samedi 30 mars 2013

CODE INDIGO: MELTdown (2013)

“Without being hard-hitting, MELTdown is another small wonder from Code Indigo that speaks to us, sings to us and enchants us”

1 Welcome to the Asylum 5:01
2 Meltdown 4:48
3 City of Fools 2:00
4 Costing the Earth 3:28
5 Eco-Nomic 4:31
6 Information Cascade 6:15
7 Keep Taking the Pills 8:26
8 Black Gold 2:03
9 ID Code 9:00
10 Carbon 2:55
11 In the Dark 5:30
12 The Men who Crashed the World 7:33
13 Bail Out 3:53
14 Bankers in Wonderland 3:55
15 Greed in the Bubble 3:21
16 Bonus Culture 3:23

AD MUSIC | AD 109CD (CD 76:04) **** (Soft and melodious progressive EM)

After an absence of more than 7 years, Code Indigo makes a strong comeback with a solid album which allies ethereal progressive rock to melodic EM. “MELTdown” is a delicious concept album which denounces white collar bandits and their economic crimes. There are lots of noises and background ambiences in this finely polished album, indeed, the atmospherics remind us of Pink Floyd with voices and brief commentary of current events weaving within rhythms and ambience. The music, and its musical themes, bewitches us, both by a delicate harmonious approach and the constant progression of its splendidly content rhythms. Code Indigo forges a musical story that conjures up an image of the failure of society and the financial sharks in suits. Beyond its story, “MELTdown” is the result of a strong musical consortium where David Wright, Dave Massey, Neil Fellowes, Nigel Turner-Heffer and Dave Bareford charm as much as they amaze with an album which seems as timeless as the talent of its authors.
Winds, gratings of blue metal, rustles and jerky ringings which scroll with hesitation herald the opening "Welcome to the Asylum" which widens its five minutes in an asylum where the noises and spectral winds feed constantly a climate of paranoia. We are hearing easily the lost arpeggios which ring in an ill-assorted harmony, where tears of synths kiss the emptiness. They evaporate to make room the chords of an piano with a vague melody that hangs onto the elytrons of cymbals in order to merge into the soft rhythm of the title-track. Arched on a bass line, from which the chords are cooing in a soft undulatory shape, sober percussions and synth lines with crisscrossed tremors, "Meltdown" seizes our ears with a superb guitar which draws a haunting, melodious riff. The rhythm is fluid. Not aggressive, it sits astride a sonic valley. Escorted by azure winds, hiding suspicious lamentations, by eroded hopes as well as by lines of guitars and synth with moods torn between soft, progressive and ethereal e-rock. It buries itself in the lost ambiences of "City of Fools" and of voices tinted with scorn which curse to the black winds and spectral lamentations of floating guitars, before being reborn out of its ambiences with "Costing the Earth". The track evolves into "Eco-Nomic" and the rhythm softens into sequences which flicker in a static sphere where guitars and synth are exchanging harmonies through some suave morphic solos. The rhythm takes back its vigour to put down its last chords in the organic intro of "Information Cascade". The big wealth of “MELTdown” is its sound depth! There is no weak spot over the 76 minutes which fill this latest magical opus from Code Indigo. And this intro of "Information Cascade" is a perfect example. With the gurgling, cascading noises that fills the veils of the ether and then the tears of violins waltzing beneath a thick cloud of pulsations of which the beatings forge a pounding rhythm, "Information Cascades" pulls us between its dynamic rhythms and lamenting mood conclude “MELTdown” first segment.
Even if the rhythm is pulsating, "Keep Taking the Pills" reveals its soft harmonic veil with a melancholic piano whose relaxing notes fly through the breathe of a lunar saxophone. A duel takes shape between the guitar and the piano where the music witnesses an atmosphere of morphic jazz on a rebellious rhythmic structure that is kept harmoniously well tamed.
With sparkling arpeggios which cavort with innocence to join the chords of a guitar weaving through an embryonic rhythm, "Black Gold" surfs on a line of blue vapor, establishing the link between the atmospheres of "Keep Taking the Pills" and the incisive rhythm of "ID Code". Strong percussions and sequence lines are crisscrossed and flutter to shape the structure of an edgy rhythm where the guitars treat our ears to solos sculptured in harmonious rock. Angels with crystal breaths and synth with seraphic strata take this rhythm into an ethereal universe, giving the final part of "ID Code" with its more hammered rhythm and chords under anvil tones of solos and melodic synths spread out their vampiric veils in the edgy harmonies and solos of guitars, sculpturing “MELTdown” 2nd musical part. The further forward we move into “MELTdown” the more it wraps us in its aura of melodious and ethereal splendour. On the soft harmonious tones of a keyboard and its keys of gentle glass, "Carbon" hints at some leftover rhythms under the cover of its mislaid voices which come back to denounce constantly the power of the economic world. The mood becomes dark and we fall in the airs of "In the Dark" and its lugubrious synth line which groans over an organ like fine rain. Guttural rustling threaten this fragile balance between despair and its antagonist when angelic voices rise and chase away the agonies. Leaning on a line of a slightly humming bass, a soft guitar joins these oracles of silvered voices and morphing solos which cry out in the tranquility of a track which frees itself in the cosmic waves of a seraphic finale. And then "The Men who Crashed the World" falls on our ears like cosmic blues. Drinking in all the sonic elements which fill the mixed ambiences of “MELTdown”, this guitar navigates on a deep and increasing rhythm to be swallowed by a synth and its mystic solos. There follows a harmonious duel where the two main musical entities of “MELTdown” are trading their moods and harmonies in a superb morphic blues. "Bail Out" follows with a nervous rhythm where the pulsations and the metallic ringings forge a tempo which bubbles without ever bursting. And this melody, embroidered in a fusion of guitars and synths, forge the last part of “MELTdown” which crosses the increasing rhythms of "Bankers in Wonderland" and "Greed in the Bubble" to end in the soft atmospheres of "Bonus Culture", where footsteps fade out behind a door which slams violently.
In spite of an absence of more than 7 years and a new line-up with only David Wright remaining from the original band, Code Indigo has not stagnated. Without being hard-hitting or aggressive, “MELTdown” possesses the harmonious colours of its writers. It's an album which transports us constantly over the course of its soft rhythms and bewitching melodies to a musical universe embroidered with imagination that respects the vast musical experiences of the members of this mythical English EM band. It is not just well done, it is extremely well done. And it speaks to us, it sings to us and it enchants us.

Sylvain Lupari (March 29th, 2013)

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=15986

vendredi 29 mars 2013

TRAUMKLANG: Natural Phenomenons (2006)

“Natural Phenomenon is a crossing between floating, psychedelic and sequenced music with many nuances in a very sclerosed cosmic world”

1 Wetterleuchten 18:28
2 Nebelschwaden 24:22
3 Sternenfunkeln 23:50

SynGate |CD-R TK21 (CD-R 66:40) ***½
(Analog ambiospherical EM)

As far as I am concern, Traumklang is a riddle in the wonderful world of EM. Sometimes a trio, with Frank Klare and Peter Farn, sometimes a duet and finally a solo entity, this initial EM project conceived by Dominik Ebert and Carola Kern navigates on the electronic oceans since the beginning of the 90's without making nevertheless too many waves. And when we speak about Traumklang in the social standing, the expressions are illuminated with admiration while too little speak about the music and the works (I counted more than 20) of this musical project as much discreet as a pope's cold. It is thus with a lot of interrogation that I kissed the musical decoration of “Natural Phenomenon” which is a nice immersion in the universe of vintages tones.
We navigate in the intersidereal spheres of the cosmic music with the opening of "Wetterleuchten" which sounds a bit like that of Software in Electronic Universe II with all these strata a bit philharmonic which waltz and roam in a cosmos jostled by enormous spatial waves and flooded with analog sound effects. Our ears are the witnesses of a fusion between two universes at the diapason of their possibilities with this silky intro which awakes the nostalgic passions with waves of Mellotron which come down from an absolute blackness to surround of a cosmic sweetness the percussions which peck the heavy atonal ambiences of a more concrete rhythm. A sustained rhythm which spins slowly such as a psychedelicosmic waltz and where the memories of old electronic and cosmic rock of Adelbert Von Deyen fill our ears with a Mellotron which multiplies its layers to tones of dark organ. This outline of rhythm fails in an intensely atmospheric phase at around the 9th minute. This is a short ambiospheric moment which starts to buzz intensely, a little as on Pink Floyd's On the Run without the cymbals, with a heavy oscillator line which gurgles and deeply swirls in a circular and static chassé-croisé where the rhythm turns constantly in a broth of electronic tones, there where are hiding these old tones of organ. It is a black, heavy and lively rotary movement which is inspired by the corrosive atmospheres of Klaus Schulze. "Nebelschwaden" presents a long ambiospherical intro with reverberations, sometimes twisted and sometimes threatening, as well as resonant synth pads which wind and float among some ringings and the scattered knocks of percussions. These percussions mark the time, as a metronome and its echo, in a long phase devoid of harmonies but rich in electronic sound effects of which the effect of stereophony is quarreling for our attention. One can hear some lost mooing mutter on a structure which sounds more and more like some Adelbert Von Deyen, whereas that the percussions reconcile their strikings, hammering a rhythm of false rock which skips in the vapors of a Mellotron sticks with a bad cold. A bass line and its hopping chords adopt the shape of this minimalist rhythm which charms the ear with these waves a bit eroded coming from a keyboard and of its soft perfumes of lunar organ, while that riffs of a blind guitar finalises the basis of what we can call a smooth psychedelicosmic rock. Remember Iron Butterfly? Well, let say that it might be this US psyrock band playing EM. Under its ringings to the asymmetric strikings and its cosmic sound effects, "Sternenfunkeln" remains suspended in the purest lifelessness. Cemented in its cosmic ambience filled by floating impulses, the track evolves slowly beneath the thick sounds arms of a Mellotron synth of which the soft orchestral wanderings form a strange symbiosis with these keys in the colors of glockenspiel which sparkle in a sterile felted crescendo. It is a track of ambience, without percussions nor agitated sequences, which glides in a static universe which seems infinite. Hum … I have to admit that I stayed on my appetite with Traumklang's “Natural Phenomenon”. With comments gleaned here and there on the Net and among my friends, I expected something more hard-hitting. I am quits for a small pleasure with this mixture of both Teutonic universes which moves to the limits of their styles, without ever really nesting there in a definitive way. It is a crossing between floating, psychedelic and sequenced music with many nuances in a very sclerosed cosmic world. For those who love ambient in its many shapes.

Sylvain Lupari (September 20th, 2006 and translated on March 26th, 2013)
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=8798

jeudi 28 mars 2013

TRAUMKLANG: Homophony (2012)

“Now, here is something totally bewitching! Homophony is a pure delight of hypnotism where sweet earworms proliferate in a musical decor as charming as surrealist”

1 Längst vergangene Zeiten 4:04
2 Musique, Antique, Electronique 20:32
3 Just for Fun 4:28
4 Gleichklang 10:06
5 Cuculidae 20:17
6 More Fun 5:32

SynGate | CD-R TK24 (CD-R 64:59) ****
(Minimalist, hypnotic and melodic Berlin School)

When I'm starting a review, I begin with a lot of carefreeness. I put the silvery ring in my NAD CD player and I read or I play chess. And when my eyes frown at certain passages, I know that I have in my ears an album which has some potential. But when I am not capable any more of reading, or of concentrating to play chess, I understand that I have something very big. And nevertheless … What to think of “Homophony”? Well I would begin by saying that it is an album of a disconcerting simplicity which is build around two long epic tracks. An album which at first sight seems very accessible. It magnetizes the mind with these multiple layers of harmonies and of quiet rhythms which pile up on long minimalist structures. These harmonies and these artless rhythms infiltrate into our ears, weaving endless earworms which charm as much that they haunt on minimalist movements soaked with this Teutonic stoicism that is cybernetic Berlin School. Here we are! You have the rundown. But did I insist well enough on saying that you go to be magnetized? Here is how's that will occur.
First of all "Längst vergangene Zeiten" entails us straight in the enchanter minimalist universe of “Homophony” with a Teutonic cold rhythm. It's a kind of synth-pop à la Kraftwerk which is lacking of vitamin at the level of the automated percussions and of which every blow from it emasculates its alter-ego which rings of an ecstasy while hiccupping under the waves twisted of a black synth and of its iridescentes mists. In fact, this is a metronomic pretext to the delicious "Music, Antique, Electronique" whose hollow winds make the bridge between both tracks. And "Music, Antique, Electronique" will nail you in the comfort of your bliss with sinuous floating synth waves which raise delicate percussions, introducing a rhythm progressing softly under the layers of an organ with tones of the Flower Power years. Other percussions, more robotics, are stamping a finely jerky structure which will shell the first 13 minutes of a hypnotic minimalist movement, like a snake to bouncy undulations, to which is added many sound elements such as organic tones, scattered ringings, harmonies with criss-crossed tones and synth lines in pluralistic forms sometimes shrill, stroboscopic or abstract but always harmonious which sometimes exchange their harmonies for some solos in the shape of cosmic fog or for vampiric waves. At first listening it could sounds simplistic, but I can guarantee you that the bewitching which forges these enchanting and hypnotic earworms comes quite quickly on this structure which hiccups and rocks in an ambience mi psychedelic and mi Teutonic. Then "Music, Antique, Electronique" stumbles in a dense cosmic magma after its 13th minute when a black hole breathes of heterogeneous tones which skip in the absorbing winds of the void. A fine synth wave emerges from it and pulses delicately up to the intro of "Just for Fun" of which the start is a fusion of Baffo Banfi and Jean Michel Jarre merry electronic sambas which draw up its dance steps in a sound fauna sounding so much as a as youthful Kraftwerk with psychedelic gases (pouett-pouett, tchou-tchou). Sic!
"Gleichklang" begins the 2nd portion of “Homophony” cerebral journey with dense synth layers of which the echoing oscillations are upholstered by iridescent mist. Even cloistered in an ambient dumbness, the structure livens up delicately, pulsing with a sweetness in the puny harmonies of the hesitating arpeggios which skip awkwardly in this intense bath of lunar fog. Then comes "Cuculidae", the real jewel of “Homophony”. Drops ooze on the walls of the world, moulding a quiet halieutic symphony which let itself being caressed by the cuckoos of diurnal owls. One would imagine being in the universe of Kitaro and his famous Full Moon Story with these paradisiacal elements which surround our ears of a fascinating ode to nature. And it's in the most complete serenity that Carola Kern dresses, piece by piece, this surprising musical delight that will not stop to charm us throughout its slow evolution. You have to hear these shouts of tropical birds kiss this serenity, magnetizing our attention while that subtly a line of sequences spreads its series of keys, charmer of ears, to undulate with aphasia such as a thick cloud of small snakes of glass of which the coils fit together in the Eden of the floating water lilies. We cannot ignore the charms of Richard Pinhas' sequences movements of Iceland which embalm the harmonies of this long minimalist musical carnival while that the waves of synth coo constantly in this decor to thousand harmonious colors. This is simply magnificent and we want this charming minimalist lullaby to last even much more than its 20 minutes. A delight of hypnosis and abandon! And a little as with "Just for Fun", "More Fun" sounds out of tune with a robotic approach à la Kraftwerk where the annoying noises of the Autobahn traffic, and other iconoclastic clamours, overhang a jerky and cold rhythm interpreted by a gang of robots under painkillers.
I was pleasantly surprised by this album of Traumklang. “Homophony” is a pure delight of hypnotism and bewitchment where earworms proliferate in a musical decor as charming as surrealist. It is not complicated, even simple-minded at the limit, but magnificently well orchestrated by Carola Kern who amazes behind her consoles by delivering an excellent opus that I recommend without hesitations.

Sylvain Lupari (March 27th, 2013)
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=15985

mercredi 27 mars 2013

SYNERGY: Cords (1978)

“Synergy's Cords is a truly masterpiece and an inescapable opus of modern EM which is part of my lifetime top 10”
1 On Presuming to be Modern 3:06
2 Phobos and Deimos go to Mars: Phobos 3:45
3 Phobos and Deimos go to Mars: Deimos 3:29
4 Sketches of Mythical Beasts 3:32
5 Disruption in World Communications 4:18
6 On Presuming to be Modern II 2:58
7 A Small Collection of Chords 1:25
8 Full Moon Flyer 7:43
9 Terra Incognita 3:50
10 Trellis 3:38
11 On Presuming to be Modern III 3:25
12 Phobos and Deimos-Radio Edit 4:12 (Bonus track)
 

Voiceprint | VP297CD (CD 45:36) *****
(Electronic feast of progressive and experimental patterns)

It had been a long time since I wanted to write about Synergy; one of the most important bastions of modern EM. And I decided to sink the nail when I listened to, by boredom for these soft days forgotten in the corner by my memory, the remastered edition of “Cords” offered by Polydor. And like in 1978, I was totally stunned! The music of “Cords” is an intense journey between the abstract and the atmospheric perversions of a sound universe where the masters of that era had not still dared to go. “Cords” it's an electronic symphony. It's a real electronic symphony where sounds, gurglings, rustlings and lamentations of machines form a stunning symbiosis. And Larry Fast dissects this harmonious skeleton that is the journey of Phobos and Deimos in multitude of small segments. In thin cords which in the end can sound alike, but which have just what it needs in tones and nuances to dissociate themselves and offer a musical panorama of which the evolution establishes a climate of obsession which hangs on in every fibers of our eardrums. And no matter the stories that surround “Cords”, when we have our ears immersed in its music, we know that we are in the core of its beast to thousand cords and knobs: the Moog and the Oberheim.
In 1978, the album's vinyl is white. And when the Itok arm hits it slowly, it's a strange filet of white noises which emerges from our loudspeakers. Then fall the synth strata of which the arabesques surf on the rotations of symphonic drums. "On Presuming to be Modern" transcends the symphonic approaches of the first two works of Synergy on this opening of “Cords”. The synth layers are oblong and their descent is vertiginous. Already, the metaphysical world of “Cords” extends and gets heard in our ears with a crowd of suspicious noises, among which absent rustles, which ooze among the big strikings of percussions and the singings of the hoarse birdies. The ambience? Tetanising! Between the euphony and the rustlings of the synths, the anxiety (or the emotion?) will spread its crystal trap which gradually will bear our two hemispheres in the alert of a hallucinating listening. Welcome to “Cords”! And "Phobos and Deimos go to Mars" crashes into our ears with a battle of sequencer keys which collide in their most ill-assorted tonalities, forging a powerful and surprising electronic rock which was never equalled to this day. You have to hear this bass line, aggressive and nasty, bite everything on its passage. Whether it's the sweetness of the strata, which try to spread some lovely harmonious filets on this unbridled rhythm, or these sequences which burst as typists' strikings taken in a tsunami, the line of bass remains furious and imitates marvellously the wild races that Tony Levin does on his bass handle. It runs and climbs on a heavy rhythm and of which the superb transition within the journey of Deimos is one of the most hard-hitting points of “Cords” which moderates at knocks of sorrow the fury of its furious rhythm in the gusts of twisted solos from a Moog which complains as a child in lack of attention. Astounding! "Phobos and Deimos go to Mars" is, to my ears, the most hard-hitting and most the incisive track of the history of modern EM. Isolated chords fall like flakes of black snow and the synths spread their philharmonic strata, entailing "Sketches of Mythical Beasts" in a slow waltz where everything turns in jerky and eroded circles. Sneaky and wave-like, the lines of bass are grumbling a dialect of animal dying in the meanders of the Moog's spinning which multiplies some lines to contradictory odes; merging Straussian melodies and uterine lamentations into a musical pattern became more and more nerve-racking. Spectral, the delicate keys which open "Disruption in World Communications" remind a ritornello for kids cavorting in corridors where exactly sleeps the beast to thousand cords and knobs. A very beautiful harpsichord amplifies this approach of innocence that a heavy movement of synth is crunching of its insane shouts which turn in circles in an intense and noisy musical setting.
"A Small Collection of Chords" opened the B side with soft shimmering chords drawn in the candour of a harpsichord. They hum with naivety on a beautiful harmonious pattern. We are entering into the most atmospheric phase of “Cords”. We dive into the baroque ambiences of the time of vampires (The Fearless Vampire Killers) with this short melody which sprinkles of its innocence the walls of "Full Moon Flyer" of which the intro is as well mesmerizing as a concerto for horns and violins. But the beast goes out of its work. She goes out with the rollings of drum to moan in an organic dialogue where the gurglings are jumbling up with the real tears of a synth which feeds this dramatic scene by knocks of strata waltzing as the falls of leaves in a dry autumn. It's abominably intense and poignant. And this is magnificently weaved in the most visceral obsession. The finale is flooding our ears of howling sirens, which cover the harmonies of an organ forgotten in this surrealist staging and encroach on the feast of the lamentations which is "Terra Incognita". The intro of "Trellis" falls in our ears with its huge bass line and its groaning bites which coo heavily in ample oscillations. Everything is of madness in this short track which tries a melodious breakthrough in this unstable broth which ends in a din altogether rather harmonious. "On Presuming to be Modern III" differs from its two younger brothers with a darker and more theatrical approach. It's a finale filled with the rhythms and ambiences, finely blended and dissected, of a work that will pursue you all your life. This remasterised edition offers the radio version of "Phobos and Deimos" which is more centred here on its furious rhythm. Still, it's great.
With its rhythms and its ambiences at the diapasons of their insanities, “Cords” explain by itself all the possibilities of a musical form that the arrival of the digital technology has killed its uncountable possibilities in the egg. When we enter in “Cords”, we know that we are in a unique place. It's a little bit as if we were literally in the heart of an immense musical beast and that we hear it fight for its survival and among which its tears and groans are crystallized with all its emotions into ambient air. This is a truly masterpiece and an inescapable opus of modern EM which is part of my lifetime top 10. Hat to you Larry Fast!

Sylvain Lupari (March 26th, 2013)

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=15978

jeudi 21 mars 2013

LOGIC GATE: Voyages (2008)

“With Logic Gate's Voyages; the fans of vintage Berlin School, filled by the gasps of organs of the darkness running on heavy dark sequences, are going to feast”

1 Into the Infinite 9:12  
2 Voyager 12:05  
3 Starlight 4:58  
4 Permafrost 7:35  
5 The Voyage Home 14:52

Logic Gate Music |LGM 002 (DDL or CD-R 48:41) ***½
(Vintage sequencer based Berlin School)

Lines of mists are undulating lazily in an astral tranquility, like the kittens of dandelions pushed by the weak winds of heat waves. It's with this intro, filled by the soft perfumes of a Mellotron suspended in the spirits of the times that "Into the Infinite" invites us to another festival of Memorandum tribute to Tangerine Dream. A bass line spreads its heavy sequenced chords which mould themselves onto the curves of the lines of mists, pushing the tempo towards a circular movement where the harmonies plunges us in the dark atmospheres of Stratosfear. Heavy and fluid, the rhythm of "Into the Infinite" rushes into the chthonian voices before lowering its intensity under the caresses of a synth to the very detached lines of the style of Steve Grace's influences, but just as much musical. It's a brief moment of calm where the heavy rhythm takes back its rights before sinking for good into the sighs and the singings of astral bodies. Like it or not, Logic Gate comes back haunting the spheres of EM with another work which depicts the worship of his creator for the black EM of the analog years. And as on From the Silence, “Voyages” is to crunch at full ears even if Steve Grace presents it to us with a more original approach.
"Voyager" is a jewel of black and sinister ambiences. The boat is on the sea. Charming the seagulls of its copulative undulations with the waves, it's struck by a heavy dark pulsation which jumps on the spot with frenzy. These pulsations awaken these clouds of mist which fill the morphic moods of the works of Logic Gate with winds of violins which hide the discretion of the piano notes from which the simultaneity flees the one of the sequences. And slowly, this rhythm bombarded stubbornly faints in the lunar embers of a long ambiospherical passage where these notes of piano struck in the minimalist art draw the harmonies of a lullaby for cherub's imps who let gladly being caressed by the magnificence of an oboe forged in the patience of synths. This is splendid and intensely sensitive. Except that a heavy drone shakes the calmness a little after the 7th minute. A powerful hoarse breath which brings its triplets, and other more shrill breaths, disrupting so a ritornello of serenity that we would have wanted eternal and which comes back for good from this useless storm, bringing in its trail these sequences that we had lost from ears. These sequences, but also percussions, and their jingles knock out the ending of "Voyager" of a rhythm as heavy as slow which wraps itself of a very beautiful symphonic veil. It's a superb well placed 12 minutes! "Starlight" is a short ambiospherical track where cosmic tones shell their idlenesses in layers of mists and in the bed of a slow melodic approach mislaid from "Voyager". That reminds me a chthonian mixture of Rogue Element and the cosmic moods of Software, in particular at the level of the crystal clear sequences which swirl with so much slowness. It's maybe short but it remains very musical.
Trapped in heavy and dense strata of Mellotron and its gaz of fog, the rhythm of "Permafrost" is as much soporific as its horse collar of mist. A beautiful line of a solitary synth sweeps its musing under winds of an ocean of fire, while that notes of an electric piano roam with a full harmony of déjà-vu under the slow pulsations of a bass line which avoids the rhythm in front of so much ice floes of fogs. The black march may change skin at around the 7th minute point, swapping its veils of mist for an intense chthonian choir; "Permafrost" remains as apathetic as black, but always frees this soft perfume of somber night-madness which always soaks the folds under our sheets of terror. It's in these ambiences that "The Voyage Home" is wrapping us in order to immure the musical journey of “Voyages” in a bath of nostalgia. Layers of synth to timeless musicalities blow on the fine sequenced keys which dip the tip of their sounds into a superb line weaved in the black harmonies of an old organ à la Klaus Schulze (Irrlicht
) and of its ghostly singings. These sequences follow each other in single file, moulding the whims of a movement which answers of its echo in a dense vampiric musical painting. Another line of sequence, with darker pulsing keys, forges a slow upward minimalist rhythm which strides along  the void in this lyrical duel that are doing the lines of mist and the glaucous harmonies of an organ of the darkness. A beautiful fluty line re-appears from the past, caressing a rhythm which was lost in these black breaths for a brief moment before taking back its rights over a more lively circular rhythm but always draped by this intense morphic veil which retains the rhythms of “Voyages” in its beautiful prison of mist.
Different from From the Silence, “Voyages” remains nevertheless very beautiful. Logic Gate  offers a more personal album where the rhythms are more evasive and the ambiences darker. An album which exhales at full winds the reminiscences of his influences but with a bigger freedom which makes that “Voyages” offers more originality in a musical pattern where the summit seems unattainable. The fans of old Berlin School filled by the gasps of organs of the darkness running on heavy dark sequences are going to feast.

Sylvain Lupari (March 21st, 2013)
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=15965

mercredi 20 mars 2013

LOGIC GATE: From the Silence (2003)

“From the Silence is a very nice surprise highly recommendable for those who miss the old days of analog EM”

1 Code Red 15:15
2 From the Silence 15:23
3 Biomorph 15:10

Logic Gate Music | LGM001 (DDL or CD-R 45:48) ****½
(Vintage sequencer based Berlin School)

The electronic life and its uncountable musical landscapes conceal always these small marvels hidden in the meanders of the forgetting. Logic Gate is one of these pearls. Musical entity founded by Steve Grace, Logic Gate released a first album in 2003; “From the Silence”. Album strongly recommended by the famous EM webzine Electroambient Space (Huge thanks to Phil Derby), “From the Silence” is a splendid album with the perfumes of vintage EM built around the bewitching clouds and the charming flutes of marvellously musical Mellotron, as well as on heavy movements of sequencers from which the loud circular rhythms stamp the airs of their tenebrous approaches. All here will have recognized the musical imprints of Tangerine Dream and of their psychedelicosmic years.
Clogs of mists slam in the heavy winds of ether. Eventually molding an ascent made languid under a heavy soporific cloud, these knocks of clogs, which remind me with delight Thierry Fervant's Universe, exchange a measure which fainted in order to switch shape with a heavy pulsing bass line and its ions jumping lazily into the caresses of hyper foggy Mellotron. And so "Code Red" invites us in a journey in the time of Tangerine Dream, period Baumann-Franke-Froese. A delicate harmonious line espouses the uncertain march of a heavy rhythm and of its chords which skip of the end of their notes on a pond frozen by iodized gases. The lines of rhythms and harmonies are add and are compress to form a morphic symphony where old analog tones, as well as absent voices, spread their phantom veils on a 1st half which drowns itself in its fogs of Mellotron. The 2nd part infiltrates our ears with notes of an electric piano which dance in a delicate epitaph choreography. Fragile, these glass arpeggios interlace their harmonies in the pulsations of a sequenced bass line and in the prismic breaths of another line of sequences to gleaming arpeggios. Like an architect of minimalist structures, Steve Grace stacks his lines of harmonies with a swarm of related tones to unite them within a weighty line of sequences and his black ions which jump in a sort of imps figure into a rhythmic structure as slow as heavy whose obvious morphic charms harmonize themselves with the breaths of Mellotron to nasal evanescent harmonies.

A soft and poetic flute opens the title-track which hears its shrill breaths be immediately sprayed by an iridescent mist. Heavy pulsations are skipping with uncertainty, moulding an undulatory rhythmic approach which embellishes itself of jingle of cymbals and floating chords of an electric piano which sings in lunar vapors. We would believe to be in the psychedelic spheres of Pink Floyd (Ummagumma) and Tangerine Dream (Encore) with this throbbing and semi-floating rhythm which welcomes in the strikings of percussions drumming an even more hallucinogenic measure. An oniric fog moderates the storm, plunging "From the Silence" into a brief ambient passage where the Mellotron subdivides its lines of mists and voices. Another line of sequences emerges, cutting the gliding horizon with deep circular keys which draw a boiling up-tempo where hangs onto constantly the morphic harmonies of the Mellotron and some synth pads à la Logos. The first minutes of "Biomorph" are kissing the lunar tranquility coming from the deep harmonic fogs. Then comes a beautiful flute and its enchanting singings to decorate this seraphic pattern that a soft bass line caresses of its delicate pulsations, carrying the first dream of "Biomorph" under the falls of white noises. A mislaid note draws scattered circles which are eventually interlaced to forge a heavy circular rhythm which gulps down at the passage some tinkling notes of which the ringings marry the slow circular movements of Mellotron gusts.
From the Silence” deserves to be heard loud and clear! It's a superb album of an EM as much musical as poetic which walks on the paths of the mythical Berlin trio without ever falling into the trap to be just a pale reflection. Behind his coat of Logic Gate, Steve Grace manages the improbable bet to seduce with a style that several have drained by dint of copying without wanting to give effort to embrace any originality. It's splendid and highly recommendable EM for those who miss the old days and those who enjoy the music of Jim Kirkwood and Arcane.

Sylvain Lupari (March 20th, 2013)

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=15964

lundi 18 mars 2013

PAUL LAWLER: OPUS (2013)

“Original, powerful and very musical, OPUS is a wonderful album which deserves amply the price of its download”
1 Opus 10:34 
2 Thor Hammer 6:32 (feat. Zlatko Perica)    
3 Fire Wings 6:18 
4 Sun Dog 5:24   
5 Post Apocalyptic Rodeo 5:51 (feat. Zlatko Perica)   
6 Bringers of the Star 5:47   
7 Creation Concept 7:36  
8 Tesla Code 6:43 (feat. Paul Speer)  
9 Tomorrow's People 6:45

Paul Lawler Music| (DDL 61:30) ****½
(Cinematographic E-Rock)

In the myths and legends of Arcane, Paul Lawler is considered as being the ex-keyboard player of this unknown origin mythical trio. “OPUS” is his 8th album solo since the release of Bronx Age in 1997. And if you think to hear a scission of Arcane there, you will be quits for a pleasant surprise. In fact “OPUS” is hard to catalog. Paul Lawler overturns the order of things by offering an album which embraces a vast majority of styles in a musical pattern deserving of a weird movie soundtrack, a kind of mix of Guy Ritchie and Quentin Tarantino making a cosmic western in the streets of London during the 2000's. From stormy to poetic, “OPUS” jostles us from back to front with of passionate electronic rock, where the explosive Zlatko Perica has nothing to envy to Eddie Van Halen, of beautiful solitary ballads and of cosmic atmospheres which make us regret his departure from Arcane (will he returns one day?). In brief, it's a strong album built with a master's hand where the styles melt themselves in a astonishing musical mosaic.
The title-track gets into our ears with a meshing of dark waves and oniric breaths which float in a mood marked by mystery and intensity. These lines agglutinate themselves, mixing their gleaming reflections and their dark breezes in the eddies of a vampiric bass line, while that piercing sirens roar in loops to announce the first rhythmic stammering of "Opus". And this rhythm settles down by jingles and pulsations of a bass-drum which beats a linear measure under a howling avalanche of strata sounding like Synergy's and some heavy reverberating drones. The synth spreads its superb lyrical solos which coo in a waltzing fog while the percussions and the heavy resonant pulsations make the ears tremble. Ears which find certain comfort in the grace of very beautiful solos filled by analog perfumes. "Opus" espouses then a stunning rhythmic ride with an approach which sounds strangely as Ennio Morricone's. And the riffs fall! They are heavy and sharp-edged, lifting some cosmic particles which dance in these very beautiful solos. Solos which unite marvellously rock and electronic, tearing the ambiences of this track impregnated by cinematographic fragrances. "Thor Hammer" pursues the quest of “OPUS” heavy e-rock approach with a chain of sequences which swirls such as the blades of a helix cutting the winds. The muffled percussions go down and hammer a blazing rhythm which pants under soft dreamy strata of a synth and its solos a bit symphonic. The guitar of Zlatko Perica adopts this very melodious musical approach before that the Croatian guitarist bites "Thor Hammer" of his violent incisive solos. Solos which roar and tear the harmonious paintings of a track which bends its spinal beneath those powerful riffs and some jerky arrangements. These violent solos fly from their shrill laments over a rivulet of sequenced keys which shine between these ethereal ambiences and those jerky rhythms which tear the 6 minutes of "Thor Hammer". After the shimmering of fine sequences waving in a dreamlike envelope, "Fire Wings" also falls under the knocks of percussions, forging one of the another heavy rhythms of “OPUS”. Sequences continue to glitter. Skipping in a harmonious ballet they rock the lamentations of a tearful synth which cries for its mists sieved on a rhythm, always guided by good percussions, which increases subtly its pace. Quietly "Fire Wings" becomes more intense. Mixing marvellously the crises of synths, and their brief apocalyptic solos, in the orchestral arrangements which thunder in the heavy pulsating reverberations, "Fire Wings" reveals a surprising musicality of which the wealth gets harmonizes with a rhythm and its progression stuffed by more rhythmic percussions. Hits of felted percussions, sounding like knocks of furtive clogs in a night soaked with a hostile fog, awaken the intro of "Sun Dog" which espouses a suave down-tempo as weightier as its knocks of percussions. The synth separates the harmonies of the rhythm with beautiful solos which fade in tones of guitars, bringing "Sun Dog" toward a more poignant portion. It's a beautiful down-tempo in tints of rock.
Speaking of rock, we would believe to hear Van Halen who wants to explode at all costs our loudspeakers in the opening of "Post Apocalyptic Rodeo". The solo is powerful and heart-rending. It puts the table for a rhythm hammered by knocks of percussions and of pulsations, as well as their shadows, which forge a totally strange apocalyptic march that strata and solos of synth decorate with the same Dantesque aroma. And, as in each of the titles on “OPUS”, Paul Lawler takes a jealous care of weaving an electronic universe where every minute is thought for an artistic pattern as rich as musical. "Bringers of the Star" is the perfect example. Delicate banging of percussions are shaping a beautiful synth-pop which sounds like the walking of a solitary cowboy. The vocoder is even molding the muddled thoughts of the knight of sands while that the synth draws beautiful solos tunes which are rocked by rivulets of twinkling arpeggios. Every detail is magnificently well thought. Simplistic but magnificently effective. It's the track that had the most effect on me at the first listening. There is a great bunch of good tracks on “OPUS” and the best is doubtless "Creation Concept". Is it its cosmic approach, where lines of white noises squeeze into a sinister mood? Is it these fine pulsations which shape the arcs of a suave down-tempo that the Martenot waves are kissing with tenderness? Is it this delicate procession where are added fine tones as cosmic as organic which bind themselves in the good percussions, increasing a little more the measure of the down-tempo? Or is it this solo of morphic guitar and these lamentations of apocalyptic sirens that plant the nail in our column, which make of "Creation Concept" one of the very beautiful lunar ballads? Needs to hear to see! "Tesla Code" is the most puzzling track of “OPUS”. I imagined myself that it will be a thing of New Age with Paul Speer's presence on guitar but it's the very opposite. A violent whirlwind of hyperactive sequences is swirling in the breaths of a synth and its warning solos of disasters. The percussions plough this infectious rhythm of good strikings, colliding so the frenzied dance of the uncontrollable ions. And abruptly everything stops. Paul Speer spreads his breaths of guitars in the shape of solos lunar which complain in an ethereal landscape where sparkles this threatening rivulet of sequences, announcing that the rhythm did not die and that it will return with all the power of its filmic vision in the 2nd part. "Tomorrow's People" is ending this Paul Lawler's surprising and superb album with a heavy rhythm. A rhythm of sensual down-tempo which bears the harmonies in the hybrid tones of a synth of which the lamentations of an electro-organic sound fauna continues to cement the perception of an apocalyptic album where extraterrestrials invade the streets of a London became a vast desert of iodized particles.
This Paul Lawler is quite a perfectionist. All the strength of “OPUS” lies on this desire to want at all costs dress each of its seconds of a sound, a sequence, a striking of percussion and a breath of synth which exploits totally its multidimensional sound and harmonious fragrances. This is not Berlin School. This is music. EM and its versatile forms which create a universe of magic where the atmospheres are very at ease in these rhythms cut and structured with such detail that the bewitchment is multiplies by ten in this environment of which the cinematographic colours are harmonized with those scenarios that we build up ourselves. Original, powerful and very musical, “OPUS” is a wonderful album which deserves amply the price of its download. Available at
:
http://paullawler.bandcamp.com/album/opus
Sylvain Lupari (March 18th, 2013)
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=15961

jeudi 14 mars 2013

JOHAN TRONESTAM: Roots and Legends from the North (2013)

“Roots and Legends from the North is one ton of bricks which immure our ears in a world of contrast”
1 Secrets from the Northern Heights 6:45
2 Mountain Poems 5:57
3 Nordic Legends 5:54
4 Opening a Door to the Past 6:35
5 Closer to the Ancient Truth 6:56
6 The Ancient Pulse still Beats 6:27
7 Brave Souls 8:01
8 Traces of a Forgotten Time 6:03
9 Dominate 6:46
10 Roots and Legends: End Title 6:25

TeamQuasar | JMT002 (CD 65:49) ****½
(Base sequenced harmonious EM)

After Far Away, an album which had seduced by its refreshing approach of a universe prepared by Jean Michel Jarre, Johan Tronestam makes a strong comeback with an album inspired by the legends of the nomads from the Scandinavians countries. “Roots and Legends from the North” presents a pallet of 10 very melodious and lively tracks with heavy, loud and powerful rhythmic structures. Movements of pure rhythm which follow evolutionary tangents where the primary pulsations are flooded by sequenced arcs which free some nice jumping keys in forms as diversified as harmonious. Synths are poetic. Torn between their soft solos, they blow sometimes warm and sometimes dark winds where voices of any forms tell poems, disturbing or comforting, in the trails of splendid solos which awake the intergalactic ambiences of Jarre and the poetic ones of Vangelis.
"Secrets from the Northern Heights" begins this
Johan Tronestam's 3rd opus with glaucous pulsations which stroll in a state of wandering among weak explosions of which the knocks are suffocating below a dense veil of mystery. From the start, Johan Tronestam spreads the main lines of a musical tale illuminated with paradoxes where rhythms and harmonies embrace each other in ambiences which inhale the legends of the North. Airier sequencer keys skip awkwardly in the traces of these pulsations, pushing a rhythm which resounds of its sizzling ions into mists with filets of silvered voices. And the rhythm takes shape. Going away from its sinister approach, it sparkles with its crystal clear chords which skip in the jingles of cymbals and under the caresses of a synth in soft solos before that another line of sequences rushes to forge a parallel rhythm of which the fine kicks squeeze to form a structure which hiccups of its harmonious rebellion. Going away from its sinister approach, it sparkles with its crystal clear chords which skip in the jingles of cymbals and under the caresses of a synth and its soft solos before that another line of sequences rushes to forge a parallel rhythm of which the fine kicks pile up to form a structure which hiccups of its harmonious rebellion. "Mountain Poems" is a beautiful down-tempo with a lot of ambiences. The rhythm is soft and fed by some jingles as well as by percussions with tones of hollow wood resounding in veils of mist which float and wave in beautiful orchestral arrangements decorated by a synth to breaths of celestial trumpets. An acoustic guitar adorns this very beautiful ballad by singing its melancholic poems which get mixed into delicate serpentines from which the crystal clear sequences fall from bluish clouds. "Nordic Legends" widens its lugubrious vampiric waves which undulate in loops under the harmonies of a seraphic synth. A black voice recites a poem while that the track, still semi floating, kisses a meshing of pulsations and sober percussions which weave a kind of cosmic groove where the delicate skipping provokes some echoing hoops which engender scattered stroboscopic movements that a synth calms down by its warm solos. "Opening a Door to the Past" offers a heavy rhythm. A Scandinavian rhythm with sequencer keys which swirl and intertwine in a powerful and heavy technoïd waltz that the heaviness makes spin at low speed. These keys are as well powerful as incisive. They hammer a black rhythm which greets voices with lugubrious and intimidating lamentations, while that the synth divides its harmonies between the spectral winds and cosmic solos. These Scandinavians voices, eroded by winds, cold and fights, enrich the introduction of "Closer to the Ancient Truth" which limps of its chords to legs of deer beneath the voices of angels and synth lines which coo in loops. Percussions slam at the horizon, entailing the rhythm towards a more steady approach. An approach closer of synth-pop that some beautiful solos and delicate astral voices decorate with a poetic vision.
"The Ancient Pulse still Beats" falls heavily into our ears with a meshing of organic pulsations and knocks of percussions which forge a rhythm which is set by serpentines to crystal clear sequences. Hoarse voices are regurgitating a dialogue of Babel while that solos, cutting and dreamers, awaken memories of
Jarre with constantly melodious approaches. "Brave Souls" bursts of its sequences with hybrid tones which strum an absent rhythm beneath the intense fog of a synth to dreamy harmonies and floating voices. A great line of piano adopts discreetly the movement of sequences to quietly get loose from it and to forge the lines of a melody that we could hear in the musical box of another land. The percussions falling are undoing a little bit the musical staging which escapes itself such as a gallop in the plains; there where chant a synth and its suave harmonious loops. "Traces of a Forgotten Time" follows a little the same rhythmic pattern. A tramp's rhythm in a desert of coolness where the synth illuminates the atmosphere of the Vikings of ice with some superb solos. Rhythm! Always the heavy and black rhythm! And "Dominate" sinks into our ears with heavy sequencer chords which alternate their steps in a structure bombarded by a linear rhythm. The synths borrow these harmonious patterns which follow the whole evolution of “Roots and Legends from the North” with solos, as much cosmic than vampiric, guiding the track towards more dark territories. "Roots and Legends: End Title" concludes brilliantly an album of which the powerful rhythms are digging grooves in our ears. The pulsations are heavy and make vibrate the spine, as well as the walls, with curt and hammered hits where the lapping of percussions make the toughs in front of so much rhythmic solidity. A superb stroboscopic serpentine is diverting the attention, diverting also the rhythm towards an approach more gang of street kind. A kind of androgynous hip-hop where bursts a sound fauna which has some more marvels to be told, to be blown for the most great pleasure of our ears constantly looking for a tone, a magic harmony which will pop out. We know this, to have experimented it since the very first chords of "Secrets from the Northern Heights".Jean Michel Jarre is in a lack of inspiration since a long time? Well, long live Johan Tronestam! Seriously, this last album of the Scandinavian synthesist is above all expectations. Johan Tronestam succeeds an incredible tour de force by allying the harmonies and arrangements of Vangelis, contemporary version, to the rhythms and the cosmic atmospheres of Jarre. “Roots and Legends from the North” is one ton of bricks which immure our ears in a world of contrast where the rhythms sculptured in the crackling of thousand sequences and percussions to hard-hitting sonic jumbles run into synths with magical solos, contagious harmonies and mystic ambiances, drawing by the fact the sides of a superb, powerful and surprising album. To recommend without hesitations!
Sylvain Lupari (March 14th, 2013)

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=15962