mardi 13 septembre 2011

VARIOUS GROOVE: E-Day 2011 (2011)

1 Bahnhof Zoo (Rene Splinter) 4:29
2 Shadows of Ignorance (Remy) 16:34
3 Ataraxia 1 (Erik Wollo) 7:33
4 Ataraxia 2 (Erik Wollo)  7:38
5 Tunnel Vision (Rene Splinter)  9:13
6  E-Day live 1 (Harald Grosskopf &Sunya Beat)  9:13
7 E-Day live 2 (Harald Grosskopf &Sunya Beat)  9:14
8 E-Day live 3 (Harald Grosskopf &Sunya Beat)  6:36
9 Lemniscate Live (Rene Splinter) |8:12

A spring event very appreciated by EM fans of the grand region of Eindhoven in the Netherlands the E-Day festival, quite as the E-Live festival, also attracts hundreds of spectators from all around the world. E-Day 2011 was on its 6th edition and presented performances by René Splinter, RemyErik Wollo and Harald Grosskopf. Once again the organizers, Kees Aerts and Ron Boots, succeeded in presenting a festival high in tones where Berlin School goes alongside more progressive and more atmospheric music, while reminiscences of Tangerine Dream of the 80’s were also very present. And, as every year, Groove label produces a CD which wants to be a souvenir and an excellent window while being a complement to this festival where each artist offers unreleased music. It’s a nice collector's item for these fans of the artists performing on this festival and for those who want to discover them.
If you are a Tangerine Dream fan, mostly the Schmoelling years, René Splinter will know how to get your interest. "Bahnhof Zoo" is a superb track pulled out of the Exit and Thief years with a strong rhythmic influence of Kiev Mission. All that you will hear from this track will return you unmistakably in the core of this period. With its metallic chords, felted pulsations à Le Parc and its sequences which undulate such as a metallic snake skeleton, "Tunnel Vision" bathes in the ambiances of Le Parc and White Eagle, before criss-crossing a pulsating hypnotic rhythm, propelling by furious electronic percussions and surrounding of a magnetic sequential movement. Very fine and chiselled as whistles, solos hum on this structure to musical elements which are so near TD that we would believe to listen to unedited material of the Dream. The intro of "Lemniscate Live" always soaks into these TD atmospheres, except that the track elaborates a nicer melodious approach with synths to pleasant winds and metallic pads which stay in suspension on a structure filled of nervous flickering. A pulsation emerges out of it and beats stealthily an uncertain pace while a good sequential movement hiccups a circular rhythm to plunge "Lemniscate Live" into a rhythmic incoherence where the tempo will permute constantly into ambiances and solos always very near the roots of TD of the 80’s. Chords with dark pulsatory tones zigzag among percussions which shape weak thunders under a fine mellotron mist. Following the shape of Schulze’s work, Remy’s "Shadows of Ignorance" evolves with a delicate rhythm beneath fine synth solos to spectral night-wanderings. Solos which chisel nervously an evolutionary rhythm, even a bit groovy, which becomes incisive when the percussions fall for the first time at around 6th minutes. Then the tempo of "Shadows of Ignorance" will permute constantly, going from ambient phases to infernal rhythmic hammered by furious percussions, harpooned by mordant bass notes and fly over by superb solos of synths both spectral and piercing which let filter fine mellotron mists. It’s true that I’m a diehard fan of Remy whom I consider as being a Klaus Schulze’s equivalence, but I adored this great track which shows off all of his musical complexity on rhythms in constants permutations surrounded by striking synth solos. Those who still don’t know this brilliant synthesist and writer; it’s high time to put you to him.
Nervous riffs to jerky swaying hips dancing on tribal style percussions open "Ataraxia 1" which fine guitar layers wrap with a morphic membrane. A little as in his collaborations with Steve Roach, Erik Wøllo weaves strange and nice melodies, a bit tribal, on staccato rhythms where guitar riffs support solos which are melting to floating envelopes of synth layers. Very nice guitar solos fly over spasmodic riffs of "Ataraxia 1", creating a strange fusion between a hatched rhythmic structure and an ethereal ambiance. More melodious, "Ataraxia 2" proposes a more delicate rhythmic approach where solos of a spectral guitar hang over a rhythm livened up by riffs which unfold in loops, embracing even a bit a rock approach. One of E-Day 2011 highlights is the presence of Harald Grosskopf and his group Sunya Beat who presents a rather particular music style where cosmic rock embraces Krautrock. "E-Day Live 1" begins with heterogeneous tones encircled by oblong layers of a guitar which undulate with listlessness, whereas a bass shapes a slow and sensual tempo, accompanied by docile cymbals. Guitar laments turn into shouts where riffs and brief solos make strange syncretic chants on a languishing tempo which increases with the arrival of hammering percussions. And "E-Day Live 1" continues its progression on a rhythm always heavier where the guitar sculptures stunning tones and good solos which roll in loops on a pace pounded by more aggressive percussions. "E-Day live 2" starts with a dazzling guitar solo which seizes the audience while Harald Grosskopf grabs his cymbals and Tablas percussions to create a bewitching rhythm of a weird cosmic tribe. After a short atmospheric passage, the tempo returns with more strength to draw an approach a bit technoïd, (à la Ashra on Sauce Hollandaise) with wild percussions which strike in an eclectic atmosphere where the electronic style, with his shrill synth solos, embraces a cosmic rock fed by very nice and floating guitar solos. Notes of e-piano resound in the silence to awake the disjointed rhythm coming from the unbridled percussions of "E-Day Live 3". A bass with free jazz notes seconds this structure filled of composite tones which is very near the progressive roots of Ashra, especially because of these enchanting guitar solos. Solos floating constantly around a jerky rhythm where ethereal choirs daydream on a structure became more and more chaotic but which protects all the same its melodious approach with its piano notes which come and go in a strong musical tumult. Percussions, as acoustic as electronic, become unchained and Harald Grosskopf is offering to himself a furious solo, feeding the spasmodic and hatched rhythm of "E-Day Live 3" which quietly joins its point of origin.
For a compilation of unreleased tracks, E-Day 2011 is simply delightful. Once again Groove NL is not afraid of exploiting various musical styles in one festival, transposing its recipe on a CD which really has no weaknesses. There is for all tastes on this compilation which, in my opinion, is the best of E-Day and E-Live to date.


Sylvain Lupari (2011)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream

vendredi 9 septembre 2011

TRINITY: Music for Angels (2011)

New Age? Humph! Only David Wright could have convinced me to re-dip my ears into this insipid and boring musical style. Because I already gave and you can be sure about it! In the 70’s, in North America, we vaguely heard about the psychedelico-electronic movement that was going on in Europe. Of course we knew about TD and radio stations played some Jarre, Vangelis and Kraftwerk. But we had to have good contacts in order to find the right records store that wasn't afraid of digging to get great EM importations and the music of Schulze, Ashra and others. With Virgin, we discovered the music of Tangerine Dream and Mike Oldfield and HMV distributed the IC catalogue, but that was all. So, doors were wide open to New Age. And radio airings were infested by it. Artists, including TD, coming from catalogues such as Narada, Private Music, Windham Hill, Miramar and others, had all the room and threw the real EM in commercial oubliettes to conceive some music with soft rhythms and celestial tones. We were far from pure EM. Then after came Internet, and artists' discovery such as Andy Pickford, Mark Shreeve, Ian Boddy and … David Wright. Artists who, from the bottom of their dens, continued against winds and tide to create avant-gardist music which, on the other hand, only pleased to a small audience and was being avoided by labels and producers who considered it too complex.
This long introduction brings us to the new vocation of A.D. Music label which will produce a new music series of relaxation. This new orientation answers a real need and a greater demand of a very active public which is dying to hear New Age, from where the group Trinity (not to be confused with Trinity of Ian Boddy and Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock who assisted David Wright) and the album Music for Angels. Trinity is formed by David Wright, Neil Fellowes and NigelTurner-Heffer; 3 musicians having a vast and solid background in progressive and electronic music with Code Indigo and in solos who accepted to raise the challenge and create a progressive style New Age.

A delicate waterfall awakens the rhythm of acoustic guitar riffs which, on his turn, gets a soft synth out of its musical hibernation. With its synth to angelic winds and fine orchestral arrangements, the very airy tempo of "Love’s Purest Light" shines of its twinkling arpeggios to offer a soft rhythmic imprinted of oniric sweetness. The rhythm on is light with this acoustic guitar filled of harmonious riffs, whereas the melody is assured by a fluty synth to delicate modulations and light tremolos à la Kitaro. Celestial choirs, twinkling arpeggios, poignant mellotron momentums and superb orchestrations furnish this long mi-cosmic and mi-New Age ballad which unfolds with fine permutations in its structure while remaining always as fluid as melodious. I have to be honest and admit that it’s a beautiful track which does its effect and even pleases to my love. Delicate notes of a quixotic harp open the first measures of "Angels in the Sunlight". The tempo is non-existent and notes float in a light static whirlwind where everything turns in circle, as the reflections of a hypnotic light. A fine bass line drops its notes and chords of an electric guitar are waking up while "Angels in the Sunlight" permutes finely towards a kind of galactic blues. A very long track full of restraint and mainly centred on acoustic instruments, "Angels in the Sunlight" reminds me a little bit of Osamu Kitajima’s The Source with this long melody which goes through the same rhythmic lines by adding here and there all the kiss curl ingredients for a public who doesn’t want to hear heavy sequences, nor long solos to excessive lamentations. It’s there that the experience of these 3 veterans that are David Wright, Neil Fellowes and NigelTurner-Heffer can be feeling; they succeed to create a long melody which constantly turns on a rhythmic structure to fine permutations. The 2nd part offers a more electronic approach with a synth which whistles fine cosmic solos, moulding the blues to New Age while passing by a light jazz on suave fluty synth solos while passing by a delicate cosmic approach.
How to turn our back to "Eternal Reincarnation"? The first portion offers this delicate acoustic guitar which pushes back its notes in an ethereal cosmos, there where the angels embellish the walls of stars and where cosmic winds feed the biosphere. A wonderful synthesized voice emerges from there. She breathes and frees suave lamentations which are lulling in a studed cosmos. Here is a superb introduction moulded in the bosoms of tenderness and melancholy with an angelic voice which blows our sighs in a delicate melodious approach. Nostalgic, the acoustic guitar is to make dream the rebellious. Angelic, the voice reminds those of mothers absent of our cots. She hums and murmurs our soft innocent musing in dusts of angels and stars, retrieved by a loving and romantic acoustic guitar. I would have liked this portion a bit longer but "Eternal Reincarnation" goes out of its charming bed in half-time with a soft festive approach, introduced by Tablas percussions which shape a fine tempo watered by light fluty winds. A livelier rhythm which gets back the introductory charms, creating a skilful meshing where Morpheus' sweetness and beauties are slowly dancing on a light bluesy and groovy rhythm.
If the future of EM architects passes by New Age, it’s so to wish that this New Age passes by artists as talented and composers as experienced as David Wright, Neil Fellowes and NigelTurner-Heffer. If I found that "Angels in the Sunlight" went round in circles, I can’t deny all the beauty and depth of "Eternal Reincarnation". A great relaxing track which nests in my Ipod and which accompanies my bed music because its really is music for angels. No I am not still in favour of New Age and I am very disconcerted by the commercial approach of A.D. Music, but when it’s beautiful and well done, it’s beautiful and well done and Music for Angels is a nice album which shows that New Age can be made in beautiful conditions of creativity. And by the way, David informed me that his next album will be very electronic and that the Trinity project has to be separated with his other musical activities.


Sylvain Lupari (2011)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream

lundi 5 septembre 2011

KLAUS SCHULZE: La Vie Electronique 3 (2009)

La Vie Electronique III brings us in the heart of 1975 with live recordings in Germany, France and Hamburg as well as studio unreleased music. All tracks on LVE III appear on the Historic, Silver and Ultimate Edition and are presented in a chronological order, allowing thus to follow Klaus Schulze’s musical evolution who always uses his Farfisa organ, EMS Synthi, ARP synths, his homemade Syntanorma sequencer and for the very first time; the Big Moog. LVE III is a superb box-set, with its small recordings flaws, which shows all of the Schulze creative ingenuity in an era where EM concerts was a fair of improvisation but which also stayed a huge poetic mass presented by a man alone.
Recorded live in Munich, May1975, CD1 starts with "Alles ist Gut" and its sound effects of a cosmos unknown by all and which seems so simple in the understanding of the German synthesist. It’s a long 36 minutes track where a delicate sequence emerges from white noises to waddle innocently of a minimalist movement which progresses stealthily. This furtive movement awakes a solemn organ of which lugubrious and enchanting layers float and sing all over the intro. The sequential movement accentuates nervously the pace near the 9th minute to swirl in a furious spiral and merge its chords with those of the Farfisa, creating an oscillating and hypnotic drummed waltz, but without percussions, with impulsions of sequences and organ.
Gradually the tempo evanesce into Schulze’s cosmic foggy where only hypnotic, but weak, sequential movement survives in an interstellar frenzy where improvisation stages a lugubrious celestial and apocalyptic world which sails on a latent rhythm which takes back its initial sequences to get astray in a crazy furious ritornellos and transport us in the slow morphic, soporific and shrill vapours of "Alles ist Gut" long final. More experimental than musical, "Well Roared, Lion!" begins in an intense syncretic cacophony where waves of synth undulate on a shimmering linear movement to gyratory impulsions. A crazy and strongly aggressive track filled with reverberations, sinuous waves and cosmic winds roaring through a cosmic storm stuffed with white noises, which goes out of breathe in layers and odes of a solitary organ to gradually reach a point of tranquillity and a more celestial atmosphere. "Der Blaue Glaube" is another long 32 minutes track of which the opening, made by a suave synth wind, still breathes fragrances of Blackdance
 but with fine twinkling arpeggios which roam and stroll on a nice line to subtle oscillations. Slowly its intro progresses as a poem without words where chords and the musicality of Schulze lead us in a wonderful moment of reverie whereas delicate percussions fall to awake this delicious cosmic ode. We can feel the embryonic state of Moondance, with a zest of
Blackdance, on pre recorded percussions which follow the unbridled movements of these 2 works by Schulze, who has difficulty to follow with his synth and coordinate by his solos. The hazards of being alone with pre recorded percussions! But we have to be honest and to admire all the fluidity of Schulze who adapts itself rather quickly to follow the rhythm of the drum skins without falling in a rhythmic anarchy. A bit further, "Der Blaue Glaube" embraces the cosmic noises and enters a morphic phase where layers of synth undulate, while dropping solos, whereas appear the first sequential outlines. Sequences which strum a minimalist and insisting rhythm, on a rippling linear movement flew over by suave ethereal synth layers. Between the raw rhythm and the oniric sweetness of synth winds, "Der Blaue Glaube" evolves on subtle rhythmic permutations which come and go like sinuous movements of cascades on a moderate but charmingly musical rhythm. It is a superb musical piece, quite as "Alles ist Gut".
CD 2 offers diverse recordings of various concerts presented in the autumn and winter of 75. Recorded in France, on an unknown date, "Fourneau Cosmique" seems to be coming out from the Picture Music
 sessions, has it happens on Totem, but with a stronger intro with synth waves which interlace in a feverish hypnotic musical movement. Synth layers coupling in a nervous ballet which waves furiously in a curious waltz in staccato that a sequential movement espouses of a series of strummed and pounded chords. These chords isolate and strum more slowly, surrounded by a suave mellotron mist which casts a distressing veil on "Fourneau Cosmique" of which the evolution seems hesitating before sinking into glaucous pulsations which are not without recalling the universe of Totem but with less musicality. Scattered beatings permute in strange pulsations which plunge us into the caustic musical world of Totem before embracing a long atonal movement shaken by brief impulsions but fed by delicate twinklings arpeggios of which the echo resounds with strength in this universe at once biting, cold and very experimental. Recorded in Germany, autumn 75, "Die Lebendige Spur" opens with fine sparkling arpeggios which stroll on a latent rhythmic line where fine bass pulsations are clouded by a soft mellotron. The rhythm explodes with a superb synth play which kicks away furious chords hopping nervously in a beautiful zigzagging melody before falling in sulphurous solos which spin and criss-cross furiously on a sequential movement pounded of insistent chords and fed by a flowing bass. We are in the heart of Moondawn and especially Body Love years with a very progressive, even psychedelic, electronic approach which strongly influenced the French School style. "La Présence D'Esprit" is a small marvel which follows a tangent full of restraint. A very romantic and poetic track which begins with an electronic broth from where escapes fine drummed sequences and synth winds which come along in a long minimalist melody dressed of cosmic tones. The track evolves as a fine bolero, on a soft line of bass imprint of mellotron mists and a fusion organ/synth from where constantly filters these brief whistles which go astray in an ethereal melancholic foggy and scattered sequences on synth undulations of the Moondawn era. Very beautiful and quite good! Recorded in Hamburg studios in winter75 "Der Lauf Der Dinge" is a long sequential movement where chords spin, flicker and entwine in fine rhythmic permutations. The particularity of this track is that there are no synth and keyboard/synth chords to weave a melodious shadow on this sequential movement. We are finding there these sequences which swirl into spirals to multiple musical faces. This is another remarkable track buried in Schulze vaults and which justifies the publication of his numerous Editions.
CD 3 begins with "Zeichen Meines Lebens", recorded during a concert in Munich (St-Ursula Church) in October 75. It’s a very long and bewitching movement beginning with fine twinkling sequences which undulate on a soft musical river. The movement progresses with intensity, supported by layers and pads of the Farfisa which float and wave with a stunning fluidity above a brilliant mirror of sequences to the colors of the prism. I would be tell that we hear the musical skeleton of Mirage that I would believe it, especially when that the synth blows its first solos on another sequential movement camped by chords to minimalist variations. Twisted solos on a hypnotic sequential movement "Zeichen Meines Lebens" progresses with light variations in its structure, always keeping the cape of its alternative minimalist movement, its initial sequences to gleaming prisms and its solos became spectral. We are between Blackdance
Picture Music and the skeleton of Mirage as well as Body Love and it’s simply brilliant. The other tracks on CD 3 are studio recordings reflecting the works of this era, as on "Semper Idem" and "Wann Soll Man Springen?" which seem to come out of Blackdance sessions to roam in phases and more experimental structures on static and hatched movements fed of hesitating and sometimes warm sometimes jerky synth solos. Taken out from nowhere, "Experimentelle Bagatelle" hiccups also on a hatched linear movement which is later invades by metallic beatings and pulsations a bit deafening. Between Totem and Body Love, "Kurzes Stück Im Alten Stil" gallops on drummed sequences and great twisted solos. It’s a short but magnificently musical piece where Schulze cosmic bats glance through a wonderful electronic movement from the analog years. "Gewitter" concludes this outstanding box-set of unedited music with a synth line to hatched furrows which wave on somber pulsations. A little between the philharmonic arrangements of X and percussions impetus of Body Love, "Gewitter" rocks the house down with black pulsating sequences which crisscross the mad beatings of Harald Grosskopf wrapped with a rather discreet synth. This wild and unbridled rhythm stops curtly to fall into syncretic metallic and synth lines which weave unreal violins lamentations. An atonal movement which goes by increasing but without ever being feed of rhythms, as in X.
La Vie Electronique III is the most beautiful of the first 3 box-sets of the uncountable re Editions of Klaus Schulze. It’s a box-set where every CD offers pure brilliant moments, encircled by some jewels that aren’t less brilliant. To my ears it’s more than a box-set of unreleased works. It’s a real album that got lost in times and multiple mobile studios (read tape-recorders) that our synths poet constantly lugged-around. Simply wonderful and highly recommendable, it easily equals and surpasses by moments Picture MusicBlackdance and Timewind. This is a real masterpiece!

Sylvain Lupari (2011)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream

mercredi 24 août 2011

OZONE PLAYER: Long-Range Influence (2011)

Delicate arpeggios waddle innocently beneath breaths of varied flutes and swirl as a carousel on "Sapphire 12" opening. The rhythm is curt and drummed by fine percussions which support its keys which sound like a xylophone of carnival; whereas "Sapphire 12" continues its spiral to sound as a strange minimalist bed song being situated between the borders of the twilight zone and a children's story. Quixotic violins surround these naughty ritornellos to fly up in the air with sulphurous and fluid violin momentums. Horns come and "Sapphire 12" loses its innocence while percussions fall along with guitar notes to mould a curious western ride. Between the minimalist and melodious structures of Mike Oldfield and the orchestral and progressive rock of King Crimson, Alan Parsons and Mike Batt, Long-Range Influence presents 13 disconcerting tracks which amaze as much that they bewitch.
Long-Range Influence is this new musical adventure of Ozone Player, the musical project of the audacious and talented Otso Pakarinen, a Finland musician who likes to create a music which escapes any styles and musical tag. It’s also the fruit of collaboration between the American science fiction writer and comic book artist Matt Howarth and the Finnish multi-instrumentalist. Matt created a graphic story picturing a future space mission investigating a distant planet that turns out to be inhabited by sentient life forms. Following this thematic, Otso weaved a musical soundtrack with incredibly syncretic arrangements where merge space music, eclectic progressive and experimental rock, world and classical music, synth-pop as well as movie music. Moreover, there is a strong influence of themes music from television series of the 60’s and 70’s throughout Long-Range Influence and there is a PDF guide (on the CD) that will guide you better and located sources and avenues.
The music? It’s as simply brilliant as delirious with all those styles which become entangled on percussions, curt and jerky keyboard keys ringing as crystalline xylophone hits and "Sapphire 12" starts quite well the party. Between synth-pop and classical eclectic rock, "The Jolly Rolly" offers a beautiful fluid structure where the rhythms vary on great arrangements and rich tones, as a podgy toad which caw above accordion layers on a lively and fluid tempo where Tablas percussions look a bit lost. "Sentient Slimemolds" is a soft ballad without musical genre where spectral waves roam and float over fine percussions and pulsations as hypnotic as arrhythmic. It’s a very beautiful track to which we become attached more and more at each listening and which fractions Steve Roach's tribal rhythms. Crazy and explosive, "Scaling the Sky Root" offers a more alive and unbridled structure with a superb bass line wriggling of its nervous chords and with furious percussions which shape a frenzied and distressing rhythm, ending in an unknown linguistic cacophony. A little in Philip Glass way, "Getting Past the Jelly Globules" swirls of its wind instruments group before being harpooned by a big intimidating bass. Torn between orchestral arrangements and an uncertain rhythm, "Getting Past the Jelly Globules" moves stealthily with a nice synth line which makes wave a rhythm surrounded by heterogeneous musical elements. One would believe to hear a new version of Twilight Zone. "The Enemy Nest" dives us into a full intersidereal mystery with an ambient structure from where filter some dark and isolated chords, surrounded of synth layers a bit ghostly. And the rhythm falls. Like strummed beatings, "The Enemy Nest" tempo begins skipping of a little bit candid approach with chords to tones at once limpid and of glasses which strum on a minimalist movement. "Robot Probe" presents interesting approach of old black and white movies with its piano notes which jump on violin layers with zigzagged momentums. The movement goes brilliantly on a more lively structure with this blend of chords which dance on tap-dancing percussions.
And so goes Long-Range Influence. On rhythms and melodies which overlap in heterogeneous and plentiful musical structures of a sound fauna as rich as fascinating, "Attack of the Sentry Mites" follows with a structure just as much jerky where chords quiver and jump up in a tribal ambiance. It’s a very powerful where Kimmo Pörsti delivers a powerful fight of percussions against nervous and impulsive synths/keyboards chords of Otso Pakarinen who dusts the whole thing of suave light winds to tones of Arabic and indigenous flutes. Very ambient, "Diabolical Ohkar" deviates towards an obscure tribal world where clan vocalizes get lost in a tetanised ambiance. "Plans to Catalyze the Atmosphere" offers a fluid rhythm which is very near the sound tracks of French movies with this smooth voice that is walking on a structure supported by fine percussions and keyboard keys. Whistles whistle here and there, bringing an odd spectral touch which is usually approached by a synth. "Attacked by Grooming Slugs" is extremely bipolar with its subdivided rhythm, supported by good percussions while the mellotron draws superb musical arcs. It goes from heavy metal, with riffs of a corrosive guitar, to melancholic harmonies, with its whimsical violins and twinkling arpeggios which, misled, flow on the back of a round bass. "Accidental Terrestrial Intervention" pursues this crazy musical getaway with a bass which runs after its rhythm on old airs of espionage TV series. "The Great Anthem" ends Long-Range Influence with a good synth-pop which transcends towards a little more cherub world with wavy chords which melt to a structure with subdivided melodies but all the same rather minimalist.
One has to be honest here. Even if Long-Range Influence isn’t conventional EM, Berlin or Netherlands School, it’s an incredibly diversified album which allies a stunning palette of genres and styles in accordance with Ozone Player’s works. An album which amazes and makes the ear jumps in every new listening so much the sound variety abounds in an incredible hybridity where everything becomes entangled in a perfect synchronicity. Otso Pakarinen looks like Mike Batt, Mike Oldfield, Philip Glass, David Bowie, Brian Eno, Frank Zappa and others of the same lineage. Rarely did I hear a so striking and surprising album, outside traditional EM spheres, except Brian Eno and Nerve Net as well as Stewart Copeland and his staggering Equalizer and Other Cliffhangers. This is a strong opus which is highly recommendable and finds its entire dimension at high volume or with headphones.


Sylvain Lupari (2011)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream

You can visit Ozone Player website here:

OZONE PLAYER: Orange Apples (2008)

Ouf! It’s not easy to tame Otso Pakarinen’s music, the man behind Ozone Player. We are dealing here with raw industrial electronic, without compromises or borders and especially without niceties. That’s a kind of electronic prog which tastes like King Crimson and has a musical fragrance which is bordering the madness of Frank Zappa, with touches of an outlaw jazz in a strange anti musical context. And yet we finish by humming some pieces here and there and appreciate the ingeniousness of the Finnish musician as we go along this astonishing album.
Metallic minimalisms waves, where shouts mould to a corrosive synth, open "Extrasensory Deprivation". Drums and cymbals activate in a noisy universe before melting in a furious rhythm. It’s a dance of hyperactive zombies in a cacophony which is honeyed attractive. And that’s the keyword for Orange Apples. In spite of the intense sound abstraction, filled of superb arrangements which surround Ozone Player’s 5th opus, we are marvel to be charmed by such a heterogeneous musical melodious mosaic as we find on the title track and its unbridled jazzy atmosphere from dark clubs. Moreover the approach of a jazz intermingling to electro prog is omnipresent on Orange Apples. In addition to "Orange Apples", "Book of Worms" and "Dog-Matic" pull the strings of an audacious jazz where keys and heavy bass converge towards the harmonies of the 30’s. "Animal Pharm" is soft track which borrows the Middle East tribal rhythms with a Tibetan approach on a smoothing background which is a delicious paradox adorned by a nice sax. Fans of Universe Zero and Art Zoyd will be in known ground, especially with "Infer No 21" which is embellishing by a great guitar solo.
Random rhythms in a wooden loudness, "Lemons and Lizards" pursues this very Tibetan tribal quest in a King Crimson approach. It’s as much provocative as curiously charming, just like "Apocalypso Yo-Yo", though more funky with its vocoder. Another track with great progressive savour which crosses Genesis’ harmonies on Zappa deviances is "Escape Goat" which soaks in a progressive funk initiates by a heavy hemming bass. Spasmodic lullaby where the piano is muffled in the scrapers of aggressive riffs that should make Jimmy Page goes pale; "Two Completely Unprepared Pianos under Attack" represents the melodious paradox which surrounds Orange Apples. If the guitar bites the superb softness of the piano, it also lays down superb melodious bits in a musical jumble to perverse arrangements before concluding with a subtle harmonious blend of piano/guitar. "A Turtle's Diary Turtle" twirls the universe of Mike Oldfield by its minimalist piano and soft arrangements. It’s a very beautiful musical piece, quite as "Helsinki" which ends this daring opus with an intro built by a nice piano and acoustic guitar as serene as romantic. A nice track which progresses with harmony on a charmer synth that breaks his melody on good percussions and wavy synth. The intensity gains with beautiful vocalizes which intermingle with an electric six-strings in a noisy moment of madness before regaining the melodious minimalism movement of its intro. A pearl among so many in an audacious musical world which is absolutely worth the try, that’s Orange Apples’ story.


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

You can visit Ozone Player website here:

samedi 30 juillet 2011

TANGERINE DREAM: Zeitgeist (2010)

Launched during the European Dream 2010 tour in March and April, Zeitgeist is the 5th Mini Cupdisc from the Cupdisc series. A series which already has 8 releases since the very first one in 2007 (One Times One). Would Edgar be short of ideas? It would seem, because this Mini Cupdisc offers 2 remixes, a cover version (already the 4th) of a Beatles song and only one new track. It’s a very cute mini CD which goes slowly into the ear as a good breeze in a period of heat wave. But look out, cute means cute! Something well done, that one listens to without shouting to genius. One needs to put things in perspective and understand that the Tangerine Dream adventure became a story of big money with some brilliant moves strewed on a long road filled by a lack of imagination and inspiration.
"Rubycon 2010" gets a soundlift. After an intro filled with heterogeneous tones, the heavy sequence which is so much familiar to us jumps up with its unbridled chords which shape a nervous chaotic rhythmic accompanied by a bit more delicate synth. The big strength of this remix is doubtless the reconstruction of sequences and percussions which are more violent and noisy in halfway. As for the rest, "Rubycon 2010" offers an updated tone where we really seize the orientations to come from the Baumann, Franke and Froese trio. It’s good but was it necessary? As far as I’m concern it didn’t erase the feelings and nostalgia left by the original.
"Zulu" is the new unreleased track on this 6th Mini Cupdisc. And when I say unreleased, it’s with a vague hesitation so much I have the strange feeling of being in heard ground. Is it of the period of Tyranny of Beauty? Lily on the Beach or Destination Berlin? Because the sequences play is quite heavy even if fluid and is also near the Hiroshima series. I hesitate because that sounds so much as what Edgar made since the last15 years. It’s good but not really brilliant; especially that it precedes another remix in "Order of the Ginger Guild 2010" which is also very near "Zulu" sounding, exception made of the African choirs. I like this sequenced heaviness which sits in the middle of the track but I am not really a connoisseur of this Tangerine Dream era (1997) to draw a credible parallel. Let’s say that it’s a big synth pop rock. "Norwegian Wood" is a solid version recorded in studio, instead of the live version that we find on Under Cover-Chapter One, and it’s always as good.
There’s not a lot to talk about this 6th Mini Cupdisc from Edgar Dream. It’s evidently well done and it rocks solid. Edgar seems to have fast seized that the pockets of his new generation of fans seem deeper than those of his older's one. Them who never stop hoping in some brilliant moves from old Edgar and who cannot be resolved to get rid of this old girlfriend that gave us so many great moments.


Sylvain Lupari (2011)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream

mardi 26 juillet 2011

TANGERINE DREAM: Booster IV (2011)

Was Booster IV necessary? Booster IV follows a lean year where the Eastgate factory seems to tick over. In 2010, Eastgate (or Tangerine Dream or Edgar Froese) produced 9 albums and 1 DVD, but only 1 original album (The Endless Season) and 1Mini Cupdisc (Zeitgeist) which already contains 2 new mixes and one interpretation of a Beatles song. The other 8albums are albums in concert (Izu and Zeitgeist concerts), compilations, cover versions (Under Cover-Chapter One) and DM V which was remixed by Jerome Froese. Thus, admit that the sauce was very crystal clear to explain the need of a Booster. But we have to believe that year in, year out Eastgate Froese seems to be missing small change.CD 1 begins with a new version of "A Streetcar Named Desire ", with a Mellow Tyre Mix (hic!) where rhythms are alike but intonations differ. Nothing very original here, that’s TD’s last years’ familiar sounds. But that kicks out quite well this new compilation which, needs to be honest, is just honest. Follows a version in concert of "Alchemy of the Heart", one of the good tracks coming out of the Franke, Froese and Haslinger era. And I got to say that I quite enjoy this live interpretation made by this new version of the Dream. "Culpa Levis 2010 "? Can't stand it! I am not capable to stand this rhythm totally deprived of mordant and which leaves room to soulless tribal vocalizes. "Warhol’s New York Walk" is a new composition and it’s sounds exactly as some good old Froese but without the complex searches. It’s a nice e-ballad which brings us back at the time of Pinnacles, quite as "Thorns from Heaven" which has more character with beautiful rhythmic arrangements. "Dominion 2010" got to be one of the worse interpretations that TD ever made from one of their tracks. There’s a lack of imagination and conviction on this remake. What a shame! "A Snail’s Dream" is another new one which goes straight into rhythm on a synth hooked on the same refrain. I prefer the 2nd part which has more punch but which really brings nothing new in the discography of the Dream. Idem for "The Lion of the Law" who is a languishing ballad with melancholic guitar solos roaring on a pace which goes by increasing, while the last new track ("Artic Sunrise") is doing on a ballad which leans on delicate riffs of guitars and synths, fine percussions and chords as light as those synthesized vocalizes. An aspect where Edgar misses definitively dexterity, except for "Solution of all Problems (Think Pink Mix)'' which came out of Madcap Flaming Duty but presented here without vocals. It’s very moving and dark and a nice track which strengthens my opinion on this album. If you still don’t have the excellent Mini Cupdisc Purple Diluvial (which is OOP) this Booster gives you the chance to repair this grave omission because it’s a splendid musical jewel and the 3 tracks on it (" Babylon the Great Has Fallen ", " Armageddon In The Rose Garden Part II " and "Purple Diluvial") are on Booster IV, but with a new version for the title track.
When I’m talking about a band which looks for itself and, sometimes, misses cruelly of imagination "Mombasa (Tuareg Remix)" is the striking example. Taken from DM V, the musical structure of this track is nevertheless full of potential but Edgar, as Jerome, will never manage to blast off these static rhythms which go round in circles... around a synthesized voice. Placed here, "Zulu" seems to possess more charm and its bass and undulating sequences sound really better in this context that on the Zeitgeist Mini Cupdisc, except that in a long run it’s flat and boring. Please, give a little juice of arm my dear Edgar! Hum...I love this new version of "Going West 2009 ". It’s wilder and much nuanced at the same time. This version played in concert in Japan (Live Izu 2009) shows that the Baumann, Franke and Froese trio was really ahead of its time. The acoustic guitar makes contrast to Linda Spa's flutes and I find that it gives a quite new depth. I know that some hated … With its tinted approach with a strong melancholy and a pain to survive coming from his guitar shrill of lamentations on a soft slightly wave-like tempo, "Devotion" is one of The Endless Season's beautiful track, quite as "Breaching Sky" which is on the other hand more nervous. "Long Island Sunset on 2010 "? Can’t stand either! ''Paddington at Five" from Flame is always so frustrating. We have the feeling to go round in circles there. It seems to me that all the ingredients are there to make it an explosive track. This version of "Purple Diluvial" seems to me wilder with abrupt rhythmic changes and more nervous sequences. The differences are small but considerable. Both versions equal because they possess the same structures and modulations.
Lean years give a so-so compilation and Booster IV is less honest than the quality of its tracks. It seems to me that Edgar, or Eastgate, should have wait another year or even 2 years. But the damage is done, needs to be flatter and to find reasons for being there. The complete insertion of Purple Diluvial is a sensible and respectful choice for the fans that were not lucky to get this excellent mini CD. The Endless Season's tracks are also a good choice whatever I would also having chosen Virtue of Hope or The Seven Barriers instead of remixes of A Streetcar Named Desire or Dominion 2010 or Long Island Sunset 2010. That would have been different, while respecting Booster’s precepts. By the way, do they exist? In fact, all the possibilities are probable so much there are holes badly filled on these compilations which years after years are looking for a reason to being other than to make some cash. Not evident the world of Eastgate … No, not evident!


Sylvain Lupari (2011)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream


What is wrong with me? Why I am not enough satisfied by Tangerine Dream’s works or compilations? On Guts of Darkness ( there are a lot of diehard fans who find me unfair when I’m reviewing a new release from TD. Is it really me or...? Obviously, I looked somewhere else on the net to see of what fans and ardent supporters of the Dream thought of it; and wow, that hurts! A strong majority claim that it is possibly the best of this series and others affirm that Mombasa is an excellent, even a magnificent track. How could I hear it that way? Because I was not so infatuated by this Booster III and read why.Compilation pulled from those following 08-09 albums; Views from has Red Train ("Sound Of A Shell"), Winter In Hiroshima ("Nexuses", "Transition", "Key Moment" and "Ayumi Loom's" extract) and Chandra ("The Dance Without Dancers", "The Unknown Is The Truth" and "The Moondog Connection") as well as Mini Cupdiscs Fallen Angels(''Two Drunken Angels At Trafalgar Square"), Flame ("Morning Star", "Lord Nelson" and "Synth Affection") and Birds In Search Of A Cage ("Kiew Mission") and the single Das Romantische Opfer among whom 2 parts are interpreted in inverted order, Booster III offers also 5 unreleased tracks with "Mombasa", "Sunshift (Moonmother’s Mix) ", "Astrophel And Stella (String Version) ", "Remote Viewing", "The Halloween Cast" and "Kilimandscharo". I already see connoisseurs frowned and said; ‘‘But there are tracks that aren’t new ones at all! ’’ Exact, because only "Mombasa" and "Kilimandscharo" are real unreleased tracks, the others being only remixes. And those who read my reviews (still in French but one day all in English) about TD on Guts of Darkness know all the good and the bad I think about albums and Mini Cupdiscs listed higher. But a brief reminder will indicate you that I didn’t like at all Winter in Hiroshima, Chandra and Birds In Search Of A Cage, while Das Romantische Opfer pleased me a bit and Flame had pleasantly surprised me. Thus you see the rundown?
And if I started by talking about the new to say stuff? Let's go with "Mombasa". It’s a dark track which draws its origins on nasal synth lines and fine percussions to African flavours. The intro is particularly good except for choruses which remain as platonic as a cold distributing machine. On the other hand, Papy Froese exercises a beautiful control of his synth pads, which are rather sober, of which he does a skilful mixture with his guitar strata. The music is dramatic and increases gradually its level of intensity without really exploding, a little as on the Nagasaki albums where Edgar seems to want to keep any forms of explosive rhythms underground. In brief, it’s a long track in which the interest decreases with minutes hard to grape out. "Sunshift (Moonmother’s Mix)" was originally on Booster II. It’s a track that I hadn’t even noticed and which move on nervous sequencers, embracing the same endless structures that Edgar cheers for the last years where nothing is really going on and is original. A music with a pale rhythm where everything seems to lean on these damn mechanized vocalizes which remove any emotions out of those nice mellotrons, creating a sweet rhythmic paradox in a track of which the length has no justification. Third new release is "Astrophel and Stella (String Version)" and I got to say that it’s very good. It’s a nice remix which makes forget an insipid original nesting on an album to be forgotten and which takes a quite new form with its synthesized violins. I really liked "Remote Viewing" new mix. In fact, I quite like most of the retouches that Edgar is doing on TD’s original works. It doesn’t any harm. Even that sometimes it sounds better than the original as it’s the case here with a beautiful addition of percussions which suits quite well to the original sequences. It’s a nice remix that fills me well. Another remix that gives me an enormous pleasure is the one of "Kiew Mission" (I know, it is not a new released – as listed by Eastgate- but I want to speak about it) where I can finally appreciate the new mastering and the dust removal without getting stuck to myself with this damn mechanical voice which turns in loops on the very not necessary Birds In Search Of A Cage. These 2 remixes from Exit are particularly well done.
On numerous sites and Blogs devoted to Tangerine Dream, several fans describe "The Halloween Cast" as being Edgar's last wonder. Well diehards, I don’t want to upset you and be kind and pleasant to incur your sympathy but explain me what is so special about this track? After a droplet à la Meddle from Pink Floyd, choirs and whistling synth roam in a foggy before that the rhythm bites this funeral prayer. A tempo became cheerful where riffs of acoustic guitar are moulding to automatons keyboard keys which glean in a sound world stuffed with percussions. There are permutations in the rhythm which deviates towards a little Far West approach with nice guitar notes and a synth which whistles on the plain of percussions and sequences which tumble and tumble. In short, if we want to be honest, it drags on and Edgar looks like a one-man band with all these percussions (rather good I may add) which hammer a strongly orchestrated structure. But from there to shout to genius! There is a margin that I won’t cross. With its percussions slamming in a universe of mist, "Kilimandscharo" is of a beautiful melancholy. Edgar goes of beautiful guitar solos there to make dreaming on a structure used so many times by the same man. As if the originality and permutations in TONES was a thing that Edgar had left to his ex colleagues. Take ''Ayumi Loom's'' new version as example, it’s much diversified as in rhythms and orchestrations. When Edgar wants, he sure can!
In brief, Booster III ...well I’m looking carefully for my words but nothing comes in mind except that it’s an average compilation. How he could it be superior to Booster II when Thorsten Quaeschning (the new soul of TD which is not used enough) is not even there?


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

lundi 25 juillet 2011

TANGERINE DREAM: Booster II (2008)

If Booster Vol. I disappointed me a bit; this 2nd try from Eastgate has the merit to offer a more intensified music on 2 CD almost fill up in time with a good track selection which, on the other hand, is supported on a false advertising representation. On Eastgate website it’s writing that this latest compilation from TD contains 8 unreleased tracks and unpublished remixes. Obviously if we don’t possess all the latest works from Tangerine Dream we can go for it and believe this promotional lie, because Booster Vol. II contains only 3 original tracks and 2 unedited remixes on a grand total of 20 tracks. Tracks which mainly come from recent albums such as; One Times One ("Modesty and Greed" and "Sadness of Echnaton Losing the World Child"), Autumn in Hiroshima ("Oracular World" and "Trauma"), Fallen Angels ("Angel in Barbed Wire Robe"), Views from has Red Train ("Hunter Shot by has Yellow Rabbit" and "Fire on the Mountain"), Hyperborea 2008 ("No-man's-land") and Anthology Decades ("Boat to Mocked", "Exit to Heaven" and" Huckebee’s Dream").
"Cloudburst Flight 2008" is among new tracks but not "Scrapyard 2008"! Try to understand something on Eastgate management! However these 2 new versions are more rock, with good guitars and synth solos in a Froesian ambiance. "A Streetcar Named Desire" is a real new think. It’s a track in the purest TDI mood which starts with an ethereal wave floating on a bass as discreet as choruses. The movement is livening up on a keyboard with flickering chords. The percussions come along and we are in the mould of the 90-00 years with the touch of Iris Camaa. Nothing very new there, it’s TD of what could be more simplistic and even Edgar seems to sweat behind his guitar. Another new track is "The Last Wave". It’s a pretty good one with a beautiful sequenced percussions play, encircled of nice wrapping strata and these damned insipid choirs that Edgar lugs everywhere on a tempo which crescendes with many feelings. Another new one? "Desert Dream" is classified as unreleased material when in fact it’s an extract of Monolith from Encore which was also on Tangent. Argh....
We have to wait until "La Boca Race" to really put something new in our ears. Another very Froesian track that smell the Pinnacles/Stuntman era with a nervous synth and mad sequencing which spins in wide loops. And yes... always those damn choirs. But I got to say that it’s quite a great track that will amaze more than one, quite as "Tomorrow Never Knows" reworked by Thorsten Quaeschning. "Sunshift" is another unreleased track which seems to be coming out of the Hiroshima project with its morphic approach which grows on a nervous sequence but surrounded with very pronounced chorus. "Beyond the Cottage and the Lake" is a superb melody which goes out of Legend mould. One would almost believe to hear a remix.
Don’t get me wrong here; Booster Vol. II is a nice and good compilation. If you possess everything from TD, it’s still worth it because certain new tracks and remixes are very good. And I got to say that the tracks selection is quite thoughtful and I also like a lot the versions of "Cloudburst Flight" and "Scrapyard". We doubtless find there good moments of TD from the 2007 and 2008 eras (Yep...) annexed to other tracks from an imprecise period. It’s heavier and more rock electronic with good arrangements. In fact there is really no weakness on Booster Vol. II except at the level of the marketing... which is a big lie.

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

TANGERINE DREAM: Booster (2007)

Another TD compilation! And is it really necessary to talk about it? I think so, because Booster is a different collection that TDI (or is it rather K-Tel?) is used to offering. A 2CD that has certain charms for Tangerine Dream collectors. And God knows that there at least 500 or 600, maybe more...But enough kidding and let’s talk about that double set compilation rather short on time because there is enough room for more material, at least 40 minutes empty to put more of Ça Va - Ça Marche - Ça Ira Encore, Space Flight Orange, 40 Years Roadmap To Music or Metaphor.But I guess that’s the way it works when greediness takes over rational. It gives compilations that have all the appearances of traps for idiots.
With Booster we are far from being in the kingdom of great music. It’s pure contemporary TD; cold, acid and devoid of sound creativity. Edgar is definitively the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde of contemporary e-music, because there is a whole world of difference between both opuses of Nagasaki, these EP on this compilation, the remixes as well as the new tracks which seem to be created on artificial feelings. We find 3 out of print EP which are sold at high price on Ebay; One Night in Space, Bells of Accra and Sleeping Watches Snoring In Silence. We also have extracts of Metaphor, 40 Years Roadmap to Music, Space Flight Orange, Ça Va - Ça Marche - Ça Ira Encore, remixes and 2 new tracks that aren’t absolutely worth the spending.
Of course, those who have all these EP are also targeting be Eastgate which considers them as compulsive buyers with this advertising: "Of course you will hear music you've probably heard before -- no-one forces you to stress your credit card again! :-). But for some of you it will become a collector's item as a pack of tracks which definitely will become 'classics' out of the first decade of the new musical Century. The first 200 CDs will come with a signed card by Edgar Froese himself." Hum … Genius as advertising stratagem. So, are TD hard fans and collectors innocents and simpletons? According to Eastgate promotional citation, it looks like it.
As new releases we find "All Thirsty Angels Pass" and "World Away From Gagaland", 2 tracks to soft structures and very New Age which have nothing to do with the heavy rhythmics to technoïd tendencies that the Dream is pushing in our ears with track as "Lady Monk"."Big Sur and the Orange from Hieronymus Bosch" can be interesting if Goblins Club or Tyranny of Beauty had an effect on you. It’s a nice track but which doesn’t brings anything new in TD’s world with light rhythm and felted guitar. Logos is slightly modified with more hammering percussions while Tangram (Chin Part) would have made it on any Dream Mixes. On the other hand if you don’t have any of those EP, I think that the purchase of Booster can be a good thing, because there are good tracks as Bells of Accra, where Edgar finds a breath of creativity, Hyper Sphinx (Yes I do like the honeyed guitar) and Metaphor which is however incomplete.
Booster is another Tangerine Dream compilation which has the defect to be incomplete and incondescendant, as high as Edgar and his accountants can be. But I also do believe that the advertising quotation spreads the values of Eastgate and that the fans should protest by a boycott. But I also know that there is and still will be always impulsive fans that will hang on to the Dream. But who doesn’t?

Sylvain Lupari (2007)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream

samedi 23 juillet 2011

WINTHERSTORMER: Ground Connection (2011)

More than 3 years passed by since WintherStormer’s last opus, the fascinating Electric Fairytales. And the Norwegian quartet didn’t modify at all its approach by offering an anti-commercial album which ties the links between spheres of EM for atmospheres as hybrid as imperceptible and of progressive music to strong psychedelic tendencies. Navigating always on these ambiguous waters, WintherStormer thus offers an always surprising music where the charm hides behind a musical complexity which only asks to be tamed. And Ground Connection is the kind of album that will be tamed more easily because for very first time WintherStormer puts away its extreme psychedelism to offer a very nice album stuffed with catchy passages.
The superb and amazing "Summer Breeze II" opens Ground Connection with a light hopping rhythm. A rhythm which sparkles on its cymbals, a little as the spirit of the jazz from the years of Soul Music, and which undulates of a beautiful bass line. Resonant sound effects glance through this intro which quietly overturns towards a more electronic approach with a synth with zigzagging chords, recalling the melodious approaches made by Edgar Froese on Drunken Mozart in the Desert. Metallic breezes, strange hootings and creams of synthesized owls feed this pleasant melodious approach which waves such as a cascade. Cymbals make heard their delicate sparkles while "Summer Breeze II" continues to evolve between Krautrock and electronic with a pleiad of sound effects which cross more aggressive synth pads. At around the 7th minute the rhythm calms down and we enter a more atmospheric phase where white noises move around and collide into thunders of a parallel world imprinted by statism. Tabla percussions draw a soft rhythmic ascension at around the 11th minute, grounded up by caustic sound effects and tickled of light guitar notes. A delicate rhythm which increases the pace with steady beatings of an unrestrainedly drum whereas synth solos roar on a structure closer to progressive rock than electronic music. A sensation amplified by the appearance of solos from an incisive electric guitar which weaves the ramifications between progressive rock and EM. With "Connection Lost" we enter into WintherStormer’s psychedelic and abstracted musical universe. We are into Pink Floyd’s own Ummagumma era and its colourful sound effects where drum with ill-timed and metallic rollings are also noisy as the heterogeneous tones which appear from synths in rut. It’s a long track more experimental and abstract than rhythmic, if we make exception of the kind of free rock at around the 4th minute which shakes the house, but the exercise is short-term because "Connection Lost" loses any connection with a sustained music to take refuge in musical, there where everything is allowed without any restraint; that is cymbals forgotten in sound gases, knocks of anvils lost in the statism of white noises, eruptions of synth scratched by heavy riffs of a metallic guitar. In brief, an intense cacophony divided up by short passages liven up by chaotic rhythms.
"Beneath the Roots of all Things" is a very good track which takes root with a guitar to echoing loops rolling on pulsations from the bass-drum. It’s a track which takes Arabian airs with a good steady tempo, where synths and guitar trade riffs and solos which transcend in a tribal world with oriental fragrances. Short, catchy and efficient, "Beneath the Roots of all Things"s refrain is the kind that creates earworms. "Ground Connection" is a long mesmerizing minimalist track which starts with a delicate synth wave, adorned by fine bells’ ringing and guitar notes a bit discreet. The synth singing is surrounded by a fine reverberation from where begins a subtle caravans of dunes procession with a bass line with weak undulations and Tabla percussions. And "Ground Connection" will evolve in a minimalism mode on its long journey wrapped with light riffs of guitars and synths as well as spectral layers of a synth to Arabian aromas. A little after the 16th minute, the tempo increases gradually but without ever exploding. It follows a hypnotic tangent, draped that it is by multiple layers of synths and guitars, and always livened up by latent and hypnotic tribal percussions which will guide it towards a more astral finale.
Ground Connection is a very nice album which unties the links which are entangling between progressive, psychedelic and electronic music. WintherStormer reached his) musical maturity by offering an album where the harmonies are more present and less scattered than on his previous works. If the album is less caustic than Electric Fairytales it remains nevertheless more nuanced and accessible, thanks to a very delicate subjugating melodious approach. Except for "Connection Lost", which can be difficult of approach, the rest of Ground Connection is taming as easily as its progressive bewitchment.


Sylvain Lupari (2011)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream

WintherStormer's website is at:

You can also view a short promotional video on YouTube:

WINTHERSTORMER: Electric Fairytales (2008)

With Electric Fairytales, WintherStormer redefines the very hermetic and impenetrable style of Woodwork. Recorded live, but in a studio recording, this 2nd opus of the Norwegian quartet offers this tortuous and progressive approach that charmed so much ears fond of sonorous curiosities, but with an approach closer of Berlin School roots. It’s resulting in an album still difficult to tame, but a bit less than its predecessor. A superb musical excursion that allies the Krautrock complexities to the atmospheric escapades of EM, but with a zest of musicality tinted with a sensibility which was piercingly lacking on Woodwork.
Noises, heterogeneous sound, rolling in waves in a cosmos sparkling of sounds limpidity open Cucumber Salad. It’s an intro high in acoustic colors which unlocks on a heavy sequence to eroded hesitations. A sequence which hiccups a tempo with chaotic undulations, wrapped of a beautiful fluty mellotron and vaporous keyboard keys which recall the musical years of Tangerine Dream. Once these 3 first minutes gone, Cucumber Salad takes a more accessible musical direction, while maintaining its aura of complexity where a rhythm is skipping nervously and measures beautiful mellotron pads which float around the lamentations of an electric guitar and twisted synth solos. Odes at once spectral and attractive which sail in shady waters, purified by moments of nice vaporous stratums which sometimes ease and sometimes illuminate this pace built in abrupt and random beats. For the Love of all Things Electronic present another side of WintherStormer. A WintherStormer clearly more musical and poetic which spreads beautiful ethereal layers from which oniric sounds waltz around soft pulsations which shape a thin languishing pace. An impromptu sensuality which is taking refuge in soft waves à la Göttsching guitar, from which solos glides among a cadence a bit accentuated by the striking of a heavy drum and encircled by reverberating circles, bringing a surrealist touch to a beautiful music inspiring for making love.
Rising Ashes intro is plunging us again into the very psychedelic and multicolored musical universe of WintherStormer with an elongated intro where cosmic tones flood in with an acuteness worthy of an anarchical world. At around the 7th minute, a soft pace pierces this oxidized din to mold a nervous rhythm which rests on good percussions, a strong bass structure and a fusion guitar / synth which explodes a ferocity equal to the hammerings of a more and more punctuated drum that’s getting solidarity of this rhythmic which becomes more and more furious. This psychedelic heaviness crosses less ardent corridors where steams of ethereal Berlin School moderate the aggressiveness of a structure which spreads its striking to the heterogeneous meanders of its intro. It’s a heavy and long track, faithful to Woodwork frame, which pursues its sound imprints on the title track which is a fusion of noises and diverse tones shaping brief musical inserts in a rebellious sound universe.
Electric Fairytales shows the commitment of WintherStormer for music without borders and identities. Music which oscillates between some very daring psychedelic moments and beautiful electronic passages that are situated in the era of Schulze and Ashra Tempel. It’s an album where the creative paradoxes swim contrary to the harmonious poles, but which is taming a little better than Woodwork. For very curious and risky ears!


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 22 juillet 2011


Phew! Sharpen your ears because it’s going to pass tightened! Bernhard Wöstheinrich is a colourful character who migrates between the various spheres of EM; IDM, ambient and experimental with a rather audacious dexterity. His project, The Redundant Rocker, consists in creating an EM with a more rock, progressive and industrial approach than ambient or simply Berlin School electronic style where a palette of style permutes in rhythms and atmospheres at once heavy and eclectic. Heart is moulded in this concept with of heavy and fluid rhythmic structures where percussions and bass form an intense rhythmic structure, whereas synths whistle for beautiful harmonious snippets. Awesome, Markus Reuter’s guitar chews rhythms and melodies by splendid solos when it isn’t by heavy riffs à la Robert Fripp.
"Gold" opens the ball with a bipolar electronic rock where pinched and edgy chords flow on a fluid, but a bit jerky, tempo to dance on guitar riffs and an acute synth to whistling singings while a cantatore voice, who seems a bit lost, tries to follow the parade. There isn’t 30 seconds to the chronometer that yet a bit anarchic symphony of sounds seizes our ears. And percussions fall. They are heavy and harpoon this limpid tempo. "Gold" becomes then a heavy postmodern rock which flirts between the melodic and cacophonic approach on a rhythm becoming curt, sharp and strongly wacky. A  tempo hammered by heavy percussions, bitten by a bass with incisive notes and grinding up by a guitar with languishing solos which converge on a cantatore who sings delirious psalms in a rhythm with a din split up by soft melodious snippets. "Hypostasis" is a bit softer and presents a jazzy-lounge approach with a soft keyboard which drops its keys on a nice structure moulded by echoing percussions and a bass line a bit grand-sounding. The rhythm fits to an oscillating line where synths free nice dreamy and silky layers which permute into more solemn singings while kind of anvil percussions pound short refrains. More discreet the guitar will let slip some good solos in loops furnished quite well on a structure which will keep its harmonious touch throughout its 6 minutes. With its melodious approach flooded in an avalanche of percussions "Compress" offers an excellent facet of the rhythmic duality which dominates in Heart. Keyboard keys draw circular arcs and twirl around in a harmonious limpidity whereas "Compress" is fast snatched by lively percussions. The bass is weighty, percussions are noisy and the rhythm is powerful but things quieted down a bit with inserts of whistling synth and keys of keyboard which turn in spiral. And the heavy and tumbling down rhythm resumes its ride beneath a delicate crystalline serpentine which hems of its limpid chords, accompanied by a synth with resonant layers, multiplying the harmonious dualities. "Renée as Yoko" is what we could call a beautiful ballad which shells its melancholy in a heavy atmosphere. A soft tinkled intro fed by crystal clear chords drive us towards reverie when a drum drops heavily its sticks on a resonant skin. Fluid and suave, "Renée as Yoko" swirls with the lightness of his heaviness under beautiful mellotron layers and a synth with tenderly hybrid breezes. It’s a very nice track which oscillates between tenderness and blackness, quite as "Alluvium".
Heavy and stationary, "Omnipotence" begins with pads of a synth violin while percussions fall and shape a curt but heavy tempo and while the bass stretches its heavy notes. We enter in a more orchestral sphere of Heart with many hatched violin pads which provide an orchestration of the most unpredictable. A synth embraces this languid rhythm which evolves inside the parameters of paranormal with a very dark approach, schizoid and imprinted by mystery with these hardly perceptible lamentations which hoot in secret beneath resonant guitar layers which are crumbling in fabulous solo. A punchy beat, sometimes ethereal, "Omnipotence" progresses on a tempo permuting subtly in a heterogeneous sound fauna wrapped of nice strata from a little bit metallic synth and a heavy pulsating bass, but above all a very Crimsonian ambiance. More rhythmic and very aggressive, "Odilon" offers also a structure very near the Crimson soils, in particular because of the demonic guitar and percussion beatings à la Bruford and also bass notes which harpoon a rhythm between free jazz and post progressive due to its structures as unpredictable as modern psychedelic. It is heavy, incisive, jerky and sometimes very fluid and it is also ground up by a very aggressive guitar. You shouldn’t trust the rather honeyed intro of "Heavily Dependent", because the track topples over a universe of the most anarchic where the rhythmic and harmonious structures of "Omnipotence" and "Odilon" are seen again and corrected with a more daring, heavy and just as much unpredictable approach, where quixotic violins scrape the pulsating rhythm while making it waltz between cacophony and melody. Let’s say that it’s a track for well evolved ears. Selected for an Austrian advertising "Alluvium" is Heart 2nd ballad and a very good one otherwise. It’s an electronic ballad which evolves on the other hand on a heavy rhythm and which begins with delicate twinkling arpeggios which make the flock on a tempo weighs down and slows down by good drum strikes. At once taciturn, sensual and heavy Alluvium progresses with wonderful tinkled notes which cross of tender and dense layers of a docile synth which flees its solos and hooting loops in a din tamed by its soft arpeggios which go and come, reminding us all the sweetness which is at the origin of this great track. Very beautiful! "A Change of Heart" concludes Heart with a track which has very elaborated orchestrations on lighter rhythms. A rhythmic structure which is a little less complex even if constantly evolving where everything rests on the strangeness of sounds and a very progressive philharmonic approach. Although evolutionary, the rhythm remains alive on beatings of more fluid and clear drum and the harmonies are being made by a synth with light solos which mixes marvellously the symphonic approach to a little more soppy progressive rock.
I have to admit that it is with an obvious apprehension that I approached the music of The Redundant Rocker. I imagined a musical abstract world where the sound fauna and the heterogeneous noises would fill the minutes, but it was all the opposite. Heart is a powerful album where the sound effects accompany an EM which goes out of its bed to flirt with a more rock, indie and progressive approach on surprising rhythmic structures to unpredictable forms. Always melodious structures, even in the most anarchic and intense moments, when each of 9 tracks of Heart possess a musical imprint of a previous track, pushing even farther the already very fickle musical reflection of the tandem Wöstheinrich / Reuter. You can get the album as a free download at;


Sylvain Lupari (2011)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream

lundi 18 juillet 2011

VARIOUS: Close Encounters of Electronic Music (2009)

One thing is sure, French EM is alive and back on its tracks to go across its borders. It's been a while that I write about Patch Work Music, a musical association setting up by Olivier Briand and Bertrand Loreau to promote the French progressive EM, and its numerous artists who bring a very French touch to EM universe. Closed Encounters of Electronic Music is a recording of a kind of festival held in Lilbourne on August 7th and 8th 2004, where artists and public could exchange on the actual musical tendencies. This musical event gathered 6 artists whose very different styles are melting in a meshing of the most heterogeneous on an album which risks to amaze more than one.
Awenson, who was known under the name of Awen on these days, kicks things off with the core of the boiling Witche’s Trance from the album Shadow. A track which is a powerful mixture of Schulze and Tangerine Dream styles of the vintage years. Here there is no floating intro. Witche’s Trance tumbles with great heavy sequences hits of which chords cavort on a wave-like movement. Tom-toms hammer an echoing tempo which is flew over by acid and metallic synth layers which tear a heavy psychedelic atmosphere with blows of synthesized claws. The rhythm is furious and spits its sequences and unbridled percussions, surrounded by incredible twisted solos from a weighty and nasal synth. Simply powerful, even if extremely minimalist! Nightbirds, from whom it’s the very first time that my ears cross their music, follows with a nice minimalist carousel in System Merge Part I. Calm and mesmerizing, with some sparkling of cymbals, System Merge Part I turns delicately on sequences and arpeggios which skip slightly among beautiful mellotron pads. This gyrating arpeggios’ dance is fading away in a mist filled of lamentations and metallic streaks while being fly over by iridescent shouts. It’s a steel kind atmospheric finale imprinted of a multitude of composite and experimental sound effects which spoils a bit the beauty of its intro. La Dixième Dune’s intro is punctuated with this fusion of silvery sounds which are intermingling to delicate layers of a soft romantic synth. A synth from where appears a fluty sonority which fly over a series of sequences moulding a hesitating tempo which feel one’s way, indulging Bertrand Loreau's very fluid melodious style. Subtly, this entire introduction with fragmented harmonies converges on a structure to divided melodies which flows with an astounding sweetness beneath a soft synth and a string of sequences sparkling of a chords multiplicity to echoing doubloons on a fine rhythm with hypnotic pulsations. And, towards finale, violin strings tear up this mesmerizing arrhythmic march with soft slow and poignant movements, leaving room to a delicate sequence which swirls sensitively, depicting Bertrand Loreau’s entire romantic universe.
Olivier Briand's Libourne Dream’s is doubtless the most amazing surprise of this concert. It’s a track of a strange complexity where the rhythmic approaches postpone beneath superb influences of Tangerine Dream from Hyperborea and Poland years. A very abstruse track due to its phases which are linking, Olivier Briand reproduces a hybridity of TD’s which join these albums (No-Man's Land and Tangent) on atmospheres of a surrealist jungle, rhythms in constant permutation and wonderful amalgams electronic sequences / percussions. Very good and especially very impressive, I don’t recall having heard being so near of the Dream sonorities of Poland years. There was indeed Danger in Dream, but this Libourne Dream's is very different, especially with its out of tune violins which borrow the paths of Beatles in Sgt Pepper years. Simply brilliant, Hat to you Olivier! Christian Richet is a whole character in the universe of French EM. Very unpredictable, he is capable of melodies as cacophony. Here with Live at L. - The First Step, he offers a powerful and strange cacophonous parade tinted of an edifying paranoiac delirium. Heavy pulsations are building the canvas and mellotron strata fall as axes to tear this secret passage which take desperate spirits, trying to escape the Black Hand. Horrifying and extremely uncomfortable, the ambiance which is reigning through in this demoniac track is of a heaviness and metallicity to cute all the gathered breaths, even if the finale throws a stalk of harmony. A curt and jerky harmony which tries to avoid this infernal tempo. Fairway / Seabirds from JC Allier is a track in two movements. Fairway is a powerful minimalism movement with strong sequenced beatings which strum heavily a circular tempo. Keyboard / synth chords dance, sing and are courting on a circular movement which turns until drown itself in the waves of Seabirds and its nice approach of a melancholic fluty synth that a more wonderful piano accompanies with its nostalgic notes which fall as tears of souls.
Closed Encounters of Electronic Music carries admirably its naming because we are discovering in it an impressive variety of EM. Honestly, and without complacencies, I don’t see how one couldn’t like this opus so much it covers a vast ground of EM styles. There is of everything in this compilation which is nevertheless drawing in only 6 tracks; stationary ambient to curt, wild and dark rhythms with long melodious surges which fit so well the varied temperaments that can live in us. There are reminiscences of vintage Berlin School quite as those Dream last strikes of genius. It is an excellent compilation which shows that there are effectively lot of things happening in the lands of Jean Michel Jarre, Space Art, Frédéric Mercier and the other pioneers of the 70’s French EM.


Sylvain Lupari (2011)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream

vendredi 8 juillet 2011

BRUNO SANFILIPPO: Subliminal Pulse (2011)

The Argentine Bruno Sanfilippo is a musician, a sculptor of sound and a composer since nearly 20 years. Similar to Vangelis’, his music floats above our dreams with soft harmonies which wind around sometimes abstracted, ambient or simply melodious structures. Subliminal Pulse is his12th solo album since his very first one realized in 1991(Sounds of the Light) and his very 1st to be released by the Californian label Spotted Peccary. He depicts Subliminal Pulse in these terms; "Sometimes, the poetic language of music reveals what cannot be seen. It shows a reality that has nothing to do with words. With my electronic instruments I take the universe's 'Subliminal Pulse', and I try to build a bridge between my inner pulse and the pulse of the outer space." It’s a very nice way to define this very poetic and oniric album, among which 9 tracks enclose delicate harmonies which move like feathers in space.
The Third Geometry introduces to the soft poetic universe of Sanfilippo with a very fine ethereal line of synth which oscillates of its sparkling chant on a delicate structure livened up by a mix of soft percussions and pulsations. It’s a mixture which shapes a soft and suave rhythm with strikes that roam in an iridescent synth mist, weaving an eclectic unreal universe both ambient and tribal. A musical world imprints of mystery with this electric mist which bewitches on a sparse rhythmic structure and a soft synth so near astral singings. Santa Luminosa’s intro is tearing by a heavy metallic reverberation before finding again the tranquility settled by The Third Geometry. It’s an oniric peace of mind with this soft and bewitching astral singing that the synthesist who now live in Spain likes to sculpt from his synth. A little as on The Third Geometry, the delicate rhythm of percussions and the twinkling arpeggios which skip among pulsations is ennobled by synth layers which sing as celestial mermaids and lamentations of violin, creating a thousand of illusions and passion from a Middle East tribal universe. Continuing in the same vein, but with a clearly more ambient approach, Spirit Allies flood our ears of a sulphurous melody which bewitches with its lamentations sculptured in the tones of a synth with soft poetic tendencies. It’s a superb track impregnated by a strange serenity, quite as Slipped Time and its piano from which solitary notes pierce drill a beautiful mellotron mist as well as Pulsum Sacrum and its great choirs which float around astral bells and synthesized pulsations à la Vangelis. It’s quite nice!
It’s with long synth breeze in slow oscillations that Intrinsic Fluctuations begins. Synth layers are interweaving to form an oblong mist procession where the echoes of an odd tribal world can be heard midway. Delicate lonely arpeggios sparkle there and skip delicately on a glass fauna, among misty flute breathings that sound like Berber tribes tones and of repenting souls walking towards an enchanting world where oasis are outlining on the horizon. Imprint of mystery Subliminal Pulse evolves on nice pulsations surrounded by oniric spectral chants. Like in Alchemical Powers, the rhythm is hardly present if it’s for a delicate alternation in fine pulsations which beat in a universe buried by a subliminal tenderness. Mantram is another delicacy coming from Bruno Sanfilippo's hybrid tones synths. Between tearful lamentations of heart-rending violin and a mystic morning mist, Mantram unwinds as an ode to sadness or a call to melancholy.
As Bruno Sanfilippo describes it so well; Subliminal Pulse is an astral musical journey where inner impulsions try to converge on those more cosmic. At this level Subliminal Pulse is an opus of an infinite tenderness where astral chants are moulding perfectly well to the soft ambiances of a world of which tribal fragrances seem to be the key of our spirituality. Like most of the Spotted Peccary label works, Subliminal Pulse sails between celestial ambient and progressive New Age, evolving through a strange and stunning fusion of a cosmic and tribal universe with delicate rhythms, breaths and Berber lamentations and a synth divided between its singings of celestial sirens and the tears of its violins which shape strangely unreal odes. It’s a nice nightly opus where reminiscences of Vangelis can be heard here and there, but on more honeyed than complex structures.


Sylvain Lupari (2011)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream

You can have more info on Bruno Sanfilippo by visiting his website here:

You can also view a video of Subliminal Pulse on YouTube: