vendredi 28 octobre 2011

RENÉ SPLINTER: Almery (2010)

1 Tunnel Vision 7:49
2 Encom 8:05
3 The Flight of the Pterodactyl 4:08
4 Almery 8:11
5 The Laughing Magician 28:00


I discovered René Splinter music thanks to Groove compilations; E-Day 2011and Dutch Masters Vol.1 We couldn’t deny, even less keep silent, the net influence of Tangerine Dream concerning the Dutch synthesist’s musical orientations. It’s in 1977 that René Splinter met EM on his path of personal growth with Jean Michel Jarre’s Oxygene. Within years, Splinter let himself being invaded by the electronic movement and began to strum on a synth at the end of the 80’s with the Sequential Circuits Pro One. He composed and recorded his music by making overdubs on a tape recorder. And at the end of the 80’s he already composed a first album; Almery which was only available on cassette. And some 20 years later, this first opus is finally available on MellowJet Records label. And if the influence of TD perspired in tracks appearing on these Groove compilations, it's nothing compared to Almery which is a real immersion in the musical world of the Dream; eras Exit, White Eagle, Poland and beyond.
Almery lies on 5 tracks where the reminiscences of Tangerine Dream fill our ears at full strength with a stunning and wonderful enchantment for these sequences which sound as arrows pulled from a crossbow, these iridescent synth riffs of White Eagle and Hyperborea periods as well as these harmonies taken from the same era, with a clear tendency for Le Parc. In conclusion, it’s a superb album for nostalgic where the Netherlands’ synthesist pursues a work which, on the whole, seemed quite unfinished. And it’s with "Tunnel Vision" that starts this discovery of Tangerine Dream world of influences. Synth keys resound such as false bells and the melancholic broth of the Dream settles down with a beautiful bass line with boomerang notes, as in Le Parc, and melancholic synth pads and riffs. A carpet of sequences with rattlers tones rolls beneath, introducing bit by bit a latent rhythm. "Tunnel Vision" takes off with this audacious sequencing game, wrapped by a synth filled of exhilarating curves. A synth which also drops a metallic mist spawning on a hypnotic pulsatory rhythm and propelled by good electronic percussions. The rhythm is increasing and rushes at a brisk pace, accompanied by a very melodious and lively synth from which iridescent fluty breezes sound like a breathless saxophone which complains on furious and brilliant sequences. What a kick off! After a short nebulous intro "Encom" espouses a boiling electronic rock with percussions which hammer a pace of lead, encircled by a synth to symphonic layers. A crossing of Exit and White Eagle, "Encom" encounters an explosive and delicious turbulence of sequences and percussions before taking back its rhythmic road on a heavy, hypnotic and insistent tempo, always wrapped by these synth pads and layers imprinted by TD signature. So far so good! Short and melodious, "The Flight of the Pterodactyl" is more centred on synths than sequential movements, although the rhythm is always so heavy. The more we move forward in Almery and the more the link which binds René Splinter to Tangerine Dream is inseparable. So the title track is a great ballad of which the soft sequential structure sounds strangely like the one on White Eagle and where the harmonious envelope fits to a panoply of the Dream tones, except this soft flute which comes out of it.
"The Laughing Magician" is the key point on Almery and, in my opinion, a superb mixture or remix of TD’s splendour period. With those icy whispering voices which pierce metallic cymbals, we are straight in Majove Plan era, whereas that sequences and synth riffs which fall plunges us into the Poland’s one. Simply great and rather audacious, René Splinter floats over Tangerine Dream tracks by sprinkling syncretic pads, percussions rollings, riffs of steel and iridescent streaks. A rich sound universe spreads out on a mesmerizing tempo where the coming of hiccupping sequences forges a jerky rhythmic structure. And the illusion of the Dream is perfect. We have the feeling that it’s a track forgotten in the archives of the Berlin trio which resurfaces with delight. Except that Splinter doesn’t only copy the Tangerine Dream style. No! He draws his melodies and ethereal on sharper and a bit more precise rhythms with synth strata which roar as Froese on guitar. Bewitching, this jerky rhythm follows its hypnotic tangent in an incredible harmonious wealth before diving into a sea of eclectic tones which floats among knocks of anvils, electronic gases as well as mist and metallic winds which wrap a musical universe in perdition. The rhythm re-appears with a very good sequencing and electronic percussions which show the originality of Splinter in its musical testimony for the Dream and for the dishevelled finale of Horizon from the masterpiece that is Poland. And "The Laughing Magician" closes in a psychedelic finale where the dins of metal and crystallized synth breezes bind themselves to episodic rhythmic jolts which cover deliberately the magic concert of Poland, but with René Splinter’s own harmonious touch.
There were several attempts to imitate, pay tribute or continue the work of the Dream, but René Splinter is alone in its field. By aiming the glorious era of Franke, Froese and Schmoelling as well as albums from White Eagle to Le Parc, while insisting on Poland, the Dutch synthesist knocks straight in the middle of my magic period of Tangerine Dream. I liked Almery. I’m seeing in it more than an imitation of my cult group. I hear in it a music which delighted me and definitively hooked me towards the wonderful world of EM where sounds and sequences weave evolutionary structures that craftsmen dress skilfully of suave synth layers and solos. And this is what René Splinter is offering to us on Almery; a superb album and a pure delight for ears and nostalgia.

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

If you want to know more about René Splinter and watch videos, you should visit his website
You can also watch a video out of Almery album, Tunnel Vision, here:

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