vendredi 20 mars 2015

FORREST FANG: Letters to the Farthest Star (2015)

“Letters to the Farthest Star is very poetic, very intrusive and a nice ambient Folk album where perfumes of the West and the East are battling in very nice and mostly dark soundsapes”

1 The Unreachable Lands 18:39
Part I Sunsail 2:01   Part II Song of the Camel 3:45
Part III Water Village 6:55   Part IV Hermitage 5:58
2 Burnt Offerings 11:30   3 Veldt Hypnosis 8:02
4 Fossils 6:14   5 Seven Coronas 7:19
6 Lorenz 6:30   7 Lines to Infinity 10:33
Bonus Tracks

11 Water Village (ambient remix) 8:09
12 Burnt Offerings (ambient remix) 9:38
13 Song of the Camel (ambient deconstruction) 6:28

Projekt Records | PRO00312 (CD/DDL 133:14) ***½
(Ambient Folk)
Although very far from the style of usual ambient music, the music of Forrest Fang wears a unique cachet with this fusion of ambient Folk to perfumes of East. As much comfortable with a range of oriental acoustic instruments (on "The Unreachable Lands" Turkish Lute, the Chinese violins and the Indonesian percussions dominate the atmospheres, the rhythms and harmonies) that with electronic instruments, the Sino- American musician and synthesist like to draw these breezes and these winds from synths in order to weave harmonious landscapes which give some more of colors, more reliefs in an ambient music delicately shaken by surrounding areas of ballad anchored in the American Folk song. The outcome is always rather attractive. Split into two parts, “Letters to the Farthest Star” remains a meditative and melancholic album. If the "The Unreachable Lands" proposes rhythms of World Music into paralyzing atmospheres which are punctuated with harmonious and lively interludes, the rest of the album plunges us into the somber universe of Forrest Fang where the dark moods swallow rhythms as much evanescent as the melodies which decorate them. In the end, it gives a poetic album where both poles of Forrest Fang get mix without ever really merging .
It begins quietly. A wave of winds rises to sweep the horizons of iridescent colors where the singings of a brilliant blue get lost in muffled and somber reverberations. The quadrilogy of "The Unreachable Lands" unties its first part with the notes of a pensive guitar which gets out from the winds of "Unsail".
Forrest Fang leads us from then on towards a slow rhythm. Towards the ballad of a Bayou kind of "Song of the Camel". We roll of the neck. It's delicately lively. The percussions shape a delicate movement of spiritual trance while the line of bass sculptures a kind of blues very tribal and while the flutes release festive harmonies coated by a perfume of East. This is very appealing and the ambient remix version is even better enticing. The somber winds return to decorate the atmospheres of "Water Village" of an opaque sibylline veil. The first two minutes are dark. They are the sober prelude to a structure of rhythm as much pleasant and lascivious as the one in "Song of the Camel", the bass line on it is lasciviously lively, and that a Chinese violin covers of an ambient shroud. This is pure ambient Folk a la Loggins&Messina. It's the reference point which comes to mind like that and which I find rather relevant. Moreover the music of Forrest Fang is a sublime mixture of American and oriental Folk that perfumes of EM embalm of a comforting meditative aura. "Hermitage" concludes the saga "The Unreachable Lands" with a pensive approach where the violin, one would say an harmonica, cries in the sobs of a piano. It's soft and very melancholic. It's also the small thread which leads us to the other hillside of “Letters to the Farthest Star”.
"Burnt Offerings" exchanges its introduction, knotted in hollow winds, for a rhythm always so slow and folk. It's end to be an ambient ballad which gets lost in the winds of its intro and splits up its acoustic notes in the turbulence of the synthesized winds. "Veldt Hypnosis" brings us in territories a little more electronic of
Forrest Fang. A thick cloud of synth waves with rippling lines and sibylline chants forge a strange ambient melody of which the spectral singing shakes ropes filled of bells. The rhythm which hatch comes from two lines of percussions. One is fluid with lively knocks which sculpture the electronic walking of a millipede with castanets instead of feet. And the other one is heavy and loud with thunders of drumming which forge a furious and noisy mood. Both lines reduce in a state of almost absence a delicate melody drawn from the multiple bells. A melody which pierces this thunderstorm of tom-toms, of which only the fluid and lively knocks knew how to resist the wear of the 8 minutes of "Veldt Hypnosis". The effect in a living-room is simply staggering. The atmospheres are heavy and always threatening, as in the very ambient "Fossils" and its notes of a six-strings which look for its harmonies in the winds howlers. A discreet line of sequenced drumming sculptures the ambient rhythm of "Seven Coronas" which ascents a very meditative landscapes with tears of violins which flow on the harmonies of the carillons. It's sad and the violin is rather poignant. "Lorenz" proposes a night of falling stars of which the wakes in the black firmament weave some harmonies mislaid in dark and dense winds as  much black than hollow. We are in an ambient mood, dark and very wrapping such as the glove of a black night. And it's even truer with "Lines to Infinity" and its notes of guitar which scratch a melody which is always looks for its shape in a thick strata of synth in colors as dark as these long passages through caves without lights of the American deserts. We are entitled to 3 tracks in bonus if we buy the downloadable version of “Letters to the Farthest Star”. And I have to say that it's not just of filling. The ambient remix version of "Water Village" is very good. The feeling of being in the Californian deserts at the time of the cowboys is much more present here with a clearly more lascivious rhythm. We perceive even better the very discreet harmonies of the harmonica here and that gives to the track a beautiful approach of lugubrious, almost apocalyptic Western mood. I also prefer better this version of "Burnt Offerings" where everything is far better nuanced, in particular the play of the percussions which are heavier and more detailed. We dive literally into the works of Steve Roach's Californian deserts. Very good! On the other hand, I prefer the original version of "Song of the Camel". Here, in its demolition version, we have difficulty in finding its essence.
I quite enjoyed “Letters to the Farthest Star”. I know it's different from the Berlin School and the sequence based style of EM, but it is still very appealing.
Forrest Fang is resolutely less arrhythmic there that on Unbound, even that sometimes he shows a good dose of wild violence which sounds like a troop of horses which trample on nests of ants. There are a lot of good atmospheres and fascinating depths, both in the ambient phases and in the rhythm ones. And these short melodious interludes which go and come add some more of charms to an album which nevertheless asks for a good dose of curiosity to those who don't know Fang or are simply not interested in the genre. For the others, you are going to adore. But in any case; like it or not, knowing him or not, Forrest Fang's discovery should stay in your schedule of exploring the ambient form of EM. After all, he is this delicate link between the worlds of Steve Roach and Robert Rich
Sylvain Lupari (March 19th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You can find this album on the Projekt Bandcamp page here

dimanche 15 mars 2015

KLAUS HOFFMANN-HOOCK & BERNHARD WOSTHEINRICH: Conundrum (2007)

“Enveloping guitar and sitar layers with soft electronica rhythms, Conundrum leads the listener to the borders of a psychedelic work”

1 Virupaksha  8:00
2 Bowed Visions  8:12
3 Conundrum  9:21
4 Phased Realities  5:55
5 Swarmandel  10:07
6 Flavia's Paradise  6:40
7 Moonlit  8:17

DiN 27 (CD/DDL 56:45) **** (Psybient electronica)
Further to the publication of my review on the album Trance'n'Dance from Mind Over Matter, I received an e-mail from my good friend Bernhard Wöstheinrich who was wondering if I was willing to talk about his collaboration project with Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock and the album “Conundrum”. The title reminded me vaguely something. Having searched my archives I finally noticed that I had talked about this album some very long time ago. Here is of what it returned. Resurrection of a review and a music that I had forgotten in the corridors of time.
With the multiple carillons which resound, we are expecting a very ethereal moment, even pious, while that a nervous bass line and agile bouncy sequences forge a structure of rhythm as much elusive as the murmurs which flitter around it. Fluid and well sat on these elements a bit funky, while being well pounded by flexible percussions, "Virupaksha" skips in its psychedelic plumage on a provocative beat, on a kind of dance music. Between a morphic techno and a spatial disco, the tempo is flavored by psybient elements and by uncountable synth strata, by electric guitars and sitars of which the evanescent harmonies coil up over percussions and sequences which weigh down gradually the pace. Although relatively discreet, the squeakings of the guitar obsess the senses. And this will be like that all around “Conundrum”. Although the album is not explosive just as much, the duet Hoffmann-Hoock/Wöstheinrich, flanked by
Markus Reuter and Ian Boddy on percussions programming and the sequencing, dives at the heart of an ethnic riddle by exploiting the floating, the celestial and almost vampiric layers from guitars and sitars over movements built around progressive and moderate rhythms. The mixture brings the listener to the borders of a psychedelic work with ambiospherical elements which get closer to Indian tribal essences.

It's moreover a tearful guitar strata which opens the rather celestial atmospheres of "Bowed Visions". Strata which multiplies its shadows. These make glitter some dense shrill lines, and others more felted, which intertwine in a huge ambient sonic magma. A rhythmic structure emerges a little after the 3rd minute. Delicate, it scampers like a soft ballad without stories. The title-track exploits a little bit the same vision with an intro where the tears of stringed instruments get mixed in the hubbub of the synth pads to the colors of nothingness and the rustles of an astral voice to the ethnic breaths. A beautiful intro, very ambiospherical, which serves as starter to a very beautiful rhythmic phase which explodes a little after the 4th minute. Lively and a bit jerky, it gallops a little more than it scampers with a beautiful meshing of bass sequences and percussions of which the subtle swiftness eats up downright the listening. It's very beautiful, very intrusive and the guitar of Hoffmann-Hoock chews on its rhythm and its ambiences, while "Conundrum" becomes more and more fluid. I smell through this track some elements which would have influenced the madness of Thorsten Quaeschning and his guitar in the superb Utopia from Bernd Kistenmacher. It's a solid and very beautiful piece of music. "Phased Realities" bites our ears with a bass line filled of gurgling chords. The rhythm is suspended and sneaky. It's snatched up by percussions and tickled by the elytrons of cymbals. We enter the lands of electronica with electronic percussions which clink and spin around a Groove movement decorated with a mixture of synth and guitar layers from which the slow harmonies weave psy-soundscapes. Some warm synth pads (or is it guitar?) are stuffing the very ambient intro of "Swarmandel". We hear pulsations to stir up a rebellion, as well as electronic hiatus which reveal the celestial harmonies of an esoteric guitar. The rhythm is dozing and is snoring. It rebels a little after the 3 minutes spot, either after the last tickles from Hoffmann-Hoock's six-strings. It sparkles and skips with nervousness, guiding the pace of an up-beat without gravity which goes, dies out and gets back in the oscillations of a bass line and of the dislocated serpentines of an ethereal guitar. This structure of rhythm linked between semi-ambient phases finds also its niche on "Flavia's Paradise" with movements of bass which waves with strength before sneaking under clouds of perfumed sibylline ambiences drawn by a six-strings and synths. There is a ceaseless noise over this track as well as some beautiful more ethereal passages. Moments decorated of chirping and of tears of a guitar which remind us the psychedelic essence of “Conundrum”. "Moonlit" ends this eclectic accord between both universes of Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock and Bernhard Wöstheinrich with an ambient track where the guitar of KHH lets float some mourners harmonies in winds filled of sonic particles from Wöstheinrich's synth.
Conundrum” is within the spirit of the DiN label. It's an album with some tasty heterogeneous and experimental essences well served by rhythms which touch by the tip of their sequences, their bass lines and of their percussions the lands of electronica. Therefore, there is a beautiful mixture between these rhythms and of rich ambiences sewn with a fascinating obsession to make it quite difficult to be tamed. It's exactly the principle of a riddle. It pricks the curiosity. It becomes obsessive. And we eventually end by finding answers. Here, these answers find the shape of a music of which the borders always define themselves a little better in each new listening. You should not forget that we are in 2007. I underline this fact because we hear here and there elements which seems to us familiar, in particular in the universe of the psybient and of tribal ambient, demonstrating the rather avant-gardist approach of this duet rather eclectic.
Sylvain Lupari (March 14th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You can find this album on DiN's Bandcamp website here

samedi 14 mars 2015

GERT BLOKZIJL: Interaction (2015)

“Interaction is a solid album which has easily its place between Mirage and The Dark Side of the Moog IX”

1 Interaction I 17:24
2 Interaction II 52:34

Gert Blokzijl Bandcamp (DDL 69:58) ****
(Minimalist Berlin School)
What is a classic? I would say that it's an album that leaves resolutely its imprints, its influences on time and as well as on several artists who continue to get soaked by it many years later. Mirage from Klaus Schulze! Its long minimalist movement which carries some nice dreamy electronic harmonies on a structure with subtle permutations is this kind of album. And it's the essence of the charms of this last Gert Blokzijl's album. Dutch self-taught synthesist who discovered the numerous possibilities of the minimalist electronic music, as soon as 4 years old, after having made the discovery of a broken harmonium in a family barn. Since then, he has never stop developing an EM inspired by the visual art; movies, photos and paintings. From the 90's to nowadays, Gert Blokzijl has composed and produced more than 20 albums which now get accumulate on the download platforms since 2011. His style hangs onto the influences of Berlin School with the points of reference for Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream. While for the moments of atmospheres, his influences go from Steve Roach to Biosphere. Klaus Schulze and Biosphere are in the heart of “Interaction”; a superb album which simplifies extremely the minimalist movement and where the photo of Newton's cradle on the artwork explains itself the content of this enchanting sequenced music.
A sibylline breeze, painted of delicate ringings, of cracklings and amplified by muffled implosions, is floating over the first two minutes of "Interaction I". A first line of sequences emerges from this short and nebulous astral phase. The keys are crystal clear. They skip and push themselves in the back, winding in single file a minimalist path which draws a slender spherical movement. A delicate bass line is pulsing in the background. Its pulse adds another parallel rhythmic schema which reminds a movement of Tubular Bells. Other sequences get in. This time the keys are flickering such as some Will-o'-the-wisp which are trapped in the eye of a tornado. The bass accelerates the pace and the shadows of the Will-o'-the-wisp get excited just as much. Magnetizing, the simplistic and very charming movement of "Interaction I" wraps itself of heavy and rippling synth layers filled by aromas of old organ which draws vampiric harmonies as much frightening as attractive. The charms of these harmonies float at countercurrent over the movement while the percussions which fall are just adding a little more velocity to "Interaction I" which continues its minimalist gyrating ballet until sequences are getting short of breath and until the movement takes refuge with the atmospheres of its intro. Five minutes of ambience for twelve minutes of ambient and minimalist rhythms; "Interaction I" is the kind of thing to which we stick instantly and which obsesses the senses. It's also a similar pattern for "Interaction II" which offers 4 superb phases of rhythm bogged down in dense sonic magmas and the somber atmospheres a la Biosphere.
The whole thing begins with a line of bass which pounds slyly, scattering its pulsations which draw an imperfect but obsessive ascending movement. Sequences ring all around the movement. They sparkle and flicker while the 1st phase of "Interaction II" gets expanding. But it's all remain static. If the keys make harmonious cabrioles by drawing rotary figures a bit jerky, the movement stays peaceful. It's like to hear a thick cloud of rubber balls to sparkle in a too small jar. Lines of synth release some furtive melodies which have difficulty to nest. They remind me of
Klaus Schulze's with tones filled by a soft Arabian perfume. Little by little, this 1st phase sees itself be buried by heavy buzzing lines and hollow breezes which furnish the atmospheres for a short 3 minutes. We hear bangings and ringings there, amplifying a feeling of anxiety, claustrophobia which glides everywhere around the lifeless phases of “Interaction”. If the first movement drew the path of the curiosity, the one which emerges near the 17th minute brings us straight away in the best moments of the union Klaus Schulze and Pete Namlook in the The Dark Side of the Moog IX. The rhythm is slow. It's quavering with a drum of which the knocks get reverberating in an echo painted of ghostly breaths and jingles. The movement is hypnotic and drags us on a soft soporific slope where the minimalist art shows an absolutely intrusive sonic ornament. It's not too long, nor too short. It's a beautiful 7 minutes phase where Gert Blokzijl leads us near the audiophile slavery. A violent storm of winds, of wiish and of whoosh comes down on our ears at the 25th minute spot. We have the longest ambient passage of “Interaction” there. Winds roar and squeak with tones sometimes hollow and sometimes acute and with tints  occasionally dark and other times translucent over a long period of 8 minutes before that a structure of rhythm a little more fluid than the phase 1 invades our senses. More lively and more dynamic, even a little bit funky, the rhythm skips with a mixture of delicacy and hardness in the ringings of sequenced serpentines of which the glass tones scatter a bordering rhythm to the percussions and to more bouncy organic cawings. It's little like a baby angel who would play the xylophone to calm a herd of toads and to tame the jumps of the grasshoppers in an arid area. And yes, we always have this feeling to hear the spectres of TDSOTM IX to roam around our ears. In any case, it gave me the taste to hear it. It's a lovely passage which goes beyond the 42 minutes spot, there were a seraphic choir and its sibylline singings are waiting for us. It's a short and a rather intense moment which precedes the last chapter of "Interaction II" and of its last delicate ambient rhythm. The sequences skip in the shadow of the last one, forging a superb harmonious serial movement which rolls in a loop by its echo. It's hypnotic and that invades both ears tightly tied to our earphones. This phase gets intensifying with jumps and more lively sequences as well as the percussions which guide them towards the singings of synths always a bit nasal, always a bit seraphic. Synth always so present but of which we forget so easily the role in all these charms of the sequences and the minimalist rhythms of which they have the plans. Sequences and rhythms which do not stop improving their fineries with an impressive mixture of nuances, both in tones and tints, and of their agile, almost dreamlike, jumps and cabrioles. Yes my friends, “Interaction” is a solid album which has very well its place between Mirage and The Dark Side of the Moog IX. Is this what we call a must?
Sylvain Lupari (March 13th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You can find this album on Gert Blokzijl's Bandcamp page here

lundi 9 mars 2015

YOG SOTHOTH: Dreams of Mystery (2015 Remix and Re Issued)

“Offered in a new sound lift, Dreams of Mystery reopens the debate and shows a clear difference between a good homemade CD-r and a factory pressed one with a good mastering”
1 Tomb of Pacal (Chillout Mix)  8:48
2 The Mountains of Madness 5:07
3 Tribute to Axess 5:04
4 Ancient Skies 5:22
5 A peaceful Moment 5:39
6 Into Eternity 7:29
7 Belly Soundshapes 8:46
8 Spirits of Atlantis 6:08
9 Entropie 4:32
10 Genetic Sequences 7:20
11 Galactic Voyage 8:00
12 Quasar (Space Version) 5:18

Yog Sothoth Bandcamp (CD/DDL 77:50) ***½
(IDM tied with Berlin School essences)
Following  the successes of the Mystical Light albums and of his first solo album, (Prehistoric Dawn released in 2012, Michael Wilkes re-edits, remixes and re-releases “Dreams of Mystery” in a new sonic envelope. This time, the 12 tracks which constituted a real small bomb of energizing music were remixed but were especially mastered by none other than Ron Boots. “Dreams of Mystery” sees again the day in real factory pressed CD. There is no new music on this re-release, except that the sound is improved and the nuances are better defined. It's less metallic and it's warmer. The basses are better defined, as well as the percussions. Which gives a more heat to the music and the tones and a more depth to its field. In fact the exercise, and I do not want to open a debate here, shows the clear difference between a good mastering, I believe that Ron Boots makes all the difference here, and a homemade CD, or download, which at the end sounded well but which also shows the lacks of means. Is it worth it? Absolutely! If you don't already have it. This remains a beautiful album of heavy IDM which is very near the roots of Berlin School (for the envelope and the sound effects). One thing is sure is if you still haven't “Dreams of Mystery”, you don't have excuses anymore. Especially if you enjoyed the last Mystical Light album; Full Moon Rising among which the essences and the brute force seem to have been drawn from here.
Sylvain Lupari (March 8th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You can read the first review of Dreams of Mystery here
You can find this album on the Bandcamp page of Yog Sothoth here

samedi 7 mars 2015

MYSTICAL LIGHT: Full Moon Rising (2015)

“Heavy and constantly boosted by heavy rhythms and other ones more ambient, Full Moon Rising is the equivalent of hammering an anvil in a porcelain store”
1 Adrift 6:46
2 Signs of Life 5:02
3 Quantum Leap 6:23
4 Stranded 8:31
5 Fly me to the Moon 6:10
6 Lost on the Dark Side 6:44
7 Pulse 5:32
8 Gravitational Vortex 6:19
9 Mare Tranquillitatis 5:48
10 Silent Sky 10:05
11 Full Moon Rising 5:54
12 The Selenites 5:53

Mystical Light Bandcamp (DDL 74:14) ****
(Sequencer based and fusion with IDM and New Berlin School)
André Willms and Michael Wilkes had simply mystified the aficionados of EM in 2013 with a hard-hitting album which allied the ambiences of Astral Cookies, André Willms' musical project, to the music heavily sequenced and very livened up by Yog Sothoth, project of Michael Wilkes. The question doubtless was to know if Mystical Light would go beyond the horizons of Beyond the Horizon. Difficult to do better! Nevertheless the W duet is not very far behind. Even with an approach which could confuse more than one! “Full Moon Rising” is less subtle. Always embalmed of intoxicating flavors of a Berlin School hammered by good sequences and by heavy percussions, this 2nd album of Mystical Light is more direct. Let's say that it doesn't go in for subtleties with an approach concentrated on rhythms which rock between a kind of IDM, without its psybient elements, and a very robotic, a very cosmic techno. Once again, it's our ears, our walls and our neighbors which suffer from it most...
A slender line of wind coming from the North, sound particles filled of prism, muffled knockings and a sinuous line of oscillations build the Mephistophelian rhythmic approach of "Adrift".“Full Moon Rising” starts with a cannon shot. Twinkling sequences decorate a sonic constellation inspired by the
Stratosfear years. The rhythm is heavy and dark. Wrapped by beautiful synth pads perfumed of iridescent colors, it carries a beautiful vampiric melody which sings such a choir of spectres on a rhythm which crawls of its nice oscillating loops. The decoration and the arrangements are hallucinating. One could imagine to be in a horror movie with this superb piece of music. This is a great mix of retro and new Berlin School which is going to turn all year long in my iPod. Let's say that it starts very well this 2nd meeting with Mystical Light. "Signs of Life" leads us to another level; that of dance floor music for oaf which blooms in every nook and cranny of “Full Moon Rising”. A necklace of arpeggios draws a structure of spasmodic rhythm with chords which shake the ambiences set in motion by morphic synth pads. These pads make the counterweight to a kind of cosmic funk with keys which hiccup in the shadow of the good resonant pulsations, the rather sober but heavy percussions and the metallic jingles which we can confuse with bangings of hand. A delicate melody extricates itself from this schema of relatively ambient dance, so showing all the wealth which surround each of the tracks in “Full Moon Rising”. Delicate sneaky pulsations along with singings of ectoplasms on LSD open the slow rhythm of "Quantum Leap". The movement is circular and filled of organic chirpings, allying the kind of Redshift to an ambient techno hooked on good pulsations. Pulsations which lose their shadows. And shadows which agglutinate in a heavy pandemoniac choreography where the synth is trading its clothes for those of a six-strings and throw solos which haunt just as much as these crystalline sequences which sparkle and spin with a spectral grace. Heavy and reinvented Mark Shreeve! I adore. "Stranded" is not outdone. The ambiences float like a threat in an intro where an alarm awakens in us a feeling of distress in a space shuttle. The arrangements accentuate the climate of anxiety with winds which get lost into layers with ambient caresses. We hear coming the percussions by far. They eventually hammer a heavy and fluid rhythm, while the sequences metamorphose into organic chirpings of which the stroboscopic lines crisscross without striking another line of sequences decorated with a delicate inviting melody. This is beautiful music.
The sneaky approaches are legion in this album of
Mystical Light. They take time to develop, at the same time, and the rhythms and the moods. On "Fly me to the Moon", they are of used as bed to some beautiful arpeggios in tones of glass which parade in an ambient and jerky movement. The synth solos come from all sides and from everywhere, this is one of the many wealth of this album by the way, on a structure which hesitates between its rhythm and its moods. A structure which wins in velocity and eventually turned darker and flirts with a kind of very robotic IDM.
"Lost on the Dark Side" presents a bouncy structure as in the good moments of dance, of cosmic techno from Nattefrost. We always remain in the field of cosmic dance, of cybernetic IDM inflated by heavy ambiences and jerky pulsatory rhythms, a bit pulsatoires, a stroboscopic, with "Pulse" and its panoply of percussions which click such as electronic castanets. "Gravitational Vortex" is deep into dance floor music with arrhythmic pulsations, cawings of spasmodic arpeggios and allegorical ringings which melt themselves into danceable orchestrations. If we stay on our chair, it's because we are knackered! Make the most of "Mare Tranquillitatis" to get your breath back because it's the only quiet track of this album filled with rhythmic dynamite. The approach is delicate and very oniric with beautiful crystal clear sequences which clink and wind among hollow winds. "Silent Sky" brings us back into the infernal rhythms of cosmic dances with a long structure which takes advantage of its 10 minutes to well mix its rhythms with ambient phases where the guttural sounds in Secrets of Taklamakan come back to roam. This is a very 
Jarre track with good articulated and well measured percussions as well as samplings of manual percussions and good nervous sequences which burst out in orchestrations of very dance style. "Full Moon Rising" is also very inviting with good synth solos but the voices are less inviting, while "The Selenites" ends “Full Moon Rising” with an ambient rhythm which becomes slow, as a kind of down-tempo, drawn from the shadows of "Pulse". The moods here are rich and fed by absent voices and by good solos of a very lyrical synth. I hear here some murmurs of Let the Night Last Forever from Walter Christian Rothe.
Heavy and constantly boosted by heavy rhythms and other ones more ambient, “Full Moon Rising” is the equivalent of hammering an anvil in a porcelain store. All which falls, all which bursts produces shavings of melodies in supernatural tints. There is a superb mixture of 
Jean Michel Jarre and Nattefrost rhythms here with ambiences, sound decors of Tangerine Dream, period 76-77, and Mark Shreeve, if not Redshift. Even if we are far from the nuances of Beyond the Horizon, the music remains beautiful, lively and shoot with a grapeshot of sequences, bass pulsations and with percussions which whip, knock down and adjust each track towards passages always more stormy, without never neglected the melodious approach with spectral airs which haunt. To hear!
Sylvain Lupari (March 7th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You can find this album on the Bandcamp page of Mystical Light here
There is also a nice video trailer here on YouTube

jeudi 5 mars 2015

AUDIOMETRIA: SomeWhere (2014)

“For those who have devoured the Berlin School style and especially the music of Javi Canovas this SomeWhere is in this confort zone that has seduced so far the fans of Javi”

1 Audiomultiplo 20:33
2 Midsound 16:16
3 Somewhere 14:16
4 Sonar 8:36
5 Stereolocus 6:04

Audiometria Bandcamp (CD-r/DDL 65:45) ***½
(Vintage Berlin School)
The least we can say is that 2014 was a rather productive year for Javi Canovas. Two albums solo, the preparation of the third one and a first collaboration with Miguel Justo. The duet is called Audiometria and the album is entitled “SomeWhere”. New stooge, same recipe! And why to change it when there is always a public lover of those based sequences movements of a retro Berlin School which is a bit progressive? This is the menu that waits those aficionados of the genre with “SomeWhere”. Recorded live in their studio, the duet Justo/Canovas proposes here 3 long movements which offers these undulatory rhythms in constants permutations where the parallel lines of sequences forge as many rhythms as harmonies in a pattern of retro Berlin School where the solos of synth and their acrobatic cabrioles are almost absent. It's all about sequences. Only sequences, mostly a la Franke! Ah yes... The last two tracks are mixing an ambient and sequenced music with a piano to the perfumes of jazz or of lounge. Different and intriguing! And there are lots of statics in this album (bad mixing or wanted?) which can annoy when we listen to “SomeWhere” with earphones. A small pleasure that makes so much the happiness of EM fans.
A soft breeze of bass flute opens the introduction of "Audiomultiplo" which takes shape with a thick cloud of synth lines of which the breaths become entangled in a slow movement of lunar waltz. A circular line of sequences makes its keys jumping with hiccups. These ones are jostling in large oscillating loops and encircle the notes of a pensive piano which crumbles a harmony which just has not the guts to take shape. A synth invites itself. It throws short solos and lines of mist around the keys which start to be short of breath. Slowly, the introduction is fading and give room to a movement of sequences which makes jump up its keys and the skeletons of their shadows. The movement exposes its protean colors, while other keys are skipping outside a heavy undulatory rhythm which crackles of its somber bass sequences. The rhythm that follows takes a gradual swiftness with cymbals which sparkle such as elytrons in a jar of glass as the sequences scatter other doubles in a fascinating tangled choreography. The keys are all jumping, scattering colors and tones in a structure which is slowed down by the multiple breezes of synths and their effects of astral nebulosity, pushing the last moments of "Audiomultiplo" in an ambient phase. "Midsound" offers a pattern rich of sequenced movements whose parallel structures are bickering under the caresses of metallic mists, a charming very 
TD flute and some breaths of ethereal voices. The introductory rhythm is split in several elements filled of contrasts. If a line of sequences raises a harmonious structure, resonant and wavering as in Poland, with spasmodic keys which embrace a circular movement, the duet lies down two other contiguous lines, of which one of bass sequences, which make pulse and drum the keys in a minimalist structure which spreads the principle of an ambient rhythm in constant tranquil ascent. This first phase dies out in the rippling banks of mist. Heavy and resonant, a line of bass sequences is whipping the brief meditative moods. We have just passed the 8 minutes and the rhythm gets violent. Brief and deep oscillations run to lose breath, losing keys which have difficulty in catching up the pace. Showing a velocity which progresses ceaselessly, the rhythm of "Midsound" spreads its ample loops which run like furious oscillations from where are falling mislaid keys and of which the opposite bounces captivate a hearing which makes dance nervously the fingers.
The title-track opens with morphic phases where the waves and the shadows of the white noises of the studio are undulating like some radioactive gases pushed by soft winds. This reminds to me of these anesthetic moments of 
Neuronium with these twisted solos and their anesthetic effects. A sequence emerges a little after the 4th minute. It skips in solo. Another line of sequence unwinds keys which run in wide circles around the first linear movement. Another one spreads a more harmonious approach. And another one throws its keys which skip delicately, amplifying a structure the of which polymorphic directions eventually weave a surprising symbiosis between a motionless rhythm and its ambient melody knotted in the multiple of its sequences. "Sonar" is an ambient and dark track with a very pensive piano which frees its vague notes in the singings of the twists of a synth filled by ether. It's kind of a pianist who cries over battlefields where the souls are squabbling in order to not leave. "Stereolocus" steals from "Midsound" this structure of sequences which reminds me so much of Poland. The rhythm is sneaky. Behind this constant cloud of cracklings, it pulses in a dense veil of reverberation. Particles and cloud of white noises hide a slow binary melody which battles between the piano notes with perfumes of jazz, ringings which remind a vague Tangerine Dream melody and with synth pads which float as the shadows of a threat.Javi Canovas or Audiometria! “SomeWhere” doesn't go out of Canovas' way of producing EM. The fans of the Spanish synth wizard will be well served here with an album which stays in his zone of comfort, even with the last two tracks which would have been able to nest on his Eunomia album. I quite enjoyed it. This is good old Berlin School filled of those psychedelic perfumes, of this ether of the old days. But I owe be honest about these white noises. These cracklings that we hear at the beginning of each track annoyed me a lot. I tested another CD to see if it wasn't my hi-fi system which made those sizzling sounds. And not, the sound was spotless! Deliberate or not? Considering the name of Audiometria!
Sylvain Lupari (February 5th, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You can find this album on the Bandcamp page of Audiometria here

mardi 3 mars 2015

PALENTIR: Empire of Illusions (2000)

“Empire of Illusions is an album to be discovered if our senses require something different without neglecting the melody, or the rhythms and even less the ambiences”
1 Fantasy & Reason 5:23
2 Under the Silverwheel 6:22
3 The Empire of Illusions 17:58
a) Morpheus  b) Rapid-I-Movement  c) Find The Key
4 Qi-Energy of Life 6:50
5 Tranceamazônica 5:02
6 Fatal Charm 4:06
7 Exhibit A 7:10
8 Searching For Words 5:45
9 The Threshold of Perception 5:52
10 Spinback 10:43
a) Backspin  b) Ascendant

Spheric Music | SMCD 3002 (CD/DDL 77:57) ****
(New Berlin School with a lot of samplings)
Written and recorded over the years of 1995 to 2000, “Empire of Illusions” continues exactly where Refuge in Fantasy has ended; either in a mythical sonic universe where the sounds make strength of law. And in order to better wrap us in this texture of samplings with tones so diverse as their meanings, Palentir has used the technique of binaural recording, giving an intense incredible depth to a universe where the listener feels literally plunged into a sonic world in 3-D. The effect is completely striking with headphones, but even more hard-hitting when we dare to raise the volume to forbidden levels. At this level, the pulsations of the title-track are voracious! Set apart the correctness, the wealth and the transparency of the samplings; the structures of rhythms, the melodies, the ambiences and the influences are very near of those in Refuge in Fantasy. Ah yes.... I can't closed this introduction without talking about the superb artwork as well as the very beautiful explanatory booklet which reveal the sources of each track of an album that I devoured my ears wide open.
The noises of a door mechanism open the introduction of "Fantasy and Reason" which, at the same time, seems to open to the musical life. Already the rhythm turns up in the ears. Decorated by sweet small bells and flavored by beautiful flute lines, "Fantasy and Reason" goes in a kind of dance music filled by some hallucinogenic perfumes of trance. The rhythm is lively, the melody joyful, and becomes a little more lively, I hear David Bowie's Let's Dance, whereas the synth goes more electronic with whistled loops which caress those delicate bells of which the ringings are perfuming a livelier rhythm which is more in a dance mood than of a Berlin School style. The structures of “Empire of Illusions” are as much varied as those in
Refuge in Fantasy, but in a more contemporary approach. Singings of owl sneak behind the closing doors, awakening the fauna of "Under the Silverwheel" which is a real Aladdin's cave for the ears. The blows of the owl are melting with the floating synth pads while that a strange nasal air from an organ weaves a minimalist melody which roams slyly and which serve as shroud to a beautiful flute. Clanic percussions delicately come to stimulate the ambiences which remain on the whole rather relaxing. The influence of Schmoelling can be feel here. The title-track is the most complex and the most delicious in “Empire of Illusions”. Pulsations pierce the cloud of ringings which open its introduction. The rhythm is slow and magnetizing. Stepping up a notch or lowering its strength, it's flooded with a fauna and a flora full of colorful tones as much organic as synthetic. Samplings of acoustic guitar get close tightly to this pulsatory rhythm which, phase by phase, melts in a sound decoration filled by a multitudes of voices from cities, tribes or from heavens. The pulsations switch to big industrial breaths. Heavy beatings which seem to frighten voices of spectres, while other voices are added and sound like knocks of clogs on the road. "The Empire of Illusions" flood itself into voices and into noises of any kinds, while the rhythm, and the melody always scratched by a six-strings, spread a generous veil of hypnotic trance. And suddenly, the tranquility of "The Empire of Illusions" drowns itself in a pattern of acceleration as unexpected as inequitable where the stress and the surprise lives together in a matter of a few seconds.
Ringings and astral voices open the epilogue of "Qi-Energy of Life". Arched on voice pads and on tribal percussions, the rhythm remains delicate. The ambiences are monasterial with voices of monks which float over a din of bells and carillons. The rhythm seems indomitable with momentums of violence which are next to a kind of spiritual trance, while the panpipe reigns in absolute master over a melody of which the noises of jungle bring it back in a heathen envelope. The delirious fauna throws itself into "Tranceamazônica" which proposes a more accessible tribal rhythm. More spontaneous with a beautiful sampling of clanic percussions which sing the rhythm and a flute which sings some cheerful harmonies.
Palentir manages to get out of this jungle in order to offer us a beautiful moment of serenity with the very melodious "Fatal Charm". The piano is as much delicious as the melody can be very melancholic. And yes, there is rain. Palentir brings us to another level with percussions which thunder a heavy ambient rhythm, with metallic rustlings and with subdued breaths which murmur "Exhibit A". It's a black, very intense track and of which the crescendo establishes a strange feeling of paranoia. Earphones here play a major role. The same goes for "Searching For Words" which adopts a little the model of Jean Michel Jarre's syllabic and eclectic languages in Zoolook. A delicate melody, hummed by Christiane von Kutzschenbach, puts in our brain a good dose of phantasms, while that Christian Schimmöller, faithful to himself, floods his structure of harmonious elements and paradoxical sound effects, amplifying the nuances and the contrasts which are the key of this fascinating album where beautiful melodies and delicate lively rhythms roam in every nook and cranny. It's a good track which spreads the nobility of its ambiguity at high volume. Built on synth pads and decorated with singings of flute in an industrial din, "The Threshold of Perception" is as ambient as placid. Let's say that the ossicles of ears resound massively here. And it's also true on "Spinback". To say the least of its introduction. Because after a few minutes of din, where nests a fine structure of melody lost in a noisy fog, where I presume being Backspin, "Spinback" concludes “Empire of Illusions” with a soft concerto for piano and bells. Ah yes, a concerto for chirpings of birds also, and many other more smooth noises. Did I hear an insect be gobbled up?
The music, or the sonic universe, of
Palentir, and it's even truer on “Empire of Illusions”, is principally for fans of sounds. To those who devour sounds and samplings. These sound effets are flabbergasting and their insertions are always so levelheaded. As for me, “Empire of Illusions” is more accomplished than Refuge in Fantasy. There is something magical here. Christian Schimmöller shapes his rhythms in the shadows of his sonic mishmash, reaching the highlight of an imagination which finds its height in our perception, from where the title “Empire of Illusions”. Well, I suppose. Although the influences of Schmoelling are presents in some occasions, Palentir spreads his sonic realm with his own identity, giving thus some very personal structures of rhythms where the imagination is more present than the pace. I quite enjoyed it, even if sometimes everything sounds so unreal, so improbable. But on the other hand, it's doubtless it the biggest strength of “Empire of Illusions”; an album to be discovered if our senses require something different without neglecting the melody, or the rhythms and even less the ambiences.
Sylvain Lupari (February 3rd, 2015)

gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
You will find this album on the Bandcamp page of Palentir here