mardi 31 mai 2011

ROBERT SCHROEDER: 30 Years After (2009)

It’s already been 30 years that Robert Schroeder is charming us with his music that follows constantly tangents as innovative as disconcerting. And to celebrate the event, the man to thousand tempos presents an album that does want to be a sonorous flyby of these 30 years. 30 Years After is not a compilation but a rather creative fresco which represents the various rhythmic orientations of an artist who is the precursor of an EM that one named down tempo, hip-hop and groove electronic moods.
30 Years Before opens with a short review of Harmonic Ascendant released in 1979. Beneath voice ochre of a silvered veil Robert Schroeder explains the hazards of an era where the creativity was the major stake in the conception of EM works, with as musical theme the fabulous intro of this cult track. Slowly we are moving towards the more modern tempo, but still as much suave, of Hypnotics with a sequence built on percussions and a hypnotic rhythmic bass where an E-guitar scatters its notes among a solitary piano and spontaneous avalanches of percussions; a trademark of Schroeder rhythms. Layers in loops, enslaved by veiled choirs, overhang this musical sweetness which is molding in a spatial approach. All You Can Dream increases a little bit the pace with nice E-guitar notes and with groovy style percussions which are enfolded in a wrapping synth and a nice sensual bass. Slightly stroboscopic, sequences encircle a movement which lulls between cosmic mood and down tempo on brief oratorical incursions from the German synthesist and a superb piano which is melting to an uncertain sequenced approach. Here, as everywhere on the opus, the synth espouses slinky movements and floats with a dreamy cosmic wandering reminding the first movements of EM. Percussions, little as arrhythmia pulsations, open Modifiers which roars of a caustic synth. Soon the movement becomes hatched and explodes on percussions which roll as a quixotic thunder in a sphere slowed by heavy synth pads. At around the 2nd minute point the rhythm becomes steadier on a good percussion play and a loud hiccoughing sinusoidal move, draped by a heavier synth. A track that is very near from The Chemical Brothers sound world (of which the Schroederian inspiration is evident) that has great punch and will make vibrating all dance floors, especially with its heavy reverberating bass.
Let it Flow makes in another register with a more unctuous and softer approach. Pulsations, bass and pulsating chords evolved on a tempo slowed down by an oniric and dragging structure. It’s beautiful, soft and sensual as only Schroeder can make with its synth sparkles that are surrounding as a finger makes wavy circles on calm water. The impetuous intro of Destination Galactica rolls with oscillations in cascades, enfolded by a catchy synth and encircled by a rotating sequence in a sonorous mould collided by percussions with strong randomly rumbling. It’s a long lively track with paces fractured by supple permutations of which synth layers fly over heavy hatched reverberations. A New Message is the pearl of pearls on 30 Years Before with a languishing rhythm on an E-guitar which frees its notes in the shade of a romantic nostalgia of which breezes are leaking away in sweetness of a slightly undulating cadence. Floating, dreamy and magnificently soft it’s pure candy for the soul and ears. Heavy and tribal hammerings merged to a sensual bass and a floating synth to liven sparkles as well as cooing percussions, here is the structure of Mood Control. The longest track of Schroeder 20th album exploits a hypnotic rhythm with brief cosmic incursions. Humming and hawing between space music and vitamined rhythms, Robert Schroeder encloses 30 Years Later with 30 Years After. It starts by a cosmic intro which is lighting by percussions knocking on cosmos doors, debauched by a suave and languorous coming out of a waltzing synth from which saxophone solos perfume the atmosphere by beautiful harmonious tirades. This is electronic poetry draped by mellotron choirs which teem marvelously on an opus which wants to be a splendid and poetic comeback from one of contemporary EM big names.


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

jeudi 26 mai 2011

REMY: This is not the End (2008)

Sequential variations on eery themes, This is not the End is a daring opus where EM crosses the obscures meanders of a progressive contemporary music on limpid sequences girdled by synths with flavours as apocalyptic as its choirs sound. This is not the End is a catalyst opus which will undoubtedly liven up your evenings of questioning and anguish for sure.
Return to the Dream opens on an abyssal intro. Frictions of strings from an imaginary cello animate errancies that gently float in a Dantesque cosmos. A dark ambiance of steel reigns over this hermetic droning sphere, shaping a world of paranoia which wakes up under the soft tinkling of a crystalline sequence, premise of an attracting hypnotic melody which flickers in the fog. Soft, soft! The movement borrows a dramatic tangent with orchestral arrangements worthy of a nightmarish thriller with fine synth streaks which wrap a much heavier ambiance. These
reverberating waves espouse threatening stratums, opening the door to a final which explodes of sensuality with a beautiful bass line, good percussions and a grumbling synth.
There's Something In The Air continues in this surrealist atmosphere. Strange sound circles mould an astral nebulosity where galactic choirs and ethereal breezes of ghostly mermaids grow in a suggestive atonal half-light world, stuffed of clattering and typist kind percussions. It’s a world of arcade games that sinks in the stratified softness of Because It’s Said and its intro felted of soft percussions and resounding waves which are crushing in oblivion. Gradually the tempo is liven up under a fine bass line and nervous fluttering metallic sequences. Awakening from its lifelessness Because It's Said accentuates a processional velocity before melting in a powerful chaos where feverish percussions are moulding to a zombiesc spiral sequence, a loud bass full of resonances and its submissive choirs. An exceptional musical theatre which reveals an audacity unique to great’s contemporary composers.
Those Days touches lightly an ambient shape which wakes up languorously on a kind of groovy jazz tempo with a synth sounding like an accordion that caught a cold. Superbly lascivious with its very musical synth, Those Days is smouldering of abstruse desires before sinking into the frenzied madness of The Great Escape and its rhythms/non rhythms game on boosted synths. A track which borders Klaus Schulze madness and which evolves in a very musical complexity, supported by a solid synth play and great percussions. Delirious and delicious EM that we unfortunately hear rarely! After these delusions we have the splendid You and I takes us out to daydream with its soft introductory sequence which undulates in the obscure corridors of Return to the Dream finale and its indolently sensual line. The Day Before we Die takes back this sequence with a more crystal clear approach. This intro is waddling on a limpid minimalist nursery rhyme surrounded by a synth with semi spectral and sharp breezes. This track could easily be a strange soundtrack of a virginal nightmare which takes back its choirs moulded of bewitching draughts and which charm beneath strikes of typist kind percussions. A beautiful finale imprints from the poignant prelude of Return to the Dream.
Remy’s 7th opus is a daring one, full of musical bounces to sequential similarities which astonish and charm so much by their unpredictability than their lyrical, even poetic, denouements. This is not the End is the kind of opus that we heard too rarely in this sometimes asepticized universe of redundancies that surrounds EM. Remy has this touch and ability to create great obsessive music that haunts and astounds on each listening! This is why he recalls me so much of Klaus Schulze.


Sylvain Lupari (2008)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream

mardi 10 mai 2011

JEFFREY KOEPPER: Quadranteon (2009)

There are a lot of sounds reminiscences that cross my ears while I’m the intro of Quadranteon Part I. From No Man’s Land (TD’s Hyperborea) to Equinox (JM Jarre), Quadranteon’s intro starts on cosmic fragrances which wave such as auroras borealis and roll such as waves to starred meerschaum. Hard to catch? Well that’s the musical world of Jeffrey Koepper. That’s a soft intro with slow scented oscillations of synth breezes which mould a sweet and progressive rhythmic tangent that skips in a sound universe stuffed with synth to droning waves. Of this fine movement, animated of a warm synth life, frees tones of felted sirens which criss-cross a spatial nebulosity grabble with permutated sequences and fabulous solos of a poetic delicacy. Jeffrey Koepper's musical world is in constant harmony with a warm and boiling spatial music. Euphony made aptly by his analog equipment and his personal vision of a quixotic cosmos to shifting constellations.
This 6th studio opus from the American synthesist pursues his mythical collection of cosmic sounds elaborated from sound searches, analog equipments, a creative imagination and a strong work of composition. Quadranteon is divided into 4 parts: 2 are full of sequencing rhythmic lives and the other 2 are more atmospherics. It’s a musical skillful blend where the rhythm gets quieter nearby ambient tranquilities and where the listener plays with the 2 musical paradoxes that reign agreeably on Quadranteon. If Part I is slowly animated by a suavely progressive rhythm, Part II is plunging us into the spheres of a distant cosmos that we gravitate with a sweet sense of exhilaration, as an ascension slowed down by the effect of weightlessness. Arpeggios float in echo, orbiting slowly Quadranteon timeless stairway. The sound world is skillfully built. Dressed it is by super analog effects which sway lazily on nice slinky and waltzing strata as well as minimalism chords which show and trace out the celestial way to be followed. A length (it’s the first impression that we get) but delicious journey as astral as meditative which overflows on the wild and mordant Part III.
Juxtaposed synth waves float with romantic at the opening of Quadranteon’s best track. Part III is livening up on a synth to caustic reverberations, announcing a pace which hems with a felted heaviness. Linear and minimalism chords follow with a sober frenzy which is accentuating with a new layer of keys as much minimalism, but intertwined by more limpid ones. Part III becomes more ardent and fuses of melodious synth tones which are perfectly mixing up in this astral jungle filled of variables rhythmic pulsations that feed a structure more and more complex, all wrapped it is of heavy pads from a synth to multiple musical variances. A brief atmospheric moment cuts the track, which returns with a new rhythmic structure mainly bended on a beautiful bass sequence wrapped progressively by a synth as much vaporous as warm. It’s a very beautiful and powerful track that goes along analogical lineages of the French era with Jarre on Equinoxe and Frédéric Mercier on his delicious Music from France. It is in a peaceful spatial mood that Quadranteon is concluding, with the morphic and unctuous Part IV. There, where the effect of floating in our head is also omnipresent as on Part II, but in a shorter way. It’s a sweet and slow dark waltz where furtive cadenced glidings prevail on these binary measures. Nice and soft, warm and inviting! Reflecting in all this beautiful and poetic cosmic ode of Koepper who, year after year, invites us to his so unique analog musical rendezvous, in these days of digital EM.
If Jean Michel Jarre's first works appeal you the music of Jeffrey Koepper will do the same, except that it’s a bit more progressive and complex.


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:

mardi 3 mai 2011

PETER MERGENER: Phonetic Society (2010)

Those who doesn’t know Software or Mergener / Weisser duet misses something at the level of contemporary EM culture. This German duet knew how to mix the evolutionary technologies of EM equipments to create a unique musical blend where the variety of rhythms where shaping perfectly well with spatial atmospheres. After the end of this period, Peter Mergener got lost somehow in EM labyrinths. Though he was very creative and composed nearly 15 albums since the beginning of 90’s and, for some, his albums had a touch closer to synth-pop than EM if it wasn’t purely New Age with his association with Alquimia. But no matter the styles, Mergener always had this structured approach where melodies prevailed. With Phonetic Society, Peter Mergener returns to the fold. He renew with his Software roots by presenting a strong opus where criss-crossed rhythms born and kick down floors on nice oniric structures. Phonetic Society; a soft return towards the future!
The introductory rhythm of Mindflow is cooing. Arpeggios roll while floating in a nice and suave electronic mist, drawing a hesitating pace which skips with big stealthily in the breezes of a hybrid synth of which choirs are leaking away among lyrical layers. Survivor of this heavy mellotron veil, an isolated sequence waddles ingeniously and embraces soft fragrances of a dreamlike flute while another more wavy sequential line subdivides the rhythm which grows heavy by good strikes of percussions. Mindflow turns into a nice melody where limpid chords flutter on a rhythm encircled by a sequential line with strumming hits in a thick cloud of keyboard keys which are colliding on a rhythmic supported by good heavy percussions and criss-crossed sequences. Between the hard rhythm and the very electronic approach, Mindflow preserves its melodious approach with its ethereal choirs and flutes which disguise up a rhythmic a stalk syncopated and innocent. Arpeggios emerging out of Starflight cosmic intro breathes dance with lightness. It’s a strange dance where a gloomy draught protects this carousel to sinister chords which suddenly twirl with strength in a furious sequenced maelstrom where they are crossing, overlapping and multiplying in an infernal race. A robust track without concrete rhythm, Starflight becomes a powerful circular dance where a hyper active minimalism moulds a perpetual gyrating movement of a violent implosion. Shiva Connection is a good track where the cosmos meets techno with, in background, a tribal approach of the people of sands. Suave voices of celestial nymphs chant in a cosmos streaked with fine blades of synth to lead towards a Berber prayer recited on the ethereal breaths of its galactic intro. A delicious sequential movement with chords which alternate and spin in spirals emerges out of it. Sequences twirl and dance among tablas percussions and a strange line of bass to delicate pinched and hopping notes. The ambivalent rhythm of Shiva Connection, where the strength of a soft techno à la Element 4 and Moonbooter crosses a more ethereal beat, progresses with very good arrangements where the clan prayers unreel in dense mellotron pads and in a very electronic musical universe. Timepassengers starts with delicate crystalline arpeggios which cross their strikes on a rippling synth line, shaping a cosmic and oniric intro where euphonies flutter freely on a sequence with a heavy pace and chords which are intertwining in nervous doubloons. A subdivided tempo is grafting to this intro and criss-crosses its sequential lines beneath pads of a keyboard filled of old organ consonances and sinuous solos of a hybrid synth which drops its sound blades and discreet choirs among string bows in an atmosphere which becomes more and more explosive. Feverish rhythm and chords cackling beneath heavy mellotron pads, Timepassengers progresses in a multi-sequential Bolero with fat and resonant chords under a swarm of bows hits of which the violence isn’t limiting at all the sensual delight of its progression. A progression that runs out of steam to offers a peaceful final that a harmless tick-tock permutates in a clashing and noisy ending which, when we think of it, can only ends in such a way.
Rotation is a fiery and very techno track that rages better on a dance floors than our dreamy ears. It’s a heavy but well structured track that shows how Mergener has the sense of rhythm, a heavy and coherent one where we cannot avoid stamping. Transformation is a short track where ambiances surround an indecisive pace which revolves in sonorous elements as electronic as eclectic. I like those heavy mellotron pads that wrap this track, an element where Peter Mergener feels very at ease and which adds great depth to Phonetic Society. On the title track, Mergener exploits a very dance and techno approach heavy resonances which act firstly as sequences. Sequences on which leans another sequential movement with crystal clear chords that spin on a structure which grows heavier by good percussion strikes. Abraded by murmurs and heavy electronic sound effects, encircled by a beautiful synth line to oscillations lost in a noisy musical mass and swindled of a resonant bass line to jazzy cooing, Phonetic Society plunges the auditor into a stunning universe of futuristic techno where grand-sounding electronic sound effects are the key of a heavy techno which swirls of its crystal clear glass keys. Floating Energy closes this Mergener last opus with a soft cosmic intro that a line of bass to pulsing notes disturbs the tranquility. Here, as everywhere else on Phonetic Society, the synth spreads its hybrid layers where the metallic mist embraces ethereal choirs on an intro which is gradually livened up of a pre-technoïd heaviness with fine crystalline arpeggios which spin in a melodious carousel. Floating Energy is quietly letting lead in a progressive rhythmic with resonant chords which pound around a twinkling synth line of which synthesized strands flow between choirs and a dreamlike sweetnesses of a track divided between the calls of cosmos, the sensualist of its bass line and the firmness of a rhythm diverted of its lascivious sweetness by good percussions strikes. Just like the old days of Software!
Constantly torn between morphic and cosmic sweetnesses as well as evolutionary tempos overflowing towards alive and kicking rhythms, Phonetic Society is a very nice continuity of Software (Electronic Universe II and Digital Dance) works with a very good touch of contemporaneousness. Every track is forged straight from the roots of Software, phase’s evolution and equipments in more. In fact I would not hesitate to qualify Phonetic Society as being Peter Mergener's musical and electronic resurrection that, without denying his last works, finally draws from his musical recollections to offer a robust opus of a surprising musicality which is listening with the charm of sound discoveries that fly over these 8 tracks imprinted by rhythms superbly surrounded by this cosmic approach so unique to Software’s era.

BSC Music : Prudence(398.6808.2)

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

MERGENER & HOFFMANN-HOOCK: Visions of Asia (2006)

Peter Mergener and Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock are 2 pioneers of the German EM scene. In 1989 Mergener, then member of regretted Software duet with Michael Weisser, participated in Mind Over Matter's album; Trance’n’ Dance. Since then, they collaborated on several musical projects. Visions of Asia is Peter Mergener's personal thought on his numerous journeys in Asia. Knowing Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock’s immense passion for this culture, he asked him if he would like to collaborate on this project by bringing to it his own musical vision. It results from it in an album where the cultural points of origins of these two old accomplices are criss-crossing to give a nice EM opus to fragrances as varied as musical approaches of Mergener and Hoffmann-Hoock.
A light violin strata opens the road to a Chinese guitar, which pinches its ropes with address, and a splendid fluty mellotron filled of Asia’ scents. Soon sober percussions give a light rhythm, like a ballad style, to Cinnamon which coos on a beautiful movement of bass. Circular, and hardly hatched, the tempo is wrapped with a harmonious sound wealth; a dense synth, solos to miles spins, spiralled harps and a small Chinese guitar refrain that comes to haunt us leaving a musical scar after each passage. Pearls of chime ring water open Waterchimes which becomes a harmonious carousel where notes on limpid tonalities bewitch as much as the echo mermaids’ breezes. The movement metamorphoses with an infinite softness, drawn by an enchanted flute on a slightly hopping movement which is dressing of its most beautiful harmonious strata. The hypnotically slow tempo of Road to Mandaly brings us closer of a tribal civilization. The mellotron and guitar float in a desertic atmosphere, where we hear short moaning of the intro. The rhythm becomes more sustained with heavy strata which flutter lasciviously whereas the tempo accelerates its pace to fall under the lightings from the powerful Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock’s guitar solos. And what solos we have here! We would believe being into Mind Over Matter's psychedelic era. That’s a must to all KHH fans.
If Road to Mandaly is nearer of MOM’s soil, Dreams of Tibet is on the other hand a very Mergener style track. A very tender and lyrical track where an intro filled of cosmic ambiances is slowly turning into a spatial carousel which floats among moving strata that dance among delicious mellotron harmonies. It’s quite a nice track loaded of an infinite tenderness which reminds me of Mergener’s first works. Deuda is an atonic Hindu hymn on electronic sitar. Shakti pursues this brief intrusion on nomadic territory with tribal percussions which lose their ancestral fragrances to adopt a beat more and more cadenced. A strange synth line splits the atmosphere to bring Shakti near a more modern era by a hatched sequencer and sound effects which bite on a rhythm bordering soft techno’s style. Visions of China ends this fabulous travel with an atmospheric intro which introduces a rotating impulse on percussions and notes filled of a strong Chinese essence. Slamming, the percussions increase a circular rhythm caressed by a mellotron in the nostalgic harmonies.
Visions of Asia is a strong album. Mergener and Hoffmann-Hoock managed to build 7 stories of a sculptural beauty. These are superb tracks with lot of cosmic ambiances and atmospheres at once magical and astral. It’s a hearing symbiosis of a great creation where sensibility flirts with nostalgia. This is great music by two legends that pushed the limits of creativity beyond their experiences and reputations. Visions of Asia is certainly one of the good albums of EM in 2006. I simply hope that we won’t have to wait another 20 years before hearing another collaboration from these 2 great EM legends.

BSC MUSIC: PRUDENCE (398.6729.2)

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