mercredi 27 novembre 2013

SEQUENTIAL DREAMS & Friends: Cosmic Touch (2013)

“Cosmic Touch is like a Best Of... of a whole bunch of artists where we can only notice that the future of EM is between good hands”
1 Astral Gates (with Johan Tronestam) 7:52
2 Liquid Fire (with Ryo Utasato) 6:24
3 The Cosmic Touch (with Celestial View) 6:00
4 NY Flight (with JampyKeys) 8:43
5 Fire (with Daniel Wolf) 6:04
6 Solaria (with Synthesist) 5:22
7 Nexus 6 4:02
8 Sorcerers Apprentice (with Daniel Wolf) 7:21
9 Encounter at Proxima 5 4:46
10 Floh (with Wolfgang Roth) 5:50
11 Touched the Sky (with Cousin Silas) 8:40

CD Baby (DDL 71:07) ****
(Energic EM with a zest of cosmic New Berlin School)
Yop! needs not to be afraid of saying it; there is an interesting artist inside our borders who is spreading his artistic signature on all the universe of EM. “Cosmic Touch” is an ambition project introduced by Kuutana who gathers 9 musicians scattered through the globe. From Canada to Japan by way of Italy, Sequential Dreams pecks in each of the influences, as artistic as tribal, of Johan Tronestam, Cousin Silas, Wolfgang Roth, Celestial View, Ryo Utasato, Jampy Keys, Daniel Wolf and Synthesist in order to create an electronic mosaic inspired by the rhythms and ambiences of Tangerine Dream and Jean Michel Jarre. And he didn't miss the target!
"Astral Gates" kicks things up with a slow and heavy circular rhythm. The sequences zigzag and climb awkwardly a vertical spiral. Riffs of electronic guitar pour a brief approach of intergalactic western while a delicate synth lies down the patterns of a soft electronic melody. It's a good musical itch that goes and comes, which sings and twitters between some thin threads of sequences in the shape of stroboscopic rhythms, some slamming percussions and more resonant chords, pushing "Astral Gates" towards heavier territories, more disordered where the rhythm of origin tries to rebuff itself in good harmonic paintings out of control. This is some very good and very lively
Johan Tronestam. We like? We are going to be delight with the powerful and very striking "Nexus 6". This one is a kicker. "Liquid Fire" follows with a structure of a rather similar pattern of rhythm; hectic pulsations and slamming percussions where recollections of Tangerine Dream (Marakesh) and Jarre (Chronology) macerate a lively rhythm, eroded by its many abruptness, which wears a suave melody in the perfumes of the Middle East. This mixture is quite exquisite, like on "Floh" by the way. "The Cosmic Touch" is a beautiful lunar melody. A cosmic down-tempo with arpeggios sparkling like new sound stars on a slow rhythm which tries to flee through brief passages a bit stroboscopised. A saxophone spreads a soft cloud of melancholy which fits very well with the melodious stars. "NY Flight" presents a more black approach with lines of synth which swirl such as apocalyptic revolving lights. The whole thing draws its source from the influences of Jarre and Vangelis (Blade Runner
), as well as Tangerine Dream with breaths of synth with a very near scent of Flashpoint, on a rhythm fed by pulsations and by sober electronic percussions. The finale is amazing with a portion of rhythm which escapes and excites its sequences and percussions in all directions. That's heavy, disordered but that remains always musical.
"Fire" is a very lascivious cosmic down-tempo with astral synth waves which lulls melancholic harmonies finely drawn by a very good guitar play. The rhythm swirls on this meshing of percussions and sequenced pulsations which nourish this rhythmic pond of “Cosmic Touch” and which also takes good care to digest these attacks with more nuanced passages. We could describe the tracks one by one that the rhythmic pattern would return constantly with this mixture of percussions, pulsing jumping keys and filets of sequences which stagger sinuously of its sonic centipedes. If we sometimes have the impression to be on the same rhythmic spindle, the melodies call us to order. The tearful Martenot waves which introduce "Solaria" forge a thick cloud of ghostly melodies which are floating exactly astride these intractable rhythms. The effect of drawling melody on a rhythm stamping with impatience adds an interesting depth for this track which flirts with psybient. After the very heavy and very "Nexus 6", which is one of the best tracks on this album, "Sorcerers Apprentice", take good notice of the naming, plunges us into the superb ambiences of
Flashpoint's western American rhythms. It's heavy and powerful, but not as much as "Floh", one of the strong moments of “Cosmic Touch” which counts at least half a dozen. We know the influence of Tangerine Dream and Jean Michel Jarre on Sequential Dreams? If not, "Encounter at Proxima 5" lets hear those excessively with a sneaky, sinuous rhythm which hesitates between the brute force or the moderated control  by the very good hem of a somber and black line of sequences which doesn't hesitate to send some resonant ions to the fight. There is an aroma of psychedelic and Arabian rock which floats over this track, as well as on the surprising "Touched the Sky" and its guitar lost in some strange ethereal atmospheres. It's a long music piece with a dark ambience of despair where the guitar drags its remorse over nice tabla kind of percussions.
I 'm very impressed by the diversity and the musical wealth of “Cosmic Touch” which is a superb collection of 11 tracks of which the biggest strength is not to deny the roots of the influences from 9 artists who participate in it. A cosmic touch on leaden structures! Evidently that the points of dens with
Tangerine Dream and Jean Michel Jarre abound, but there is more. Each track exploits all the depth of its approach with ambiences as heavy and ethereal which live with a fascinating complicity on rhythms in perpetual movement. It's like a Best Of... of a whole bunch of artists where we can only notice that the future of EM is between good hands.

Sylvain Lupari (November 26th, 2013) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

dimanche 24 novembre 2013

TANGERINE DREAM: Three O'Clock High (1987)

A shame! A musical rubbish!

 Varese Sarabande VCD 47307 (CD 41:42) * (?)

Hummm...How to talk about this album without being nasty? The adventure of Tangerine Dream with the cinema and the American studios continues. The German trio specialize more and more on the short tracks, even if it means losing its identity. And what seem to be the most important thing above all is to continue amassing money in order to build the better personal studio. The musical creativity? “Three O'Clock High” is a real rubbish. It's a musical turnip as much as the movie is. The worst of the worst. And I don't even take it as a serious album. A bad joke with a bad taste in my ears!
The album shows 22 tracks, among which 7 wrote and played by Rick Morotta & David Tickle, Jim Walker and Sylvester Levay, in fact his tracks sound better and are the more aggressive on the album, for a 42 minutes counter. So if you do the maths, it's not even 2 minutes by track! Franke
Froese and Haslinger show a deep lack of curiosity, creativity and interest. The only good thing is "Go to the Head of the Class" (3:01). We kinda feel a bit of emotion, a zest of interest. But from the tip of creativity. The rest? Rubbish! The tracks are too short and are thrown without interest on totally insipid and missed fade out. What a professionalism! "Bonding by Candlelight" has an air of déjà vu which will ring a bell in the TD repertoire while that "Kill Him (The Football Dummy)" seems to prepare the next soundtrack which will be Near Dark.
Here is dreadful album which absolutely has nothing to do with the universe of
Tangerine Dream. And as for me it’s such a shame that the signature of the band is on the cover. It's an album to avoided, unless being a collector. But a real one!!!

Sylvain Lupari (November 24th, 2013) &

samedi 23 novembre 2013

INDRA: THUNDERBOLT-Live at the Black Sea (2013)

“Thunderbolt-Live at the Black Sea is a brilliant album of meditation where the soft hypnotic rhythms flirt with strong ambiosonic moods. It's in Indra's pure tradition”

1 Thunderbolt 68:44
a) Modulator (35:16)
b) Esseum (The Frantic Song) (14:07)
c) Moon Shepherd (11:02)
d) Terra Nova (8:19)
2 Return to the Source 5:43

Indra Music (DDL/CD 74:27) **** (Ambient meditative Berlin School)

It had been a while since we had heard about Indra. Since 2010 in fact, with his Pyramid Concert album. Thus it is with a certain excitement that I received an e-mail from him, announcing that he is making a comeback and this would begin with an album recorded during a concert given onto the banks of Black Sea on August 27th, 2008. And it's with enthusiasm that I put the precious silvery disc in my NAD reader to discover that the music of Indra is still inhaled of these soft perfumes of Tantric hypnosis.
I already see you; the ear sceptical and the eyebrow frowning like a swallow wing, questioning you about the relevance in 2013 to present a long music piece of 70 minutes. There should be redundancy! Who knows the universe of
Indra knows how the Rumanian synthesist likes to play of nuances and subtleties with his long minimalist structures which spin in time as some endless sonic serpentines fed by contrasts. "Thunderbolt" is not really different from the Indra magical world of music. The music takes root on a shy rhythm which little by little spits its furious keys before meditating into some ambiosonic phases and to reborn of a poetics astral voracity. Straightaway we re-know the Indra signature with these sequences which chirp and fall of the sky such as leaves from a tree caressed by a soft autumnal breeze. These cosmic chirpings, which decorate the minimalist spirals of Indra, couple with a line of bass of which the stealthy undulating chords are of use as delicate rampart to an ambient rhythm. This bass line spreads its dark pulsations which grope the fragile rhythm of the circling sequences. While both sonic elements seem to plot in order to take the shape of a lascivious rhythmic symbiosis a bit chaotic, Modulator receives a veil of astral voices whose depth seems to restrain the strength of the rhythm. The bass becomes silent. To say the least, it breathes with more lightness. We enter into the hypnotic labyrinths of Indra as we enter into a sound Mass where the absent choruses blow on an astral rhythm. Wings of steel, like those of metallic dragonflies, peck this rhythmic ritornello which drinks its passivity in order to draw a strength which increases as the seconds pass. We are in the 5 minutes and without knowing too much how, we feel that the pace has doubled. Strata of synths throw long sighs while sequences got loose to cavort with more strength on a movement always dependent on its stagnation. The bass line follows the movement with more curved trots. The rhythm becomes then like a strange intersidereal gallop where the trots skip in an iridescent mist. Percussions fall and sparkle in the symphony of the cymbals. Their strikings are symmetric and are drumming the slowness while the waves of synth regurgitate their stars of prisms and the rhythm of Modulator embraces the latent vigour that we felt since its very first beatings. And this rhythm spits its venom with well felt percussions of which each knock jostles the sequences which hiccup with more fury. Ho... That I missed Indra! The first 35 minutes of "Thunderbolt" are pure marvels of the contemporary electronic minimalist art. This long ambivalent structure offers what the hypnotic rhythm knows how to make of better with just enough subtleties in the forms to pepper its listening. Always breathing of these hypnotic phases, where the rhythm takes the speeds that we understand of it, it eventually beats of fury between our ears. And Indra spreads his magic which exceeds the morphic borders of the cradle of his influences that is Klaus Schulze. Inside "Thunderbolt", Modulator is just as much divided between its ambient phases and its swirling rhythms where the synths are offering lush textures of sound magic to the colors of rainbows and of cosmic auroras borealis. The sequences paw the ground and skip in all senses but remain coherent of this rhythmic spiral which fires the passivity as much as its pulsating furies of which the last one goes out in slow meditative languor which leads us to Esseum (The Frantic Song).
There, the movement is more serene. Sequences dip the end of their fragile chords which skip such as the bare feet of a turbulent child on an ice-cold surface, painting a static rhythm of which the delicate musical nuances are absorbed by a synth soaked with a strong sibylline approach. Lines and layers of synth breathe of a duality, both in the floating harmonies and the vaporous ambiences, that breaths of a foreign horn and airy voices caress of a bewitching veil of mystery. The hoarse breezes bring us to the very somber and ambient Moon Shepherd; a long ambiosonic segment where are struggling some sequences isolated in the elvish pads of a morphic synth. I hear some
Software with the magic flutes which cuddle as both our ears and our state of profound rest. Faithful to his habits, Indra gets us out of our artificial coma with a movement of sequence which moves its jumping keys in an echoing structure of rhythm where the sequences, percussions and pulsations walk in their shadows of rhythm. An always hypnotic rhythm which rocks between syrupy morphic veils. The soft kicks of Terra Nova are caressed by superb astral voices while the synth injects dense melancholic layers which drag secret emotions, like the fog transports the sorrows of our ascendants. The rhythm is delicate and beats with a surprising spiritual heat, drawing these circadian rhythms which pulse in a fascinating astral energy. The voices are intrusive. The synth lines lull the angels. And we feel a Jarre influence on this great final which wraps a long musical movement of hypnosis deserving of the big Tantric movements from the Rumanian wizard. Simply great! "Return to the Source" quite means. It's a delicate ambient track. Dark and mystic, it allies sound explosions and ethereal voices which hum an astral melody. It's intense, sober and very meditative.
As I said it, that was a very long time, maybe too much, that I had heard the music of
Indra. And I feel cheap to have forgotten him in my memories because his music is as well delicious as unique. I had a little forgotten this very big sensibility which had rock his creations, his perceptions of a parallel universe where the meditation reenergizes his creativity. “Thunderbolt-Live at the Black Sea” is a brilliant album of meditation where Indra structures a long subliminal track which separates its identity in 4 phases as surprising that magnetizing. And the magic Indra is always there, because when we go over the 70 minutes that lasts "Thunderbolt", we hurry to want to hear it again. And every new listening brings its lot of new sonic patterns, new emotions and new musical depth. That it is the mark of a great architect of the meditative minimalist movement.

Sylvain Lupari (November 23rd, 2013) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

mercredi 20 novembre 2013


“The color and the forms of music take root in an imagination sewn of golden thread. It's exactly what Found is made of”

1 The Opening 5:31
2 Sun Racer 6:19
3 Through and Through 6:39
4 Almost Never 5:34
5 Lost 6:55
6 Only Ashes 13:11
7 Through Tears 8:31
8 Edge of Tomorrow 7:04
9 Found 7:24
10 For the Ages 5:31

SpottedPeccary|SPM-9074 (CD/DDL 72:35) **** (Ambient, melodious and progressive New Age)
Do I evolve or either I'm quietening down? The question can be asked because the first times I heard The Crossing (2011/SPM-9073) I had remained a little bit tepid. When I heard “Found”, and this was after the lascivious Robert Schroeder's Slow Motion, I hooked on it instantly. I had found that beautiful but not so charming, as many reviewers had described it at that time. Thus, I aged or I quieten down? I ask because this last album of David Helping & Jon Jenkins is as much intense as poignant and also very melodious. And I adored this warm mood of melancholy. And yet, it's of the same harvest as The Crossing with rhythms skilfully fed by gorgeous percussions patterns and galloping riffs of guitar which explode of their dualities between more serene phases and bursts of harmonies as so smooth as the promptness of these rhythms which separate the shadows of the forms. And the ambiences! Molded in lines of synth and the tears of guitars with spectral depths and into great iridescent arabesques, they float such as winds of harmonies in a sound universe as rich than unpredictable.
And we hear them with the nebulous synth lines which blow the intro of "The Opening" and which slowly takes us towards a smooth slow rhythm. These synth lines which float like half-abstracted and half-musical breezes are the soul of “Found”. They float with their contradictions in a musical universe where the ear connects in the eye in order to weave the unreal images of a sound panorama which only the dreams can forge. They weave ambiences sometimes sibylline and sometimes oniric throughout an album where the guitar chords sing suspended airs which roll their harmonies in loops. We are slowly let ourselves rock by the slow rhythm of "The Opening". Not really a down-tempo, nor really a rock, the rhythm is lascivious and flows with fine jolts through the notes of a dreamy guitar. At once, we spot the musical signature of David Helping and his very pronounced influences for the poetic universe of
Patrick O'Hearn. "Sun Racer" is a more livened up piece of music. The rhythm adopts a sort of Arabian clanic approach on a structure where the percussions thunder as much as they cement its indecisions inside a rhythmic pattern in constant reflection between its brief quiet phases, its dreamy melodies and its long ride of jolts drummed by an impressive pattern of percussions. The moments of calm, as the harmonious passages, are followed by a rhythmic and harmonic intensity which reaches its peak little after the 4th minute. It's at same time cadenced and oniric, like the heavy and tribal "Lost" and its guitar solos which caress the ghosts of melodies forgotten in a dense sound cloud. "Through and Through" is my first very favorite on “Found”. Its intro offers a musical book of delicate notes of guitar which hang around as they daydream with the fragile notes of piano. The ambiences are of dreams. And quietly "Through and Through" assembles its elements of rhythms scattered through some fine melodies which ring in the resonances of percussions and of their echoes of felted wood. The ambiences become more intense and the music more poignant, while the percussions beat a lascivious heaviness which refuses its constantly in quiet veils of ether. This is a great track which explodes of a dramatic final where the guitar draws its solos in the shadow of a melody eaten away by melancholy. "Almost Never" brings us towards the somber ambient side of “Found” with a slow meditative structure where are dragging notes of guitar which roll its wandering in the shape of looping harmonies in a thick veil of sibylline breezes. This veil is a meshing of synth lines and fine tears of guitars whose the symbiosis is forging some somber sonic clouds with arabesques painted in dark and in translucent tints. A pattern which is the source of "Only Ashes", "Through Tears" and the title-track which are beautiful jewels of very meditative ambient music where the ghosts of melodies float through a guitar as so discreet than a much contemplative piano, in particular in the very beautiful "Only Ashes", a track which redefined the borders of dark ambient music by being so melodious, and "Found" which is a bit more attractive with the beautiful voice of Miriam Stockley. "Edge of Tomorrow" is another superb melody which reminds me vaguely the occult structures of Patrick O'Hearn on El Dorado. It's as much beautiful and striking as "Through and Through". Just like "For the Ages" which ends “Found” with a hard-hitting final that capsize the soul so much it's striking.
The color and the forms of music take root in an imagination sewn of golden thread. It's exactly what “Found” is made of.
David Helping & Jon Jenkins draw some musical panoramas which melt in our most fictionalized dreams where the feelings are fed by structures which draw their sweetnesses from the abandonment of their impromptu rhythms. Like brooks of meditative melodies which cry in the shadows of a pensive piano and in the harmonies of a guitar of which the solos and lamentations liquefy within the soft textures of synths to the sibylline breezes, “Found” pours all its sonic horizons under the thunders of its percussions in order to feed well our always gaping ears. In fact, I aged or I quieten down? Maybe I passed too quickly over The Crossing.

Sylvain Lupari (November 19th, 2013) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

dimanche 17 novembre 2013

ROBERT SCHROEDER: Slow Motion (2013)

“Slow Motion is yet another fantastic journey in the heart of ambient rhythms where Robert Schroeder never does things by halves”

1 SlowMo 13:07
2 The Inside of my Soul 10:24
3 A Sign of Light 9:35
4 Synergy Effects 9:26
5 Pertinax Love 5:31
6 Space Lifter 6:13
7 Relax 4:49
8 Time is Running Out 4:35

Spheric Music|SMCD-2029 (CD 63:33) ****½
(Ambient hypnotic and minimalist Berlin School rhythms)

Oh do I love that! These long hypnotic structures and their circular rhythms which swirl softly into slow zigzagging spirals delicately stroboscopic. Do I love that! It's magnetizing and it nails us immediately in our armchair, the eyes well riveted in the oblivion to contemplate the allegorical forms of rhythms and their geometrical dismantlings in perpetual movement. Welcome in “Slow Motion”; a real journey in the heart of ambient rhythms where Robert Schroeder never does things by halves."SlowMo", "The Inside of My Soul" and "A Sign of Light" unites their 33 minutes to offer us one of the most beautiful structures of morphic rhythms conceived by the brilliant synth wizard from Aachen since a very long time. Let's say since … Paradise! "SlowMo" goes between our ears with fine arpeggios which skip delicately. Reverberating bass chords, liquid noises, electronic language and lines of choir stuff this delicate floating intro which quietly takes the shape of a long ambient minimalist movement. Staggering with an absolutely delicious sonic drunkenness, the soporific rhythm of "SlowMo" leans on sober percussions which open the doors of hypnosis. Strangely, I have the impression to be thrown in the time of Galaxy Cygnus-A or Computer Voice. Only the contemporaneousness of the sound layer betrayed this sensation to belong to another era. Master- architect of his structure, Schroeder waters "SlowMo" of contiguous tones and parallel harmonies with pads of absent choirs, diverse effects of scattered percussions, drum'n'bass lines, organic gurglings and strings of sequences which get loose and move in structures of parallel rhythms as much melodic as hypnotic which double the rhythmic depth of this superb cosmic down-tempo. We are in weightlessness and we swirl with this morphic waltz which grows rich every second of these sonic elements which collide as electronic balls and of these fragmented thunders of rhythms unique of Schroeder's directory. Brilliant! "The Inside of My Soul" follows with a slow ambiospherical intro which gulps down the last jumping keys of "SlowMo". The movement becomes of ambiences with eclectic tones which charm and tame themselves while that quietly a slow morphic veil weaved in absent choruses seized of these scattered sonic fragments which feed the slow growth of "The Inside of My Soul". The rhythm emerges from nowhere. It breathes throughout shamanic little bells of which the “tchi-tchi” are bewitching the clanic percussions which are druming an absent rhythm. A rhythm which becomes a little clearer with the arrival of a soft jerky line of sequences which makes beat its keys with delicate movements of spasms. Very relaxing horns of trumpets are watering this rhythm which sparkles from everywhere and of any forms, as organic as electronic. Once again, Robert Schroeder goes out of his zone of comfort by weaving a rhythm of which the complexity is at no moment flouted by its dodecaphonic approach. The movement may be ambient and minimalist that we cannot ignore this meshing of lines of rhythms which intertwine in a fascinating symbiosis where the funk marries the tribal into a sonic atmosphere which doesn't stop growing rich. Perfumes of Food For Fantasy float everywhere around this long track, as well as on "A Sign of Light" which aims to be a more rhythmical conclusion. The movement is lascivious with lines of trumpets which blow over floating choruses. Wandering arpeggios drag their solitary melodies here and there while the rhythm is shaken by thunders of clanic percussions and runs away with an approach of drum'n'bass which mixes funk and trip-hop into an envelope always finely stroboscopic.
If these first 30 minutes reveal us all the arsenal of rhythms from
Robert Schroeder's very eclectic universe in a long track segmented in 3 parts, the rest of “Slow Motion” is not more diminished here. There are still another 30 minutes of MÉ which is situated in a class apart. And it begins with the ambiences of "Synergy Effects" of which the weak organic rhythm, caressed by Vangelish synth singings and angelic breezes, passes by arrhythmic phases where a thick cloud of metal in fusion tones and electronic chirping are rummaging in search of the slightest pulsation. Then follows "Pertinax Love" and its jerked pantings as well as its pulsations which beat resolutely quiet for an ambience at the edge of the breathlessness. Another line of pulsation emerges. It runs with percussions and rattlers while that synth pads throw the first harmonies which cry in the crossroads of a stroboscopic line and heavy percussions which hammer a slow leaden rhythm. I hear some harmonies of Paradise on this extremely catchy music piece where the hard rhythm is fading out a bit in order to give room to a more serene approach. Softer than "A Sign of Light", "Space Lifter" caresses nevertheless its tempo of drum'n'bass. A cosmic drum'n'bass, even ambient, that West Indian percussions and Mexican trumpets lines save from its morphic envelope. The cosmic lines of synth which take hostage the very cosmic beginning of "Relax" remind me of Jean Michel Jarre's very spatial atmospheres. There is a soft and very discreet stroboscopic structure which encircles this rather ambient rhythm of "Relax" that Schroeder is seasoning of his artifices, as rhythmic as sonic, creating fragments of rhythms and melodies lost as well as in space as in seraphic voices. "Time is Running Out" closes “Slow Motion” with this envelope of cosmic harmony that surrounds "Relax" and which is inspired by the cosmic moods of Jarre. The rhythm is at some points identical, although very segmented, to the structures of eclectic rhythms that surround this last Robert Schroeder  album.
The aimed goal of “Slow Motion” is to bring the listener towards phases of rhythmic relaxations which want to be antidotes to the very excessive pace of life. But what I mainly retain is that it also continues where had stopped Ferro OXID. In this sense that it's an album rich in very diversified rhythms which beat in a sonic envelop in constant development that Robert Schroeder imagined so well, and with lot of genius, since years. A sonic world as well ethereal as eclectic and purely electronic where Robert Schroeder's rhythm'n'sound pattern spreads its paintings of bewitchments. And more than ever, Schroeder is inspired by his classics whose airs are vaguely floating behind each composition of “Slow Motion”, it was the same thing with Ferro OXID, making of these albums two timeless bridges between two musical philosophies of which the fusion reaches an electronic nirvana of an incredible sound wealth.
Sylvain Lupari (November 16th,2013) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

jeudi 14 novembre 2013

AXESS: Aviator (2013)

“There are lots of things that hook the hearing in Aviator and which remain engraved in the furrows of our ears after each listening”

1 51°2'N 6°59'O 5:30  
2 Departure 7:59  
3 Nightflight 14:47  
4 Aviator 8:48  
5 Crossing the Arctic Circle 10:52  
6 Aurora Borealis 12:56  
7 Ocean Blue 9:18  
8 Farewell 6:30
Spheric Music ‎| SMCD 8012 (CD 74:16) ****½
(New Berlin School)
Witness of his passion for aviation and inventors like Charles Lindbergh and Leonardo Da Vinci, “Aviator” is Axel Stupplich's 6th solo album. The 8th one if we include his 2 albums with Max Schiefele. Playing brilliantly on two careers in parallels, the German synthesist takes away from Pyramid Peak the exploratory structures where the rhythms, the ambiences and the melodies expose their wealth into phases with sensitive sonic mutations. And the nuances between Pyramid Peak and Axel Stupplich are thin, except that he definitively prefers to explore the diverse rhythmic borders of contemporary EM. From cosmic down-tempo to morphic techno (ambient-house) while passing by the heavy panting of synth-pop, Axel Stupplich exploits a variety of rhythms while flirting with the limits of hypnotic Berlin School where small jumping keys and their contiguous pulsations modify subtly the approaches of Teutonic rhythms. The ambiences are rich and the melodies are delicious. The synths mew and sing such as spectres of vampires sucking the related harmonies which insert in and modify the axes of melodies and their fine variances as much delicate as the changing rhythms. There are lots of things that hook the hearing in “Aviator” and which remain engraved in the furrows of our ears in this album where the references to Jean Michel Jarre abound, both in the cosmic aromas as in the dancing orchestral arrangements.
I don't know how it is in the airs, but I hope that it doesn't shake things as in "51°2'N 6°59'O". Though, I have no difficulty imagining the soft gleaming reflections of the sun on the metal of the cabin or in the portholes. And this is what I hear in the intro with these delicate arpeggios floating like fluty metallic singings which spin such as firebirds on the surface of an icy water. But when their caresses on our eardrums are abruptly interrupted by big knocks of drums, I say to myself that it has to be that we feel when our bones are brewed in an airplane. Because suddenly, "51°2'N 6°59'O" is swallowed by a leaden rhythm. A heavy, linear rhythm and strongly hammered of which every knock of percussions gives the impression of lifting prisms of harmonies. The fluty breezes adapt to this rhythm with subtle brisk blows. Made breathless, they run so-so on an inflammatory beat while a new harmonious approach turns up with a series of new chords with more nuanced tones of flutes which melt into harmonious synth solos. The world of
Axel Stupplich remains always lively and harmonious. "Departure" moves on with a thick cloud of rhythmic bones which skip nervously in the bangings of organic percussions. A line of sequences makes its keys waddle. They hiccup at the same speed while the linear pulsations hammer a heavy rhythm. A rhythm which modifies subtly its axis when sometimes it's caressed by the whimperings of a synth flooded by vampiric waves à la Martenot and others time charmed by the pads of waltzing violins. "Nightflight" follows with a more serene approach. It's a beautiful Berlin School in the tone of today and with the ambiences of yesterday. This is a long minimalist piece of music from which the fine variances change the dreamy ambient approach towards an up-tempo a bit fervent stalk always well nuanced. The first seconds offer a structure of rhythm which quavers coolly and makes articulate its jumping keys in a long spheroidal movement where stroll some very musical twisted solos and where are add heavy resonant chords, at around the 6th minute, which remind the dramatic moments of Jean Michel Jarre. While more ethereal breezes of synth come to caress this structure of morphic rhythm, some beautiful felted percussions redirect it towards a pleasant cosmic down-tempo and finally towards a finely jerked up-tempo.
The title-track is the pearl of the pearls. First of all it offers to our ears some sonic prisms which skip with a harmonious liveliness which is reminiscent of the beautiful ballet of sequences that 
Schulze has created in Mirage. Pads of mist come to wrap these sequences and waltz idly on a delicate tempo which wriggles and frees other sequences, more rhythmic, to force the rhythm with incisive knocking of drum. The beat heavy, swirling in this mass of sequences and their opposite directions, "Aviator" reveals its melody. A musical itch which hums an air full of innocence on a rhythm which spits its leaden and its sequences weaver of furious rhythm through the wild beating of percussions. Changing skin constantly, "Aviator" passes from a stage to another one, abandoning a phase of rhythm for a heavier, a more alive one but by storing constantly its artifices of melodies up until that the ear finally succumbs to the charms of its fluty singing among which the tenderness and the oniricity throw us on the ground. The pearl of pearls and undoubtedly one of the good piece of EM this year. With "Crossing the Arctic Circle", Axel Stupplich proposes us an ambient rhythm. The heavy circular pulsations chase away the clouds of mists filled of absent voices of its intro in order to draw a long rhythmic snake with ample undulations fed by deep oscillatory pulsations. Even if deeply shaken by these fine sequences, the rhythm of "Crossing the Arctic Circle" congeals in time. We are in the territories of morphic techno, or ambient house, with an implosive rhythm where the synths are cooing along the seraphic voices while infusing a good dose of lyrical solos. After an intro very ambiospherical flooded of hollow breaths, "Aurora Borealis" offers a soft oscillatory rhythm with bass resonant sequences which alternate their pendulum's swings with a rhythmic fluidity that the percussions gulp down of their sober strikings. A delicate melody settles on this cosmic down-tempo with the vampiric breezes of synth which sing, as they float, on a rhythmic structure of which the fine variances push a melodious approach to change its solos for harmonious chords which leave an indelible trace in the ear. "Ocean Blue" pushes us in the territories of the astonishing final of Jarre's Chronology. The percussions, the rhythm; everything is there. Only the melody differs, although very spectral, while the rhythm becomes at times very explosive. As I have already said it, the influences of Jarre abound. I hear the lively oscillatory rhythm of Magnetic Fields opening "Farewell"; a track dedicated to all of those who lost their lives in the Space Shuttle missions and as much inflammatory as"51°2'N 6°59'O" but in a more dance style approach, a little like in Metamorphoses from his always source of inspiration.
Aviator” is a box of surprises where the surprises of
Axel Stupplich amaze us as much that they seduce us. There are a lot of rhythms which bing and bang but which also calm down and make dream. Of everything in a sonic world in perpetual movement! As much catchy and evolutionary that the fine rhythmic variations, the melodies are superb and they graft into our ears such as the airs of enchanting mermaids. Seducing with his approach which includes the rhythms rainbow of Brainwork, inspiring with the fragile movements of sequences inspired by Schulze and deafening with his inflammatory rhythms which switch off those of his idol, Axel Stupplich navigates with so much ease in the vast territories of EM that we would think that he knows all of its secrets.

Sylvain Lupari (November 14th, 2013) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

samedi 9 novembre 2013

PYRAMID PEAK: Anatomy (2013)

“What we have here with Anatomy is possibly the best EM album of 2013”

1 Anatomy 13:35
2 Iceland 14:23
3 Injection 13:38
4 Dark Energy 15:53
5 The Voyage 12:38

Pyramid Peak | PP1319 (CD 70:10) ***** (New Berlin School)

A meshing of cymbals makes chink its elytrons of metal in a Gothic Hear Hear!, introducing the somber waves of synth which twist themselves and float in a cacophonous intro. A delicate tremulous rhythm is beating awkwardly behind the dusts of this din where are grafted some lugubrious voices which hum in the mislaid airs of synths, pushing the title-track this last Pyramid Peak opus towards an ambiospherical intro where the rhythm strips off little by little of its chords and abandons its weak symmetric pulse. "Anatomy" strikes the cape of 5 minutes. And the bones of rhythm get organized behind a glittering curtain of abstruse breaths. The sequences clink and resound, like the echo of big drops in a cave, and the rhythm of "Anatomy" gets into our ears of its edged and jerked approach. The mark of Pyramid Peak. The sequences skip in all directions. Accepting the pulsations and the percussions, they fatten a structure of rhythm which gets excited under the melodious and charming solos of Andreas Morsch, Uwe Denzer and Axel Stupplich. The harmonious imprint of Pyramid Peak. Pyramid Peak is part of the crème in the spheres of EM of the New Berlin School style. The Berlin trio manages marvelously to weave structures of hypnotic rhythms where the down-tempo flirts with the up-tempo while drawing long musical routes of which the minimalist bases refuse nevertheless the simplicity. “Anatomy” is their 9th album, and I'm telling straight away; it's an inescapable. Built on 5 musical structures which border more or less the same length, “Anatomy” plunges us into the heart of the most beautiful years of the cosmic EM with slow intros which unblock on beautiful harmonious rhythms. Rhythms which skillfully change of skins and swap shapes towards and drift a mesmerizing sonic universe where the sequences flicker of their frivolity under the attacks of percussions which hammer the fragility of the ethereal ambiances with strikings which destabilize the listening.
A deep crackling pulsation awakens the voices of specters which whisper at the opening of "Iceland". The rhythm is linear and lively. It pulses deeply and non-stop, masking hardly the whisper which get lost in the soft caresses of a synth which spreads its mellotron mantle. There is storm of sequences with these bones of rhythms which feast in a static whirlwind where the dreamy harmonies of the synths are waltzing. And the percussions fall. They strike slowly these kicks of sequences which little by little agree to take away their greediness to make room to a superb down-tempo where sings a synth of its harmonies of diva. There is a whole rhythmic life under this lyrical pattern. A life which foments a harmonious duel with the knocks of crystal clear sequences of which the non-coordinated strikings perturb the ambiences a bit. Except that the soft melody of "Iceland" takes back the pole to seduce our ears until its last seconds. This is pure and very melodious Berlin School, just like "Injection" which starts with an ambiospherical intro. Foggy lines of synth float in a cave where ooze and chirp sonic prisms and resound distant gongs. We hear wolves howling, as we also hear coming by far a movement of sequences which makes its keys waddle and of which the delicate skipping reverberate in a stereophonic echo. Cymbals and percussions come to caress this structure of oscillatory rhythm with delicate hits, guiding "Injection" towards a beautiful rhythmic spiral à la Software. The rhythm is soft, mesmerizing. It swirls of lascivious sequences like an oblong stroboscopic circle around the percussions which slam. The hypnosis rages when more resonant chords enrich the structure by giving it a more dramatic dimension that pads of mellotron amplify of their veils which waltz among the breezes of ethereal voices. It's very beautiful, but not as much as "Dark Energy" which turns constantly in my head, and on my hi-fi system, with its delicious progressive structure. The cosmic violins which cry in the comfort of the gloomy voices bring us in the time of Software's Electronic Universe Part II. The rhythm evolves slowly with the presence of sequences which flit about in the last movements of waltz of the forsaken violins. A bass line comes to gather them. It pounds sinuously, entailing harmonious chords which align themselves in our head like a robot serenade. "Dark Energy" changes skin. The mood of oblivion becomes a funky/groove rhythm finely jerky that percussions turn immediately for a superb hypnotic down-tempo. And "Dark Energy" changes now color. The percussions click, whip and resound out of everywhere, jostling out the sequences and pulsations which go out of nowhere while that twisted and vampiric solos, as well as voices of cosmonauts, entail the listener in a sound frenzy not really far from these beautiful years when EM still had unexplored paths to put into music. Divine!
What is it the body and the cosmos have in common? Well, one should ask Andreas Morsch, Uwe Denzer and Axel Stupplich, because “Anatomy” is much more near the cosmos that our body. Unless that our body is in narrow relation with cosmos. That also it would be necessary to ask for it to Pyramid Peak. But no matter, “Anatomy” is an electronic cosmic ode without weaknesses. Everything is there! Evolutionary rhythms. Cosmic ambiences where the warmth comes haunting our soul with at the same time soft, moving and rather melancholic structures (the wonderful black down-tempo of "The Voyage"). And especially this broth of multidirectional sequences that the strikings of percussions return in an evolutionary multifaceted rhythmic order. “Anatomy” is some great and solid Pyramid Peak. Their best album to date where every second is splendidly thought. It's classical electronic music and possibly the best opus in 2013.

Sylvain Lupari (November 9th, 2013)
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

jeudi 7 novembre 2013

OLIVIER BRIAND: Rêves Et Cauchemars (2013)

“Rêves et Cauchemars is a feast of sounds, allegorical drawings, light beams and kaleidoscopic images on a music that crosses the boundaries of Roach, Vangelis and Tangerine Dream”
1 Introduction Onirique 7:57
2 Searching for a Sleep 11:58
3 Travelling Mind 8:31
4 Hypercool Pink 12:07
5 Living in a Dream 9:12
6 Mystic Revelation 12:14
7 Ambiant and Cosmic 13:12
8 Origin of Time 12:11
9 The End of a Dream 11:17

PWM 2012 (DVD 91:26) **** (Ambient and psychedelic EM)
EM is an intellectual, a cerebral art which couples to marvellously with the abstract art. One remembers these concerts of electronic, progressive or psychedelic music of the 70's? Often, they were accompanied with projections of abstract drawings, with images in constant duel between the arc of the civilization and of its cosmic eye or still with laser beams. Light shows, it was named. It was the words, the vision of music composers without words, or with so few. This way of making thing has end by being lost in time, breathless it became by the kaleidoscopic prisms which were dying of a lack of resource, creativity. Answering an invitation threw by the city of Vertou, municipality on the West of France, Olivier Briand and Guillaume Diard are uniting music and images for a concert given on April 13th, 2012. “Rêves et Cauchemars” renews with this old tradition. It's the meeting point between an EM which embraces all its qualifiers and all of its subtleties in order to follow the highly paradoxical panoramas of computer generated images, sepia images, allegorical drawings and visual effects which surround both the music of Olivier Briand and its subdued silhouette. A very discreet Olivier Briand, but not his music, who agrees to play the absentees to make all the room for this allegory of images where our cities  get lost in clouds in split, where the cosmos is melting in our oceans and where the synthetic spider webs becomes confused with the skeletons of our technologies. This is a concert of music and images that is worth all the words.
"Introduction Onirique" spreads the impact of its naming with an ambient introduction where the floating music of Olivier Briand marries these abstract graphs which move as ink of big octopuses. The tone is given for a concert of sounds and images where the powers of the abstract art caress the borders of the fertile imaginations. The synthesist from Nantes chooses a musical abstracted vocabulary by making sing his synths more than to make roll his rhythms into those slow cosmic waltzes which encircle the multicolored and the multiform images of Guillaume Diard. These synth layers sing and roll up until the first rhythmic stammering of “Rêves et Cauchemars” with "Searching for a Sleep". The rhythm is soft. Drummed, it offers an always ambient structure which accompanies the mind-blowing harmonies of a synth impregnated by scents of jazz on a visual pattern which mixes skillfully the images of cities, of cosmos and movements abstracted in colors as much varied as the forms which dance there. Little by little the rhythm gets loose to follow the parade of the synths which become more melodious while that the images take the forms of water, clouds, celestial bodies and outlines of clocks while filtering Olivier Briand's silhouette who is at ease in his quiet anonymity. "Travelling Mind" continues to exploit the slow rhythms of “Rêves et Cauchemars” with movements of sequences which skip nervously in the shadows of their doubles. It's a beautiful hypnotic rhythm that Olivier Briand is offering to us. A rhythm which slowly follows a gradation and of which the pace adopts literally the breath of the abstract images. While this rhythm continues to split up its harmonies, the synth doesn't stop to modulate beautiful solos fill by the delights of the analog era. After a soft morphic intro where the arpeggios shape the dreams, "Hypercool Pink" beats of a secret life where the rhythm has difficulty to pierce this soft soporific veil. The images are dancing with a thick cloud of strands which interlace and sparkle of their igneous colors, following the rhythm of the seraphic singings of the synths which communicate with the whales and which conceal of their ethereal breaths the fine organic pulsations of an absent rhythm.
"Living in a Dream" gets “Rêves et Cauchemars” out of the limbos with a soft rhythm where the sequences subdivide their rhythmic harmonies like a lively synchronized swimming. The movement is soft and reminds these structures of cosmic rhythm from Tangerine Dream with some quavering frictions of which the knocks are sounding strangely like breaths in an empty bottle, shaping so a deep stillness dance which stirs constantly under a thick cloud of synth pads as abstract than melodic. The symbiosis of the rhythm and the screen shots reaches its peak with this string of twinkling sequences which pound in all directions, fitting marvellously with the artistic glistening of Guillaume Diard and his images which sparkle as abstract pearls. With "Mystic Revelation", we enter in a kind of timeless space. The music suits very well to the quantity of kaleidoscopic images which parades, while letting appear outlines and silhouettes of Briand and his equipments, a little as if both accomplices wanted to hypnotize us and to attract us in a sonic and visual abyss without end. Except that the hypnosis comes with the soft rhythm of "Ambient and Cosmic" which, for me, is the pinnacle of “Rêves et Cauchemars”. The rhythmic approach reminds me enormously of Steve Roach, or still Michael Stearns, with some little footsteps which swirl in an oblong vertical snail perfumed by strata of synths with the troubling futuristic visions of Vangelis. The rhythm is superb and spins with such neatness as our ears ask for more of it. And Olivier Briand knows that he shapes a small jewel because he puts the bombast on seraphic harmonies which catch a dreamlike spiral where spin felted sequences and tinkle the wings of the angels. This is some great Briand. "Origin of Time" presents the ashes of a beautiful lullaby forgotten in the temporal terrible beds. The vision of Briand competes easily the Dantesque approaches of Vangelis with this track of which the abstract drift fails on a rhythm which scatters its sequences like the time drops its seconds in a crazy running against its mechanism. We are in the cave of the abstract art and at no moment our ears, as our eyes, wish a conclusion. And nevertheless "The End of a Dream" brings us to it with the chimed ashes of "Origin of Time" which goes astray in these magic drawings, in these figures of psychological calligraphy which feed the abstract and experimental approaches of a concert where the prisms are just more than only sonic dimensions.

Sylvain Lupari (November 7th, 2013)
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: