lundi 31 janvier 2011

AXESS/MAXXESS: Contact (2004)

Axess & Maxxess is the encounter between two virtuosos; a synthesist and a guitarist. The result is an EM unusual mixture where the guitar prevails of its solos in an electronic universe where synths and sequencers orchestrate structures without borders.
From the depth of an atmospheric abyssal filled by genial effects, a heavy drone gets Tsunami out of its torpor. A linear sequence is hatched by rotary pulsations and acoustic percussions to gets the movement progressed on a tempo which become animated at each refrain, where the guitar of Maxxess bites the harmony with full strings. On each passage the tempo is accentuating on heavier riffs, nimble and incisive slender solos on a permuting sequence and astonishing percussions. The title track, Contact, begins on subtle tinkling, accompany by a beautiful acoustic guitar. The impulsion progresses beneath ethereal choirs and an electric six-strings which charms the ears with its notes and tearing solos. The sequence is slinky until a big riff gets the movement wilder. It’s the explosion! Strong guitar riffs and percussions hammer the atmosphere among breezes of a mellotron synth. The tempo becomes corrosive with a furious acoustic guitar which harnesses a sequential movement waddling beneath a cloud of violent riffs and aggressive solos. Contact is heavy with superb orchestral arrangements where strings synths subtly frame the wild madness of Maxxess. Metallic percussions resound in a silent desert where a synth layer is flooding of harmonious pads. A fine sequential procession waddles its cheerful chords which are leaking away in the echotic mazes of percussions. Quietly Indian Skies takes form on a minimalism tempo, shaken by notes and solos of limpid guitars. The sequence accelerates on a galloping rhythm, pursued by a threatening six-strings. The tempo boils on powerful staccato riffs which lead to wild solos and rhythms. This is a great electronic rock move! This concept of atmospheric intro, slow processions and segmented rhythms is reproducing also on Close Encounter and Exile; two fiery titles.
We have to wait until Behind the Mirror to really get an equitable blend of electronic and progressive music. Like all of the others intros, this one is atmospheric and is mainly leaned on synth layers with sharp-edged curves. As much atmospheric, and on a very Floydian sonority, the guitar fuses plaintive and nostalgic solos on superb stagnant pads filled of celestial harmonies. A waving sequence, sustained by a good bass with loop effects, initiates a very Berlin School movement with small keys waddling in harmony with the impulsion. Around the 7th minute the riffs, as well as electronic as electric, burst in a perfect symbiosis. We are in the embryo of a superb sequential movement with hypnotic and hammering percussions to dazzling reverberations as well as ethereal choirs on a fluid movement with intermittent metallic pulsations, souvenirs of the riffs symbiosis. It’s an intense musical monument which slows down in half-time with a waddling movement which dies out on atmospheric breezes, where choirs and wind blow. A sequential loop is reforming a mutation in tones with tonality in mutation on unbridle acoustic percussions and heavy sequential pulsations that a synth layer wraps before the guitar explodes in fury. Behind the Mirror is a superb track which is the result of a perfect symbiosis.
Contact is an album resolutely more rock than progressive and/or electronic. Put aside Tsunami and Behind the Mirror, as well as the intros, the guitar prevails of its aggressive solos and riffs.I liked, but I would have appreciated a little more synths. It seems to me that the strident solos of Axess would have matched perfectly those of Maxxess. On the other hand, sequencers, sound effects, percussions, as well as arrangements, are amazing. In fact, I guess that it was necessary to leave some room for the guitar. Under this angle, Contact achieves its goals; to combine the ingeniousness of EM, like its sequential subtlety, to heavy riffs and guitars rock. It’s a solid album which contains too many small jewels to let it pass. For fans of rock and guitars on inventive sequences and EM fan, Contact is among the musts.


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

vendredi 28 janvier 2011

REMY Talks about Exhibitions of Dreams

S&S: Remy, first of all I would like to thank you for having concocted a so brilliant album in Exhibition of Dreams. Can we have a history of this album?
REMY: Between 1997 and 1999 I recorded a lot of music. During these years plans arose to release an album, and at a certain moment there was decided that a selection of the tracks had to be re-recorded to fit on an single album initially. I moved all my equipment to Ewout Koek's attic and during the recordings it became clear that there were more tracks that fitted together, so finally the release consisted of two cd-r's. We (Ewout and I) worked out the first plans of our own record label, AKH Records, to make this release possible, and the album "Exhibition of Dreams" - which is (as the title suggests) a compilation of dreams and visions put together - got available in a couple of specialized record stores in the Netherlands.
In first instance we decided to only print a limited amount of the album, just because we didn't have any idea what to expect of the sales.
The album sold out very fast, and before we could even think about a re-release, a copy got in hands of Dutch label and mailorder Groove Unlimited, with which it was decided to release the first official Remy-album, "The Art of Imagination", nearly a year later. Because of this release, the production of "Exhibition of Dreams" had been stopped. The demands for this album remained, so as soon as the production had been stopped I always had the idea to re-release it ten years after its debut; and so it happened!

S&S: Why recording it on Mini-Disc? Wasn’t it restrictif as processus?
REMY: At the moment of the recording of "Exhibition of Dreams" I only worked with an Atari computer, in combination with a minidisc to record my music. So every additional track had to be recorded in one take with the sequencer. Besides that, I wanted the music to sound as organic and spontaneous as possible, and also thanks to these recording limitations, I've recorded all solos and effects in real-time, without any editing.

S&S: For the reader’s benefit, can you explain the evolution of EOD releases?
REMY: Exhibition of Dreams (2-CDR, AKH12991/2-2, 1999)
My debut album, released in limited quantities on double cd-r. It contains a selection of tracks I've made between 1997 and 1999.
EoD (CD, AKH10091-2, 2009)
It contains a selection of the tracks from the original release from 1999, newly interpreted and recorded in 2009.
New title / original title
1. Entering The Dream / Into The Dream
2. Velocity / Lost Forces
3. Lunascape / La Luna
4. Silent Conversations / Silent Voices
5. Mirage / Mirage
I've used some of the original bases and sequences to maintain more or less the same atmosphere and feeling as the original recording and I completely recorded new tracks, based on my musical views, experience and new feelings towards them. The main intention was to expose the musical progression I've made in the past years.
For some of the existing tracks I've used different sounds. I removed entirely some tracks and others are completely new! I used the 24 bit / 96 kHz technology as remastering.
Exhibition of Dreams - 10th anniversary remaster (2-CD, 01103-2, 2010)
This is the entire debut album as released in 1999, completely remastered with the 24 bit / 96 kHz technology. Some parts have been technically adjusted (such as unwanted compression and differences in volume, which have been caused during the master recordings on minidisc).
Exhibition of Dreams - bonus tracks (CD-R, AKH SUB 001, 2010)
A limited cd-r (just for an "exclusive part" of the release, intended for the "real" Remy-fans, to accent the limitation of the original release in 1999, and to stimulate the first sales (and because of this reason not sent as promotional copy) of the Exhibition of Dreams releases) which contains never released before tracks from the same recording period as the debut album (between 1997 and 1999). The main ideas behind these releases are firstly to give people the opportunity to listen to my debut album, which has been unavailable for a lot of listeners due to its limitation, and temporary availability during its release (there was decided to stop the production of the album, because of the contract with Groove Unlimited for my first official release, The Art of Imagination, one year later). As soon as the release sold out, I've already decided to re-release it ten years after (in 2009) because of the continuing demands.
In my opinion this "anniversary release" had to be more special than only re-release the original album.
So there has been chosen to release all above mentioned editions!

S&S: Was there a need to redo it?
REMY: Mostly I think there's no need redo anything that has already been finished in the past. But in this case I already had a re-release planned as soon as we saw it was an out of print album. Even if it took 9 years to do so, I felt there was a need do redo it, mainly because of the evolutions of the tracks when I played them live. Even if I had to struggle a bit to start this project, it became a great musical exploration and a journey through creativity which make this project even better than I initially thought.

S&S: Also, why did you release EOD with a bonus cd-r? Is it in the same spirit of Schulze rereleases on SPV Records? Will you do the same for the other releases?
REMY: Besides above mentioned explanation the music on the bonus cd-r should be a nice addition for the listeners of my music, so you could say it's more or less in the same spirit as the Schulze re-releases!
In the past I've done the same with most of my other albums:
- DisConnected & Connected, with promo cd-r DisConnected sessions
- Different Shades Of Dust: with A-Live!
- Sense: with Sense
- This Is Not The End: released as single cd, but also with bonus cd-r
- Exhibition of Dreams: with bonus cd-r.
All cd-r's contain music - often track who just didn't make it to the album - from the same recording period as the album.
Actually I try to focus on officially pressed cd-releases, but these exclusive cd-r's are a nice extra for the listeners of my music.
S&S: When we listen to EoD, we really have the impression to evolve through a dream and its meanders. Did the music inspire the title or the title inspired the music?
REMY: It did in both ways. I always have certain feelings and images associated with a recorded piece of music. I name a title which covers the content of it at the moment of recording it or while saving it to my computer. In the case of the tracks that appeared on "Exhibition of Dreams" I've changed a lot of the titles (as the tracks initially hadn't been written with the intention to appear on an album together) to let all tracks fit into the context, and to send the listener into a certain direction to experience the music. A title mostly inspires me to develop the rest of the track. so finally the music takes shape around a chosen title and vice versa.
In the case of the new version (which appears on "EoD") of "Lost Forces" (appearing on "Exhibition of Dreams") I reverted to its original (working) title, "Velocity", which fits better with the 2009 interpretation.

S&S: In what state of mind Remy was during the writing of EoD?
REMY: At the moment of the composing and recording process of the original recordings of "Exhibition of Dreams", back in 1999, I lived in my own dreamworld, often losing sight of reality. Later on, dreams still kept being reflected into my music, but reality also became a more important element of it.
This, in combination with the intention to explore and develop my music into new directions, is why "EoD" sounds more "reachable" than "Exhibition of Dreams".
Although having used some essential elements of the original "Exhibition of Dreams" I wanted to approach the reinterpretations of the "old" tracks as completely new pieces, so I actually started the recording process all over!
During the process of "EoD" a lot of radical things happened in my private life which affected the recordings of, and my vision on, the chosen pieces, which made the album a logical follower up of my previous albums.

S&S: You said ‘’losing sight of reality’’, can you elaborate on that or is it too personal?
REMY: It's more complicated than I can explain, but I used to relate most of all-day situations to my music. I had (and sometimes still have) the idea that my music affected the real life and vice versa (and it definitely does in certain ways). To evoluate situations into specific directions I just thought a lot could be solved or conducted when writing a musical piece about it. Which does work when living in a dream world, but reality actually works a bit different. It is very important not to confuse those situations.

S&S: Tell me on what bases did you select the tracks that fitted on the 1 cd edition AKH10091-2. Do you have special feelings about those?
REMY: I chose the tracks of which I thought I could do most with related to reinterpretations and which fitted best together, also keeping in mind the maximum length of a cd. So "Unidentified Dreaming Objects" for example, which is a track of 42 minutes, was not an option. Although I prefer certain tracks above others I had no special feelings (but I had stronger ideas for working out some of the tracks) when making a selection. The tracks had to embrace each other like they did on the first version of the album, and the overall feeling and atmosphere had to be maintained.

S&S: Can we expect other anniversary releases from your discography? I’m thinking especially about The Art of Imagination which was release on Groove?
REMY: There are no plans. "Exhibition of Dreams" was a project of which I had already decided to do a re-release and a reinterpretation of a lot of years ago, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of my debut.
With another anniversary release I would think of a sortlike construction (not limited to a remastered version, but it should also contain a lot of extra's to make it a worthy anniversary).
As said earlier, I actually don't like to redo projects that have already been finished. Unless it has a very, very good reason to do so (for example in this case of "Exhibition of Dreams")!
If I decide to remake any of my older albums nowadays, it would become something totally different without any doubt, but life goes on, and so does my musical journey. I think that creating completely new music is far more interesting than getting back to already finished projects.
Sometimes I adjust or edit certain tracks for my live performances, but that's all.

S&S: How do you feel about the continual comparison between your music and Schulze’s?
REMY: People use to compare with familiar things. The task of a reviewer of music is to write down in words what is being heard on - in this case - a music album. A certain atmosphere or listening experience can be more or less described in words, but when it comes to the category or style of the music it's very practical to compare with already known artists and their music.
Yes, I am inspired by Mr. Schulze a lot and because I've listened to his music more than once, and because I like the same kind of sounds and use some of the same instruments he does, and because it seems that we share a comparable style of converting our feelings into music, there can be noticed some very clear similarities. So it's a compliment to be compared with Klaus Schulze.
Although I am always trying to discover new ways to continue my musical journey, it's very difficult to create totally unheard things these days (but I try to keep surprising myself and the listeners every time). But it is very nice to hear when listeners distinguish my music from those of others, noticing the own touch and elements I am putting into my music.

S&S: What years of Schulze inspired you the most, on all of your works, and especially on Exhibition of Dreams, during the 97-99 eras?
REMY: "Dreams" (the original Brain release, which includes the - in my opinion - necessary track "Flexible" - on the Thunderbolt release this track has been removed for unknown reason) was the first Schulze album I've ever heard and it blew me away. The music covers the title (and reversed) entirely, and reflects the dreamy world of Klaus Schulze in those days very well. I remarked a lot of elements from this album had very clear comparisons with my own "dreamy" world. This album did absolutely influence "Exhibition of Dreams" a lot.
Although I prefer most of Schulze's music, it seems that his late 80's - begin 90's period influenced me most, without being conscious about that.

S&S: Beside Schulze, what were your major influences at this time? Are they still of influence to you today?
REMY: Jean Michel Jarre, Mike Oldfield, Vangelis and Didier Marouani (Space) for example have been great influences to me, and they probably are the reason that my music sounds as it does now. They certainly are still influencing me (unconciously) nowadays, but in the lapse of time more and more other inspiring artists opened my ears, like Craig Armstrong, Massive Attack, Radiohead, Jeff Buckley, Kraftwerk, Björk, Enigma, Lamb, Velvet Undergound, but also Karlheinz Stockhausen, Aphex Twin, Steve Reich, Brian Eno, Antonín Dvorak, Zbigniew Preisner, and so on...

S&S: At those times, EM was at a reborn state in the Netherlands, what was your opinion about Exhibition of Dreams? Did you doubt about its impact and was it for this it was released on such a few copies?
REMY: The tracks that formed "Exhibition of Dreams" were, simply said, 'just' a compilation of my best tracks at that moment and besides I wanted to expose my dreams and feelings to people, I was very curious to receive reactions on my music. I had absolutely no idea what it would do with the listeners. After some years I found out (also concluding from the reactions) that the album sounded far much better than intended in first instance.
Because we didn't have any clue what to expect, there was decided that "Exhibition of Dreams" would be released in a limited quantity. If there hadn't been negotiations with Groove Unlimited for the "The Art of Imagination" the production of the debut album would probably have been continued. As soon as it became clear that a new album would be released, it was decided not to do a repressing of "Exhibition of Dreams".

S&S: The Bonus CD-R of EoD contains some really good material. I’m thinking about Waiting for Dusk and the epic The Storm. I understand that you composed lot of music during the conception period of Exhibition of Dreams, is there enough room for another EoD surprise?
REMY: There is still enough unreleased material from that period but there are no concrete plans to do anything with it yet, but you'll never know what will be released in the near future (Maybe a 50-cd box when I reach that age or so).
I still have lots of unreleased music, but to be honest it really doesn´t have any sense at all to release everything (except the music which indeed is very interesting to do something with, which does cover a big part of the unreleased recordings). There has already been released enough crap so I don't want to bother people (and destroying the music scene) with music that's - in my opinion - not good enough!

S&S: Leaving EoD besides, you own your record label AKH Records, can you talk about it? What are the artists on it and what kind of music can we expect? It’s not only EM?
REMY: We (Ewout Koek and I) have released some very fine music, always with an electronic basis, actually differing quite a lot in musical styles, of which only my own music nears the 'Berliner Schule' style.
Sutrastore (Belgium) could be categorized as "trip-hop" (think about Massive Attack, Portishead or Lamb), just like Iuno (Netherlands) which also contains more jazzy elements. Fractional (Belgium) makes experimental electronics in the vein of Aphex Twin and Autechre.
Very soon we hope to have a great release by Lebenswelt (Italy) and we are doing exclusive distribution for SoapKills (Lebanon), Francis Rimbert (France) and Space Art (France).

S&S: You gave lot of concerts lately, mostly in Germany and Netherlands, and also in strange places, what are the ambiances at Remy’s concerts and where was the most special place you played in?
REMY: My concerts are always about the music. I don't want too much distracting elements during a performance and I hope to make clear to the audience which parts I perform live. The problem of performing electronic music mostly is that all music could easily look like it's being playbacked (and indeed most of the times a large part is playback as it's impossible to play live all parts of a track during a solo performance). That's the problem I have with artists performing with for example only a laptop. The audience has absolutely no idea what is being produced live.
So I am trying to handle my electronic equipment like for example a violin player handles a violin.
In an orchestra it's always clear which instrument produces which sound. The source of the sound is at the same location as the instrument.
With electronic instruments in most cases the sound can only be heard through the speakers, which are not necessarily located at the same place of the instruments. This in combination with the artist hiding behind his equipment makes it often hard to see what you hear.
I've performed several times in the Great Church in Haarlem, which is an unique location to perform, with great acoustics and an excellent atmosphere.
The concert I gave in the Grugapark in Essen, Germany, was in a very relaxing atmosphere, and besides that the combination of the other performing artists, as well as the (unprepared) jam-session we all did together at the end of the day was very exciting and inspiring!
S&S: What can we expect from Remy in a short period of time? Any new concerts and music releases planned?
REMY: At this moment I am preparing for at least two upcoming concerts (July 17th - Schwingungen Garten Party, Hamm, Germany, at the end of October I will be part of the Ricochet Gatherings concerts in Berlin and on November 13th I will be at the Grote Kerk, in Haarlem, Netherlands).
Besides that I have just recorded an ambient piece, starting up a collaboration projects with some familiar names in the EM-scene, and working on tracks with vocals.

S&S: If you have to choose only 5 albums (or cd) to listen until the end, whom they’ll be?
REMY: My deserted island albums are (on the moment of writing and in random order):
- Craig Armstrong - The Space Between Us
- Jeff Buckley - Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk
- Didier Marouani & Paris France Transit - Concerts en URSS
- Massive Attack - Protection
- Klaus Schulze - Dreams

S&S: What is your work you prefer the most? The one you are the proudest about?
REMY: It's indeed very cliché to say my latest work is the best so far (but in fact I think it always is!). Besides that, after listening to my previous albums a couple of years later, I mostly like them more than I did on the moment of its release (this probably has something to do with hearing the tracks over and over again during the recording process)! If I really have to choose an album (except my most recent ones) I am most proud about "Sense".

S&S: Thank you Remy for your time and, on behalf of Synths&sequences readers, have the best of luck with your musical projects and life.
REMY: Thank you, and hope to meet you at one of my upcoming performances!

Sylvain Lupari (26 Juin 2010)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

mercredi 26 janvier 2011

SYNDROMEDA & VON HAUSLSHOVEN: The Second Intelligent Lifeform (2010)

Here is a very beautiful audacious album. An album which follows precepts of the tandem Danny Budts and Eppie E Hulshof 1st collaboration; Von Haulshoven Meets Syndromeda released in 2007. The Second Intelligent Lifeform is a powerful album of cosmic rock sprinkled with a zest of progressive and psychedelic. If the duet plunges in height into the retro Berlin School in More Than a Feeling, it deviates towards a more complex cosmic rock where unpredictable rhythms abound in powerful electronic atmospheres on the title track and The Bell of Storm.
As soon as the first key of More Than a Feeling fallen, a sinuous and spectral fine hatched synth wave drags its lugubrious sonorous shadow up to the doors of a superb sequence which gallops under the charm of a fluty mellotron. A sequential movement that we know so much where choirs and oscillations are plunging us straight in the heart of Tangerine Dream’s Ricochet and Encore. It’s a haughtiness intro where jingles of cymbals, drum pulsations and analog white noises gnaw at a wavy-like cadence which hems in good speed, wrapped by strata of synth foggy. Chords which pulse and hiccup under twisted resonances, introducing corrosive and twirled solos from Syndromeda’s synths. At around the 9th minute the rhythm undresses bit by bit, letting hear a sound skeleton which unwinds under brief pads of an enigmatic synth. Eclectic sonorities fly over this light structure where a warm synth caresses a soft hypnotic and minimalist approach with chords that are waddling innocently beneath a sky skinned of electronic streaks. Heavy and juicy synth solos wrap these chords, diverting the rhythm towards feverish sequences which strum with fury beneath the bites of riffs and heavy solos coming out of V.H. electric six-strings. More Than a Feeling will succumb to this depraved attack by taking refuge in a heavy chthonian universe where choruses and powerful resonances flood an infernal finale. The Second Intelligent Lifeform, the title track, is as delicious as audacious. The intro offers a fusion of sounds as electronic as heterogeneous which sparkle under laments and solos of a suave synth. A somber pulsation resounds and guides this foggy intro outside oblivion paths. Tenebrous choirs and guitar notes are grafting in there while sequences blast the ambiance of a staggering gait beneath the claws of a solitary guitar with bluesy moods.
Immerging in full ambiguity the tempo is getting astray in the abyss to take back colossal strengths with an almighty and heavy sequential movement which waves in loop, espousing a gyrating and pulsatory shape beneath pads of a synth with melodious breaths. The rhythm of The Second Intelligent Lifeform forks with subtlety, changing its pace beneath a rain of streaks and analog sounds effects which tear this big cosmic rock. A heavy cosmic rock surrounded by solos of guitars and synth scattered in an array of synth layers with tones of cosmic choirs which pulse on a rhythm deviating towards almighty sequential doubloons which skip with ardour, plunging even more The Second Intelligent Lifeform cadence into surprising rhythmic complexities which don’t stop amazing. And, as any good thing has an end, The Second Intelligent Lifeform is going off out gradually in strange reverberations which mutter and hum in a slow din.
The Bell of Storm concludes this 2nd Von Haulshoven/ Syndromeda collaboration with more delicacy. A fine pulsation emerges from a heavy atmospheric intro, guiding The Bell of Storm towards a minimalism approach with sequenced chords with chimed sonorities which skip and progress fervently. A rhythm which is growing with intersected sequences on warm synth solos. Solos which become entangled and entwined in a sinuous cosmic ballet à la Schulze, with their different tones which glide above sequences and pulsations became darker and more flexible. Sequences which roam with hesitation, plunging The Bell of Storm towards an atmospheric passage, a moment when Von Haulshoven brings out his guitar to crumble in there fragmented solos, but also opening a passage to a more languishing structure where the rhythm is sensual with floating chords, muffled pulsations and percussions as well as celestial breaths which drag in a suggestive cosmos. Then a 2nd atmospheric passage appears, re introducing an even more nervous and jerky rhythmic than at the beginning. It’s a cadence which staggers beneath powerful solos of a synth with caustic mist and an ambiguous finale, as all that reigns over this impressive opus that is The Second Intelligent Lifeform. Here’s a magnificent album, a powerful one that we listen to at high volume in order to catch all of the sounds subtleties on it. Available at Musiczeit, it is an excellent purchase that I do not hesitate to recommend to fans of heavy cosmic rock merging to a weighty retro Berlin School à la TD and Schulze.


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 14 janvier 2011

FRANK D PROJECT: Time to Remember (2010)

This last FD Project work is of superb minimalism tenderness and this in spite of some jolts with technoïd flavors. Time to Remember is in the lineage of these albums which scroll in loops and that each listening brings a new beam of musicality. A nice album, with soft passages weakened by a somber nostalgia, where mesmerizing and charming Frank Dorittke's dodecaphonic world is in constant evolution and torn between soft melodies with flexible rhythms and curter cadences which touch lightly a kind of zombie techno.
The Dream Goes On... Mandarinentraum… is a superb track and the cornerstone of Time to Remember which begins by a suave lamentation as sensual as ethereal falling with a light crash on a delicate note. As if it awakened a cosmic world, this note makes resurfacing synth waves which ripple over a soft sequence in formation which turns with delicacy, such as an oniric nursery rhyme. A hypnotic sequence which turns as a slow musical carousel beneath streaks of a spectral synth. Between the mystic world of Legend, the sensual and lyrical synths of Le Parc and melodies of Underwater Sunlight from Tangerine Dream, The Dream Goes On … Mandarinentraum… unfolds as an ode to Tangerine Dream, a little bit as on Heavensgate, with this delicate voice of Matzumi of which sensual and melancholic breathes are mixing with synth exhalations. Synths with vocals breathe which are entangling in a perfect symbiosis to laments and ethereal vocalizes sighing in a musical universe with multiple crystalline notes of a nostalgic piano. A poetic softness trapped in minimalist sequential carousels which spin criss-cross and sparkle such as ditties for young imps in a luxurious electronic world with analog flavors à la Schulze and Jarre. A very nice track which increases appreciably its crescendo to ends with a guitar à la Oldfield which sings its long solos filled with excitability on a beautiful line of piano. Delicate, mesmerizing and melancholic, The Dream Goes On … Mandarinentraum… is a long melody which goes astray in the analog cosmos and suave lamentations of Matzumi. One of the most beautiful melodious tracks that I heard in 2010 and which is going to please fans of TD, Legend, The Park and Underwater Twilight areas, as well as Mike Oldfield fans. Dualist, Sternennacht begins with a tenebrous synth line which blows a somber sigh with romantic fragrances. Fine piano notes roam in this syncretic cosmos where brief studded breezes sparkle. The synth embraces guitar sounds shape, bringing Sternennacht bends towards a sequence to soft resonances, which is melting to another sequence with more candid jolts. This sequential juxtaposition forms a tempo which increases its pace beneath by filiform synth solos. And Sternennacht falls into rhythms of a heavy space rock with a tempo sustained by good electronic percussions and a guitar of which chiseled solos are merging with more sinuous synth solos, unique to the very mixed musical world of Frank D Project. After an atmospheric intro where synth layers remind those of the melancholic sweetness of Pink Floyd on Wish You Were Here, Evolution shakes its rhythm with a hybrid sequence where bass notes twirl in spiral and hem in cascade with chords closer to glass tones. The tempo is supported by its sequences which hammer a muffled technoïd movement in a nebulous electronic atmosphere with sinuous synth solos which are criss-crossing in a heavy electronic ambiance which is not without recalling Software in Electronic Universe.
Heavy, incisive and striking Le Culte beats the pace on heavy pulsations which act as steady percussions, leading Le Culte in a weighty whirlwind of pulsating rhythms where sulfurous solo of symphonic synths abound in hypnotic zombie pulsations. Le Culte rhythm isn’t still completely form that it crosses its only quiet moment where random sequences spin among beautiful layers of a hum and hawing synth, melancholic vocoders, percussions with rattler tones and solos of guitars which scratch this floating atony on a cadence on alert and on a point to explode. And this is what’s happening some 2 minutes farther with an infernal rhythmic, structured by heavy hypnotic pulsations and minimalism percussions which hammer a techno rave, ragged by explosives guitar solos to striped dance floors. Time to Remember explains itself Mike Oldfield's influences on Frank Dorittke and the worship of this last one for the universe of Tubular Bells. We would believe to hear a remix, so much it is near the reality, of this delicious intro that fascinated the music lovers throughout the world, with a guitar to hatched riffs and a synth to spectral loops which cross this soft minimalism piano / bass fusion. Beautiful, but it doesn’t surpass the original although it gives a sudden need to listen to it... which I did! After a nebulous foggy and galactic intro, After the Rain gallops on a nervous line of bass which skips with delicate crystalline arpeggios. Percussions mold a steady pace which pounds beneath cosmic synth streaks. A brief atmospheric insert divides the rhythm, just to let guitar riffs filter and scroll in loops caressing Manuel Göttsching's very minimalist universe, beneath suave layers of a synth with cosmic aromas, sculpting thus After the Rain in a very cosmic rock structure. Desire encloses Time to Remember by a beautiful strummed ballad. A soft lullaby with a synth to tribal violin laments that a guitar bites into its deepest furrows with acuteness solos, dividing the musical world of Frank D and the one Oldfield of a delicate musical Ariane's thread. A divine ballad where shrill daydreams of guitars cross the tears of violin on crystalline sequences with a heavy final where drum and bass bring us back in Mike Oldfield's tribal world. A nice way to concludes a very beautiful album, where all Frank Dorittke's influences are admirably well depicted and returned.

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 :


Y & T is FD Project new release. An album divided into 2 parts: Today with 6 new tracks and Yesterday with 5 unreleased tracks written since 2003. So, this is new stuff, old and new never released music. If Heavensgate surrounded us with a very Berlin School aura, this last opus of Frank Dorittke leads us into a musical world dominated by the influence that Mike Oldfield had on the German multi-instrumentalist. An album with rhythms arranged on beautiful sequences sometimes randomly, sometimes minimalism, into languishing layers dominated by an electric guitar sometimes oniric, sometimes explosive.
And it’s starts with Stars and Sky which opens as a new Tubular Bells. A dark linear opening tinted with fine scattered keys which wave on hardly perceptible oscillations from where appears an innocent nursery rhyme on a minimalist piano, coupled by the wavy and sensual bass line which molded Mike Oldfield's 1st opus. Except that around the 5th minute the rhythm changes end for end with the appearance of a violin on wild lively percussions, feeding a furious incursion in an Irish tribal soil. A folk dance for gnomes which is becoming milder before sinking into an ambient darkness streaked by lamentations of an electric six strings and a mellotron voices which are extending over a melancholic piano. Languishingly, the movement gets back to life with a heavy guitar which draws the rhythm beneath an orchestral choir, before switching towards another stroboscopic rhythmic, depicting the imagination and taste of FD Project for permuting rhythms which puzzle constantly the listener. It’s a nice track which opens the road to a multitude tracks with very different structures, which respect the diversity of cadences in a dense and well fed sound universe. Planet Earth offers a minimalism intro with chords that click and sounds like the Big Ben. An intro which pounds softly on a jerkier sequencer, but of which the fury is held by a cloudy mellotron pad. The track soaks in a statism of boiling tones with fine crystalline sequences which caped by heavy guitar solos. Shimmering keys around Polarstern’s dark line. Vocals add an intriguing dimension to a rhythm which grows as a clock which wants to outstrip its movement in an atmosphere veiled of mellotron layers and guitar solos of which spin passionately. It’s a track near the Berlin School style, quite as Fearless with its loopy sequences which hem in an ambient universe in spite of a feverish sequencer which surrounds a pulsation that won’t explode. It’s all the opposite of Remember with its hatched circular rhythm which swirls on an ascending sequence torn by heavy solos and caustic riffs. After the sweet ditty with chiseled guitars that is Dream with Me, we enter into the vaults of the first FD Project compositions that privileged big guitars on fine rotary sequences.
Dream in a Dream begins with hesitation. It’s a sweet composition of which the foundation is a guitar which rolls on a circular movement with sulfurous solos. A track that is close to Oldfield soil. Around the World presents a more syncopated structure which spins in circles on guitars solos. Waterfall amazes with his foggy intro tinted with argentine keys which gambol on a structure with a slow crescendo on a bass sequence with light capriole. A bewitching synth wraps Waterfall, leading us towards a dreamland with illusions and fantasies. That’s a very beautiful track forgotten in Frank Dorittke's crypts. Early Years has a very Kraftwerk approach with a zest of Neu and Michael Rother. A nervous track on an unbridled rhythm, torn by huge incisive guitar solos which are entangling to rather shy synth solos. Wishes concludes this retro- actual work with a beautiful sequence à la Michael Rother which hammers an introverted tempo but with an effective melody.
Y & T represents the much parallel visions of FD Project. From yesterday to today, Frank Dorittke exploits a musical universe which winds between Berlin School, the teutronic rhythms and the tribal goblinish approach of Mike Oldfield. An audacious mixture which flows into sometimes complex, but always harmonious universe, where the guitar is a master key in a sphere filled with interchangeable sequences that bubble in a very mystic synth mellotron.

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 :

FRANK D PROJECT: Heavensgate (2008)

I quite like FD Project. His music always flows with a harmony of which premices is a skillful dosage of guitars, as electric than acoustic, and synths which oscillate between the Berlin School territories, the new kind as the retro one, with a sweet ‘’Oldfieldian’’ influence. On Heavensgate FD Project charms as ever, with a long magnificent epic track which worth by itself the purchase of the CD. A true good old Berlin School, well sequenced, that FD Project throws between our ears and who thrones among a magnificent collection of tracks all so harmoniously attractive.
A slow reverberating line opens Mandarinentraum (The Tangerine Dream). The intro is spatial with its analog sound effects which breeze from a fluty mellotron à la Mergener-Weisser (Software). Quietly Frank Dorittke, the man behind FD Project, immerses us in a sulfurous post 70’s Berlin School with a limpid and a sequence with crystalline keys which turn delicately among a sea of synths filled by spectral, undulating and edgy breezes. A hypnotic fantasia which is lulling in a cosmos with a starry canvas filled by shooting streaks in order to espouse a delicate rhythmic with a sequencer freeing hopping keys. A bloody very well structured track Mandarinentraum is perfuming by Tangerine Dream’s multiple musical influences with puzzling rhythmic approaches, quite as we hear on Blue Planet. Approaches that destabilize the listener with unexpected rhythms, as near the 15th minute where the tempo is sparkling with good tom-tom percussions and a synth with sharp whistles. Continually Mandarinentraum evolves on rhythms in constant permutation but which are overlapping with subtlety, as rarely a track that length can offer without falling into some atonal sources. A superb musical piece where synths and guitars are of a pleasant complicity, especially towards the finale with sequences to stunning inversions. This is some very good Berlin School, Mandarinentraum is certainly among the beautiful tracks written in 2008.
Galaxy 2008 flows languishingly on a wavy mellotron vocal and a beautiful line of bass. The tempo is suave and espouses a sensual movement beneath a flock of loopy guitar solos. A track of a delicious sweetness, quite as November Day and its melancholic melody. Spaceball is for guitar fan. A heavy guitar which is griping to a cosmic serpentine intro on good percussion strikes from where are winding good electric six-string solos. A heavy and incisive guitar on a cadence which pulses hypnotically and wrapped with a zest of interstellar sound effects. Shy Heavensgate (the title track) moves nervously, as a clock searching for its tick-tock, before taking the shape of a hooking sequenced nursery rhyme. A beautiful intro which engenders a more sustained rhythmic with a guitar phase that hangs on ears to be in hiding there, as worm ear. Spectral does not betray its naming with its sinister mood on a hopping bass line. Fine keys hang on to this line, unwinding a melodious spectre which furrows a more robust movement, embracing a funky touch. Heaven Must Be Proud encloses this FD Project 6th opus with a beautiful melody starring the fine voice of Gilbert Steffan which sensualism and virginality are tying marvelously to laments of an electric guitar.
Heavensgate got lost in the mazes of EM albums which abound in profusion in 2008. Nevertheless, it is one of the pearls of that year. A magnificent album which should parade among 2008 top ten.

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

mardi 11 janvier 2011

PICTURE PALACE MUSIC: Midsummer (2010)

It’s quite difficult to describe the music of Picture Palace Music so much that she’s so disparate. Since the release of Somnambulistic Tunes in 2007, Thorsten Quaeschning’s group doesn’t stop amazing by an impressive variety of styles and tones. Midsummer, their 1st album on Groove Unlimited was revealed during the E-Live2010 festival during a hectic concert that totally amazed the audience. And with good cause! Beyond a hymn to summer, its solstice, the sun and its worshippers, Midsummer embraces big synth rock and keeps an attentive ear to rustles o bluish nights, there where festivities of a world of excitement cross the parallelism of dualistic universes of Picture Palace Music.
Chill Crystal Zone reminds us above all that the leader of PPM is also behind the keyboards of Tangerine Dream. Midsummer’s introductory track starts with a slightly fluty synth dandling on a fine sequential line which waves such a prismatic rivulet on a cozy bed of twinkling arpeggios and guitar notes scrolling in loops. The rhythm is nervous, crossing the wriggling guitar of The Edge (U2) as well as naive and tremulous sequences of Dream from the Rockoon years. A feverish guitar of which riffs are fading behind floating vocalizes shapes a strange melody gnawed by a latent madness. The pace is increasing with more sustained percussions and crystalline chords which waddle innocently before the guitar becomes more mordant and that an avalanche of percussions tumbles with crash, dividing Chill Crystal Zone between a soft melody and an astounding musical fury that PPM had already flooded us with Damsel Dive and Help Murder Help which we find on Fairy Marsh Districts. Moreover, Midsummer will constantly be torn between melodies and anguishes as well as between brightness and blackness. Midsummer’s Eve follows with an introduction rather similar to Chill Crystal Zone weakened rhythm, except that the rhythm explodes heavily with furious percussions, a line of hemmed bass and nervous guitar riffs which plunges us into the somber universe of King Crimson (Red and Starless and Bible Black). An explosive track where the guitar drags its solos on a hybrid structure with a rhythm broken by short aired interludes, leaning over heavy riffs and dark lines of synth which roar in a cacophony of sounds reminding us that Midsummer is also an album for sound divers as well as for baptism ceremonies, but surely baptisms of another religious order. Sounds, sounds and sounds. Midsummer’s Morning is full of those and this up to the last hidden recesses of its mystery. It’s a wonderful ode to schizophrenia with a delicious piano which spreads a magnificent meditative melody where voices drag in a furrow disturbing of emotionalism and eclecticism. A soft piano which reminds me the Añoranza on Curicculum Vitae 1 whose atmosphere is similar to it with all this array of sounds as heterogeneous as troubling which crosses this delicate duel piano / flute. Midsummer’s Day cross a little bit the light rhythmics of the Dream in the Miramar years with its lively tempo where guitar riffs flow on nervous percussions and limpid sequences fidgeting beneath delicate strata of synth. A track which flirts a little more towards the big synth rock, quite as the powerful and colliding Right of Ascension Day, and which knows its increases of creativity with a beautiful guitar and vocals of festivities which plunge Midsummer’s Day in an unreal African rave-up, especially with vuvuzelas which buzz around vocoders. Seduction Crossing is also tinted of this Tangerine Dream universe, but a darker Dream brought out of Legend paths. A fine sequence swirls after an atonal intro with anguishing breezes. A sequence of which chords are trickling away under good striking of muffed percussions and others which are deeply colliding quite as on Legend. A line of bass fed this spiral sequence where keyboard keys water this strange melody of glass tones. A great track which depicts a nightmarish paranoia, especially when are adding superb spectral guitars strata which sway with stridence, tearing this suave to schizophrenic seduction which lives in Seduction Crossing, one excellent track within Midsummer.
Our eardrums, still knocked out by strikes of the heavy and captivating Right of Ascension, are wrapped by the eclectic and hollow intro of Someone's Drowning Sorrow into the Ocean Part I. Drops stream in the echo of dark caves of which curves go on towards a heterogeneous sound universe where caustic reverberations cross an array of fluty breezes and metallic hoops. A sequence is emerging from it and discreetly astride this plain fossilized of metallic humming. The movement is delicate and is increasing with the appearance of the Part II where the universe of PPM crosses the tribal tones of Steve Roach's world with a surprising mixture of percussions which teems on a pace spinning in spiral. The tempo becomes more incisive and swirls with such a swiftness that the vertigo takes the lead over the hypnotic magnetism. Dark, intense and stuffed with composite tones Someone's Drowning Sorrow into the Ocean Part II quenches one’s thirst of furious rhythms on a structure finely hatched where reigns a multitude of percussions and sequenced chords which are bickering beneath howling synths and monastic choirs which are make hearing with the opening of the Part III. Swirling tribal dance, Someone's Drowning Sorrow into the Ocean is a splendid trilogy where the somber incantations of PPM are fed of a stunning malefic and charming spirit. After this world of blackness Midsummer's Night concludes Midsummer with an infernal rhythm. A big synth pop which crosses synth techno beneath an avalanche of percussions and a twirling structure where keyboard keys tinkle around a vocoder perfectly split with a synth to titanic sonorous flood. A powerful great track which depicts the hybrid universe of Midsummer where the dark and eclectic approach of Picture Palace Music clears superbly well with a more pop, more rock approach and definitively more accessible approach. I think it’s the best way of learning about the tortuous universe of PPM.

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 :

PICTURE PALACE MUSIC: Natatorium (2009)

Oh did I hear beautiful things about Natatorium! Produced and written in the shade of Tangerine Dream concerts and shielded from important music distributors, this last Picture Palace Music opus let itself wait (and desired) a long time before landed on my Cambridge CD player. So, those who like frenzied sequences, with a demoniac crescendo à la TD’s Poland style, are going to drool. Those who also like good chiseled guitar solos polished with strength that wind and unwind lustfully are going to have ears full of it. And those who like the sound explorations of a gloomy and somber world where stream of whispers makes us paranoiac will clean out their ears to make room. And finally those who, as myself, thought that Curriculum Vitae I was a small masterpiece will be quits to revise again their scales of musical values, because Natatorium - Music For Moonlight Drive and Swimming Pools goes farther and exceeds the weird states of CVI. An extraordinary opus divided into 2 acts, among which the first 5 titles are fitting together and The Gretchen Tragedy ends it with a poetic and melancholic touch. An opus which begins as "Q" uses to amaze us.
Shouts and whispers of a lively city district open Drowning Moon and Eleven Suns. A soft synth is floating there, as the breezes of a ghost lost in this living mass. A line of bass is molding its trail, accompanying a keyboard with solitary arpeggios. Already the atmosphere of Natatorium soaks by a pleiad of theatrical tones that shape each of the present compositions. A magnificent sequence hiccoughs and skips frivously in this atmosphere as realistic as strange. Percussions fall and dress more and more this introductory track which takes a dramatic bend with the gravity of its structure which grows richer by the addition of a memotron with discreet and warm breezes. Drowning Moon and Eleven Suns is a hybrid track which hesitates between two rhythms and falls in the magnificence of Moon Dial which possesses the fury of Redshift and TD’s Near Dark, while embracing the rhythmic structure of a wild Poland. Moon Dial begins very innocently on a heavy and minimalism sequence, soaking in a pleiad of sound effects all so ingenious one from others. The sequence increases a heavy tempo with a spiral and syncopated tangent, while subdividing its heavy rhythmic to embraces a 3rd sequence which follows the paths of a frenetic Poland, in an angelic sound atmosphere. The beauty of darkness which spreads out in our ears where shabby noises nibble a structure became wild, bitten that it is by magnificent and shrill solo of an aggressive guitar. Solos that tear a so quiet and serene mellotronned veil, that we can only be between two worlds. Totally brilliant! At midway, a drum explodes the rhythm which becomes even more torn between its diverse cadenced options.
When I say ears full! It’s with our ears full that we savor this brilliant opus which amazes from track to track, so much the sound and musical creativity is dense and strongly tinted of musical paradoxes. Blue-Hour-Glass is leading us in a somber nostalgia with a magnificent piano drive by hesitating keys which stumble over a mellotron violin with metallic chords. A beautiful piece of music where the tranquility is toppled over by more violent and intense passages where fragments of The Who’s Reign Over Me cross our memories. All in softness Blue-Hour-Glass pours into Risk Pool hemmed intro, giving back to Natatorium a thunderous rhythmic on a good bass structure and a synth with ghostly loops which glance through clacking percussions as well as a vocoder with sieved vocalizes. Risk Pool is taking us in the meanders of a techno slightly cleaned up by a synth with sprawling veils and wild variances rhythms, dipping us back into the nostalgic sweetness that soak on this work with the soft Drowning Suns On Moonlight Drive and his frivolous chords that dance as a graceful ballerina would do on a stormy water. A magnificent final for a first act full of an astounding creative intelligence! The Gretchen Tragedy (Faust Outtake) concludes on a somber ballad where thousands of sounds waves collide on a soft fluty mellotron, bringing us back peacefully to home of reality.
Natatorium - Music For Moonlight Drive and Swimming Pools is a magnificent work where Picture Palace Music multiplies rhythms and emotional variations with a surprising artistic control. An opus which visits the paths of Berlin School, of a dark contemporary classic and a fine techno in a mould of a nostalgic tenderness which really gigs up to the bottom of our soul. An absolute must! 10 on 10…

Available at

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:

PICTURE PALACE MUSIC: Curriculum Vitae I (2009)

Picture Palace Music is musical theater. A sound universe with expressionism textures which exploits dramas and melancholies of the19th century. A musical adventure rich in sounds images and innovative musicals imaginations which quickly became the trademark of this group as much mysterious as its naming. Curriculum vitae I - The Aside Ones - Music for Compilation Rates And Personal Data Sheets (What a title!) is an obscure compilation which is spreading out from the first musical drafts of Thorsten Quaeschning’ artistic project. If Somnambulistic Tunes and Symphony for Vampires seduced you, you will certainly be charm by this magnificent compilation. And if Picture Palace Music still says nothing to you, you are missing something incredibly big.
Curriculum vitae I is built on 14 tracks of a repressed violence where big guitars riffs roll in loops on mellotron synths and heterogeneous electronic percussions. After a very ambient metallic and intriguing Celebrating Fears Pt.1, Mandrake Flight jolts on fine percussions and a somber mellotron. Soft and ambient, the intro is only a prelude to a heavy guitar which spins in loop with a withdrawn ferocity, betraying the solitude of a soul in perdition. A magnificent track where the meshing of an electric guitar, intensely lonely, roars its solos in an electronic world, where we can perceive a soft TD synth mood mixes with slightly hatched percussions. A great musical piece that swindles the soul. Quite as Spreading Disease, although more lively with an inverted samba rhythm, which from time to time is feeding of piano and organ chords, on a catwalks pace surrounded by an even more ethereal guitar. Hatched litany on colliding percussions, Morgengrauen is a short, but effective, nervous techno wrapped of a mellotron membrane. Too short … Waving Goodbye, Waving, Waving Pt. 2 is an ode to solitude played by acoustic guitars. The kind of thing that we listen under the rain, thinking of our girlfriend or a close absent friend. It’s so beautiful! Schreck's „Non Vampiric...” livens up on a slightly jerked structure from which frees a very TD melodious approach on heavy guitars riffs which bite in loops. A light but effective title, quite as Day Or Wrath, although more sharper, and the honeyed Under The Golden Charm of whom we cannot escape the charm. Auerbach Night Club is a dislodged dance of which the initial stages are banging percussions on keys from a nervous keyboard. Sometimes minimalism, with ambient passages waffled of austere choirs, Auerbach Night Club borders the rhythm and the ambient over dense mellotrons which waltz heavily, hiding a flickering structure of which mellotron layers are cutting wings with magnificent orchestral arrangements.
Melancholic piano under an abstract rain, Powercutting is the beginning of a masterpiece of tenderness, passion and tearing that encloses this amazing album from Thorsten Quaeschning. Piano notes roll with strength under an ochre mellotron veil, filtering a magnificent melody which is dying of solitude. A short interlude just before the monumental Añoranza and its hesitating piano which pierces a twilight drills thwarted by tears of a mercilessly sky. Arpeggios become more biting, caustic and austere, hiding badly their disillusionments that fly away on a sequence weighed down by a bass line. A drama is going on; we can feel it and would just miss that we can’t see it. But Quaeschning’s keeping an eye on things. Añoranza evolves with a dramatic crescendo where broken piano notes, panting percussions and wrapping mellotron envelop this magnificent musical piece of an amazing romantic veil, of which a voice as well ethereal as spectral accompanies its finale up to her last breathe of lucidity. I’m writing it without hesitations; this is one of the most beautiful and poignant track I heard since a long time, if not of all my life except for Stairway to Heaven. This quivering structure, on a piano which tries to flee its pain and a biting guitar with desperate lamentations, is simply fascinating. Too much beautiful to be ignored! Añoranza falls into a metallic oblivion, the limbos, sieved by damned choirs of the august Mal du Pays. A heavy track fits up with a rich sound structure where choirs, trumpets and synth to metallic hoops perfume an air which floats in a paralyzed ether extending in the lugubrious Heimþrá. Wiedersehen’ intro appears as doves going out of hell. A superb ballad which put back emotions, piercingly devoured by the last 4 tracks, right at their places. But slowly the metallic groaning of a twisted guitar harpoons this tenderness which lives again beneath notes of a soft jazzy piano, before embracing a rhythmic with syncopated pulsations and a hemming bass which brings us to borders of an aural paranoia. A short track with diversified structures that shows all the creative complexity, as harmonious as anarchic, which animates this magnificent composer and musical visionary whom is Thorsten Quaeschning. Curriculum vitae I - The Aside Ones - Music for Compilation Rates And Personal Data Sheets is an outstanding work that will turn out into a classic in contemporary music.

Available at

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

jeudi 6 janvier 2011


S&S: Hello Gerd and Frank, I hope that that is everything is fine. On behalf readers of Guts of Darkness and Synth&Sequences, thank you for your time and for this interview. My 1st question will be a long preamble….
I’m going to put things clear straight away, I quite like Stranger. I find that it is a beautiful album, of course different from tortuous Berlin School that made the fame of Rainbow Serpent, to say the least since I know your music (from since 2005 and The 8th Nerve) and from what I read concerning your other albums, but it is a melodious album. Thus, the 1st question that strikes me is; what motivated Rainbow Serpent to unite its music with the voice of German female singer Isgaard? Because contrary to your previous albums, of which Live @ Liphook on 2007, this time Isgaard really sings songs, while Eva-Maria Kagermann blew of pleasant dreamlike vocalizes.

Frank Specht: The desire for an album containing songs was already there and also inspired by the vocals of Eva-Maria Kagermann on the album "Live @ Liphook". In search of a singer our first choice was Isgaard, whose songs we knew from the Schiller album "Zeitgeist ". We wrote to Isgaard and told her about our idea, but without having concrete tracks. Isgaard liked our previous music, which she knew from our MySpace page and spontaneously agreed.

S&S: In a previous email Gerd mentioned me that it was a long time dream for Rainbow Serpent to work with a female singer. What influenced you to do so?

Frank Specht:We both are fans of Lisa Gerrard. As musicians we always want to evolve ourselves and we believe that the human voice can't be replaced by any instrument. The music thereby gains an additional dimension.

S&S: Did Rainbow Serpent was really at this point in its career?

Frank Specht: The highlight of our career? Only our fans can answer this question. For us, each new album is a highlight.

S&S: Don’t you think that your fans will be disappointed and annoyed by this new musical approach? After all, artists such as Tangerine Dream and Jean Michel Jarre broke their teeth after such an attempt.

Frank Specht: We make our music first and foremost for ourselves. We always tried to develop our own style and never wanted to be a copy of Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze or someone else. We already knew that some fans would be disappointed if we put out an album with vocals. On the other hand, we think that we will win some new fans. This CD doesn't mean that we will bring out only albums with vocals from now on. In future we'll continue to publish purely instrumental albums.

S&S: Is it a commercial or a creative approach that pushed Gerd Wienekamp and Frank Specht to undertake such a turn?
Frank Specht: Definitely a creative goal. If this change also leads to commercial success, then we are very pleased about it. Especially commercial success means that the music reaches more people and these people like that music.

S&S: How did the spark lighted? When did you feel the need to make such a turn?

Frank Specht: The idea originated in our local pub and was influenced by Lisa Gerrard's "The Silver Tree" and her songs in the movie "Gladiator".

S&S: From where do you know Isgaard and how the collaboration between the three of you did? Was the communication easy to make or it was laborious to make room to Isgaard voice, which, by moments, covers your rhythms as the strata of your synths used to do?

Frank Specht: Gerd made the contact. And when we realized, after the first personal meeting, that we got on with each other well, the cooperation was very relaxed. However, we had to approach the music differently than usual, to make room for Isgaard's voice.
S&S: Who wrote texts and how was the experiment of putting words on your music? Because, in spite of the vocal which gleans here and there, there are very beautiful music behind Stranger. So, how the transition music and words was made?

Frank Specht: Since we aren't writers, we left that part completely to Isgaard. Isgaard and her producer Jens Lück got very quickly a feeling for our music. Some tracks were not initially planned as vocal tracks. Isgaard and Jens surprised us with the vocals positively.

S&S: From where this ethnic inspiration that wraps your albums comes? On Stranger, we feel an attraction for Arabic rhythms while on The 8th Nerve and Liphook they are rather Indian rhythms?

Frank Specht: The inspiration for these tracks came by the movie "Gladiator" and also by the album "Passion" by Peter Gabriel. We love such things as the instrument duduk and oriental influences and long wanted to do something in that direction.

S&S: Thus, I presume that Beyond New World is strongly inspired by Enya?

Frank Specht: No, not Enya! "Beyond New Worlds" was actually planned as an instrumental piece based on Jean-Michel Jarre. Since Isgaard was taken by this music, she just tried to put vocals over it. We were so thrilled with the result that we had to publish the vocal version on the album.

S&S: Speaking about influences, what are the biggest influences of Gerd Wienekamp and Frank Specht?

Frank Specht: Previously influences came by Klaus Schulze. He is the link of the two of us. Over the years we developed a preference for many other genres.
Gerd Wienekamp: Working with Isgaard I again met with the popular music. I'm very exalted by particular groups such as Bad for Lashes, Hurts and Delphic. It also reflects my love of old pop music of the 80's (e.g. Heaven17, DAF,Frankie Goes To Hollywood,OMD,Yello).

S&S: If I asked each of you what are your 5 best albums, movies and books? What their will be?
Gerd Wienekamp:
5 best albums
Pink Floyd "Division Bell" and "Wish yo where here"
Klaus Schulze: "X"
Bad for Lashes "Two Suns"
Peter Gabriel "Passion"
5 best movies
Planet of the Apes
The Time Machine
Sweet November with Charlize Theron
5 best books
Nick Hornby "High Fidelity"
Frank Goosen "Radio Heimat" and "So viel Zeit"
Frank Specht:
5 best albums
Pink Floyd "The Wall"
Peter Gabriel "Passion"
Mike Oldfield "Amarok"
Klaus Schulze "Audentity"
Isao Tomita "The Planets"
5 best movies
Lord of the Rings
The Time Machine
The Prestige
5 best books
Songs of Distant Earth
& anything from Stanislaw Lem

S&S: If I said to you that certain songs of Stranger (Beyond New Worlds, Wide Open Spaces, Rub Al-Chali, Stranger and Beautiful Child) are outdistancing from the very Berlin School repertoire of the band to embrace a New Age tangent, even the Easy Listening kind. How would you react

Frank Specht: We do not longer make pure Berlin School. We always tried to combine different influences in our music. Thus, we usually don't think in drawers. Everyone has to decide by himself, in which drawer to class us.

S&S: How you define the music of Stranger? Berlin School, New Age or simply music?

Frank Specht: Just music! The influences we have on this album are too diverse to be specified in just one genre. It's just the Rainbow Serpent mix.

S&S: Do Stranger has more radio airing or commercial visibility with Isgaard in the band now?

Frank Specht: Absolutely. We are planning two or three radio mixes of tracks.

S&S: How her fans reacted with this association? After all, her musical direction is also strongly different than your’s!

Frank Specht: The reactions of the fans have been very positive. Isgaard herself serves a variety of styles from classic to pop (thinking of her project "Schiller" and her solo albums).

S&S: Stranger, is a beautiful mixture of cosmic EM (Beyond New Worlds who is astride between Jarre’s Oxygene and Metamorphoses areas), complex Berlin School (Intense and Elements) very melodious EM (Gateway and Memory Leaves) and of more accessible songs in the vein as Enya and Sarah Brightman. Does Rainbow Serpent is searching itself is it the musical direction that you will use from now on?

Frank Specht: Definitely no! We don't know at the beginning of an album where the journey will take us. Because behind the album "Stranger" there was no concept, we just wanted to explore the vocal styles of Isgaard. Thus more by chance, a very varied CD was created with a large spectrum. In which direction the next CD will lead us can't be predicted. The cooperation with Isgaard will continue if vocal tracks are needed.

S&S: Stranger is the 13th album of Rainbow Serpent. With hindsight, how you do analyze the road crossed by the group? Are Gerd Wienekamp and Frank Specht satisfied by the evolution of Rainbow Serpent?

Frank Specht: One is never satisfied. Satisfaction would mean a halt but we want to develop on each CD. When a musician speaks of development that is something different than the fan perceives.

S&S: Does Rainbow Serpent reach the goal you both fixed?

Frank Specht: No! Achieving a goal means we can begin to go to bed. But we still have so many ideas that we are now just waiting to compose the next album. For us, the road is the goal!

S&S: What can we expect from Rainbow Serpent shortly?

Frank Specht: At the moment we are still busy with the promotion of "Stranger". There aren't concrete plans for a new album existing. Life performances with Isgaard are possible.

S&S: So you think giving concerts with Isgaard could be something possible?

Frank Specht: Absolutely. However, a performance with Isgaard is a bit more complicated than the usual framework of pure electronic bands in our little scene. Just rehearsal with vocals requires more effort than instrumental music.

S&S: I discovered Rainbow Serpent music with the 8th Nerve? Since, there was Live @ Liphook 2007 and Elektrik Cowboys (with Keller Schonwalder). Every album borrows a different tangent but always breathes of complex and livened up rhythms. On Stranger this strange complex mixture between rhythms and melodies is always present. How can you explain this duality in Rainbow Serpent?

Frank Specht: This is due to our influences. While Frank is dominated by film music and melodic tracks, Gerd likes complex pads and percussion. But it was always like this: we hear very different kinds of music and combine them in our own music. It surely shows that each of us prefers a particular direction on our solo albums (Sebastian im Traum, and Kontakt).

S&S: Your previous albums, before your association with Manikin, are out of print. Within the rebirth of Rainbow Serpent, are the old albums will see the light of days, one of these days?

Frank Specht: Rebirth? We never were dead! ;-)
We merely indulged in a long creative break. In these times we tried a lot of new equipment and made us familiar with new techniques. Some older albums have been re-released by Syngate. Currently these are the albums "Voyager", "Sequel to Voyager", "Sebastian im Traum" and many more. It is quite possible that more albums will be reissued. We can't say what will be and what will happen.

Pictures courtesy of Rainbow Serpent Web site:

Interview realized by Sylvain Lupari on December 2010