mardi 19 juin 2012

JOHANNES SCHMOELLING: A Thousand Times (2009)

"With its delicate melodic approach and its melancholic piano wrapped into TD's aromas, A Thousand Times is the kind of album which goes as fast as a soft wind caressing our skin eroded by years"
1 Monochrome 6:52 
2 Diorama 5:40 
3 Abakus 5:24 
4 Stigma 6:48 
5 Funeral Tears (For My Father) 5:51 
6 A Thousand Times 6:16 
7 Blueprint 5:58 
8 A Thousand Times (Reprise) 5:45 
9 Kite Runner 5:40 
10 Palace Of Dreams 5:42 
11 Footsteps 4:39

VIKTORIAPARK: VP-18 083 (CD 64:29)

When we listen to Johannes Schmoelling's music we notice his immense impact on Tangerine Dream's work. If Christopher Franke had the sense of rhythms, the strength of Schmoelling laid in harmonies. And on each of his solo albums, we discover more and more the charm of the Dream which so suddenly disappeared following the Austrian musician's departure. A Thousand Times shows all of the melodious approach of Schmoelling with a beautiful collection of 12 tracks to the soft nostalgic harmonies where we can again still seize the essence of the mythical German trio.
And it starts with "Monochrome" and its keys which are zigzaging and cross a series of piano note. From then on Schmoelling displays his melodious aura with layers of a foggy synth which cover a piano, an instrument which will be the premise of A Thousand Times, with a quite jazzy mood. Free and loosened out of any electronic hold, these notes dance on a structure with a lithe rhythm where fine percussions accompany a soft melody well watered by strata of a synth at both foggy and melodious  which reminds us some beautiful musical souvenirs. More electronic "Diorama" follows a little the same harmonious and jazzy tangent with a synth which whispers a pleasant tune on a soft rhythm punctuated by fine jolts, awakening a free style always carrier of a nice melody which weaves easily its earworm. Nice melodies, romantic, melancholic and meditative abound on this Schmoelling last opus. "Funeral Tears (For My Father)" is a nice one. The rhythm is slow and heavy with its percussions which hammer a dark march of mournful whereas the synth draws its mists of suffering in the breaths of a very beautiful melody with an oriental zest. It’s very nice and especially somber. "Blueprint" is yet another one which lets itself rock by a slow rhythm. The piano is superb and draws a soft lullaby which sinks into a more dramatic passage with poignant synth solos roaring with pain and shouting with melancholy. "Footsteps", written and played by Johannes' son Jonas Behrens, is another melody which is situated between "Funeral Tears (For My Father)" and "Blueprint" where the orchestral arrangements add a rather filmic dimension. Yep, he walks in the footprints of his father!
"Abacus" is sharply more nervous. The rhythm is curt and skips under the skirts of an attractive synth filled by aromas which seem to be taken out of the Le Parc sessions. The synth is edgy and pushes its harmonies on a beautiful meshing of sequences and percussions which shape a pace softly frantic. Everything is soft in Johannes Schmoelling's universe; the rhythms as much as the ambiences. If we want to move we turn towards "Abacus" and "Kite Runner" which offers a nervous cadence, and a melody à la Vangelis, on good sequences which hem in cascades. Listening to Johannes Schmoelling without making constantly reference to Tangerine Dream is very difficult and "Stigma" is the perfect example. A track which waltzes between the melodious moods of Flashpoint, Silver Scale and Legend, "Stigma" floats on a foggy austere intro where the synth bites the eardrums, as the rustlings of dry clouds in the middle of desert plains. Skillful, Johannes Schmoelling weaves atmospheres and structures which switch around on grave piano notes and good knocks of percussions, letting "Stigma" have a walk between hybrid paces and more ambient atmospheres. It’s one of the good tracks on A Thousand Times quite as the title-track which lets a soft melody floats on delicate rhythms and where the piano notes are merging harmoniously with a lyrical synth stuffed by beautiful vaporous waves. Slower and even more melodious, "A Thousand Times (Reprise)" floats on superb notes from of a melancholic piano which blows its tender nostalgias on a soft cadence in cascade. It’s very good and very beautiful and it’s even more when we link both tracks one after the other. "Palace of Dreams" is a great piano work. It's a tearing melody moulds in the ashes of Tangram and, yes, another magical moment in A Thousand Times.
With its delicate melodious approaches, its references to Tangerine Dream's repertoire and its melancholic piano, A Thousand Times is the kind of album which unfolds its jewels as much pleasantly for the hearing as a warm wind caressing a skin eroded by the years. We want them, again and again. In all, A Thousand Times is a nice album in the continuity of Instant City where the catchy passages as much as the moments lost in melancholic mists ask constantly a new listening. Johannes Schmoelling embroiders the perfect amalgam between his synth, sequences, percussions and piano, giving some superb jewels of which the cradle is the harmonious structure of Tangerine Dream which revolutionized the genre from a concert given at the Palast Der Republik on January 30th, 1980.
Sylvain Lupari (June 18th, 2012)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 Johannes Schmoelling, you can visit his website by following this link:

dimanche 17 juin 2012

JOHANNES SCHMOELLING: Time and Tide (2011)

"There is no better than Johannes Schmoelling to forge a melody from a note lost in the furrows of its resonance"

1 Splendid Isolation 7:55
2 Lone Warrior 3:49
3 The Gift 6:47
4 The Answer 5:53
5 Zero Gravity 7:47
6 Beacon of Hope 5:50
7 Life in the Dark 4:26
8 Genetic Diversity 7:44
9 Time and Tide 9:11

VIKTORIAPARK: VP18 103 (CD 59:20)

A morphic synth wave comes to cover the coolness of the shrill echoes left by the imprint of a metallic chord which stretches its oblong pulsations in order to introduce the fascinating sequential ballet of "Splendid Isolation". Fine sequences pulled out of a bass line cavort under a swaying synth line. Winding invisible obstacles, they stagger among fragments of glass and iridescent breaths, moving forward and stopping like a fragile prey to emigrate towards a bass line from which the furtive pulsations awaken some reminiscences of a famous trio. Between its keys zigzagging under shrill breezes, its floating wanderings and its fragments of harmonies weaved in a sequential structure in constant uncertainty, the intro of "Splendid Isolation" is a long and superb prelude to a great melodious approach which shakes our contemplativity  a little after the bar of 4 minutes. The rhythm is frank and is based on sequences with keys which alternate in a fluid velocity. Sequences dancing as a feverish pas-de-deux into a spiral which hiccups its spasmodic rhythm under the melodious attack of a synth which divides its airs, sprinkling its fine soloing melodies through its intense melancholic mist. "Splendid Isolation" is the kick-off of another wonderful album signed Johannes Schmoelling. Very well structured, the universe of Schmoelling is nevertheless much diversified and the one of Time and Tide shows amply all the control that the Austrian musician has on his compositions. Each of them abounds of a superb musical wealth where everything spins with grace and fluidity, embracing several directions before peaking in robust melodies. With his son, Jonas Behrens, Schmoelling offers 9 new compositions to metamorphosic structures where some gorgeous melodies are hiding into ambiences sometimes eclectic and sometimes poetic and where the magic of the Austrian musician awakens the memories of a world that we never want forgotten.
Let’s take "Lone Warrior" as example. These 3:49 minutes are filled at most. It’s all start with a synth from which breaths of Jericho’s trumpets are melting into a heavy electronic ride overhung by smooth solos. Solos forger of melodies which espouse sequences as rhythmic as melodic, dragging the rhythm towards some fine ambient passages before being reborn on its horseback ride and gallops under a soloing sky and its iridescent mists. After an intro eaten away by the uncertainty of its hesitating keys, "The Gift" wakes up to the sound of heavy riffs and percussions which hammer a steady and light rhythm that a guitar and a synth are tearing with juicy solos. A rhythm which little by little loses one's point of reference to be fainted in a mist which scatters the drum strikings and slows down the heat of the riffs, driving "The Gift" towards an ambient passage that a violin is tearing from its tearful strings. Whereas the tempo tries an awakening, anarchy settles down. Knocks of percussions, wooden breaths, kind of xylophone keys and tears of violin cogitate on the shape to be taken while the rhythm takes back its rights of origin to reach the finale. "The Answer" is a splendid contemplative melody which begins with a delicate piano among which the melancholic note draw fragile tears which wrap up themselves of a veil of gloom. From angelic to melodic, "The Answer" gets free of its influence of solitude to let itself rocked by a bass line with fine pulsations and sober percussions that blades of synth are caressing of their waltzing morphic veils, entailing this soft rhythm towards the labyrinths of an indecisive serenity. "Zero Gravity" is a track divided between its melodious approach, its heavy rhythm and its dark ambiences. Electric piano notes fall by swirling in the mists and breaths of a synth shadowed by a strange aura of mystery. If the piano is melodious, the ambience is all its opposite with its ochred vapors which weigh heavily on a structure guided by sober percussions and torn between its melody and its dark side, its ambivalent rhythm and its tenebrous mood. It’s a quiet part shaken by static rhythmic jolts that a nasal synth tries to moderate with a suave romantic approach while that quite slowly "Zero Gravity" takes refuge within the ambiguity of its introduction.
Waddling in a wave-like melodious approach fed by gentle knocks of anvil and breaths of a hoarse synth, "Beacon of Hope" moves forward on a harsh and light rhythm which appropriates as much the riffs heavy of guitar as the delicate mists of a creative synth. A synth of which the beautiful whistled melody will be the only vestige of this fine harmonious approach. "Life in the Dark" is a stunning static ride forged in the curt movements of an orchestral synth with hatched lines of violins. The rhythm is heavy, as a ride in dark plains, where the guitar spits its riffs and its black solos in a hallucinating paradox of symphonic rock. Another track with unsuspected evolutions, "Genetic Diversity" begins by crystalline arpeggios which drag their wandering in an atonal corridor. These electronic chirpings in suspension are gradually forming a rhythmic swarm which moves as knocks of scissors in space to bind themselves to some percussions rolling under the cooing of a synth to the unique musical signature of Johannes Schmoelling. Whistler and nasal solos overhang this heavy and motionless tempo, which looks like a military march, which faints little by little in an inverted whirlwind, letting some fine arpeggios swirl in an atmospheric uncertainty caressed by soft solos before that heavier percussions harpoon again the evasive rhythm of "Genetic Diversity" to bring it back towards its soldiery walking. The title-track is the jewel of Time and Tide's crown. A synth moulded of staccato breaths sounding so much like in 
Tangram is covering the drumming of a xylophone kind of drum to open the slow procession of "Time and Tide". The rhythm is slow, even statics, but extremely enchanting with percussions which get loose of the initial beat to hammer a funeral march where keys are waddling in the shade of these fluty pads and dense waltzing fogs. Knocks of percussions are thundering throughout this processional bolero which stores layers of mists, reverberating effects as well as majestic solo which tear the placidity of this magnificent musical parade which, contrary to all expectations, dips us back into the most beautiful feelings of the Dream and Tangram .
Once again, Johannes Schmoelling amazes and charms me with an album of which the first listening had nevertheless left me indifferent. But Time and Tide shows to be a magnificent album. Through his suspicious and ethereal ambiences and his furtive and progressive rhythms Johannes Schmoelling succeeds the improbable by extirpating of silky melodies out of nowhere. And that is the strength of Schmoelling, as much as it was in his time with
Tangerine Dream. His works, in solo or with the Dream, are only confirming what his fans know for a long time; there is no better than Johannes Schmoelling to forge a melody from a note lost in the furrows of its resonance. Listen to Time and Tide and, as I, you will understand it...!

Sylvain Lupari (June 14th, 2012)
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 Johannes Schmoelling, you can visit his website by following this link:
** You can also watch a video of Genetic Diversity on You Tube:

vendredi 15 juin 2012

TANGERINE DREAM: Machu Picchu (2012)

"Even if the melodies seem cold and calculated, Machu Picchu is a nice album which has its numerous winks of eye at the great years of the Dream"

1 Caminos del Inca 10:00
2 Machu Picchu 5:32
3 Adios a Cusco 8:09
4 Tayta Inti 7:26
5 Rio Urubamba 5:57
6 La Piedra Intihuatana 8:14


If we trust the guide of press, Machu Picchu is a very personal work that Edgar Froese caresses since 2002. The work reached its creative paroxysm further to John Peel's death, famous disc jockey of the British radio BBC, who was one of the first journalists to believe in the potential of progressive and electronic music in the 60’s, of which Tangerine Dream. It's in Peru, near the crowned site Inca of Machu Picchu that John Peel breathed his last breaths, so explaining a title and an album which bears a little to confusion. Confusion because nothing lets perspire any kind of tribute to John Peel. The music being very far from the embryonic years of the Dream, and the ambience which surrounds Machu Picchu has nothing to do with the influences of an Inca world. But is it good? Hum... I believe so ... and here is why!
Machu Picchu, it's the dream became reality! It's Edgar's reincarnation in the musical temples of Tangerine Dream. Really that I hear some of you whistle? Yes! But there's a snag ...there is always a snag somewhere. Leaned on a sequential pattern which weaves galloping and oscillating rhythms from the Stuntman and Pinnacles years and embroidered in sober and calculated melodies in the coolness of Edgar Froese's angelic synths, Machu Picchu is a surprising journey through the labyrinthine meanders and antipodes of the mythical German group. Surprising, Edgar spreads a superb pattern of sequences to hundred rhythms and ambiences that synths with melodies overused in an imagination dried up by an excess of productions are covered, by moments, of a melodic coolness which calls back the Miramar and TDI years.
Like a finger touching the surface of water to draw gleaming waves, a note falls and awakens the lamentations of a synth from which the breaths crystallize some weak scattered chords. One would imagine being in a musical lake of Tangerine Dream where the timeless sweetness of Legend caresses our ears. A bass line drops its notes which float in suspension, awakening some souvenirs of Flashpoint, while rippling synth vapors are cuddling the hesitation. These notes align themselves and form a fluid sequential movement which waves under a pensive melody, leading "Caminos del Inca" towards its first sequential rebuff. It’s a brief moment of revolt before that the soft rhythm takes back its rights which will be scoffed here and there by short interludes that Edgar is watering of an ethereal poetic approach which goes up until the title-track. By far the weakest track on this last CupDisc, "Machu Picchu" sits on sober slamming percussions and melodic chords to the timbres of the Eastgate years that a chirping synth wraps of an insipid northern melody. Even if the duration is relatively short, its listening turns out long and boring. It's the only stain to Machu Picchu which recaptures the hair of creativity with "Adios a Cusco", dedicated to John Peel, and its bed of sequences from which the oscillating crystalline keys are dancing like a frenzied duet and are lulling a progressive tempo. A tempo which gradually carries at rhythm's length a soft and ethereal melody full of sweet breezes of silk and its electronic drift. "Tayta Inti" is heavier and darker. Its percussions shake nervous sequences with interrupted flows while the synths and its iridescent spectres chant a mesmerizing night-melody. As on all the titles of Machu Picchu, the rhythm is broken by interludes, ambient or floating, before the tempo spurts out again with a little more energy. If the synths seem to miss airs, or melodies, the sequencing is always bubbling. A bit intriguing, "Rio Urubamba" presents a beautiful harmonious approach with a so romantic and nostalgic synth blowing its perdition on a bed of sequences dancing in a spiral disorder. It's really a very beautiful title! "Piedra Intihuatana" concludes Machu Picchu with a galloping rhythm which walks with a spur gait on a good melodious approach. An approach weaved in the shade of a synth always so melancholic but fed by a filet of hope. The pace is steady and minimalist before hitting a quiet atmospheric chaos where the hesitation of the floating arpeggios proposes a good ambient moment, as it pours almost everywhere on this long romance of 45 minutes.
Always according to the legends that Eastgate tries to forge around Edgar, Machu Picchu was suppose to stay in the vaults of the old fox. It's his wife who would have incited our debated eclectic character to put this album within the reach of his fans so much she saw fit. And I owe admit that the advice was wise. Machu Picchu is a beautiful album. There are lots of winks of eye at the great years of the Dream. If melodies seem cold and calculated, the sequencing forgives this small gap with superb lines to hundred forms and rhythms. In fact, it's an album which allies the rhythms and melodies of the empirical years of the Dream to those lighter and colder of the Miramar and TDI years. I think it's a must buy for any TD fans...
Sylvain Lupari (June 14th, 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

lundi 11 juin 2012

PICTURE PALACE MUSIC: Indulge the Passion (2012)

"Indulge the Passion navigates in full storm, caressing our fantasies and ignoring their rules to sink into the most absolute black"
1 Immortal Hours and Passion Flowers 10:04
2 The Rose and the Cross 8:33
3 Separate Existence 6:18
4 Speaking Stillness in the Rose-Flushed-Snow 5:39
5 Bealific Vision 6:12
6 Fiery Fountain of the Stars 6:18
7 Passion of Regret 12:16
8 Compass Me 12:09
9 Continuous Aspiration 7:30

GROOVE: GR-193 (CD 75:00)

In its quest for an absolute originality Picture Palace Music stigmatizes our incredulity by works of a surprising sensitivity beats up by furious surge of violence. Ambiguity? Completely! Indulge the Passion is a perplexed work which leaves a strange imprint of fascination after the first listening. And, according to the numerous instruments listed for its making, every additional listening dissipates the doubt and roots the perception that we are in front of a great and surprising work with ambivalent structures, if not schizophrenic, where the sweetness is next to violence and the romance get lost in its reflection. Indulge the Passion is another wonderful work which will survive to this fascinating group which is weaved in the meanders of a world of black and white and which makes me say that Picture Palace Music matures like souls in turmoil.
Lugubrious synth waves and other ones glimmering overlap to pave the way to the sober percussions of "Immortal Hours and Passion Flowers" which open the timid rhythm of Indulge the Passion. Blades of synth cry over this introductory tempo to which are adding some percussions which resound as some hollow wood, leading this rhythm towards a heavy and resounding bass line. And this rhythm grows heavy. Circumspect it collapses under these heavy bass notes and these percussions which ring as glass wood, keeping a melodic approach that synth laments are wrapping of an intriguing aura of mystery. Keyboard chords draw a fine harmony which fades in this maze of percussions while "Immortal Hours and Passion Flowers" goes into a brief atmospheric passage where crystalline arpeggios and silk choirs are floating in a black hole that some fine percussions redirects towards its heavy tempo of origin. Ambiguity? Absolutely! The 9 titles which feed the indomitability of Indulge the Passion offer superb structures where the passion is devoured at knocks of turmoil with rhythms and melodies which bicker in ambiances sometimes hard rock and sometimes oniric. As a rose growing in the garden of darkness, "The Rose and the Cross" is a pure jewel of sensitivity. It’s a wonderful moment which tears the soul with its strings of violins and cellos crying over sequences / percussions running as wavelets caught in dead water. The rhythm is slow, even statics, with percussions in the Amerindian clanic forms which collect its tears of violins / cellos of which the parameters of sensitivity increase in a latent crescendo structured to tear away tears of the heart. Outstanding and so much heart-rending! "Separate Existence" shakes our emotional torpor with strikes of percussions rolling in an infernal spiral. The percussions fall very hard on a tempo of which the harsh and unbridled rotations drag harmonious chords and supernatural breaths. These voices get lost in synths and guitars which unite their lamentations to form some enthralling melodies both spectral and virginal. In its rhythmic pattern which seems to climb an eternal slope, "Speaking Stillness in the Rose-Flushed-Snow" grave in our ears with its heavy percussions and its flickering sequences. It’s a fascinating and lively electronic ballad to miles tones lying on a bubbling bed of sequences and percussions which shape a heavy but harmonious rhythm eroded by guitars, synth and kazzoo electric which unite their stamps to weave some superhuman laments. It’s the white and the black put in music. "Bealific Vision" is another great melody. It’s a real pearl of tenderness and melancholy with guitars which roar on the back of the fragility of a piano of which the notes embroider the memoirs of a delicate contemplative melody which cries in the fog.
Arpeggios waddling with innocence draw the charming introductory melody of "Fiery Fountain of the Stars" which collapses in a furious whirlwind activated by a good bass line, syncopated sequences and strong percussions. Heavy and edgy, as melodious and ethereal, "Fiery Fountain of the Stars" navigates between tranquility and fury with a surprising resemblance with Tangerine Dream. The somber and lugubrious breezes of the Harmophone introduce the solemn intro of "Passion of Regret" which stumbles and melts into a suave and slow tempo to the scents of Pink Floyd on US and Them. The synth blows its airs of romances of a dark sensuality on a bed of sparkling arpeggios which glitter such as droplets in suspension. The more we move forward and the more it becomes heavy. And, a little after the 6th minute, the percussions fall. They accelerate an evanescent rhythmic which unfolds its wrath with heavy soloing riffs and tremulous sequences before disappearing just like that into floating ambiences where some fragile piano notes roam in abysses filled by protesting spirits whom will be swept by a furious apocalyptic ride. "Compass Me" is another wonderful title. Its intro is swept by the winds of a didgeridoo which blow in a plain filled by a ghostly aura of spectres from deserts. Notes of an acoustic guitar are strolling there, looking for a melody to be lived within, whereas the percussions pierce the horizon to mold a mesmerizing dramatic approach. And it’s through these percussions, this guitar carried by the ochred winds of a didge and the wandering breaths of lost souls that "Compass Me" espouses the fascinating crescendo of a heavy but floating rhythm, like a slow ride in hostile lands where the sands are glittering such as some bubbles bursting under a blazing sun. Chords of an electric piano roam in the grooves of their resonances, displaying the somber comfort of "Continuous Aspiration" which breathes by knocks of cymbals. A sequence emerges. Its keys flicker eagerly, dragging the cymbals in this spasmodic linear dance towards the heavy knockings of a drum which hammers the heavy and incisive rhythm of "Continuous Aspiration". And a feminine voice roars its sensuality on a rhythm of lead, concluding another intense musical journey in the theatrical entrails of a beast to multiple artistic resources.
It's in the broth of pure black and heavy electronic rock that Indulge the Passion assails our senses. Once again the gang of Thorsten "Q" Quaeschning disconcerts with a powerful album to the antipodes of a passion eaten up by remorses. Violent and soft, romantic and prosaic; the universe of Indulge the Passion navigates in full storm, caressing our fantasies and ignoring their rules to sink into the most absolute black. It’s a puzzling and fascinating opus which is in the lineage of Picture Palace Music's big works; by far the most creative band that has emerged in the last decade.

Sylvain Lupari (June 11th, 2012)
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 Picture Palace Music and hear MP3 snippets, you can visit the band's website here:
** There are also great video footages on the Making of Indulge. Here is the link for Part 1:

samedi 9 juin 2012

EMMENS & HEIJ: Journey (2007)

"Journey is a great album inspired by aggressive sequences as well as evasive and smooth cosmic synths"

1 Journey 8:01
2 The Endless Running Messenger 15:32
3 A City Awakens 11:46
4 Rolling Thunder in the Mountains of Hope 11:52
5 Red Clouds over a Misty Swamp 9:28
6 Regaining Breath in the Eye of the Storm 17:49

EMMENS/HEIJ: EH003 (CD 74:26)

It’s on the late that I discovered Gert Emmens & Ruud Heij's Journey. I adored Silent Witnesses of Industrial Landscapes  and The Sculpture Garden and it’s these atmospheres that I discover on this 3rd collaboration between both accomplices since 2004. Journey is a cosmic journey through evolutionary rhythms that the duet feed at knocks of sequences which challenge imagination. Audacious sequences which sometimes sleep but often jostle the order of things established by structures sometimes dreamy, strollers, poetic and melodious.
A beautiful sequence takes shape on gurgling and reverberations of a spatial intro to tones of arcade. It waddles and dances of its agile chords into rich layers synth filled of lines of mist.
As soon as the first breaths of
"Journey" float we are wrapped by this cosmic aura from the Dutch duet. A synth with choir lines adds a warm depth to a synth which espouses a circular movement waving and galloping like a cascade to grave intonations. The synths are fluids and pour beautiful solos typical of Emmens & Heij's tones. Loud and twisted solos which cover a rhythm fed by sequences of which the subdivided and shape shifting keys maintain a harmonious cadence. "The Endless Running Messenger" presents a more cosmic intro where synth breezes float under a rain and its cosmic thunders. While waltzing with oblivion, the synth offers silky lines which roam in loneliness, harmonizing their sadness in the drops which dry before reaching the ground. An oscillating sequence emerges in the shade of celestial choirs filled by grave timbres. It waves in a hypnotic movement, caressing the smooth floating synth layers to amplify its magnetism with strident solos which get lost in a heavy atmosphere and break on the cliffs of cymbals, while the synths take back their rights for an ambient finale. Hypnotic and melodic, the sequential movement of "A City Awakens" hops with a chime tone. The synth is quite enveloping and its lines are dancing out of balance on an aggressive sequence which moulds a spiral rhythm, multiplying its loops with a harmonious fluidity. And the finale is superb with its sequences dance which sparkles in an ethereal fog swollen by fine electronic sound effects.
If you like big weighty sequencers,
"Rolling Thunder in the Mountains of Hope" has something to satisfy your expectations. It’s a powerful track which flows with a restrained rhythm filled by superbly smooth and captivating synth layers caressing a heavy rhythm fed by flickering and motionless sequences. The 2nd portion is even heavier with fluid sequences which hammer a stubborn rhythmic under great soloing nasal breaths. It reminds me a little of the galloping rhythms of Tangerine Dream and the lugubrious ambiences of Redshift. "Red Clouds over a Misty Swamp" is a moment of atmospheric relaxation. It’s a long floating ode fed by a thick cloud of synth layers which invade our ears and invite us in an intense intra-personal reflection where those synth waves waltz in a cosmic nothingness covered of sound effects and choirs roaming like our thoughts wander. "Regaining Breath in the Eye of the Storm" is a superb track which takes root in some very atmospheric ambiences à la TD of their Pink years. A great cosmic and floating layer leads us on a tight-fitting sequencer, from which the divided keys dancing such as scatterbrained fires follow curves which are similar to those we find on "The Endless Running Messenger". These sequences wave with a contained frenzy under whistles from a dreamy synth, creating some structures with oppositions in movements. Rhythmic structures with modulations sometimes tortuous and complex which coil up on a synth to harmonious whistles before being melted in the sweetnesses of beautiful morphic strata, driving "The Endless Running Messenger" towards an angelic peace of mind and its atmospheric finale.
Journey is a very beautiful album. An opus inspired by aggressive sequences as well as evasive and smooth cosmic synths.
Gert Emmens and Ruud Heij blow our mind, ears and imagination on evolutionary structures with sometimes unexpected outcomes. There are no weak moments, no lacks of inspiration and have some great atmospheric passages all over it. There are some juicy winks of eye at the analog exploits of Tangerine Dream on good knocks of heavy sequencers à la Redshift, moulding an attractive album full of rhythms and ambiences which fill the empty spaces. In short it’s a creative, powerful and extremely pleasant album.Sylvain Lupari (April 20th, 2007 & Translated on June 7th, 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

* You can watch a nice video of the title-track on You Tube:
** You can also hear some MP3 snippets on Emmens&Heij website:

jeudi 7 juin 2012

GERT EMMENS: An Artist’s Stroke (2012)

"An Artist’s Stroke is one of the best works of Gert Emmens, if not his best, and undoubtedly one of the jewels of 2012"

1 Cossack Temperament 13:53
2 The Long Walk (Towards the Black Sea) 13:14
3 Paintings-The Themes 16:44
4 Paintings-The Spirituality behind It 7:19
5 The Leningrad Years 12:2
6 Darkness Unfolds 11:40
7 Yuri Pugachov-In Memoriam 3:07

GROOVE: GR-189 (CD 78:30) 

Inspired by the life and works of the Russian painter Yuri Pugachov, from whom one of the paintings (The Garden in Toulouse) decorated the front artwork of The Nearest Fareaway Place Vol.2, An Artist’s Stroke unfolds in 6 musical paintings of which the beauty equals the most beautiful creations of Gert Emmens. The Dutch synthesist has dug at the bottom of his emotions to deliver us a superb album where his sequences and synths, unique to his poetic universe, weave the main lines of an album to rhythms floating in the breaths and lines of synth as harmonious as misty.
Divided into 3 segments "Cossack Temperament" goes out of the limbos with an oblong breath of a nasal synth which loses its threatening character in the voices of a cosmic choir. The rhythm begins with sequences which skip into fine undulations, drawing a rhythm emerging beneath nice foggy synth pads. These flickering sequences harmonize their indecision to undulate like snips of scissors in space and bind at sober percussions, structuring a rhythm oscillating into the layers of a synth to angelic vocalizes. An atmospheric passage smothers this first rhythmic flight with the ephemera threatening lines of the introduction. This time they darken the horizon of a heavy ochre veil which lowers one's guard and let go a sinuous bass line which awakens sleepy sequences in layers of ether. They skip in deep oscillating loops, dissipating morphic clouds which draw a bewitching melody as abstract as discreet before that the rhythm takes back its rights with some furious sequences which bounce and pound in a linear whirlwind. A lively tempo that percussions harpoon of incisive strikings and that a synth dresses of a strange serenade to nasal solos. This structure of "Cossack Temperament" is the skeleton of the titles which compose An Artist’s Stroke, where the intros and atmospheric passages engender some evolutionary rhythms which progress and float like planes carried by winds. Choirs wandering within electronic tones, threatening sequence which gallops slowly around hesitating chords and fleeting synth lines; the intro of "The Long Walk (Towards the Black Sea)" is as much scheming as fascinating. The percussions fall and go astray into sequences which skip finely under a synth injected by an iridescent fog. The rhythm fluid but delicate, "The Long Walk (Towards the Black Sea)" hangs on to a bass line to a slow gallop, shaping a strange sensual blues of which the cosmic environment makes it simply unreal. The chords of an e-guitar add a surprising and fascinating dimension of a western where we imagine a cowboy roamed in a plain full of living monoliths. The rhythm kicks back after a rather long atmospheric moment. Hardly more fluid it gallops in a plain with a fog as harmonious as symphonic, drawing a superb floating tempo which supports its delicacy into fine percussions of which the metallic jingles resound in a foggy angelic choral.
With its long structure to unpredictable outcomes "Paintings-The Themes" is one of An Artist’s Stroke's jewels. An apathic sequential line pierces the dark introductory veil. Its keys waddle, leading sweet carillons which espouse the slow tempo and sparkle beneath a dense cloud of a synth to hybrid tones where some nice angelic voices roam in ethereal mists. A bass line emerges from it and makes dance its notes beneath the gyrating eye of a synth to threatening waves, while slowly the rhythm takes the shape of oblong oscillating curves to wave under the spells of a synth with musical solos. The sequences are isolating to dance in solo, bringing "Paintings-The Themes" towards a brief atmospheric passage where thunders and cosmic tones prepare the entrance of a heavier bass line. Its agile notes pulsate frantically on a long intro before bursting with sequences which the alternate strikings dance beneath rippling synth layers. These sequences which skip in lanes of mist are the core of Gert Emmens' works. They shape a soft melodic rhythm on "Paintings-The Spirituality behind It", dancing a spiral ballet which gives itself to a superb synth with celestial harmonies. Sequences flickering with velocity pop out from the introductory fog of "The Leningrad Years". Like the wings of dragonflies they dance of a stationary movement before being harpooned by a beautiful line of percussions, bringing "The Leningrad Years" towards a tempo made languid. A rhythm which increases its intensity after a brief sequences solo where the harmonies and breezes of the synths move us closer to the melodic rhythms of TangerineDream and Paul Haslinger era. Always agile the sequences beat of their frenzied wings a tempo which wanders in the thin filets of a melancholic synth whereas that slowly the musical painting of "Darkness Unfolds" opens in an ambience tinged with nostalgia before espousing a rhythmic curve slightly more livened up, plunging this very beautiful title to dreamy nuances towards a kind of cosmic blues rocked by a superb synth to harmonies as contemplative as dark. "Yuri Pugachov-In Memoriam" closes with a beautiful electronic ballad inspired by shadows and lights, rhythms and ambiences which embroider the wonderful universe of An Artist’s Stroke, one of Gert Emmens' beautiful albums, otherwise his best, and undoubtedly one of the jewels of 2012.
Sylvain Lupari (June 6th, 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

* You can watch a very good video trailer of An Artist's Stroke on You Tube:

samedi 2 juin 2012

KELLER & SCONWALDER: Orange (2007)

"Orange is an album filled by rhythms evolving within hypnotic structures tinged of a harmonious sweetness"

1 Orange One 21:05
2 Orange Two 40:19
3 Orange & Blue 10:23


Minimalism, languishing, hypnotic and ambivalent tempos flavored by plaintive synths and fluty Memotrons which stick both on musical structures and ears on rhythms; such is the menu of Orange, the in the last opus of Bas Broekhuis, Keller & Schonwalder, masters of modern-day Berlin School. Realized and produced in homage to Dutch EM fans, Orange continues the evolutionary approach on the theory of colors introduced by Noir. A series which gathers live recordings, as well as studio works, that the duet in stored in the course of last years. Bas B. Broekhuis brings a new dimension to the music of Detlev Keller and Mario Schonwalder by breathing life to rhythms which are similar to the floating ambiances of the Berlin duet that follows the paths of Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze for the biggest pleasure of their fans. But you don’t have to be only a fan to appreciate the e-music of Broekhuis, Keller & Schonwalder. If minimalism rhythms which evolve within structures varying between groovy and soft techno, you should be easily appeal by the magic of this German trio to the soul as much poetic than energic and enigmatic.
Played in Culemborg on November 5th, 2005, "Orange One" presents a very atmospheric and deliciously electronic intro. It’s a spatial psychedelic approach, a little as at the time of
Body Love and Klaus Schulze's electronic bats. Shrill sound effects pierce a nebulous cosmic aura accompanied of hesitating Tablas which gain in confidence with the arrival of heavier pulsations. Rickety violins cross this foggy atmosphere before espousing a tone of languorous cellos, rocking the meanders of a dry oblivion. Subtly this movement switches into a great minimalism ceremony which progresses on a bewitching tempo, hiccupping of a firm pace and flooded by superb solos of synths flavored by a suave orchestration. It’s a track for fans of Klaus Schulze. Recorded at the 2002 E-Live Festival, "Orange Two" begins in a hesitating intro, drawing a hopping tempo that a smooth Memotron dresses of a cosmic splendour. Percussions and plaintive synths eye a structure which draws a rhythm minimalism dressed by fanciful violins. The rhythm is at the doors of a groovy techno, between increasing and decreasing processes, to embrace an atmospheric passage, where a cello is soaking in a floating and uncertain ambiance due to percussions and pulsations beating within loopy solos with a zest of spectral breezes. A wrapping crescendo takes back the road of a progressive tempo, always supported by strata of minimalism violins and breezes of ghostly synths, before failing in a contemplative nothingness. This is pure Berlin School at its best! "Orange and Blue" is a studio rehearsal of "Orange Two". We can appreciate the modulations and changes as well as the long progress of its improvisation. Broekhuis, Keller & Schonwalder continues to surprise by delivering an album filled by rhythms evolving within hypnotic structures tinged of a harmonious sweetness. With its progressive and hypnotic rhythms molded into layers of synths to multiple melodious flavors, Orange is a very beautiful opus rather representative of the nowadays Berlin School. A Berlin School matured and evolved which adapts itself with a renewed heat in the new instruments and new technologies of Keller & Schonwalder. The duet does very well in its task of guard dog of an enchanter style with nuances between a soft techno and a harmonious minimalist EM.
Sylvain Lupari (June 29th, 2007 & Translated on June 1st, 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: