samedi 28 juillet 2012

VOLT: Circuits (2012)

"Volt is part of EM big names in the same way as Ramp, Redshift, Arc or Arcane are and Circuits confirms the importance of the English duet in the chessboard of contemporary EM"


1 Circuits 20:24
2 Ohms Law 19:22
3 Firewire 21:38

GROOVE: GR-192 (61:24) ****1/4

It has been a long time since we heard some new music of Volt. And a little more, we would have even waited for a long time. Possibly forever! Nevertheless the “Circuits” project was on rails shortly after the superb HjVi, except that some internal problems (in what I believed to understand) as well as Steve Smith's solo project (Phoenix Arizona) and Michael Shipway's (Journey to Venus and The Three Towers) delayed the finalization of “Circuits” which was conclude by distance with Ron Boots' support who did an amazing job on mixing a whimsical album based on electronic tones of all stripes, depicting the microscopic universe of the electronic chips and circuits. “Circuits” lives by 3 long titles which renew with the long deployments of the minimalist rhythms of Volt, with sequences sometimes docile and sometimes crazy and synths sometimes musical and sometimes aggressive which depict the turbulent universe of Michael Shipway and Steve Smith.
Short waves' cracklings and noises, causing interferences in the absolute oblivion, open the labyrinthic meanders of white noises which compose the title-track's slow introductory path. Some discreet and misty synth waves with a scent of a vague archaic organ float behind these electric phonemes, guiding the abstract ambiences of "Circuits" towards a cosmic passage to finally bind themselves to keys dancing in opposite sense. These sequences which play cat and mouse with an embryonic rhythmic draw a virginal approach with ions cavorting under ghostly waves. And abruptly this innocent rhythm collides the barriers of the impassiveness at 12:13 with muffled knockings which hammer a static and heavy rhythm, keeping beneath its resonances these sequences which flutter with innocence on a structure become of lead. This heavy and melodic rhythm raises allegorical clouds in the presence of synths exchanging solos which are courting mists of ether, releasing a soft perfume of madness with these Arabic airs which decorate a structure already rich in rhythm and harmonies. A rhythmic structure which goes alone to offer to our ears a stunning dialogue of sequences and crackling waves which dies in heavy artificial beatings. "Ohms Law" presents a more musical intro with lines of synth which cross their spectral wanderings above a magnetic storm, while a more premature rhythm settles down with metallic keys which drum a vaporous march under a sky tinted by threatening mists and eclectic tones. A hesitating pulsation emerges from this mini industrial din, modifying a rhythm which becomes more rhythmic with a mixture of pulsations, sequences and percussions sounding as wings of ice-cold locusts. Like a one-legged man, this rhythm skips awkwardly. Staggering, it gains a second leg to roll in undulatory circles under solos of two synths which don’t sing the same melody but which harmonize themselves to flood the ambience of a delicate oniric mist and some great fluty breezes while the rhythm, which wins in heaviness and velocity, is always decorated by these superb wings of electronic locusts.
The rhythmic evolution of "Firewire" is latent. Circulating between wild winds of which the extremities suddenly appear both from heavens and from hell, some fine echoing hoops pop out a little after the 3rd minute to jump in the arc of their resonances under the dark eye of a synth with breaths aired by colorful electronic elements. This short-lived rhythm is gobbled up by a deluge of twisted solos which roll its lamentations in clouds of mist slain by darkness. And it’s in these lost breaths that the rhythm gets back to life beneath another shape, demonstrating all the capacity of Volt to amaze again and again. It’s a splendid rhythmic structure built around fine rebounds stick one after the other, moulding a stunning glaucous ride through the somber tunnels of lines of fire of which the resonances throb such as the black breaths of ['ramp] or Redshift. Fine fluty laments sound the end of this apocalyptic ride which takes more vigour with electronic percussions which hammer a rhythm more lively than curt under wonderful solos to tones as alive as musical, entailing "Firewire" towards a finale which seethes of caresses coming from a musical purgatory as much musical as anarchy.
Volt is part of EM big names in the same way as ['ramp] , Redshift, Arc or Arcane are. And “Circuits” confirms the importance of the English duet in the chessboard of contemporary EM with a powerful album which allies the rhythms and ambiences to the diapason of their paradoxes with a skillful dexterity, witness that the universe of EM is not only between good hands but is also blooming more than ever beyond the unlimited imaginations of its designers.

Sylvain Lupari (July 28th, 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=15372

vendredi 27 juillet 2012

VOLT: HiJi (2008)

"HjVi is unarguably a major work which will please to fans of heavy and dark sequencing à la Tangerine Dream of the 70's, Ramp and Redshift"

1 Primaeval 21:09
2 Atavistic 20:16
3 Signals 20:45
4 Extinction 14:17

GROOVE: GR-152 (CD 76:29) ***1/2

Recorded live at the famous Hampshire Jam festival in 2007 “HjVi” kicks off on hubcaps. After a sound-check intro, where a heavy siren switches into a THX sound effect, "Primaeval" tumbles on heavy and hopping sequencers into an infernal pace captured by a dense mellotron nebulosity gashed of floating pads and watered of juicy synth solos. The intro of "Primaeval" bursts in the ears with a sequential intensity which is so much at the image of the English duet which is strongly inspired by Tangerine Dream of the 70’s. It's a heavy opening which quietly quietens down on a more crystal clear sequence which coos in cascade under a more serene synth and a mellotron as denser as wrapping, creating the rhythmic paradox on which Volt feeds of. Ensues a strange fight of unreal percussions which splits up the tempo under synths to apocalyptic sirens, guiding us towards a finale where the heavy solos get lost in a soft minimalism melody which binds itself to the intro of "Atavistic". A somber morphic sweetness curls up in the cosmos whereas the synth blows some heavy humming flooded in a mellotron which waltzes lonely. Soft piano notes pop out from this astral nebulosity, prelude to a light and minimalist sequential movement which is encircled by a charming synth from which the enchanting lines are multiplying in its echo. This movement hiccups on percussions that have a kind of double echoing impact, while a synth guitar complains in an ambient structure which is not without recalling the world of Robert Rich. "Signals" starts also tepidly. This is dark ambient which waltzes on soft mellotrons before that some beep-beep tones awaken the movement with a heavy sequencer spiting a nervous tempo. A resonant tempo, always coated with beautiful mellotron pads, which will embrace a frolic loudness beneath some vicious synths of which the reverberations borrow textures of guitars. This is pure and loud TD. Simply divine! "Extinction" is the encore and starts with soft floating mellotrons. A little before the 4th minute the movement becomes more accentuated with good sequencing and a soft synth à la Wavelenght. The rhythm becomes more limpid with mixed sequences, creating a rhythm moulded into abstruse hoppings which explodes on strong e-percussions and barrel beneath a rain of solos in a heavy and explosive finale, commanding for another listening of this 5th opus from Volt.
For several “HjVi” is the most complete and accomplished work from Volt. Without claiming to know by heart all of Shipway/Smith catalog (I quite loved Nucleosynthesis), “HjVi” is unarguably a major work. I would even say an inescapable which will delight the fans of heavy and powerful sequences, borrowed to the Berlin School of Tangerine Dream of the 70’s, and more contemporary the pride and loudness of ['ramp] and Redshift, with an audacious ingenuity which suits perfectly in a more modern era. To be listening with all the intensity that it commands.
Sylvain Lupari (December 12th, 2008 and translated on July 26th, 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=11552

lundi 23 juillet 2012

STEVE ROACH: Day out of Time (2012)

"Day out of Time is a superb compilation of titles scattered in the meanders of time that we can see, but especially hear, with the incredible depth of a film which offers us the Dolby Digital"
1 Underground Clouds 5:04
2 Begins Looking Skyward 6:20
3 Walking Upright 6:49
4 This Life 4:35
5 The Dreamer Descends 11:40
6 True West 3:05
7 The Holy Dirt 7:29
8 Merciful Eyes 4:54
9 Two Rivers Dreaming 4:48
10 The Eternal Expanse 10:10
11 The Return 8:22
DVD Time of the Earth The Movie 77:00
1 Underground Clouds 0:49
2 Begins Looking Skyward 4:16
3 Walking Upright 6:30
4 Sound Of Stone 5:20
5 This Life 1:08
6 The Dreamer Descends and True West 4:46
7 The Holy Dir 14:42
8 Merciful Eyes 7:38
9 The Eternal Expanse 9:41
10 The Return 9:53
11 The Return 7:37
12 The Dream Circle 4:35

Audio Track 2
Time of the Earth avec The Dream Circle 73:57
PROJEKT: PRO 272 (CD/DVD 149:27) ****

The adventure of “Day out of Time” and “Time of the Earth” began at the end of the 90's. The film maker and documentary maker Steve Lazur patrolled the immense American western deserts to satisfy his16mm camera of films radiating of striking images. This filmographic route through time lasted over a period of 3 years. Afterward the American cineaste proposed his images to the music of Steve Roach, a pioneer of soundscapes who depicts with a profound poetic glance these immense areas of solitude which cover the Western United States. This unexpected union was going to give “Time of the Earth” (the movie released on September 21st, 2001) and “Day out of Time”, a Steve Roach compilation album (released November, 2002) among which the titles selected from epic albums such as “Early Man”, “Atmospheric Conditions” and “Dreamtime Return”, as well as varied compilations with hard to find material), would dance with Lazur's images of clay. These separate works got scattered in time until they ended out of print and untraceable. Ten years later Sam Rosenthal gathers both works, restored and remasterised them to offer the whole conceptual work in a nice eco-cardboard artwork with a wonderful picture took by Steve Roach as the main theme, where the beauty of Lazur’s images can be now transported wherever we are; in thoughts or in journeys through the ages of the deserts of the mythical American West.
The desert is an arid land whipped by dry winds and it’s in this way that "Underground Clouds" begins this odyssey through the American ergs. Winds as much hot as this cooked ground criss-cross the plains that get lost in the horizon. They blow with variable speeds, penetrating into the big stigmas of the huge rocks which change the hearing current into some subtle wind flutes, while Roach whitewashes his worship for zephyrs with fine organic elements which marinade slowly under the slow guttural drones and the scattered percussions/pulsations which breathe an invisible life to Californian deserts. Less dark "Begins Looking Skyward" and "Walking Upright" (both out of “Early Man”) are floating with a satisfied glance on an earth of which we can only seize the beauty as the crow flies. The synth layers which are floating there free a celestial strength are on a par with the sublimity of the landscapes of clays. The first rhythms of “Day out of Time” make themselves heard at halfway of "Walking Upright". It’s a rhythm usual to those of Steve Roach with fine Amerindian percussions which draw a slow spiritual trance through rangy synth lines which slam like a stroboscopic whip. And the more we move forward in this compilation, as well as in the DVD, the more we feel the affection of the video director and the musician for these lands of desolation. The music of Roach is equal to what the American synthesist wrote at that time; that is long and sinuous of synth line from which the breezes to the colors of rainbow are intertwined in an ultimate magma with rich opaline tones on fine and delicate rhythms which embrace the lunar trances of the peoples of the first nations. These musical landscapes, like in "This Life" throw mixed glances on lands which withdraw towards their earthly sacrifices. These ambient phases are shaken by rhythms sometimes weighed down by deep pulsations while the clanic percussions are sometimes seasoned by more electronic elements, as in "This Life" and the powerful "True West", a rare title that we could found on a mini LP “The Dreamer Descends” among whom the title-track and its paranoiac whispers, its enchanted flutes and its heavy tribal percussions, is also restored on this surprising compilation. "The Holy Dirt" proposes a more fluid rhythm where the trance aboriginal incantations glide on percussions and bass line as round as heavy. "Merciful Eyes" (another rare title from a compilation called “A Storm of Drones”) is a splendid contemplative ode propelled by some quiet and serene winds that some transitory sonic elements disrupt with the aridity of carillons from the deserts. Afterward, "Two Rivers Dreaming", "The Eternal Expanse" (other rarity which nests on an out of print compilation) and "The Return" (from the mythical “Dreamtime Return”) conclude “Day out of Time” with a surprising angelic serenity for an album which depicts the arid lands of the western America.
In spite that the images of the DVD suffer from the wear of time and from the possible points of comparison with the filmic technologies of today, “Time of the Earth” draws its beauty and its power through the rhythms and ambiances of Steve Roach music which, mixed in Dolby Digital Stereo, takes an incredible ambiophonic depth. It’s like listening to another version of “Day out of Time” so much the musical reliefs are incredibly defined. The restoration of the images is precise, so much and so well that we have the vague impression to view the plans of a scale-model of an extraterrestrial world. The colors are of fire and the filming is breathtaking, testifying of the film-maker’s audacity to make us travel through these immense rocks hand-crafted which give a striking lunar approach to these lands of aridity. The music adopts well enough the plans of view and the scrolling of the images which flow like aerial currents, except for those trances moments which are too often move on static shooting. But the contrasting effect is always within the reach of a strange poetry which scatters its stanzas in the winds. And, like on most of the works remixed on the Projekt label contain surprises, this DVD edition offers another audio track which parades on the same images; “The Dream Circle”. It’s another opus from Steve Roach's catalog (Soundquest Recordings - LTD 1, 1994) which is out of print and fits stunningly very well to the images of “Time of the Earth”.
Day out of Time” is a superb combo CD/DVD which is a real incursion in Steve Roach's ancestral musical territories. If the images of Lazur suffer from time and its technologies, the music of Roach stays of a contemporary depth. Navigating between 1995 and 2000, this music by-passes the ages as it criss-crosses the landscapes of clay of which the shooting draws much more pride of the music than the opposite. But no matter, the result is a superb compilation of titles scattered in the meanders of time that we can see, but especially hear with the incredible film depth that offers us the Dolby Digital. A delight, so much for eyes and especially ears!

Sylvain Lupari (July 23rd, 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=15366

mardi 17 juillet 2012

SYNC24: Comfortable Void (2012)

"Comfortable Void is a real journey into the soils of oblivion, there where the mists of Blade Runner float around morphic down-tempos rhythms"
1 Comfortable Void 7:08
2 Inadvertent 7:00
3 Dance of the Droids 6:38
4 1N50MN14 7:05
5 Nanites 7:58
6 Sequor 8:48
7 Something Something 7:26
8 Oomph 10:58
9 Wake (live edit) 9:48
10 There Is No Spoon 8:56

ULTIMAE RECORDS: INRE052 (CD 77:23)

A rippling synth line comes to wrap the radioactive cloud of tones which introduces the title-track of Daniel Segerstad's 2nd solo album, the man behind SYNC24 and also Carbon Based Lifeforms. This wave which purifies the sizzling dusts of the intro embraces some delicate pulsations, guiding "Comfortable Void" towards a soporific down-tempo daubed of a fascinating line of percussions to tones of locusts which hiccup on the same lunar spindle as the melodious synth lines turning in loops in an enchanting psychedelico- morphic cover. Built around 10 titles with rhythms and ambiences wrapped by intros and outros as much ambient as ethereal, “Comfortable Void” is a real musical journey in the country of oblivion and of its artificial breaths which are connecting to slow and semi-slow rhythms that an armada of electronic tones dresses of an aura of a moderated psy-trance. Those who know the works of Ultimae Records know also in which artistic artwork are wrapped the albums of the Lyon label. And “Comfortable Void” is carefully wrapped in a slim case art which includes an illustrated notebook where Daniel Segerstad explains the ins and outs of his 10 titles which run on the contemplative feelings of an oblivion flavored of a lunar poetry.
Caressing the final cosmic phase of "Comfortable Void", "Inadvertent" espouses the introductory tranquility to quietly gallop towards a more sustained rhythm. A rhythm which quivers lazily into the vapors of a metallic ether to undulate with a retained velocity on a spasmodic line filled by hatched hoops. These hoops are turning like a slow lunar stroboscope on cosmic and angelic synth lines which are crisscrossing on a rhythm filled by good percussions and an avalanche of tsitt-tsitt cymbals, sealing the fate of "Inadvertent" which, without exploding, revives the glimmers of hope of a rhythmic approach which is drinking by both hemispheres of SYNC24. Moreover the oscillating lines which throw the oblong murky pulsations of "Dance of the Droids", which seem to beat in the helmet of a psy-cosmic diver, brings us towards these borders of more fluid rhythms. Except that the rhythmic fluidity flows into resounding electronic bends, so slowing down a rhythm which floats around arpeggios with ringings of anvils and residues of organic dusts from a cosmos in fusion, from where one cannot ignored the discreet singings of drunk Droids which slam of their metallic hands a cadence as robotics than hypnotic. Emerging out of the howling synth fluids and dogmatic cosmic drones of a galaxy without romance, "1N50MN14" clickety-clack of its metallic wings towards a slow tempo plugged on a pulmonary ventilator of which the melodious approach is closer to the sighs of an intergalactic fuck than robotics romance. "Nanites" is a smooth title which floats in a cosmos of ether of which the acid winds are moving some carillons which ring near dark voices. The 2nd part embraces an unreal rhythm of Caribbean Islands which quietly submits itself to the influences of a good morphic down-tempo wandering in the lanes of a cosmos adrift.
A melancholic acoustic guitar pierces the ethereal clouds of "Sequor" which is a soft cosmic ballad for cowboys with lost illusions. "Something Something" shakes the membrane of the slowness which wraps “Comfortable Void” since "1N50MN14", with a good bass line to threatening pulsations. The tempo is soft and elastic with strata of a synth which coo in a lunar setting, floating with the tunes of a beautiful melody to hybrid arpeggios which dream in a sphere of slamming percussions. It's undoubtedly the most beautiful title of “Comfortable Void” with "Oomph" whose intro slumbers in a dense cloud of ochred mist, where whispers and sinuous synth line are trailing behind a rhythm which delays to hatch. And it's around the 4th minute that it pops out. Firmly stood on percussions of which the successive strikings are holed of wooden resonances, this long minimalist rhythm unfolds its 7 minutes adorned of fine twinkling arpeggios which glitter of an allegorical chant on a structure oscillating of its stroboscopic spasms. "Wake" matches to the shape of the same structural tangent with a morphic intro which loosens a nice melodious synth line of which the hoops rock the oblivion and these fine and brilliant pulsations/percussions which secrete an evasive rhythm. One waltzes in space when a hatched line delivers some spasmodic riffs which encircle stroboscopic pulsations and tsitt-tsitt cymbals, molding imperfect rotations which saturate in a shape of techno intended for space clones. This rhythmic incursion of “Comfortable Void” runs out in the multi-plasmic layers of "There Is No Spoon", a splendid ambient title which seems to be taken out of the melancholic ambiences of Blade Runner, an album which was undoubtedly of use as basis of this mesmerizing ode to the void and of its undisclosable instincts of seduction.

Sylvain Lupari (July 17h, 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=15360

* If you want to know more about SYNC24 and hear as well as see a promo video trailer of Comfortable Void, you may visit his website: http://sync24.se/
or follow this You Tube link: http://www.youtube.com/v/pFB7VZs1yuk

lundi 9 juillet 2012

VARIOUS DiN: Index04 (2012)

"As much superb as stunning, Index04 is a great compilation which sounds just like an original opus of an awesome progressive Berlin School"

1 Frontiers (Ian Boddy & Erik Wøllo) 5:08
2 Church (ARC) 4:53
3 Soliloquoy (Ian Boddy & Parallel Worlds) 4:56
4 Spooks (Mazmoneth) 4:02
5 Ascension (Boddy & Wøllo) 3:56
6 Dervish (Reuter & Boddy) 4:36
7 The Wayfarers (Wøllo & Wöstheinrich) 4:31
8 Continuum-Alpha (Ian Boddy) 4:07
9 Shade (Parallel Worlds) 4:27
10 De Molay (Mazmoneth) 4:01
11 Exploration (Wollo & Wostheinrich) 5:14
12 A Moment of Gliss (Ian Boddy) 3:06
13 Veil (Ian Boddy) 4:03
14 Frightening Frontiers (Parallel Worlds) 3:21
15 The Climb-Ascent (Ian Boddy) 3:03
16 Impresario (Ian Boddy & Parallel Worlds) 4:46
17 Yesterdays Memories (Ian Boddy) 4:42
18 Spiral Manoeuvre (Reuter & Boddy) 4:56

DiN 040 (CD 77:48)

A compilation from DiN Records is an event in itself. In spite of the fact that every volume of the Index series is a compilation of the last 9 albums released on DiN, each one pours in our ears with a quite other artistic dimension. Index04 distances itself even more with a musical reach which penetrates into the somber corridors of a deep and black Berlin School, in the genre of Ian Boddy or of his duet with Mark Shreeve; Arc. Ian Boddy made a very beautiful collection of titles which interlace as in a single musical mosaic filled by the various styles which teem within DiN. Whether it’s a progressive and contemporary EM, like with Derwish (Reuter & Boddy), or an eclectic down-tempo, as with Mazmoneth's Music by Mirrors or still a somber experimental Berlin School à la Parallel Worlds, the choice of tracks and the order in which Ian Boddy juxtaposed them give the impression that we are flirting much more with an original work than a compilation to the scents of an old Berlin School shaken by contemporary elements.
So, "Frontiers" from the 
Boddy/Wollo duet makes us relive the beautiful years of Tangerine Dream with a steady rhythm and synths filled by the aromas of Stratosfear. A muffled rhythm which hesitates as steps of wolves and synths with fluty breaths, "Church" from Arc (Boddy/Shreeve) pursues this tangent of a heavy and fluid Berlin School introduced by Tangerine Dream with the era Ricochet /Rubycon. This heavy rhythm evaporates in the lethargic ambiences of "Soliloquoy" and its fine crystalline keys which dance along arrhythmic percussions. This soft tempo is rocked by some nice foggy synth layers which run away towards "Spooks" of Mazmoneth (my very favorite for 2011) and his delicate jazzy up-tempo structure, while "Ascension Day" loops the loop of this first incursion into Berlin School with a superb musical ambient journey drowned by luxurious strata of a very poetic synth. What to do with a track as much hard-hitting as "Derwish"? Well, we break the atmospheres of a Berlin School at its both antipodes to dive into a powerful electronic progressive rock à la sauce King Crimson. This is what the title-track of this stunning album offers; a break up-beat coated by floating synth layers and guitar treatments worthy of the legendary Frippertronic. The journey in the cortices of the universe of DiN contemporary EM of continues with "The Wayfarers" taken from the Arcadia Borealis album which dances on the heavy rhythm of a tribe without borders. A rhythm blazed by strata as melodious as spectral which; taken out of their context, take quite another depth. Another title that we savor in another way is "Continuum - Alpha" that Ian Boddy presented in his double compilation CD, Pearl. This title espouses marvellously the jerky rhythm and the spectral synth forms of "The Wayfarers". With Parallel Worlds' "Shade" we have the feeling to swim at deep in the black but romantic universe of Arc. The notes of piano which run and dance slightly in the echoes of percussions slamming into chthonian ambiences add more depth to a compilation which makes relive the somber rhythms of a black Berlin School broken by more contemporary structures.
"De Molay" follows to continue our immersion in the meanders of an EM as black as poetic. This super track from
Mazmoneth offers a down-tempo torn between its threatening ambience and its soft melancholic phase. "Exploration" from the Wollo/Wostheinrich duet is sticking to a tinkled synth which rings a ballad on a supple rhythm split up by arrhythmic pulsations. "A Moment of Gliss" follows with the ghostly beauty of its Martenot waves before "Veil" and its big wings of a predator Mellotron entails us in the lightning whirlwinds of the powerful Church. Ian Boddy's are dragging us even more further into the hollow of a stunning heavy and dark musical journey and "Frightening Frontiers" makes the link between the heavy and static rhythms of Arc to those more limpid and fluid from "The Climb-Ascent" while "Impresario", out of Exit Strategy, seems to pop out of some Boddy/Shreeve sessions. If "Yesterdays Memories", out of Boddy's Slide album, pushes the Martenot waves on a more technoid structure, "Spiral Manoeuvre" from Boddy/ Reuter brings us back into the meditative breaths of a dark ambient music with one of the floating moments from Derwish.
As much superb as stunning, this
DiN's Index04 is not a usual compilation. We may know the 9 albums that go between our ears; every title chosen lets itself be rediscovering in a context which gives them a so unsuspected dimension that the illusion of being in front of an original work is not false. Index04 is a very good opus and an inescapable compilation skillfully forged by the brilliant Ian Boddy.

Sylvain Lupari (July 8th, 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=15346


vendredi 6 juillet 2012

MANIKIN RECORDS: Second Decade 2002/2012

"This compilation is an open door to a musical univers filled of stunning surprises"

CD 1 (69:27)
Prelude (Raughi) 2:51
Snap Shot (Fanger & Schönwälder) 8:04
Saint Paul´s Cathedral Chorus Girl (Picture Palace Music) 3:41
Sun Gate (W.A.dePHUL) 5:24
DE 7208 (Kagermann & Keller) 12:14
Schöne Landschaft (Thomas Fanger) 6:55
Improvised Music (Rainbow Serpent) 10:08
Vienna Calling (Broekhuis, Keller & Schönwälder) 9:02
Guitarmoon (Cosmic Hoffmann) 5:08
Zeitmaschine (Filterkaffee) 5:57
CD 2 (73:19)
Nazareth, PA (Bas Broekhuis) 8:45
Track for Michael Hoenig (Excerpt) ['ramp] 8:58
Forgotten Places (Keller & Wienekamp) 5:25
Moab-Jam (Lutz Graf-Ulbrich) 6:15
Philadelphia (Broekhuis & Schönwälder) 13:11
Elements 18 (Rainbow Serpent, Isgaard & Kagermann) 5:08
Metropolis Part 2 (Keller & Schönwälder) 5:26
A Rainy Day (Spyra) 12:55
Winterland (Mario Schönwälder) 7:13

MANIKIN RECORDS: MRCD7096 (2CD 142:46)

Mario Schonwalder is an icon of contemporary EM. This supporter of long and slow minimalist movements has knocked about the world for more than 25 years, bearing on his shoulders the vestiges of a Berlin School EM creates and abandoned by Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze. It’s in April 92 that Mario Schonwalder launched the Manikin Records label with the release of Closed by my Distance. Without knowing it, the German musician created an institution. Beyond the quality of the label works, Mario Schonwalder and his music companions got constantly involved in the research and development of EM instruments, of which famous Memotron, giving to EM new breaths and horizons that were going to enhance the mesmerizing structure of the Berlin School style. Twenty years and a hundred of albums later, Manikin celebrates the event with Manikin Records Second Decade 2002/2012; a wonderful double album which depicts marvellously the universes without borders of the artists who contributed to the development of the German label.
Raughi Ebert starts things up with "Prelude", a very poetic title where an acoustic guitar rolls its melancholy of a fluid air and with a chirping synth that some pulsations/percussions are harpooning of an ephemeral embrace. "Snap Shot" plunges us into the disturbing universe of Fanger & Schonwalder with a slightly technoïd tempo. It’s a minimalist and hypnotic beat wrapped of a fascinating electronic aura where mysterious voices, ochred breezes and ethereal mists cradle a very mesmerizing Berlin School procession fed by pulsatory percussions and twirling sequences. 
Picture Palace Music's "Saint Paul Cathedral Chorus Girl" is a superb title, weighty and slow where the synths are roaring with a somber passion. It’s as blacker as it’s theatrical and it’s very Thosrsten Quaeschning. W.A.dePHUL offers a stunning and more romantic version of "Sun Gate" whom he had written in 1989 together with Edgar Froese and Paul Haslinger. Kagermann & Keller's "DE 7208" is another captivating title à la sauce Berlin School. Based on a strong bass line, the rhythm is heavy and swirls on sequences which alternate vigorously, braiding a heavy hypnotic and harmonious movement that synth layers and sighs of violins wrap of a mesmerizing melody which zigzags such as a harmonious spectre. Simply delicious! Intriguing, "Schöne Landschaft" evolves with the magnetism of its bewitchment. This title from Thomas Fanger is without a precise rhythm and progresses in the circles of its massif whirlwind, dropping some frail notes which spin in the furrow of winds to forge some scattered melodic fragments which dance for a strange spherical ballet. After an intro stuffed with silvered breezes the rhythm of Rainbow Serpent's "Improvised Music" dives in an enthralling Berlin School structure. Cymbals with nervous jingles surround some circular chords which have difficulty in climbing an ascending rhythm. Other chords are added. Their limpidities, as well as their supplenesses, clear up a rhythm which waves of its wide oscillatory loops under piercing solos. "Vienna Calling", from Broekhuis, Keller & Schonwalder, lays on a morphic rhythm which quivers slightly under sober knocks of sequences and percussions, while the synths sing some spectral airs. The title plunges delicately into ambient corridors before bouncing furiously with percussions whose unchained strikings support the abundance of sequences which mould a furious rhythm beneath synth solos to twisted lamentations. Cosmic Hoffmann lugs us around in his secret territories with "Guitarmoon"; a strange cosmic ballad fed in the metalicity of the sitar strings from which the notes resound with aromas more psychedelic than electronic. Filterkaffee's "Zeitmaschine" ends this first CD with a dark and ambient title eaten away by reverberating and caustic breezes which cling to pulsations, as much muffled as discreet, which emerge and disappear in a cerebral cosmos eroded by bipolar musical poetries.
Bas Broekhuis' "Nazareth, PA" is in the same lineage as the Repelen series with a fine hypnotic tribal rhythm wrapped by Thomas Kagermann's violin. Faithful to his trademark, ['
ramp] offers a heavy title filled with resonant pulsations. Crystal clear sequences flutter around the black rhythm of "Track for Michael Hoenig", among which each of the pulsations make vibrate our spinal. Heavy and powerful, this Stephen Parsick's title displays all the magic of the EM analog universe where all the nuances and perceptions weave a mesmerizing parallel between the heavy rhythm which moves with hesitation and the limpid harmonies forged in crystalline sequences. "Forgotten Places" is this kind of melody which weaves an earworm. It's all a universe that Keller & Wienekamp draws in not even 6 minutes of music with some sequences which swirl in the breaths of an absent synth, moulding an innocent melody which strolls around sequences/percussions to tones of anvils. A line of sequence comes to harpoon the hesitation, entailing "Forgotten Places" in a delicate gallop which rides the plains of mists and harmonious solos while the rhythm eventually espouses a technoid tangent. That’s very melodious. With "Moab-Jam", Lutz Graf-Ulbrich transports us towards the borders of the vintage years psychedelic improvisations from the Krautrock movement with a well chiselled guitar which frees its harmonies on Tablas percussions. "Philadelphia" brings us back in EM territories with very Vangelis synths which blow vigorously on twinkling sequences and sober pulsations. Abstracted, the rhythm offered by Broekhuis & Schönwälder soon turns into a lascivious groovy which sways hips smoothly under synths with harmonious breezes as much spectral as sensual. Rainbow Serpent's  "Elements 18" is a sweet melody which sits on a kind of morphic techno where the voice of Isgaard and the violin of Kagermann float with a delicious mixture of tribal and cosmic. Those who liked Stranger are going to adore. "Metropolis Part 2", from Keller & Schonwalder, is a pure ambient and floating delight while Spyra's "Rainy Day" stigmatizes our waits with a furious tempo of which the wide oscillatory zigzags remind me the evasive rhythm from Tangerine Dream on Cool Breeze of Brighton. These sequences wind around cymbals jingles which embrace the tempo with cold bites, awakening our senses when some typing keys discourse in a strange solo, as to escape the dense layers of a synth which also frees luxurious solos. Floating and vampiric, these solos roam such of as predators' wings, waiting for the fragility of the piano notes which subdivide the impressive rhythmic course of "Rainy Day". Absolutely brilliant! Credit where credit's due! Mario Schonwalder concludes this splendid compilation with "Winterland"; a rather ambient title where synth layers with scents of fuzzy violins hatch a dark and secret atmosphere filled with wandering choirs and chords.
Like a safe that we open to all decades, Manikin Records Second Decade 2002/2012 contains beautiful small jewels. Musical pearls which depict marvellously the universe of Manikin. It’s the door of a musical world that has as only borders the immense curiosity and avant-gardism of its pioneers who transcend the Berlin School style to give always it this second breath.

Sylvain Lupari (July 6th, 2012)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=15344


lundi 2 juillet 2012

TANGERINE DREAM: Electric Mandarine Tour (Montreal 2012)

THE RETURN OF THE DREAM

The love story between the Montreal public and Tangerine Dream goes back to a superb concert, considered by several as being a classic, given at La Place des Arts in April, 1977. Since then, the group of Froese came back only 2 other times; in June 86 at the Lac des Dauphins (La Ronde) and at the same La Place des Arts in September 92. It’s so much too little for a cult group who maintains his legions of fans in Quebec since that Stratosfear has invaded the radio waves of the rock station CHOM-FM in 1976. It's thus like something 20 years later that the nostalgic fans, as well as new followers, looked forward to the raising of curtains for this show which was at light years of the very first historic rendezvous.
Keys get lost among the heavy percussions which hammer a rhythm of lead and "The Sensational Fall of the Master Builder" burst out with all the power that we know of this boiling track from Finnegan's Wake. The tone is set. Although very loud, the music of the Dream flows like magical in our ears. We know that we will attend to quite a concert. "Dolphin Dance", "The Cliffs of Sydney" and "Song of the Whale, Part II" follow with all the correctness of their lyrical approaches. The interpretations are simply wonderful. The synths are fluid and harmonious while the rhythmic, sometimes too loud, adds an impressive dimension to these titles builder of memories. These too powerful rhythms bury all the melodious nuances of "Ayumi's Loom" and "Logos" (which I recognize hardly) but return justice to the great "Marmontel Riding on a Clef" as well as the rocky "Oriental Haze". After a very long version of "Love on a Real Train", where Edgar and Thorsten gave a beautiful duel synth/sequences, the vibrating interpretation of "Underwater Twilight" comes to loop the loop of the memories from the 86 tour. Bernhard Beibl who is as much cutting as Zlatko Perica, but a bit quieter, gave quite a performance on "Homeless" where the heavy and incisive guitar solos awaken memories of the 92 tour. After a rather rocky version of  "Going West", "One Night in Space" leads us to one of the highlights of the evening; the striking version of "The Silver Boots of Bartlett Green".
The 20 minutes break gave me the chance to collect the emotions of the crowd towards this first part. And all the people asked are unanimous to say that we attend to a page of history and that it’s simply an outstanding event. If some are disappointed not to hear more timeless great classics, the vast majority of them were captivated by "The Silver Boots of Bartlett Green" (what a blasty version!) as well as the opening track ("The Sensational Fall of the Master Builder") which nailed us to our seat.
Then came along Edgar. Dressed in black, as all the band, he sat alone on his virtual piano (showed by a big TV screen behind him). Lonely and looking so fragile he starts dropping notes that comfort the audience which went mad when we recognized knows the classic of the classics; "Ricochet". After came "Lady Monk" and "Long Island Sunset", which bring to light Linda Spa and her flute, while "Blue Bridge" came to loop another timeless loop of the 92 tour with a splendid duet consisted of Linda Spa and Edgar Froese who were exchanging solos of saxophone and guitar. Edgar is as well moving as Linda can be sensual. That was another highlight and still other great moments were waiting for us after the nice version of "Alchemy of the Heart" where, dressed in his melancholic air, Thorsten Quaeschning frees the first notes of "Warsaw in the Sun". I still have tears in my soul while writing this. Me who always dreamed of seeing TD played "Warsaw in the Sun", there I was and there it was. What a great moment that will be engraved in my heart and memories for years. It’s a strong and powerful interpretation which allies the romance of this classic to the passion of TD's last year’s musical orientations. And the excerpt "Horizon" glued me in my dreams with another superb musical intrusion in this epic title. There was this strange duel violin (Hoshiko Yamane) / percussions (Iris Camaa) before that "White Eagle" made vibrate our backbone, while "Legend's Loved by the Sun" should have remained a legend. "Stratosfear ' 95" encloses this 2nd part with a heavy and hammering version which will resound in our ears much later the Encores which includes an interpretation of Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons, a title sung by Thorsten Quaeschning (to I am told that it was The Doors' Crystal Ship, I would have thought of Cry Little Sister from Under Cover) and a lightning version of "Phaedra".
It’s nearly 200 minutes of music, souvenirs and nostalgias that paraded in my ears on this evening of June 20th, 2012 at La Place des Arts. It’s also a 4th concert for 4 decades and as much different periods that make the link between them. Because there is always a vital lead in the music of Tangerine Dream. A link which makes that even if it's quite different, everything is at the same time alike. And this thread is Edgar Froese. You should have to see the old silver fox, with his eyes filled with melancholy and pride, guided his 5 musicians with a surprising complicity in a setlist which reflects admirably all the dimension of Tangerine Dream. Yes I shall have loved to hear more classics, but not at the price of excluding some jewels such as "The Sensational Fall of the Master Builder", "Marmontel Riding on a Clef" or still "The Silver Boots of Bartlett Green". The solution would have been that the Dream plays more than 4 hours, even 5 hours, to satisfy all those who are ardent supporters of this group which known how to navigate against all odds for more than 40 years. And when the only negative point towards this event is the lack of time, even after more than 3 hours of music, it does signify that the rendezvous with the magic of Tangerine Dream was more than a simple success!
Sylvain Sylvain Lupari (July 2nd, 2012)