lundi 28 février 2011


The next E-Day will be held on April 16th 2011 and, as in each occasion, the Groove label will produce a CD composed of unreleased tracks offered by the artists invited to this festival. On May 22nd 2010, this intimate festival which is annually held in the city of Oirschot in the Netherlands welcomed some big names of the contemporary EM with David Wright, Erik Seifert and Free System Projekt. A newcomer, E.R.G., completed this musicians' array for this 5th edition of the E-Day festival. Once again the organizers, Kees Aerts and Ron Boots, knew how to ally a contemporary EM, and even progressive, to music closer to the roots of Berlin School while brushing the harmonies and melodies which know how to get the attention of an already conquered crowd but not dupe of any kind of products. A magic music festival of which Groove puts us in appetite with a CD which is a faithful reflection of what the present spectators were lucky to see.
Helped by his walk-ons and friends Andy Lobban, Niel Fellowes and Nigel Turner-Heffer, David Wright offers us a track which depicts marvelously his very poetic and harmonious musical universe. A superb melody which oscillates between the universes of Moody Blues and Pink Floyd, Code Indigo’s meeting point; Gaia is waking up with fine hesitating pulsations which embrace delicate hits of percussions. An intro with a tribal flavor covered by notes of an acoustic guitar which scratches among musical prisms and nice mellotron violins, irradiating Moody Blues’ most beautiful melodious approaches. On a delicate rhythm, Gaia is adorned with its most beautiful musical assets with notes of a melancholic piano and with a harmonious keyboard, before the electric guitar throws a suave veil of romantic sweetness. It’s a nice ballad, more progressive than electronic, tinted of a maudlin romanticism with its quixotic violins which transport Gaia beyond the doors of the dream and its whims. Cern presents us Erik Seifert's sibylline universe, there where the melody and harmonies go alongside to the musical strangeness of the German synthesist. The intro is dark and glaucous with its spectral winds which blow along the walls of a cave buried in a halieutic universe. A mysterious voice, hardly audible, pierces an aquatic veil filled with sinuous reverberating waves from where escape hesitating twinkling arpeggios. Arpeggios which skip and are subdividing to dance on an anamorphosic structure where reverberations cross scattered percussions. Slowly the hiccupping rhythm of Cern is settling down with more solid percussions and keyboard keys with hybrid tonalities. Quavering chords which sparkle nervously in a heavy musical corridor divided between two rhythmic approaches and duped by heavy twisted reverberations. Asturiana is a too short track where a soft acoustic guitar courts a synth with Theremin waves. It’s a nice, but curious I may say, spectral ode that hooks immediately on feelings.
With Free System Projekt’s Day of E, we enter into the delight of the Berlin School musical subtleties. A long track of nearly 25 minutes, Day of E begins with all the charm of the transcendence that we find in the EM universe. Sonorous boiling hatch and shape a strange hypnotic pulsation which bubbles under the waves of an old caustic synth. Monastery voices clear the abysses, immersing us of a melancholic tuneful coat in the furs of old Schulze, Irrlicht or Cyborg eras’, whereas a soft oniric flute is dragging us in the musing of Tangerine Dream. A slow morphic intro which borrows a somber path filled of sinuous breaths at around the 10th minute point, the lead of a nice cadence besieged by a sequence to frenzied wavy-like chords. Although soft, the rhythm modifies subtly its structure while keeping its hypnotic constancy such a train crossing a sequential road covered with a synth which mixes its fluty and violin lines. A nice and soft Berlin School, typical to Free System Projekt's backward style, Day of E has all the necessary ingredients to please fans of Tangerine Dream and from ‘‘la belle époque’’. Eden to Chaos (Corrupted Time Mix) encloses this album with an approach closer to hard progressive rock than EM, a little as Gaia but with much more fury. A track which allies all the fineness and the romanticism of David Wright, while exploring a more powerful tangent, even violent, Eden to Chaos starts with a soft atmospheric intro where David Wright's piano throws its melancholy on a latent rhythm which grows slowly, such a train looking for its cruising speed. Ambivalent and constantly caught up by the notes of a gloomy piano, the tempo of Eden to Chaos is in continuous permutation embracing more balanced passages and diving into heavier and more powerful structures, as those that we find on good and solid progressive electronic rock.
From progressive electronic rock to good old Berlin School, while passing by rich atmospheres and a more contemporary EM, E-Day 2010 is an excellent way of cajoling the various styles of modern EM. There is music for all tastes in this excellent initiative of Groove which makes every effort, year after year, to foam the beauties of a music which has borders only the limits of our imagination. It’s a very good album, well balanced and structured which is beyond the standards of a single album of various artists.

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:

jeudi 24 février 2011

DREAMSTATE: A Decade of Dreaming (2010)

For some, ambient music is atonal, even dead. It is not completely true. There are EM artists who know how to sculptured ambient musical structures and give them a life animated by subtle and discreet oscillations or slender resonances forms which resound in the echo of an abstract music. I learnt to appreciate ambient music by listening works of Steve Roach, Robert Rich and more recently The Glimmer Room and Konrad Kucz. Ambient music can easily be compared to still-life or abstract paints. Artists must have an overflowing imagination to make us live their feelings and to make us travel on their slow evolutionary strata. Dreamstate is a band that exactly molds sonorous images with the dexterity of ambient music big names. It’s a Canadian duet which sculptures an ambient EM without borders. No sequences nor rhythms, only oscillatory circles and modulations which move such as jellyfishes on linear sound arcs. A Decade of Dreaming is a compilation that includes 12 tracks played at The Ambient Ping, a Toronto club that presents concerts of experimental and ambient music.
Premonition opens this compilation with a heavy misty pad with somber oscillations. Synth layers are escaping from it, hooting in oblivion to resonant arcs. Sound hoops over sound hoops, atmospheric layers of Premonition waltz lazily to the keenness of Dreamstate modulations, propelled by their waves to reach higher summits. Ambient and dark, Premonition is a slow night flight where slow reverberations wind around tones and heterogeneous synth lamentations, guardians of our sleep. A track with oblong morphic strata which calms down the dreamer, quite as, Sandstone and the dark Processional with its resonant hoops. Soundscape For Richard Wright begins with fine crystal clear notes that fall like rain drops… a bit as Echoes, from where the connection to tied that track to a homage to Pink Floyd’s own Rick Wright, except that it doesn’t sounds like Floyd at all. Soundscape For Richard Wright is dark, but musical, with oscillatory waves which are entwining in a perpetual circle imprinted of slow resonances. Mellotron strata which oscillate and move with strange laments, like voices coming out a Theremin, in a cosmos filled of oniric stillness. Notes of guitar / harp accompany crystal clear keys of a synth with cosmic tones. Jharna Revealed revolves delicately, such a sonorous prism in a staggering cerebral journey filled with beautiful mellotron pads and notes of a string instrument with an oriental flavor that a celestial voice recovers by brief furtive breaths. By moments, we have the impression travel within Robert Rich or Steve Roach territories, as Laika's Last Orbit, Elinvar, Premillennial Landscape 2 which embrace some tribal fragrances or then within fusions of lunar and tribal worlds that float over the metallic universes of Sandstone, The Storm Within and Premillennial Landscape 1, but always Dreamstate confirms its originality with a beautiful union of its oscillations and modulations which move as electronic jellyfishes which criss-cross Nocturnal Passage. A track which strangely swarms of a subterranean life where noises from echoes’ caves are entangling with quixotic waves around slow morphic pads showing the paradox between Rich, Roach and the Toronto duet and an intense track as Universe City Line.
A Decade of Dreaming is a nice compilation of a diversified ambient music. A music that we already know to have heard influences here and there. But it’s a compilation that is also a beautiful invitation to discover this little underestimated universe of a kind of music to often compare to still-life genre. An album available for a little $5.00 or simply free in a downloadable format this site;


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 22 février 2011

KLAUS SCHULZE: Moondawn (1976)

The 70’s… ah those 70’s! For some, they are pivotal years of the musical evolution. Years that overturned the character and the face of culture. For Germany it’s the Krautrockmania, the era of cosmic rock and EM. Of this new musical form appear names like Tangerine Dream, Ashra Temple and Klaus Schulze. Klaus Schulze, whom some compare to a Mozart of our XX th century, is effectively the center of a musical evolution. He manipulates recordings, mix them, and make them play in reverse. In short he handles his sound textures according to his ambitions and imagination. It’s in this stride that several contemporaries EM classics will see the light of days and find our ways to our ears. Among them Moondawn, re edited by the German label SPV which is re editing several works from the Schulze catalog. These re editions include bonus tracks, for fans delight, along with nice booklets. Moondawn is from Schulze first artistic era, a period where the master mixes atmospheres and is establishing as the monarch of analogue and its sulphurous ambiances.
Tinkling sparkle among a Berber incantation and Tibetan bells. Fine pads of an ethereal synth are escaping from it and float in a soft and warm electronic cosmos. Quite slowly Schulze widens his heavy synth coat with synth layers which are enlacing within breaths of Farfisa, a magnetic union that waltzes beneath the atmospheric sparkling, tracing a splendid intergalactic landscape. A hypnotic sequence is breaking away from this morphic envelope, drawing the bases of a minimalism rhythm which winds on by loopy waves. The synth is straying away and the first drum stammering are making heard. Snidely Floating is developing on a rhythm in constant progression with a sequential movement which waddles in a universe filled of multiple keyboards and synths layers and before we are coming out of our torpor the rhythm breaks out on soft synth modulations which are doing a race to Harald Grosskopf's soft drum. Far from being floating, Floating transports us in the Klaus Schulze musical universe where ambiances are fluctuating and synths are dense with long solos which dance with accuracy on fluid sequences and the agile drum of Grosskopf. Throughout Floating the main sequential line actuated subtly among light notes of piano / keyboards and soporific synth layers which travel among Schulze solos. In harmony with its progression the rhythm of Floating becomes heavier, hammered by Grosskopf drum and cut up by incisive solos of Schulze which fly among intersidereal sounds effects and hissing bats. A hypnotic and bewitching rhythm which gradually is subduing to embrace the stillness filled of astral serenity. Absolutely magnificent!
Mindphaser is more serene, even totally atonic, a bit like the calm after the storm of Floating. Distant waves come to strike a shore wrapping of a sober synth mantle. The shadow of the synth crosses Mindphaser, which starts with a long sigh. It gets across a galaxy that spits its atmospheric fuel and, soporifically, waves of the abyss are surrounding us. We are hook on the sensorial softness of Schulze synths. Motionless we are nailed and hypnotized by these synth sirens which charm our solitude. The tension increases and bursts beneath an avalanche of percussions which unfurl under the somber waves of a big old ghostly organ. Slow and heavy the tempo is sensual and draws its shape on hatched and curt percussions. Tortuous synth solos, agitated drum, atmospheric sound effects and dense sound texture Mindphaser tortures the spirit duality to the willingness of Schulzian madness. An intense cosmic and psychedelic frenzy that represents quite well the Krautrock paradoxes and which is increasing with power and bursts with strength.
The bonus track; Floating Sequence is a weak analogy of Floating. A kind of mix, we can guess, that follows the same sequential curve of Floating, but with an atmospheric tone closer of our current technology as of former days. The atmosphere is more fluid, less inquiring than at the time of the original conception. The sound effects are drawing out giving a feeling of sound freshness that will never equal the original. Is this re edition worth the money spent? On the sonority level I found the atmosphere less dark, a little too clearer if I may add. I did like it but which one is the best? My ears can’t hear differences, as there are on Mirage. It’s well presented. The artwork is splendid and includes a booklet that describes Monndawn history as well as Schulze musical evolution of this era. The bonus track is interesting but there is a better one still dragging on a bootleg…Fans will be happy and for those who still doesn’t know Klaus Schulze, it’s the ideal opportunity because Moondawn is a classic of the 70’s and an essential to understand torments of an era fertile in developments.

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:

lundi 21 février 2011


As every year Groove label hosts its E-Live festival. In parallel, the Dutch label produces that features unreleased material from the bands invited to perform at this annual festival which attracts its legion of fans. In 2010 E-Live presented a guests' brochette with styles of the most contrasting, going from pure and heavy Berlin School (Air Sculpture) to a more rhythmic EM (Nattefrost) while caressing the fragrances of a more aggressive and psychedelic music (Picture Palace Music) as well as a delicate cosmic ode (Mark Jenkins). The result is a stunning musical collage where Ron Boots made an ingenious mastering work in order to inserted and coalesced different styles in an EM album, where the contemporaneousness of the genres is dressing quite well on an entire opus. E-Live 2010 is a nice album which seduces so much by its diversity of kinds that by its numerous rhythmic developments.
Nattefrost opens the ball with Near UFO. This old 98 composition starts with a threatening synth wave which spreads heavy ethereal layers. Ghostly pads float with fine modulations, just before that the synth sings a melody hung on analog years. The rhythm is weighty with a heavy sequential movement of which chords gallop ardently in a cosmic echo. Heavy and rhythmic, Near UFO embraces quiet spatial breezes before re-biting the rhythm of a staggering race under the aegis of a beautiful synth with lyrical solos à la Jarre, filled by a sweet vaporous fog. A big synth pop which precedes Picture Palace Music’s psychedelic electronic rock and its curt guitar riff which is dawdling in oblivion, feeding the furious rhythm of Help Murder Help 2010. A track that we find on Fairy Marsh Districts, it raises this compilation with its heavy and incisive approach nearer the roots of psy rock than purely EM, on a dark and bedazzled rhythm unique to the Picture Palace Music's musical world. Following this loud psy rock Mark Jenkins is introducing us into his ingenious musical world with The Ceremony of Innocence. A track completely conceived with an I-Pad, The Ceremony of Innocence is a delicate cosmic ode where the delicious voice of Alquimia is in delicate contrast with Arthur Brown’s grave one. An ambient track, structured on suave strata of a discreet synth and an array of cosmic tones, The Ceremony of Innocence is of a strange oniric beauty. Picture Palace Music returns charming our ears again with a quieter track where a piano drags its heavy melancholy through many whispers. Midsummer’s Morning follows admirably well the poetic paths of The Ceremony of Innocence.
Air Sculpture’s Exploration Drive worth alone E-Live2010 buying. A very good track of nearly 20 minutes, divided by an eclectic ambient passage, which begins with a delicate sequential movement of which chords skip and are frantically stirring on a hypnotic linear movement. Incisive, these hybrid tones sequences are flying over by a synth which frees beautiful nostalgic breezes among gurgling and caustic breezes as much psychedelic as spectral, recollections of Air Sculpture’s audacities. And it’s through this dance of a sequential multiplicity wrapped by a synth with brief charming flutes and emotive pads that Exploration Drive progresses up to the doors of a cosmic void, where heavy twisted pads to slow and sinuous synth reverberations hum in a metallic atmosphere. A brief ambient and corrosive passage from where escape isolated sequences which eventually mold a nervous rhythmic, supported by a beautiful bass line, propelling Exploration Drive’s last portion of a nervous and chaotic rhythm which beats an arrhythmic measure surrounded by a synth with breaths and melodies tinted of musical memories. After a track that complex and progressive, Picture Palace Music’s Array of Fading Flowers comes to add a more melodious side with this track from Symphony for Vampires. Array of Fading Flowers is molded in a hybrid rock with a synth-pop tangent gnawed by the dark and very medieval universe of this wonderful PPM album. Nattefrost encloses this E-Live2010 with another heavy track sequences which pulse, skip and collide beneath a synth to undulatory breezes. In as Forgotten Time (deZeptive remix) is a more contemporary Nattefrost with a synth-pop cadence on a nervous and jerky rhythm, embraced by furtive keyboard keys and a very robotic vocoder. Sequences are heavy and skip in harmony with e- percussions to give a good punch at this synth pop track filled of light electronic savors.


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 9 février 2011

NATTEFROST: Dying Sun / Scarlet Moon (2010)

The more Bjorn Jeppesen’s career moves on, the more the Scandinavian synthesist amazes by the variety of its musical approach. Since his first notes launched with Absorbed in Dreams and Yearning in 2006 we felt that Nattefrost would be always different. Dying Sun/Scarlet Moon is an album full of musical unexpected developments where everything, except the predictability, is there. From techno pop à la Kraftwerk to lively synth pop, while passing by good electronic à la Jarre where long solos and cosmic atmospheres are darted by heavy rhythms, Dying Sun/Scarlet Moon is offering for all tastes. An album builds on 10 tracks filled of a disconcerting sound wealth where ears are constantly assailed by a multiplicity of sounds as heterogeneous as unexpected on structures that hook the ear, make tapping your feet and which are always in evolutionary mode.
Noisy explosions, where the metal is rubbing to felt, and vocalizes of robotics cherubs open the first measures of In Natura. Already our ears have difficulty to seize all the musical energy that comes out this colorful intro, as well as a humming sequential line of which chords skip and zigzag among pulsations and vibrations to static resonances. Streaks and strata, as foggy as metallic, glance through this coarse-ground rhythm, while nervous keyboard keys draw a melodious line on an ascending sequence which waves in a very composite electronic universe. In Natura wind on a fragmented rhythm with a hesitating sequential movement which seems to cavort in space, while percussions encircle this rhythm at once heavy and light where other sequences unfold nervously pushing In Natura in a rhythmic contradiction and a surprising musicality for a so short lapse of time, like the other 9 tracks which roll with a kind of delight on Dying Sun/ Scarlet Moon. Navigating between various rhythmic structures, Draconian begins with soft chords to tonalities a bit graves which resound and merge with a heavy reverberating sequence of which chords skip randomly. On a tempo hesitating between free jazz and soft techno, Draconian evolves under streaks and watered waves which criss-cross a bipolar structure where rhythms permutate between delicacy and heaviness. Music for the Man is an ode to Kraftwerk and Music Non Stop. The tempo is heavy, minimalism and vibrates on a beautiful fusion of sequences and electronic percussions. A very good track that is magnetic, quite as Music Non Stop, but with fine subtleties in electronic pads which undulate above this highly entertaining rhythm. Die Kinder der Erde is a heavy electronic track where sequences gallop beneath a thick cloud of synth to multiple layers and pads. It’s quite an electronic music piece that hides brief melodies astray beneath arrhythmic sequences and electronic percussions which twined an imperfect rhythm on very aggressive synth layers and wandering choirs. Very well and bizarrely lively, in the lineage of good Jarre, which is a robust influence for Nattefrost, and as in Close Encounter which is, on the other hand, more complex and progressive.
The Swan is a superb and completely charming melody that Nattefrost had revealed on Live Germany with sequences that collide violently on a very poetic synth singing a delicate melody which is transforming quite fast into an earworm. After an intro filled by heterogeneous tones, Seduced by Grief is liven up around a circular sequential movement of which minimalism skipping are leaking away on sober percussions. A hybrid sound universe where the sci-fi goes alongside to a delicate EM covered with suave synth layers and rippling mellotron waves glide above a light furtive rhythm, Seduced by Grief evolves with an implosion smothered by diverse melodious approaches. All the opposite of Ghosts from the North which presents a frivolous rhythmic on slamming percussions à la Jarre. Swirling and feverish rhythm, Ghosts from the North embraces the paths of a light techno with an ascending rhythm with fluid chords which spin in a rich sound fauna with ill-matched percussions. Heavy, vaporous and strangely ambient, The Dark Spell's intro honors its naming with a surprising mesmerizing structure which takes life on a circular sequential movement. Strummed chords of a pulsating and minimalism movement which slides towards a little more technoïd tangent beneath a charmer synth of which spectral whistles spin under a thick cloud of tones as electronic as crossbred. It’s a beautiful prelude to the very heavy and cosmic Close Encounter whose key point is unarguably this duel of brightness percussions. My Wake up ends with a kind electronic nursery rhyme built on harmless sequences, which roll as a rhythmic carousel, and a hybrid synth where cackling are wrapped of suave melodious layers. It’s a track as strange as crazy that fits so well to this very multi- colors and multi-sound universe which is Dying Sun/ Scarlet Moon.


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:

NATTEFROST: Absorbed in Dreams and Yearning (2006)

Nattefrost is Scandinavian musician Bjorn Jeppesen. And with Absorbed in Dreams and Yearning he crosses the Denmark borders to presents us an opus tinted of new sonorities. According to the press guide, it’s an innovative work that could leads us towards a new EM style; the Scandinavian School.A quotation that has something to prick the curiosity of fans of this music kind, of which I. So let hear how it’s sounds.
The Battle that Lasted Eternally begins with noises of gladiators combats and horses neigh which rage on a round and nervous sequential line to subtle undulatory oscillations. A bass sequence among which chords in loops and nervous pulsations inspire a very harmonious synth which whistles, on a soft fluty sonority, a suave melody which is dandling among shooting streaks and strata while adjusting its octaves. The Battle that Lasted Eternally is a beautiful harmonious opening which leaves its sound imprints, while depicting the very particular universe of Nattefrost. Where the Gods are Watching is a short nervous track which, with a hatched sequence, reminds Jean Michel Jarre's analog momentums on his Magnetic Fields. A nervous and jerky sequence which pounds a hiccupping tempo beneath heavy layers of a synth with threatening rumblings while another sequential line, which espouses a similar but more melodious rhythmic, criss-crosses the lead one hammered by symphonic percussions and coated of a suave synth to conflicting harmonies. It’s a short but thoroughbred track, as Descending from the Stars and its heavy circular rhythm which embraces incredibly well the first rhythmic incursions of Jarre. A nervous track sat on electronic percussions and frenzied sequences which skip vigorously on a sequential line to titanic undulations flavored by a hybrid synth where the nasal and symphonic breezes have difficulty in following a rhythmic that furious. Through Clear and Frosty Nights continues this musical incursion of a world of heavy sequences capped by superb synth melodies which sing in perfect symbiosis with its sequential movement. A very beautiful track which borrows a more minimalism way with this sequential movement which is fading out in space to bursts in a beautiful melody.
Visions of has Pale Moon can easily compares to a variant of Through Clear and Frosty Nights except that the rhythm is more shaded, heavy and slow. It’s a short but effective track, with its feminine voice which blows some words in an atmosphere of interstellar paranoia, on a tempo leads by percussions which slam as drops of water falling in an irregular flow on a ghostly synth line with intriguing steams. Valhal is Absorbed in Dreams and Yearning’s track that really got me into Nattefrost sound universe. A sequential line emerges from an intro as cosmic as static to shape a rhythmic hammered of chords from which the resonance moulds a timid echo. A complex sequential movement takes shape whereas several chords are meeting around a synth with cooing parade in loops. A nasal and melodious synth from which each chord seems to possess its shadow and hums beneath beautiful percussions and a mixture of sequences which supplies an enormous rhythmic support. The movement strikes cosmic ambiances and skips in a sidereal space fills with suave synth and mellotron layers. It’s a superb passage where the indecision reigns in a perfect melodious symbiosis, especially with the arrival of more melodious chords in middle- course, with this wonderful tune which eats constantly the hearing. Valhal embraces then a slow atonal phase where blow cosmic winds. A short phase disrupted by a beautiful sequential movement with chords more melodious than percussionned where Bjorn Jeppesen recites an ode which finds echo in sidereal winds’ caresses. As Where the Gods are Watching and Descending from the Stars, Absorbed in Dreams and Yearning is a track that has a very Jarre approach with beautiful warm synths and analog tones which waltz on nervous and juicy sequences Immersed in a cosmic broth the track flows with a harmony which becomes more complex as it evolves, as all that comes out from Nattefrost first opus. The Northern Lights ends this opus on a very atmospheric note with a track that clashes with its heavy movement flowing between two cadences and which is a variance of the infernal and frenzied lines that are glancing all over Absorbed in Dreams and Yearning.
In accordance with the guide of press, Nattefrost’s Absorbed in Dreams and Yearning is really an opus which effectively possesses a strange sonority. Even if Berlin School style is not quite in danger it is growing its deepness quite solidly. Absorbed in Dreams and Yearning is at once a dark and melodious album stuffed with a bubbling sequential universe with crossed rhythms. We have here some ingenious and stunning rhythms wrapped hyper melodious synth layers, from where we can feel a Jarre connection. I quite liked it from start to end and I’m very impatient to hear the next opus of Nattefrost; a new artist amply interesting who seems to have a good potential of creativity. Berlin School in a new kind of way! That’s doesn’t happen every day.

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:

NATTEFROST: Vejen til Asgård E.P. (2004)

Always inspired by the Scandinavian mythology Bjorn Jeppesen, aka Nattefrost, presents a short EP which includes a superb video at the crossing of De Som sejrede… and Absorbed in Dreams and Yearning. I say the crossing because while respecting his atmospheric approach with his floating intriguing shades, Nattefrost pushes on his sequencer and offers rather short powerful tracks for the greatest pleasure of my ears as well as yours, I am sure of that.
The face of the Virgin Forest embraces De Som Sejrede’s fragrances. The rhythm is slow and a fine hardly perceptible sequence makes the track progressing on floating atmospheric pads. After very the known Where the Gods are Watching which has more felted tonality here, The Magic of the Burial Mound develops on huge and powerful sequence which roll like hell. Heavy the sequential line supports beautiful and obscure synth layers as the tempo is leaking away within its atmospheric breezes. Though lighter and more nervous, Nordic espouses the same structure. In A Past Time is a superb and dark melody which growths with big breezes of a wrapping and intriguing synthesizer. This is a track that is progressing on intense atmospheric waves. The road to Asgard finishes this EP on the same lines as the opening part, but with a heavier tempo, and hardly more speed. The sequence spins in loop on a Scandinavian poem recited with a vocoder.
This Nattefrost EP shows his evolution from De Som Sejrede… to Absorbed in Dreams and Yearning. Within the heavy atmospheres, very close to those of Steve Roach by the way, we seize extremely well the influences which will lead to Absorbed in Dreams and Yearning. It’s a good EP full of Nattefrost’ so particular sonorities. The tempo is heavily slow and succeeds in filtering melodies as strange as mythical atmospheres of Scandinavian countries.

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:

NATTEFROST: De Som Sejrede (2004)

Nattefrost dazzled the small world of EM, Berlin School style, when the superb Absorbed in Dreams and Yearning hit trays. Since then his first works are surfacing and we discover an artist who likes deep and peculiar atmospheres. De Som Sejrede, which means ‘‘Those who Conquered’’, is an opus with a Scandinavian character. A bit like a fable, or a legend of the Scandinavian country, Nattefrost draws a musical story with stunning orchestral arrangements. I’m thinking of I krig, which recalls the Vikings age, Sværdet where the Nordic synthesist shows his ability to dress a minimalist line and to Nattefrost track. There is a dark side, even lugubrious by moments, all along the opus. Like a movie soundtrack from a medieval time where dark spirits dealt with Salem witches.
Mod Lindisfarne starts the story with a dark and heavy sequence witch floats on an intense minimalist tempo. Slowly the synth spreads its layers and becomes superbly enveloping with intriguing spectral choirs. Sejlende Gennem Dybe Dale’s tempo is slow and moves on hammering percussions. Like those we hear on old galleys in order to stimulate the oarsmen. These percussions hammer a heavy rhythm surrounded by an extremely invading synth. Slaget Som Varede Evigt is the longest track on Bjorn Jeppesen first known opus. A good healthy sequence opens the road to the first version of Absorbed in Dreams and Yearning’s opening track, The Battle that lasted Eternally. Here the movement is slower and is penetrated by bewitching synth, adding a bit of sensuality. A good track, whatever his musical forms. Simply great, I just can’t get over it. Stormende Mod Fjenden borrows the paths of the Phantom of the Opera with its huge church organ and hammering percussions. An organ sound that we also find on the hammering Mit Hedenske Blod. Tårnets Krigere has definitely a more serene approach. The keys are clear and nervous flying with constancy, creating an echo effect a little as we find on Philip Glass’ works for piano. Vintersolhverv concludes on a more ambient note, at the borders of a Berlin School filled by spectral moods.
De Som Sejrede is a work clearly different from Absorbed in Dreams and Yearning. It is a highly atmospheric opus, with good sequences, which we listen like we listen to a movie soundtrack. It is a musical journey through the histories of a darker Scandinavia than we use to know. The structures and arrangements are superb and require some listening. It’s a sign of a work that has a certain depth.

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 4 février 2011

AWENSON: Wizard (2010)

Every year brings its lot of surprises. In 2010, fans of EM were cherished by rich and sumptuous musical epics. Here is one that risks to deeply moved fans of an EM that we believed only accessible through souvenirs embedded in grooves of old black lp’s. Wizard is a surprising EM work filed of analog years’ flavors. These 70’s which awake more than a souvenir with all the audacities and creativities of Schulze, Froese and Jarre. Awenson is Joël Bernard, a French synthesist which grew with its musical reminiscences and in Wizard he presents us a magnificent piece of anthology where the dream is possible. Wizard is a powerful album of an EM with rich ambiances and atmospheres of these analog years. Don’t look for any comparisons between a Schulze or a Jarre, because Awenson goes beyond these comparatives. He establishes his own touch of love for music that artists such as him make timeless. And Wizard will become a great one, such as Body Love or Oxygene.
Hypnotic Ways opens as a flower of which delicate prismatic petals answer to their echoes. Quite far away, in a cosmos to thousand images forged by our ignorance of these places, they sparkle of their brightness stillness and open totally to make poured fine nectar of synth voices. A soft ethereal choir to fine vocal meshes chants an astral prayer beneath sinuous reverberations which wrapped these fine gleaming prisms to prevail of their resonances this oniric intro to elusive crystal clear tones. A magic intro which reminds intensely the musical prayers of Schulze, but without copying them, and which is extending there where our cortex can continue to daydream. Little beyond the 6th minute, a sinuous synth line opens valves to metallic arpeggios which fall as droplets of water. Sequences flowing in vertical spirals alternate their tones under these drops which fall in a harmonious shower, subdividing the melodious rhythmic which awakens Hypnotic Ways. Some people, as me, will think of Thiery Fervant and his majestic Univers while magnificent solos of twisted synth surround movement on alert. A synth which sings under various tones and which embraces the oblivion of analog stampings in our ears subjected by so much cohesion coming from a long movement which made a surprising ambient/rhythm transition. Towards the 15th minute Hypnotic Ways is retreating in a mystic mist where a lugubrious synth pours a light spectral mesh which undulates among of dark resonances. A metallic pulsation embraces this atonal portion, forming a strange pulsating rhythm which beats beneath the aegis of a synth to tortuous and alarming breaths. The 4th portion of Hypnotic Ways is livening up towards the 20th with a slow and heavy pulsing sequence. We enter a dark musical universe, à la Redshift with these sequences which skip and move steadily in the echo of their vibrations. Their resonances, as well as caustic breaths of a synth charmer of sequences, wrap another sequence, softer, of which shimmering chords are waddling and form a curious Halloween nursery rhyme. A sequential hoop which is escaping and sparkling alone in the multipolar immensity of Hypnotic Ways which, quietly, embraces the infinity with the waves of this synth charmer of sequences, vibratory rhythms and dreams in sedition. A little as if we would want Hypnotic Ways to be timeless.
Psychedelic Dream is a wonderful musical sculpture which designs the dream. The intro is besieged by fine and nice oscillatory curves which wind with the heaviness of the sleep between delicate corrosives waves of Schulze years and the soft morphic layers of a Jean Michel Jarre's more cosmic synth. A slow intro where strange pulsations come and go in a synthesized universe fed by static white noises and by a fauna of analog tones which can only bring us near the dream. A little after the 10th minute a circular sequence escapes from the surveillance of Morpheus to dance freely of its chords to hypnotic doubloons. The movement is quiet and espouses a musical ritornello which spins with a surprising delicacy before taking shelter within the spectral waves of a synth to psychedelic glass sonorities. Psychedelic Dream re embraces the morphic oblivion of the analog zones of the 70’s to waking up again to the sound of a crystalline sequence of which glass chords meet another sequence, less formed, which skips randomly under the waves of a reverberating synth. A strange fusion of sequenced chords that eventually ends to shape a surprising zigzagging march. We are beyond the 20 minutes and the rhythm of Psychedelic Dream is sharply awakened by this series of criss-crossed sequences which form an imperfect tempo whereas languishing synths solos glance through this circular parade. The sequential movement gets out of breath to permutated towards a tangent as ascending as circular and forms a stunning incoherence which staggers heavily under analog strands and flows of a synth filled of multiple electronic tones. We are the hearing witnesses of an electronic arrhythmic ballet which roams under laments of a synth to solos and hybrid layers, of which wandering choirs pierce the heavy synth veil which is fed by eclectic and analog tones. A dance of shadows covered with luxurious solos and of a fascinating electronic fauna resuscitated with a surprising skill by Awenson. Quietly this sonorous wealth and musical feast become blurred, letting these erratic sequences provided of a sparkling musical necklace to go it alone. Sequences which are fading away in a dense biting mist, such as the one which is forming when we fall asleep just after an agitated insomnia.
It’s with ears fed and memories drown of a new music that my eyes closed after the last breezes of Psychedelic Dream, convinced now that there always be someone to take over from a surprising music which made so much dream and fed so many feelings. Wizard is a pure small masterpiece and I can only imagine all the colossal work done by Awenson to arrive at such a perfection of music that too many people judge so easily often as abstract. Listen to Wizard and you will hear the feelings and the musical life to take shape in your ears … It is guaranteed!

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:

jeudi 3 février 2011

PYRAMID PEAK: The Cave (2010)

A little less than 2 years after Evolution went out Pyramid Peak gave a concert in the cave of Dechenhöhle on Octobre2009. For the Peak it wasn’t their first attempt in this cave as he already left there his musical imprints in 2002. And since then the German trio returned 2 other times in order to let his music haunted the corridors of this tourist attraction for the town of Iserlohn. In spite of the high degree of humidity of this cave, Pyramid Peak finally succeeded to controls elements in order to present a pretty decent recording of this show, except for some distortions problem on Underground Movement which, in my opinion, fit very well the sonorous perversity of the track. Although The Cave is a concert under the ground, the music played represents quite well the ambivalent universe of the Peak which embraces as much the cosmos as the depths of an earth in fusion. Here’s the album that was the biggest seller of Syngate catalog in 2010.
It’s all in softness that Range of Sound begins. A long track divided into 2 segments which carries well its naming, so much it’s a feast of composite tones. The whole thing starts with an ethereal intro where synth waves undulate while sparkling among an array of synth breaths with celestial aromas. Notes of harps are getting astray in a cosmos that looks like an Eden in formation and we can think of Jarre and his famous Fishing Junks at Sunset as well as Ramp for these heavy intriguing atmospheres stuffed of strange murky tones and heavy subterranean reverberations which disturb this feast of harmonies where slow synth strata à la Axess float among tearing and metallic streaks. Out of this din to the crossing of 2 worlds emerges a fine sequential movement of which chords drum in an alternation movement under a dark sky filled by fine firedamp explosions. The musical universe of the Peak is deploying with its synths to multi- colors layers which fly over a more and heavier rhythmic, livened up by electronic percussions with metallic resonances. Rhythm well settled, synths spread their multiple tones going there of long sinuous strata which waltz among brief spiraled streaks, more silvered strata and melodious layers in suspension, while scattered percussions burst here and there adding depth to Range of Sound rhythmic, which is already well fed. Towards the 17th minute the tempo is calming down gradually, diving Range of Sound in a somber atmospheric passage where vocal samplings rise over a multicolored musical universe filled of multiple electronic tones. We float adrift, between Software and Tomita, before the clear rhythm of Pyramid Peak wakes up with its crossed sequences which collide with sharpness to form the magnetic rhythmic universe of the Peak. A languishing rhythm with a superb duel percussions and sequences, under romantic synth strata which recall the poetic universe of Vangelis. Always so hesitating as its sequences and shrill synth pulsations, Range of Sound rhythm breathes hardly under this universe of multiple sound colors. But it breathes and will go until its last breath of these so omnipresent and multi-sonorous synths smother of their syncretic metallic breezes.
Underground Movement is more violent and offers different structures that are totally in the opposite of their evolutions. First of all, a swarm of beautiful synth layers unfold and swirl such a twinkling spiral at the opening of Underground Movement. A strange coiled ballet where other chords lull the movement embellished by a soft mellotron pad. Monastery choirs wrap the intro of Gregorian chants, a somber choir where voices of women and men become confused around twinkling layers and a fine line of bass which frees muffled symmetric pulsations. Such a carousel for Epicurean choir, the intro of Underground Movement spins under a caustic sound universe before choirs float in oblivion. A brief moment of calm before sirens of synth tears the silence, accompanied by multiple sequences which jump up fervently on a structure which hiccups of a jerky movement. The progression is harsh and Underground Movement is seized of a furious sequential movement of which chords skip and collide under streaks of metallic synths and fluid chords which seek to harmonized this powerful movement with a soft catchy melody. Underground Movement is intensifying and becomes heavier with a corrosive synth and frenzied sequences which strum wildly an infernal rhythmic stratified by heavy strata, liturgical choruses and chords which unravel such an inverted spiral. A furious rhythm which is quieting down, towards the 16th minute, with a long atmospheric passage where scattered rhythms and huge silvered synth breezes hoot in a grotto closer to stars than the ground. A long ambient movement which is awakening with a soft sequence à la Peak, watered by delicate solos. Beautiful solos which float in suspension with fluty and melodious essences that striking of electronic percussions light of a good melodious cadence. It’s the beautiful peace after the almighty storm.
It’s good to hear some nice Pyramid Peak. Although quite different with its structural approach build on 2 long musical pieces, The Cave joins the lineage of the musical magic of Pyramid Peak. It’s a very nice EM album, faithful to the musical imprints that the Peak leaves since Ocean Drive. Except that this time the magic of Pyramid Peak is surrounded by a mysterious musical aura where sequences at once soft and stormy that always serve as assizes to superb electronic melodies immerse into a syncretic musical universe papered of metallic sonorities which overhang these wonderful synth solos unique to Peak musicality. Languishing solos and melancholic strata on ambivalent rhythms. Yep! When I say that it’s good hearing some nice Peak!

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:

PYRAMID PEAK: Evolution (2007)

Distant, draining fine refractions, Gravity’s first keys fall into a vaporous atmosphere where mysticism throne with beauty. A superb flute emerges to be melting to a soft keyboard which jumps its arpeggios on cascades on a limpid melody close to Tangerine Dream’s Underwater Twilight or Tyger. A little before the 5th minute, the so particular Pyramid Peak synth sound draws an even more melodious solitary sound arch, juxtaposing 2 harmonious lines to poetics waves which waltz on a soft tempo builds on sober percussions.
Axel Stupplich describes this last Pyramid Peak release as being a return to basics for this German EM band that gave us the stunning Ocean Drive. And he pointed right. Evolution is a superb ode to Berlin School but a flowing one, musical, melodious and more accessible. Because the complex side of structural developments makes room to a progressive and captivating sequential minimalism, criss-crossed by synth layers unique to P Peak sonorities. Based on Darwin theory, Evolution permutes starting from the Peak changes of orientation since its foundation. So we find in there a mixture of musical segments already played in concert and a very beautiful remix of Drive.
Evolution is a long epic voyage of thirty minutes which is in perfect harmony with the spirit of its design; a misty intro, with uncertain influences which gradually extends its melodious pads on a minimalism sequence on fluid and hypnotic doubloons. Spectral, the synth frees an enchanting aura diverting us of a more progressive tempo which is wiggling on a nervous sequencer and a mellotron from which hot breezes caress a well stocked sounds cape. This is pure and silky Berlin School with cosmic derivations which palpitates on multiple variations sequences, ethereal mellotrons and sepulchral lamentations synths. The first reverberations of History plunges us in a heavy and intriguing atmosphere, raised by alarming vocal effects and sharp-edged synthetic pads. The whole thing releases an industrial futurism such as we find on Blade Runner. It’s a syncretic intro where heavy synths are melting to groovy movements which burst out of an objective sensuality. Third track and a third consecutive jewel History is making of an enveloping musical which encircles and charm on a tempo with suggestive evolutions, stuffed of charming and overwhelming echoing pulsations.
Sequenced is the best of the two extremes and presents a very atmospheric intro where synths float in a haunted opacity. An undisciplined sequence pierces this mystical veil to explore a swirl of which curves give birth to a multitude of whirling cycles which waltz on a nice, tender and moving synth. The 2nd part is corrosive, with a solid techno beat with nervous arcs and sequencers in echo mode. Drive 2007 is a remix which is opening on an intro with metallic drones. The loops filled of romantic fragrances from a well cherished electronic hymn swirl with clearness bringing us to hum the melody before its shows its very first measure. The synths are blowing wild... and the rest is history.
So far, Evolution is the best EM album to appear this year and the very best of Pyramid Peak by a mile. Daring and musical, Peak reveals a melodious tenderness which delights with this so particular sonority of the German trio. An album with the sound images impressed of a delicacy which plunges us in a Berlin School triturated by an approach as much romantic as avant-gardism. It’s the kind of opus that can’t go unperceived and which the fans of Berlin School and Tangerine Dream, White Eagle and Tyger area, will simply love.

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:

mardi 1 février 2011

TOP 10 CD in EM for 2010

Here is the difficult moment to establish the list of 2010’s bests. I find the principle a bit arbitrary, but I consider that it’s one of the good ways to guide those who ventures into the wonderful world of EM. There were superb albums produced in 2010. Albums which are fabulous odes to Berlin School style and more striking ones which exceed the borders of the Berlin School style. EM is constantly evolving and it’s no surprise that more contemporary and progressive albums are legions. This said, 2010 saw hatch a variety of styles, as well as the revival of the great Schulze, with a pleiad of albums which softly brush genial music.
So, here is a very personal list of my 2010 faves.

1 AWENSEN – Wizard
This is the reason why I’m late with my Top list. I heard so many good things about this album that I have to listen to it before letting out my list. And the wait was well worth it. It’s an excellent album filled with atmospheres and analog tones. There is a lot of work in this small jewel.

Magnificent and melodious, he is as excellent as Awensen. It’s a very beautiful album of retro Berlin School.

3 KLAUS SCHULZE- Big in Japan
Totally fabulous! The return of the master with a magnificent CD / DVD box set which makes us relives the oniric Crystal Lake.

4 PICTURE PALACE MUSIC - Fairy Marsh Districts/Music For Sunken Monasteries & Castle Moats
Dark and mad, Fairy Marsh Districts confirms the plentiful talent of Thorsten Quaeschning’s gang.

5 ARC – Church
Dark and mysterious. An album filled with nocturnal atmospheres which keep awake the most exhausted of all and Veil is rockin’ the night away.

Powerful and bestial, a little as if Arc had invaded this magnificent duet which was at the origin of the very melodious Signal to the Stars.

7 MORPHEUSZ - Days of Delirium & Nocturnal NightMares
Let us be serious; Ron Boots with Eric and Harold van der Heijden as well as Frank Dorittke can only give an excellent result! It’s a powerful album full of new developments which is a magnificent meshing of Berlin School and progressive EM.

8 GERT EMMENS – Metamorphosis
Released from his ambitious project; Nearest Faraway Place, Gert Emmens offers us a surprising introspective musical journey.

9 BERND KISTENMACHER - Beyond the Deep
When the romance meets synths, that gives a delicious album where the harmony reigns in an electronic universe.

10 INDRA - Bagalamukhi
Always so poetic and oniric, Bagalamukhi is one of the best album offers by Indra in this audacious series that is Trantic Celebration.

Because I have to pick only 10, there go special mentions to:
11 AXESS- Fusion
13 SYNDROMEDA & VON HAULSHOVEN - The Second Intelligent Lifeform
14 POLLARD/ DANIEL/ BOOTH - Vol. 2 (Hampshire Jam 8)
15 CREATE – WeLive by the Machines

Best 3 ambient albums:
STEVE ROACH - Live at Grace Cathedral
STEVE ROACH - Sight of Ages

Best 3 melodious EM albums:
ERIC G – Illusions
NATTEFROST - Dying Sun, Scarlet Moon

Best 3 contemporary EM albums:
BRIAN ENO - Small Craft on a Milk Sea

Best DVD:

Best re editions & Compilations albums:
REMY – Exhibitions of Dream

2010’s Discovery:

TOP 10 CD in EM for 2009

It is not easy to make a Top10 of the year. We have more in memory the last releases and we tend to forget those at the beginning of the year. Furthermore, to choose only 10 albums on the pond produced in 2009 is a thankless stylistic exercise and it is for that reason that I took care of adding 3 other categories; ambient, melodious and contemporary. And it’s mainly for that reason that my Top 10 appears at the mid January; this way I can revise my notes and listening the albums that I’m not quite sure of the final ranking. Thus here is my Top 10 of 2009

The darkest, the wildest and the most moving album that my ears crossed since Amarok. Thorsten Quaeschning surpassed himself by delivering an introspective music where the genres intermingle in a kind of hallucinating creative schizophrenia. I still see myself running towards measuring the corridors of insanity as the album progresses.

A superb album where retro Berlin School binds itself to a completely delicious contemporaneousness. Heavy, dark and alive this is the cry of the lost souls. His only fault is to have arrived after Curriculum vitae I.

3 INDRA Chinnamasta
An album without faults which presents a contemporary Berlin School warm, poetic and very lyrical. A magnificent album which will go through time, quite as the great works of Schulze.

4 JAVI CANOVAS In this Moment, In this Place
The retro Berlin School album by excellence this year. Great sequential art played improvised live, but which seems so agency.

5 RAMP Debris
A superb mix of 2 caustic universes that rob the enigmatic nature of this character which is Stephen Parsick. Redshift mixed to Steve Roach.

6 BODDY WRIGHT Shifting Sands
A superb fusion of 2 artists to creative antipodes which give an album to very harmonious musical paradoxes.

Redshift review and correct by…Redshitf! Loud, stunning and superbly wild!

8 REMY Exhibition of Dreams
I know that it’s not original material, but you got to admit that 2 albums of Berlin School as much as retro that contemporary merged into 1 cannot be ignored.

9 RON BOOTS Derby! & Boundaries of Twilight
Two albums, nearly identical, where the fusion of contemporary, retro Berlin School filled of ambient passages to a more progressive approach on dynamic guitar solos from FD Project give a music packed of intense moments.

10 TERJE WINTHER Electronic Regions
When ambient and progressive music meet heavy and sequenced Berlin School, it gives Electronic Region.

Because i have to pick only 10, there go special mentions to:
GERT EMMENS Nearest Faraway Place Vol. 2
SYNDROMEDA The Twilight Conjunction
DUTCH SPACE MISSION The Lost Temple Of Xi Cephei

Top 3 best ambient :
PAUL ELLIS The Last Hiding Place Of Beauty
STEVE ROACH Dynamic Stillness

Top 3 best melodious EM:
DAVID WRIGHT Sines of Live
SYNTH NL Oceanography

Top 3 contemporary EM;
WOLLO & MARTIN Between Worlds

Discovery of 2009
URIEL Culture Shift

TOP 10 CD in EM for 2007

1 ARC Fracture
4 GERT EMMENS A boy's world
5 FSP Gent (CD-R)
6 EMMENS/ HEIL Journey
8 VOLT Nucleosynthesis
10 PYRAMID PEAK Evolution

Honorables mentions go to:

JEROME FROESE Shiver Me Timbers

TOP 10 CD in EM for 2006

2 BRAINWORK Soundclouds
3 NATTEFROST Absorbed in Dreams and Yearning
4 ATEVE ROACH Proof Positive
6 FANGER & SSCHONWALDER Analog Overdose 0.9
7 BINAR Spindragons
8 MAC of BIONIGHT Black Light