jeudi 24 mars 2011

TANGERINE DREAM: The Endless Season (2011)

Ah this dear Edgar! He is capable of the best as well as the worst, while being very average at times. Thus go to know what takes place in the head of a serial composer! Because Edgar is well and truly a serial composer and as all which is make in serial, there are links weaker than others. But it is not the case of The Endless Season (Part Five from the Five Atomic Seasons). We have to be honest here and to admit that building beautiful melodies which are lulling on evolutionary and progressive sequences as well as on great guitar solos is not an easy thing. And which more is, this last chapter of The Atomic Season is filled with recollections with old works, as more recent, of TD. Like what the Silvered fox cannot deny its roots. Certainly there are things that annoy me, as this futile and excessive use of the artificial angelic voices and the light rhythms à la Iris Camaa (Wild Ocean of Blue Fate), but altogether The Endless Season is one of the rare solid works that Froese created in these last years.
At once felted and banging percussions flicker randomly in suspension. They float in a sidereal space where synth lines and isolated arpeggios draw a neo-apocalyptic structure. Flashback has enormous scents of déjà heard and is a perfect intro for The Atomic Season's last chapter which is full of long movements with flickering rhythms. The hopping and hesitating arpeggios of Devotion’s intro still dance on ashes of Flashback finale, promising of a nervous beat. But in place, a soft morphic guitar raises its solos which criss-cross an earth of desolation. Because if we want to be in Edgar’s context, The Endless Season is the one that closes this terrible devastating nuclear incident and Edgar makes it good; The Endless Season (Part Five from the Five Atomic Seasons) is drawn in the mould of melancholy, human pain and this sourness to live that seems to eat Edgar away since years. The guitar is beautiful and is dividing with fleeting synth solos which float as veils of mist above ephemeral arpeggios which go and come without modifying really either rhythms and or melodies. Except that in the end a soft synth flute appears from this confusion of harmonies, plunging the listener towards the very beautiful and sensitive Virtue of Hope. A delicate track, leads by a gloomy piano of which notes are leaking away in the sweetnesses of a synth with aromas of a flute imprinted of nostalgia. Curiously that sounds more as in the old English campaigns than those of Japan. But it’s soft and nice and among all these delicate arpeggios which join this ballet for sleepless are not without reminding the virginal approach on Legend. After its spectral intro Escape spin on its chords which roll such as a merry-go-round on good striking of percussions. The synth throws a vocal veil on this quite dramatic intro where the rhythm evolves in two phases; in carousel or in spiral which alternates on a synth of which hybrid breezes are mixing with artificial vocalizes. The Seven Barriers is one of the good tracks among The Endless Season; a kind of heavy electronic blues where both styles of guitars, that of Froese and Beibl, throw powerful and surprising solos which are entwining very well to discreet synth solos. A duel for guitars, particularly its violent loops which are linked at around the 5th minute, where percussion strikes are a little bit anemic and less omnipresent than this artificial voice which is, on the other hand, more bearable than on Winter in Hiroshima.
After a slow start where everything seems still, Logic of Intrusion shows a nice rhythmic ascent with its minimalism chords that drag the intro up to a heavier and bubbling rhythm at around the 2nd minute. The sequential movement is superb with its subdivided lines which create rhythms and harmonies with alternating striking of percussions, drawing a galloping cadence which quivers of a nervous rhythm and runs under solos of now and the vindictive and spectral synth. It’s a great track which allies progressive rhythm and harmony of a superb way while Shunyata whistles for a quite cute melody with breaths of an acuteness synth which sing on evolutionary electronic riffs of which the main permutation is making under the aegis of a very harmonious synth. Wild Ocean of Blue Fate is what gets closer to the very light TD of the 2000’s. Although I like the bass which stretches its notes and solos of guitars which throw an aura of mysticism, the sequential line of which the rhythmic chords are melting to a mix of weak percussions lack of punch and we lose interest quite quick. Breaching Sky pursues this light sequence line which increases the pace with good percussions. There are beautiful lines of synth there which overhang twinkling arpeggios and float like leaves falling of a tree, adding a spectral dimension in a track which progresses with good percussions and dramatic synth chords to be finally throwing into the heavy and powerful Morphique. One of The Atomic Season's very good tracks of which the strong liberator approach, on heavy sequencer and melancholic synth, is a superb conclusion to The Endless Season (Part Five from the Five Atomic Seasons).
Hat to Edgar! It is true that sometimes some of my reviews are not without irritating your numerous fafans, but it is necessary to return to Edgar what returns to him at full rights and The Endless Season (Part Five from the Five Atomic Seasons) is a strong EM album. An EM that Edgar Froese tries by all the means to make the most harmonious and the most accessible as possible. But such a bet is not without risks or without destabilizing the legion of supporters that follows creations of this icon of contemporary music. Certainly, there will be albums which are going to disappoint, while some we shall remind all the genius of this solitary character which still does it his own way.

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:

TANGERINE DREAM: Winter in Nagasaki (2008)

Fans of TD (and God knows that there are still so many left) avoid reading this chronicle. It could be harmful for your pecuniary, cultural and fanaticism health…Humm… I don’t really know! I quite like Edgar. In fact there was a time I was totally mad about his creations. Except that sometimes he reminds me of an old musical poet who hangs to his composition style without too many convictions. A musical Leonard Cohen who, if he still has beautiful texts (in this case music), he is short of breathe or imagination. And in EM, being short of breathe or imagination in music doesn’t forget. We easily go into the New Age moods. The line is so thin between harmonious EM and New Age. So, you see me coming unconditional fans of TD, or I might say Edgar Froese? May the strength be with you! The strength that still makes you believe that all what Edgar does is brilliant, because it’s not. In fact, not at all! I heard laudatory comments on this 4th chapter of The Five Atomic Seasons’ series. I even read that it was the best. Wow, I must have been an idiot because I don’t think so. In fact, am I the only one to noticed that Edgar broke his basic idea by creating a series of 5 CD which would last 54 minutes each? Am I the only one of the fans (yes, yes I ‘m still a fafan!) who sees and who hears what Edgar does and composes? Because Grandpa Froese is sleeping on his last two seasons.
After 2 rather promising first seasons, the one who was once one of the big composers of EM seems to be bored to death in trying to fulfill his creative obligation. Winter in Hiroshima is of a dullness to sleep on the tail of a monkey. Divided into 9 tracks Winter in Hiroshima is unfolding in a long single musical act. Nearly 62 minutes of supple music where nothing is really creating. Some warm dishes that sound like the Melrose years and when there is something interesting, as on the languishing Togetherness and its very tortuous guitar as well as on Insiders and its furious rhythm which is stirring on highly nervous sequences and is embellishing with infernal vocals, there is this damned feminine voice which always repeats the same tune, ever and ever, relegating the music deeply in background. What is really the idea behind this? A vocalized intervention which turns around in loop around each 18 seconds. Ouach! How boring and long! As for me it removes all desires to listen deeply so much it’s annoying and insipid. And it goes, goes behind everything. And remark here that we don’t miss that much. Nothing to rock the house or to write to his mother here. Vaporous synth, apathetic chords, well dressed and lined sequences that fit together just so that everything matches easily. That smells New Age at full noses with a sweetish structure which weakens in every vocal breathe. We swim in full Melrose period with a line of honeyed track which lulls to sleep and which aims towards the insipidity. Mushy tracks that sound like if the patriarch has to be sick of it. I didn’t like it at all, but not at all! And this damned voice that goes on and on and which is so annoying in a point such as I was not able to hear Winter in Hiroshima more than 3 times. I think that says it all. Me who makes a point of honor to listen at least 5 times each CD before writing a review, I wasn’t able to pass number 3. Well, enough said about Winter in Hiroshima!

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:

TANGERINE DREAM: Autumn in Nagasaki (2008)

Here is the 3rd of the 5th Atomic Season of Hiroshima. A musical tale undertaken earlier in 2007 and which should contain 5 chapters. And maybe Edgar begins to miss juice! Have you just an idea of how many singles, EP, DVD or concerts that Edgar released under the name of Tangerine Dream since the starting of this musical journey? Too many to be more precise because Autumn in Hiroshima suffers from an evident lack of inspiration, emotion, creation and vision. Even passion as we could hear on the first 2 chapters of this Atomic Seasons project. Yet it starts pretty good with Trauma and its metallic atmosphere filled of cold notes with a zest of oriental flavor which suddenly espouse the sequential structure of Song of the Whale. Froese exploits a dark and intriguing zone with metal synths which adopt a symphonic shape on good arrangements. At once sensual and haunting the tempo drags a nostalgic melody which explodes when a plane overhangs an apocalyptic horizon. The rhythm becomes heavier and embraces a strange steam of galactic western on nice orchestral arrangements. Trauma is a strong track which is melting into Reset and Awareness, two tracks with a scent of atomic gloom.
Atonic and metallic movements float on mellotron synths with vocal samplings of a linear sadness. If Reset is rather tepid, Awareness is of a cataclysmic beauty with the wonderful voice of Barbara Kindermann which floats such as a friendly spirit on ashes of Hiroshima. This first segment is by far the best on Autumn in Hiroshima. Novice and is following plunge us into the usual and laconic world of TD; synth with candy style vocals on a Froesianed pinky background with light rhythms marinated to usual floating specters (Stranges Voices, Mellow Submersion and Nothing and all). We can listen to this section in loops without noticing that we are turning around so much everything sounds so similar, except for the last third part that seems to emerge out from limbs so much the meshing with the spirit of the opus seems inconsistent. Insight and Omniscience are two good tracks in the TD spirit of the Melrose’s years.
In short, Edgar missed juice, inspiration, passion and finish. After a strong departure in Trauma, which has nothing to do with the rhythm, Edgar lost its link and does in Lap Top…Too bad because it’s was announcing so well. But does Edgar uses us to his musical inequality?

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

vendredi 18 mars 2011

TANGERINE DREAM: Summer in Nagasaki (2007)

After Pinnacles, released in 1983, Edgar Dream fell in a heavy hyperborean coma. By leaving it to his sharply more creative colleagues, Tangerine Froese followed the wave of Poland and Le Parc without really knowing where he roamed or would go. More than 20 later and after several controversial works under the name of TD as well as solo works, Edgar Froese seems to have resuscitated by investing in an epic and historic work entitled Five Atomic Seasons, reminding Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombardments. Summer in Nagasaki is the 2nd musical picture of this cultural command from the mysterious and fabulously rich Japanese businessman Mr. H.T., surviving witness of this nuclear attack.
As on the 1st album of this series, Springtime in Nagasaki, the work has to last 54 minutes and it is with steps falling of oblivion that Climbing Mount Inasa's first notes resound on a melodious synth with uncertain breezes. The sequencer is stirring in a hypnotic spiral, colliding an air of déjà heard, on a progressive tangent. By tiny flakes, notes skip such as a crackling fire to swirl as a musical specter in thousand prisms. Fluid the melody is freeing to versed into an ambient passage with metallic felted sound effects where great percussions hammer a tempo of a haunting sensuality. By now the hearing is conquered and is letting lull by In the Cherry Blossom Hills which is melting melodiously to the opening track, while introducing us to the sublime Mystery of Live and Death. Edgar Froese creates a theatrical universe where the atony goes alongside to a dramatic structure with a mesmerizing minimalism. It’s a puzzling track by it unexpected ways, of which a superb passage in the 2nd part is not without reminding Stuntman with sequenced percussions which increase in cadence. An excellent passage, maybe the best of Froese since moons, which goes off slowly in melodious ashes of Dreaming in Kyoto Train. It’s a track which shows that Froese treats marvelously the melodious aspect without falling in its traps of easiness.
Aysumi’s Butterflies will please fans of TD last decade with a soft techno rhythm but with haughtiness mellotron lines. It’s a good mixture between harmonies of former days and a more contemporary beat. Percussions are harmonizing to synth moods fluids and its circular droning, giving a convincing blend without discomfort or false notes. This is soft techno with soul, something rarely heard on last TD. After the melodious Presentiment, 11-02 Am. plunges us into a static sound universe where choirs lull a light ambient oriental breeze on a hatched structure which gradually grows in rhythm. It’s a sonorous spark which is dying in the floating waves of the first bombs to have fallen.
Needs to return to Edgar Froese what returns to Edgar Froese. Summer in Nagasaki is a wonderful opus which is filled with this melancholic and harmonious sweetness which punctuated its young masterpieces such as Epsilon in Malaysian Pale and Stuntman. It’s a musical universe with rhythmic ambiguities, at once progressive and melodious on a canvas felted with oriental fragrances. We listen to Summer in Nagasaki as a dream, with an indefinite beauty by the breath of the imagination of a man who was absent for such a long time.

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:

TANGERINE DREAM: Springtime in Nagasaki (2007)

Is it about another Tangerine Dreamian legend? However the history surrounding Springtime in Nagasaki will have what it takes to make TD fans gossip and fantasized for the next decade. According to press guide; a fantastically fabulously rich Japanese businessman would have contacted Edgar Froese in order to ask him to compose a work divided into 5 acts to commemorate the 2 Japanese cities which received an atomic bomb in 1945, Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Each opus has to have a maximal duration of 54 minutes and be in limited edition. The mysterious sponsor would have studied in its 2 cities and would have been a resident of Hiroshima during the bombardment. In spring and summer, he lives in Nagasaki while in autumn and winter he lives in Hiroshima. At 83 years old, this strange character dreams about a 5th season that would be eternal. Real or not, it’s an excellent prelude to a very intelligent and interesting 1st opus offered by Edgar since ages.
It‘s with a crash to symphonic flavor, stuffed with intermittent percussions that starts the 1st part of Springtime in Nagasaki. Navel of Light explores a more atmospheric side with a slow rhythm which progresses on soft and light sequences. The synth is suave and smooth, throwing nice violin strata which exploit a spectral sonority on a beautiful line of bass. It’s a dense and atonal sound fauna with asymmetric percussions which wind around a wave-like movement, fed by orchestral strikes as we find on Purgatorio. The 2nd part offers a melodious theme on a virtual Koto, with thoughtful and nostalgic notes, lulled by a hazy synth with raucous choirs as on Madcap Flaming Duty. A nice sequencer moves this astral idleness in spreading a tempo with a syncopated sweetness, fed by rasping laments and more seducing choirs. The 3rd part renew with a floating ambiance where crystalline notes move modulations on a soft wave-like sequence and a flamboyant percussion play. Surprising percussions and other sequenced with a bass which flows in cascade and celestial voices on a progressive but light rhythm.
A hopping sequence, fed by percussions and sound effects as flighty opens Persistence of Memory. Fluid the tempo is hatched on a movement with insidious curves where a nasal sax (or is it one harmonica?) crosses uncertain choirs interwoven with echoing and scattered guitar notes creating a melodious cacophony. It’s a strange track on an uncertain structure but which that hook the attention. By moments one would says a James Bond theme on acid. As much surprising as delicious, it’s melting on a 2nd part flooded by a synth with floating and captivating strata. Beautiful celestial voices are rising over this synth density filled of uncertain rhythms and sonorities. This is a heavy part with static modulations where we cross portions of Vivaldi on hybrid laments. There is a lot of studio work on this track which calms down with a nice melodious piano, carried by a melancholic nasal sonority at the depths of a cavern to 1001 drops which resound as aggressive piano notes to be molding to reverberations of a guitar with saxophones tonalities. As I wrote earlier; it a whole work of studio on this part. A strange nuance which lights passions and dies on chords of a cold guitar before being reborn on a furious rhythm tortured by great synth solos as well as solid percussions which hammer a galloping rhythm, hardly stroboscopic, beneath an avalanche of furious synth waves. A 3rd infernal, too short, track which goes off in a wet cavern.
Readers of Guts Of Darkness know how critical I can be over the works of this legendary trio that stopped being itself since the last 25 years and I must say that Springtime in Nagasaki is a long time awaited TD opus. It’s a strong opus with ambivalent movements on strange structures where the rhythm crosses the atonal, even cacophony, with an unsuspected depth. Percussions play and sound effects are sublime, whereas Persistence Of Memory's sound avalanche is of an attraction that has an equal only his originality. There is no fan who can be disappointed by Springtime in Nagasaki and let’s hope there will be copies left for years…but you know what? I’m pretty sure about that!

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:

vendredi 11 mars 2011

Axel Stupplich speaks about his musical universe (2011)

Axel, 2010 seems to have been a big year for you. You realized your 5th solo album (Fusion), your 2nd collaboration with Max Schiefele or Maxxess (Impact) and Pyramid Peak 7th album (The Cave). How do you manage to disentangle all these musical styles which inexorably are being entangling?
Axess: Well, all the 3 different projects have almost the same priority to me, although I must admit that “Axess” occupies most of my time now. Before I got my little children we spent a lot of time jamming together in Andreas’ or my studio. But with a big family you must make a compromise and now we meet only about once a month to work on some new music (except when we are preparing a concert, then we still meet at least 1-2 times per week). It is not too difficult to separate each project although at least the PP and Axess style is very similar. In my solo project I try to realize all the different music I like. Time Traveller for example was the realization of my long dream to make a more energetic, powerful album with influences from modern dance music. And the newer albums bring me back to my roots, means the Berlin School type of EM. Of course there are differences between Axess and PP because in my band the musical style and preferences from 2 other musicians is melting together and creates the unique style of Pyramid Peak. And although it seems that my cooperation with Maxxess is totally different I believe there are a lot of commonalities between my music and our Axess/Maxxess tracks. Of course Max adds some incredible guitars and drum programming but the secret which makes our common music sound so different is Max extremely professional way of mixing and arranging. He's really a genius and every time I'm surprised what great song he makes out of a little idea or 30 second loop. That's what makes the songs different, sometimes the original idea sounds much more like Axess but he creates a new atmosphere around it. Anyway, I enjoy all of the 3 projects and for me there is no problem to work in parallel for my solo albums and another Pyramid Peak or Axess/Maxxess CD.
But there is one thing which makes it very easy to separate my individual projects. You will never see Axess alone on stage! I did this twice in the past and honestly speaking I didn’t like it very much. It’s simply much more fun and joy if you are on stage together with friends and it is also much more enjoyable for the audience too. Some people drive a long way to listen to a concert and they want more than just listening to a CD and one lonely man hidden behind his keyboards. Therefore “Axess” is a pure studio project and songs from my CDs will only performed as part of an Axess/Maxxess or PP gig.

Fusion is very beautiful, poignant, melodious and very moving. Can we talk a little bit about it? What were your sources of inspiration and which motivate Axel Stupplich the most recently?
Axess: First of all I believe my direct environment, means my family is the biggest inspiration. I have 3 little kids and one older son and of course there are a lot of emotions and remarkable moments. For sure this is the biggest source of my inspiration. Besides this I'm very interested in astronomy and space - perhaps something I share with thousands of other Electronic Musicians - and maybe the cosmic energy also helps me sometimes ;-) Finally I have the pleasure to travel quite often to Japan due to my job and every time I'm back from a trip I have new musical ideas in my head. In fact I had the idea for the song "Roppongi Hills" from my CD "Voices of dawn" when I was sitting in a taxi cab on my way back to the hotel in Tokyo. Other songs are inspired by the beauty of Nature and the mystery of ancient ruins and rituals (for example "Stonehenge" or "The Sirius Mystery") and besides this I'm a member of the Ancient Astronaut Society (A.A.S.) who tries to find evidence of former extraterrestial visitors on Earth. It's an exciting thing to think about...
Finally I must admit that also new synths are a big inspiration for me. It doesn’t matter if it is a hardware or software synth as long as it has fresh sounds which fit to my music. Fusion for example was heavily influenced by the CronoX Synth from LinPlug Virtual Instruments. It creates fantastic arpeggios and sequenced sounds which inspire me a lot.

Voices of Dawn and Fusion are distancing by bar regarding First Light (2002), Time Traveller (2003) and Chameleon (2005), how do you explain that the music of Axess became darker, more experimental and more melancholic? Is it new technologies, new influences or more bitter life experiences.
Axess: For sure no bitter life experiences. Since 10 years I'm happily married, have 4 beautiful and healthy kids and have not been unemployed since I left University back in 1991. My music has always been melancholic but that seems to be part of my style. It is maybe more due to the bigger possibilities I have now with my studio equipment, I can suddenly realize things which I was not able to 7 or 8 years ago.
In fact Chamaeleon in 2003 was the last album which I produced completely without any software synthesizers but only hardware equipment. I did not really trust software synths and really thought good music can only be made by hardware. That changed "over night" in 2004 when Max visited me at home during our Contact CD promotion tour. He showed me what he does only with software and a few weeks later I started to sell most of my hardware and bought a new, faster PC with some great software synths. Suddenly totally new things were possible for me and my music went into a new direction. I'm now able to do everything I want to do without making any compromise. Of course that had a big impact in my music and Time Traveller was the first result of this new technology in my studio. After that I felt I should go back more to the roots of Berlin School type sequencing but also this is so much easier with the new toys and it sounds so much better.

We know that Pyramid Peak produces albums parsimoniously, that is 7 in 10 years. Is Axess career an extension of the Peak’s or it’s really in parallel with the Peak career?
Axess: In fact the Axess project was somewhat started already back in 1992 when Andreas left our common band project (at that time called "Digital Dream") for the first time. I did not change the project name but the 2 tapes "Himalaya" and "Eclipse" were pure my own music. Later, after the Pyramid Peak "Fish'n Love" CD, I had so many ideas left that I decided to release my first official solo work which was "First Light" back in 2002.
There was a little break of 2 years in the Peak project anyway but surely not because of my solo activities. However, I used the time to work on my second album "Chamaeleon" and the first Axess/Maxxess CD "Contact" during that time. Since 2005 all 3 projects are really in parallel to each other although I spent most of the time for my own music. But when I start with a new song I don't know if it will be used for my own Axess project or if I will share it with the others and use it for the next Pyramid Peak or Axess/Maxxess CD or concert. That's something I sort out later.

Sonorities of Pyramid Peak and Axess are quite similar. We hear through your solo albums works and structures that will be appear on Pyramid Peak, in particular on The Cave. Does Peak live through the creativity of Axess or the trio is totally independent from Axess projects?
Axess: First of all I'd like to explain that I know the Pyramid Peak members since a very long time. Andreas and I started to make music together back in 1987 and of course musically we are a very good team and understand each other almost blind. And our friendship and common musical career with Uwe started back in 1995 which makes us one of the "oldest" EM trio in Germany or even Europe which is still active in making music. Not all tracks on our Pyramid Peak CDs are composed together in one studio, very often Andreas or myself bring some first ideas into a common session and we go from there. As we are all working with the Steinberg Cubase sequencer software it's easy to share ideas and loops to start with. That's why some songs on our Pyramid Peak CDs may sound a bit like Axess or Andreas' (Andrew Rotten Project) style. But since we are one band we don't make any difference or even name different composers for our tracks. Pyramid Peak is an independent project from Axess, although I might be the biggest driving force behind it, at least in the last 2 - 3 years.

How was born this so characteristic synth sound of Pyramid Peak? It’s unique and can only be hear on the Peak music or Axess. Are they synth that you invent or it’s just a PC thing?
Axess: We are all using "standard" equipment which everybody can buy in a music shop. And we even use preset sounds quite often so that virtually every other musician can use the same sounds as we do. During our first 3 Peak CDs there was one unique sound from "The Raven", a synth developed and manufactured by the German company Quasimidi (unfortunately they went bankrupt a few years ago...). Basically this synth was made for Techno-/Dance-/Trance-Music producers and most people who bought it probably never used the extremely beautiful solo sound named "Klaus" (…Schulze). Andreas and I both had this synth and used this sound in almost every song so that this soon became our "trade mark".
However, we both don't own this synth anymore but of course we are using others and have our favourite sounds. And we try to spend a lot of time in the final mix of our CDs to give all songs the same "paint". Maybe that's our secret, I don't know.

From your point of view, as a music writer and sound technician, how do you perceive EM evolution?
Axess: Good question, there are so many different styles of Electronic Music out there. Actually a lot of music in the Charts is Electronic Music, with vocals but completely produced without any "real" instrument on a PC. Of course it is now much easier for a young musician to create his own music with a PC, a soundcard and a few plugin synths. But what is an advantage can also be a big risk. While CDs were the only medium 10-15 years ago there are so many other ways now to release your own music and share it to thousands of other people in the Internet. Unfortunately that also creates a lot of garbage and real jewels are harder to find.
Independent from styles and technology I think Electronic Music is the music of the future and all different kinds of it will have its fans for the next few hundred years. It would be great if our kind of music would become more popular again but since I'm not living from making music I have no problem to belong to a relatively small community.

Do you believe that new technologies facilitate the access to more creativity? Is it easier and artificial to create music in 2010 by comparison of 1990 and 2000?
Axess: Oh yes, as I mentioned above I made this experience on my own. When I started making music in 1985 an analog polyphone synthesizer cost a fortune. In the late 80s I heard an Emulator II Sampling Keyboard and I remember the price was about 15,000 EURO at that time. Today, a laptop with the right software can do so much more for just 10% of the price. So technology definitely helps to create the music I want. Of course it's not everything; I still need the ideas, inspiration and basic musical skills.
But there are so many toys and tools which can help to improve your sound, audio quality, drum programming and so on, that making music today certainly has become much easier than 20 years ago. Even my 8 year old son knows already the basic functions from Cubase and maybe he will make his first own song in a couple of years :-)

What were your sources of inspiration and what, musically speaking, fascinates you in 2010?
Axess: The biggest change in my private life was back in August 2010 when I left my old German company after almost 5 years and started to work for a Japanese company again. For me that was a great move because this new job is so much more exciting and challenging to me. Musically there has been one high-light last November when we played with Pyramid Peak and Maxxess in the Planetarium in Bochum/Germany. That was a fantastic concert in a great environment and I think the audience really liked the show.
Another influence has been the purchase of my first telescope back in December 2009 and my first "real" looks in the starry sky during 2010, amazing! Astronomy and Electronic Music is a perfect match for whatever reason :-)

Do you believe that the Berlin School style, which is very omnipresent in The Cave, still has things to shows and innovates? The Berlin School style, as you exploit so well with Under a Starry Sky and Fusion, is it at its crossroads?
Axess: In my opinion the Berlin School type of Electronic Music is like classic music from composers such as Bach, Beethoven or Mozart. It is timeless music which fits into different environments and attracts people of all age. Of course there is no real new development in the music and the basic sequences still sound like back in the 70s. But the classic composers are dead since a few hundred years but still their music is alive and played in concert halls all over the world. Sometimes it’s just not necessary to reinvent the wheel – simply paint it in a new color to make it different and give it your individual style.

I absolutely agree with your statement! The Cave was recorded in Dechenhöhle’s cave. It’s P. Peak 2nd attempt to produce a recording from this place, while the other one being Caveland which you reworked in studio, and it’s as well the 5th time that Pyramid Peak held a concert there. My question has 3 shutters:
A) What is so motivating to give a show in a place so somber and humid?
Axess: Ha, ha, it’s really humid there; all the time drops of water are falling down to our equipment. But if you would have a chance to join us there you would understand. It is such a special place and with only a few light effects you can create a mystic and fascinating atmosphere. There are a lot of fancy stones and stone formations and the ceiling looks like a crystal. All of our shows in the cave had a break after 35-40 minutes to allow the audience to drink a cup of tea and heat up again. But the feedback we got is extremely positive and most visitors are “forcing” us to come back for another concert there; this is the strongest motivation for us.
B) Does the music of Peak fits very well in a place as a cave when we know that it’s more cosmic than terrestrial?
Axess: Absolutely, it fits extremely well and the feedback we got from the audience is a strong indication that people think so too. People have always been fascinated by caves and especially by the ones with colorful stones and stalagmites/stalactites.
C) The music of The Cave, as well as Caveland, was inspired by this place or it was compose pretty much before the show?
Axess: Of course we composed the music a few month prior to our concerts but we had this unique location in mind while working on the music. At our first show in the cave we used not too many fast sequences and delays because we were not sure about the acoustic behavior in that place. We even went there with a pair of speakers just to get an impression of the acoustics and echoes. The music for “Caveland” as well as “The Cave” was composed especially for the concert in the cave but of course with the option for a later CD release in mind. Originally we had the idea to make a DVD from the 2009 concert but unfortunately the poor picture quality of the video tape does not allow us a release. But at least we have something for ourselves to remember.

Is The Cave a recording of the concert or another version reworked in studio, as on Caveland
Axess: Yes, it’s the original live recording from the concert in the cave but of course we used various audio tools to eliminate some noise. But we did not add or change anything to the music itself, that’s why you may here 1 or 2 little mistakes in the music too. But the cold temperature (10°C all year) made our fingers stiff and after a while it became harder to hit the right key.

The Cave presents a musical approach closer of the cosmos that of the earth. Is there a link to make between both worlds? How doo you approach the music composed for the event?
Axess: As mentioned before, the music for our concerts in the cave is composed at least 4-5 month prior to the concert. That’s why there are different influences, not only the cave itself but also other experiences, space, mystic places or activities. And again, for me there is not such a big difference between deep space and a dripstone cave, both places are full of wonders and mystic fascination. I’m sure the music would also perfectly fit into a planetarium or “open-air-under-the-starry-sky” show.

Underground Movement is a monster of wild rhythms, night-structures and lugubrious fragrances. Who influenced the Peak during its composition? Would it be just to say that it’s the darker and wilder track of P.Peak directory?
Axess: Underground Movement is a musical journey thru different styles of Electronic Music. It has influences from Berlin School, Dark Ambient, New Age and typical Pyramid Peak elements. Basically it consists of 2 parts which are connected by wild sound scapes and effects. The first part is more energetic, powerful and has lots of rhythms which remind me personally at some of the older Rainbow Serpent works. The second part of this song is more or less a live version of my song “Pictures” which has been released in a different mix on my solo album “Fusion” (with guitars played by maxxess). This is a very peaceful and harmonic piece of music which was the “great final” of our concert in the cave.

On the other hand, Range of Sound is filled with recollections as diverse as Jarre, Tomita, Axess and Vangelis, with a very metallic tone à la Nefilim of Fusion. How Range of Sound was initiated? Am I right to say that there seems to have a lot of Axess in the air?
Axess: Indeed the first part of Range of Sound was composed by me while I was working on my Fusion CD. I used a lot of synths and sounds for our common song which I also used for my 5th solo album. That’s why it may sound very similar to songs on Fusion. The second half of this song was later produced by Andreas and me, using basically the same sounds of the first part but with different sequences and tunes. Range of Sound was meant to be the quiet, relaxed opener of our concert and I think people enjoyed it.

On the occasion of Evolution's released you mentioned to me that the Peak would get closer to Berlin School style and it was effectively the case. Although we find the main part of the ambivalent rhythms of Peak, The Cave presents a different musical approach, closer to Caveland, with two long tracks filled of heavy atmospheres where glaucous tones abound in a rather metallic atmosphere. Is it the reflection of the influence of an underground world which guided the musicality of The Cave or the Peak was simply allowed to go in a kind of improvisation à la Ramp style?
Axess: “Evolution” is an interesting album because we released brand new music as well as some older tracks on this CD. We even remixed one of our most popular songs (“Dive” from the 1999 album “Ocean Drive”) for this CD. Although the title track is a remix of a song we played in the Dechenhoehle cave in 2007 “Evolution” is a studio album. That allowed us to mix different styles and eras of our common work. Contrary to that “The Cave” was really composed especially for the 2009 concert in the cave, similar to the music on “Caveland”. That’s why these two albums have a similar style and “Evolution” is more like a sequel to our first CDs Ocean Drive, Random Events and Fish’n Love.

On Evolution, Pyramid Peak shows a certain influence for Tangerine Dream and albums like Underwater Twilight and Tyger. Is Dream a good source of inspiration to Pyramid Peak? If yes, what is the period? And what are the other influences of Pyramid Peak?
Axess: Well, it may be hard to find an Electronic Musician who is not influenced by TD :-) And the song “Gravity” is really a homage to the golden era of TD in the early 1980s. I remember working on this intro and sequence and it sounded so much like TD that we only had the chance to make it a “TD clone”. After Andreas programmed the typical drums and my wife added some Russian vocals (like in “Kiev Mission”) the illusion was perfect. In my opinion the best era of TD was between 1975 – 1987. In that period they created some of my all-time favorite albums (Force Majeure, Exit, White Eagle, Hyperborea, Logos, Poland, Live Miles). Of course all of us are influenced by the music we grew up with. Besides TD my favorite artists have been J.M.Jarre, Gandalf, Vangelis, Michael Garrison, Kitaro and Software. So besides the pure electronic music I always had a heart for more romantic, new age kind of music. Andreas loves Klaus Schulze and Kraftwerk and maybe that’s the more dark influence in our common music. Finally Uwe was pretty much influenced by TD too but while he was living in the US for one year he listened to a lot of different Electronic and New Age Music. The first time we met was back in 1994 when I woke up in the middle of the night by music from Kraftwerk, played extremely loud. We just moved into the same house a few weeks earlier and I couldn’t believe there’s somebody who shares my interest in Electronic Music just next door. A few weeks later we started to work on some remixes of songs which were later released on our first Pyramid Peak CD “Atmosphere”. That’s how a great friendship started…

And you, what were your main influences? What pushed Axel Stupplich towards music?
Axess: My mother used to play the piano when I was a little baby and every time she started playing I started crying. My mother was very upset about it and thought I would never like music or even play an instrument so they sold the piano when I was 2 years old. Fortunately I had a good music teacher in Secondary School and he told my parents that I have some musical talents and I should learn to play the piano or organ. So my parents bought an electric organ and I was very lucky to find a very nice and talented teacher, Max Nabben. He taught me not only to play the organ (I played almost everything from Bach to Depeche Mode) but also a lot about music theory. I started to take my first lessons when I was 12 and stopped when I was 17, mainly because the sounds from the organ did not really match my musical targets anymore. But these 5 years really helped a lot to understand the theory of music and composing which helped me later to make my own music. To add a funny story, due to a lucky coincidence my old organ teacher now teaches my 8 years old son Sergej to play the piano… (and my 6 year old son Nikolaj will soon start playing the drums…)
Besides this, my mother also took me with her to some classic concerts and operas and I still enjoy to listen to Bach, Haendel, Mozart and Vivaldi. In fact I believe they would use synthesizers and computers to compose their music if they would be living in our times.
When I was 12 or 13 years old I started to buy my first own records in a small record shop in my hometown, which owner knew almost every single record in his shop. He soon figured out my music preferences and gave me a lot of good advice so that I discovered artists like TD, J.-M.Jarre, Kitaro and later Software/Mergener-Weisser, Michael Garrison, Steve Roach, Wavestar and others. In the beginning I didn’t really like Klaus Schulze because sometimes nothing really happens in his songs for 10 minutes and that was simply too boring for me. That has changed a little bit and today I listen to some of his albums but there is still a lot I don’t really enjoy. I also might have some “New Age” influence from musicians such as Kitaro, Gandalf, Kamal, Michael Genest and others.
But surprisingly I was not listening to Electronic Music only. I also liked and still like the music of Genesis, Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, U2, Depeche Mode, Apoptygma Berzerk, VNV Nation and maybe this different kind of music still has subliminal influence to me.
If you want me to name 3 major musicians who influenced my own music it would be:
Johannes Sebastian Bach, Tangerine Dream, John Dyson (Wavestar). But of course there are lots of other minor influences from all the musicians mentioned above and even more not mentioned here at all.

Knowing the years which separate the works of Peak, what can expect Pyramid Peak during the next months?
Axess: During the work on new songs for the concert in the Planetarium in Bochum/Germany last November a lot of new music has been created and we are currently mixing and recording the final CD versions of these songs. We have no concrete release date yet but it will certainly be in the 2nd half of 2011. While “The Cave” was a concept album for our concert in the cave our next CD will have much more Berlin School influences again. It’s the sequel to “Evolution” if you want, more sequences, rhythms and less atmospheric effects. Besides this we will perform our 5th concert in the Dechenhoehle cave in October this year and of course we have to compose new music for this event too. But I can’t tell you anything about this right now because we didn’t even start to work on it. Currently the CD has the higher priority.

Let’s speak about your collaboration with Max Schiefele (Maxxess). How came the idea to work with a guitarist?
Axess: That idea was born many years ago when a former colleague of mine visited me in my studio. He played the guitar but was coming from a totally different musical style. It was difficult for him to improvise to Electronic Music which does not follow the general rules of creating a pop or rock song. However, some of the tunes he played fascinated me and since then I was dreaming of adding some guitars to my music. A few years later when Pyramid Peak became more popular in Germany’s Electronic Music scene we met Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock (Cosmic Hoffmann, Mind over Matter) and he offered to play guitar to one of our songs. This song was played together on a festival in The Netherlands back in 2000 and later released on our Fish’n Love CD (title song “Fish’n Love”).
So when I got the chance to do something together with Max “Maxxess” Schiefele a few years later I had already a good idea of what I wanted, but Max exceeded all my expectations.

Do you believe that Berlin School EM can benefit from more conventional instruments, such guitars, basses and drums? Is it in your future projects?
Axess: Absolutely, yes! Guitars fit extremely well to Berlin School EM and also a live drummer is beneficial to the whole project. I love the music from Broekhuis, Keller & Schönwälder and it’s fascinating how much power and groove Bas (Broikhuis) adds to their music simply by playing the drums live. Pyramid Peak also did two concerts last year together with Maxxess and although it was new to them, Uwe and Andreas enjoyed it a lot. Max will also play on some songs of our new Pyramid Peak CD so maybe a new collaboration has just started :-) We may not need a drummer for our studio work but we wouldn’t mind to have a drummer on stage on one of our next concerts. Unfortunately it’s not so easy to find a drummer who likes Electronic Music but we’ll see what the future brings.

Do you adapt easily in working with such different persons in your musical projects? I mean, how it is working with different mentalities when you have to make room to your’s. Are all those projects essential to Axel Stupplich’s progression, as an artist and as a human being?
Axess: Some artists can be interesting characters but in our case we’re all good friends and know each other for many years. Of course sometimes there are some discussions and different opinions but at the end of the day we always found an agreement and consensus. When we are working on new music for Pyramid Peak we are not in competition to each other. It is not a goal to add as much own ideas as possible in the new common work. It’s the opposite, we have much better ideas when we are sitting together and jamming for a while. If Andreas and Uwe don’t like one of my ideas it’s either really not a good one or there’s still the chance to work on it by myself for the next Axess solo CD. Nevertheless I might be the main driving force behind Pyramid Peak because I enjoy creating new ideas for our band. Where can we play live? What could be the design for our next CD? How can we promote our music outside of Germany/Europe? My profession is a sales and business development and maybe that’s why Andreas called me recently the “PR Manager” of Pyramid Peak. And I think the other guys have no problem with it because it makes their live a bit “easier” :-)

Isn’t difficult switching styles between your own, Pyramid Peak,s and with Maxxess? It’s seems to me that you start from melodious Berlin School to experimental EM and to a much more heavy. How do you place yourself in the middle of this?
Axess: As I mentioned before I like a lot of different EM styles and I’m not really addicted to one only. The music I compose often depends on my mood or the music I listen to in the car or in my office. If I listen to Klaus Schulze for example it is no surprise that my next songs will sound a bit more like traditional Berlin School music. Listening to Apoptygma Berzerk or VNV Nation gives my music a more rhythmic, powerful touch. Since all of my music is done on a computer it’s really easy to switch between different songs depending on my mood. When I save a current project everything is stored and when I open the project the next time it sounds exactly the same and I can continue to work on it. That’s what makes it so easy to work on 4 or 5 different projects at the same time. And then also switching between different styles is not really an issue but more an advantage. If I have not the right idea how to continue an Axess song I can start programming a new sequence for a new Pyramid Peak song, it’s easy.

How do you find your sources of inspiration and your musical marks with Max? Because we sharply see the difference between your solo works and those with Max. For example on Fusion, Max is very melodious and delicate on Schwerelos while on Contact and Impact, he is heavy and very incisive.
Axess: Basically the work with Max is not so different from the work with Pyramid Peak. It all starts with a 30 seconds loop or sometimes even with a semi-finished song. I send these ideas to Max and after he first listens to it he already knows if this will become a new Axess/Maxxess song or not. Compared to my solo works I do not have to arrange every single detail on our common songs because Max will re-arrange and remix everything anyway. And when he finally adds his incredible guitar and drum programming the song has a completely new style compared to the original draft I sent him. But I must admit I really like what he does to the original music and finally the result is a unique EM which can’t be heard by any other musician or band at least in Europe. In my opinion Max is a real professional musician and maybe one of the best talents in the whole German EM scene. It’s a big honor for me to work with him and besides this he has become a real good friend of mine during the last couple of years.
By the way, Max played “only” an acoustic bass on “Schwerelos”, no guitar ;-)
Is it a side that Axel Stupplich absolutely wanted to develop or the meeting with Max Schiefele was fortuitous?
Axess: Although I wanted to add some guitar sound to my music Max and I met by a lucky coincidence. We were both playing on the “Gruga Open Air” party in Essen/Germany which is organized by the German “Schallwende” club once a year. I was immediately fascinated by Max professional way to play the guitar and obviously he also liked my music. On that day the idea for a common song was born (Indian Skies), not knowing that 2 great albums and a couple of fantastic common concerts would follow later.

Is there a secret dream that you cherish?
Axess: Yes indeed, there is. I know I have a couple of fans in the US/Canada as well as in Japan and it is my dream to perform a gig in these 2 countries. The problem is that the cost for such an event is quite high and it’s almost impossible to find somebody to take the risk to arrange such a concert with an unknown artist from Germany. But what would life be without dreams?

Thank you Axel and what do you reserve us in 2011?
Axess: First of all I’d like to thank you for this interview and the interesting questions. It was a big pleasure and I hope you discovered some new things in my person and music projects. 2011 will for sure see a new Pyramid Peak release and our 5th concert in the Dechenhoehle cave in Iserlohn/Germany. I’m also working on new Axess music but I do not have any plans for a new solo CD this year. The music is pretty much influenced by the Berlin School EM and will fit to the 2 latest CDs I made. The 12.12.12 would be an interesting release date….
We’d also love to come back to the UK for another concert because we know that Pyramid Peak and Axess/Maxxess have a lot of fans there. Although there are not so many big events in England anymore I’m sure we will get a chance to play there but maybe that will not be in 2011 but in 2012.

Axel it was a pleasure and, in the name of Synth&Sequences readers, thank you for your collaboration.
Axess: Let me wish to your readers and all the fans of EM around the world a great and healthy year 2011 with lots of good music.

Interview realized by Sylvain Lupari on January 2011. Photos courtesy of Axess web site which you could view at this link:
Sylvain Lupari (January 2011)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream :

mardi 8 mars 2011

CREATE: We Live by the Machines (2010)

It’s from the massive use of the new technologies in communications that Stephen Humphries, the man behind Create, drew his inspiration for the conception of We live by the Machines. An album with tortured feelings and structures torn between the dark world of Ramp and the caustic universe of Air Sculpture, We live by the Machines respects the robotic and cybernetic of technological revolutions with minimalist and hypnotic structures which are flying over by glaucous and spectral atmospheres where Create iodized synths criss-cross valleys of a world obnubilated by machines’ evolution.
Portal is a typical incursion into the mysterious and dark universe of somber Berlin School. A long track where minimalist structures prevail, Portal begins its slow spectral deployment with an intro stuffed with eclectic sonorities. A fine synth wave pierces the emptiness, swaying and criss-crossing in a landscape where songs of whales clear in a mechanic electronic universe. Breaths of synth, sometimes jerky and sometimes morphic, become entangled in a heterogeneous electronic sonorous fauna where spasmodic serpentines fall of oblivion to feed a strong mystery atmosphere. A sequence with alternated strikes emerge from this dense metallic veil towards the 4:30 minutes point. It cavorts and is waddling beneath gyrating waves of an apocalyptic synth and the thick mist of a nasal mellotron. The minimalism and pulsating rhythm of Portal evolves with more edgy chords and the addition of another more crystal clear sequential line at around the 7th minute, giving more relief to this quite robotic sequential mechanism that a synth line with crystalline chords makes more melodious. The first synth solos fuse. Solos with the sound mark so unique to Create which unfold in loops and are winding around this stealthy rhythm roaming in jolt beneath a dense metallic mist. This rhythm continues its minimalist march until the 15th minute, there where the sequence is isolating itself and enters into a somber mephistolic zone filled of chthonian choirs which hum beneath this intriguing mellotron fog, whereas another more crystal clear sequence dances there awkwardly until the finale. These erratic rhythms which progress surreptitiously in dark atmospheres are the basis of We live by the Machines’ minimalist structures. Certainly there is the title track, We live by the Machines, which is a kind of an electronic groovy-loopy-reggae, a little in the style of Weird Caravan whom we find on Klaus Schulze’s Dig It. The tempo skips on a good bass line with notes that wave heavily. It’s rounder and softer, less digital it abounds of nice pads of a slightly jerky synth and suave fluty breezes.
Fanfare of Dreams brings us back in Create caustic universes with a sequence which moves furtively. Heavy, hatched and resonant chords progress of a surreptitious step beneath somber twisted solos and a fine line which swirls such a crystal clear merry-go-round confer to Fanfare of Dreams a sinister and devilish approach worthy of a good suspense or horror movie. Those who enjoy the glaucous and minimalism universe of John Carpenter will be charmed by Fanfare of Dreams, quite as the mysterious and spectral Somewhere in the Distance. Running out of Time is a long atonal movement where strata and breaths of spectral synths hoot around a hypnotic tick-tock. Held by this only rhythmic movement but livened up by the impulses of a synth with hybrid but rather strange sonorities, Running out of Time brings us near the strange introduction of Search and Rescue which is not without recalling Tangerine Dream’s wanderings and spheres of influence from their psychedelic and even Force Majeure era. Little by little silvered breaths dissipate to make room to this mystic mist which wraps the core of machines in We live by the Machines, whereas a pulsation molds a first rhythmic draft. A rhythm that will be subdivided by another more limpid sequential movement, zigzagging chords and others strummed ones under the aegis of synth solos as much twisted than threatening which chisel and criss-cross this perpetual mist which reigns everywhere around We live by the Machines, as this mist coming out from explosions which drew the end of time in Terminator.
Faithful to him and even if his tracks are long minimalism explorations, Create always remains so mystifying as the bite of its synths. A meeting point between Ramp and Air Sculpture, We live by the Machines is an album of EM which flirts with a dark and biting Berlin School style with a beautiful apocalyptic approach. If it’s true that some musical structures are stretched, on the other side synth solos with silvered spirits which are spattering resize the caustic approach and the cynical glance that Create throws on the evolution of a world which always seems to spin round and round. We live by the Machines won’t be a disappointment for Create fans, but an overture for those who like dark and minimalism music and still don’t know Create’s musical universe.


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

lundi 7 mars 2011

MEESHA: Within the Parallel (2010)

Sometimes it’s simply good to have our ears immersed of a musical bath fills of nostalgia. Like this intersidereal wind that comes from so far away and which brings its sparkling stars to build a small shimmering serenade on The Fourth State of Matter opening. A suave wind which waves and waltzes peacefully, avoiding musical shooting stars, accompanied with delicate crystalline arpeggios which shape a timid melody. Huge musical waves wrap this cosmic movement where a superb synth, molded in stars, whistles a cute astral litany of which the charm is leaking away in the hollow of waves of a more austere and threatening synth. All this musical canvas soaks in a dense and poetic cosmos where bells toll for the dead of a spatial inertia and that the rhythm explodes on a powerful sequence heavy minimalist chords which skip, vacillate and support a splendid synth melody filled of the analog years fragrance. A sweet melody which eats the hearing like the most docile of all earworms. The rhythm of The Fourth State of Matter is easing to embraces a morphic phase where elongated tinkled serpentines shell their chords among spectral strata, cosmic waves and sonorities à la Jarre.
Welcome in the wonderful musical world of Meesha, a Dutch synthesist who is strongly inspired by Jean Michel Jarre style and his primary period, from Oxygene to Magnetic Fields. Wonderful, because Within the Parallel is stuffed with these atmospheres at once cosmic and rhythmic that drew the first works of the French synth player. And Meesha doesn’t hide it! Jean Michel Jarre is his inspiration and his music rests on the structures drafted by this last one. Musical structures that still had some juice and relief buried in the mythical intersidereal meanders. Intrusion continues this temporal musical journey with a stationary movement. Nervous sequences roll in a cascade movement beneath synth strata which free some spectral breaths. A synth with Jarre recollections of which mellotron impetus are tinted of a dramatic approach whereas Intrusion rhythm hiccups with sequences which skip furtively, without really feed rhythm, beneath an array of cosmic sound effects. With its synth layers which recover a dense cosmos and its slow morphic impulses, the intro of Within the Parallel baths in a weighty spatial atmosphere. In half-way a wave breaks out, releasing a jerky rhythm settled on bass-drum pulsations and hatched synth pads, while the Korg mini-pops draw these Jarre’s movements of electronic percussions beneath a thick cloud of synth layers which can only remind me the whole musical universe of Jean Michel Jarre. We close our eyes and we would believe to hear a suite to Magnetic Fields. Prism is a short track where synth layers interlace in a beautiful cosmic dance. A melodious track, even if very ambient and floating, filled with some Jarre’s electro-cosmic essences.
These essences furnish all the structures of Within the Parallel, as in In the Center with its synth hits and choirs which shape a dramatic astral procession. Beneath an astral gust of wind, the rhythm is lightening with fine percussions and synth strata perfumed of spectral-cosmic sound effects. Although discreet the tempo progresses with ascending sequences which vacillate around a lumbering electronic structure which gradually becomes blurred and falls in the slow impulses of a synth which frees brief solos in a cosmos filled of analog sound effects. Jarre! Jarre! Jarre! Everything on Within the Parallel inhales the influences of the French synthesist. Parallel Five is an electronic rumba that Jarre liked to insert at the end of each of his first three albums. Longer certainly, Parallel Five plays on a rhythmic subdivision to lengthen the time and being able to inserts nice synth solos on a delicate structure of ‘‘déjà entendue’’. Coming out of a cosmic somber intro, sequences waddle naively at the opening of Journey 2000. A sequential movement which is getting heavy whereas a nice synth whistles a melody filled up with a soft melancholy. Curt and edgy, the rhythm is dividing and Journey 2000 embraces a kind of cheerful military march. It’s an electronic Spartacus with increasing synth layers and sulfurous solos which spin around slamming percussions. A strong progressive cosmic rock which slows down its walking to kiss stars and melting into the sweetness’s of Interconnected, a nice and melodious track that concludes Meesha’s 5th opus, as The Fourth State of Matter opened it.
You are a Jarre fan? Meesha’s Within the Parallel will please you undoubtedly. I hooked on it for several listening and do Meesha copies Jean Michel Jarre? Well it depends on the way we see, or hear, it. As for me I’d rather say that Within the Parallel is a skillful mixture of Oxygene and Magnetic Fields. There is little room for cosmic ambient as such because each track contains its dose of ambient which is quickly repressed by sometimes progressive, even slower, sometimes spasmodic rhythms. But beyond these structures filled of inspired recollections for the ear are hiding of beautiful melodies that capture as much the hearing as souvenirs. Within the Parallel is a beautiful album which shows how much the French synth wizard really made the tour of its primary universe. An album highly recommended to jarred fans and all this French electronic music that was also in the heart of this musical revolution of the 70’s. And for those whose Jarre still unknown to….where were you?

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: