mardi 24 décembre 2013

VANDERSON & PRZEMYSLAW RUDZ: Remote Sessions (2013)

“The Polish duo offers in Remote Sessions a very beautiful album which navigates between its cosmic ambiences, its lunar paintings and its dancing rhythms”

1 Journey to the Northern Land 18:06
2 Leaving the Earth 7:06
3 Far Away from Here 8:19
4 Lonely Dot 11:27
5 Sounds of Scattered Waves 5:52| GEN CD 031 (CD 50:53) ****(Cosmic E-Rock)
When one sees the names of Vanderson and Przemyslaw Rudz on a CD artwork, and what a nice one it is, we have both our ears on the watch. And it's comprehensible. These 2 Polish artists are iconic figures of the Poland School movement such as showed with strong albums that they have realized over the years. And when one sees both names on the same artwork, the curiosity goes growing. Like on “Remote Sessions” where the unexpected duo presents a concept album about the spatial journeys with 5 tracks which interlace in a long musical act of 51 minutes and which embrace the soft analog perfumes of the cosmic music.
After a brief ambiospherical intro where all the sonic elements are set up, a sequence of rhythm begins a delicate movement of kicks, from which the minimalist jumps will serve as basis to the next 17 minutes of "Journey to the Northern Land". The approach is simply magnetizing. The synth lines which are dawdling around in this rhythmic panorama, such as lassos prisoners of a circular wind, add the harmonious portion of this dodecaphonic sonic fight, while that somber whispers decorate a first part of an aura of paranoia. The structure makes heavier its pace and its ambiences with bangings and mist of Mellotron, setting ablaze some fine nuances in an approach which looks constantly for the ornaments of its imposing presence. Some superb and creative solos spin in all directions above this electronic dance of kicks, bringing an analog touch to a very contemporary rhythm. The approach can be as much striking than ethereal, and we do not see, nor hears the whole 18 minutes. It is a beautiful minimalist electronic hymn which ends in a storm when the solos are going off the rails with huge and grave distortions from an e-guitar. It's then the take-off of "Leaving the Earth" which assumes its 7 minutes with an experimental ambiosonic approach where are sparkling some brief movements of sequenced percussions which flutter in the heavy eddies of twisted reverberations. The whispers come back haunting our perception, uniting "Leaving the Earth" to "Far Away from Here" which slides into cosmos with superb lunar breezes. Arpeggios of glass sing and their resonances forge a delicate spiraled structure of rhythm which serves as basis to another line of sequences in formation. This one shakes the keys with more restlessness. They skip in a rhythmic figure still harmonic, setting the tone to a heavy rhythm of which the jerks espouse this fascinating hypnotic rhythmic symbiosis which skips merrily in a mist of ether. The acuteness of the synth solos transforms "Far Away from Here" into a beautiful cosmic ballad of which the harmonies get closer of the romantic French School. This is as much beautiful, and especially very catchy, as unexpected. "Lonely Dot", what an appropriate naming, is the most relaxing piece of music in “Remote Sessions” with its isolated points of sequences which try to pierce a rhythm in dense eddies and strong magnetic countercurrents. We literally swim in cosmos when some sequences swirl in the waltzing winds of Orion. They sparkle and bounce in a fascinating dislocated choreography, suspending so a rhythmic approach which implodes with a heavy line of bass and by percussions with delicate moderate bangings. Grumbling solos stand up over this circular rhythm where sequences resound as knocks of glass ball on a Bolo of steel, while that a surprising rhythmic spiral strengthens the agitated rhythm of "Sounds of Scattered Waves" which swirls with the same ferocity as its solos.
Vanderson and Przemyslaw Rudz honor their reputations by offering a very beautiful album with ambiences which are splendidly widened between wild electronic rhythms. I like this fusion of the of the retro Berlin School and the cosmic French School styles which surrounds the 51 minutes of “Remote Sessions”; an album which navigates between its cosmic ambiences, its lunar paintings and its dancing rhythms.

Sylvain Lupari (December 24th, 2013) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: 

lundi 23 décembre 2013

STEVE SMITH & THE TYLAS CYNDROME: Pools of Diversity (2013)

“Pools of Diversity is a great album which combines the rock, the progressive and the electronic music to sculpture an album where the borders interlace without ever denying the harmonious bouquets”

1 Ghost Ship 11:22
2 Orbit 12:38
3 Requiem 8:03
4 Interstellar Highway 12:17
5 Trilian Suns 10:03
6 The Main Event 8:05

Groove | GR-204 (CD 62:30) **** (Progressive melodious e-rock)
The first album of Steve Smith & The Tylas Cyndrome, Phoenix Arising, had left a pleasant sound imprint in my ears which, from time to time, asked for more of it. It is thus with a great deal of haste that I put myself on the road of “Pools of Diversity”. Hey that I was not disappointed!
"Ghost Ship" introduces us straight out into the charming world of
Steve Smith & The Tylas Cyndrome with a veil of mystery falling out of the nothingness. Noises of rustling of metals, as well as electronic distortions, float in a bottomless gap where absent choruses have difficulties in humming a musical air. Fine arpeggios are clinking of a crystalline tone and forge an abstract melody which waltzes innocently in an intriguing ambiosonic intro which evaporates at around the 4th minute. And the melody takes shape. In the shade of muffled pulsations and demonic breaths, it swirls as a devilish bed song, which reminds me of the Machiavellian universe of Mark Shreeve and his Legion album, before being harpooned by solid percussions. Already intense, "Ghost Ship" becomes heavy. A spheroidal heavy rhythm from where appear ghosts' hootings who are mocking around the lamentations of a guitar to harmonies which rage with ebullient solos. The synth solos are decorating this melody where the innocence and the diabolism quarrel the favors of a rhythm which is proud of its invasive heaviness, making even an audacious wink to the somber harmonies of a ghost of the opera new genre, before dashing off in an inflammatory fury. And always these innocent carillons which come back this time to put asleep the finale. Great stuff! It's a strong electronic rock adorned by a fascinating melodic approach. "Orbit" adopts a little the same structure as "Ghost Ship" with an intro ambiospherical fed by sonic twists which wave in the sighs of vaporous synth layers of which the slow evasive harmonies are waltzing with a meshing of cosmic tones. An acoustic guitar, as delicious as unexpected, comes to caress this morphic dance of senses, while that percussions and bass sequences weave the pieces of a linear rhythm which begins to galloping beneath harmonious synth breezes with cooings weavers of earworm. Heavy and lascivious, the evolving rhythm of "Orbit" drags in its furrow some beautiful arpeggios of glasses, as well as their glittering harmonies, which congeal the neurons of pleasure. Always so present, Alan Ford's acoustic guitar is delicately romantic. It makes sing its notes pinched in an ambivalent structure where the rhythm and the ambiences are alternately charmed by suave solos, as much from the synth as the guitar, and the notes of a dreamy guitar from which the solitary harmonies sing with these delicate crystalline arpeggios. After a somber intro where a choir hums airs for absent friends in the veils of a penetrating organ and the ringings of big churches bells, "Requiem" slides towards a fascinating classico-folk approach before giving way to a heavy rhythmic eruption headed up by a tearful violin. Difficult to ask better for arrangements!
"Interstellar Highway" starts with an intriguing intro where are floating tortuous synth lines beneath a sonic sky multicolored of crystalline shooting stars and threatening tints. This is the highway of cosmos and horns have definitively a stellar tone. Bass pulsations wake up and forge a chaotic heavy rhythm with dark keys which spin in all directions in a highway cut out by the speed of comets. The sober percussions of Les Sims support these black keys which also receive the support of another of sequences, this time more melodious with crystal clear jumping ions. And, such as on a double bridge crossing the galaxies, the rhythm shows two cadences which overlap in a structure all the same harmonious with these lines of sounds which travel faster than the hearing. I like this approach delicately jazzy which is hatching in second part. It's quite unusual in a structure of rhythm where the shadows of
Redshift are skipping in an approach which reminds me that of Axel Stupplich or yet Pyramid Peak. The comparison with the Peak takes more its sonic mordant, exception made of the guitar, in "Trilian Suns" which, after a minimalist intro where a furtive rhythm crosses the melodious approach of another one, sets ablaze a beautiful eurhythmic rhythmic ride. Sequences are as well agile as fragile. They float like the waves of a brook manhandled by the winds, revitalising their strengths by the arms of Les Sims who hammers a ceaselessly implosive pace. Espousing a structure of a very accessible progressive electronic rock with more ethereal and more harmonious passages, the rhythm of "Trilian Suns" hiccups of its race and its kicks under some superb and shrill synth solos and is also resting in the tears of a dreamy guitar and of its nostalgic solos (I'm hearing Mark Knopfler). After an intro which spits its gaily-coloured gurglings, "The Main Event" ends “Pools of Diversity” with a furious heavy and spheroidal e-rock. It takes two minutes, but when it starts, it starts. Some nice bluish sequences are fluttering of their crystal clear tones and are knocked down by sound gusts which let guess a next explosion. A heavy and slow bass line draws an extremely lively circular rhythm; one would say a slow magnetizing heavy metal, where are shining and sparkling these sequences of glass and where are striking, resounding the tightened drum skins of Les Sims while the keyboard sings of an organic voice. Every second justifies the synthesis between Steve Smith, Les Sims and Alan Ford who sound the charge of a powerful electronic hymn with mordant riffs, shrill solos and a rhythmic section which explodes with superb arrangements. This is great. Just great! As it ends, we want to listen to it again.
Evolving in the plans of progressive EM which fed the wealth of their first opus,
Steve Smith & The Tylas Cyndrome delivers a very strong second act, which is also a little more accessible, in “Pools of Diversity”. These evolutionary rhythms which criss-cross and juxtapose themselves in their musical structures in perpetual opposition, as well as their contiguous harmonies, are in the heart of a vast musical mosaic where the rock, the progressive and the electronic music forms unite their points of difference in order to sculpture an album where the borders interlace without ever denying the harmonious bouquets which seduce all along a great album.

Sylvain Lupari (December 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: 

samedi 21 décembre 2013

BOUVETOYA: Subtractivate (2013)

“Subtractivate is very good retro Berlin School EM where Bouvetoya seduces with an approach that we know but of which we are always amazed that there are still bits of freshness”
1 Kraterisen 9:23
2 Apophenia 5:14
3 Pulse Negative 12:55
4 Acheron 12:48
5 When Isolation Sparkles 17:17
6 Subtractivate 8:54

SynGate | CD-r MJ01 (CD-r 66:33) ***½
(Great retro Berlin School)
The debate persists after all these years; does the old Berlin School of the years vintages have forgotten some music on the paths of decades? The opinions are divided, as much as certain followers would eat it all the time. And it's mainly to them that addresses this small jewel signed by a mysterious Irish group (a new Arcane?) of which the name is inspired after a distant Norwegian island. “Subtractivate” presents nearly 70 minutes of EM with long intros perfumed mystic mists which give birth to always evolving rhythms wrapped up in dense ochred clouds, black choruses and ethereal flute singings. It's an album where the references to Tangerine Dream, Rubycon and Phaedra era, abound throughout a first very promising album from the band Bouvetoya. A name that we should keep in memory.
An oblong synth layer perfumed of mist is winding up around the introduction of "Kraterisen", throwing an impressive dark veil which floats with a mixture of voice, breezes of Farfisa and sound subtleties deserving of the
Rubycon years. Bass pulsations are stirring in a tempestuous gallop where circulate these black drafts infiltrated by chthonian choruses. After a three minutes of Mephistophelian ambiences, the rhythm of "Kraterisen" becomes as furious as black. Heavy, it bursts of another line of more rebellious sequences which pulse in a crazy oscillating race of which each knock resounds and challenges the wings of a static rhythm constantly tortured by chthonian choirs, by pads with scents of ether and also nibbled by riffs of synth to echoing bites. We are into the abyss of Tangerine Dream with strong perfumes of analog where the black rhythms go up and down, surrounded with these dark ambiences which quarrel the heat of our ears. Offering a black ambient rhythm, "Apophenia" goes beyond of a vaporous introduction in order to offer some agile sequences which pulse stubbornly in sonic corridors disguised of synth lines eroded by its nuances and by plenty of electronic tones. Then some tortuous lines of reverberations open the somber ambiospherical paths of "Pulse Denial" which wallows in a luxurious bed of Mellotron mists. The lines spit an organic poison, while the moods get harden and present a delicate carillon of sequences which swirl like an enchanted musical box. The rhythm takes itself in the stitches of these sequences. Beating of its bass keys, it by-passes the transparency of the sonic pearls which zigzag with resonance in the vapors of flutes and finally stumble in some ambiosonic lines to tones of Ohm. The moment of break is short because "Pulse Denial", just as "Acheron" and his banks of mist which surf with disturbing synth lines to the deformed resonances, continues its rhythmic transfer mutation by drawing awkward circles by which the intensity increases to the measure of its static spins which swirl in the vapors of  Arabian nasal flutes and mystic Mellotron.
"When Isolation Sparkles" spreads also a slow and long ambiospherical intro before offering a structure of rhythm, a little after the 7th minute, with sequences which pace up and down symmetric dunes. Elytrons of steel accompany this furtive sonic walking decorated with fine nuances, whereas we perceive a little more vigour in a rhythm which gets dressed subtly of black. The rhythm is static, but always in movement and in permutation. Only its harmonious tints modify the appearance while it increases appreciably the pace in order to play with another line of sequences, always so sober, which swirls in these clouds of Mellotron. Mists, flutes and chthonian choruses which make all the charm of the somber atmospheres of “Subtractivate” and of its title-track which, after a heavy ambiospherical intro, offers a beautiful movement of a wave-like rhythm which is reminiscent of Chris Franke's ambient rhythms.
Sailing in a full ocean of analog tones with structures of rhythms which evolve in ambiospheric beds of wadding, “Subtractivate” maintains constantly the interest by presenting fine nuances which catch the hearing. It's an album where the rhythms are as well ambient as the ambiences can be dark and a very good retro Berlin School where Bouvetoya seduces with an approach that we know but of which we are always amazed that there is still other bits of freshness left.

Sylvain Lupari (December 21st, 2013) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

vendredi 20 décembre 2013

OLIVIER BRIAND: Light Memories (2013)

“There are a lot of winks to Vangelis behind Light Memories of whic the sonic evolution creates a lot of melodies which bind themselves in imaginative rhythms”

Light Memories Part I –XV 72:59
PWM Distribution (CD-r 72:59) ***½
(Experimental and melodic Vangelis style EM)

The influence of Vangelis on Olivier Briand's musical development and experimental orientations is at the heart of his evolution and of his open mind on the art of the EM. Conceived in the interstices of the epic tones of Yamaha CS80, “Light Memories” wants to be an interlude in the career of the Nantes synthesist where he pays a sound tribute to Vangelis. Flanked of the Fender Rhodes Mark II piano, Olivier Briand develops 15 tracks which are inspired by oriental melodies from which the aromas flee the musical panoramas of Blade Runner and beyond.
"Light Memories Part I" begins the opening of “Light Memories” with an ambiospherical approach. Scattered notes, sounding like a mixture of an acoustic guitar and a Japanese koto, ring in industrial mists which remind the black universe of
Blade Runner. At first evasive, the part gives birth to a beautiful melodious approach which flows like stars whistling in a black sky. Each of the 15 parts of “Light Memories” is knotted by a delicate sonic thread which makes the link between the various styles of this commemorative symphony in respect of the Yamaha CS80 such as toyed by the Greek self-taught musician. "Light Memories Part II" follows the lunar sweetnesses of "Part I" before stirring of some symphonic jolts which recall the period of China. "Part III" follows with pulsating keys which jump up with their resonances under prismic clouds soaked with cosmic chirping. The rhythm is slow and pulses stubbornly in the benches of nasal lines, while another line of synth vocalizes an electronic dialect. The rhythm gets loose from its morphic influence with other sequences which sparkle and skip freely, braiding a figure of static rhythm which swirls in a more electronic structure where sings this synth and its fascinating robotics vocalizes. Then comes the very beautiful "Part IV" and its Fender Rhodes piano which makes sing its forsaken notes in the mists of melancholy. It's a beautiful light track which floats in our brain with a lot of melancholy. "Part V" moves on with a cosmic electronic march where are pulsing some enormous organic suckers of which the noise of suctions spreads its magic towards the tones of silky elytrons. The synth embroiders a litany of cosmic serenity which sounds out of tune in this static rhythm closer to the din and of sonic explorations. "Part VI" is a very beautiful melody where the sequences flicker in circles and the synth sings freedom. "Light Memories Part VII" loops the loop of the first half of “Light Memories” with a very beautiful electronic serenade filled by an absolute tenderness. Adopting a little the approach of the slow pulsing rhythm of Chariots of Fire, "Part VIII" eventually embraces a beat of lounge with synth solos which borrow the smells of nasal trumpets. The Rhodes spreads syllables with a fine harmonious prose deserving of improvisations that we can hear on evenings of free-jazz. Very light, "Part IX" shows its celestial singings of which the breaths of Pan bind themselves into the cosmic dusts of the very tearful "Part X"."Part XI" finds its inspiration in the Asian prose of "Part II" but with a more steady rhythm. "Part XII" is another beautiful lunar serenade which whistles on the edge of solitude. Delicate and very beautiful, its melancholy plunges into the surprising down-tempo, which sounds strangely like a soft jazz, which is "Part XIII" and of its surprising line of bass. There is almost an Arabian perfume on this track. We move forward towards the finale and to do it, Olivier Briand offers us his jewel in "Light Memories Part XIV" whose magnificent ballad gets lost in the souvenirs of Direct, a more contemporary album from Vangelis. This is very good and we never heard it coming. "Light Memories Part XV" encloses this sonic fantasia with an immersion of oddities and analog/digital heterogeneous noises which remind all the work of accuracy which surrounded those great electronic works.
Light Memories” is a more personal album to
Olivier Briand who indulges himself by working with the instruments of one of his main sources of inspiration. There are a lot of winks to the works of Vangelis behind this fascinating electronic dawn serenade where the noises and the strange atmospheres assemble to create a multitude of melodies which bind themselves in imaginative rhythms. And even in the sound experimentation, Olivier Briand always manages to embroider melodies which make the ears smile. Mainly for the fans of Vangelis, “Light Memories” remains a fascinating album for those who want to understand the progressions of electronic structures.

Sylvain Lupari (December 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:

mercredi 18 décembre 2013


“Remnants is a wonderful musical odyssey where this duality between the rhythms and its atmospheres engenders so much delicacy as so much fury”
1 Portal Touch Stone Overture 3:41
2 Neolithic Spring Water Fall 2:18
3 Circular Earth Banking Security 1:15
4 The Rising Dolmen 2:38
5 The Gretchen Tragedy 4:41
6 Night Initiation 5:08
7 Farewell Moon and New Suns 6:24
8 Moon Dial 14:31
9 Blue Hour Glass 10:40
10 Giant's Dance on Air 4:46
11 Walking the Burial Mounds 4:25

Groove NL | GR-205 (CD 60:27) ****½
(Cinematographic EM with a zest of Berlin and Dutch School)
I always believed that the artistic approach of Thorsten Quaeschning had influenced Tangerine Dream, in particular in the superb Sonic Poem Series. And as strangely as fabulously, it's a kind of a return of favor that we witness with this Picture Palace Music's last album which drinks literally of the nebulous ambiospheric and rhythmic paintings of Tangerine Dream at the top of its mysticism. “Remnants” is the last audacious sonic adventure of Thorsten Quaeschning's band. Audacious because the Q gang has to put in music a fascinating visual odyssey, and totally dumb, on the history of the ascent and the fall of the Neolithic civilization of Great Britain, such as puts in images by the film-maker Grant Wakefield. Navigating on a slow structure, where all 11tracks get tangled up in a long symphony filled by Gothic and druidism aromas, of 60 minutes which incubate its rhythms and its atmospheres in a box bubbling constantly of black emotions, “Remnants” offers all the magnificence of a group which is superbly at ease in its mandates which avoid the ease.
It's with a silence which scolds that "Portal Touch Stone Overture" pierces the blank grooves of
PPM's last thin slivery CD. Ethereal voices are floating there, as well as some rippling synth lines which make the bridge between the vaporous atmospheres of a black introduction and the fine line of sequences which makes its keys bounce in their shadows, stamping on a somber and delicately jerked rhythm that breezes from flutes of glass and absent choirs caress of their Mephistophelian charms. Subtly, the rhythm of "Portal Touch Stone Overture" passes of its delicate hatched gait towards wavelets of sequenced prisms which tap in the morphic sweetness of "Neolithic Spring Water Fall". The musical setting is well thought. And already we feel the level of emotionalism stepping up a notch. Riffs of keyboard à la TD fall and spread their Vangelis resonances which crystallize the harmonies ghosts roaming as lost spirits. The rhythm, sometimes absent and sometimes discreet, shows up the tip of its sequences with black oscillations which plunge “Remnants” into its first phase of sound frenzy with the short "Circular Earth Banking Security" where we hear some strange rustles collided on the ramparts of heavy sequences which spin in dense foggy pads. Memories of the neurotic Curriculum Vitae 1
 are feeding our desire to go farther. And bang! We fall into a universe of static rhythms à la Gert Emmens with "The Rising Dolmen". The rhythm is as well lugubrious as heavy. It floats with nice musical oscillations in the filets of sequences which flicker like dozens of fireflies trapped in a small jar for six, while the singings and the solos of synths are as suave as these long cosmic poetries from the Dutch bard. The transitions between every track are the strength of this album which sounds like a long track of 60 minutes. So the lapping of sequences comes back to rock the soft reveries of "The Gretchen Tragedy" and its flute which sings like a lost soul on a twinkling rivulet of sequences. "Night Initiation" is the meeting point between the beginning and the ending of “Remnants”. It's an interlude of ambiences with ethereal voices which hums in the winds of prism, a little as a somber mass of winds and voices blowing in a plain pierced by dolmens.
The fragile structures of "Neolithic Spring Water Fall" come back haunting the very meditative "Farewell Moon and New Suns" which frees a snake of sequences from which the keys skip with transparency under a dense veil of ochred mist. Scattered percussions support the oscillations of this snake charmer of rhythms, while that quite slowly the contemplative melody does the job by conquering our hearing. Although ambient, the structure of "Farewell Moon and New Suns" is striking with its intense coat of mysticism where winds sing with the night elves. And we enter the sublimity with the heavy pulsating rhythm of "Moon Dial". Once again, the movement of the motionless sequences is as attractive as Gert Emmens' lunar rhythms. Except that the madness
PPM surrounds these sequences which spit the blackness with paranoiac rustles and filets of ethereal voices. The movement negotiates subtly the redundancy with a fine rhythmic modulation which makes "Moon Dial" swirls on itself while other sequences flicker and hijack the rhythm towards a latent implosion where will roar very vindictive synth solos and solos of a rebel guitar. The rhythmic battle gets intensify and "Moon Dial" fires a phase of electronic progressive rock where the structure of sequences, the electronic percussions and the bites of guitars remind me the fury of Tangerine Dream in Near Dark. This is candy for ears! It's in the breathlessness of the tumults that the first notes of piano light the melancholy of "Blue Hour Glass". These notes dance in a strange harmonious choreography eroded by tremors, while other more evasive and more melodious notes give me the taste to listen again the magnificent and demonic Añoranza. It's dark and melancholic while being as well beautiful as intriguing. "Giant's Dance on Air" cuts out the vapors of serenity with guitar riffs which fail on the stampings of sequences pawing the ground of disorder and of a desire to shake the radiance atmospheres of "Blue Hour Glass". These sequences forge the structures of a lascivious rhythm which swirls in the wavelets of static prisms and the spirals of emotionalism where voices and arrangements embroider an intense dramatic painting and where the intensity explodes with strong percussions which bring “Remnants” to its rhythmic climax. And "Walking the Burial Mounds" to close this last Picture Palace Music's work with winds and voices which float such as vestiges ghosts of a civilization which has set alight so many stories.
When the images take the shapes of music, it gives
Picture Palace Music. It gives “Remnants”; a wonderful musical odyssey where this duality between the rhythms and its atmospheres engenders so much delicacy as so much fury and where the poetry as well as the dramatic prose of PPM are of use as background to a movie which takes place as much in front of our eyes as in our head. And honestly; what of better than the very theatrical music (do you remember of the splendid Natatorium
?) of Picture Palace Music to put better into cerebral dialogue the images of Grant Wakefield? Splendid! This is some great Picture Palace Music, poetic and theatrical which revisits its own roots.
Sylvain Lupari (December 18th, 2013) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

lundi 16 décembre 2013

MIND OVER MATTER: The Colours of Life (1988-2008)

“Superbly more mesmerizing, The Colours of Life continues exactly where Music for Paradise had left us: into the lands of awaken dreams”

The Colours of Life (1988-2008)

“Superbement plus hypnotique, The Colours of Life continue exactement là où Music for Paradise nous avait quitté: au pays des rêves éveillés”

The Colours of Life

vendredi 13 décembre 2013

TANGERINE DREAM: Lost in Strings Vol. 1 (2013)

“Lost in Strings Volume 1 is a timid compilation, even if the 150 minutes are flowing rather well, where are missing a lot of strong guitars acts from Edgar Froese”

Eastgate | 063 CD (2 CD-23 tracks 149:52) ***½
(Melodic EM)

I have done the maths! Unless I made a mistake somewhere, the very respectable site Voices in the Net has listed, in 2012, more than 210 albums of the Mandarine Dream since Electronic Meditation in 1970. Of this number, about 70 are compilations, from which more than around 30 are out of the Eastgate label, and I omitted to count albums in concert as well as videos / DVD. So now, why speaking about “Lost in Strings Volume 1”? Well, believe it or not, because it distances itself by targeting solos and partitions of guitar played by Edgar Froese. It's one of the rarest compilations, which is not a box-set, which covers a great majority of Tangerine Dream's eras; from the Virgin years to the Eastgate ones. But there is more! “Lost in Strings Volume 1” presents some titles that we hear a few or that we remember hardly, showing all the depth of Tangerine Dream and confirming more than anything that we can spend whole days to listen TD's music and still be under the spell by an unique track or a dozen of them. And this, every day! But we always have something to blubber about. So let's go for the blubbering. In spite that I like to listen this compilation, I find that some essential things are missing here. I think in particular of Stratosfear, Encore, more of Force Majeure and the very poignant Song of the Whale, Part One: From Dawn among others. I would also have loved that “Lost in Strings Volume 1” digs a little more in the concerts of 76-77, as well as the 80's in particular the Underwater Sunlight tour in 86. If I remember well, there was once a bootleg of 6 CD (I do have it) related for the guitar solos during those gigs, and beyond, which was release in 2001 under the name of Guitar Works. I found this well done and very relevant. But unless I am wrong, when it is written Vol.I, there will most probably have a Vol.II. For the better or for the worse.
And it's for the best that "Cloudburst Flight" kicks things of. This is an inescapable which throws us in the late 70's. The next 5 tracks come from the albums 
Thief and The Keep. And we already jump in the 90's with "Electric Lion". The leap is gigantic because there are several forgotten albums for this period. But the compilation flows well because it offers us a less exploited side than some diverse compilations that the Silver Fox has thrown between our ears since the last years. It's thus with pleasure that my ears found again this "Electric Lion", "Three Bikes in the Sky", "Blue Bridge" and the powerful "Hamlet" (incredible, I listened to 220 Volts 2 time since, besides having viewed the video again), as well as remixed versions of "Ride on a Ray" (this one is not my fave of all TD's mixes) and "Marakesh". I didn't know "The Road to Odessa", from Orange Light Years; another compilation, of Edgar's music this time, released back in 2005. It's heavy, lively and it respects the spirit of these years which are not really part of my preferred. I rather prefer the slow rhythm and the ambiences of solitude that we find on "Talking to Maddox". Does Edgar play the talk-box on it? For those who still don't know "Sungate", let's say that it's an inescapable for those who like sentimental electronic ballads. As for me, and this even if I dislike Lily on the Beach, it's a great track with a strong vibrating guitar. I pass over "Too Hot for my Chinchilla" (Yeurk!) to rediscover the charms of Mars Polaris with "Spiral Star Date"; a good track where I have some difficulty to understand its reason on this compilation so much the guitar is as discreet as the shouts in a night shaken by gloomy winds, but it's very good. One of these days I'll talk about Mars Polaris. "The Seven Barriers" is a nice track very soft and dark with a superb guitar which lets out very poignant solos. It's a track which inhales The Endless Season's beautiful melancholic atmospheres, while "Wild Ocean of Blue Fate" offers a lighter side of this album. "Lord of the Ants" wakes us with its percussions slamming in the furrows of sequences and their lively fluttering. This is quite a vigorous track with an always so black Edgar who draws solos which seem lost in this infernal spiral of motionless sequences. "Tangines on and Running" is the musical lengthened version of The Divorce from an album that I still have all the difficulty to like; Madcaps Flaming Duty. There isn't much really special under the sun with a rhythm still flickering around sequences and pulsations without rhythmic dimension and a very dark guitar. Pulled out of the strong Finnegans Wake, "Hermaphrodite" proposes beautiful melancholic solos, just like in "The Mysterious Gift to Mankind", which caress and wrap the heavy, dark and harmonious rhythms which make the black charms of the Sonic Poem Series but which all in all make of “Lost in Strings Volume 1” a timid compilation, even if the 150 minutes flow rather well. The question is whether we attend or not to a new kind of Booster

Sylvain Lupari (December 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:

mardi 10 décembre 2013

ODYSSEY & WE ARE THE HUNTERS: Odyssey & We are the Hunters (2013)

“Odyssey & We are the Hunters is a surprising album which made me dusted my old albums from Klaus Schulze and Michael Garrison”

1 The Four Elements (Odyssey) 32:32
2 Environmental Energy (We are the Hunters) 28:29

Generator PL | GEN CD 030 (CD 61:01) ****
(Cosmic base sequenced Berlin School)

There is a few, almost not at all to tell the truth, information on this last find from the Polish label Generator.plOdyssey & We are the Hunters” is an eponym album which contains two long musical pieces with very Berlin School aromas, composed by Odyssey (The Four Elements) and We are the Hunters (Environmental Energy) and produced by Tomasz Pauszek, the man behind Odyssey. We know Odyssey to have been charmed by his fascinating electronic symphony; Music for Subway in 2012. We know on the other hand a little less We are the Hunters, a very discreet, subdued band which does into big ambient vintage Berlin School. The collaboration between both electronic entities could not thus give something uninteresting. And it's exactly what waits for us with this delicious album full of memories of the analog years.
It's in the ambiospherical precepts dear to the psychedelicosmic structures of the analog years that begins "The Four Elements". The water oozes from the walls of a cosmic volcano, where the layers of a morphic synth are floating and boiling in organic tones. Fine sequences dance in their spheroidal shadows, shaping a static dance which spins in these lunar synth layers which make all the beauty of an introduction closer to sound experiments than well ordered structures. Then the silence widens its veil of mystery from the 7th minute, except for silvery gurglings which sparkle such as the lapping of a brook of prisms. This is there that is hatching a fascinating lunar ballad which swirls like an allegorical carousel under solos and cosmic sound effects. The ambience is fascinating and our eardrums are gobbling up this fusion of sounds which give a strange sonic show, whereas the synth is whistling some soft solos which adopt the airs of this melodic ritornello. The ambiences change of skin at around the 16th minute while that "The Four Elements" starts a beautiful structure of rhythm which undulates passively on good bass pulsations, sober electronic percussions and sequences which flicker in structures of criss-crossed underlying rhythms. Odyssey offers us a strange colorful synth-pop where 
 Jean Michel Jarre's tribal, cosmic and rhythmic influences get mix in the robotics melodies of Kraftwerk. This phase of rhythm amplifies its velocity with a funk approach where the undulations gurgle of organic tones in some ethereal voices and these deep shouts which exhilarate the eardrums since the opening of this strange space-funk. We have already crossed the bar of 23 minutes when the heavy and vibrating pulsations stop and that "The Four Elements" kisses a phase more melodious, even melancholic, with a soft electric piano which scatters its pensive notes in the discreet chirping of a synth. It's a brief rest of 3 minutes before that some sequences begin to be champing at the bit and before that "The Four Elements" turns on itself in search of a rhythmic direction. The arpeggios swirl intensely under the cooings of a dreamy synth whereas that a sneaky whirlwind of sequences makes spin the last minutes of "The Four Elements". Some bass and crystal clear sequences which get mix and whirl in a superb rhythmic chassé-croisé, laying the lines of a very good circular rhythm à la Jarre that rattling percussions and motionless twistings are surrounding in a cosmic mood from where filter soft solos full of analog fragrances. The first 13 minutes of "Environmental Energy" are a symphony of organic noises which gurgle in a dense ambiosonic broth where sing twisted lamentations from a synth tinted with the psychedelic perfume of Klaus Schulze's vintage years. Pulsations beat the languor around 13 minutes, bringing "Environmental Energy" towards a bubbling static movement where the bass sequences pulse and oscillate heavily on a linear movement decorated by sparkling arpeggios among which the ringings, as well as the chthonian airs, will be the only harmonies of this cosmic sound whirlwind which is reminiscent of the late Michael Garrison. Candy for old ears! 
Odyssey & We are the Hunters” is a real musical journey in the time of the analog rhythms. It's a more experimental side of the Berlin School style with a subtle zest of French School such as developed by
Jean Michel Jarre. If we like these ambient rhythms which hypnotize and seduce due to their sonic pallets, we shall be more than delighted by this surprising album that made me dusted my old albums from Klaus Schulze and Michael Garrison. To be tamed for the greater pleasure of our ears.

Sylvain Lupari (December 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:

samedi 7 décembre 2013

TANGERINE DREAM: Starmus-Sonic Universe (2013)

“Starmus-Sonic Universe is a fair live album from Tangerine Dream which remains faithful to itself; sober, without surprises and especially very professional”
CD 1
1 Supernova (Real Star Sounds) 10:40   2 Last Horizon 5:57
3 Marmontel Riding on a Clef  8:13   4 Trauma 9:31   5 Nothing and All 2:12
6 Nutshell Awakening 7:19   7 Shining Ray 5:35  
8 Beauty of Magic Antagonism 6:26   9 Novice 5:06    10 One Night in Space 7:32
CD 2
1 Calymba Caly 3:43   2 Omniscience 5:32   3 Janus Parade 8:05
4 Loved by the Sun 3:28   5 Fire on the Mountain 7:33
6 Darkness Veiling the Night 8:55   7 Living in Eternity 4:05   8 Bells of Accra 9:59  9 Sally's Garden 4:41   10 We Will Rock You (Extended) 12:47
11 Tenderness (Russian Song) 3:54   12 Mr. Alexey Leonov's Speech 2:56
Eastgate | 061 CD (2 CD 2:24:16) ***½ (Dynamic e-rock)
The number of requests that I receive so that I review albums of Tangerine Dream is astounding. Like if Edgar gang always had something interested to say, to propose. Through good times and bad, Eastgate is always on the lookout for a vein to be exploiting; like this “Starmus-Sonic Universe”. Recorded live on June 24th, 2011, at the Magma Arte and Congresos Concert Hall on the island of Tenerife, in Spain, for the Starmus Festival, “Starmus-Sonic Universe” was also the opportunity to celebrate the 50th birthday of Yuri Gagarin's first lunar flight. Except that “Starmus-Sonic Universe” has a peculiarity; Brian May's presence as a special guest. From where the very long delay moreover, problems of legal rights, before its release nearly 1 year later. And what is sounding Tangerine Dream onto Queen or Queen on Tangerine Dream? Well, you should take a deep breath because “Starmus-Sonic Universe” is well and truly a Tangerine Dream live album to which participates Brian May for only 4 tracks (maybe 5 with "Tenderness" from which the guitar sounds so much like his), among which; one of Queen's title (I'll let you guess), one of his compositions, "Last Horizon", newly arranged for the occasion by Tangerine Dream, "Sally Garden's" new arrangements and finally a track written by him with Edgar Froese and Garik Israelian (the man behind the concept); "Supernova (Real Star Sounds)".
And it's with "Supernova (Real Star Sounds)" that the show starts. The intro is cosmic and troubled by sonic winds which make ringing the prisms of Iris Camaa's percussions. She is already toying with her drum skins which resound in the breezes of a dark cosmos when an organic rhythm is settling down with a meshing of sequences and jumping pulsations which gurgle beneath the strikings of tom-toms. And the rhythm gets outlined. From ashes of atmospheres, "Supernova (Real Star Sounds)" takes a nervous shape with jerky riffs which fidget under sound reverberations. We hear a guitar roaring in its echo while the traditional rhythm of  the Dream (mixture of percussions, sequences and riffs floundering on the same pace) spreads its fury which is used as frame to a resounding guitar. Is it May or Beibl? Because both are very fast guitarists (you have to hear Bernhard Beibl on "One Night in Space" and "Loved by the Sun"). The fact remains that "Supernova (Real Star Sounds)" is heavy, sometimes furious, but swirls on its rhythm without breaking up the pace. It's a good introduction to a concert where Tangerine Dream definitively puts the emphasis on a very cosmic electronic rock. "Last Horizon"? It's Brain May on Tangerine Dream. The structure of slow rhythm reminds me the motionless sequencing pattern of the first Tangerine Dream. This is great and very touching. Brian May explodes our ears with splendid solos and with heavy riffs as only him is capable of. The artistic merger is completed for a track which is very centered on May's guitar. After that? Well after Edgar and Brian May having flattering each other's back, it's pure Tangerine Dream, version 2011 and2 012, with a nervous setlist where the rock approach and the lively structures prevail on the atmospheres. A setlist where the Dream imposes its contemporaneousness regardless of its memories. Only "Calymba Caly" and "Loved by the Sun" are drawn out of the old repertoire. At the level of new track there is "Janus Parade" which sounds just like what TD used to offer in the Atomic Seasons but with a strong Bernhard Beibl who pesters our ears with lively and sharp solos. The key point is unarguably the version of "We Will Rock You". The introduction is clearly heavier and wilder than its original. The music goes towards an ambiosonic structure after the last bites of May's guitar (who seems to embrace at the end of its riffs Now I' m Here) who makes tumble down his resounding riffs and his cutting solos into ethereal atmospheres. And if somebody ever mentions me that Led Zeppelin's version of Dazed and Confused is empty, I would tell them to listen to this one!
Starmus-Sonic Universe” is a fair live album from
Tangerine Dream which remains faithful to itself; sober, without surprises and especially very professional. The whole thing comes with a nice booklet; the price of disillusion.
Sylvain Lupari (December 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: