lundi 29 septembre 2014

TANGERINE DREAM: Josephine the Mouse Singer (2014)

“Josephine the Mouse Singer follows the main line of the last works from the Dream, in particular the Sonic Poem Series”
1 The Four White Wooden Horses 6:08
2 The Bleeding Angel 4:00
3 Center of Now 6:33
4 Josephine the Mouse Singer 8:28
5 Arcangelo Corelli's La Folia 7:39

Eastgate 069CD (Cup-Disc 32:48) ****
(Theatrical e-rock)
Exit the  Eastgate years! Long live to the Quantum years! Unless a situational turnaround, “Josephine the Mouse Singer” should be the very last thing to pop out of these famous years when the income of Tangerine Dream will never have mopped the expenses. And this in spite of all those re-editions, the live albums, the so best-of, Booster and finally the Cup-DiscsVoices in the Net establishes that this “Josephine the Mouse Singer” is the 7th C-D of this edition. I counted 10, but I am rather going to come round to this excellent reference site on Tangerine Dream. We speak, we chatter! But of what returns the music of this last Cup-Disc? Distributed in limited edition (there is still some left in the Eastgate factories) “Josephine the Mouse Singer” was initially offered during the European Phaedra Farewell Tour 2014 and follows at the same time the main line of the last works from the Dream, in particular the Sonic Poem Series, being another poem of Franz Kafka.
"The Four White Wooden Horses" establishes a mood of darkness deliciously tamed with an obsessing slightly chaotic rhythm. A rhythm which merges its erratic jolts into the tails of unbridled movements of sequences as well as ones with organic tones. Just as well mesmerizing, the melodic membrane leaves all the room to the rhythm and frees delicate evasive chords while that a kind of African voice is singing some delicate tribal hymns of which the certain charms are merging to absent voices and very nostalgic synth breezes. This voice returns on the title-track which presents an ambient intro with synth lines which seem to draw a horizon to the colors of our imagination and which are clubbed by good percussions. Gradually the rhythm of "Josephine the Mouse Singer" is structuring itself around notes of a very pensive acoustic guitar. This rhythm stamped of melancholy adopts gradually the approach of a gallop from a solitary cowboy where we see the rider of deserts fading at the horizon. A little bit as the ending of a western movie where the credits unfold before our dreamy eyes. I quite enjoyed these two tracks, just as "The Bleeding Angel" which is a beautiful and very melodious down-tempo with a wrapping veil of melancholy. The effect of crescendo assures that our feelings follow the very poignant curve of this beautiful black ballad. We stay in the line of ballads with "Center of Now". A kind of ambient ballad, even morphic, which offers a rather nebulous approach and a structure which is complicated enough. There is too much in it to highlight anything that sounds appealing. It's like having too much to eat and not having something great to gulp. I do believe that one has to like the intense and black classical moods to appreciate to its full measure
Edgar Froese's arrangements on "Arcangelo Corelli's La Folia", which is a music written by Arcangelo Corelli. I cannot really pronounce, absolutely not knowing classical, but I found the arrangements, as well as these sequences which revolve and flicker all around this subtle movement of crescendo, as incisive as a descent in an alienation.
We can't find anything wrong on this new (last?)
Cup-Disc, which would easily have been able to be of use as springboard to this continuity of Franz Kafka's works put on music in Tangerine Dream's Sonic Poem Series. And I am fascinated by this doggedness, this perseverance of Edgar Froese to continue his work of creation. If it's true that we can criticize the orientations which he imposed to this cult band, we cannot deny that he has a great deal of talent and that his impact is as much necessary than it was essential in the development of EM. In fact Edgar, I would just want to tell you thank you... And long life to these years Quantum!
Sylvain Lupari (September 29th, 2014) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:    

dimanche 28 septembre 2014

TANGERINE DREAM: Grand Auto Theft 5 (2013)

“GAT 5 is a good album which releases a delicate sonic perfume borrowed in both poles of TD's luxurious years”
1 Place of Conclusions 5:15
2 Streets of Fortune 4:54
3 Mission Possible 4:15
4 Downtown Los Santos 5:06
5 Blaine County Sunrise 5:26
6 Burning the Bad Seal 5:17
7 Beyond the Weakest Point 6:09
8 Sadness, Grief and Hope 4:38
9 Diary of a Robbery 5:36
10 Draw the Last Line Somewhere 6:13
11 The Dangerous Mile 5:42
12 Living on a Razor Edge 5:17

Eastgate 066 CD (CD 63:48) **** (Based sequences electronic Pop Rock)
A sinuous curve pierces the horizon. A mislaid chord falls. A fluid movement of bass sequences is slightly galloping and draws a soft and warm undulatory rhythm. All this, marinated to riffs and electronic spirals falling into electronic gas, leads us back to the nice time of Tangerine Dream. Only the fragile harmonies and the artificial voices annoy the ear and return us to the more contemporary years of Edgar Froese's works. The 5 minutes of "Place of Conclusions", to a few exceptions, dig up the rhythms, the atmospheres and the harmonies of this Edgar Dream's new album. An album which literally set ablaze the fans and scribbled the social media networks of laudatory remarks, while putting bootleggers to work, because “Grand Auto Theft 5” is available only in 2000 copies and only at the electronic shop of Eastgate. A whole version, with a gigantic amount of music and moods inherent to the famous video game, is also available. One can find it if we search minutely on the Net or on specialized sites (I heard it and I was not really crazy about it). At the beginning, I was rather sceptical. It is when I saw the game in action that I made the link. And when I took time to hear “Grand Auto Theft 5” closely, I came to the conclusion that Edgar is still very creative and that he still has some very good music in him.
"Streets of Fortune" offers a structure of sequences with a diversity of tones and strikes which forge an ambitious pattern of stable electronic rhythm. It is the harmonies which lug around this rhythm among which the interweavings and the disordered jumps of sequences, and percussions, revisit the ambiences of the
Flashpoint era with a light tint of modernity. If the harmonies of “Grand Auto Theft 5” inhale at times the lightness and smell the colors of honey, the movements of Edgar's sequences are striking and have nothing to envy to his former accomplices (I know; the technology is not the same here). You just have to hear the very wriggling "Burning the Bad Seal" or yet the stunning "Diary of a Robbery" which has downright ate up a huge part of Silver Scale. Very good! "Mission Possible", as "Draw the Last Line Somewhere" and the very good "The Dangerous Mile" are closer to the contemporary TD with moods and sneaky rhythms which would have been able to find a place on the Sonic Poem Series  saga or still  on Edgar's solo works. "Downtown Los Santos" offers a mixture of electronic percussions, kind of Iris Camaa bongo drums style, sequences and riffs out of Edgar's six-strings over two interposed structures of rhythms that left me of ice. This is a repetitive electronic rock without flavors nor colors, contrary to "Sadness, Grief and Hope" which sprinkles its redundancy of subtle nuances. "Blaine County Sunrise" is a sweet electronic ballad, dark with beautiful arrangements and which follows a light crescendo with harmonies charming subtly in aquatic tints. The same goes for "Beyond the Weakest Point", halieutic effects in less, where the bongo drums percussions erase not at all this delicate dreamlike approach introduced by a delicious Mellotron and its Arabian flutes. When I say that Edgar still has some good music in him... "Living on a Razor Edge" is another dark ballad which unifies marvellously both poles of Tangerine Dream. The somber rhythm, which climbs the curves of a relatively slow tempo, gives all the latitude to Edgar to let stroll the vibes and the harmonies of a very nostalgic six-strings and of its very evasive solos.
Some will say that
Tangerine Froese has dived into the ease. That “Grand Auto Theft 5” was made from old recipes skillfully updated in Edgar's workshops without regard for any originality. This just shows that no matter what the old fox makes, he always has the spectres of Baumann, Franke and Schmoelling on the shoulders. I am of those who think of the opposite. “Grand Auto Theft 5” is a good album which releases a delicate sonic perfume borrowed both in the old TD and the one more contemporary and closer to the great moods of the Sonic Poem Series. This is some great Froese that lands between our two ears. The old fox uses his wisdom and his experience to well measure his ambiences. To play with and annex them to rhythms and to melodies which follow skillfully all the nuances which make the strength of solid cinematographic music. Yep, “GAT 5” is definitively up to what we can expect from one of the big pioneers of the contemporary music. Hat to you Mister Froese!
Sylvain Lupari (September 28th, 2014) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: 

samedi 27 septembre 2014

DARSHA AMBIENT: Songs from the Deep Field (2014)

“Soft, poetic, melodic and intensely touching, the music of this Darshan Ambient last album is a great mix of O'Hearn, Oldfield and Vangelis”
1 Star Born 5:11
2 Cluster 4:09
3 The Deep Field 7:52
4 Blue Lotus 5:43
5 Heaven in a Wildflower 5:09
6 You Will Never be Alone 8:37
7 Microlife 4:29
8 Grey Sea 4:54
9 Hidden Stars 7:35
10 Tears to Rain 4:06
11 Sleepers Awake! 4:32

Spotted Peccary | SPM-2402 (CD 62:17) ****½
(Electronic rock&folk)
Ah... the music of Michael Allison! I know, it is not really based sequence style EM, even less ambiospherical, although this last album brushes a bit the corridors of cosmos, but Darshan Ambient succeeds his audacious bet to make sing a music without words by mixing skillfully his synths and guitars into a musical texture of his own. And each time, I say to myself that his last one is his best. This one, with some splendid orchestrations, does not make an exception. It's by the very beautiful images took by the Hubble Space Telescope, those known under Hubble Deep Field, that Darshan Ambient drawn his reflections to concoct “Songs from the Deep Field”. The guitarist/synthesist of San Francisco may aim stars, cosmos and his infinite possibilities that his music always remains so mellifluously dreamlike. Rocking between rhythms charmingly activated by ritornellos in staccato and deliciously ambient melodies, Darshan Ambient delivers another strong album where the music stays at the heart of everything, even when he tries a leap in the dark.
A breath of astral breezes initiates the nervous and convulsive movement of "Star Born". Wriggling on elytrons of metal and on agitated percussions, the rhythm hiccups like a keen up-tempo. Its brief jerks are nevertheless taken in the whirlwinds of a melody murmured by indefinable winds and by the charms of a magnetizing guitar of which the minimalist notes swirl in panting orchestrations. Doubtless the liveliest track of
Darshan Ambient repertoire, "Star Born" gives the kick-off to a much diversified album where the poetry of the man in black is breathing behind every note, behind every tune. "Cluster" lands in our ears with the elegiac breezes so characteristic to the universe of DA. Some lazy bass notes are dragging a somber melancholy in a Patrick O'Hearn style whereas parasitic noises forge a rainy appearance. Percussions fall with the same nonchalance as the bass while that very slowly "Cluster" is livening up to a tribal rhythm which reminds me of Mike Oldfield's festivities in The Songs of Distant Earth. Lively and circular, the introductory rhythm of "The Deep Field" is gracefully forged in jerky orchestrations whereas sober percussions beat a countermeasure, blurring a kind of down-tempo which spins lasciviously in the velocity of the arrangements. The track is abundantly sprayed of dreamy notes of a guitar, as well as by O'Hearn's bass lines style, and gets lost quietly in more ambient spheres. There where sit the very ambient "Blue Lotus" and its mixture of synth/guitar strata which push the pensive harmonies from a meditative piano. "Heaven in a Wildflower" is also feeding of the curt knocks of bows, displaying so a ritornello with a very Aboriginal flavor. The movement is very lively, but rest of ambiances with other staccato orchestrations and a weeping violin which root the track in moods as dramatic than celestial. "You Will Never be Alone" is the open door of some very deep ambient phases of “Songs from the Deep Field”. The movement is slow and offers the sweetness of pious voices which caress the soft harmony of a rather nostalgic piano. It's like seeing a sorrow by the back door of a mirror. And the angelic voice is bringing me closer to the ambiences of the Atomic Seasons saga by Tangerine Dream. It's rather poignant at times and we eventually find it very personal. "Microlife" shakes the ambiences with a good structure of rhythm that we can identify as an electronic ballad but with a more accentuated pace. It's sound like a kind of electronic country-rock. All the ingredients are there to capture the ear: good percussions, rustles of angels, other great orchestrations but especially this very beautiful guitar of which the sober play is reaching our soul. This is very good. "Grey Sea" is as dark, quiet and melancholic as "Blue Lotus", while "Hidden Stars" is THE track on “Songs from the Deep Field”. A mixture of Mike Oldfield , Sensitive Chaos and David Wright, "Hidden Stars" offers a subtly tribal rhythm with a cheerful approach and where the guitar snatches our tears from the heart, but not as much as the crescendo which lives throughout this paradisiacal movement. This is the kind of music where we stop everything in order to listen it. Superb! It's kind of difficult to follow such a great track and that's why "Tears to Rain" adopts the ambient forms of "Grey Sea" but in a clearly more lunar, more cosmic envelope. "Sleepers Awake!" is another beautiful ballad, slower and more surrounding than "Microlife", which ends another great album from Darshan Ambient who always manages to reach the dens of my memories.
Sylvain Lupari (September 27th, 2014) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: 

lundi 22 septembre 2014

UNDER THE DOME:The Demon Haunted World (1998)

“The Demon Haunted World is without any doubts one of the most underrated album in modern EM. You have to own this classic album!”

1 Flüssiger Vier-Takter 8:32
2 The Aeon's Day 22:26
3 The Bridge 13:33
4 Hell 24:00

Neu Harmony-NH007
(CD, CD-r, DDL 68:38)*****
(Vintage Berlin School with a zest of England School)
The mechanism of a clock attracts our attention straightaway. These jingle get lost in a beautiful melodic duel between a piano and a guitar, both dreamers. The last notes are fading in the sweetnesses of Mellotron violin strings, and also in heavy reverberations. Sequences appear behind this curtain of paradoxes. The movement is heavy. The keys jump and run in oscillating waves, shaping a dark rhythm which waves with swiftness beneath a shower of other sequence keys as well as chords, riffs and pads of a mix of keyboard, synth and guitar retrieve in the void. From dreamer to heavy and furious, "Flüssiger Vier-Takter" rolls like a violent analog storm where dark and lively sequence chords are dancing and running free, with their doubles, on a wild structure of rhythm. These infernal four minutes end in the musing of a piano, and of its winged accomplices, which takes back its rights on this track with the support of a synthesizer of which the distortion singings are flowing under the severe shadows of the reverberations. We cannot stay insensible towards this first track which opens one of the great classics of modern EM. Under the Dome is a name forgotten in the firmament always well furnished in the Berlin School style, seasoned with a zest of the heavinesses of England School. This English duet, consisted of Grant Middleton and Colin Anderson had seduced the fans of the genre in the late 90's and the beginning of 2000 with 2 strong opuses; “The Demon Haunted World” and Bellerophon, whom I have not heard yet, which are part of those inescapable of the contemporary EM. And, according to me, “The Demon Haunted World” is as much a classical album as the wonderful Impulse from Free System Projekt and all those alike. Chronicle of an album forgotten and disappeared in the stride of the extinction of CD. A must have, as we say!
The vibes are heavy throughout this “The Demon Haunted World”. Winds and their prismic particles are dancing with reverberations, when it is not with waves of Mellotron and their violin harmonies or the seraphic voices and their wounding singings. It's this sonic texture which opens the wonderful "The Aeon's Day". We float with the rippling winds which have caught a fascinating symphony of birds songs a little bit variegated. These esoteric elements evaporate little by little once that we have crossed the point of three minutes. A beast is waiting for us there and it snores some heavy reverberations. This fascinating meshing of white and black is raging all over “The Demon Haunted World”, as well as this pattern of dark rhythm with a strongly analog fragrance. Here, this rhythm hatches around the 4th minute spot. It makes its keys dancing with bells, uniting once again the shadow and the brightness in a structure of so harmonious rhythm that we almost forget the delicious solos which decorate it. The dance of sequences with lively and criss-crossed keys is sublime. It structures a figure of rhythm which goes up and down with so much subtlety that this pattern, all the same rather minimalist, seems to redo its skin at each bend. The symphony of bells is as well very attractive. And like all good Berlin School, the sustained rhythm is shucking its chords in a delicious bad patch where some uncomfortable winds are roaring in the wings of a static rhythm which flicker on the spot, like a dragonfly hypnotized by the beauty of a jonquil in a swamp. We don't sleep! Our fingers drum the rhythm of the stationary sequences while our ears follow the singings of the winds and of the synth lines with their soft dreamy spirals. The pace still goes up and down. It seems to stop and restart immediately in a rich ambiospherical passage which brings us back to the snores of this invisible beast at the beginning. You know Rush's Xanadu? We enter there! The 16th minute of "The Aeon's Day" is completely delicious with cow-bells kind of percussions which ring in some disturbing winds, but also in an attractive mellotron melody. The moods are heavy. Our senses observe a somber evolution which explodes with a rhythm as heavy and lively. The skin has changed, but the noisy and lively approach remains the same. Sequences are heavy and explode of a new vitality in a rich ambiosonic structure where solos and dusts of stars are lost elements that will get through "The Aeon's Day" and of its structure that will discard its last jumps in a kind of interstellar peace.
We have just crossed 30 delicious minutes when "The Bridge" accosts in our ears with a weighty ambiospherical intro. A Vangelis intro with majestic breezes of synth which sing, with so much melancholy, in dark winds and sound brightness to tones of scarlet prisms. The ambiences are tinted of black while a wild rhythm is kicking while changing quite slowly to adopt an oscillatory shape. Being so of use as rampart to solos of synth and guitar in tints and forms as much colorful as the interbreeding of the roarings which gets out of it. It is the least harmonious and the blackest track of “The Demon Haunted World”. These moods of perdition go back to the opening of "Hell" and its sibylline choir which has stuffed our ears of a heavy veil of howling metals. We are heading towards hell. In the uncomfortable zones of
Force Majeure. Astonishingly, an astral passage waits for us down there. And a kind of quarrel between both entities, with some airs which sound like Pink Floyd's Shine on you Crazy Diamond is going on. A movement of sequences, curt and vigorous, shakes the ambiences whereas superb solos reinvent "Hell" and its structure of rhythm which sparkles of its meshing of bass and prismic sequences. This is as lively as very melodious. And this even if the music deviates towards more psychedelic territories, with very TD guitar riffs which are biting the solos and crush down the fluttering of sequences. This is hard and pure electronic rhythm which quietly goes towards a more astral passage where the influences of Vangelis re-appear with beautiful tearful lamentations which pour their sorrows into beautiful veils of Mellotron. Simply magic! And as nothing is commonplace, or ever completely finished, a soft fluty melody goes out of these seraphic limbs. I hear Spiral from Vangelis here. These last breaths bring to us all slowly a superb melody, as cheerful than quite virginal, that nobody expected. And as nothing is commonplace, or ever completely finished... Heavy guitar riffs and piercing synth solos bicker for this innocence which was just only the reflection of our listening. Monumental! And it's like that, all over this album that you absolutely have to discover.
Sylvain Lupari (September 22nd, 2014) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

samedi 20 septembre 2014

BOUVETOYA: Interstellarphonic (2014)

“Bouvetoya reaches a peak with an album and a musical pattern to which we grant that very few chances to surprise”
1 The Dawn of the Interplanetary Nation 9:38
2 26 Prosperina 16:08
3 Radio Jupiter 22:2 MHz 12:14
4 The Pillars of Star Creation 15:18
5 Heart of the Magnetar 7:56

SynGate | CD-r MJ02 (CD-r 61:14) ****
(Mix of vintage and new Berlin School)
It's in the intersidereal sweetnesses that begin this 2nd album of Bouvetoya. Foggy synth pads and ambient choirs stretch an astral tune with delicate intonations which break a possible dullness. Chords roam in these cosmic mists, reminding The Dark Side of the Moog IX, from the Namlook/Schulze tandem, which gets lost in the ambient fogs of Pink Floyd and of its Wish You Were Here. Other chords are grafted. They waddle stealthily and their ricochets dance with their shadows. The rhythm of "The Dawn of the Interplanetary Nation" is silhouetted with the most beautiful assets of the minimalist movements. The keys are walking faster and agglutinate in a jerky movement which is growing beneath synth riffs a la TD and twisted synth solos a la Pyramid Peak. Following a delicious evolution, and gather together here and there all the ingredients which built its charm, the beat of "The Dawn of the Interplanetary Nation" increases the cadence, modifying subtly its intonations, to adopt a rhythmic ride of which the pace, more and more accentuated and more and more jerky, runs beneath a salvo of solos and its curves as much coiled up as its ectoplasmic chants. Contrary to Subtractivate, the 60 minutes of “Interstellarphonic” is balancing between the mesmerizing charm of retro Berlin School and the most hypnotic one of New Berlin School. We are at a sonic crossroads where Schulze  nd TD are meeting the more hypnotic moods of Software and Pyramid Peak, but in a morphic envelope which calls back Neuronium's moments of ether. It's what jumps to ears with "26 Prosperina" and its long sleep-inducing intro adorned of cosmic choruses and of dusts of prism. Some fine intonations modify the colors of this slow ambient procession which quietly derives towards a more interstellar phase where a mix of cosmic chirpings and black reverberations converge on heavy synth pads to the tones of old organ. These first 10 minutes pass rather well. The sound wealth of this intro is such as that our ears remain captive. And it's doubtless for that reason that the heavy movement of waddling sequences seems not that far. Rather simplistic, but very catchy, this portion of rhythm in "26 Prosperina" is waving like the walking of a big goblin. A magician of heavy steps who moves his keys with grace and suppleness, while taking good care to amass here and there pearls which make noise in pads and solos with the flavors as well vintages as contemporaries. It's black and heavy, as if we would mix Tangerine Dream to Arc.
"Radio Jupiter 22:2 MHz" presents a more chthonian intro with dark choruses and their passive monasterial singings which float in the mysticism of the rippling synth waves. Beautiful airs of flutes invite themselves in this intro where a fascinating effect of echo adds a depth to a track which leaves the abyss in order to inhale a more cosmic
Jarre approach. Lines of rhythms emerge. Their sequences are champing at the bit. Their bass tones run in all directions. In a figure of static rhythm disordered and rocked by astral synth waves and pecked by cosmic sound effects. The rhythm gets free, bite by bite, of its cocoon of ether, accelerating a cadence which displays big zigzags which are always trapped in a heavy cosmic vibe and of its sometimes very quirky sound charms. "The Pillars of Star Creation" follows the philosophy of ambiences versus rhythms which enriched the first 3 tracks of “Interstellarphonic”. Darker and noisier, the intro always abounds of these synth pads and chthonian choirs which float among those still twisted solos as well as in chirpings and glaucous pulsations. The rhythm, more delicate, turns up at around the 9th minute. It precedes a delicious moment of meditation with beautiful organ tones pads and follows the lunar curves of those exhilarant movements of Klaus Schulze on Body Love. This is very beautiful. "Heart of the Magnetar" ends Bouvetoya's second album with another delicate morphic intro where hot breezes are singing charming spectral airs. Heavy reverberations eat up this delicate phase of serenity, plunging "Heart of the Magnetar" into a sordid sonic universe where the strength of the movement lies in its intensity. An intensity fed by pulsations and by impulses and whose meshing is drawing a fascinating and powerful ambient rhythm.
No, Subtractivate was not a hitch, nor a stroke of luck! This small project of EM out of the Norway lands mixes talent and creativity in a musical pattern to which we grant that very few chances to surprise. Yes vintage Berlin School will always seduce, but to surprise? This is not still obvious. And nevertheless,
Bouvetoya reaches it. “Interstellarphonic” distinguish itself with a delicious crossing between these two kinds of which the antipodes live with moods a little more progressive and where the Gothic and the cosmic are allies to set ablaze rhythms in the forms and the tones each time different, each time very attractive.
Sylvain Lupari (September 20th, 2014) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

jeudi 18 septembre 2014

IOTRONICA: Of Moons and Stars (2014)

“Iotronica is a newcomer who makes revive the great forgotten moments of spacey orchestral EM”
1 Destination Io 6:38
2 Watching Lava Plumes on Io 9:43
3 As We Leave Europa 9:28
4 Dreaming of Oceans on Ganymede 7:03
5 Secrets of Callisto 9:48
6 Drifting Towards Antares 6:55
7 Shadow of the Eclipse 8:22
8 Supermoon 7:32

AD133CD (CD 65:29) ***½
(Ambient poetic symphonic EM)
The recipe may be dated as far as the first stammerings of synthesizers, Walter Carlos' Switched-On Bach or still Tomita's Snowflakes are Dancing, the orchestral EM always has the art to seduce. Certainly the model was worn and become outdated over the years. The fact remains that these tunes of astral violins and cellos which float in a cosmos encircled by heart-rending film moods were always popular, when done well. The Americans seized the model in the 80's, with as leaders of the artists who really left their imprints (Kevin Braheny, Constance Demby and Michael Stearns), while at the world level artists, such as Vangelis and Hans Zimmer, reinvented the genre with a clearly more lyrical and filmic vision. And if I dared, I would say that Iotronica is the child of these big names. Amanda Byrne is the soul behind this character, or this name, with a very intersidereal reach. Influenced by artists with styles as varied as Kraftwerk, Can, Wendy CarlosJean Michel Jarre and even Kate Bush, the synthesist of Cornwall, small coastal village of England, offers a first work which is inspired by one of the moons of Jupiter; Io.
Of Moons And Stars” shows the hybrid style of Iotronica with a kind of Space techno which beats slowly in the beginning. "Destination Io" and "Watching Lava Plumes on Io" present two patterns of static rhythm where lines of sequences oscillate, wave and make their keys flicker in some dense orchestral pads. In fact, the rhythms follow much more the curves of the violin winds than those of more or less quiet sequences. Although stormy, the movements are slow and describe big circles of seething keys. The best analogy would be to imagine millipedes, with clogs of soft wood, trying to sprint in a pond of Jell-O. It is rather what surrounds these sequences that make all the charms. We float easily in the memories of
Software, period Electronic-Universe, with these violins and cellos which draw veils of melancholy, skillfully nuanced by choirs which do not take too much room and caressed too briefly by discreet synth solos. Those who love the cosmic symphonic approach of Software and  Peter Mergener are going to adore this opus. These first two titles will be most livened up of “Of Moons And Stars”. "As We Leave Europa" offers a bit dramatic structure with sci-fi sound elements which get lost in the waltzes of strings instruments. The orchestral arrangements are sublime and forge elements of suspense with a pleasant staccato movement and Greco-Roman choruses. That feels a good perfume of Vangelis. "Dreaming of Oceans on Ganymede" and "Secrets of Callisto" have a more scent of cinema with choruses which are grafted to the laments of synth strings fanciful instruments. It's poignant and I hear here these dense philarmonicosmic of Tomita. And we continue to drift in an esoteric universe with the violin pads of "Drifting Towards Antares". Its shy melody is crumbled by a piano so miserly of its notes that we are losing it in the shoals of astral voices. Except that it's too beautiful to disappear totally. Its airs come back in order to be melted in a seraphic setting misted by waves with drizzle drunk of pensive voices. It's very beautiful. Meditative, but very beautiful! We have a tear hanging in the soul? It's nothing! We did not hear yet the titanic "Shadow of the Eclipse" and its rustles which get lost in an intense, but intense I insist, orchestration. Honestly? I don't remember having heard a piece of music so powerfully orchestral in electronic. It's ambient, but it's strong! And "Supermoon" doesn't calm things down! More filmic, one would say hearing Hans Zimmer on a sci-fi theme filled by Arabic scents, this last title of  “Of Moons And Stars” concludes an album which is going to make dream more than one.
Sylvain Lupari (September 18th, 2014) &

Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

mardi 16 septembre 2014

ALPHA LYRA & MOONSATELLITE: Live in Nancy 2013 (2014)

“Two styles in one 2 CD boxset; Live in Nancy 2013 is a great album of EM French School with 2 artists at their zeniths”
CD 1 (ALPHA LYRA) 69:36
1 From Berlin to Nancy 69:36

1 Emergence Part I 14:58
2 Sequenzer Part I 19:16
3 Patched People 8:42
4 Sequenzer Part IV 5:00
5 Low Life Part II 8:08
6 Missing Time Part I 20:34

PWM Distrib (2 CD 146:12) ****
(Cosmic e-rock a la French School style)
The French movement of EM continues to go out quite softly out of its borders. And this is a great news for the lovers of EM because the modern French School is as striking as the movement of the Dutch School. Alpha Lyra and MoonSatellite were invited to perform on the very famous E-Day Festival, held justly in the Netherlands on May 10th 2014. It's during this event that both rising stars of EM from France launched a double album, soberly entitled “Live in Nancy 2013”, which is an audio witness of two concerts given in Nancy on March 9th and 10th 2013. For those who are familiar with the music of Christian Piednoir, the man behind  Alpha Lyra, the latter presented the first sketches of his very good From Berlin to Paris, while MoonSatellite took his music from his magnificent sound saga which is Sequenzer as well as Missing Time and his brand new album Low Life which had just hardly landed in the stores.
It's with the bells of the Saint-Epvre Basilica that "From Berlin to Nancy" rings between our four walls. The intro is as much intense as noisy and gradually gives way to an astral choir which sings the peaceful harmonies of Midnight in Paris from the album
From Berlin to Paris. In fact, "From Berlin to Nancy" draws the main part of his 70 minutes from the bases of Alpha Lyra's last album. The rhythms are less heavy, less incisive and stay in a very ethereal approach of a concert where the influences of Bernd Kistenmacher, for the orchestrations, and Vangelis, for the very celestial approaches of synth movements filled of paradoxes, highlights marvellously the seraphic sweetnesses of From Berlin to Paris. The first minutes are more floating with a concerto for celestial choruses of which the singings become more emphasized or a bit eased at the wills of splendid orchestrations or some more cosmic movements. We hear the arpeggios of Beaubourg 16 pm sparkling with more vigour, while the choir pads are clearly more heavenly and more surrounding. Alpha Lyra multiplies the synth lines which move and float slowly like some shoals of clouds pushed by hot winds. The cosmic approach remains so very present, especially at the 25th minute where a delicate morphic melody invades our senses with a movement of sequences which shapes a mesmerizing ritornello in the shape of an astral cannon. A movement which is very typical to Christian Piednoir, although Michael Stearnsinfluences are very detectable here. It's from then that Alpha Lyra plays with the moods of "From Berlin to Nancy" by permuting its celestial ambiences and its delicate cosmic rhythms. After a rather static cosmic storm, pierced by some howling and superb twisted solos, we reach the nirvana of "From Berlin to Nancy" at around the 37th minute with a superb, but a superb, a sequenced melody even more poignant than the previous one. Constantly split between delicate rhythms and rich moods, "From Berlin to Nancy" continues to charm on the genesis of From Berlin to Paris but with many nuances, so much in the rhythms, harmonies and atmospheres. If the beginning of the show is rather slow, when Alpha Lyra borrows the paths of the rhythms he constantly returns to drink of it after brief ambiospherical passages, making of "From Berlin to Nancy" an unexpected complementary work to From Berlin to Paris. And the finale is grand. This is some great Alpha Lyra we have here!
The concert of
MoonSatellite is clearly more livened up. The French synthesist, of which the influences go from Jean Michel Jarre to Klaus Schulze, is unfolding a delicious cosmic setting with astral synth waves which will roll in the narrow corridors of a cosmos multicolored of thousand intersidereal tones. A very French School pattern that will bind the 6 tracks and the 77 minutes of this concert which begins with a track until then unknown to my ears, "Emergence Part I". The music is no surprise and still magically great. The intro is luxuriant with a dense cosmic fauna which carries the weight of sinuous synth waves which stroll while humming cosmic airs to the delicate lyrical distortions. This is a very rich ambient cosmic mood which quietly takes life with resounding pulsations; the birth of cosmic and loud rhythm. A movement of sequences gets loose. It makes scintillate its keys which dance with a subtle movement of harmonious undulation in the shadows of some other jumping sequencer keys. The movement accelerates. Tsitt-tsitt and bass sequences stir up a rhythm which widens its dimension with pulsations of bass sequences and Teutonic percussions, while the melody is dispersing its airs with a delicate subtlety in its detachment. This is huge cosmic rock at its best and MoonSatellite dazzled even more our ears with synth solos which always inhale this influence of Klaus Schulze. And these influences of Schulze will came to caress our ears throughout the splendid "Sequenzer Part I"; one of the great retro Berlin School music piece signed by Lone Wolf. The music may have come from different eras or from different themes that it pours harmoniously throughout this concert. "Patched People" inhales the rhythms and ambiences of "Emergence Part I" but with more relief and dynamism. After the very ambiospherical "Sequenzer Part IV", MoonSatellite offers us the very dynamic "Low Life Part II", as well as "Missing Time Part I" where the duels rhythms and ambiences are of pure magic and amongst the best of an electronic cosmic rock filled by a lot of soft interstellar madnesses. Sweetnesses which make me dream and which are the privilege of this very good double album; “Live in Nancy 2013”.
Sylvain Lupari (September 16th, 2014) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

samedi 13 septembre 2014

DIGIALSIMPLYWORLD: Essence of the Sequences (2014)

“This opus makes the apology of the sequencing art in a context where the imagination replaces guitars and voices in order to create above all a fascinating music”
1 Event Horizon of Sequences 11:46
2 Orbiter 6:43
3 Metal Heart 10:02
4 Sequential Glimmer 8:17

DSW Bandcamp (DDL 36:50) ***½
(Based sequences EM)
The universe of DigitalSimplyWorld feeds on his heterogeneity! After a film work which revisited the abysses of Blade Runner and an ambient work where everything becomes subtly music, the mysterious Polish synthesist comes back with an album where the sequences return to the cradles of the art of the sequenced rhythms. And beyond! “Essence of the Sequences” presents 4 minimalist movements where the sequences dress on forms as different as the rhythms. The music waves essentially towards rhythms but also towards melodies where the keys ring like strummed anvils, giving quite another vision that we could have about the role of sequences in the universe of EM.
And it is in the impetuous movements of
Steve Roach's Empetus and Stormwarning periods that the unbridled rhythm of "Event Horizon of Sequences" polishes our ears and makes us dance of the head. The structure leans on series of sequences which run at a brisk pace, entailing their shadows in a swirling rhythmic maze where roam attractive and soothing layers of a rather esoteric synth. The rhythm is hard and pure. No subtlety! Even when the sonic storm calms down, the agitators of ambiences and jumping keys are raging and kicking in cascade in a still pattern which leaves more charms to these synth pads filled so much with the aromas of Roach. This is a great track and one of the best in 2014! "Orbiter" proposes another kind of rhythmic structure with an intro which resounds like a majestic irascible piano. The rhythm turns around a brief cyclic ritornello with a repetitive movement which amasses some spectral harmonies forgotten in the sufferings of the anvils. One would say a prisoner who jogs in a cell too small for his ambitions. The movement becomes even more bouncy with the addition of other sequences which agglutinate and walk faster for a short period of time before that "Orbiter" finds again the paths of its obsessing sonic walk, but this time with fat chords to big resonant oscillations. The kind of oscillations which we also find on the very heavy and powerful "Metal Heart", by whom the cyclic beat is restricted just as much but which gets dressed of an attractive heaviness. A headache is to be planned if we put the volume too loud! And I have to inform you that I made heard this track to 2 of my friends and they find it very aggressive. I think they are right! The intro of "Sequential Glimmer" is a mixture between the moods of The City Dark Synth and the strummed rhythm, more furtive this time, of "Orbiter". Quietly everything is taking shape. The crackling of fire and the drumming of sequences converge on a pale and nervous structure of rhythm of which the shivers flounder under oscillations which have a very subtle sound of didge. There is a fine dramatic gradation in the moods which perspire a little those of Flashpoint or the Californian Deserts School with an attractive crescendo, as rhythmic as sonic. A crescendo which crashes in an intriguing ambient moment before retying with a little disordered finale.
Who says 
DigitalSimplyWorld, says EM which transcends the usual patterns with a clearly less commercial and resolutely more instructive approach. “Essence of the Sequences” quite means. It's an album which makes the apology of the movement of sequences, their airs as much as their rhythms, in a context where the imagination, the boldness and the resourcefulness replace guitars and voices in a music which aims to be so as well free as totally fascinating. This is why it is necessary to greet the creativity, without any commercial bounds, of the artists such as DigitalSimplyWorld. And needs to say that "Event Horizon of Sequences" is quite a great piece of EM!
Sylvain Lupari (September 13th, 2014) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: