but there are some points which must be optimized in future. I think this is a normal process.
5- Celestial Movements is rather unexpected, in the sense that the album borrows musical approaches very different from what you were used to offering, but you still embrace the cosmic ambient side, with Colliding Stars, but not the Berlin School style. How did you approach Celestial Movements composition?
B.K.: Well, when I had decided to produce a new album I had only two approaches, the first one was to sound as versatile as possible. The second one was not to produce another Berlin School album again. Not longer doing “endless nodding”. I had done this in the past too often. And I had recognized that it depends on the musical ideal, on the theme, how long you can play it. If it is good enough for 2 minutes, play it two minutes. If it is ok for 10 minutes, play it 10 minutes and so on. It makes no sense to stretch a short theme endless long. You destroy the idea behind it. One fan told me after listening to my music that I should have played some tracks longer. This is a good reaction. He wanted to listen to more of it and was not bored by the recent material. Fine!
6- How was your state of mind during the writing of Celestial Movements?
B.K.: Well I wanted to sound as perfect as possible but you should not hear the “stress” behind it. It should sound in a kind of “fresh” and interesting and unusual. So this was “pressure”. But a kind of positive one, because I was very concentrate and creative.
7- We feel a clear Vangelis influence on Celestial Movements, particularly at the orchestrations level, percussion movements and the dramatic approach. Would Bernd Kistenmacher go to soundboard music?
B.K.: Unfortunately I was never invited to write a film score. So especially “Eternal Lights” should be a kind of virtual business card. I wanted to show that I can do it. Emotional and concentrate. Maybe somebody in Hollywood is listening to it?
8- Let’s talk about Eternal Lights; one of the most moving musical pieces that I heard. Is Bernd Kistenmacher as much melancholic as its last 2 opuses (Eternal Lights, Journey Throught Italy Part II, Dreaming of B. and Celestial Move) let hear?
B.K.: I like the idea of concept recordings, of an idea “behind” something. So I try to “open a ring” with the beginning of an album and to “close” it with the last track. That means musically that I come back to a theme which was played before, with another mood or expression. Like an “echo from the past”. In concrete does this mean that I opened this ring with “Un Vaggio…” and closed it with “Celestial Movements”? Within “Celestial Movements” I opened another ring with “Eternal Lights” and closed it with “A Celestial Move”. I will definitely continue with the “idea”. And yes, it always sounds melancholic, because being melancholic in music is on of the strongest ways to touch somebody’s soul…
9- Between Celestial Movements and Un Viaggio Attraverso L' Italia, 8 years gone by. For each of the albums we hear a different musical orientation. The 1st is very melodious, even dramatic with a strong melancholic side, while the 2nd has also a melancholic side, but exploits more the Berlin School shape, with a progressive approach which you exploited at the beginning of the 90’s with Live and Studio Types ' 92 and later with the powerful Totally Versmold. Did you turn your back to Berlin School style?
B.K.: No not really. In 2000 I was still in that Berlin School style because this was expected by my fans and by me too. But I was no longer satisfied with this. It was musically not enough. Also another reason for making a break…
10- Speaking of Totally Versmold, can we expect to see again your out of prints records being release some day? Also My Little Universe box set? A bit as Schulze and Tangerine Dream made.
B.K.: I can’t say yes or no. It depends on the interest in my older music and the concept around it. At the moment I have no plans towards it, but this doesn’t mean anything for future decisions. I am more interested in new projects and will force my actual music. This is really important to me.
11- Beside this, what do you think of all these re-releases that fill the record shops tubs? Do you think t they answer a need for a public who is discovering EM?
B.K.: Beside the fact that I don’t listen so much to the music from others, I must say that I would never judge about there works. Finally it is a question of your personal taste if you like something or not. The point is that too much other music in my head would stop me from being creative. For example when I produced “Celestial Movements” I did not listen to other music for weeks and I was able to keep my own thoughts as well as I could. Now I am working on new tracks and recognize that I have again no fun in listening to other music (sometimes a little bit, if I drive my car). So I always try to suppress what bothers me. This helps me to concentrate on my work.
12- Celestial Movements innovates at the levels of the tones of mellotron flutes and chords of acoustic guitar, producing more than reality the impression to use these instruments. What equipment did you use during the recording of Celestial Movements?
B.K.: I mainly work with equipment from Roland. The Phantom G Workstation for example. But I also play some Moog Synthesizers or the Memotron. Using samples from acoustic instruments is a good basis to lift these sounds on another stage just by modification and modulation. For example the opening trumpet sound on “In Face Of Saturn” has got a total different meaning just by playing it into a large reverb. From one second to the next you have that feeling of “space”.
13- Do you think that the purists are outraged to hear a so surprising resemblance between these electronic equipments and the equipments of origin?
B.K.: I think purists will ever by outraged if something destroys there “view of the world”, but honestly that doesn’t touch me. I am not interested in thinking about which reaction could happen and which one not. If I would do this, I could never play only one single note without having the fear about possible reactions. Imagine that!
14- How was the reaction of Medias and fans towards Celestial Movements? And during concerts? Did you notice younger faces or were they old nostalgic fans of Bernd Kistenmacher?
B.K.: I noticed that the audience in Paris was very different. A mixture from old fans and interested “outsiders”. Maybe it is easy to get this audience in a city like Paris, where you can get cultural offers at any corner.
15- Let’s talk about Bernd Kistenmacher, the artist; did he evolves since Un Viaggio Attraverso L' Italia or does he follows the tangent allowed by the new technologies?

B.K.: I think yes because it was my approach to evolve. The typical Berlin School style – which I still like – was at least too one-dimensional to me. There is musically so much more to discover out there and it was time to go into other directions. Personally I evolved too of course. I’m older and I’m fulfilled by a little “panic” thinking about the time which is past and the possible time, which could be my future. I have to hurry up. And this motivates me to do my best – now!
16- Did your approach on composition level and sound conception follow your personal evolution, or rather the new technologies?
B.K.: I think these points depend on each other. On one side I must try to transfer my ideas into sound. That means an intensive examination with my equipment. You have to learn and try out a lot. This brings me on the other side to sounds which I didn’t expect before. So it is sometimes possible that you musically go not in the direction which you wanted to go first. Anyway the result should show your musical evolution.
17- And the man? How is Bernd Kistenmacher? We imagine him taciturn, dreamy and melancholic. Are we rather just in our description?
B.K.: Maybe not as dreamy as you might expect but it is true, I attend to suffer from most of what's happening out there and this makes me sometimes melancholic and influences my music.
18- Do you consider yourself as a studio freak?
B.K.: The name of my studio is “Ivory Tower”. This speaks for itself, but I also like to do live-performances if there is a special environment or idea for.
19- Do you believe that your works were ignored, sulked?
B.K.: Being ignored sounds like an intention against me. Why should somebody do this? I think that there is another problem. There is too much music out there and everyone wants to be perceived. On the other side, the media are not waiting on you because the offers are so huge. So you must “cry out” very, very loud, if you will get perceived too. At least it is a question of self-marketing which seemed in my case not as perfect as it should have been. Maybe I shaped my own profile not strong enough. Anyway. Just sitting there and making music is not enough, if you want to become known.
20- Do you think that EM is generally ignored too by Medias and radio stations?
B.K.: Oh yes, I really believe this and I will never stop fighting against this. The problem is that nobody understands the “classic EM” as part of our musical culture. This is the reason why you cannot listen to this music in public radio. It is a shame. Also in Germany we have only a few (at least 2) programs which presents electronic music (away from Techno) in public radio. Without internet, this music would have no forum.
21-Knowing how capricious are the equipments and the audiences, is it difficult and risky to build an EM show?
B.K.: Not really. If you do a live-performance with electronic music in the way as I do it, you must not fear to get pelted with underwear of little, ecstatic girls! So I recognize my audience more as grown and concentrated. The equipment is on a very high technological level today and at least stable. Of course it is at any time an exiting moment, if all machines work together. But this is part of the show, because it keeps you always concentrated and awake.
22- How do you feel being alone on stage, with all this gear to manage?
B.K.: I wouldn’t do this if I would not feel comfortable with this situation. I am more stressed by the organization, the endless talks before and the transport. But if the show starts, everything is fine.
23- What where your first musical inspirations
B.K.: In the first half of the seventies, I listened to new sounds every month and I listened to the early Vangelis, Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk or whatever. The things changed rapidly in my life when I discovered the music of Klaus Schulze. This was in 1976 and the album was “Moondawn”. Later, when the musical taste changed rapidly and my personal “heroes” did no longer play this kind of “Berlin School” style, so I decided to continue this way more “active”. My first works were influenced by “Berlin School”. This was the music which I loved and which I wanted to play. But it was always my claim to develop this direction of music further, because I felt, that not all stories were “told”. Then followed a period of releases of solo-album (on CD) and concerts. I felt that this was not enough. I needed another economic base and I also looked for a way to feature other EM talents. This was the reason, why I founded my own label (first called Timeless Sounds, then renamed in Musique Intemporelle and again renamed in its final period into MIRecords). The start was not bad and I had signed a lot of interesting artists. But with the deteriorating broadcast and distribution situation as well as the increasing damage by illegal downloads, the economic situation became more and more “week”. So to tell a long story in short, my label was no longer a second economic foothold, but more a worry. In 2000 I decided to “close the doors” finally and to concentrate only on my musical activities.
24 What do you think of the proliferation of new artists who use new technologies and, without having any musical formation, compose music to profusion?
B.K.: Well a lot, because I started in the same way too. I had no idea about synthesizers and recording in 1980. I just felt to use it and to work with. So this is always the way most artists begin. At least this says nothing about the grade of creativity but the first step is enthusiasm for something. Ever!
25- Do you think EM is there to stay?
B.K.: This is difficult to answer because most of actual music is in its kind “electronic” today. So where begins EM. and where does it end? I don’t know and at least a controversial discussion.
26- About classical music; what is your biggest influence and why?
B.K.: One influence is surely Frederic Chopin, because of the beauty of his music. On the other hand, I ever liked to listen to artists around the concrete music.
27- EM?
B.K.: What can I say? On top of the mountain are Klaus Schulze and Vangelis, but I also listened a lot to Eno, Reich and others.
28- Do you find that EM evolved since your absence (2001) and since your beginnings? Is it always all so minimalism? Does it follow the technological currents or there are really creative and innovative artists, as at the time of Schulze, TD and Ashra?
B.K.: Innovation is always there. Technological as well as musically! But I will not talk about concrete names because the question would bring me again to criticize the work of my colleagues - what would be a kind of bad manner. I am convinced that there is a lot of really good music out there, but most of these artists will never get the chance to catch some attention because of many reasons.
29- For you, what is the main difference between Dancing Sequences and Celestial Movements? As well as the approach, inspiration and mentality?
B.K.: Each music was ok in their time where I did produce it. So I would never compare it because I can’t. I also dislike questions about considerations, how your music from yesterday would sound if you would play it with the machines of today. This is needless to think about. So the crucial point is what did you feel in that special moment of composing and recording a track and where you able to express this emotions into music. The result depends on your own musical development. As more experienced you are, as better is the result. So from this point of view I am much more satisfied with “Celestial Movements”. But that’s only natural…
30- What are you doing these days?
B.K.: At the moment I work on my next solo-album. A very interesting project, which has nothing to do with space or stars, but with the deep of our oceans. The source of inspiration for my new music is the Science Fiction novel “The swarm” by German author Frank Schätzing. "The swarm" is one of the most fascinating books I have read in the past years! The release is planned for June 2010 on MellowJet Records and I hope, I can fix this date, because I will also do my next live-concert on June 12th at the Planetarium in Bochum (actual info at For autumn is a cooperation with Roland scheduled. Some more concerts could follow this year. So I am always busy …again.
31-Thank you Bernd and what are you reserving to your fans in the coming years?
B.K.: I hope that I will be able to return to a more regular output (if my creativity allows this). I also think that concerts will ever be a kind of special and rare moment because I don’t like to play on festivals. Anyway I would be happy to meet you here or there.
So please let me finish with my personal motto:  Never stop to burn for your ideas…!

Sylvain Lupari
Interview released in June 2010. Photos courtesies of Christian Piednoir from the Bochum concert
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le pseudo de Phaedream;

samedi 18 septembre 2010

SCHULZE/GERRARD: Dziekuje Bardzo DVD (2009)

It’s not with a concert of EM, even with the Master Schulze, that I will attract people in my living room, even if drinks will be free and flow massively. And it’s understandable! See Schulze in concert is like watching a tall man of a certain age toying with its PC and multiple keyboards. Remark that whoever might be; Schulze or Vangelis, results would be the same. And this, even if the music is sublime! When one attends a concert, one likes that when that moves. One likes that to feel life and the communication between artists on stage. Jean Michel Jarre and Tangerine Dream understood it and for this reason their concerts are clearly snuffed by a younger clientele who seek for sparks and rhythms on furtive exchanges of glances or smiles between musicians. An EM concert which includes only one person and his gear is the equivalent of seeing a pianist or solo instrumentalists in stage behind his fans conquered in advance. It is necessary to love the artist and to travel with his art to appreciate this invisible communion of it. On this level, Klaus Schulze succeeds fully. Seeing him settles on raised curtains to fix his equipments in order to create his invisible orchestra where the rhythm appears as by magic is something to see. Thereafter wrapping these beats by suave synth solos, is the great musical mass where everything becomes allowed, even astral voyages without unspecified substances. And the room, just as me, is stagger by the presence of this man who inspires still so much dream, fantasy and quietude. Him alone, Klaus Schulze magnetizes and charms by its ease to multiply its harmonies in a perfect cohesion that one is very astonished when he stands up to introduce Lisa Gerrard for Bazylika NSJ. Thirty minutes that we didn’t see slipping by! A great lady, a beautiful voice and a superb cohesion between the artifice and the naturalness! Bazylika NSJ, just like Godspell, are 2 titles with ethereal and torn ambiances where the voice of Gerrard marries the audacities and improvisations of Schulze who shows that there is no age to oversize its electronic symphonies where the angels squabble the satanic last breaths. A beautiful concert with a sober lighting, not to say rudimentary, with two artists not afraid of pushing the electronic art far enough to be hard to catch up by others.
In the Moog for Love is a documentary of thirty minutes showing the making of this show. The French subtitles (German are also available) make his viewing more attractive, in particular for the interview with Lisa Gerrard who talks about her relationship and how everything stats with Schulze. So, a small and beautiful documentary showing Schulze is in good health, still likes what he does and over all still has enthusiasm for create music. Dziekuje Bardzo is a superb audio-visual document. On the audio side, we have an excellent concert with music of the most innovative whose many bounces are the essence of Schulze creativity, whereas the visual side is sober and quite detailed. One sees there perfectly all that Schulze handles and programs in order to present a concert worthy of complexity and imagination we can expect from EM. So, a great DVD with outstanding music which is far most enjoyable on a big TV ACL screen and a great surround sound system. An event that technology is able to offer nowadays and which surpasses the great Dziekuje Poland, released 25 years ago. A Masterpiece which will survive times…as many musical works from Schulze.

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

SCHULZE/GERRARD: Dziekuje Bardzo 3CD (2009)

There are people who think that the artistic union Schulze/Gerrard made its time and that our friend Klaus should pass to another thing. I’m divided about this opinion. Certainly I miss these long Schulzian synth wanderings where Schulze thwarted previsions by throwing an album which tricked the time bringing us way ahead beyond. On the other hand, I believe that there are still beautiful things to come out from this duet whose duels and harmonies transcend what Schulze can let us imagine with its chimerical choruses. If Lisa Gerrard had quiet down the Master on Farscape and Rheingold, Schulze pushes divinely the diva of the syncretic singings on Dziekuje Bardzo with superbly sequenced passages where the voice of its Muse is as aggressive and corrosive as it’s the time on Dead Can Dance.What do we have to hold about Dziekuje Bardzo is that it’s a triple cd-set which gathers 2 concerts given in 2 days; one in Berlin and the other in Warsaw. For sentimental reasons concerning Schulze (that is to say 25 years after Dziekuje Poland), the concert of Warsaw is definitely more inspired. Therefore, in my opinion, a double album including the concert of Warsaw plus, in bonus, Spanish Ballerina, should have been amply enough. But Schulze being Schulze, which knows that all of his concerts are pirated (from where the birth of Silver, Ultimate, etc… Edition), he preferred to release a triple box with the 2 performances which resemble each other except for some variations. Therefore, here what can explain the polemic of certain EM chronicler’s opinions who think that the Schulze-Gerrard union made its time.
The first 3 titles are drawn from the concert given in Warsaw, on November 13, 2008, nearly 4 months after the Loreley (Rheingold) concert and Klaus Schulze frees his panoply of heteroclite sonorities where voices and groaning bathe in a strange climate of Muslim pastoral on a soft synth to angelic singing exercises. Towards the 9th minute a fine sequence takes shape and floats while multiplying its arch tinted of light hazy whistles on another sequence which undulates in a superb sequential fusion that few artists dare to soften. A dance of cymbals is added to the movement whose undulation gets the upper hand on the rhythmic, whereas choruses so ethereal to Schulze musical world are graft to mould a soft symphony on chaotic rhythms, but symmetrical, in the shade of a synth which unpick its solos as much abrasive than cosmic, like a hyphen between the lost world of analogue to that more pragmatic and robotic which is the digital one. And wave the beat! Under twisted solos which widen the rhythm on ten minutes. Time needs to embrace a long ethereal final with sweet musical silk threads where Schulze lays out all the architectural possibilities of its synths.
Bazylika NSJ is the 1st Schulze/Gerrard communion on Dziekuje Bardzo box-set. A long title divided like Shoreless Two with its intro and its beatific finale, intersected of a most daring segment for a vocal performance where Schulze insane sequences marinate on solids percussions and an absolutely magical voice which bites at full lungs on a frenzied rhythm. Divine, the intro shows us the power of Mrs. Gerrard vocal cords that Schulze supports superbly well with its synthesized choruses. A cosmic opera where the Prima Donna dominates an unreal universe with a superb fusion of simulated and artificial voices. Magic, the voice of Gerrard borrows various intonations before gently gliding towards the opening of the hybrid sequences which hop from everywhere near the 18th minute. And there we attend to a musical duel where the rhythm, which undulates with aggressivity, crosses slow but fluid orchestrations and syncopated sequences where Schulze pushes Lisa Gerrard in the depth of her ramparts, driving back the limits of a simple Prima Donna. A diva who spreads out all the spell of her voice, over an ethereal final. Godspell encloses the performance of Warsaw with a title divided into 2 times and movements. The first 10 minutes attack a minimalism rhythm where the tempo pulse and undulates such as a cosmic ascension on great percussions hammering a progressive tempo which agitates nearby a superb vocal performance. A musical piece where the vocal improvisation is as much impressive as those of the synth and sequences of a Klaus Schulze in its hallucinatory movements. With the quietude and the sublimity of here voice, Lisa Gerrard feeds herself all the dreamy imaginations of Godspell 2nd part where artificial cellos revolve around a voice to thousand intonations, visages and passions which lull us with an infinite idleness of the heart.
Recorded the day before, the concert of Berlin offers structures similar to the Warsaw concert, except for some variations. These variances are more present on Ocean off Innocence where heavy resounding chords oscillate deeply under the laments of a Lisa Gerrard who seems to be without limits. A soft celestial voice on heavy reverberations with the circles of claustrophobic resonances, Lisa Gerrard is in a superb vocal delirious whereas gradually Ocean off Innocence borrows soft paths of Bazylika NSJ, as well as its heavy unbridled rhythms. Spanish Ballerina distinguishes itself with its syncretic intro to anarchistic voices, before a soft Spanish serenade comes to polish its syncretic opening.
Dziekuje Bardzo’s only flaw is its whole contains. Offering 2 concerts that look a lot alike add some redundancies and lengths to this 3 cd set. If we have the money of our faith and fanaticism there are no problems, but I do believe it’s a problem of conscience of Klaus D. Mueller for this shameless exploitation of fans loyalty. On the other hand, the Warsaw concert is a wonder where Schulze gargantuan impetuses are finely supported by a superb control of Lisa Gerrard vocal cords whom, undoubtedly, swallowed a synth in her childhood. A splendid voice which embraces all of Schulze’s madness who, on the other hand, performs superbly all of his muse’s emotions. A beautiful album, that has its lengths, but which is absolutely magical on its DVD version which presents the whole Warsaw concert.

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

jeudi 16 septembre 2010

SPYRA Wolfram Der/LANG Chris: Sequest (2010)

After a first superb album released in 2003, the duet Spyra / Lang puts back with Sequest; an album which includes music recorded in concert and which walks by moments on the tracks of Achtundsechzig 24, while caressing a sound universe proper to Spyra musical signature. Outer spaces voices entangled to angelic choruses, straight in the middle of a stellar station where trains coming from another world travel.
Fine sequences flicker over waves appearing from the unknown, digging even more the unreality introductory of Last Train to Holmberg III, the city sitting nowhere. The sequential movement becomes a bit more linear, espousing a line of resonance which waves upright under a dense one Mellotron wrap. Slowly Last Train to Holmberg III takes life with a fine line of bass which pulses among these resonant sequences, lost choruses and beautiful layers of a melodious synth. The rhythm stabilizes with percussions which slam in an electronic world where sequences teem under thick Mellotron layers and synths fuse nasal solos with well pronounced twists. As a spiral which winds from top to bottom, the tempo of Last Train to Holmberg III waves of a minimalism movement where intonations permute willingly to synth solos which take many sonorities. Last Train to Holmberg III disentangles trough musical landscape tinted with several modulations, of which piano notes whose pour among solos of a symphonic synth and breaths of fanciful blowpipes. At once poetic and intuitive Last Train to Holmberg III shows us stations of a soft musicality where musical temperaments differ from a station to another, but preserve its entire great presence with a synth to multiple modulations and sonorities. Nenikekamen moves on with great sequences which skip tenderly, under the breaths of a jazzy synth which pushes its solos such a trumpet pushing sighs in the heart of a lonely night. Here the sequences are superb and frame marvelously the wanderings of a synth shaping its solos under the sound of a rolling train. Hypnotic and tender, the tempo stirs frenziedly below spectral solos and sequences which hem with grace, while a beautiful Mellotron throws a felted aura on a movement became more and more caustic. A rhythm where sequences get out of breath around the 12th minute, plunging Nenikekamen in a very finale ambient. Santorini depicts marvelously the musical universe of Spyra. A long title to jazz fragrances which moves lasciviously with a beautiful line of bass, fine percussions which slam under felted pulsations, pensive choruses, a piano to dreamy notes and a synth with trumpets sweet blows. A sensual and light title that ends in the duality of industrial tones. More syncretic, the title track plunge us beyond the harmonious borders of Spyra / Lang. The intro is nevertheless sulfurous with a splendid synth whispering songs and blows dreamlike choruses, preceding a soft line of bass which pulses around sequenced chords which flicker nervously in a heavy metallic trap. Straight from a Milky Way opening, Sequest turns into a somber spectral odyssey where heavy lines of synth resound by tearing a felted veil with pulsations drumming constantly in ochre web. Ghostly mermaids howl in a dark musical canvas where the drama takes place behind fine sequences and synth pads which pierce for a moment this fleece of metal, before ending on a soft final which embraces the steams of its intro, showing this strange duality of styles which lives in Spyra.
Soft hypnotic musing with somber nightmarish mazes, Sequest is of a unique musicality of a very avant-gardism and colored world of Spyra. This 2nd Spyra / Lang album progresses such a journey by train. A journey which makes us discover magnificent musical landscapes near the Schulze Berliner style, before melting into the jazzy nights of Spyra Spyra to end in a strange terminus which depicts easily the multiplicity of the styles which confirm Spyra in its prince's title of the contemporary EM.


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

mardi 14 septembre 2010


1 Hi Ian and thank you for your according time for this interview. For the benefit of Synth&Sequences readers; how Arc was born and what are the definition and inspiration of this name?
Hi, well I've known Mark Shreeve since we first both played at the very first UK Electronica event in Milton Keynes in 1983. However for a while our musical paths took very different routes. And then sometime around 1997 we just decided that this was a good time for us to work together. No real reason it just seemed right - Mark was experimenting with his big Moog modular and was starting to release Redshift material and I've always loved working with modulars - at the time I had a large Roland System 100M set up so Octane was born and released in 1998 on my old Something Else Records label. I really can't remember specifically why we chose ARC but we wanted something short and simple and that seemed to fit the bill.
2 How two persons to the very pronounced creative antipodes (Mark being closer to retro Berlin School and you closer to more contemporary, even experiments tones,) manage to harmonize their artistic visions? Does Arc sounds like Redshift or Ian Boddy? Or it’s a perfect amalgam of Boddy/Shreeve?
I think it's a good balance between our two styles. In any case each ARC album has been slightly different and our music has run the full range from classic Berlin School sequencing to more prog rock tracks with a drummer through to dark ambient soundscapes. It's probably closer to Redshift than to my own solo material although I like to think there is a distinction.
3 Church is Arc 7th album of Arc and the 4th in concert. Does Arc feel at ease more on stage than in studio?
They are two completely different environments and it's difficult to compare. In the studio you have time to carefully shape and mold the tracks whereas live anything can happen! They are both enjoyable in their own ways and we have tended to alternate studio with live albums.
4 Does Arc privileges improvisations or does the duet structure each of its compositions in concert?
A bit of both. From a technical point of view it's very difficult to sometimes reproduce what we do in the studio in a live setting. After all the modulars are not preset machines and if you were to try to do everything live you would be stuck with only a few sounds. So I tend to take some of our more adventurous studio tones and sample and loop these into Ableton Live on my laptop. I can then trigger these in concert and send a sync signal to Marks sequencers who can then improvise live over the top of these. This gives us the advantage of getting a big live sound with the flexibility of being able to extend or shorten sections as we see fit in a live situation.
5 For Ian Boddy, it was your 4th visit on this way side of the continent, how your visits in solo did and how it was playing alone in a radio station? Where did you find Where do we find the energy and the inspiration to play in concert in front of a tiny room empty of people? How was the reaction of the media and the public towards each of your visits?
Actually this was my fifth visit - three as solo performer and once playing with Robert Rich. I've found that with each visit the audience attendance and the reaction has grown and grown which is very gratifying. Of course it's a very different dynamic playing solo than performing with another musician. In many ways it's more stressful playing solo as you have so much more to do and it's difficult to have time to sit back and soak up what you're doing. Playing at the radio station used to be hard as indeed it was a tiny, LP lined room and it was tough to get into a creative zone but when you've been doing concerts of all shapes and sizes for so long you gain this "skill" and it just happens. After the radio station moved to much newer and better premises the space to play the radio shows was much larger and there was a small invited audience which was far more engaging.
6 You also played alone at St Mary’s Church. Was it intimidating to produce in solitary in a sanctuary of prayers?
No not really - you've always got the adrenaline buzz when playing in front of an audience which helps to focus your mind. I particularly remember playing my third solo concert when I was performing tracks from my Elemental album and I was ending the first set with the title track which has a set of very grand chords. This piece means a lot to me and as I played these chords I was gazing down the aisle at the beautiful stained glass window at the far end - for a few moments I was able to be both playing and have the enjoyment of looking at the window - it was very special for me and something I'll never forget. 
7 For Arc, and Mark Shreeve, it was a 1st visit. Is offering performances in duet more are reassuring and more stimulating?
Well as I mentioned above it's a different dynamic. Both solo & playing as a duo have their own set of challenges but the one really nice thing about playing on stage with another musician whom you trust & respect is that you don't have to be doing something all the time - it's nice to be able to take stock of how the performance is going at times and to be able to soak up the atmosphere.
8 We think that EM appeals only the European auditors who seem more opened to various musical cultures, do you think that there is a market for this type of music in the United States and Canada?
Of course there is a market for this music over there - the main problem with the USA is it's shear size. I think in the UK we're used to small traveling distances so we assume if there's a concert somewhere in the States that folk can travel to it from all over but it doesn't work like that. It's like several quite large countries all joined together and so sometimes any scene over there is quite fragmented. But I've certainly noticed that by playing these concerts and getting more radio exposure that your profile & sales increase.
9 Church was recorded in a church, while Rise was in the studios of the radio WXPN of Philadelphia. Each of the concerts is totally different; Rise being more atmospheric and more ambient, while Church is sharply more forceful and caustic. How did you approach both concerts
In a nutshell Church was more structured with set themes that we wanted to play interspersed with improvised sections and we wanted it to be bold and grand to suit an audience sitting in those surroundings. Rise was totally improvised and played in very intimate surroundings very late at night so we wanted something more experimental & dark. I think both performances reflect these sentiments very well.
10 In my opinion Church is really amazing, because it depicts marvelously the at once the secret and impulsive atmospheres which represent the paradoxes of every religions. Does a concert in a church take a particular character at the level of the compositions and inspiration?
You don't have to be religious to play a concert in a church ;-) Having said that of course a beautiful church because of the nature of it's architecture and it's cultural heritage brings a certain atmosphere to proceedings and it's up to the audience to interpret how this makes them feel. There's no particular religious feeling in the music we played although we wanted to play in harmony with the building and it's atmosphere. We certainly wanted to play some grandiose themes and hence composed some of these ahead of time so they could be used as markers throughout the performance around which we could build a musical journey. We are both of the opinion that watching a performance like ours should be entertaining and that the music, lights and building all contribute toward what will hopefully be a memorable night for the audience. 
11 If the title track; Church, inspires a cosmic Gregorian approach which concludes on the good old Arc sequential measures, Veil is symptomatic of a strangely violent unwinding for a title played in a place of prayers. Can we deduce that every title of Church is an evolutionary chapter of a sanctuary?
Well that's your interpretation but not necessarily what we intended. As I've implied we were after a lot of dynamics and drama in the music we played - it's so easy sometimes with this sort of equipment to just noodle over the top of an endlessly repeating sequence - this is both not satisfying for us or good enough for the audience in our opinion so we often like to play on contrasts. So with Veil we wanted to have this gentle intro & outro ripped apart in the middle by this relatively brief violent outburst. In a way we are almost playing around with some of the structures present in some forms of classical music which have themes, dynamics & drama. Once you introduce these elements into your music you also have a chance of gaining the most important factor and that's emotion - we really want to convey emotion when we perform - for us that's the most important thing.

12 How was the preparation for each of your concerts during this journey for Philadelphia? Knowing the blunder of Mark Shreeve Synth Moog and knowing that it didn’t make the travelling, how Arc managed to reproduce sonority so near your sound reality?
Chuck van Zyl the radio host of Stars End and host of the Gatherings concerts pulled all the stops out for us and 3 local musicians very kindly loaned us a selection of keyboards + a large system with 2 Moog clone sequencers for Mark to use. We flew out a few days before the concert and stayed in a very nice B&B in the woods outside Philadlephia whose owner very kindly let use set up all the gear in a large beautiful room to rehearse. This gave us time to iron out any technical difficulties and to combine the pre-prepared material I had on my laptop with the material we were performing live. It was a busy and somewhat anxious time but I think we pulled it off.
13 I know that your two concerts in Philadelphia knew enormous successes. Do you envisage a mini tour the North American?
Well that would be nice but the challenges would be formidable. I've already mentioned the fact that traveling over there is on a different scale than over here and bearing in mind we had a loan of a lot of very precious equipment this might prove very difficult.
14 After two albums in concert from Arc, can we expect a next studio album?
We usually have alternated between live and studio releases but it's too early to tell. Mark of course has his Redshift project and I have several other projects I need to work on first.
15 Apart Arc Ian Boddy has a solo career, as well as a label DiN, describe Ian Boddy’s music and talk about the creation of the label DiN?
Well that's a big question - how do I sum up my 30 year musical career ;-) Simply listen to my music - always electronic in nature of course but constantly exploring new paths both in musical structure and also in collaborating with other musicians. I've never been content to just inhabit a comfort zone of EM and think it's important to always try out new ideas. DiN was set up in 1999 and was really a way for me to present a more focused, planned music label which allowed me to both collaborate with other musicians but also to release albums by other musicians whom respect. 
16 What can we expect if we intent to start the discovery of the artists from your label?
Good music first and foremost I hope. Everything in electronic music from old school Berlin School sequencing through to IDM and more experimental "dance" based styles on through dark ambient soundscapes and even modern digital forms of expression. A lot of time is spent in presenting the albums with very good sound quality and with well designed beautiful artwork. All albums are limited editions and I think this combination makes them very collectable. I think there's something for every lover of EM whatever angle you approach this broad genre from.
17 Several DiN albums are out of print, but available in downloadable format, I think in particular of the 2first Arc albums; Octane and Radio Sputnik. Can we expect a new release of these cd’s or does the downloadable music replaces more and more the real cd format?
Well firstly Octane was out before DiN started and in fact there was a reprint on CDr with original covers for this album. However as mentioned above all the DiN albums are limited print runs from between 1000 - 2000 copies depending on the artist & release. If you do a limited edition then you MUST stick to this - that's what it is. For me physical & download formats are both important and gives the customer a choice. The physical CD is good for collectors who prefer to have a nice physical product knowing there are a limited amount of these and the download format is good for those for whom this is not so important.
18 What can we expect for Ian Boddy's next album?
It's 30 years since my very first album release on cassette way back in 1980. I want to produce a special double commemorative  CD for this in really nice packaging that is signed & numbered - I'm currently compiling the tracks for this and will make a formal announcement soon.
19 Who inspired Ian Boddy musically?
When I first got into music it was bands like Focus & Camel but I quickly got into Tangerine Dream, Schulze, Jarre, Eno etc. Also classical music has always been important to me with composers such as Debussey, Ravel, Chopin, J.S.Bach ect.
20 What is the work which you would most like to redo?
Honest answer is none - for me a work is a product of what you were feeling at a particular time and place and it's really impossible to revisit. All the reworkings I've ever heard by other musicians of earlier works for me are a failure and are only ever done it seems for monetary reasons.
21 Now, and for the benefit of our readers and in order to understand a bit more the artist in you; what are your 5 favorite albums and your three books as well as favorite movies?
Gosh I should really think about this but it's probably better that I give a quick answer.
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Once upon a time in the West
Blade Runner
Lawrence of Arabia
The Life of Brian
But really there's many many more.
Books - only 3 - where do I start?
Lord of the Rings 
Anything by H.P.Lovecraft
The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson
Rubycon by Tangerine Dream
X by Klaus Schulze
Hamburger Concerto by Focus
Untitled by Sigur Ros
Everything else I've ever liked ;-)
22 Thank you Ian Boddy for your time and collaboration. On my behalf, as well as that of the readers of Synth&Sequences, the best of chances and success for you, Arc and your label Din.

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